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Josh McDaniels Conference Call Transcript - 9/4/2012
Q: Having a background with Greg Salas last year in St. Louis, what do you see from him and what are his strengths as a receiver?
JM: Well Greg's a young player first of all and he's got plenty of room I think to grow and improve as a player. Last year, he had an opportunity to get in there and play a decent chunk of time in some games against some really good teams and kind of got his feet wet as a rookie. [He] made some good plays and had an opportunity to kind of learn under fire there because we ended up in a situation where we lost a guy or two and Greg had a chance to get in there and get his feet wet. He catches the ball well, works hard and is a smart kid. We're going to put him in there and kind of see how he can fit in with our group.
Q: Where is his best spot to line up?
JM: Greg played a lot inside in college, but that doesn't mean that he can't play multiple positions. For the most part we ask all of our skill players to learn multiple roles and I don't think that will be any different for Greg.
Q: Carrying just two quarterbacks into the regular season can you talk about how far Ryan Mallett has come since you've been in New England and where he is as the regular season begins?
JM: Well Ryan started the spring, which would have been his first spring since they didn't have the opportunity to do that last year, with a certain understanding of the offense and I think when he finished the spring, going through all of those reps and getting that many opportunities to go out and make mistakes and learn from some of the things he was doing right and wrong, I think he left the spring with a much better feeling of how to operate the offense. Then he came into training camp and he's continued to work hard and tried to get better at a lot of different things. Certainly he's another young player that has an opportunity for hopefully significant growth as a player over the course of time. He works hard, he cares about football and he's going to do everything that he can do every week to prepare himself to be ready to play if we need him.
Q: Where does the Titans defense present issues and what are some things that stand out that will come into play during Sunday's game?
JM: They're an aggressive team. I've had a chance to coach against Jerry Gray's defenses before and he always does a great job of having his group prepared. They have a front that's pretty disruptive. They've certainly added [Kamerion] Wimbley and the group that they have coming back from last year was a group that made quite a few negative plays upfront. There are definitely some things that you've got to be concerned with upfront. They do have some very interesting pressure packages that he's always planned for certain teams that we're going to have to be ready for. They've got good players. I mean this is a group that has really good players at all levels of their defense and can apply pressure with their front four. Their linebackers get involved with the blitz game, I think Colin McCarthy has really kind of stood out to me and some of the things you see this guy do on film, he's a really disruptive pass defender for a Mike linebacker. Then their secondary is young, but very talented. Michael Griffin certainly made a lot plays over the course of his career; [Jason] McCourty. They've got some really good players at all three levels of their defense. I know he's going to have them prepared and we also know that we're going to see some different things on opening day that you couldn't necessarily prepare for, as happens most years. [It's] a great challenge for us and a tough place to play and certainly a lot of excitement for opening day.
Q: With the cuts that were made last week some people say that the Patriots are thin at wide receiver. Obviously you guys run your passing game in a unique way, but can you comment on that and do you see it that way?
JM: We have plenty of players that can make a contribution on offense. We throw the ball to – hopefully every skill player that plays in the game has an opportunity to make some plays for us: whether that be in the backfield or tight end or at the receivers position. So no, we've played with a lot of different variations, a lot of different numbers at certain positions over the course of time and the guys we've got now, we feel good about and are excited to use them on Sunday.
Q: Now that you've been back for a good stretch of time have you noticed anything different from Tom Brady at this stage of his career versus when you left to go to Denver?
JM: I think Tom has gotten better every year. I wouldn't say it's dramatically different for Tom in terms of the way he prepares. He studies and prepares so well for each team and puts in so much hard work and does a great job of demonstrating how to get ready for each game. I see the same things from him. It's a great example for our younger players to see how he goes about trying to prepare for this opening game. I see a guy that's determined, that's working extremely hard, that wants to play his best football and he's trying to do everything that he can to make sure that happens this year.