NC: Bryan was a pretty durable player. He started, I want to say, 50-some odd games. He played a lot of football. He played against good people. It’s a good team they have down there at Florida State. Obviously they won the national championship last year. Smart guy, tough, good playing strength, had a good playing style, good demeanor. He did a lot of good things and there was a lot to like about him.
Q: When you draft a center, what’s been your experience scouting that position? Is it sort of like quarterback in that there aren’t that many that fit for you each year?
NC: I’d say, just generally speaking at that position, we’ve gone through the years and if you look at a lot of the guys that have played on the interior of the offensive line, a lot of them have the same sort of traits and sort of makeup in terms of their intelligence, their toughness, their playing style, their work ethic, their competitiveness. Guys like Joe Andruzzi, Russ Hochstein, those guys. They weren’t drafted – or Russ may have been a late round draft pick [fifth round] but anyway Joe wasn’t drafted. But those guys had a certain demeanor and a certain mentality and we try to, once we get them in the program, through the years [former offensive line coach] Dante [Scarnecchia] spent a lot of time with those players. You’re trying to look at some of those traits and some of those things and then you look at their physical skills and what they actually do on the field. Some maybe do certain things a little better than others. But I’d say just generally speaking, that position, there are certain things that have kind of carried it over through the years with the guys that we’ve brought in here that have had some success and the guys that maybe haven’t worked out.
NC: No, I think our philosophy is the same every year. We try to look at our team, try to improve our team and do what we think is in our best interest. Both guys have been successful in their systems that they’ve played in. They’re in a new system with a new team. No real change in terms of what we look for. Their measurables may be a little bit different but there’s really no change in terms of how we approach it.
Q: What’s your read on
Q: Going back to the earlier question, so the success that the Seahawks had last year, both all year and in the Super Bowl against the Broncos didn’t factor into it?
NC: No, I think we just look at our team and we try to find players that we think are going to help our football team, regardless of who they played for, regardless of where they come from. I mean, really it has no bearing on it.
NC: I think the last point that you made there, when we go into a game, really each week, the game plan changes week to week. So, you figure out who you’re playing against, what are we trying to stop, what are we trying to take away? Then the game plan is implemented based on those types of things. You try to deploy your players and deploy your assets the best you can. Certain weeks it may be one thing, other weeks it may be another thing. So, you really just – whatever their skills, whatever they do well, you try to put them at the position where they can be successful to utilize those. Then look at, ‘OK, who are we playing? OK, how does that particular skill, how does that player match up relative to some other players?’ So, it’s really week to week and it’s really based on the opponent, which those get into some more of the game plan type specific things once we get into the season.
Q: I’ve heard Bill Parcells’ planet theory that there are only so many players on the planet that can do a certain thing. I would guess Revis would fit into that category. When you have a player like that, would you do things to adjust the way you play to accommodate him? Not just Darrelle, but any player that fits that?
NC: I think the approach is, ‘What do we need to do to help us win the football game?’ That’s what we’ll try to do – whether it’s offensively, defensively or in the kicking game.
NC: It’s really a fluid process. It’s really ongoing. You take players, even if it’s veteran players or really going back to May when you start with the team and you start to go out there and practice, so you go through the spring, you see how players develop, how they evolve, what they can retain and then you go into training camp and really, you’re still trying to build that foundation. Like Bill mentioned, there’s a lot of teaching and really there’s a lot of focus on the fundamental techniques as it relates to their particular positions. Once you get into pads then you start to see some of those things, especially in the running game because all spring you can work on a passing game. There’s no contact, the offensive and defensive linemen they really can’t do much. It’s really still you’re evaluating their techniques and they’re working on their fundamentals. The evaluation process is very fluid. It’s really ongoing. Once we get to a point where we have to make a decision about a player or about the team in September in preparation for the season, that’s not the end of it because then there’s a whole set of other players that you evaluate. You get into the season. There are a lot of different factors. Really, it’s a very fluid process and it’s very continuous.
NC: If you look at really any player on the field, regardless of the position – quarterback, receiver, running back – everybody is going to have their share of good plays and then they’re going to have their plays that maybe aren’t as good. That’s part of the process. Some players have done those plays a little bit more than others. Some players, this is the first time executing a particular play, a particular skill. The most important thing is for the player, when they take – it’s kind of a multi-tiered process. You meet in the morning, you install, you go through the process, you go on the field, you execute the play, hopefully you execute it at a high level. If you don’t execute it at a good level, then you go back, you watch the film, you make the correction. Then you look to see, ‘OK, is there improvement? Did we learn from what we did previously?’ Really, that’s what you’re looking for with any player. It’s not specific to a position or to a player. That’s just the approach to the team, I would say.
Q: Where is he in that process?
NC: I think everybody is at the same stage right now. We’ve been out there one day in pads. You want to talk just about the quarterback position. That position gets magnified because they touch the ball on every play. The ball is in their hand, they’re making a decision, they’re making a read. There are a lot of other people that are involved in the play. You have the tight ends, you have the receivers, you have the running back. So, part of it is are they doing their job as well? It all has to fit together. There are a lot of moving parts in every play. It’s a step by step process. Like I said going back to my earlier point, you’re really just trying to build. You establish a foundation, build on that, go out there execute it. Hopefully if you make a mistake, [you] eliminate the mistake or figure out why you made the mistake and then move forward to the next play.
NC: No, at certain positions they are going to have a little bit more volume and there are a few more things as it relates to the position. Really the most important thing, you want to talk about any player that comes into a new program or new system is kind of learning the way we do things, learning the operation, learn your skill, refine your skill, go out there perform the task, your skill, execute and then move on. Really the most important thing is to try to see the players that are consistent on a day to day basis that make the improvements. Look, there are going to be some good plays, there are going to be some bad plays. That’s football. That’s just the nature of what we’re doing. The idea is to hopefully minimize those and eliminate them the best you can and then continue to move forward.
Q: What are your thoughts on the team’s depth right now at tight end?
Q: We’ve seen
NC: The unique thing about James is he’s a very versatile player. We saw that going back to last season. He was able to line up in the backfield, at tight end, detach from the formation. James is very smart, works very, very hard. He had a great offseason – there are a lot of guys, but just specific to James, had a great offseason. Really as a player, from day one that he entered the program to where he is now, he’s really improved. A lot of that, he’s put in a lot of time. It’s a credit to him but he’s smart, he’s versatile so he gives you a little bit of flexibility because he can do a number of different things. He can block the force in the running game, he can put his hand on the line of scrimmage and block the force on the line of scrimmage. Like in the Baltimore game, we lined him up out there out kind of detached from the formation, we ran a route with he and [Shane] Vereen and because he was able to execute his assignment, we had a play there. James has done a lot of good things since he’s been here. He’s earned all of his opportunities with his performance and his work ethic.