Linebackers Coach Bill McGovern
September 8, 2017
Q: How big of a loss is not having LB Keenan Robinson on Sunday?
A: Kennan hasn’t been able to practice as much this preseason. So, B.J. (Goodson) has gotten primarily most of the reps in that situation. So, we’re looking forward to seeing B.J. out there on the field.
Q: Is it possible for LB B.J. Goodson to play the whole game?
A: It’s possible. We’ll see how the game unfolds and what situations arise. It’s possible. He’s practiced well. He’s had a lot of snaps this preseason and we’re looking forward to seeing him.
Q: What has LB B.J. Goodson done to prove to you that he can be a player that you have out there in pass situations and sub packages?
A: He’s getting control of our entire defensive package. Then, obviously, the reps out on the field that we’ve seen him do here in preseason. He shows to have the athletic ability to help in the run and the pass.
Q: Did it surprise you what LB B.J. Goodson showed you in the pass game?
A: No. He’s just gotten more opportunities to now to show himself and he’s really made the most of his reps. We’re excited to see him again out there.
Q: How hard is it to come into a defense that is established already, specifically talking about LB B.J. Goodson?
A: I think it’s a credit to B.J., you know, showing his maturity – that he’s assuming some of a leadership role. But, it’s also a credit to the rest of the guys in the huddle. We’ve got a bunch of really good guys in the huddle, other leaders out there, too. It hasn’t been just B.J. doing everything. Yes, he’s making the calls, setting the defense, stuff like that, but there’s other guys out there that are helping him mature and helping him take control of the defense.
Q: How is LB B.J. Goodson setting the defense?
A: It doesn’t matter what you are as long as you’re doing it with confidence and B.J. is practicing and working hard and doing it all with confidence. So, it shows up out there. He’s vocal. He makes decisions and gets us lined up and lets us go play.
Q: How big of a challenge is Ezekiel Elliott?
A: Obviously, he’s a great running back. They have a lot of great weapons on offense. So, again, it’s going to be about our guys focusing on what their job is and what defense is called – they’re executing it.
Q: Talk about LB J.T. Thomas since he did miss almost the whole offseason.
A: J.T. is just starting to get back on the field in the last couple weeks. So, we’re excited to have him back. We’re looking forward to him running around and just kind of adding into it. We’re finding out more and more he can do every time he’s out on the field.
Q: Do you view LB J.T. Thomas as primarily a weak-side linebacker?
A: Wherever he fits. We haven’t had a lot of reps.
Q: Where does LB J.T. Thomas fit?
A: I don’t know. We’ll figure that out as it goes. We haven’t had a lot of reps with him. He’s played primarily right now on the weak side. But, if he’s available and can handle the other stuff, we’ll put him wherever he serves us best.
Q: Can LB J.T. Thomas help in sub packages?
A: Again, we haven’t been out there long enough to say anything about that.
Q: Do you feel uncertain with your linebacker group in some ways?
A: No. I’m excited about the group. Same thing with last year. Coming in, every year is a new year. We’re excited about the whole group on defense. It’s not just the linebackers playing. It’s not just the secondary or the front playing. We’re all playing together. So, we’re excited about the whole group.
Q: What’s the situation with LB Mark Herzlich?
A: It’s obviously disappointing to Mark and to us. We’re concerned right now with the Cowboys and going forward and going after those guys on Sunday night.
Q: Why is LB Jonathan Casillas such a good leader?
A: He brings maturity and leadership. It’s kind of two of his strong traits that he’s out there, he practices every day, he wants the reps. We tried to give him a couple reps off the other day and he got hot at me because he likes being out there practicing. He leads by example. So, it’s a great honor to be named captain and he’s earned it.
Q: Do you like what LB Devon Kennard has given you in terms of playing the strong side and being able to work in and rush the passer?
A: DK has been really good in terms of excelling in his role. Whatever we put him at, whatever we’ve asked him to do – he’s done a great job at exceling at his role and really has done a tremendous job wherever we put him.
Q: Can you talk about DE Romeo Okwara.
A: Romeo is good. Romeo has the physical and mental traits that we think can help us. The more you can do, the more valuable you become. We’re excited to see him keep developing.
Q: How did using DE Romeo Okwara at linebacker come about?
A: You have to give credit probably to Ben (McAdoo) on that. Ben had those flex days where we kind of switched guys at positions and you see him move around, you see his length, you see his athleticism. His mental makeup too really allows him to kind of grasp it quicker than some and that’s what has really helped him.
Q: How big of an adjustment is DE Romeo Okwara moving to linebacker?
A: It’s an adjustment. You’ll have to ask him how big. We expect him to make it.
Q: On days where you switch guys around at practice, what is that like for you as a coach and do you see guys and think about where they could serve elsewhere on field?
A: That’s kind of what we’re trying to do. I think with only 53 guys in the game – you’ll have to ask Ben about this. He can answer better. But, with 53 guys, Ben, I think, is trying to do the right thing by making the most of the 53 guys we have on the roster. So, if we can use them at any other position, we’ll use them at any other position.
Q: Talk more about how you switch guys around at positions?
A: Yeah. Build with it from there. Trying to build from where we see something on it.