Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo
October 20, 2016
Q: Does it help that you've been there (London) and having been through this?
A: A little bit, yeah. I think we did it pretty much exactly the same way, which I thought was pretty good last time. I'm hoping it works out the same way.
Q: There was a point last week where (Case) Keenum hit 19 (passes) in a row. What is he doing?
A: He's completing them. He's throwing them. I think their offense has gotten better and better every game that they've played, which is scary for us, having to play them in the 7th game. The offensive line is playing better together, the quarterback I've always thought was a really smart football player and could function the way they need. The running back, wide-outs they have, they're a good football team when we look at them.
Q: Do you think you'll have Eli Apple on Sunday?
A: We're hoping. He did a little bit more today. That's Ben McAdoo's call. We certainly don't want to set him back like with what happened last time. He came off the hamstring, and then it set him back with the groin, so we don't want that to happen. We'll have to be smart about it. I'm sure Ben will make that decision.
Q: How close is Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie?
A: He looks good. He's been running around pretty good this week. I think we'll be okay there but I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch. I'm watching both of them dancing through the window there right now, so it can't be all that bad. That's what the music will do.
Q: How has Andrew Adams played?
A: Andrew's been solid. He has made some normal rookie mistakes, they show up in the game but if those mistakes as a safety can be ones that don't kill us in the football game, we can survive them. He had to step in there going from practice squad, not getting a lot of reps, having to be thrown in the fire right away. I think he's done an admirable job, really.
Q: Olivier Vernon was standing up a lot on Sunday, is that wrist related or is that something else?
A: Part of it is. He's been on different sides. It's been hard for him to figure out because it does bother him. He doesn't use it very much all week long and then I think the adrenaline of the game gets him going and he plays. He's getting better and hopefully he's over the hump with that and it won't affect him as much.
Q: The switch in sides is pretty much related to that?
A: Both. I mean, calls and sometimes in the course of the game if it starts to bother him, he feels more comfortable versus the run on one side. We try to help him as much as we can. We're always talking about it.
Q: Not to disclose your game plan, but it seems like a lot of teams, when they face the Rams, want to stop (Todd) Gurley first.
A: I'll tell you, if you don't find a way to do that...they're pretty smart, they just keep giving him the ball. I think it all begins there, like most teams that have a good running back. If we can't do that, it'll be a long day so we're focused on it. Hopefully the things we have in place will take care of that and take care of the pass game. One thing we'd like to be able to do is come up with the ball a little bit more so we've worked on that quite a bit.
Q: Anything for you going against the Rams?
A: No, it's the Los Angeles Rams (laughs), I was in St. Louis. Not really. We've played a lot of teams this year already.
Q: Can you comment on Landon Collins? He looks like he's really been a powerhouse back there.
A: Landon, second year. We tell him he's not a rookie anymore because you're past your third game in your second year. He functions with the guys, the vets really well. I think having played in Alabama really helps those guys. It's not too big for him. It never was at the beginning, and it isn't now. The one thing I really like about him, is when he makes a mistake or something doesn't go well, he's the kind of guy that can shake if off really quick. He just moves on to the next play, it doesn't stay with him. And, he works every day. We're always doing ball drills; he's always talking about the scheme. He's done a great job.
Q: Has he been bothered by the fact that he hasn't had a consistent partner back there?
A: He wouldn't say that because you just play with the guy that's there. There's something to that. It's like anything else, when you get a little bit of chemistry with somebody, it makes you feel more comfortable in the course of the game. I'm sure he's been working through that. But, right now him and Andrew are working pretty good.
Q: Where do you see the difference in him when he's going forward and that aggressiveness in him seems so impressive versus when sometimes he's asked to be more defensive (moving backwards)?
A: We try to get him in Nat Berhe's spot as much as we can, but as a safety in this league, you're going to be asked to go deep and make those kind of plays. Last year, there was some that I think he'd like to have back and have made. I think we would have liked to come up with those balls, although one wouldn't have mattered because we ended up with the roughing the quarterback. Again, that's one of the things I was saying, we work on that every day. I think he's gotten better at it and hopefully somewhere along the way something deep will land in his hands.
Q: Do you think defensively players can improve their ball skills?
A: I do. Look, Tiger Woods is the greatest golfer of all-time and he went out every day and hit a thousand nine irons. I think if you do something over and over, especially catching and ball skills, I think you can get better at it. He wants to and he does it all the time.
Q: Did I miss you being asked about DRC's penalty?
A: You didn't miss it. I forget, what penalty are you talking about?
Q: Have you heard back from the league on that?
A: I haven't heard anything. You'd have to ask Ben about that one.
Q: What does it take to get past something like that and keep playing because the games not over?
A: Back there on the back end, it's probably no different than when the ball goes over your head. The receiver catches it, and you have to tackle him and get up and play again. If you get caught up on what happened on the last one and why it happened, and who's at fault, then it could be a problem. Our guys had to recover from that. I think they did when we finally had to go back out there after Odell scored. We found a way to win the game.
Q: Do you find yourself stealing any glances at Darian Thompson being out there and doing a little work with the trainers?
A: Yeah, I did. I was just happy to see there was no boot on his foot. I told him today, I thought he looked a little taller without the boot. I don't know if that's true or not. It's good to see him moving a little bit.
Q: It's been a long time but it seems like you guys have been patient with that situation?
A: Look, you hurry guys out there then you're fighting something. The ultimate goal is to get them back, get them healthy, get them playing. Hopefully after this bye week we get him.
Q: How fine of a line is it between roughing the quarterback and?
A: They give you a step and half or step, whatever it is. Look, when you slow it down, you evaluate as a defensive line group, it's legit, it's not legit. If it's too close you got to be careful. It's 4th down. Hopefully it won't happen again.