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Thursday Media Transcript: DC Steve Spagnuolo

Eric from BBI : Admin : 9/8/2016 5:54 pm
Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo

September 8, 2016

Q: How do you prepare for the unknown, Dak Prescott?

A: It is not easy. It is not easy to do. We are trying to dig for all kinds of information. We have talked to Marc Ross and our college scouts about what they had on Prescott out of college. Obviously the film in preseason. Landon Collins faced him in the SEC, some of those guys we have talked to, but it is just little bits and pieces of information. Look, we have to defend the offense and I think Ben mentioned it the other day, this offense, I think it all begins up front. Those offense linemen --- that is a good line. You start looking around their offense and there are not a lot of weaknesses in my opinion and the quarterback has been playing really well. When you put the tape on, I am sure you guys have watched him in the preseason games, he has been impressive. Add a really talented couple of running backs in there and there are some matchup problems, but as far as preparing for a quarterback that is an unknown, it is a little tricky. I remember going through it, believe it or not, in 2012. RG3, we faced him when I was in New Orleans, he was with the Redskins and it was the first game he was going to play. They ran no option football plays all preseason. Mike Shanahan was smart. We expected it, but we really didnít know how much to work on it, so you did it enough and they got us on that.

Q: How much did they run it?

A: Enough. They ran enough. When you donít face it from your own offense for the whole spring and whole training camp, it takes a little oiling up and I think they will have a little bit of that, too.

Q: I think that game was the last time a team had a rookie quarterback and a rookie running back in Week 1?

A: You have a better memory than me.

Q: You have to face that in Ezekiel Elliott, too, right?

A: To me, you put the tape on and watch a running back like that, I know he didnít have a lot of plays, but we watched some Ohio State tape. We know what we are dealing with there. That is a quality running back. You see him in the Seattle game, the way he ran. He is a tough, physical guy that can get to the edge and can take the corner and run by people. We know what we are dealing with that way. Morris is a good quality back, too, an inside guy, but we faced him before and he can find an edge. You watch them, look at them on paper, watch the film, this is a good offense.

Q: That running back, the offensive line, rookie quarterback. How important is Damon Harrison this week?

A: Oh yeah, big. But Damon is going to be important everywhere we go. That is why he is here. That is why we got him. I watched him out there today, he is a leader. We are hoping he demands double teams. I am hoping people canít block him one on one. That is what he is here for and he is that kind of player. We just have to get him out there and let these guys go.

Q: Jerry Reese revamped the defense this offseason. Do you feel like the kid in the candy store?

A: If I am, I am looking for more candy. The more candy, the better, right? You are always looking for more. No, look it, I really like the way the guys have come together. I just think the feel, I donít know what you call it, the chemistry, the way they are kind of gelling a little bit on the field. I was just in there in the back end meeting where we were doing all the pass plays and just even in the meeting, the talk, the communication has been really good. Kelvin Sheppard has been great in the middle, Landon is another year into it, so he is talking more. Everybody, go back to when they were 22 years old and they were thrown into a situation where everybody was older than them and it was all new, you tend not to say very much, but these guys are kind of coming into their own and it is helping.

Q: If and when heís healthy is Darian Thompson your starter at the other safety spot?

A: Donít know that yet. We have to make that call here shortly. Dave (Merritt) and I talked about it last night. Thereís a little bit of the special teamsí realm in that. Whoever the backup is will probably play a little more special teams. As coaches, with Ben involved, we have to figure that out. Right now during the week of prep, both of those guys have had about equal reps. Part of that was to keep Nat (Berhe) out there because heís deserved to be out there. Heís played pretty well. Then try and get DT back up and going here. Weíll see.

Q: Howís he looked to you?

A: It was a shoulder. I saw him thud up. It didnít look like he shied away from it. I think he feels like heís okay.

Q: Compared to a year ago with this defense, can you bring more this year or is it with all the new people, you canít bring everything?

A: Weíll figure it out as we go. With this team that weíre playing, itís not all about bringing people. If we donít stop them from running the football first, weíll never get to the other stuff. We know people are talking about confuse the rookie quarterback. Well, the confusion in the rookie quarterback is more when you can get him behind schedule. If theyíre ahead of schedule and all he has to do is hand it off and run his play-action passes, there isnít going to be anything we can do to confuse that. Itís going to be on us up front, on the second level, to keep them from dictating the game by running the ball. I think itís going to begin there. We spent a lot of time on that.

Q: Sheppard will wear the radio?

A: Yes. Heíll have one in. Whoever we can get in there as the backup MIKE, we havenít decided that yet, but it will be Shepp.

Q: I know you said you talked to Marc Ross, do you go back and look at Dak and Elliottís college tape because thereís so little on them?

A: I zipped through it just because I wanted to get a feel. Heís a heck of an athlete. Heís won some big games, too, this Prescott. Heís been on the big stage. If youíre a rookie quarterback coming in, wouldnít you like to have that offensive line in front of you? Those guys to hand the ball off to and number 88 and 82 to throw it to in a possession pass game? Marc put together some pass plays of Dakís and we took 20, 25 plays of Elliott. We showed the guys that he can get the edge and what kind of speed he had.

Q: Last year there was a lot of talk about matching up. Would you match up DRC on Dez, that kind of thing. With DRC and Jack Rabbit, do you play straight up?

A: Yes, pretty much. There are some packages in there where we might take the guy and match him. Weíll put those guys out there for a play but it helps to have a guy on either side.

Q: What are the advantages of having that?

A: Their cardiovascular isnít as bad because they donít have to run across the field. Really itís just getting lined up. I say that, Iím kidding when I say that, but when you can as a corner just stay over there, believe it or not, you get a little more rest in between the plays. We have some packages where youíll see that.

Q: When you see OV and JPP running sprints in between plays, are you curious to see what effect that has on them?

A: Weíve done that before. Typically weíve done that when the offense has their period. Usually the guys are over there getting some conditioning. I will say this, OV started that from day one. It was just him. Slowly but surely, 90 made his way over there. Today, you wouldíve seen Hankins over there. I told OV the very first day and he did that on his own, that that will filter to our guys. Thatís leadership. Thatís silent leadership. He didnít really have to say anything. The guys realized what he was trying to do. I think thatís been his regimen. Thatís what heís always done. I know other teams that have done the same thing. Itís not coach dictated. Itís just guys getting themselves ready to play. I think itís a great thing.

Q: How comfortable are you if Eli Apple is matched up with Dez? Is that something youíll try and scheme to avoid?

A: Maybe you do, maybe you donít. Even when you try to do that, Dallas is smart enough, theyíll move Dez around. Eli at some point is going to have to step up and make those plays. It felt to me that maybe even New England and the Jets did try to find 28, or I guess 24 now. Thatís what you have to deal with as a rookie corner. Theyíre going to try. Iím sure if they can get it done somehow, some way, theyíll get it done this week.
it is common folklore that the Giants always lose to  
plato : 9/8/2016 6:14 pm : link
backup QB's. I'm frightened that won't change on Sunday
The OV sprint thing is so interesting to me...  
Dan in the Springs : 9/8/2016 6:42 pm : link
the story was told back in August about how he brought that with him from Miami and how it caught on with JPP. The only thing is that a little before that story ran, JPP was taking credit for doing it a year ago. Here you have Spags confirming that OV was the first to do it, and that JPP followed his leadership.

I remember the sequence of stories specifically because I was somewhat surprised that JPP had shown the "silent leadership" that coach Spags referred to. The next day after I posted on it the story completely changed giving the leadership credit to OV. I'll try to find some links and go back to JPP's original quote. Maybe I just misread it.
Here was the quote...  
Dan in the Springs : 9/8/2016 6:59 pm : link

Q: How much running and stuff that you do with OV?

A: It's consistent. I did it last year, on the sidelines by myself. But this time, we actually have a guy that actually wants to do it and we're doing it together. Like I said, we're striving to be the best. With OV, he knows what he's got to do to be the best and I know what I have to do to be at my best.

It seemed to me that he was taking credit for starting this. I'm not trying to make a big deal about it, but it came across kind of funny because as I said, the next day I was reading about how OV was the one who started this practice.
Transcript from 8/22 - ( New Window )
And here was the article that followed from Raanan...  
Dan in the Springs : 9/8/2016 7:04 pm : link
Jordan gives tons of credit to OV for his leadership...
Calls it the "OV effect" - ( New Window )
RE: it is common folklore that the Giants always lose to  
Les in TO : 9/8/2016 8:30 pm : link
In comment 13110115 plato said:
backup QB's. I'm frightened that won't change on Sunday
under fassel that was true but not under mcadoo

I assume Spags' comments about Dak are false and that he knows exactly what he's dealing with on Sunday because it definitely did not portray confidence
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