View Full Version : Q&A with DICK VERMEIL

08-29-2005, 03:54 PM

Aug 29, 2005, 4:29:13 PM

Q: You made cuts today.

DICK VERMEIL: “The first player I want to talk about is veteran Quinton Caver, who’s been with us for three and a half years. Done a really great job on special teams, made over 40 special teams tackles and started four games for us. Just a super guy but with our draft choices and the acquisition of Kendrell Bell it makes it really tough for that kind of guy (to make it). By letting him go a week earlier than we have to, we give him an opportunity to be evaluated by the rest of league and we may be able to help him get a job.

“But he’s a great kid and he’s helped my wife on the Operation Breakthrough program and been good in the community. We’ll miss him; you always miss those kinds of guys who help you build a football team. But that’s part of it.

“The young players that have been released are Sam Gado, Mike Johnson from Kansas State, Darius Jones from Wisconsin, Mike Kallfelz and Justin Perkins from Connecticut, a good young corner prospect, but right now there’s just not enough room on the roster for him, especially with the two seasoned veterans we added. That’s what we’ve done right now. We have a few more decisions to make.

“In regard to our ballgame Saturday night, overall, I’m pleased. You know in pre-season games the evaluation process is a little different: you evaluate the individual and if he’s making strides in his fundamentals and fitting in the scheme you feel good. If one side of the ball shows improvement – like our defense did — and your good players play well when they had their time to play, then you start to say it was a successful game even though you lost.

“Those parameters for measuring success disintegrate as soon as we get into the league season because nothing matters except winning. Play poorly and win, doesn’t matter, just win. But you go through this process trying to get a little bit better each ballgame and we are definitely better, especially from a defensive standpoint. The defensive line played its best ballgame; our two tackles stepped up and accepted the challenge of improving their performance. Ryan Sims played some very big time defense inside. Our linebackers are continuing to grow. Derrick Johnson ruined as many plays as he made.

“I think our defensive ends played well. We need to continue to get better rushing the passer. We’re giving up too many passing yards right now; the quarterback efficiency rating against us is too high right now. But I think we’re going in the right direction. I think we’ll be a better defensive football team. I think we’re going in the right direction and be a better defensive football team. I think it’s pretty glaring to most people.

“I really appreciate the intensity that they’re playing defense. When you hold (Shaun) Alexander to, what, 23 yards rushing in 12 carries that’s less than two yards a carry. He had one 11 yard run in that third quarter drive. We did a good job there, but we didn’t shut down the passing game. You don’t expect to shut it down but you’ve got to do a better job.

“Offensively, I thought we executed with the first unit very well. We went right down the field against a good football team and scored. Our rhythm was good, we were very simple and sound in our approach; our fundamentals were good. We ran the ball very well; Larry (Johnson) ran the ball extremely well and we blocked some plays extremely well for Larry. Of course, the 97-yard run was the highlight of the game. We just showed it to the team a few minutes ago so they all could rejoice. They all participated in that run because no one touched him. Like I said, when you combine fundamentals and execution with speed that’s what you get. You don’t see one of those very often.

“Our concerns right now are pass defense, improvement of our right tackle play in terms of pass protection; I hope that our stamina is good. It’s hard to say. I had planned to play our starting offense into the third quarter but then we didn’t have our quarterback, then Willie Roaf’s back started bothering him, and we weren’t starting our right tackle anyway and then our right guard we only planned to play 20 plays and he played 23. With only two offensive starters left in the offensive line, I just said we’ll go with all the young kids. Nevertheless, I think we got out of the game what we wanted to get out. We didn’t get anybody seriously injured. We got a couple of shoulder dings that shouldn’t prevent anyone from playing.”

Q: What will happen to Shawn Barber?

VERMEIL: “Shawn Barber will go on physically-unable-to-perform and he’ll be on there for six weeks and after that he’ll be able to start working out. We can work him out for two weeks and at that time we will determine either to activate him or put him on IR. He won’t count against our 53-man roster.”

Q: Do you have any interest in Corey Simon who is now available?

VERMEIL: “I would. We haven’t talked about yet. But I plan to talk about it. I just don’t know if we have the money that it would take to get involved. He would be a tremendous addition, believe me. I think everybody in the National Football League at least has to have an interest to inquire.”

Q: Junior Siavii finally got on the field Saturday night. What did you think of him?

VERMEIL: “Way behind where he ought to be. He’s just missed too much work and played like it. He did a couple good things but that’s about all. He just needs a lot of work to catch up. A guy that size who misses that much work is going to need some time. I expect him to be a lot better this week and be able to keep practicing because of his knee problems.”

Q: Is there any shot he gets on IR because of his knee or even be released?

VERMEIL: “No. The football playing ability is there; it’s just all been detained because of the injury factor. We’ve had bad luck with defensive linemen, all the young guys. Eddie Freeman after his rookie year never played in a pre-season game. We had Eric Downing who was hurt and then our first round pick, Ryan Sims, came in his rookie year and he got hurt. We’ve had problems keeping defensive tackles healthy. I don’t know if it’s something we’re doing. But (Siavii) has to stay healthy and work to catch up. His performance doesn’t match his ability right now.”

Q: Where’s John Browning?

VERMEIL: “He’ll be ready to practice some this week, but I still don’t believe we’ll play him. I think he’ll be ready to play in the Jets game.”

Q: What about Kendrell Bell?

VERMEIL: “Kendrell Bell will play this week.”

Q: For sure?


Q: What about his shoulder?

VERMEIL: “I think mentally and physically he thinks it’s better. Mentally he feels more confident in turning it loose and testing it.”

Q: He had a shoulder injury last year or something like that?

VERMEIL: “Last year was a groin problem. He has a shoulder problem but through rehab he has gradually corrected it.”

Q: Any update on Trent Green and the soreness in his leg?

VERMEIL: “Well, they’ve ruled everything out. They can’t find anything wrong. They’ve MRI’d, CAT scanned, mammogramed. (laughed) They’ve done the whole thing. I said give him every test you can give him. That’s how it is and they can’t find anything wrong.”

Q: Are you overly concerned?

VERMEIL: “Not overly concerned. We’re aware that it’s there and doing everything we can to treat it properly.”

Q: Could he have played a full game had it been regular season?

VERMEIL: “He could have the other day. He said he could have. Whenever you have that as a quarterback it’s a distraction, takes away your focus and concentration. He played pretty well with it. He was six of seven. He proved he could play with it, but I don’t know how long. He came off the field and they massaged it and relieved it. The numbness in the foot goes away but it comes back as he exercises again.”

Q: Will any of the injured quarterbacks be back this Friday night?

VERMEIL: “I think (Damon) Huard will be ready to go.”

Q: He will practice tomorrow?

VERMEIL: “I think so.”

Q: Kris Griffin?

VERMEIL: “Kris Griffin’s got a chance to play.”

Q: Do you think Trent will start Friday night?

VERMEIL: “Yes. I’d like to think the starters will play at least a quarter, just like I’ve always done in the fourth game (of pre-season.) Maybe Shields a few more snaps because he’s only played 23 snaps this whole training camp. He needs some. But we’ll talk and discuss that more.”

Q: What about Carlos Hall?

VERMEIL: “He’ll play; I think he’ll play a little bit more. I’m concerned about his knees getting sore.”

Q: Isn’t it his elbow?

VERMEIL: “No. His knees got sore. He played awfully well when he was in there. He’s a playmaker. But it’s a problem he’s had for a few years of his career. He said, ‘coach, if it were not a pre-season game I wouldn’t have come out. I would have stayed and played.’ It’s pro football to him because he’s used to sore knees.”

Q: Do you need another week to evaluate those veteran corners?

VERMEIL: “Well, you’d like to have another week. They both can still play. Which one can still play the best is the hardest decision.”

Q: Any chance Freddie Mitchell is there this weekend?

VERMEIL: “He will play this weekend. We worked him out full-speed today and he worked out very good. He’ll work his butt off all week and get ready to play. It’s an intense audition.”

Q: How did he look?

VERMEIL: “He looked good. I didn’t go to the workout but Al Saunders and Charlie Joiner were and they said he worked out just like when we brought him here full-speed. He looked like Freddie Mitchell’s supposed to look. We’ll see if he can carry that through the week in preparation and into the ballgame.”

Q: How would you ultimately like to use Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson?

VERMEIL: “I don’t know; I really don’t know. I don’t know if there’s a scientific way to do it. I think there’s an impulsive way to do it. You see someone who’s breathing a little hard, who’s carried the ball three times and got whacked pretty good; boom, you send the other guy in.

“But I have never been in a position where I’ve had two running backs with comparable skills. Not many coaches have. I think we’ll learn how to use it best as we go along and may have specific things in each game plan for each guy.

“I’ve never really liked to run running backs by committee. But I’ve never had two guys like this before. It’s not a problem. It’s better to be that way than have only one guy.”

Q: Is there one thing that you see that Larry does better than Priest or that Priest does better than Larry?

VERMEIL: “Well, they both have differences. Larry has more top-end speed. Priest can probably make a little bit more out of nothing. When things break down at the line of scrimmage he can make all those darting cuts, ricochets, and with his smaller body and shorter legs and a shorter center of gravity he can make more things happen in that area. But he’s not as fast once he gets into the open and isn’t as strong in the legs as Larry is. But Priest is very strong in the shoulder pads because he gets his pads down and can use them as battering rams where a taller guy uses the power in his legs. So, they’re two different styles. It’s an unbelievable one-two punch.”

Q: Do you worry about guys becoming frustrated about not playing as much?

VERMEIL: “I don’t know if anyone not playing as much as he thinks he ought to play is ever really happy. But I think most of the time they’re professional. I think I have a lot of young guys who would be more happy if they played more.”