Re: Rueben RandleA: It is kind of what we had hoped. I think we see a guy that catches the ball real well. He is a build-up speed guy that I think has enough to get by people, to give us a deep threat that we need when people are kind of clamping down on the other guys underneath – Victor underneath – or what have you. It is hard – I think I have said it before – and I think everybody knows it – it is hard to make a real accurate assessment because there is so much thinking going on. You can see it slows him down. There is a lot of polish that has to take place in terms of sharpening some of the things that he is doing. You see enough to be encouraged. It is just a matter of can you get him to how far along he has got to be to help us. But I think there is enough ability there, for sure.
Q: What stood out to you about David Wilson?A: I don't know if we have had a guy as explosive, regardless of the position, here. I think Da'Rel Scott gives you – in a 100-yard dash – you may be able to beat him, but I don't know that you see quite the darting, the explosiveness and short bursts that you see with him. That is kind of exciting to see. Whether or not he can learn – there is a lot of learning going on – and you can see the smoke coming out of his ears and eyes going around in different directions. So there is a long way to go before you can tap into it. But it looks like there is something that can give you some excitement. I don't know if we have had that kind of guy. Tiki was a tremendous all-around back. Brandon gave you a certain (style), Ahmad gives the toughness. But this guy has the kind of explosion that I'm not sure how many guys in the league have.
Q: Da'Rel looks like he was shot out of cannon when he goes sometimes. How is he different with David?A: I don't see it the way you see it. I see as a gradual smooth, really fluid runner that you say, "Wow, he is really, really fast." David, to me, looks like you just described Da'Rel. Like a darting, explosive, water bug kind of a guy – that is what he looks like to me; so both obviously very, very fast. According to Jerald Ingram – who I asked the question of who would win in a 100-yard dash, he thought Da'Rel would win. Because I said, "David really looks different than most guys that you see." And obviously a bunch of great athletes out there, so they are all fast. But this guy looks very, very explosive, very quick.
Q: Compared to Tiki physically, what would that comparison to Tiki be?A: I don't think Tiki had this speed, but Tiki had such a great vision, great intelligence, set up blocks. It is hard to even compare them – they are much different, much different types of player. But again, you are talking about one guy who is just starting out and trying to learn an offense. The other guy, when I had him, was near the end of his career who had really developed a feel for the game, a sense of how to set up things to take advantage of his skill set.
*Q: The things that he has you can't teach. *A: Right.
Q: Things that he doesn't have –A: You hope you can teach. As you know, guys in this league who have physical credentials, they say, "Oh, why can't he play?" Well, because he can't learn. I don't think David is that case. I think he is going to learn. But right now he is very definitely at step one.
Q: Is Hakeem going to be ready to start?A: I don't know. I'm hoping. I got my fingers crossed; my knees are hurting from praying. But he is such a big part of what we are doing. The thing that is a tragedy here is that there were so many things that we were looking forward to really developing with him; really taking advantage of this time where he could focus on developing his entire skill set. There are certain things that he does extremely well. There are certain things – before you even ask – I'm not going to get into. This was going to be a great chance for him to really - us to go another step ahead with him. There is nothing you can do. He is hurt and he is not here. So hopefully he will be back at the start of the season - or in training camp, I don't know. But hopefully he will be there so at least he can get caught up to speed for having missed this time. We are not going to be able to recapture this time. Obviously it is gone. But get him back to where we need him to be or to have an effective offense right at the outset.
Q: Who is poised to fill his role, potentially?A: I don't even want to think about it. We are rotating a bunch of guys in there.
Q: How do you see the wide receiver battle?A: Certainly Rueben – you see what I mentioned. There is a guy that gives us – you look at him and say, "Hey, I think he can help us." You see flashes with Jerrel Jernigan, "That guy, he can help us." There is just so much inconsistency with those guys because they are new guys. They just don't have it. There are so many mistakes. Obviously as a coach, that is what you focus on. But when you step back, you look and say, "Hey, he has got some quicks." Rueben looks like he has got some down the field speed. I think Brandon Collins has looked really, really impressive in practices. That has been fun to see, because I didn't know much about him, and he looks to be very, very-----.
Q: (still about Collins)A: I have seen better quickness than anything. That is what I have seen; great quickness, great speed; more quickness than speed. Good speed, great quickness, but also picking up the offense pretty quick.
Q: Do you see any encouraging signs in Julian Talley?A: He got held back because he missed some practices early on. He is still struggling picking it up. He would be one that I would reserve judgment on. Because I think we saw when you are just doing things on air – that maybe that similar type quickness as those other guys that we were talking about, but right now when he is going against the defense – which again, we only had two practices in minicamp – five practices, but only two that were competitive. He is very much learning, thinking.
*Q: He is going to draw a lot of obvious comparisons to Victor, given where he is coming from. *A: U Mass.
Q: Yeah. You think back to where Victor was when he first came in. Is that about where – are they about on the same level?A: Victor is just a thicker, more muscular type of guy. Both, I guess, you see some quickness which you saw with Victor. Victor's run after the catch right from the first year, I thought, kind of stood out. We haven't had a chance to assess that. I'll get a better feel for him maybe two or three weeks into training camp. Right now it is hard for me to make a real good judgment on him.
Q: How do you feel about the tight ends at this point?A: Except for Bear, there is nobody that has done it before. You are hoping to have Bear as a swing guy, a second tight end – he could motion back and play the fullback position – give you what he has always given you which is unbelievable toughness and somehow making plays that maybe you don't think that he should be able to make. He always seems to make them for you – not necessarily as your starting tight end. But right now he is the starting tight end. Martellus was out and just barely got back. Adrien Robinson missed the whole thing – just came back. So right now we have a long way to go at that spot. Fortunately, in fairness, when we lost Kevin Boss, I was thinking, "Wow, where are we going to go?" And I thought Jake could be the guy. He looked like he could be the big strong blocker and maybe an intermediate underneath guy in catching the ball. And as I said to you guys a lot, "He exceeded because he caught the ball down the field." I didn't really think he would be able to do it. He certainly didn't do it with his speed. He did it with his finesse, intelligence. He set people up and got open and did some great things. He will be sorely missed. We knew we weren't going to have him this year, but he was a guy that could have been a starter for a long time. Now somebody else has to step up. You are hoping Martellus - that is why he was brought here. You are hoping that Adrien Robinson down the road would be the guy. If not, Bear is going to be the guy. Bear will be the guy. Somebody has got to do it. I have been fortunate. I have got good guys on my staff with me and they do a great job coaching. They are going to have to do it again. We had five new starters last year. We didn't anticipate that being one of them. But that looks like another position is going to have to be - what is the word – diamond made out of rough coal – or something. But polish it up. We have been able to do it in the past; we have to do it again.
Q: How disappointed will you be on July 27th if Will Beatty is not in here?A: We need him. He has got to be there. We have lost to what amounts to three starters in the last two years on the offensive line. You can't keep doing that and not be effective. And so that is counting him as a starter – if you lose him that means four starters in the offensive line. Then it doesn't matter how good your quarterback is. It doesn't matter how good your receivers are. It doesn't matter the explosiveness. Those guys enable our skill guys to play. So, yeah, I'll be very concerned if he can't play. We have Sean Locklear and hopefully he was going to be a backup for us. We were hoping James Brewer is going to come. Those guys still have to come into play. But we are thin. We are not thin numerically but with experienced, proven guys that you can say, "Hey, we feel real good about." Hopefully we are going to say, just like we did with Jake Ballard, just like we did with Victor Cruz – after the fact that they emerged, they played. We couldn't have won without them. We are going to need some guys that do that for us in the offensive line. Who they are right now – you are hoping this guy or that guy – but some of that gray hair comes from that concern, there is no question. You can't lose that many guys in one spot – especially that spot – and not be concerned. Somebody has to step up. Lose Will Beatty – that would be the fourth starter in the last two years. That is too many; that's too many.