Head Coach Ben McAdoo
June 16, 2016
Q: What do you think is the most important thing you’ve accomplished out here this spring?
A: I think a few things. We started to establish our identity— without pads— but sound, smart and tough, committed to discipline and poise. We know what it looks like now. We had a chance to sit down, we had a chance to define it and lay the foundation for when we do get the pads on.
Q: How would you describe the identity?
A: Sound, smart and tough, committed to discipline and poise.
Q: Will you speak to them again before they all leave here or is that done with?
A: No. We had a meeting last night, we had one before we left this morning, and we just had another quick one on the field. The veterans have taken the bull by the horns. Coaches obviously have had their thoughts. This is a key time for every club in the league right now— you build to this point. We feel that we could put pads on, give them a couple days off, put pads on, go out and practice for a couple weeks and be ready for the first game. But that’s not the case— they have a little “prep-cation” coming up. They can prepare for what’s coming down the road and we hope they all make smart and wise decisions.
Q: Have you trademarked that [term] “prep-cation?”
A: Prep-cation? No, but that’s a good point.
Q: There are many examples around the league and here of guys not making smart and wise decisions during this off time. Does your anxiety over that go up a little bit now that you’re the head coach instead of the coordinator?
A: No, I think we have a good locker room. We have a strong locker room. I trust them. We educated them. They were listening, they were paying attention, they’re buying in. They’re excited for this upcoming season and I feel we’ll make good decisions.
Q: How big of a year is this for Devon Kennard to kind of establish himself?
A: It’s a big year for everybody. It’s a blessing to be in that locker room. It’s an honor, and everyone has the opportunity to make a huge impact— he’s definitely one of them.
Q: You have a bunch of new guys— Jasper Brinkley came back— but a bunch of different guys at middle linebacker and a lot of new guys there. How much closer or are you any closer to knowing what you have there and possibly knowing what the plan is going to be when the season comes around?
A: Jasper has a little bit of an advantage. It’s his second year in the system. Again, we’re running around— communication is a big part of things at that position, leadership is a big part of things at that position— but at the end of the day, it’s tough to make a decision on middle linebacker without pads on. That’s a big part of it.
Q: Would you like to have a guy that could be out there all three downs or are you okay going with packages? Like we see here when you run first team nickel you’re having Casillas and Kennard out there at times or guys that aren’t necessarily middle linebackers…
A: I think it’s important that by situation we have our best 11 on the field. Period. So it doesn’t necessarily matter if it’s the same guy at all 11 spots. It’s a situational league now, so you have to be smart on who you use and how you train them. And again, it’s up to us to put the best 11 players on the field to win the situation.
Q: What would you say your level of interest is in adding an offensive tackle?
A: My level of interest? Again, we look at all possibilities. You never say never in this business, and if we feel one is out there that can help us, we’ll look into adding him to the mix.
Q: And how accepting or reluctant would you be to move a guy like Ereck Flowers, who has only had one year, if somebody would come out and be more of a left tackle?
A: That’s a hypothetical on a hypothetical, correct? I’d rather not deal in hypotheticals— especially when there are two of them in the same answer— but Ereck is working hard to develop into a standout left tackle for us. We feel he’s making progress, and he had a good offseason.
Q: Several players said that they lost weight and trimmed up— is that something that’s part of your evaluation of the team? Did you want certain guys to maybe get leaner or is that just something they did on their own?
A: No, we set weights and we set body compositions for each guy. We take a look at them when they come in, we’ll see the progress they make, and then we let them know before they leave and they have to sign off on it with their position coach on the weight and the body composition. They’re both important. Different guys want to get a little bit leaner, and that’s fine, as long as they can play their position at the necessary weight and body composition. It’s not just weight— it’s weight and body composition.
Q: What’s this offseason been like for you? Has anything come up that sort of surprised you in your new role?
A: I blinked my eyes and it was over. Very fast, very fast. Tough to slow things down in this business.
Q: Is there anything that excited you in this minicamp or OTAs? Did anything surprise you from the players?
A: I’m in a constant state of excitement right now. Everything is exciting,. Anytime you get a chance to get the players out here on the field and get better and grow, it’s an exciting time.
Q: What has Roger Lewis been able to show you the past couple of weeks?
A: Roger Lewis? He comes out of a system that is not necessarily a pro-style system. He was well-coached in college— that [spread offense system] doesn’t mean he was not well-coached— but he was well-coached in college. His system is not necessarily what we’re throwing at him. We’re throwing a lot at him right now. We gave him some opportunities to run with the first group today and a little bit yesterday, and he’s taken full advantage of it. He’s a guy that has a chip on his shoulder, doesn’t say much and goes about his business the right way. He’s business-like and we like that about him. We feel he has a skillset that we like and we can work with him.
Q: When you give your “prep-cation” talk to the guys, considering what happened last year with Jason Pierre-Paul, do you think it resonates more with guys in this building because you know the kind of shock that can come on what you guys endured last summer and how it kind of framed the entire season?
A: I think that’s probably a better question for the players, but as you know, in this business, making good decisions and surrounding yourself around people you respect, admire, and want to be like is important. And also, anything can come around the corner and bite you in the backside in this business, so you always have to have your head on a swivel that way. But that’s probably a better question for the players.
Q: One of the guys that is a free agent that we were talking about with the offensive linemen is Eugene Monroe— he’s been out there as an advocate for medical marijuana. How do you, as a coach, view that, and is that something that would be troubling to you?
A: I think everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Myself, I haven’t done any research. I don’t have a great answer for you there. That’s probably more of a political question— something that I’m not necessarily willing to jump into at this point, or ever. But every player, every coach, every person with two feet running around has their own opinion and is entitled to it.
Q: What are you going to do over the next six weeks? Are you going to take a break yourself or are you going to continue to go?
A: I’m going to take a little break, be probably a little bit better and spend a little more time with my wife and kids. But I’m going to get a little bit done each day and work a little bit. It’s hard to get away— especially when your passion and your profession merge.
Q: You’ve talked about Roger Lewis and his system— for a receiver who plays in a college spread, how difficult is it for them to transition to a pro style?
A: It’s a huge transition. The advantage that Roger has going for him is that he’s willing to work at it. He keeps his mouth shut and he listens. He takes his coaching, and he’s well-coached— Adam (Henry) does a great job with him. And he’s around a veteran quarterback who’s interested in spending time in developing young players.
Q: Is it the route tree that’s the big difference?
A: There is no route tree. Maybe that’s part of our problem. We’re a west coast offense— no route trees.
Q: Do you have any problem with a player expressing his opinion on medical marijuana or any kind of controversial topic like that?