Mike Pettine: "I thought our guys flew around today"


Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine**

Training Camp — August 13, 2013

Q: Can you talk about the transition of Aaron Williams to safety and how has he come along?A: Very pleased, at least with where he is. It was good to see it carrying over in the preseason game. Made some (plays), was on point with all of the checks. We didn't have any mental errors in the back end. He's a big part of that. He just showed his explosiveness on the play he made down on the goal line. Tried to get picked and he fought over the top and made a nice hit, knocked the ball loose on 3rd-and-short. He's on schedule as far as being prepared to play that spot.

Q: Was it a better day today for the defense?A: Yeah, to me it was. I've got to peek at the tape, but at first glance I just like the energy our guys had today. It would be easy to come out after we played Sunday, practiced yesterday and then came out again today, for guys to be dragging a little bit. We've done a good job. The assistants have done a good job making sure their guys energized and ready to go. I thought our guys flew around today pretty good.

Q: What stood out to you after reviewing tape from Sunday's performance?
A: Very pleased with how hard our guys played: the effort, the energy. They were passionate. You could tell they were having fun. That was one thing that jumped out. From a schematics standpoint, I was very pleased with the lack of mental errors. I think it was very few especially with the first group. And the thing I was real pleased with, tribute to the defensive staff, was how well prepared our back-up guys were, the guys who played late in the game that are fighting for those last roster spots. A lot of times your first group will go out and do well, and then, all of a sudden, there's a big drop off. That's a big part of coaching: having the ability to coach those guys that are getting in the game late. I was really pleased that those guys came in and competed. I think we gave up a first down the first play of the second half, and then it was a long time before we gave up another one. There's no substitute for winning, and that was something we stressed to our guys all week. People talk in the preseason that winning isn't important. We disagree with that. That's something we wanted to make sure those young guys, if we got them a lead defensively, that we weren't going to let go of it.

Q: How do you feel the defensive interior players shaking out?A: Sometimes when you have those guys, you always want to get a look. Sometimes you can get fooled by them if they're going against the twos and threes, whether it's your own team or in a preseason game. So we like to rotate those guys up. It's pretty clear to us that we're going to have some pretty tough decisions to make in that room. That's always a good problem to have. You know you've built some depth at a position when you start to look at the math and figure out that there's probably going to be some pretty good football players that we are going to have to part ways with.

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