(on starting to work on the Washington Redskins tomorrow)
Yeah, it gives you a day and half. Tomorrow and Wednesday morning to start getting a little organized for Washington, you want them to see film. You want to see what they did last year so we can anticipate how they’ll play us in this game. We’re going to play a lot of guys, so you want to keep it simple and be able to cover things. Tomorrow will be a full day of getting ready for Washington and the same thing on Wednesday.
(on if Thursday’s game is more for individual evaluation)
In a game, we want to come out and win. We need to come out and play with great energy and great effort and not worry about how long you’re playing and know we’re going to play as long as we need to play. As far as having success out there, the good thing is, they’re really a 3-4 football team, so it’s similar to what we’re going to see in the opener. Which is good. It’s some of the same things we see in practice. I think there’s a lot of similarities with their offense very similar to Houston’s. So, I think on both sides of the ball we can get some great work forward that we’re going to see early in the season. Now it’s just a matter of us deciding how long we’re going to keep
(on number of plays for starters)
I’ve always felt in that 20 to 25 play range kind of thing. I’m not really into quarters. Quarters can be three plays for the defense if the offense does a good job in the first half. It’s kind of go, none of your starters will play in the second half, but the first half everyone is up and alive and we just kind of see how the game flows. You can come out and have two great drives on offense and say that’s enough, or maybe it’s not, or the situation comes up and we want to have the first group out there. I think we’re kind of thinking 18, 25 plays, 20 plays. Just see how the game unfolds on both sides. And you have guys you’re going to watch sooner that you don’t want to do too much stuff with and then you just take it from there.
(on how much time will be spent on preparing for the Redskins)
Just tomorrow and Wednesday, it’s enough. They’re in the same position we’re in, they’re probably spending as much time, or less, on us. It’s just about being organized, minimizing the game plan so these guys can just lock into a lot less information. There will be a lot carried over that they’re used to so we should be able to adjust as we’re out there. But, you want to be organized. You want to be out there with a plan. You want to look good, not just go out there like a practice. This is a football game. You want to go out there and win it, compete, and start building your identity. If it’s 10 plays, 20 plays, 30 plays, as a team you want to step up and play well.
He’s handling himself really well, which we thought he would. He’s playing well at corner. He’s adapted well to what they’re asking him to do. I think he took the approach that, ‘if I do a great job no matter where they put me, you can’t get me off the field,’ and that’s how you should do it. He’s had a nice camp, so I think now it’s just seeing how these guys play in games when we’re doing all the other things we’re not doing out here. The tackling, getting caught in a drive and seeing how to respond, and making plays. I think so far it’s been good, but we haven’t made any final decisions, so we’ll wait and see how it all works out.
(on getting Jake Locker better at pre-snap reads)
The more he sees, the better he is. Put him in a lot of situations and not just do planned periods. There are a lot of periods where you’re going to do that, you want to create situations so the players get used to understanding situations, but from there a lot of “move the ball” periods where he doesn’t know what’s coming. There’s no script, so he can’t look at a script to decide, “hey this is what coverage I’m going to see,” and start planning for it. We do walkthroughs inside. We don’t cover things he’s going to see in practice from the defense. That’s really all you can do, is just make sure our defense is giving him a lot of different looks, which has been good for him. That’s pretty much all we try to do to get as ready as you can for Thursday night. We’ll see what happens on Thursday night, how complicated they’re going to be.
(on the progress of the offensive line)
Until you’ve gone through a game, in practices there are times where they look really good. They look physical, we run the ball well, some good lanes and holes, good protections. Other days defense gets the better of them and comes back with some different ideas and different blitzes, so we have to go back and forth. We are getting some great work on both sides of the ball. Now it’s kind of to see Thursday where we’re at a little bit. Like Chance (Warmack), the rookies might have never played (at this level). It’s different. Practice is one thing, but even when we were over at the stadium the other day, it’s different. On Saturday some guys took a while to get going. Same thing with a preseason game, it’s different. People are here. There’s energy. You don’t know how different guys are going to handle it mentally. That’s why as a coach, I’m always happy there are three or four of these, so we can get used to all of that before we open up.
He’s done well. He’s running well, he’s excited about what we’re doing. We gave him one day to rest, so he’s been out here every other day doing everything we’ve asked him to do. So far, so good. He’s looked as good as he’s probably looked in a training camp practice, running plays through the end zone, finishing plays for 40 yards out, 50 yards out into the protections like he always has been. He’s doing exactly what he needs to do to get ready to play and we’ve just got to decide how much we’re going to use him.
(on whether or not Chris Johnson’s 2,000-yard season has placed unrealistic expectations upon him)
I think once you do that, when he came into the league and he was running for five or six yards a carry, everyone assumes that’s how easy it is. But this league isn’t that way. He got his 2,000, it just gets harder when you do that. I think (Adrian) Peterson will find that out this year, that it’s a little harder to come back and do it again. No one’s ever done it again for a reason. So I’m glad his expectations are high. The higher, the better. We’re expecting to have a big year and we’ll see what happens. So if he runs the ball well, we’re going to have a good year. So we need to start off at the beginning where we can’t waist four or five weeks to get it going. We know that. So we need to come out of the box running well.
(on his vision for the offensive line)
We’re getting there. It hasn’t been a whole lot of days together. It’s not like we’ve been challenged until we play other teams. It’s just a matter of letting it come together. (Andy) Levitre, it was good to see him in practice Saturday, where they stayed in there for a long period of time together. (Andy) Levitre played like it was a game. Those guys played over 40 plays in game-like situations. So did (David) Stewart. The whole group was in there, so I think that was good. It’s the first time we’ve done that, so that’s encouraging. Everyone’s healthy. They responded very well to the practice load and now we have to carry that into the game. We’ll see. They know a lot’s riding on this year and a lot of it’s about guys on both sides of the ball, the defensive line and the offensive line.
(on how the offensive tackles have anchored the line)
Well that’s where leadership has come from besides (Andy) Levitre who hasn’t been in there much and hasn’t been here. From Dave’s (Stewart) mentality, the way he plays the game is contagious. Guys really like the way he plays the game once it’s real and he’s down by the pile and doing all the little things. Mike’s (Roos) just a good leader, in the huddle, out of the huddle. Little things I think is a great help to Jake (Locker). I think having them is a big comfort. You know that they can match up with anybody that puts a lot of comfort with the quarterback and for our scheme. I think that those guys can match up with most guys so that’s the strength of the group.
(on keeping it simple on offense Thursday night)
I’m sure they’re going to do the same. I mean you’re going to see our basic run game, not a whole lot of other things. I think it’s more of let these guys just play. You’re going to play a lot of guys so to think of it that way, you don’t want make it complicated where guys are going to make mistakes. This is going to lean towards the younger guys getting more plays than the older guy. So that’s really why you keep it simple. You can’t practice with 90 guys getting reps like you would during the season like the third game either where it’s more about the starters. It’ll be simplistic, but again, there’s going to be plenty of stuff that they can do well. There will be a lot of competition, I’m sure there are going to be challenges in protections, and they’re very aggressive on defense a lot like Pittsburgh. So, hopefully we’ll get tested in that way. They’ll come after us and blitz us, and give us some good work. We’ve just got to keep it to where we can go out there and perform without guys thinking too much.
(on what it’s like to step out in the stadium)
I think it’s exciting. To me, I don’t care what it is other people talk a lot that it’s only a preseason game. To me, when you put a jersey on it’s about you’re going to play the best you can play whether it’s five plays, 10 plays, 20 plays. I think it’s a totally different mindset for players than it is for coaches. We’re getting closer to the opener. This is a step where you don’t want to lose preseason games. I mean because then everyone is questioning what about this, what about that. You want to win everything you do. You want to get a habit of winning. When you go to LP Field you want the crowd to be in there early, just give them a reason to be into it. Obviously when you go out there and play well, we’ve been talking about a lot of the things we want to accomplish this year. We’ve been talking about how happy we are with the guys we’ve brought in here, about their work ethic. Just show up in a game like situation even though it’s going to be a limited amount of time. Everyone needs to come out. I think it’s a lot of that, the routine. Guys are used to the routine, so I think that’s the fun part about it.
(on whether there were any memorable moments last weekend)
For me, it was great being back. For me it was seeing a lot of the old Oilers, seeing Curley Culp go into the Hall of Fame. It was fun to see the speech and spend some time afterward and seeing Elvin Bethea getting Kenny Houston. Just talking, just sitting on the stage listening to the other guys speak and realize you’re part of that and how humbled everybody is. I don’t care who you are, who’s going in, when you go up on the stage and see their bust and they’re going to give their speech, they’re very humbled, very appreciative of all the people who’ve helped them get to where they are. I think you see that in the speeches. That’s why I tell the players if you play this game you need to go back and be part of that. There’s probably over a hundred ex-players there for their teammates, that played with those guys. I think it’s fun seeing a lot of those guys, coaches that all come back and how important it is to so many people to be there and support because they’re all part of it. You know one guys goes in, there’s a couple hundred people that are involved in that guy’s career. A lot of people take pride in it, and I think it’s a great tradition. Glad I had a chance to be back there.
(on whether he has a nickname like Bill Parcells)
Well, I’ll let you guys work on that. We’ll see what happens this year. A lot of wins, maybe we’ll come up with something.