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Scaga
08-09-2005, 12:37 PM
Q&A with DICK VERMEIL
Aug 09, 2005, 11:45:28 AM


Training Camp


Morning
DICK VERMEIL: “Excellent energy in our practice today. Really competitive energy.”

Q: There was a play today where Derrick Johnson had a deep drop…

VERMEIL: “Cover two zone.”

Q: Can you talk about his ability to drop in coverage?

VERMEIL: “When you can move like he can move there are no limitations to what he can do. He can catch up to the football as it travels. I don’t know if he can run faster than the football’s flying but he can get there. That’s why he was the number one pick and why I can say he’s got tremendous athletic talent and skill.

“I don’t know how long it’s going to take him but he’s going to be one of the premier football players defensively in this league and I think he’ll be a candidate this year for the defensive player of the year for a rookie.”

Q: How many linebackers do you have that can make that kind of play 30 yards down field?

VERMEIL: “I’ve seen our guys do it. I’ve seen Kawika (Mitchell) do it. The kind of throw it was made it even more spectacular because he had to go after it. It just wasn’t side-by-side. He is a very talented young man.”

Q: How much playing time will he get Friday night?

VERMEIL: “I haven’t determined that yet but probably at least a quarter and a half or so.”

Q: Are did Siavii and Browning do back today?

VERMEIL: “Browning was moving real good and Junior pretty good.”

Q: You have another rookie linebacker coming on in Kris Griffin. How’s he doing?

VERMEIL: “Doing a good job, got a lot to learn. He’s a guy we didn’t know much about. A college free agent. He’s doing OK, doing OK. So is Boomer Grigsby. For everything that’s been thrown at them and all the thinking they have to do, especially magnified by the fact that everyday it’s against our offense that does so many different things, they’ve done well. They never saw the same formation in 18 plays. Every formation creates at adjustment for a defensive player.”

Q: Can you quantify how much better you feel about your linebackers?

VERMEIL: “I just know we’ve never had three at a time that can move collectively together like they can move. Now, we really haven’t seen Kendrell Bell. We really haven’t. We hope he can move like we thought when we brought him here. We haven’t turned him loose yet. Sooner or later we have to turn and find out if he can move like the other guys can. We know he used to be able to and he did. We’ve seen him move without pads on.

“Keyaron Fox is moving real well, too. They’re all moving well.”

Q: Has Kevin Sampson locked down the right tackle position?

VERMEIL: “Well he’s got a good lead. He’s a fighter. He’s a tough guy. Then every day he’s challenged by Eric Hicks because Eric Hicks comes to work. Talk about a journeyman worker. He comes to work so that makes the right tackle leave the field every day with a headache. That’s out of respect for Eric Hicks. He makes that right tackle a better player and he also helps us define whether the guy can play or not.

“I go to Eric Hicks once in a while and say, ‘Eric, what do you think of the right tackle? Can he play?’ He’ll critique him for me. He respects him.”

Q: There were a few sparks between Eric and Casey Wiegmann today.

VERMEIL: “Oh yeah. Eric was wound up this morning. Like I said, it’s great to see them compete against each other as intensely as they did this morning. But it’ll be more fun to see them compete together game day.”

Q: Kevin Sampson was a guy who didn’t even attend the scouting combine. Nobody knew about him.

VERMEIL: “Our scout knew about him and recommended him. We sent Irv Eatman up to work him out and Irv really liked him. He spent a lot of time with him on the board and meeting and on the field. He really liked him, so here he is.”

Q: His best intangible?

VERMEIL: “First off, he’s 300 pounds. He has good speed and enough athleticism. He’s a tough guy and likes what he does for a living. He’s probably going to do it for a long time.”

Q: Is Benny Sapp the one coming in on the nickel coverage?

VERMEIL: “That’s a very competitive position. Everyone thinks, ‘well, hey he’s not a starting corner so we’ll make a nickel out of him.’ That position is the toughest position to play. He’s both a linebacker and a defensive back at the same time and he has to read all the variations of coverage. So, it’s a very demanding position and right now we’re struggling a little bit getting that position played well.”

Q: How’s that receiver battle coming?

VERMEIL: “I’d say very intense, very competitive. Every day I see somebody do something real, real well that I didn’t see yesterday. I saw somebody else do it. It’s the best situation I’ve been confronted with since I’ve been here. When I compare it to the very first year here it’s a difference of night and day.

“Now, I don’t if we have anyone who’s going to go to the Pro Bowl but we have kids who can make plays and catch the football.”

Q: Is there any guy who’s ahead of the others?

VERMEIL: “I don’t know. It varies from day to day. Also what varies is what the coverage was that allowed the quarterback to throw the ball to that receiver. We can go two days out here and not have Sammie Parker catch a ball. Where is he? Patterns and coverages and offense we’re working on makes the ball go somewhere else. But we know if all of a sudden we come out and emphasize getting the ball to him he’s going to catch the football.”

Q: Seems like Jeris McIntyre and John Booth are making plays.

VERMEIL: “You see McIntyre this morning? See, he was a converted running back in college. When we evaluated him we liked him even though he was not a starting receiver. He was the third receiver. I liked his ability to run with the ball after he caught the ball. He’s a big strong kid. Last year he was too heavy. Now he’s 206 pounds and faster and he still has the same strength in his lower body and strong hands. Playing in the NFLEL (Europe) really helped him.

“Same thing with Booth. Never played wide receiver in his life. He’s got the strong lower body; he’s very smart and was a quarterback. He has very good hands and can play in this league as a wide receiver.”

Q: I know you’re tired of being asked about Freddie Mitchell. Is he anywhere close to coming out of the field?

VERMEIL: “I don’t think so. It’s a very confusing thing. It probably shouldn’t be as complicated as it is. I think we’ve got three (medical) opinions now. All those opinions take time and time passes by.

“Yesterday I watched the Philadelphia Eagles playoff game against the Vikings because we play the Vikings Friday night and I wanted to see their last game. Freddie had two touchdowns in that ballgame. Big plays. He played very, very well, so he doesn’t have to prove he can play. But he can’t compete if he’s not healthy.”

Q: Is Chris Horn going to continue being the third receiver?

VERMEIL: “I’m not sure. He’s done a good job and is competitive. He caught a nice touchdown pass in the two minute drill. If it was live maybe Greg Wesley wouldn’t let him catch it. The offense gets excited when it wins and the defense says if it was live we would have killed him.”

Q: Are you thinking about bringing anybody else in to compete with Lawrence Tynes?

VERMEIL: “I don’t know. I get disappointed when I see him miss one every day. It worries me. We’ll see how he does in the preseason.”

Q: Are you concerned about all the injuries you have?

VERMEIL: “We don’t have injuries; we have bumps and bruises. You keep right on going. We had two tight ends yesterday and one of them didn’t even come to training camp with us originally. The other is a free agent out of Idaho State and they played every snap. They were exhausted at the end of practice. They’re great kids. Today we didn’t have many running backs on the field.

“Sometimes we get mad at our trainers. This is football. There are bound to be some boo boos. But we certainly don’t want anyone injured out here that can further injury.”