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General Manager Ruston Webster at NFL Scouting Combine

Posted Feb 21, 2013


(on what areas the team will focus on)
I think what we’ve been saying all along, we want to improve our offensive line and overall defensively. I think those are the keys for us moving forward.
(on University of Tennessee OL Dallas Thomas)
Dallas is a good football player. He’s athletic, can play inside or out. He’s got some nice strengths, and we’re definitely taking a good look at Dallas.
(on his philosophy of drafting a guard in the first round)
I think it can be a value. It needs to be a player that you see coming into your team and making a difference, upgrading you, and possibly being an outstanding player at the position. I’ve never been one to say you don’t take a guard in the first round, or whatever. Some people say don’t take a receiver in the first round. I’ve never looked at it that way. If there’s somebody there that’s a special player, then we’ll take a look at him.
(on trying to re-sign TE Jared Cook)
We’ve always wanted Jared. That hasn’t changed, and I don’t see that changing. We’re on the same page with the coaching staff. I would think he’ll be with us next year. He’s a big part of our offense. How it gets done, we’ll just have to see.
(on evaluating available talent in late rounds of the draft)
I think you just have to rely on your scouts. They’re a big part of that. You have to know what you’re looking for, and you have to look for those guys that instead of multiple outstanding traits, maybe have one positive trait that fits what you do offensively or defensively. That’s really the scout’s time. That’s when they’re pushing for their guys. They take a lot of pride in those guys, in finding those players in Rounds 5-7 and in free agency.
(on Jake Locker’s progression)
I think Jake has done a good job. He has all the talent to be a fine player. One of the things we have to do is have more consistency around him. Whether the offensive line is influx, or we’re changing coordinators, doing all those type of things and then he gets hurt. The other thing is keeping him healthy. I don’t think that does anything for any quarterback’s development. Jake’s doing good, and we expect him to be a fine player for us.
(on if Locker does a good enough job of protecting himself)  
There are times I wished he’d do a better job of protecting himself, for sure. That’s not his nature, as you guys know, so that’s something we’re working on. Also, I think if we can help him offensive line-wise, running game-wise, that might keep him healthy as well.
(on if Locker got better at protecting himself as the season progressed)
I think he did learn. He doesn’t necessarily have to turn into a free safety when the ball gets picked off or picked up. We have to do our part to protect him as well.
(on if he’s talked to Locker directly)
I haven’t been able to talk to him. I’ve been getting updates from the medical staff.
(on having a low cap-spending-per-defense across the NFL and if it affected results)
I think some. We were very young, and I think that was a big part of it. There are places on our team where we have to get better, improve overall and help our coaches that way. Some of it is that, mostly because we’re young, but there’s places we need to improve.
(on if he’d like to have another running back to complement Chris Johnson)
That’s something we’ll look at, maybe a situational-type guy that can come in in certain situations and close the game, short-yardage or just give us a change of pace, something different.
(on the addition of Gregg Williams)
I think Gregg is going to add a lot of knowledge to our defensive staff and help us.
(on if there was hesitation in hiring Williams)
Well, there was hesitation in that we had to do our research. We had to do our background work. Fortunately, with him having spent so much time in Tennessee, we had a lot of people that knew him well.
(on whether young kickers or veteran kickers have more appeal)
I think it could be either one. It’s not necessarily one or the other. There’s probably going to be some good free agent kickers out there. There’s some young, talented guys. I think you saw this year that young players could come in and do that for you.
(on which position—guard, safety or defensive end—are the deepest in this year’s draft)
Well, they’re all pretty deep. I know that’s not what you wanted to hear, but they’re all pretty deep. I think the top two might be guards and safeties, but they’re all pretty deep.
(on if he feels fortunate that the draft has depth at those positions)
Yeah, those are the needs for us and that’s important. That’s how free agency and the draft work together. You know, where if you’re heavy in free agency, that may be the draft you might go out and spend some money. Otherwise, you might wait until the draft.
(on how he approaches the process of interviewing players)
You have to have players that you’re honing-in on and concentrating on those guys and then know what’s important to sift through, know what’s important to your team. For me, a lot of times, when I’m talking to a player, maybe there’s some buzzwords or things we’re looking to find out about that guy. The same thing with watching them workout: I’m looking for something specific. That way, we don’t get overloaded.
(on the types of buzzwords)
Not necessarily buzzwords. For me, it’s certain traits in a guy, like if somebody’s immature. Most players, when they come into the league, is their ability to handle the time on their hands and the money they have. So, maturity, I think is a big part of (evaluating) guys.
(on if he thinks the Titans can make a quick turnaround)
Yeah, I think it gets done every year, and that’s exactly what we’re going to try to do.
He took advantage of a great opportunity with us. When Marc Mariani went down with his injury, it opened up a spot for him. He took total advantage of it and was a big factor for sure.
(on Marc Mariani’s status)
He’s still rehabbing. For me, I look forward to the day when Marc can stand on that field.
(on the offensive line)
I think if we could have stayed healthy all the way through, we would have been alright, but when we started losing guys like David Stewart. Offensive line is such a group of continuity. You start losing that continuity, it really affects your team.
(on the defense between last year and this year)
I think we have talent. That’s why I think we can improve. I think we have young talent, guys that are still reaching their potential, but at some point are going to be good players. We just have to continue to add to that.
(on if he anticipates any cuts)
I would say we don’t have to cut anybody for cap (space). We’re not in that kind of situation, fortunately. Now, if we find somebody that’s maybe better than a guy we have, then there could be cuts.

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