**B:** The guys that didn't practice today were Arther Love and Jabari Holloway. Holloway has a little hamstring thing so he probably won't do much the rest of this week. Also I neglected to mention yesterday on Hakim Akbar that he is not in the camp because he is still under the NFL rule in terms of school commitments. The University of Washington is just finishing up school this week so even though he is not in school the rule still applies to him. It is a similar situation to what we went through when Lawyer was here in 1996 in terms of being late or not being able to participate in mini camps.
I think that so far that the camp is moving along at a pretty good pace. We've given the players a lot of a lot of information. I think we're moving pretty quickly, certainly quicker than we did last year. We've had some background already with the passing camps and of course the year of history in the system so that makes a little bit easier, but I think we're going along at a pretty good clip. We want to try to get a lot of our basic things in and even some of our substituted offenses, the multiple receiver groups and our multiple defensive back groups and those types of things. We're working on that each day and also in the red area so hopefully we will be a little further along in those areas, certainly than we were last year. I tried to address some of the shortcomings that we had in those areas last year. So that's where we are at.
Q: Can you tell me a little bit about why you zeroed in on Mike Compton as opposed to others?
B: I think that a couple of things that Mike really has going for him, one is his versatility. He has played every position on the offensive line. He can also long snap. He has excellent versatility. Most of his career has been at center, but he has also played guard and tackle. I think given the overall youth of our offensive line I'm not sure exactly how it is all going to fit together at this point, although I like the competition that we have and I think that we're going to be okay, but we just need to go through the process. I think Mike's position flexibility and experience will be a good steadying influence for us on the line. He is a very bright player and the fact that he can also long snap gives us potentially another spot on the roster or certainly a good solid backup snapper to Lonie (Paxton) that we didn't have last year. We went into a lot of last year's games like this with Lonie where we really didn't have a backup snapper.
Q: What you said he was a key off-season acquisition?
B: I'm glad that we have him. I think he's going to be a good addition to the team, yes. Also just swinging to Joe (Panos) on the other side, he is another guy who has a lot of experience, not as much position flexibility as Mike does, but a lot of experience playing guard and I think that between Mike and Joe that that's a good level of experience and those guys have the style of play that we were looking for. They can hold the line of scrimmage and play well on the line and give us a mix of experience to go with some of the younger kids that we're going to be working in there.
Q: If you end up with two young tackles and two veterans at guard is that a good mix?
B: Yes, I think it is the best that we can do there, right. Between Joe Panos and Joe Andruzzi, between those two guys and Mike and Damien, that is four pretty experienced players inside. We will let the competition unfold there, but like I said I would be surprised if Mike wasn't in the mix put it that way.
Q: Can you talk about the tackle position is that tough place to put a rookie or a really young player?
B: At any position you would rather have an experienced player other than a rookie, but every team has to put their rookies in somewhere. Three of the young tackles on our team have all played on the left side Kenyatta (Jones), Matt Light and Adrian (Klemm) so will see how that turns out. But at least we have three players that we feel that the physical tools and have enough experience at the position where they can be considered competitors for it. Will see how it turns out. Greg (Robinson-Randall) has only played on the right side and I think that he will only play on the right side for us. Adrian played a game of the right side and Matt and Kenyatta are both working over there in the preseason camp. So when we get to training camp we will try to solidify it as quickly as we can. No question that will be key for us the quicker we can get the tackle situation solidified then the quicker the line will come together.
Q: Do you see any difference in Adrian Klemm this year as opposed to last year?
B: Night and day, he doesn't even look like the same player. He is significantly ahead of where he was last year. He's had a good off-season training. He's matured physically and has had a lot of time, I mean Adrian is a smart kid, but he's had a lot of time not only learning the system, but being on the field doing it in some games at the end of last year and this year in the different camps and working with Dante (Scarnecchia) and Jeff (Davidson). So, yes, he is way ahead of where was last year. It looks like he knows what he's doing now as compared to last year when he was just out there for a few days in the rookie camp and then the mini camp and then he wasn't out their again till October.
Q: With what you have and what you see at this point do you envision that your pass rush will be more effective than the last few years?
B: I don't know. I can't sit here and tell you that is going to be. We're certainly working to make it better and I think that there are some people to work with, but we are going to have to produce it on the field so until we do that I don't have anything to show for it.
Q: Who are the individuals and what the elements that give you the faucets of a better pass rush?
B: I think that the two or three new faces that could have some impact on it are (Anthony) Pleasant, (Mike) Vrabel and (Richard) Seymour. There's no question that the best pass rusher on our team is (Willie) McGinest. His health and his ability to play at the level that he is capable of playing at is a big key for us in terms of generating pass rush. I think that Mike and Anthony and Richard, in time, I'm not sure when that time is, but I think he certainly has the tools to be a factor there. We're looking for some contributions from those guys.
Q: Did you give Matt Light a weight target? He's like what 315 (pounds) now?
B: No he's not that big, but yes we give everybody a weight target. Every player on our team, including the players we've recently signed, we have identified their playing weights, what they're going to be, what they need to report that and all that, so we've been through that with everybody. We have tested their body fat, we've weighed them multiple times from April, some of them at the combine, the rookies…
Q: Do you want Matt Light to get bigger or does that just depend on what position he plays?
B: We're not looking for any of our players to get a bigger just for the sake of getting bigger, or getting fatter if you want to look at it that way. If they can increase their strength and lower their body fat than we are all for that, but just to increase weight and increase body fat is not what we are looking for at all. We had plenty of that last year and we are actually trying for less of it this year.
Q: How is that this year, last year of lot guys came into the first day of training camp overweight?
B: Well we will see what happens this year in training camp. Some of those guys were on the waiver wire pretty soon after that and we will see what happens this year. I hope that I can do a better job of getting the message to the team on what type of conditioning they need to be in when they report and I hope they will do better job of training for training camp. It is the same situation as last year, if they're not in shape to come to training camp then were not going to put them on the field and they are not going to play, it is as simple as that. They have to show that they are physically able to participate. The conditioning test will certainly be part of it.
Q: From what you see now could there be some issues?
B: We are in a phase of training where it's not training camp, I mean we're heading for that as our goal, as our peak. I think some guys are in a little better shape than others. Some guys have some work to do, other guys are closer. We are going to take tomorrow afternoon and put a little extra time and effort into the conditioning aspect of the next six weeks until training camp and maybe we will have a little better idea tomorrow after we run them in a comparable test.
**Q: Do you see Seymour more as an outside guy or is it too early to tell what?**
B: I think, as I said when we drafted Richard, I think he has the ability to play either position and contribute at either position. Where exactly he will spend most of this time right now I can't tell you, but we are working him at both spots. So he is getting work inside in certain defenses and outside in other situations so that as we move forward, I don't want to split time with him I'm not saying that, but I think there is going to be a point in time when we will want him to concentrate on one more than the other and that may be a reflection of him or it maybe a reflection of what our needs are on the defensive. It is similar to the tackle situation on the offense.
Q: Based on your personnel, will you stick with the past years combination of the 4-3 and the 3-4?
B: Yes, we will stick with our basic defensive system that utilizes the players as it looks like they will best fit into it. At some point we are going to have to make a determination as to what our best combination is and that's part of what we are seeing in this camp and part of what we will see in the early part of training camp and then go stronger with it whatever it is. We are putting in the whole system so we have the flexibility to kind of go in the way that looks it will be the best fit for us and then we will zero in on that.
Q: Where does Riddick Parker fit in?
B: Riddick actually primarily played on the other side in Seattle. He played a position similar to what Seymour played at Georgia but he played on the left side and Cortez Kennedy played on the right side so they're kind of, I mean I don't want to say they are similar players because I think there are some differences, but in terms of their position that they played and what they played coming into our system it was similar, but different, Seymour was on the defensive right and Riddick was on the defensive left. They're both doing kind of the same thing working outside in our basic game and then inside in some of our sub-defenses.
Q: Do you have enough at the nose tackle position?
B: I think if we could add depth to any position on the roster that we felt like would upgrade us we would do it. Whether that is going to be an option or not, it isn't today, but maybe that will change in the next day, or hour, or month, I don't know. But if we can upgrade the depth of a position we will do it, if we can't then we will go out there with what we have.
Q: Can you comment on what you have seen from Charles Johnson and Torrance Small the last two days?
B: I think the first thing that hits you is their size relative to the rest of our receivers. They are bigger targets, they are bigger guys. They both catch the ball very well. We are working Torrance a little bit more in the slot and the inside positions and Charles a little bit more outside, but I think that they both bring a good level of confidence, ball catching skills and size to the position. So I think that is something that we can use. There are other players that have other skills so we will see how it all blends together. I like them, I am glad we got them. I think they will both be able to help us.
Q: Were you surprised that Charles Johnson was around as long as he was before you signed him?
B: Well if you look at the people that are out there in free agency, if you just had an expansion team and you were starting up today you could probably put a pretty decent team together from with what's out there. I mean there's some decent players that are still out there and that's the way it is. Charles started 16 games and seven touchdowns and there are other players out there at other positions that don't have bad resumes either, but that's just where it is at for right now and you know all the reasons.
Q: But at that position for a guy who has been a starter and with his stats to be available for so long?
B: I think a lot of it is that teams can barely keep the players that they have on the roster. Some teams are struggling to find enough money to sign their draft choices, let alone go out and sign players that are available. As I mentioned not just at receiver, but at a lot of positions. There are players out there that we can all look and say well they have pretty good resumes, they played 16 games last year, they did this, they did that, they are pretty solid, but they're still available. We did a little research just in terms of the overall cap in the league and I think I mentioned this a couple of weeks ago, but from what teams have available right now, even if they were to sign all the rookies to the barest minimum deals they could sign them to, there's still isn't enough money to sign all of the players that are out there. There is just not enough money. All of the teams have committed their money to the guys that are on their team or they have signed recently, signing bonuses or whatever it is, there is just not enough money for all of the veterans to get signed, not even close. So it is going to be musical chairs, when the music stops somebody is going to be left off. In all honesty I think some of those players and maybe some of guys who are better players may wait until the end of July and see how things are shaping up in training camps. Sometimes people get hurt or a team gets into a situation where they need a certain position and then if a player is available then that is an opportunity. I can tell you an example that happened to us at the Jets for us with Bryan Cox. Cox wasn't with anybody Chicago had released him. Marvin Jones got hurt the second or third day of training camp and that's when we signed Cox. If Marvin Jones had not got hurt I don't know that we would have signed Bryan. So sometimes those players wait until training camp gets under way and see how things are going and get with a team then rather then sign now.
Q: Is this really a feeling out process or time for the rookies? Are they a little awe struck?
B: Sure, I am sure they are because the things that we have given them are pretty fundamental. I mean the are building blocks. We haven't gone into any of the more sophisticated schemes with them that we do. Now the veterans are here and we are right into it with them, because they have it down cold, but they certainly go out there and put a representative version of what we are doing together and I am sure that in a lot of cases the rookies are, I mean you can't really even conceptualize what we are trying to get done, but it helps to see the veteran players do it. I mean we can sit there and explain it to them, but then when they actually see a guy doing it that is a good learning tool so lot of things that they're doing we are correcting them on, they probably think they are getting right and now they can actually see somebody who is doing it a lot better than what they were or than can even be explained. It's the picture's worth a thousand words type analogy and then all of a sudden the lights click on and they say, 'Yes okay that is how that is supposed to work'. But yes I am sure that they are, they are just trying to take it all in, but all rookies go through it. It's that time of year and it will happen again in training camp once the pads come on and contact starts. It will be a whole different world than what some of them have been used to.