Secondary/Safeties Coach David Merritt
November 16, 2015
Q: What are your emotions of the last play, the interception Landon Collins almost had?
A: We spoke and the thing is that opportunities like that donít come around too often, and so the young man understands that there was an opportunity for him to make a big play for the organization, for his teammates, and he came up short with it. Did he have to jump, did he not have to jump, all of that stuff is going through his head, and I just told him, ďHey those opportunities donít come around too often, so you have to learn from it, and letís move on to the next one.Ē
Q: How would you assess his play the first 10 games?
A: Rookie. In a college season right now, it would probably be over and so heís having to hit that second gear and try to get this thing going. Right now as a rookie, to go through the NFL as a starter, to see all of the concepts, and the speed of the game, heís coming along very slowly right now.
Q: This is probably the most time heís been on the sideline this past game, was that a scheme thing or his level of play?
A: Iíll let Spags [Steve Spagnuolo] comment on that, but we have been rotating the guys in.
Q: On a play like the one at the very end, it seemed like he and Dominique [Rodgers-Cromartie] were the closest guys. Is there any way to communicate itís us two and one of us makes a fair catch?
A: I mean you can, you can go to baseball, but in football you donít all of a sudden fold your hands and call everyone off, and you go up and attack the ball and come down with it. If it was baseball, yes, you communicate, but thatís something that you practice and you start to look at your DB and say okay, are you going to go catch it or am I going to catch it? Dominique did the right thing, he said okay, the rookie is there to catch it, and the rookie just has to catch it. If Dominique had gone and bumped into him, then it would have been one of those situations, a far question to ask. Right now Dominque said, shoot, he has it, so he just needs to make the play.
Q: Craig [Dahl] did a pretty good job on [Rob] Gronkowski, were you pleased?
A: Yeah, Dahl has been valuable for us because heís played everything. You guys saw him there playing the will linebacker, heís played safety, and I mean he does it all. Heís done a great job for us.
Q: What have you seen from Brandon [Meriweather], he kind of came in late and had a bit of a reputation to him.
A: I mean, Brandon has a reputation of being a hitter. Brandon is one of those guys that are going to give you some veteran leadership and heís been good for Landon just trying to teach him how to become a pro. Heís a guy whoís playing a lot of snaps for us, and so weíre just trying to make sure that we can get them all to the end of the year, and make sure these guys are all fresh, trying to rotate these guys as much as we can.
Q: What kind of progress have you seen from Landon from when he showed up here to where he is today?
A: Right now, heís moving along slowly. The game is fast mentally for him still, hopefully he can continue to progress, and move toward the player that we all know that we have in him. You hit that little, whatever you call it, rookie wall or whatever it may be. I donít see him doing that, but at the same time having a new scheme and trying to make sure every week thereís a little tweak here and there, he has to be able to pick those things up. Recall is very big in the NFL, you have to recall something that you may have done two or three weeks ago, and all of a sudden we put it in on the sideline, you have to be able to go in and perform.
Q: Earlier in the season, he seemed to have adapted pretty quickly and then in the last few weeks maybe that has not been the case?
A: You guys are evaluating him and seeing his play, but I see him every day. I think the thing thatís happening with Landon is again heís moving along just like most rookies do, especially at a safety position, where you have to not only see formations, but you have to control everything when it comes to the cause. You have to get your linebackers and corners all on the same page, so the thing is to ask any rookie to come into the league and be top notch at that position would be pretty tough. Heís moving along just as I said before, as most rookies have done. Kenny Phillips came in, I always refer back to that, and he sat the bench his rookie year. He came in only in sub packages but Landon is moving along and hopefully for us, last six games that he can pick it up, and just be able to make those calls a little quicker for us.
Q: Do you think thatíll pay off for him down the road?
A: Oh yeah, absolutely. Thereís cloudy or clear. If itís cloudy at all in his mind, then heís going to move a little slower, but if itís clear, heís going to be able to go forth and go fast. When these offenses are shifting in motion and adjustments, and the things that you have to take care of in your own defense, it will definitely pay off for him in the future. Hopefully the future is in two weeks from now.
Q: Whatís made Dahl valuable? What has he done well?
A: The fact that he can go in and play the dime WIL linebacker for us, and go cover a tight end, and also go back and play a half-field, or play a middle of the field. Dahl is everywhere. I mean, you cannot pinpoint him down at one position, so heís very valuable and being able to communicate, he sees formations, he recognizes splits, he understands the game and his study habits are tremendous. Heís able to help Landon in that area.
Q: Did you know that before he came?
A: Oh yeah. I had him as a rookie nine years ago. I had him for two years and to be able to reconnect with Dahl, and I knew exactly what I was getting. A smart player, headsy, and heís a guy thatís going to go out and give you all he has every time.
Q: If heís that valuable, howís a guy like that then available to be had?
A: To be honest with you, again, a situation like that, heís played since heís been here with us, weíve had him on the field. Dahl again is a very valuable player for us.
Q: What does Cooper [Taylor] have to do to get back on the active roster?
A: No comment. I will have to leave that to Coach [Tom] Coughlin and Jerry Reese. I would love to just talk about the players who are actually playing right now.
Q: Just to go back to Dahl, is he different than he was when you had him as a rookie?
A: Oh yeah, heís smarter, so he understands the game, itís clearer to him. Itís not as cloudy and so again, I had him as a rookie and it was very cloudy just trying to understand the NFL system as well as playing fast, but now itís very clear for him.