Safeties coach Dave Merritt, 11.11.09

Q. How did Aaron Rouse do in his first start?

A. He did good. The thing is that he did everything we asked him to do. At this point, now that he has been in the system for a number of weeks now, he just needs to let his athletic ability come out and show us that he can go out and make the plays that are within him.

Q. A lot of the blame was thrown at the feet of C.C. Brown. How much of that do you think was overblown?

A. I really don’t know how to answer that, whether it was overblown or not. The thing is that C.C. Brown came in here, he came from Houston, a veteran safety, that we definitely appreciate everything he has done and everything he is going to do. I have all the faith that he is going to come back in and show the world that he can do the things he has in his own mind that he has to do. He is going to bounce back and do well.

Q. How much does losing Kenny Phillips hurt your unit?

A. Kenny started off really well. When you take a young man out of a role who had that much production that early, everybody is saying, ‘Oh my gosh, we wish we had Kenny back.’ The thing is that Kenny is a young player who is developing, just like all the other guys we have back there. His athletic ability is uncanny. We all know that, as far as his range and his ability to make plays. It hurts. I hate it for the young man, because he had a chance to have a phenomenal season. Now he is in rehab and hopefully we are looking forward to him coming back stronger next year.

Q. You didn’t allow any big plays this weekend vs. San Diego. What kind of adjustment did you make?

A. You harp on the young men playing with depth and vision. That is one of my big pet peeves, the guys will tell you immediately that I will tell you to get back and get your depth. That started in the off-season. I haven’t changed one bit of my philosophy as far as where you need to be aligned as a deep safety. The guys now are seeing that if you continue to work your speed at the beginning to control, that speed is going to allow them to get the proper depth that they need to see the routes in front of them. They did a fantastic job this past week in not allowing any balls to go over their head.

Q. What is your impression of newcomer D.J. Johnson?

A. He is explosive. Obviously coming from Denver, he is coming from a really good defense. I like him. He is very bright from what I see already just standing out there with him during practice. He did well.

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