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    Head Coach Scott Linehan August 2, 2006

    Head Coach Scott Linehan

    August 2, 2006

    (On today’s practice)

    “We worked some situations today, some goal line, short yardage, continuing to work our blitz on both sides of the ball and continue to hone in on situations. We’re getting there. It’s the dog days, particularly now. We’re almost there. You get through this week and then you actually have a game in sight. But right now we’re still plugging away and I think we made some improvement this morning.”

    (On reminding players to keep the tempo up during practice)

    “That’s what you have to do. The body starts to shut down. They’re friendly reminders, that’s a good way of putting it.”

    (On his expectations for RB Steven Jackson)

    “The expectation for him is like all of the players: To give their best and improve everyday. I think Steven’s done a great job of accepting what we’re doing as far as our attitude and our philosophy. He’s certainly going to benefit from practicing the way we are and committing to the things we’re committing to. He’s running that ball downhill. We know he can get to the edge, and that’s going to be a big part of what he does. We’re going to hit that thing inside, and be able to get it outside as well. He’s doing a great job of really working on that part of his game.”

    (On LT Orlando Pace)

    “We have the obvious special players on this team that have played at a high level for a number of years Orlando’s certainly one of them. If you were going to make one of those LTs, he’s what you’re looking for. And he does a great job. He obviously had the child the other day, but he’s been out here grinding with everybody and doesn’t miss any reps. He certainly does things you can’t coach, but he’s also a very coachable player who takes pride in his technique. It’s a luxury for us because the young guys can watch how he goes about his business.”

    (On the backup RB situation)

    “Obviously, Tony Fisher is doing a great job there. One announcement is that we’ve agreed to terms with Moe Williams, who played for me when I was in Minnesota and played last year there, got hurt and actually went on IR and recovered from a knee surgery in the offseason. We brought him in twice. The first physical was incomplete so we brought him in again and he cleared that physical. We met with him yesterday and we came to terms today. He should be here by tonight or tomorrow. He’ll be ready to go. What Moe brings is somebody that is familiar to our system, but a veteran who has played in a role as a backup and as a three. So, between Mo and Tony Fisher we’ve got guys that are handling the same thing. Mo was a real strong special teams player as well. We’re just strengthening our team because we add a real quality back-up running back that has played very well in this system at Minnesota.”

    (On the severity of RB Mo Williams knee injury he’s recovering from)

    “Mo has been in the league 10 years, so he’s come back, but it’s like anything else, those injuries tend to start to add up. I’m not concerned about it because Mo has always been able to manage himself, a lot like other veterans do, to make sure he’s ready to go on game day. He never missed any playing time during my time last year. He just had to have the surgery and it added up for him. He feels good, looks good, and says he feels like he’s in better shape than he was when we opened camp last year. I think it’ll be a great addition to our team.”

    (On Williams’ physical)

    “It’s a medical check-up. I know what Mo can do. Mo’s not going to be able to take every rep of every play. We’ll work him into shape. He’ll be able to come out and get a lot of the mental stuff while he’s getting in shape. We’ll be able to do that as we go. Basically, we managed him because of his age . He’s been nicked up a little bit over time and we always did that with him in Minnesota. In 2003 he was our starter for six games and we went 6-0. He certainly can fill a lot of roles at running back.”

    (On Williams being able to rebound from surgery)

    “He went back to have the check up and he said it worked. I’m sure it works at different levels for some people. We know Mo probably doesn’t have 10 years left in his career, but he and I have a really good working relationship and he looks and feels as good as ever. I think we just have to work him and keep a good eye on him and make sure we’re not trying to push him too fast. He’ll be able to practice. We’ll keep an eye on him and work him into shape and make sure we don’t have any setbacks with it. We’ll just manage him.”

    (On what Williams brings to the table)

    “Toughness. Attitude. When you get in one of those games when the team was going to bring it, you knew the defense was going to bring that Will linebacker or they were going to challenge how tough we were. If you went back and watched our film you would always see who started the game was always Mo. He always matched up well and never backed down from anything. He’s very sound in what he does. There’s nothing flashy about him; he’s a get it done type of guy. In 2003, I think he led all RB’s in third down conversions because he was our third-down back. It wasn’t because he was the classic guy that you flare out, he was just a guy that gave great protection first, but if you threw him the ball he always knew where the first down marker was and he always seemed to get it. He’s one of those old school guys that you love to have on your team.”

    (On being interested in acquiring RB Michael Bennett)

    “We were certainly in the mix, things happen. I don’t know exactly the details around it. I think that things just work out the way they do for a reason. You certainly have to have yourself backed up if it doesn’t work out. We’ll continue to keep our eyes on RBs that become available because a lot of things happen between now and September 10.”

    (On Williams’ running style)

    “We used him in short yardage a lot. He was kind of a short yardage and 3rd down kind of back. If we needed a guy that was going to run downhill and get that ugly 4 yards, so to speak, he was the man. He just filled a lot of roles and he was a very, very good special team’s player. He made a name for himself, especially early in his career on special teams. His familiarity with what we’re doing is certainly a good thing for us.”

    (On TE Dominique Byrd’s potential)

    “He’s got great ball skills. He’s got good enough size to play on the line as a tight end. He knows that it’s an absolute must that he improves his blocking ability. That’s why we spend more time on that area. We know he can be a good receiver. We work very hard on that as well, but he’s got to be a guy that can do both. His style is a little more like an off-the-line tight end that can flex out at times, but you don’t start there, you don’t start out there at the slot and move in. You have to start inside and then move out. That’s what we’re establishing right now with him.”

    (On Byrd’s blocking ability)

    “I think he has improved every day. I certainly know he blocked at USC but we’re asking him to master that task. It takes time, there’s a lot more to it. I always say that blocking, especially for the guys that play in spaces, is 90 percent desire and 10 percent technique. I think he is definitely buying into that and knows that that is going to be a key for his ability to get on the field for us.”

    (On the punting competition)

    “I thought Matt punted better today. He has been a little inconsistent. I put a lot of that on the fact that he has had the setback with the knee. I see that he is feeling better, not having the swelling. He punted very good when he came back after they had taken the fluid out of his knee. Then he had an OK, so-so night the afternoon, the other day. Then he came back today and did a better job. I think that’s what we are looking for, just to be more consistent there. He will work himself into it, he’s an old pro.”

    (On LB Dexter Coakley’s role on the team)

    “Similar to that of Mo . He’s an older veteran that you have to keep and eye on and make sure he is taken care of, but he knows how to take care of himself. One thing is, you can count on him. If we had to call on him to play a lot or start, because he has done it before and done it very well, we know we can count on him. That is what is really crucial when you do have a veteran that is a backup on the depth chart. You want him not just to be there as a good locker room guy, but you want him to be able to play at a high enough level where if you asked him to start he would go in there and you would win. He’s one of those guys.”

    (On Coakley’s potential as a special teams player)

    “Yeah. No doubt. Like I said, he is similar to what Mo is like offensively. He can kind of do it all. If you ask him to do it, he is going to do a great job and be real solid doing it.”

    (On WR Kevin Curtis’ progression as a kick returner)

    “It’s hard to say. It’s too early. We are really working the schemes now. He’s certainly one of the guys in the mix. We don’t want to take away from his ability to be the third receiver. So there is a fine line there. We are certainly going to look at him there. We will put the best kick returner back there come September 10. It’s pretty much too early to say whether he is going to be the guy or someone else right now.”

    (On combating the heat and how the team has been successful in doing so)

    “I think it’s the two-one schedule. It gives the guys time to replenish and get their weight back up. There is no way that if we were doing the two-a-day schedule in this heat, the old way where you come back two or three hours from now and get back out here, that guys are going to meet their requirements to get back on the field. That is why we do it . The teams in the southern states where its normally hotter than it is here, where it’s going to be consistently hot and humid down south, I think they are all going to that . There is just too much at risk with these guys. One of the things about being in the heat that has changed since the old days is that these players are a lot bigger and they lose a lot more water weight. A lot of these guys are massive and if they’re losing a lot of weight and not putting it back on, that is not being very smart. That is why a lot of us are going to this schedule.”

    (On the possibility of ever ending practice early because of the heat)

    “I think we keep an eye on it. Yesterday we added two breaks. Today we had a nice breeze it was going fine. We weren’t really dragging. It looked like we were maintaining well. The guys were hydrating. We factor into practice a three-minute break which allows them to get their bearings straight again. If it was real, real hot like it was yesterday afternoon, we are going to factor more breaks in there. I think the schedule we are on handles that. If you are doing two-a-days, you have to consider that.”

    (On how much offseason conditioning has helped in dealing with the heat and injuries)

    “No doubt. I’ve talked to Dana and Brad about it at length. We spent a lot of time running . They ran more. We pushed them. A big part of their conditioning program was to run and keep their weight down to get themselves ready for camp. We wanted to have them in shape and have their weight where we wanted to so we could eliminate soft tissue injuries, which is where we’re at so far, knock on wood. I really think that has as much to do with it as the schedule does, no doubt.”

    (On what Coach Linehan learned from the aftermath of Kory Stringer’s death)

    “We weren’t on this schedule but we were going to extremes for good reasons, obviously. You never know what is going to happen in Minnesota. You could have a 90-degree day and then, I think two years ago the average temperature during training camp was 62 degrees. We had fans and umbrellas out there and guys were out there in long sleeve shirts on for practice. I think you just have to pay attention to what the weather is like and make the proper adjustments and take the proper precautions with where the weather is.”

    (On DE Leonard Little’s condition)

    “He did not feel much better this morning. In fact, he might have felt a little worst. He basically has a stomach virus and we are keeping an eye on him. He took three IVs last night and we’ve got to get him back healthy.”

    (On the acquisition of RB Mo Williams)

    “I’m happy to get Mo. For what ever reason, things happen for a reason. They are great two-three backs. Both of them are real, real, real solid. You can win with them any day of the week.”

    (On Marques Hagans’ development at wide receiver)

    “That’s one thing Henry and I talked about at length last night. We really think he looks much more comfortable, more smooth. He understands the position and has his playbook down now, which helps. It’s a tough transition to move from quarterback or any position to another and he has made it real well. He is working very hard at becoming a returner. I think he has got a great shot there to make a big impression for this football team as a returner and as a receiver.”

    LT Orlando Pace

    August 2, 2006

    (On the competitiveness of camp thus far)

    “Camp is really competitive. I think guys are really excited about the fact that there’s an even playing field; some of the younger guys really respect that. Everyone came in on an even playing field, nobody worried about the past, so I think it’s really competitive out there.”

    (On the difference between this camp and previous ones)

    “I think it’s a little different. Coach Martz was here with Coach Vermeil, so that kind of flowed pretty good, but this one is a little different. It’s a lot more physical, we’re really emphasizing the run and we’re going after it pretty good.”

    (On whether or not he likes the more physical play)

    “Yeah I do. It’s an attitude you develop just being around here and having a fresh start. It’s one of those things you look forward to and respect.”

    (On whether or not a more physical style of play was a necessary change)

    “It’s tough to say, but I think with a new start guys come in with a new frame of mind knowing their going to work hard. It’s only going to make our team better and I think guys realize that, so they just go out and practice hard.”

    (On whether or not the change has left him feeling rejuvenated)

    “Yeah, I feel good. I keep saying this, but it’s actually true: just having a fresh start and being in a new environment, with new coaches, different schemes, new challenges (is rejuvenating). The older you get, if you’re in the same regime, you kind of get bored with it. But now, this year, it’s one of those things where you have new challenges and different coaches that want more out of you. You really have to push yourself and do it, which is something I really look forward to.”

    (On the arrival of LG Mark Setterstrom and RG Richie Incognito)

    “Richie is one of those guys that didn’t get to play last year, but he’s a physical guy and he’s playing well. The kid from Minnesota (Setterstrom) is a rookie, but he’s playing well. Obviously, he’s been coached well in college and he’s stepping in and I’m really shocked and surprised by the effort he’s given out.”

    (On the importance of Steven Jackson to the offense)

    “I think he’s really important. With Marshall having surgery and not being around this year, I think he’s really important. Coach has done a great job with getting him the ball in camp. He’s going to be really important to our success this year.”

    (On whether or not there is a sense amongst players that they need to step up in response to the firing of former head coach Mike Martz)

    “I don’t know. We didn’t have a great season last year. I’m not going to say our actual play on the field last year was why Coach Martz got fired because he wasn’t here for most of the season anyway because of his health. It’s one of those situations where it’s actually going to motivate us, being that we didn’t have a great season last year, to have a good season this year.”

    (On the new offense being more balanced than in previous seasons)

    “It’s a situation where we’re running the ball more than we ever have since I’ve been here. Just by the emphasis on the run, the technique, and the things like that that the coaches want from us, you can tell it’s a different regime.”

    (On whether or not he likes the greater emphasis on the run)

    “I like the balance. It doesn’t make a difference how we win the ball game, whether we run or pass. I like the balance where teams don’t come in the Edward Jones Dome and say ‘OK, they’re going to pass the ball 50 times a game.’ I really enjoy the balance of knowing that we can run and pass.”

    (On whether or not the offense can return to the dynamic unit it once was)

    “Yeah I think so. Coach Linehan is a great offensive mind and he’ll put us in the proper position to make plays and I think we can really get it rolling and going.”

    (On playing on the line with Incognito)

    “He’s a physical guy and a high energy guy. Sometimes I have to wind him down a little. I’m pretty low key and he’s a little high motored, so that’s a good combination for us.”

    (On whether or not Incognito is picking up the offense mentally)

    “He really is. He’s working hard everyday and having a veteran like myself beside him, we can kind of talk things out and start making things happen without even communicating. This is what camp is for: to understand the offense, to get in there and make the right calls and make the right plays.”

    (On whether or not his mind wanders a bit after the birth of his new son)

    “I’ve set this up pretty good. I planned this pretty good. I can sleep good at night and things like that. I’m here in camp at the hotel, so I planned that pretty good.”

  2. #2
    Return To Glory Guest

    Re: Head Coach Scott Linehan August 2, 2006

    great news, good to hear, What about steven at Kick Return? I know his rookie year he did not do so well, but I think he could have great success their. people already have a tuff time bringing him down as it is, Now going into his third year I think he could be a good Kick returner.

  3. #3
    ramsbruce's Avatar
    ramsbruce is offline Registered User
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    Re: Head Coach Scott Linehan August 2, 2006

    Quote Originally Posted by Return To Glory
    great news, good to hear, What about steven at Kick Return? I know his rookie year he did not do so well, but I think he could have great success their. people already have a tuff time bringing him down as it is, Now going into his third year I think he could be a good Kick returner.
    With the RB depth we have, if Jackson gets hurt we are in trouble. So I want him nowhere near special teams.

  4. #4
    Zero Cool Guest

    Re: Head Coach Scott Linehan August 2, 2006

    it would not be a wise move to have such a key player on the offense returning kicks, it just increases his chances of getting injured.


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