Q: Can you update us on Mario (Williams)?
A: I apologize if I miscommunicated yesterday that he was going to be evaluated by our doctors. He’s off-campus being evaluated and I have not heard any report yet back. I tend to get a little nervous of what I’m allowed to say. I’d give you guys as much information as I possibly can and I don’t want to start off in a bad time. It’s really the same thing. His foot was sore. We’re not going to make any mistakes about. We’re going to make sure that everything’s fine and just start evaluating it. Where he is and where he goes, I’m not going to talk about that.
Q: Since he is off-campus, does that indicate it could be something more substantial than just a minor injury?
A: I don’t know. Every time I go to the doctor, there is always something that can happen. I’d leave it up to the layman to put their opinion on it.
Q: What’s your opinion on it?
A: Just like anybody else. If someone else’s foot was sore or someone else was injured, they’d get evaluated and then the doctor tells me and I’d either put him on the field when the doctor says he’s cleared or the doctor says he’s not cleared and he’s off the field. I don’t really try to concentrate too much on that. I’ll try to do a much better job with injuries and things like that. You guys have to remember, and I hope you appreciate where I’m at, my focus is on the players that are on the field. That’s what my main focus needs to be and my concern. That doesn’t mean I’m heartless or have no empathy towards people. I obviously do. But the people that are here, I have to get them ready.
I, really guys, just so you know me, because I know we don’t know each other a lot. I just basically ask the doctor when is he coming back or do we have him for practice. And really that’s all I do. Whether that’s a mistake on my part, that is up for discussion with everyone else. That’s just the way I do it. I’m not a doctor so I’m never going to sit here and try to explain something to you guys that I have no clue about. The only thing I can tell you is, when the doctor tells me how long he’s out, I will tell you. I just know it’s that part of your body that is injured or something goes wrong. I hope that you can appreciate that. I’m sorry that I am that way if it offends anyone and I can’t give you more information. But that’s the way I’ve dealt with injuries my whole life as a coach and a player.
Q: Is there a timetable for him to return?
A: I think it’s the same thing. When the doctor tells us exactly what’s going on, believe me, I’m sure, you will be the fourth or fifth person to know. Mario (Williams), the doctor, our trainers, Russ (Brandon), Doug (Whaley), me, Scott (Berchtold), you. There you go. Eight. You guys are eight on the list.
Q: You seem surprised about this. Did this come up suddenly?
A: We were all ready to go and when something like this happens, you go out there for the first time and sometimes you’re sore and sometimes we’ve been fortunate the past two days in practice. We’ve come out healthy from my terms. It might not be for someone else. We have some soreness.
Q: Do you know which foot it is?
A: I still don’t know what foot it is.
Q: How did it happen?
A: I just think it was sore. I think whenever you have soreness, did you ever wake up in the morning and feel sore. I don’t know if you can pinpoint a certain time. I wake up sore every day, so I’d be on the injury report every day.
Q: Is there any chance he’ll be placed on PUP?
A: I have no idea, I really don’t. I’m waiting for the doctors to get down that chain until it gets to me. I hope not.
Q: How did you think the team looked offensively today?
A: Today we hit some plays and got in some gaps. But again I think it’s very difficult when you go out there and you’re evaluating. You’re going to see a big play, but you’re also going to see a big play on defense. It’s very difficult to say who had the better day, or who didn’t, when you’re looking at things. I think that today was probably pretty close. There were some plays that the defense made and some plays the offense made. I’m looking forward now to transitioning to the pads. I really am for our players because I think that there’s still a type of etiquette on the field as far as being a professional player that when you get out there, there is an acclimation period. We’re not asking them. We’re trying to do all the things kind of like teach it like we were in the OTAs for player safety, which is the number one priority for us. But I think the mindset changes a little bit when you put pads and a helmet on because now you’re not as worried. You still want them off the ground but I think that you don’t worry about getting shoulders in there and I’m excited about putting the pads on.
Q: What do you think of the defensive scheme?
A: I think you have a defensive scheme of all different types of pressure and zone coverages. Many different types of coverages. You guys have seen the defense before. When you want to do that, and I’m going to try to explain this the best I can, when you look at the history of the defense, there has really only been one offense that has done well with it. And some of that is because that defense comes in and throws so much stuff at you that you can’t really build a foundation from a standpoint where you can put that foundation in to a zone and man and all the different things you’re going to see. And I think a great part about the staff is that we understood that and we understand that and that we work together to make sure we’re getting all the certain looks and building a foundation. Then when we go into the scrimmage situation, sometimes we have to run a play against a defense we wouldn’t normally run. We get caught. For us, I think it’s a good working environment. I think in the long run, I think it helps you. I think when you look at the league now, it’s multiple each week. You can play a team that’s a two-man team, a team that plays the same front and a couple different kinds of coverages, the multiple teams. And what it does, being an offense coach at this level, it builds up the anxiety levels of the players. And in training camp you see the same defense each and every day that’s not as multiple. All of a sudden you worry on offense how you’re going to react to that adversity, what you’re going to do. It’s like a catch-22. We’re seeing a lot of things, so during the course of the year you’re going to see a lot of things. So you might as well see them now and get used to it now.
Q: Do you set a certain script as to what you are going to do in practice?
A: There’s been times, the script thing, it’d be a great story. I could tell you guys some really good stories. I’ve got some stories of offensively we would put in a script and I was a coach and then that script cost the defense. And then you’re accusing the defense that they’re looking at our script and what we’re running. And the defense says the same thing. We don’t have that here. We really don’t. I’m laughing because I can tell you stories. Sometimes there were two scripts. The offense would get one script. The defense would get another. It was crazy.
Q: What value do you play on Brad Smith and his versatility? Is he just a receiver?
A: For us right now, yes. But he’s a core special team’s player for and does it very well. We look at him as a receiver trying to get himself slotted wherever that may be at the end of the day competing for a position. And we feel that he has shown some very good progress having just been in one position. But the more I’ve talked to Brad (Smith) about the different places he has been, quarterback, whatever it may be. For us, right now our plan is just go ahead and compete at receiver. Obviously be a core special team’s player. And that’s his role on our team right now. No different than the other players.
Q: Can you talk about the competition behind Stevie Johnson?
A: I think it changes drastically. I think there’s a difference. On the outside, we have guys that have the speed. With (T.J.) Graham on the outside, (Marquise) Goodwin can go play on the outside, we have some younger guys that can go on the outside with some speed. And they can run the fades and you guys have seen them run the go routes or whatever you want to call them. But it’s a little bit different when to me I kind of value who is going over the middle. I think that Stevie (Johnson) has proven that he can go in there and get that. Brad has done a nice of job of that. I think Robert Woods in his (college) career has done a nice job of that. Now he has to do it at this level. I think basically what we are looking for is that type of consistency at that position. And I feel very comfortable with Ike Hilliard coaching them. He’s done an outstanding job with them. I’ve seen the progress. We’ve got a lot of young guys out there that are really progressing well and now it’s a matter of being consistent.
Q: Have your players commented to you on the new league rule about pads?
A: No. I think our players know that I can’t do anything about it so I don’t think they’re going to say anything to me.
Q: What position do you consider Dorin Dickerson?
A: He was in that hybrid situations and he can really run well. At first you say, oh gosh, I’ve seen him play receiver in college, so I’ve seen him do that. So I said we’ll throw him out there. He’s big, strong and can run. And then we had him out there and then he actually came to us. And I think it was a problem of trying to get the weight down and that he needed to be able to be faster to play the position or get in and out of cuts is probably a better way to explain it. He didn’t mention that to me but he said I really want to play tight end and I think you are trying to give the players the best chance to make the team. If he feels, and I don’t disagree with him after seeing him at wide receiver, that the best position for him to be at is the tight end position. But I think that he’s an interesting player because I think now that we trained him as a receiver and trained him as a tight end that can help us down the road if he plays well during camp.
Q: What did you see out of your quarterbacks?
A: I probably saw a little bit more production than I saw yesterday. A couple reads. I thought both quarterbacks had very good one-on-ones against the DBs. I think in the teams they saw something a little bit and then I saw them miss some things. I think Kevin (Kolb) is seeing more of the exotic stuff from our defense. We’ll bring in EJ (Manuel) and gave him a little more reps today but we’re careful with what we’re showing him. EJ is in a pretty decent position. We throw Kevin out there and Kevin’s going in there and seeing everything for the first time. And EJ is able to sit back there and look at it. Now we’ve got to start stepping him up in those situations too.
Q: How many quarterbacks will you have on the roster?
A: I’d say minimum two, maximum three. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. I mean that to say it all depends how they play. But the minimum would be two on the roster and the maximum would be three. And there’s always a chance of keeping one on the practice squad. I think there are a lot of options there.
Q: With Mario out, who on defense has stood out?
A: I’m excited for when the pads come on. It is more power versus power. I think Jerry Hughes has done a lot of good things, I’ve seen that out there. He’s quick change of direction, done some nice things. Jamie Blatnick has done some good things. Kourtnei Brown has really done better than what he did in the OTAs. I saw him make a couple plays today. And I think that’s what happens. You get an opportunity and it gives us more snaps to evaluate those players. I was happy with the way those guys have stepped up.