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Coach Whisenhunt's May 1 Minicamp Practice Report

Posted May 1, 2014


(opening statement)

Is it always this windy? It’s good to be outside though. We had a good three days. I feel like we got a good base to work off of. We put a lot in and had a chance to look at a lot of different guys. That’s always a good thing about this. You lose sight of this in the offseason. You don’t have a chance to work with them, to actually get out there on the field, talk football, execute football, even though some of it wasn’t executed greatly today. Overall, it was a good three days. I’m excited for what we’ve gotten done through Phase I and this voluntary minicamp. Monday we start Phase II and then before we know it we’ll be in the OTAs.

(on what he has learned about his defensive players so far)

We have a lot of things where we can see different plays, different roles where they’re executing the defense. We get a chance to actually talk about, as we go through the next couple of weeks in Phase II, when we’re talking about defenses, we can look at ourselves doing it, correct some of those mistakes. We’re getting a feel for different guys at different spots.

(on the implications of Phase II)

Phase II the coaches can actually come out on the field and do individual work with the players. Where it’s going to be good for us is defensively, you get a chance to work on some of the technique and matchup things that you’re trying to do on defense and offensively, some of the individual routes and the techniques of those routes. We threw a lot at them from combinations, coverages, and there are all kinds of adjustments that come with each one of those, so we get a chance to break those down and work on them individually.

(on his impression of how players have processed having minicamp prior to Phase II)

Some of it didn’t seem that crisp from looking at it. I really think that the IPads helped with our guys, in terms of processing the information and learning because it’s so readily available to them. It’s easier to find the information for them and it really helps us because we are able to put a lot in and get a lot of those reps, those looks on tape.

(on his comfort level concerning the dictated offseason schedule as a head coach)

This is the second time I’ve done it. I think we’re all a lot more comfortable with it. The first year, it was about getting a feel for it, but we have a schedule. We feel good about the installation schedule and what you can and can’t do. It is a great value to have a minicamp like this, because you have a three-day period where you have them for the day and you can put more information in and work on it on the field.

(on transitioning Zach Brown)

In the looks that I saw on tapes, Zach was inside (last year). Maybe Zach’s a little bit confused. Just kidding. When we go into our sub defense, those guys are inside. He played inside last year, at least when we played him in the third game. I just think: new system, new start. He feels good about that. Obviously, being a high pick like he was, expectations come with that. He gets a chance to perform and hopefully he’ll have a great year.

(on Jurrell Casey’s role this season within the defensive scheme)

Jurrell and I talked about that today. It’s funny that you should ask that. When we were in stretch and I said to him, “how is it coming? How is this defense working for you?” and he said, “really Coach, it’s not a lot different.” I said, “that’s good.” He says he feels good about it. One of the things when you talk about changing the defense that gets lost is when we go to our sub package, when you go to your four down or even some of the three down stuff that you do in that, he’s going to play a lot of the same roles. Our expectation is that he will be equally as effective as he was last year.

(on the flexibility of his defensive tackles)

I think they have to be able to do that. You have to have flexibility. You guys were able to watch some of the practice, if you saw, there was a lot of moving around and playing different spots. That’s what makes you more versatile as a defense. That’s what we’ve said from day one. We’re going to continue to work these guys in these roles and hopefully it will pay off for us.

(on size dictating and limiting some tackles’ roles, particularly Sammie Hill)

Probably. No matter what defense you play in, Sammie is going to play closer to the center. That’s just the nature of what he is. We are not going to put him outside as an end to rush on a tackle, because we’re probably not going to have success with that. To some degree.

(on transitioning Derrick Morgan and Kamerion Wimbley)

They had a good week. They looked good in whatever we’ve asked them to play. They played a lot of different positions for us. It’s really been good to see two guys like that work the way they do, two veteran players. I feel like they’re good players. We’re going to ask them to do a lot of different things to see them. You can watch last year’s tape, but to see them do some of the things that are intrinsic to our defense…it’s good to get that work.

(on the running game and the affectivity of practicing situationals)

It was effective last year in San Diego. I’ve seen a lot of other teams that do that. We’re trying to be better as an offense and defense in general. However we do that, that’s what we’re working at.

(on Jake Locker’s projected return to team play at OTAs)

That’s the goal. That’s the projection. I’m hopeful that when we start OTAs in three weeks he’ll be able to practice. That’s the schedule. This week has been good because we get a chance to really do some football stuff with him, even though it was limited, and then see how he reacts to that.

(on Charlie Whitehurst’s performance in minicamp)

I thought Charlie did well. He’s got an advantage, because he understands the terminology. You can kind of see it catch up with Tyler (Wilson) a little bit today because we got into so many different aspects of it, but Charlie was comfortable. It was a good minicamp for him.

(on Shaun Phillips’ performance throughout the minicamp)

Shaun’s a good football player. He’s going to have a role on our defense. We expect a lot out of him, not only from production, but also leadership, just because of what he brings to the table. Real happy to have Shaun here with us.

(on Chance Warmack’s size)

I’m hoping that we notice that he’s lost some weight. He got a little heavy and I think he understands he needs to lose a little bit more. That’s a good thing. He’s working at it. That’s his goal. Hopefully it won’t cost him any money.

(on Chance Warmack maintaining that he is the same size as always)

Have you been around Chance much? Chance, it seems to me, says a lot of things. He’s an Alabama guy, so I don’t know about the accuracy of some of those statements. 

(on the impact that minicamp will have on draft decisions)

It gives us more of an idea of an assessment of our team and where we are. You feel better about some positions. You obviously have more information about others. I just think as far as your team and where you may have your needs going forward, yes, it helps. Sure it does. That’s why you’re able to have the minicamp before that. Does that impact your draft board? If it’s a good football player, I don’t think it really matters. It just gives you more information, which helps in setting your board.

(on what has been achieved in this minicamp)

It’s only three days and you only actually get three practices and two walk throughs, so you don’t have a tremendous amount of meeting time. When we get into OTAs we’ll have 10 of them. We haven’t done any red zone, any two minute, any of the situational things. There’s a lot more that’s yet to go in. It was good to be able to get those things in and work them so we could get a chance to get some of that on tape as well. We started building a little base because when you get to training camp, you go through it all again. That’s the only way to try to have any kind of basis ready to go for the preseason games.

(on having Ray Horton as the defensive coordinator and what makes him great)

I’ve been lucky to work with Ray for a number of years. He did a great job for me when I was in Arizona and I’m confident he will do the same thing here. He’s a good football coach; he’s played the game. He works very hard at it. He allows his coaches to do their jobs and has a good chemistry with them.

(on the upcoming week’s schedule and balancing draft preparation with other duties)

We’ll have time in the mornings to work on football with our guys when they’re in here. The big bulk of work for the coaches has been done. They did a lot of work as far as look at players, reports, and talking about those things. They’re more focused on football. We’ll get together in the middle of the week and go back through it again, talk about it, but we’ll have time in the afternoons to do that.

(on the returns of Brian Schwenke, Andy Levitre, and Akeem Ayers for OTAs)

I don’t know about Akeem. Akeem is the one who potentially won’t be. He’s doing really well though. He’s making good progress. Levitre and Schwenke both feel pretty good about that. Barring any kind of setback, we’ll have them at some point in the OTAs, hopefully early.

(on any changes to the draft board due to minicamp impressions)

We get a chance to sit down and go back through this minicamp and see how we feel about our team. I don’t know if it will necessarily affect the draft. I think it gives us a better assessment of our team, which helps you identify what maybe your needs are going to be. Once again, when you set your board, it’s based on all of the work that Ruston (Webster) and his guys have put in to evaluate these players.


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