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Linebackers coach Jim Herrmann, 11.11.09

Q. Can you talk about the development and how your linebackers are coming together. They have certainly drawn some criticism. Can you talk a little bit about the criticism there?

A. Well I think anytime you have a group, you try and come together during training camp and get to know each other. It’s hard because obviously Michael Boley didn’t have as much time in with the guys. But he was in every meeting and I think that’s where you get to learn about the group, especially me being new coming in. They are a very intelligent group of men and they work well together. They can talk football together, which I like, and then you can tell how good a group is especially older guys and see there correspondence with the younger players, having a young rookie like Clint Sintim in there and Jonathan Goff and Bryan Kehl are still young players. I love that involvement with each other, so in terms of synergy I think that’s where it all starts. Then, on the playing field on Sundays, you like to be able to have the same three guys, week in and week out every single snap, but as we all know that usually never happens, especially at the linebacker position. I think the guys are doing a good job of understanding the expectations for the position not the player. So whoever plays the ‘Mike’ linebacker or whoever plays the ‘Sam’ or the ‘Will’ position, this is the expectation for that position and they understand what’s required of them. So I think they have done a good job of that. Again you would like to have continuity of them taking every single snap but that is hard to do.

Q. When you look at Antonio Pierce, other then the fact that he’s the captain, do you think he takes unfair criticism?

A. To be honest with you, I think it’s no different than the quarterback on offense. If the offense isn’t doing well, the quarterback gets ripped. If the defense is not doing well, then the linebackers aren’t doing their job. To me it’s the nature of the position and really that’s part of the job. He is a pro. There is always going to be criticism, it’s part of the game and you learn to deal with it. The real thing is Antonio Pierce is able to come in on a Monday and watch the game and if he does anything fantastic, it is he evaluates himself. He watches himself and before I even come down to go into the film room, he has graded himself. To me, that’s what you want out of a pro, a guy that evaluates himself.