Coach Philbin: I Thought We Got A Lot Accomplished On Monday Night

Posted Jul 31, 2013

Head Coach Joe Philbin meets with the media to recap the team's scrimmage on Monday night as well as look ahead to the preseason opener on Sunday in Canton.

(Opening Statement) – “I thought we got a lot accomplished with the scrimmage Monday night at the stadium. We had a great crowd, an excellent atmosphere for the scrimmage that we had. The things we were looking for, some of the positives we had was our defense was able to get some takeaways in the scrimmage. I was happy (with that). I thought for the most part, as I said before, We’ve kind of stepped back as a coaching staff and let these guys go out there and play and compete and provide them opportunities. I thought there was some excellent competition out there. I thought a great example was the last play of the scrimmage (was) a young player, Will Davis, really hustling his tail off and making an exceptional play in the end zone for an interception. Obviously there is a lot of things we need to improve. (We) have a long way to go, but I thought for our first kind of game-like, so to speak, atmosphere we accomplished a lot.”

(On the two wide receivers signed to the team yesterday) – “In regard to the two receivers, as you well know, we continually looking to evaluate our roster, improve our roster and we are excited to add those two guys and get them up and running. Obviously we have a history with Julius Pruitt. We are glad to have him back.”

(On any particular skill he liked about the two newest signings) –“They caught the ball well. If you are a receiver, you like to have receivers catch the ball well. We look forward to working with them.”

(On added special team value with Julius Pruitt) –“He’s a good football player. He is going to have an opportunity to compete, and we’ll see how he does.”

(On when he would the best time situation to have the five offensive line starters set) – “This year I think is probably the fourth game as opposed to the third game. I always feel like what we do prior to that second-to-last preseason game is treat it like a game week, how we operate in the building, how we meet how we practice. It will be very similar to what we do against Cleveland. With that in mind, if it is possible and you can have your lineup set by then, that’s great because that then kind of gets everybody in the mindset of, “This is how we get ready to prepare and perform in a game.”

(On if he is happy with what he’s seen from offensive lineman playing different positions within the group) – “Richie has flip-flopped around a little bit and done some good things. Josh Samuda has had a good camp, really working hard, one of the hardest working guys on our ball club. I like what he’s doing. Sam Brenner, a young guy, we’ve kind of thrown him in there. He’s shown good poise for a young football player. Dallas Thomas, obviously, we’ve given him reps at guard and tackle. It’s been good to create that flexibility and give us the idea that we’ve got some young players. We need to find out exactly where the best home for them is.”

(On Jonathan Martin’s progress) – “I thought he played well the other night. I think he’s doing well. His technique is improving. We like his development.”

(On what breakdowns he saw after watching the film of the scrimmage) – “A couple of times, at various times, there was different breakdowns. One time they hit us on a twist early, so there was some passing off between two players one time. I thought we had another time we had penetration inside, which forced the quarterback to step back and allow the wide rushers to get there a little bit quicker. Per usual a variety of things, but I think a lot of it was technique oriented we feel can be corrected.”

(On if it is more encouraging the offensive line’s breakdowns were not just getting beat badly by the defense) – “Right, exactly. And one of the things we felt good about as a staff is we didn’t have a lot of blown assignments the other night. Not to say we were perfect, but we didn’t have a lot of those.”

(On reason Mike Wallace didn’t play in the scrimmage on Monday) – “I’d be glad to talk about anybody who participated in the scrimmage.”

(On if it was an injury to Wallace or if he won’t say anything at all) –“I said I’d be glad to talk about anybody who participated in the scrimmage.”

(On if he has decided how long he will play his starters in Sunday’s scrimmage) – “We have an idea. As I said, we have things down in pencil. We don’t do any formal or final play time until we get through the practice week. We have an important practice tonight, another one Thursday, another one Friday, more of a walk thru type practice on Saturday. We have to see A. Who’s available, and B. Then divvy up the rest. Nothing is formal yet.”

(On if there are specific things he looks for during the time his first and second string units are on the field during preseason games) –“We are looking for clean execution. We want to play fast. One of the things we talked about to the team that they aren’t there quite yet is our play speed. We attempt to simulate the best we can with the tempo that we practice with. We want to be a team that plays fast and decisive. More than anything, it’s not necessarily a scheme, ‘Hey, we want to get our outside zone game going or vertical passing game.’ I want to see our guys play clean, get up to the line of scrimmage, play fast and decisive, and let the plays take care of themselves.”

(On the skillset needed to play right guard) – “You have to be touch, smart, you still have to be athletic, especially in our system. You have to be able to work both inside and out, and you have to be decisive inside. Things happen a little bit quicker. Guys are on top of you a little bit faster. Play speed is probably more important inside than outside.”

(On, for example, why Dallas Thomas is better left guard than right guard) – “Again, we have a young player who really didn’t have all the whole OTA process. Now he’s in training camp. We’ve had eight practices. He’s played some tackle, some guard. I’m not sure he’s comfortable anywhere yet, nor do I think we have enough information to say, ‘He’s better here than he’s better there.’ Again, we are providing him the opportunity. We are learning more about him as he’s learning the system, and we are providing him opportunities to compete and find out where he fits the best.”

(On Paul Soliai and what he means to the run defense) – “He’s a good football player. He’s very solid, very sound, good technician. His effort has been very good. For a big man, he stays on his feet extremely well. He’s highly regarded in the locker room. He’s a good guy to have on the ball club.”

(On his assessment of Randy Starks camp so far and if he is behind any because of the OTA factor) – “Of course he is. I’m going to say that so we can always get our players here at OTAs. Way behind (laughs). He looks good. He’s a professional. He’s been at this for a while. He knows the requirements of his job. He knows the scheme well. He’s a serious student. I think he’s having a good camp.”

(On how beneficial he thinks the extra week of training camp and extra game will be for the team) – “I think it’s going to be very good for us. It gives us the opportunity, I think there’s no question we are further ahead from an installation stand point than we’ve been. It’s going to provide us an opportunity, especially post-Jacksonville, pre-Houston, to kind of go back and really hone in on the fundamentals. We have some different things scheduled for that week. I’m excited about the calendar, and obviously players have to put forth the work here on the practice field for it to fully maximize the benefit. But I’m really excited about it.”

(On if he feels there is enough time to get the receiving unit in sync) – “Absolutely, yes.”

(On Dion Jordan and anything he noticed about Jordan during the scrimmage) – “A lot of things we saw on film. He has very good quickness off the ball. He’s obviously playing a new position. It’s a little bit of a brave, new world for him. He wasn’t in the same scheme that he’s in today, so there’s going to be a transition period, no question about it. He’s eager, he’s competitive. He likes to play, a lot of the things we saw on tape.”

(On his thoughts of Thigpen at wide receiver and if he envisions him competing there at all) – “I wouldn’t rule it out. In fact, I really like what he’s doing this camp. I like everything he’s doing because when you throw the film on, whether he is playing running back, receiver, or return game, he’s doing everything fast. He’s doing it with a lot of effort. He’s doing the very best he can. That’s all you can ask from for a player, so I’m delighted for him.”

(On what he sees of Thigpen working at wide receiver last camp that he can play the position) – “He’s a skilled athlete. He’s a football player. He has good hands, he understands the game well. He can find a way to get open. So yeah, we are excited about him.”

(On how much tackling he feels players need to do at training camp) – “We had a few snaps live before we went to the scrimmage, and we tackled during the scrimmage. There’s a chance we will do some more here in training camp, but we work on it every single day. We don’t necessarily work on bringing players to the ground every single day, but that’s something we are cognizant of. If we have enough time, if we don’t feel as if the tackling is where it needs to be on the game film, we will certainly do it more in practice.”

(On what positions need tackling work the most at practice) – “Probably your second or third level guys, your space tackles are probably the ones you would like to work on the most, the open field, the angle tackles, things of that nature.”
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