BB: We had a few transactions here over the weekend. We released Thad Turner and Brandon McGowan and
Q: You mentioned Gerard Warren?
BB: Gerard [Warren], Andre [Carter] and Shaun [Ellis].
Q: What was the thought on bringing Gerard Warren back? I know last year he gave a lot to the team.
BB: It's something we planned on for awhile. We delayed it here for a few days because we wanted to really - we felt it was the right timing. He came in today, after the weekend. He did a lot of good things for us last year. [He's] a veteran player that I thought handled himself very well on the team. So we'll add him to the group.
Q: It's a big group. Is this as many defensive linemen as you've ever had?
BB: Probably, it's a big group.
Q: What will that be like for you guys as far as evaluation?
BB: We'll just evaluate them and try to make the best decisions that we can for the team.
Q: Were you not happy with what you had currently or was it more that the talent out there was too good to pass up?
BB: Like I said with Gerard, this really has been something we had agreed to do earlier, today just happened to be the day for it. I think Shaun [Ellis] and Andre [Carter] are both good players. We're trying to always add as many good players are we can to the team. The best ones will play and the ones that don't play as well will play a little bit less. That's just competition. We're always looking for competition at every position and I think we have good competition on this team.
Q: You obviously have a lot of familiarity with Shaun Ellis.
BB: Too much, a little bit too much with him.
Q: Is that one of the reasons you brought him on?
BB: Any player we bring onto the team, we feel like can help our team. Certainly Shaun has played a lot of good football against us. He's been a very productive player - he's durable and very consistent. It seems like every time we play him, he lines up there and we have a hard time with him. The fact that we had an opportunity to add him to our team, we feel fortunate. I think he brings a good presence in terms of his leadership and his professionalism, as well as experience and his style of play and his performance.
Q: What drew you to Andre Carter?
BB: I'd say a lot of the same characteristics. Andre [Carter] is a player who I spent a lot of time with prior to him coming out in the draft and then of course he was five years in San Francisco and five years in Washington. But again, I think he's another high quality individual who's very professional, who works hard, very well conditioned athlete. He's had a lot of production throughout his career. Last year, when Washington went to the 3-4 defense, it wasn't a good fit for him evidently in that system. But we feel like with what we'll be asking him to do this year - relative to what he was asked to do last year, what we've seen him do in the first nine years of his career - that we can use his ability on the edge and he can be effective.
Q: Did you coach his father in Denver?
Q: Are there any events that could make you change your defensive philosophy?
BB: I don't think our defensive philosophy is going to change. I think how we align and how we handle the responsibilities, I think that could definitely change by game plan or by what we feel are our strengths and weaknesses and how to best deploy the players. I don't think fundamentally our philosophy and our techniques are going to change. I think what we're teaching we're going to continue to teach and use on a very consistent basis. How, strategically, we want to move guys around and put them in certain alignments or how to configure them relative to certain to formations and tie it in with coverages and things like that - I think there's flexibility there.
Q: Is that flexibility based on individual talents?
BB: No, I would say that would be our normal menu, or our normal game playbook. Look, we have a lot of things in our playbook that we don't do. Some things we've done in previous years and for whatever reason now we're not doing them as much. Or there are other things we've done in previous years and this year we're lessening that to add something else. I think when you add one thing you want to subtract something else, otherwise you just overload the players and you just can't practice it and get it all run properly. I would say we have an assortment of things to choose from that we've used through my time here. Depending on how our team shakes up, what our players can do, some of these players I've never coached before so I'm not sure exactly how they'll fit in or what exact roles they'll be able to play in this defense. I just have to wait and see how that turns out. I think we'll have enough defense and be able to do things to put players in a position where they can be productive.
Q: You mentioned using Andre Carter off the edge. Do you envision using Mark Anderson the same way, as a situational pass rusher?
BB: I don't know what situations he'll play in. Like I said, the better the players play, the more they play, the more situations they play in. If they don't play well in certain situations and they play well in others, we'll use them in the ones they're productive in. But, I see Mark as an edge player - as a player on the perimeter of the defense, absolutely. But how much or when that is, I don't know.
Q: Can you explain the difficulties of incorporating all the new players in a short period of time?
BB: We take each practice and try to thoroughly think through how we can thoroughly maximize that practice opportunity and to take into consideration the needs of the entire team - offense, defense, special teams, our skill players, our linemen and so forth and so on. We have to try to balance techniques with schemes and team plays with individual specific drills for an individual player or position, we try to improve that. We look at that every night or afternoon whenever we make out the practice schedule. [We] talk about the different needs and try to prioritize which ones we have to make sure we get done, then the other ones. We can't do them all, so we have to prioritize which ones we want to work on and it's usually relative to what we're putting in that day so we use techniques that coincide with a particular play that's being installed that day so we can take the technique and use it on the play. That's what we've always done - we'll continue to do that whether we practice once or twice, or whether it's a Friday practice or a Tuesday practice. It doesn't really matter -- whatever the opportunity is, then we try to figure out how to get the most out of it and that's not always the most for each individual player, it's the most collectively for the team. You might want to do one thing with a group of players and another thing with another group of players, but somehow you have to find that balance or compromise. We only have so much time, so that's how we do it.
Q: The bus is moving quickly, so some of these new guys may need to exhibit something pretty quickly?
BB: Again, I think that's the way it always is in training camp. You always want to have a little more time to evaluate guys, not just the first time they do it, but sometimes the second and third and fourth time because that's where you see improvement or you see players gain their confidence or become more comfortable with what they're doing. The more of those opportunities you have, the better I think your chances are to make a good evaluation. But sometimes you have players who can't practice for whatever reason, whether it's injuries or schedule or it could be a combination of factors and then you have to take the information you have and make the best decision you can based on what you have available. Whatever it is, ideal or not ideal, that's what you deal with.
Q: Do these preseason games take on added significance because of the added physical reps?
BB: Sure. I mean, preseason games are definitely a good evaluating tool, both for individual players and also for units and collectively for your team. You can evaluate a lot of things because it's as close as we can get to games - it is games. It's not quite the same, but they are what they are. That's the evaluation - you evaluate the conditioning, you evaluate your team's ability to do different things: run, throw, kick, cover and so forth. What you see out here at practice is one [thing], it's an important evaluation, but our matchups on Thursday will be a lot different than the ones we have out here. We'll see very skilled and talented players from Jacksonville. We'll match up a little bit differently against them than we do against some of our own players. It's always interesting to see how that turns out. And the next week we'll see them against another group of players and there will be different matchups in that game. Hopefully by the time we have to make our decisions we will feel like we will have enough information and we've had enough opportunity to evaluate them on a repetitive basis, but also against different types of players, different types of schemes - not just see how they do against our offense or defense and our plays, but how they perform against something that's a little bit different than that. It's definitely an important step in the evaluation.
Q: Even though he didn't play much last year, do you see differences in
BB: Oh sure, absolutely.
Q: What are some of those?
BB: Everything. He knows the offense better. Of course he got a late start relative to everybody else [last year]. This year, everybody's the same; it's a late start but it's late for everybody. His was kind of late by himself. He certainly knows more. He's had an opportunity, again conditioning wise, to kind of keep up with the pack rather than be behind on that. His conditioning, his experience in the system last year. Of course the offense that we run is quite a bit different than what he ran in college, so there's a lot of learning and technique work there. I think he's definitely way ahead of where he was last year.
Q: Will Carter and Ellis practice today?
BB: If they're ready.