“Just real quick, we are into our second really full day, of course without pads still. This afternoon will be our walkthrough again for an hour and kind of get into our full routine tomorrow. We will put pads on for the am practice and the pm practice will be much like you saw yesterday and today. That’ll stay constant.”
Do you ever see a player come back from an injury and struggle on the field mentally? It seems like Patrick Robinson has responded well.
“I think it would probably be depending on the position. I think for him (Patrick Robinson), the mental challenge is the routine of rehab. That can be quiet and lonely at times where you have to get yourself ready each day and ready to go and try to make just a little bit of progress. I think that is the big hurdle mentally with an injury that he’s had and the setback like that. I know firsthand, there’s a period of time where when you first get hurt and then within a week you’re sitting in a training room and everyone else is on the practice field. Being tough enough to handle that and bounce back and know that you are going to be back in the mix per say, it is just going to take a while. I think that’s the mental challenge.”
How is Robinson doing?
“He is doing well and moving around well. I am pleased with the amount of time he’s spent, everyday there is a handful of guys that you saw, forget the offseason program, that were almost like fixtures in the building, he was one of them.”
There is bad weather predicted tomorrow. Do you have a plan?
“We will be flexible. There are two elements to it, is there lightning with it or is there not? Obviously if there is lightning we are not going to be outside or hopefully we will let the storm clear. We have to be flexible enough with our (practice) start times. We have a lower level field turf where if it’s just more sloppy, but no lightning, we have that option. We will be flexible. I don’t envision us getting on busses and traveling anywhere. It is right here. The upper deck in that balcony area, you could have a walk through if you needed to, much like we did in Jackson in the small gym. We will just be smart and really kind of handle it like a golf tournament, be smart, pay attention to where it is at, maybe move back or move up a start time, but we would get that to you.”
What have you learned with a year with Rob Ryan?
“The biggest thing is with not having worked with Rob before is that you get a better idea of the person, the personality and his passion for football because half of his staff I would say, I probably worked with or coached with somewhere else and half of his staff when they were hired, it was off of recommendation and (job) interviews. It is mixed. But with Rob, it really was a lot of what I had heard from other coaches that had worked with him when I spoke with them prior to interviewing them.”
Can you talk about how the defense has to get better this year?
“There is an ebb and flow always to training camp. There’s days where or periods in practice where one side of the ball does well or the other side doesn’t. I think the more important big picture is we are constantly looking to get better each day. Statistically the comparisons from last year to this year, those aren’t as important as the results and so it might mean week two we have to play a game a certain way and week six it might be an entirely different way. The key is to win and I think that is the main objective, each week that can vary and how to do that. All of us want to improve from a year ago. We are looking to really do that in our time here and during the preseason.”
What are you expectations for Mark Ingram?
“No different than they would be for the rest of the team. He is one of our starters on offense. He is a guy that we felt played very well in the last half of the season. It is a position where we obviously carry depth because it is a position that gets nicked up in our game. He is smart. He is tough. He runs with good pad level. To have success in the running game and passing game, he’s ready for that challenge. So far he is doing well.”
Are you going to try and feed the running back more to get them into a rhythm this year?
“It just depends on the game. It really depends on that week’s challenge and look, make no mistake about it, when you are in a midst of a game, you’re mindful of how someone is running or how we are holding up with protection. There are certain games where all of a sudden, (you) go (in) a certain direction because you feel like you having success with that. There are weeks we go in with a plan to do X and sometimes early in that game you are changing it. That happened a couple of times last season where we played a game and we were anticipating maybe an opportunity to do a few things. Arizona was a good example, we had to throw it a lot more because of the fronts and the looks we were getting. And there were other weeks where it is different. The same thing exists with personnel, is somebody having success of getting them going. It is all part of paying attention to and not just being locked into a game plan and having some flexibility.”
How much growth have you seen from Kenny Vaccaro?
“A ton. From an X’s and O’s, he’s really football savvy. He’s really sharp. He has good instincts. He is powerful and we have seen a big skip (in his development) from year one to year two. He was playing at an awfully high level when he got injured last year. His offseason’s been fantastic. He’s moving around and carrying himself like a veteran.”
How do you feel about Drew Brees saying he feels like he is 25 and can play until he is 45?
“I feel 30 and I want to coach until I’m 80. I said this, I mean this, when I see every one of you or one of our players, we all experience this or you see old friends on vacation, we don’t see age until we see the children. Then, man, I get over how old someone is or how much they have grown. I don’t see that in his play, I really don’t, in his preparation. It is a credit to A, not only his mental preparation, but how he takes care of himself. I’ve said this time and time again, he is a very routine-driven person with regards to exercise, diet. If you just want to get his attention you just say, hey they have gluten free pancakes today and he would be like, where? He pays attention to all of that. Look, that means a lot when you talk about years in this league.”
Do the young guys rejuvenate you too?
“Yes, they do the same for all of us. (Bill) Parcells said it all the time, he loved surrounding himself with young coaches and young players. I think that is true.”
What are some things that stood out to you about Brandon Deaderick?
“I think it’s early. I think these guys come in and there’s something that flashes. Early on, the trick for us is looking at the tape and then looking at the skill set and do we feel like all of a sudden there’s a fit, whether it is in the kicking game. I said this before, the bus is out front, the big ones, our special teams busses, that’s how you make the team. I think that is his first opportunity.”
Do you have a specific time for the quarterbacks to get the ball out quicker?
“One of the things you have to look at that changes that, there’s no question there’s a clock per play. Some plays are longer developing, others aren’t. Defensively we will play some two deep, six under, where we drop eight and when we are dropping eight you are going to see then immediately a smart quarterback pitch, flush, hold onto the ball because he has a three man rush versus a four man rush. Hopefully the plays where we’re holding onto the ball longer it’s because they’ve seen it’s a three man surface and now playing that defensively means the quarterback is going to have another hitch, (and) he is going to have another step or move. We try to create those drills. We will have a horn, this little computer we bought in the offseason that’ll blast after two seconds on a two step drop or after three seconds on a five step drop and we want to create really a scramble drill. Because if you study a game and you watch it, 35, 40 percent of your passing game happens spontaneously, not on purpose but a flush pocket and you have to be able to teach the receivers and tight ends or eligible players to move in a certain fashion. Defensively, you have to be able to move with the integrity of a quarterback move and then understand the rules change with contact and out of bounds. But to your point, I would want to make sure that as I’m watching, hey, has he gotten a handful of these drop eight coverage’s because when they see drop eight they are going to hold onto the ball and really stretch the defense.”
Can you talk about the last time you had so many guys under six feet tall?
“I don’t say this with any bias or though, we prefer bigger players. Just as there are some shorter players and we talk about Brandin (Cooks), there are some tall receivers that look a lot like Marques Colston, a couple of guys that we signed with free agency. If the player is shorter, than there has to be something that he does exceptionally different and well and that is run or get in and out of his cuts. Hopefully we are getting some good football players.”
Is it surprising that since Rob Ryan did such a good job last year that he didn’t get a head coaching job interview?
“From my experience, he is going to have that opportunity and you just can’t put a clock on it. We had success and there are times where, it all depends on the owner and it all depends on the situation. It is not as simple as hey, you finished this on offense, you finished this on defense, you receive five interviews. It doesn’t work like that. Having been through that success in New York (Giants) and then coming to Dallas and experiencing some success there and then our first year and then having an opportunity but waiting, it just finds you. I think when you can prepare and focus on the main task, the other stuff just handles itself. That’ll all handle itself and he is clearly that is someone who will be ready for a position like that. That’ll happen and it is something that no plan or no calendar can really predict.”
Do you think it was overblown that teams figured out a way to stop Jimmy Graham a couple times?
“No, I think this, New England put one of their bigger, best, defensive backs on him, credit Bill (Belichick), Aqib (Talib) is bigger than their safeties and so he was able to play effectively and then half way through that game, Jimmy was injured and I think he went through a stretch where he was battling an injury. Each week it varies what teams are doing. I would say we see different plans to handle him. Obviously, when you sit in on a meeting Tuesday night and you are beginning to defend a player like him, you are going to account for him and have some thoughts when you are in base and some thoughts when you are in nickel and red zone. Some of them are similar. What we saw Aqib do, we saw that happen with (Tony) Gonzalez as well in Atlanta. In Seattle, it was a different scheme.”
(Earl) Thomas seemed to pay a lot of attention to him in that game.
“Yes, but he is a middle safety playing his coverage. It just depends on the look you are in.”
What is Nick Toon’s growth in year three?
“It has been real good this spring and fall. To his credit, I thought his training camp last year and preseason, he really did some good things. We were one heavy there in that position and it was tough to find a way to get him, not to the gameday roster as much as to get him the touches. I think he’s that much further along and I definitely expect to see him doing a lot of good things for us.”
Junior Galette said that Rob Ryan really trusts his players, does that speak to the trust that you have in him that he can do that with his players?
“Yes, I think as coaches we always wanted to pay attention to what they are seeing. We aren’t just out there freelancing. There’s a call we make and we play it. There are some adjustments we come off of it. But as you prepare for a game, one important thing we have to do is quickly gather what do our players do best? What are they most comfortable in? Because when you get in those big spots you want to give them calls defensively and offensively and in the kicking game that they know by heart. You want to give them calls that they don’t have to hesitate. A player that knows what he is doing is going to execute faster.”