“How we doin’? Everybody have a good summer? It’s over. At least for me. Really like our guys. Really high character group. It’s fun to go to work every day. We’re only three days in. The first two days you’ve got your pajamas on; you’re just running around in your shorts and t-shirts with the headgear on. Did our first day in uppers yesterday and got to see how we’re gonna be. Lot of learning to do. Huge learning curve.
“Trying to establish tempo and pace with this new practice schedule is interesting because in essence you really have one more week than you used to have, so that has to come into your thinking because you obviously want to get the guys all this information but you don’t want to jam it at them too fast that they can’t retain, and you actually have a little more time to install, get prepared and so forth.
“But you don’t want them bored with it either, so you have to keep them going at a reasonable clip so that they stay engaged and they learn and they participate with great energy mostly mentally; you know they’re going to do that physically. Good start the first three days. Excited about it.”
You’ve talked about maintaining the aggressive, attacking style of your defense even with losing so many starters. Realistically, does there have to be some dialing back with so many young guys or is it too early to tell?
“We really can’t tell. I think it’s a great question. I’m not trying to dodge it, but regardless of how we’re gonna go about doing it, because there’s several ways to do it, we’re going to be aggressive. I mean, that’s just the way we play defense. Now, we may do that different ways. We may play different concepts. Obviously you have a system. It needs to be flexible enough so that speed can get on the field and based on where that speed comes from positionally that your package is flexible enough that you can utilize those talents.”
In Chicago, Jim was talking about Kwity [Paye] and Luiji [Vilain], kind of raving about them on the outside. He mentioned them as outside linebackers and defensive ends. What have you noticed out of those two so far?
“Well, I’ll give you this: I watched pass rush yesterday—pretty good. Very good start. Luiji: extremely explosive, comes off the rock. Was really impressed with how well not only does he come off the rock but how well Kwity used his hands. Those guys are very talented guys, as Coach has alluded to, and we’re going to give them every opportunity possible to get on the field in some roles.
“Now, can they learn it all concept-wise? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean they can’t contribute and develop confidence and then have their role broadened as we move forward.”
[More after THE JUMP]