Q: Through OTAs and mini camp, how do you see this defense coming together?
A: I think we have accomplished some basics and fundamentals. It is very hard to say because we are running around in shorts. The real test will come when we put the pads on and we are going two a days against each, and obviously with preseason games. But I think we accomplished some basics and fundamentals and established some evaluations. They know who I am, I know who they are, some of the techniques that they can play, some of the things that they can do, I have a better appreciation for.
Q: What do they know about you right now?
A: I thought we just had fun practicing and learning the game and playing the game of football. To me, that is what I do. And so I thought that we enjoyed doing that together.
Q: Did you sense that they needed that - some kind of injection of energy or enthusiasm?
A: I had no preconceived ideas of what they needed or what they wanted. You just try to inject what we do and try to accomplish what we want to accomplish in the OTAs and then in the minicamp.
Q: Is the middle linebacker situation any clearer after the mini camp?
A: I thought some guys stepped up. Jonathan Goff I thought had a very good OTA and minicamp. I thought Phillip Dillard had a good OTA and minicamp - Gerris Wilkinson - all of those guys competed. And I think that was a good thing. I know I'm leaving some names out - I don't mean to leave names out. Again, I'm not calling in a pecking order or what have you. But I'm saying I thought all of those guys competed and showed us that they can play the game. Now the real deal comes when you put the pads on. When the bullets fly, who is going to step up and take charge and be our leader?
Q: Chase Blackburn
A: Oh yes, I know I'm leaving some names out. But Chase ...... We played some other guys there at the MIKE position also. But those guys did compete and they did do a good job. I was not disappointed in what I saw on the field.
Q: Does Phillip Dillard still feel very much like a rookie or do you feel he is getting adjusted a little better?
A: I think the rookie mini camp helped him a lot. The game is not too big for Phillip from what I could see. He still has the rookie status so I'm not going to go there. But the game is not too big for him. I'll just leave it at that.
Q: How much did you use OTAs in installing the defense? How much have you installed? Are you waiting for camp to install everything?
A: No, we try to install as much as we possibly could. Obviously there are some things that we did not install that we will install in camp. ..........our players a little bit better because of the practice sessions. There are some things that are going on that I said, "Hey, boy we can do this with these guys; we can do this." And so ......training camp. But I tried to install at least 75% of what we are going to do.
Q: Do you feel you have laid the ground work for the aggressive mindset?
A: Yes, that is exactly what we tried to do. We tried to create the mindset of what we would like to look like and what we would like to be.
Q: I spoke with Peter Giunta recently. He talked about the coverage schemes based on what these guys were used to coming off last year. He said maybe matching up a little more later in the down, maybe more zone like schemes. Is that an accurate way to kind of describe it?
A: That is accurate.
Q: When you look at that - and we talk to a guy like Corey Webster - who said that maybe he struggled a little bit playing off the ball early in his career. And he was able to kind of get up in the guy's face......more comfortable. Will he still be able to do a lot of that stuff?
A: What I tried to do with our scheme is give them a structure, a basic foundation, they could hold on to it. And then their individual talents, they can accomplish what we need to accomplish within the bounds. So, yes, he will have that freedom to do that.
Q: How did Antrel Rolle and Deon Grant do?
A: Oh, gosh. You know what, they were really, really good. Two veterans that have a good knowledge of the game, that have good chemistry and they make the game easier for me as a defensive coordinator right now. And I think the corners and some of their linebackers because they are communicators. And that is what you have to have. You have a field general back there that can communicate and let you know where you are going and what you are doing. And I think they really did a nice job of that. We look for them to carry that over into the training camp.
Q: Are you going on the presumption that Kenny Phillips may not be available early?
A: No, I'm not presuming anything. I think Kenny Phillips will be ready on August 1. It is unfortunate that we did not have him in the OTAs but I'm looking forward to having him on August 1.
Q: There is so much talk about the competition at middle linebacker, rightfully so. But Michael Boley was hurt a lot of last year. This is your first experience with him. What is your comfort level with him?
A: When you are in shorts it is a good comfort level at this point in time because he is very athletic. He can do some things, that make you say, "Wow, man that is a linebacker that can move like that; that can cover like that; that can fill up the run like that in shorts." When we put on pads I will know what we are made of.
Q: At the same it also doesn't seem like this is much of a competition factor at the strong side with Clint Sintim as much as there is in the middle. It almost looks like Sintim is getting the bulk of the snaps at that spot.
A: That is not fair. We evenly distributed those out.
Q: How is he progressing?
A: I thought Clint progressed well. We just had that conversation that we thought he grew from Day 1 to this practice tremendously. I thought yesterday's practice - he really showed us some stuff that Clint Sintim can do. So we thought he made leaps and bounds in our practice sessions all throughout. We did a lot of different things with Clint. He played some middle linebacker for us at times. So I tried to find out as much as I possibly could about our players - not putting them in one specific spot - I know you guys want me to say, "Hey, he is this, he is that." We tried to do as much as we possibly could and experiment with them so that we could get an appreciation for what they can do.
Q: Is that the idea of having the four defensive ends out there?
A: Yeah, that was the idea of having those guys out there also.
Q: How did they look?
A: They looked good. They are powerful speed guys. They have a lot of talent. They can drop, they can rush. So I just wanted to kind of get a feel for what kind of players they are.
Q: You have some guys up there saying that they all want to see as much playing time as possible. Ultimately you will make the call; Robert Nunn will make the call. How do you look at that? Is it encouraging at all that these guys want to play so much - their competitive nature?
A: Oh yeah, I think it is. If you are a guy that doesn't want to be a starter and you don't come out and compete every day to be starter or be the best that you possibly can be, then we have the wrong guy. And so, hey, I want as much competition, I want them to fight for the job. That is what we do. That is what the NFL is all about. There are no hand outs, there are no give outs. You have to fight every day. You have to fight every day for a victory. So we are looking forward to the competition and fighting for our jobs and being the best defense we can possibly be.
Q: RE: Defensive line - are you getting a better sense of where you will go or will that not be decided until training camp -- who you will play?
A: All of them will play and all will have the equal opportunity to be a starter.
Q: Osi said...
A: It really is that simple. It really is. You show it day in and day out, it really is that simple.
Q: At the same time, Perry, ...............the impression that the rotation along the defensive line, if guys are getting 45 snaps a piece, that whoever plays the first snap is not really as relevant as to how many and when they play them?
A: That could be a true statement; that could be a true statement. There are a lot of factors and a lot of things that go into a ball game. I think we have a luxury in that we have really some good defensive linemen. I would kind of use them in a number of different ways. That is what I did this spring. That is what I talked to them about in the fall also. And so, again, it is not how you start, it is how you finish. And they all will have different roles. And how they excel in those roles, that is what I am trying to find out. How will they excel in the different roles that we will put them in?