Coach Philbin: Wheeler And Ellerbe Present Some Good Options For Us

Posted Sep 17, 2013

Coach Joe Philbin meets with the South Florida media to answer questions about Charles Clay, the playmaking ability of the 2013 roster through two games and a variety of other topics.

(Opening statement) – “I thought we had a good start to the week of preparation for Atlanta. Obviously they are a very, very good football team. They are very well coached. I thought our guys had a good introductory practice today. We’ll go look at the tape, make corrections and go move forward tomorrow.”

(On doing film breakdown on the next opponent the Thursday two weekends before the game) – “We do some. That’s not much different than last year. We always have some staff members working ahead on the next opponent. You have to do it. There is really no other way to do it. That’s kind of been standard procedure as long as I’ve been in the NFL.”

(On some of the players saying the best part about playing at home is not having to get suited up to fly on the plane) - “(Laughs) that’s good information to know. Nah, I think it’s important, on a serious note, that we represent the organization the right way. That’s a little bit, that’s a part of it and I think it’s important.”

(On how the secondary held up last weekend without Dimitri Patterson, and the challenge it has this weekend with Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones and company) – “We still had too many explosive passes. It kind of some real good pictures of tight coverage and competitive throws that we knocked down. Obviously we made the one interception, but there’s still too many explosive passes that we are giving up. We’ve got a lot of work to do in that area. Julio Jones obviously is an outstanding football player. He’s dangerous every time he touches the ball. He can finish a play.”

(On if he differentiates from playmakers) - “Yeah, you are looking for guys who can make a play at a critical time in the game. We talk to those guys all the time, typically in a normal NFL game there might be a half dozen plays that could have a dramatic impact on the outcome of a game. You are looking for your guys, whoever that may be, to step up at that particular time. It could be a field goal. It could be a deflected pass. It could be a 50-yard run. It could be a lot of different things.”

(On if the team has more playmakers this season) – “We’ve made plays in the second half at critical times so far, but this is a very young season.”

(On what he has seen of Derrick Shelby so far) - “He’s very technically sound, a very good fundamental football player. He keeps his shoulders square. He has his hands where they are supposed to be. He’s smart and instinctive. He’s done a really nice job. I really like what he’s done.”

(On if the coaching staff picks the brains of Brent Grimes and Tyson Clabo because they played on the Falcons last season) - “Obviously we know where they came from, and they have some information. But again we are basing most of our decisions based on the tape.”

(On if Charles Clay is the team’s emergency quarterback) - “We’ll see. If were in an emergency we’ll find out.”

(On how he’s seen the tight end position evolve since he’s been in the NFL) - “The guy has to almost to everything. Aside from probably the quarterback, he has more things on his plate from a knowledge standpoint in regard to the gameplan. He’s involved in the run-blocking unit, so he’s got the run blocking adjustments. He’s involved in pass protection, so he has those adjustments as well. Obviously (there is) the route adjustments that may take place before the snap, after the snap. I would say from the volume of information and the adjustments that need to be made on offense, aside from the quarterback. I think you have to have a smart guy and have a guy to do a couple of different things.”

(On if tight end position has changed in terms of the type of athlete) - “There’s different strokes for different folks I guess. There’s different type of guys, the 6-(foot)-6 more linear guys that aren’t much in the running game and can stretch the field down the middle. There are some of those guys. I think they come in all shapes and sizes. Yeah, it’s a demanding position.”

(On Olivier Vernon and what he’s seen so far) - “I think he’s doing a good job. I don’t see the same things. He’s playing hard. He’s playing sound. I think he’s improving. I see some good things. Obviously we anticipate there will be more production as the season goes on. We think he’s giving us a good effort and has played well.”

(On the biggest dimensions Philip Wheeler and Dannell Ellerbe bring to the defense that might not have been seen in the past) - “I like their play speed, that’s the one thing, aside from everything else, I think that’s the one thing that’s stood on since day one is the way how fast they play the game. Then I think the second thing would be their blitz potential and capabilities.”

(On if Philip Wheeler and Dannell Ellerbe give him and Kevin Coyle a few more options in calling plays) - “Yeah, it’s no secret we are going to line those two up in the A-gap at various times. Sometimes they are going to blitz, and sometimes they are going to push out and cover guys. That’s not a mystery. We are going to continue to do that. If you line up and play us, we are going to do that. They present some good options for us.”

(On the job the team has done defensively to opposing tight ends) - “Let’s see, the Cleveland game Cameron (Jordan) had a big game. He was very, very productive. Last week they obviously hit (Coby) Fleener down the seam on a big play, but I think we have the capability of doing a good job against the tight ends. Obviously we are playing a very good one this week. He’s outstanding. He just knows he has so much route skills. He’s just a tough guy to defend, no doubt about it. He knows how to get open. He’s got extremely good hands. It will be a challenge, but I think we are capable.”

(On Caleb Sturgis and if his skill on kickoffs and long field goals comes from technique or muscle) – “He has kind of a consistent way about him, even the way he goes about his business. I think I’ve mentioned this before, I like his professionalism. I don’t want to profess to being a kicking guru here, so I don’t want to get into all the fundamentals of that, but he hits a good ball. I use the analogy of going to watch Roger Clemons throw a fastball. You watch him kick a ball and it looks pretty good. He gets it up, he hits it far and it’s accurate. I don’t know what else to say.”

(On if his instincts would be to keep splitting steps between the running backs if one emerges over the other one in terms of performance) – “We are not opposed to if one guy is clearly breaking tackles left and right and taking the ball a long way and the other guy isn’t being very productive, I think our common sense would tell us to go in a different direction. We’ll see how that unfolds. We are not opposed to that.”

(On if one of the running backs starting a series last Sunday was purely a function of rotation instead of performance) – “Absolutely”

(On if he’s surprised one of the running backs hasn’t taken a clear advantage over the other one) – “Not necessarily.”

(On what his thoughts about the production out of the punt return game) – “It’s been OK. I don’t know how many great opportunities we’ve had either. It’s been OK, nothing special.”

(On how concerned he is about the depth at defensive tackle or if it’s an area he is comfortable with) – “We’ll see how the week unfolds. I’m confident we’ll have a good defensive line group on the field on Sunday.”

(On how important Charles Clay is involving him in the offense) – “I think I’ve said it before, the more weapons you can have on offense and the more guys who can make plays at critical times, you hope that helps your production. So far in these two ballgames is he’s done a good job, and our expectations is he’s going to continue to improve.”

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