Q: What does it mean to see such key players as Richie and O’Hara go during the off-season this year?
A: We all, as coaches, say play the game above the X’s and O’s and they came to work above the X’s and O’s because they really felt in their heart because of the way this organization is. They put every ounce of energy both physically and mentally into what they did in the meeting room and also on the football field. It really hurt them what they went through, it hurt everybody, but as we all well know—we have to move on. We have to adapt our personality as an offensive line group each and every year. This year is no different from that standpoint.
Q: It seems that
A: Yeah, we still have to get the cobwebs out a little bit. There’s a guy that’s going into his third year that is missing time. When you miss time in the NFL--precious practice time from being injured, you have to accelerate the process to try to make up for that time. That’s what we’re trying to do at training camp and he’s responding. When he’s here and we have our hands on, there is nobody that works harder in the classroom or the football field. What we try to provide with all of our young players is that when you’re not here, you need to continue to develop and study.
Q: What have you been able to do with the new center to get him ready?
A: It’s all mental with
Q: He hasn’t been able to take a single snap, though, is that correct?
A: Yes, he hasn’t done anything on the field at all. Everything is stand and watch. He just watches the meter on the field. He’s another guy that is bored—he’s interested, and rightfully so.
Q: How physical do you think the offense will be this year?
A: We have been physical in the past. In the last eight years someone told me in the last seven years we have been right up there. We were number one in certain years. That has not deteriorated from those times, I don’t have the stats right here ,but it takes a quarterback, a running back, tight ends and everything—not just the offensive line. The physical aspect is mostly mental. I really believe that as a veteran you don’t get old, you get more savvy. You can utilize a lot of things to get more savvy. Shaun O’Hara was injured in the 2010 season and his play was not nearly what it was in the past because he was injured. Richie’s play was phenomenal for a guy who did what he did at left guard, and moved into center and started playing. That says a lot for what he’s done over the years and paying attention to the center position. He is as physical as anybody we’ve had inside. Shaun was dearly missed because that gave us the opportunity to put Richie at left guard. The youth, if they know what they’re doing and they’re more powerful and their legs are a little bit stronger then help yourself. We anticipate that no matter what the age of our players. We don’t get caught up in that age thing.
Q: Are the offensive line changes a bigger issue this year versus years past?
A: It’s a concern in the sense that you have to be able to communicate more. We start in the room and we’ve always done that. As we start in the process of installing and get in the meeting rooms, I go in there and I install, but I also get them involved and talking in the room and carry that to the football field. You have to be able to communicate. It does take some chemistry sometimes. For example, when you have played against an adjacent lineman over the years, it’s a physical communication; you don’t even have to talk. That is something we’ll have to develop.
Q: Can you develop that in this short timeframe?
A: You have to. There’s no can; you have to. That is a challenge you have and that is a challenge you take on as a group. We know what has to get done, we know what it is going to take to be successful; there’s no excuses. There is a reason for everything, but there are no excuses for anything. That is the motto we have. We are not going to make an excuse. We’re expected to protect
Q: How do you think
A: I think he should fit fine. There is a guy that just came aboard, and he is going to be catching up every day even though he has played and he is a veteran. I am excited to see him in pads. I have watched him on tape over the years, but I am excited to see him in pads, too.
Q: Will Stacy Andrews be a tackle?
A: He will start out at tackle. We want flexibility with all of our players.
Q: Do you think he is more of a right tackle?
A: We haven’t decided yet, I haven’t seen enough of him to determine that. Right now, he has the veteran knowledge to be able to go back and forth between right and left. He’s going to be the compass of this team.
Q: He came in here around 318. Is that where you want him, or is that too much weight on him?
A: What I said to Stacy is to get with Jerry Palmieri and find a weight. What impresses me about the guy is that he didn’t come out here weighing 345, 350. The more years you play and the leaner you are, you know you are taking care of your body.
Q: If something happens, is Snee going to possibly move over to center during the season if there is an injury?
A: There’s always a possibility for that. He knows what it takes, being a Pro Bowl player moving into center. He could be a tremendous center day in and day out. There are very few blips on the radar that he has caused in practice and I anticipated that. In terms of his snap blocking. Getting your hand out between your legs and then going to block, but he’s an option that we can turn to. Chris is an unselfish guy. Amongst Kareem and David, that room looks like a true veteran leadership right now.
Q: If Beatty is ineffective, will Diehl play left tackle?
A: There is always the option of David doing that. Right now, David Diehl is a guard and he needs to focus and concentrate on his technique at guard because it’s been awhile. We moved him last year and he moved in there, but it takes awhile. It takes somebody moving inside and protecting the ball a little bit from that standpoint. William Beatty has to earn this job also. He has not earned this job in the NFL, but in saying that, he has the proper attitude and that’s what it’s going to take to be a football player and somebody you can count on, but he still has to earn that job.