Offensive Line Coach Mike Solari
June 7, 2017
Q: On Flowers and Hart working during the offseason and how they improved.
A: They both were around, working out in the weight room. They were committed. Also, Bobby and Ereck were here together to develop some competition and camaraderie. So, it's really good, you could see the difference in the sense of their condition and where they are right now at this point.
Q: How does that help their technique?
A: In that aspect, itís improving their conditioning, their strength, their flexibility. So, all those things add up in a sense of they will perform better at your task. Again, their technique has to be on the football field. The technique, for an offensive lineman, you have to have your pads on. So again, right now, it's more communication, it's more learning the playbook, and just being more detailed on your assignments and your technique. For an offensive lineman, until you could put the pads on, that when you'll really ascend as an offensive lineman.
Q: So, you won't get a good feel for how much these guys improved until August when they get the pads on?
A: Yes. That is exactly right. Again, because of the intensity and so forth. But at this point again here, in the sense of the stress on the aiming points, the footwork, and hand placements, you could develop that aspect. But again, when the pads come on, the intensity picks up tremendously. Now, can you carry over that technique, literally from walk-through, OTAs and since they are limited to what you could do competitively, to when you put the pads on now, you could develop and really hone in on your skills.
Q: How much is the benefit to go against a great defensive line when you get to camp to see where they are?
A: Excellent. Again, those are the best, and again, any time you're working against them. Now even here in the OTAs, it's beneficial, because of that quickness and explosion that they have on their first step, there is no wasted movement by them defensively, so that really helps us. As well as the big men, the big defensive tackles, that really helps us with going against Snacks [Damon Harrison].
Q: How do you break the bad habits with Ereck?
A: Well, just like everything else, you work different drills, you work techniques, and you just keep honing in until you could make it where you don't have to think about it and its part of your toolkit. The thing is, what we're excited about, and Ereck is excited about, so is Bobby and not just those two men, everybody. They are committed. Aaron Wellman did a beautiful job in the sense of where they need to improve on. Physically working in the weight room, conditioning aspect, you could tell the difference. I believe you could tell the difference, in the terms of their body types and where they're at physically at this time of the season. It's still early, so that's really encouraging.
Q: Where do you think Ereck is mentally, as he's been the subject of a lot of criticism?
A: Good. Ereck is solid. They do a nice job in the classroom. You're not privy to that, but they do a nice job in the classroom. They're into it, they're learning, they're into the film study, they're into their techniques. They know what they are trying to work on, they know what they are trying to achieve.
Q: What has D.J. Fluker shown you since he's gotten here?
A: Big Man. D.J. is a pro, he comes to work every day and he gives everything he has. He's done a nice job in the classroom, learning and developing and we're excited about having him when the pads come on.
Q: Do you see him playing guard or tackle?
A: We like him at guard. He's got experience at tackle, as we all know from Alabama, when he initially came into the league but his strengths are at guard. There will be a point, where we do want to rep him a little bit at tackle, just for versatility, so if he is not the starter, he is able to go to tackle in need. But guard is his strength and guard is where we like him.
Q: Why did you ask him to reshape his body to fit what you guys do and what you're going to ask of him?
A: He knows being a pro, in the sense of working on his conditioning and getting his weight down and so forth, so he could move better. That's something he's always working on and he's working hard in the weight room.
Q: How much did Weston Richburgís hand injury affect him?
A: That hurts. That hurts you; your hand placement, your ability to grab, ability to work the chest plate is a big part of the game. So that was tough for him, and he worked through it and he performed at the highest level that he could without being able to use that hand at full strength. But it would be a big difference this year.
Q: When you lost Justin Pugh for a couple of weeks, did that throw things off?
A: We had a mix of offensive linemen in there last year, but it makes the unit stronger as far as getting you more versatility and having guys that can plug in anytime. There still has to be synergy, no matter who's in there, those five have to function better than one.
Q: But is there something to be said for continuity?
A: Absolutely. You're absolutely right, the two Super Bowl teams, right. Thatís a big difference. But [for us] whether it was Marshall [Newhouse], whether it was Adam [Gettis], whether it was Brett [Jones] in there; they all did a good job in the sense of communicating and doing what we needed to do to be successful.
Q: Do you look at [Adam] Bisnowaty primarily as a right tackle?
A: It's still early. Right now, we got him at right tackle, but he's a guy that could, he has versatility, he could go to guard. He has played a little guard in his career, obviously at left tackle, but right now, we like him at right tackle. Try to get him as many reps as possible, so when training camp comes, these young rookies are ready to compete.
Q: What are you seeing out of [Chad] Wheeler?
A: Chad is working hard. [Jessamen] Dunker is working hard. All three men are working hard, and that's what we need from then right now. They're doing a nice job in the classroom, Lunda Wells is doing a great job with them, bringing them along and does a great job as a coach.