Offensive Line Coach Mike Solari
August 5, 2016
Q: Whatís been your take working with Ereck Flowers? What have you focused on with him?
A: The thing with Ereck is heís got a lot of ability, a lot of potential. The key thing we have to do with Ereck is develop the consistency. Itís exciting to work with someone like Ereck. Again, Ben has the practice set up beautifully for different situations and now itís just a matter of continuing to coach him and keep having him ascend. The hardest thing in training camp is to be able to develop those habits and make them so that you can put them to work in a game environment. Weíre working at it every day. Every day, weíve got to be able to transfer that to the preseason to the regular season and heís working.
Q: How much progress have you seen from the spring until now?
A: We just started. Weíre improving. As a coach, itís never quick enough but, again, itís getting better. The hard thing at this level is that you have to have the pads on, itís completely different. Itís really important to get the pads on, thatís the greatest thing about training camp. We have a long way to go and theyíre coming, weíre working hard. Very good group of men that are working hard.
Q: As a coach, whatís it like seeing a guy like Flowers going up against a guy like Olivier Vernon?
A: Itís outstanding. It doesnít matter who youíre going against. In my opinion, itís faceless objects. You have to trust your techniques and fundamentals to win a championship. You have to trust your techniques, but thereís different people that put different stress on you, absolutely.
Q: These guys had been coached by one guy (Pat Flaherty) for a long time. How accepting have they been?
A: Pat has done a nice job, but theyíre very accepting. The thing about the NFL is that the player wants to know how you can help him as a coach. Can you make me a better football player? Itís a matter of you being a good teacher, developing their trust and then to apply what youíre teaching to their skill set.
Q: How different is what you ask for technique wise?
Q: In what regard?
A: Iím not sure, Patís not here to compare it right now. Itís just different, everyone has their own flavor. Again, itís technique, details, details, details. The guys are coming along. Weíre very, very specific. Hand points, footwork placement, itís all critical. To execute at the highest level in the NFL, you have to be on your game. Itís just the little things. What the other coach says, Iím not 100 percent sure, but you have to be locked in.
Q: How do you describe the technique that you ask for?
A: I think weíre the highest level of technique and fundamental. I think the offensive line here, when you look at them, youíll see a very good technique, very good fundamentals and an unbelievable relentless effort to finish. Tremendous passion to finish. In the NFL, offensive lines are very talented. Great coaches. I think the difference that sets people apart is the finish in the NFL.
Q: Whatís it like to come in as a new coach and have essentially the five guys returning from last year?
A: Itís great. If it wasnít the same five, itíd still be great. As a coach, you donít have the sense of exactly control of that. My job is whoever I have at that position, coach him so he can play at the highest level and we can win a championship. My job is to get them to understand the fundamentals and techniques to be detailed, specific to get the job done.
Q: The guys on the right side have gotten a lot of scrutiny, what have you seen from them?
A: The right side, just like the left side, is working hard. Theyíre doing everything I ask. They have experience, theyíre knowledgeable football players, and theyíre getting better. Itís going to be exciting. Like I said earlier, we have to take this to the preseason games and be ready to roll.
Q: When you talk about technique and then you have a day like today when itís a little slower and a walk through, and then tomorrow you ramp it up, does today work better for some guys in the things youíre trying to perfect?
A: It doesnít matter the tempo weíre going. Weíre always on, weíre always very specific. We have to keep our shoulders down, get our hand placement right, our footwork has to be proper. It doesnít matter the tempo. The aiming points are the same, the hand placements are always the same and the foot patterns are always the same. It doesnít matter, youíre always working on your technique and your skill. The key thing is to be able to focus no matter the tempo. Youíre setting the tempo, not the defender, as far as what pace youíre going. Youíre always going at the same tempo, so you can develop your techniques.
Q: How would you describe the situation at right tackle? Is it Newhouseís job or is it up for grabs?
A: Itís competition, itís competition. Itís open for them all. We have to get the best five players on the field. Right now, Marshall is working with that first unit, but again, we have guys that are working and competing at that spot. Thatís what the preseason games are for once you work into it. Benís told everyone on the team, itís competitive.