Coach Coyle: We Are Emphasizing Takeaways As Hard As I Have Ever Done

Posted Jul 29, 2013

Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle meets with the media to discuss his efforts with the defense as he looks for the unit to force more turnovers in 2013. Make sure to listen as Coyle details some of the practice techniques that he has implemented.

(On if he’s done anything to reemphasis takeaways) – “Well, we did emphasize it a year ago, we’ve tried to continue to make that a point of emphasis, and even make it a stronger point, here as we started back in the spring. Every practice we’ve had thus far, we’ve worked takeaway drills, in the meetings we’re showing the film, we’re keeping charts on everything that the players are doing in terms of getting their hands on the football, disrupting plays, getting turnovers. I think there’s a conscious effort on everybody’s part, hopefully, sometimes when you start to get takeaways early in the season, it snowballs and just continues to grow as the season goes on and that’s what we expect to happen this year. We are emphasizing it as hard as I have ever done, in all the years I’ve been coaching”

(On Olivier Vernon’s improvement, what does he see different) – “Well he’s improved tremendously, and I think that young players, there second year that they’ve been in a system, and had the opportunity to go through another set of OTAs and all those off season work that we have right now, he certainly has progressed tremendously at this point. Playing very consistently. He played well at times last year, but it was his first year and a lot of things he was seeing for the first time. Now that he has that year of experience under his belt, we believe he’s going to make a much stronger contribution to the defense.”

(On if there are any things they’d like to do more of this year, due to increase in personnel) –“I don’t think we were necessarily handcuffed by our personnel a year ago, in terms of the approach that we were going to take. I do think that we’ll be more consistent with everything that we want to do, the biggest emphasis for us has been to eliminate the deep balls, to eliminate the plus 20 yard passes, that certainly has been a point of emphasis as well as the turnovers. We’re not a team that goes into the season saying, we can’t play man coverage because we don’t have the corners to do it, or that type of thing. I think we have the personnel that fits our scheme very well, and we actually improved in that area by going out in the offseason and acquiring some of the players that we did.”

(On if he sees Dion Jordan as primarily a Defensive End) – “In the early stages here as we’re beginning, that’s where we have him working, at the defensive end spot. He’s got a lot of position versatility, I see him much like Olivier Vernon, in the sense that there will be times where we can use him in a lot of different spots. He’s very athletic, he can cover, he can certainly rush the passer, which is his strength. We’ve just got to get him stronger, as he progresses, as that shoulder comes back around off the injury, and each and every day we’re working to do that, but he’s got a lot of position flexibility.”

(On Cam Wake coming off Pro Bowl, what does he see from him this year) – “Cam is a special talent, and a special player, what I love most about Cam is that when you come out here on the practice field you get the same thing every day. Coach Philbin always talks about, being consistent with what you and how you approach the game, and I think he’s a great example of that. He works as hard as any player on the field, he stays our after, running, conditioning, doing things hopefully that will enable him to make more plays late in games, that type of thing. He’s a pleasure to coach, a very talented guy, but he’s always working to get better, everything that he does he’s working to get better, never takes a play off, you just love coaching guys like that.”

(On what Wheeler and Ellerbe bring to the defense) – “You know, we’ll determine if we were right in terms of making the switch here as we go down the road. Certainly what we’ve seen in practice are two guys who are very explosive, play physical, play a very aggressive style of game, they’re very good blitzer’s both of them. We felt going into the offseason we had to improve in that area, to get our linebackers more productive in the blitzes, because we do use them quite a bit and utilize the backers in pressures. So far we’ve been pleased with that, there’s a level of consistency in both of their play that we’re not at yet, but we come out after one day as coaches and we want it to be perfect. You realize now that we’ve only been through 1 week of practice, having our first opportunity to actually scrimmage tonight. From what we’ve seen throughout the practices thus far, we’ve got 2 guys that I think are going to be difference makers for us, and we’re excited about that.”

(On if in terms of turnovers, he is teaching differently or if it’s just different personnel) – “We constantly look for better ways of teaching, from little things like we’ve got footballs hanging from the walls in every defensive meeting room that they have to go in, when they walk in and out of the meeting rooms, they’re stripping and punching, just reminders. We’ve shown them tape from around the league of teams that cause the most fumbles, how they were caused, what situations we may have had an opportunity to strip the ball and we didn’t. We’ve talked about sacks, sack fumbles, we got a lot of sacks, but we didn’t get a lot of sack fumbles. We like to believe there were opportunities at times last year to get a fumble as well as a sack, so we’ve showed them players throughout the league who have done that consistently and it’s an awareness factor. So we’ve looked at the teams that create the most fumbles last year, it was New England, Chicago, and Cincinnati, we’ve studied every one of those fumbles, we’ve showed them those things on tape, and hopefully it will start to translate onto our play.”

(On how much different he is as a coordinator this year) – “Absolutely, I think there’s a comfort level of knowing your players and them knowing you, how you approach things in the meetings. We like to have a good time too, we have fun, we have laughs in the meetings, but the players also realize when it’s time to buckle down and get ready to go and prepare, we are as serious as anybody out there. I think knowing what the players do well, seeing how they were able to learn the system, one thing that we’ve done in this preseason thus far is we’ve installed the most aggressive package we’ve ever done, any place I’ve ever been in the first 5 or 6 installs. We threw everything at them, and they’ve handled it, not that we’ve been perfect in every snap in terms of mental errors, but we’re way ahead of where we were last year. Even in the walkthrough we just came out of just now, we did some things adjustment wise that we might have done in the 3rd or 4th week of training camp last year. We’re at that point because the guys understand the system, so from that standpoint I think it’s great.”

(On his mention of Chicago, and how some guys just have a knack for turnovers ie. Charles Tillman) – “The guy that your mentioning, Tillman, we looked at about 7 plays in a row of him making tackles as he got the ball out. Sometimes guys get a reputation for getting the ball out but that’s all they’re trying to do they aren’t making the tackle so we don’t want that. We want to secure the tackle, but there’s ways as your making the tackle if you’re in great position if you have an awareness of where the ball is you can get it out, and he’s the best in the league in terms of that, he’s done a great job. Osi Umenyiora, two years ago in 2010 had 10 sack fumbles, 10 in one season, 1 player, where he knocked the ball off the quarterback as he was making a sack. So we believe we’ve got some guys who can rush the passer and our number of sack fumbles certainly should increase.”