Head Coach Ben McAdoo
August 1, 2017
Q: What did you think of today’s practice?
A: I thought we worked well together. It was good to get the half-line drill going early in practice, we got about 20 reps at it. Productive drill – we went down a couple of times, but for the most part we stayed on our feet. We have to learn to fit our pads in, get our leverage and accelerate our knees on contact. But it was a good start.
Q: Do you think the linemen were ready for the first practice in pads?
A: Yeah, I think the first three days without pads on helped us. Going out and repping the drills and talking about the type of tempo that we want out on the field. And I think both sides responded.
Q: Did you sign kicker Mike Nugent to ‘light a fire’ under kicker Aldrick Rosas?
A: I think competition is good at every spot. So we have some competition, that’s good.
Q: Do you think Nugent will get some kicks in tomorrow?
A: We’ll see. We’ll talk about tomorrow, tomorrow.
Q: What do you like about Nugent?
A: A veteran kicker, has made a lot of big kicks in his career. A talented guy, he’s going to be a good teammate and he’ll provide some good competition for us.
Q: Is there any reason for signing Nugent now, as opposed to the start of training camp or earlier in the spring?
A: We felt it was a good time.
Q: Was it anything that Aldrick Rosas did that made you want to sign Nugent?
A: No, we thought at some point in time we were going to add a kicker to create some competition, we just weren’t sure when we were going to pull the trigger. We thought it would be a good idea in the spring to get Aldrick all the kicks, get him a good foundation underneath him and then provide competition in camp.
Q: Did you see how defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson looked today?
A: I was more running the drill and making sure the drill was run appropriately and having the backs pressed to the feet of the offensive line, so we can get the fits that we’re looking for. And we’ll go in and take a look at the assignments and at the leverages and the fundamentals, but today’s just the first day [in pads].
Q: Is it more important to evaluate the offensive and defensive lineman when the pads are on?
A: Yes. Very important. There’s only so many [padded practices].
Q: Did wide receiver Dwayne Harris get injured in practice?
A: Yes, his shoulder.
Q: Are you wanting the running backs to hit the hole harder during practice?
A: No, I want them to press the heels of the offensive line to set up the blocks. So we can get the fits that we’re looking for, so that we can see – it’s a half-line drill, we’re trying to avoid rollups on the backside for player safety. So, we want to make sure that we set the blocks, so that we have a chance to see the offense and defense engage, see who can sustain and strain through the block and see who can destroy the block, from a defensive perspective.
Q: What have you seen from running back Wayne Gallman so far?
A: I saw a young guy that got knocked around a little bit today. Bounced right back up and made a couple of nice plays later on in practice. But, he’s a young player, has a lot to learn, has a long way to go.
Q: What have you seen from cornerback Eli Apple so far and what is his biggest improvement from last season?
A: It’s a game of confidence and I think Eli is out there with some confidence right now. He has a ways to go fundamentally and he works hard at it each and every day. And you can see him taking what he learns in the film room over to the practice field and he’s competing against some pretty good players out there and he enjoys that, he likes it. His confidence is going up and he’s a big, physical player and he’s playing to that.
Q: Is he going up against Odell Beckham Jr. by design, or is that just how it works out?
A: He’s going up against [wide receiver] Brandon [Marshall], Odell, he’s going up against the top receivers we have on the team and I think he enjoys that part of the game. He’s a competitor.
Q: What does defensive tackle Robert Thomas give you inside?
A: He’s a big man. He’s built low to the ground, he has that natural type of leverage. He’s a little bit of a spark plug. He has some good natural lateral quickness. He’s still learning our techniques, he hasn’t played a lot in pads here. He missed some significant time when he first came on last year for us. But he’s a guy that’s going to keep getting better for us and has some upside.
Q: Does Thomas complement defensive tackle Damon Harrison, or is he more similar to Harrison?
A: I feel that he may be able to go in and do some of Snacks’ role. Asking anybody to be Snacks is a challenge. But he can also play off of him, he has some flexibility there.
Q: How much did Goodson prove something to you in the spring?
A: He showed mentally he can handle it and that’s a big part of it. But we didn’t have any pads on in the spring, we have pads on right now and had them on for one day, so it’s early.
Q: How far has linebacker B.J. Goodson come in commanding the defense?
A: Again, four days into it, let’s get to the games. But B.J. works hard at it each and every day. He’s going to get a lot of reps, he’s going to get a lot of opportunities to master it and he’s going to do it fast, he’s going to do it explosive and we like that about B.J.
Q: How far of a leap has defensive end Romeo Okwara taken from last year to this year?
A: Romeo, he missed some time last year, too. He had a lower body injury early on, so he was kind of late to the party there. But he’s a guy that, he plays with tremendous effort and combatability. He’s a big man that can run on special teams and he gets football, he’s a smart player.
Q: How do you think some of the tight ends responded to lining up at fullback today?
A: We’ll go look at the tape. It wasn’t an adventure if that’s what you were asking. They did a nice job. We ask a lot of our tight ends. They can handle responsibilities off the line, in line, in the slot, out as the number one receiver, in the backfield if need be. We’ll see how they respond as we get going here with pads on.
Q: Are you going to take special interest in the half-line drills and some of the running drills because you really want to emphasize running the ball better?
A: Well, that’s a big part of the game today. You have to make sure you maximize your reps in pads, in the time with pads. We’re going to be smart about how we load the practices, how much time we’re on the field and what we ask players to do. But at the same point in time, when we’re out there, we need to squeeze all the juice out of the orange and make sure we get it to look the way we want it to look, and that’s players and coaches.
Q: Is there a timetable for when you think you will be comfortable with who your kicker is going to be?
A: There’s no set rule, or there’s no hard rule on when we need a kicker. When the competition’s over, it’ll decide itself. We’ll take a kicker into the first game and we’ll roll from there.
Q: How are defensive end Devin Taylor and running back Shane Vereen, who both missed practice today?
A: Shane’s sore and Devin was sore.
Q: Do both Taylor and Vereen have leg injuries?
A: Both lower body injuries, yes.