Q: Tom mentioned the defense didn't tackle well. As a linebackers coach, is it difficult to address tackling given the nature of practice? **
A: Yeah, it's hard because there's the rules. I mean there's only one padded practice per week if you do pad it up and if you do pad them up and you do tackle, then you risk somebody getting hurt. Yeah, it's hard and you can work individual type things, which we do especially like open field tackling and angles and how to leverage the guy. But the part of the contact of the tackle… They wouldn't be here if they didn't know how to do that. So what you try to do as a coach is you try to teach them how to minimize the missed tackle. There's going to be some missed tackles. It's a part of the game and it has been since when I played way back when. Missed tackles are a part of the game, but being able to eliminate those or not eliminate them but to reduce those is what you're trying to do. You're trying to teach them the proper leverage. All these guys got here for a reason and so we continually work on how do you leverage a ball carrier or what's the best way to tackle a ball carrier when he's on the sideline or where's help? Just reinforcing all of that.
Q: You said you only have one padded practice where you can hit the person.
A: We don't really take anybody to the ground here. We do what we call thud or thud tempo because we don't want anybody on the ground because that's when you get injured. We don't need to necessarily teach the impact part of the tackle because guys here want to do that. That's the way they're playing the game. It's the other parts of it that you have to work on as a coach to get them to see it the proper the way and leverage the proper way and to reduce the amount of missed tackles that you have.
Q: I don't think you've had the same group at linebacker so far this season. What's the challenge of that? Is it making sure every guy knows every position?
A: It is. It's a challenge, but the room that I have is a group of highly intelligent guys. Each week, we go and say, 'OK, we're going into this week. These are the guys that are playing the base and these are the backups and sometimes you have to backup two spots.' So this is our sub package, this is how we're doing it and so it's one of those things you just have to do in this league because you travel six, seven linebackers if they're all healthy and then if you don't then you have to backup a couple of manageable positions and if you have dumb guys, you can't do that. Luckily, we don't have dumb guys, we have smart guys who can understand the game and what they're doing.
Q: What's your take on Spencer Paysinger's play?
A: All three of those young guys… Jacquian is working through injury right now, but those three young guys.. Everybody says this is their second year. They've only been in it for about a year and a half because they missed training camp and minicamps and all that stuff rookie year and so they're learning on the move and I think Spencer is one of the guys. He's learning the game and gaining experience every rep, every single rep he takes. So I'm excited that they're in their second year here and made some progress and I see more progress down the road.