Q: Can you talk about the contribution that Barry Cofield is making this year because he's kind of the guy under the radar on that line?
A: Barry is not under the radar. He's probably the smartest defensive lineman - those other guys wouldn't admit it, but he's probably the smartest defensive lineman that we have in the room. He understands blocking schemes, he understands what the opponent is trying to do to him, he's got that sixth sense and he's able to make plays through not only his talent but that sixth sense, and he's a guy that can bring the guys together, but he does it in his own way. It's the Barry way. But I'm very excited about how he's playing, his recovery from his knee injury, and how he's going out and going about his business on a day to day basis. I talk to him about little things and he's able to tell me about the little things about football, so I'm excited about that.
Q: How much input do you take from the players about the schemes and how they're working for them?
A: It's a give and take. Sometimes I see things that they don't see and sometimes they see things and we talk about what they did in previous weeks that we can change up, so there's a lot of dialogue going on - I can't say that it's 50/50 or 60/40 or 80/20 or anything like that, but we have good dialogue.
Q: Is the scheme so rigid that it stays as it is or are you willing to make adjustments?
A: Oh no, it's not a rigid system. It's a player friendly system.
Q: Are the things that you're asking Antrel Rolle to do different than what he did in Arizona?
A: It's a combination of probably what he did as a corner and what he did a little bit as a safety, but it's kind of a new frontier for him because we're exploiting his talent and we're taking advantage of all of the little things that he can do from a defensive back/corner standpoint as well as from a safety physical standpoint, too. So it's kind of a new frontier for him.
Q: Are you moving him down almost to a linebacker's spot?
A: I won't say. But we're taking advantage of him. We're using him in ways that a lot of people would like to use their personnel.
Q: Are you going to give his position one of those names like The Falcon or something?
A: It's kind of a hybrid right now, but we haven't given it a name or anything like that, but we're trying to use him in a creative way.
Q: Seems like he's really responded to that.
A: He has. He has and the biggest compliment is that he said, "Coach, I had to go home and study last night." So that was a good compliment.
Q: The other day Tuck was saying that since those guys know each other so well and feed off of each other so much that sometimes you don't even have to call blitzes, they're just going to go get that pressure. How does that affect what you're doing?
A: It's lovely. I can go over to those guys on game day on the sideline and I can say, "Hey, should I do this or should I do that?" And they say, "We've got it." And I know that they're charged up, they're ready to go, and I can work the back end and do some things that I normally wouldn't do, so that's a very, very comforting feeling for a defensive coordinator and a football coach.
Q: The pass rush has been huge. What has that allowed you to do?
A: I can play coverage instead of coming to get you all the time. I can do a multiplicity of things from not only coverage but pressure and give different looks and disguises and movements, so it allows me to be a lot more versatile with what I can do with the players, because I don't always have to bring four. We've been getting good pressure out of a three-man rush, too.
Q: Is that the result of the learning process and learning the pieces that you have?
A: No doubt. It's a learning process for all of us because this is our first time working together. Obviously I've seen their talents from afar in the past, but to be up close and personal and see what they can do and how they can do it - yes, it's definitely a learning experience and it's a growing experience for us. It's a journey. We're going to get better and better as times goes on.
Q: As much attention as the pass rush has received, what's working with the run?
A: They've made a commitment. They just made a commitment to destroy the run. So when those guys know that they can make a team one dimensional and they can destroy the run, they can have a lot more fun in what we do.
Q: Is that the main thing? Buying in?
A: That's a large part of it and I think the players are smart enough and they know that if they can make a team one dimensional, then obviously there is room for rushing and sacking the quarterback and that type of thing, but they have really made a commitment to each other, to the defense, to be the best that we can be as far as destroying the run.
Q: Why is it that Jahvid Best is leading the NFC in yards after the catch?
A: Because he's talented! I mean, this guy reminds me of the number 44 that we have, but he's faster. He's got good hands, he can cut on the dime, he's a good bounce runner, screen game, he's really good, so he is a talented young main. Again, if you watch him on tape he looks like our 44.
Q: Are there things about Osi that you've learned from coaching him that you didn't know about as an opponent?
A: Oh, yeah. Osi is an interesting guy now. I tell you this - he probably doesn't get enough credit for this: he's an intelligent football player. He came prepared...really last week and taught us something last week. He can give input. Osi's a leader in his own way. He can look at the guys and he can say something to them and they respond very well. Osi is a very intelligent person and a very intelligent football player and I've learned a lot about Osi.
Q: Everyone viewed this year as a big year for him to show that he's back to a high level of play. Have you sensed the commitment level he has to demonstrate that?
A: It's a commitment, number one, because Osi is really injured to a certain degree from his knees and that type of thing and he's coming out and he's practicing. If that's not a commitment, then I don't' know what a commitment is, and that's what I didn't know about him. When he comes to practice, he practices. He's into it and he wants to do it right. I think that probably after his knee injury...maybe last year...I don't know what happened and all that...but I know that this year he's been phenomenal. He's come in, he's bought in, he has given input. I can't say enough good things about him.