Q: The release about Beason was good news? No surgery. You’re very optimistic, it seems.
A: I think so. I am. Any time that the decision is made with regard to no surgery, the idea that it will scar in itself, it’s good, it’s good news.
Q: Jameel McClain was working in the middle, it looked like a little bit. Why did you move him over? What did you see from him?
A: He’s been in there before. He’s playing in there, he’s played on the outside, so it’s just a simple move.
Q: They said six weeks that Beason will be immobilized. After that and he comes back, is there still enough time to get ready for the opener?
A: I have no way of knowing that. We would hope that, but we’ll see. He certainly will be weight-bearing for really a lot of time. And he’ll be in great shape, he’s one of those.
Q: Do you have to do anything different scheme-wise without Beason in the middle or do you just kind of go forward with what you have?
A: Well, I think we go forward with what we have. We’ll be okay.
Q: Will you miss his leadership when he’s rehabbing or can he still provide that even though he’s not on the field?
A: I think once he can get out on the field and be around the players, not only… so I think as soon as he can do that he’ll be out there standing next to the coaches, involved in the signaling and so on, know the defenses, know the calls, helping young guys when they come on and off. That will all take place.
Q: Last year his leadership was such a big part of what he was able to do for your defense. Is there a little bit of a void when he’s not on the field or do you see guys who will pick that up?
A: Well, I think there will be guys that will pick it up, certainly we’d like to have Jon out there. We’re going to miss that part of it.
Q: Has there been a setback with Chris Snee at all?
A: His elbow is bothering him so we’re kind of taking it step by step on that. He had surgery on his elbow.
Q: When was this? This is the third straight time we’ve been here and he hasn’t been on the field. Is this something that’s been ongoing or is it that the elbow before was rested and now it…?
A: Well, I think it’s started to bother him. He did all of the separate days and pretty much all of the OTAs and then the elbow started to bother him so we kind of shut it down.
Q: So the surgery was recent?
A: The surgery was right after the season, yeah.
Q: Is the plan with him to sort of keep him out…?
A: The plan with him is to see if we can get the elbow right so that he feels comfortable and confident.
Q: For this week?
A: No, we won’t be in a rush in that regard. He’s played enough, we can get him healthy and get him right back to where he was. We know what we have.
Q: Last week Odell Beckham said that he wanted to be back for this week. It looked like he didn’t do anything.
A: He did all of the individual and then we kind of backed him down a little bit. He was able to go, whether he could hit that top speed was another question. Why take a chance on it right now?
Q: Are you comfortable with where he’s at as far as the education?
A: You’ve got to find a better word. ‘Comfortable’ is not a good word. I’d like to have him practicing. That’s how you learn – you practice. He’s done all of the studying, he’s good in the classroom, but he’s got to get out here.
Q: We’ve seen Trindon Holliday flash a little bit on offense, is that somewhere you see him contributing aside from special teams?
A: I hope. He’s got to. That’s where he would fit as a receiver and he’s done a nice job in there when he’s been in the slot.
Q: We see Devon Kennard working with the first unit on the outside. Do you like what you see so far?
A: Well, he’s been more in the middle than the outside but he’s done a good job of that. You can figure it out. McClain goes inside, someone has to go outside. But he’ll know both.
Q: What’s the plan moving forward, at least in the short term, at middle linebacker? You’re uncertain with Jon Beason, you have to kind of prepare for just in case…
A: We have two, you have the two that have been playing in it. McClain would be in there first, Kennard would be in there second.
Q: Both Fells and Kuhn got hurt today.
A: They weren’t hurt, Kuhn was… they were both really not feeling good. So when they came out here, it was worse and the trainers took them off. I don’t think there’s anything beyond that.
Q: From a personal perspective and from a team perspective, what do you hope to gain out of this camp?
A: I think we’ve just got to continue working on the things we’ve been doing in OTAs. This is really the third or fourth time we’ve gone over the beginning of the installation of the offense and so it should be second nature to us now. Calling plays, everyone should know what they’re doing, no mistakes, playing a little bit faster, getting up to the line of scrimmage quicker, getting the ball snapped and not as much thinking. I think we did a pretty good job today, I thought the tempo was good. It was hot, a lot of plays but I thought we had a good tempo and feel a little more confident with everything that’s going on, with the adjustments, with the changing of the plays. Everything is happening a little quicker so I think that’s positive.
Q: What did you think of the backfield? There are a lot of new names for you, are you getting accustomed to these guys a little bit?
A: Yeah, I think the running backs have done a good job. They had a couple nice blitz pickups today and those guys, changing the protections, and those guys understanding and picking up protections, hit them on a couple routes and get them in the open space and make some plays so I think they’re doing a good job of understanding this offense and their routes and protections and so I think they’ve done a good job and hopefully we can continue to do that.
Q: The emphasis has always been that if they can’t help in protection then they can’t get on the field. Is that still the same in the new offense?
A: Well I think that’s always an emphasis for a running back. It’s not just how well you run the football, you’ve got to be a complete back and you’ve got to be able to understand your protections, know who you’re blocking and then block them. Then be able to catch the ball, be able to get out to your routes and get check-downs and get some key completions and positive plays. There’s a lot to it, we’ve got a number of guys who can do all of those things.
Q: How about the wide receivers? The number three spot is obviously still up for grabs. Pretty much all of the spots are but the number three is the focus here. How about Odell Beckham? I know he hasn’t been able to practice with you guys much lately.
A: Yeah, we’ve got a couple guys who have stepped up and played well. We’re still waiting for Odell to get back out there, he was out there some today running some routes. I don’t know if he did team stuff or not so we have to get him out there, we get Mario Manningham back out there and it will be helpful but we’ve got a couple young guys who have made some good plays for us. They have gotten a lot of reps because of having some guys out and they’ve done a good job getting open and understanding the offense. I’m excited about who we have who’s out there and working right now. Hopefully we can get some guys back healthy for training camp.
Q: Is this an easier offense for guys to come and… kind of gain chemistry with them because it plays a little faster?
A: There are a lot of different plays, a lot of different things going on. Maybe not as much reading as a receiver, if you know what the play is, then you should be fine. It’s just about getting open, you don’t have to make as many decisions probably from a receiver but there are still a lot of things to it. We’re getting better, we’re getting where we need to be but we’re still fine-tuning a few things.
Q: From a quarterback’s perspective, how does the defense look?
A: I think the defense looks good. They’re moving around fast, they’re playing quick. Guys know what they’re doing, they’re showing a number of different looks for us, which is I think good as an offense to go against some different looks, different personnel, different alignments and different defensive fronts. We’re kind of getting everything thrown at us and maybe make some calls on the run that maybe we haven’t gone over yet and then correcting them in the film room and seeing how we want to do it in the future, how we want to protect things or run things so I think they’re looking good and we’re having some good practices. It’s back and fourth.
Q: Has it felt different this offseason? You knew exactly what you were running for 10 years.
A: It definitely felt different. There’s a lot of learning. The past several years, five, six years, you never had too many surprises, you weren’t positive how it was going to all turn out or what a guy might do versus this coverage or thinking about protections and stuff. All of that was second nature. I’m still thinking some out there and trying to make things right, you kind of have to slowly think through it the first time you’re doing some things but overall I feel good about where I am now. This is really the fourth time that we’re going over this, ‘install one’ is what we call it, what we did today, so this stuff is coming out fast and calling the plays quick and getting to the line of scrimmage and making quick calls. That was smoother and hopefully the more times we do it, the better I’ll get.
Q: How much more comfortable do you feel in this offense compared to the start of the offseason program?
A: It’s night and day, from the first meeting we had we had a lot of questions and were trying to understand some of the rules, when you can make changes even from the cadence, there were a lot of things going through and we were playing real slow because you’re thinking, the offensive line’s thinking, you’re trying to explain things to them on the run so there was a lot going on. I feel today we had a pretty good practice, we’re moving around fast and making some plays.
Q: Odell Beckham hasn’t been able to do teamwork recently. What have you seen from him individually?
A: He’s still locked in. In the meeting rooms he’s still doing what he has to do, still knows all of his plays, still knows what’s being asked of him and that’s all you can ask for right now until he gets back out there and gets healthy.
Q: Do you feel like the other receivers are stepping up?
A: Absolutely. I think guys are really picking up the offense quickly and they’re out there doing what they have to do to prove to the coaches that they can be out there and that they can be accountable and that they know what they’re doing.
Q: Is there any advice you can give those guys when they actually get out on the field to try to help them?
A: Those guys ask me questions, we’re a tight-knit group in the receiving room, so they’re asking questions, I ask them questions because we’re all still learning too at the same time. But they’re doing a good job. They’re coming along quicker than usual.
Q: Is it a lot different for you now being the veteran out there? You’re the one who used to get the advice, now you’re the one who has to give it to them.
A: Yeah man, I’m still getting used to that V word but we’re getting along and everybody’s kind of looking up to me to be the guy, be the leader in the locker room, so I’m just trying to do that, I’m trying to be there for those guys.
S Antrel Rolle
Q: Jon Beason will not need surgery. It was a rough year and he got hurt. Maybe uplifting that he is not going to need surgery and maybe he’ll be back sooner than later?
A: Definitely uplifting. He is a huge part of our defense. He’s a guy we rely on a whole lot. To have him back sooner than expected, that’s always great news. We need him back but at the same time we need him to take care of himself and make sure he takes his time because the season is the most important thing right now at this moment.
Q: How is the huddle with Jameel McClain? Does he bring the same level of intensity?
A: McClain is a veteran guy, a veteran leader. He’s a vocal leader, he knows exactly what to do, when to do it and how to do it. He’s a guy that, if need be, could definitely step up and fill whatever role he needs to fill and make sure that we don’t miss a beat.
Q: He doesn’t mind having his voice heard it sounds like.
A: No, he doesn’t mind. He’s a good guy to be around. He’s one of those teammates that you need, he’s an influential guy, he’s an influential guy. And more importantly, you can tell he loves to play the game, so that’s always good.
Q: There were a bunch of additions to the secondary, how does it look so far?
A: The secondary looks good, the secondary looks good right now. We still have some things we need to work on obviously, but so far so good. The intensity’s good, the mindset of our defensive backs is good right now and right now we’re just gelling, trying to get everyone on the same page at the same time and, also, at the same time, trying to learn our defensive scheme.
Q: How’s Jon Beason’s spirits?
A: Jon’s fine, Jon’s fine. He’s a professional, he’s been through this before. So he knows how to attack it, he knows what he needs to do, he knows what we need him to do. He’s still working out, he’s a workaholic so he’s not going to miss a beat. Just a minor setback.
Q: What’s the difference in the huddle without him?
A: I’m not here to speak about the differences. We go out there and we play ball at all costs. That’s our only focus right now.
A: They gave me the opportunity and I’m taking advantage of it. I just go out there and do everything I can every day and try to make plays and make an impact and show that I can do things to help the team.
Q: I know it hasn’t been long but have things started to slow down for you at this point?
A: Most definitely. Every day. Like I said, I’m spending hours and hours in the playbook every day, every night. I go home and I’m studying for hours so I get there and I get those live reps and it’s getting easier and slowing down for me. I’m making more and more plays and making more of an impact and that’s all I’m trying to do – play my part and show that I can help the team.
Q: Has anybody in the meeting room taken you under their wing and helped you?
A: Yeah, we have a good linebacker corps so you have Spencer (Paysinger), you have Mark (Herzlich), you have (Jon) Beason, all of those guys are a big help for me, Jacquian (Williams). All of those guys with experience are kind of bringing me and showing me the ropes and showing me the tapes. I watch film on them a lot just to see how they do things, the little things, the vet tricks that they have that I try to pick up on and implement myself.
Q: What’s a good trick that you’ve picked up from them?
A: Just showing different things, disguising, showing different coverages, blitzing, how you’re showing your blitz when you’re not. Just different things like that just to kind of toy with the offense.
Q: What have you thought about the new running backs?
A: A lot of talent, a lot of talent. My eye is always focused on the BC guy (Andre Williams) but it’s a talented backfield and probably more incentive for us to do our job up front because we know it’s behind us. Our guys will be patient, find the holes, and like I said, it’s our job to give them a crease to run through.
Q: You’re not expecting your elbow to be an issue when you come back in July?
A: No. At this point in my career when they say, ‘Take a breather,’ I’ll take a breather.
Q: Did they tell you that, I know the players had to take the physical yesterday, right?
A: Yeah, this was long ago, I knew this was going to happen. I’m doing it. I could say I was still running on the side and getting my conditioning in and then all of the meetings and the mental reps and I’ll give those younger guys an opportunity to earn their stripes.
Q: So much was made about the hip but your elbow surgery was pretty significant.
A: Yeah, it was more involved than I thought it was going to be. The rehab has been longer and that’s why we’re taking this approach. I appreciate that, there’s no need for me to rush back. My whole body feels great. I’m sure you guys were watching me run out there. I’m moving pretty well.
Q: You figure the first day of training camp should be no issue?
Q: So this next month…
A: I don’t know, I’ll discuss that. I’m sure I’ll have to… I’ve been training pretty hard. I’ve been in here since February and I’m just following every order they give me so I’ll do the same for this next month. In past years this would kind of be a month where you relax and make sure you’re body is ready but whatever they tell me to do I’ll do.
Q: It looked like you lost a lot of weight last season.
A: Yeah, I was down quite a bit. I was down to like 275 and I’m back up to 300.
Q: Back where you were?
A: Not where I was. I’ve got about 10 more pounds to go. I’m going to try to put on good weight as opposed to just gaining weight and not being able to move and feel good.
Q: Is that because of the lifting? The elbow? What’s the main reason why you lost all the weight?
A: Just everything. My hips, just to let everything calm down and then I decided what I wanted to do. I was full go and I’ve been in here and I’ve been overloading on protein and gaining weight at a good clip. I’ve got six more weeks to gain 10 pounds so I’m pretty sure I can do it.
Q: So you think for training camp you’d like to be…?
A: I’ll be around 310. I’m 300 right now.