Offensive Line Coach Mike Solari
October 13, 2017
Q: What has it been like for you with all the different offensive line combinations?
A: Itís been challenging. Itís been challenging with the offensive line. Theyíre working hard and next man up mentality. And, again, just the changing of the different positions is an adjustment weíre making. Weíre getting better. Weíre getting better.
Q: How do you think OL Brett Jones has done at center?
A: Brett has done well. Brett is a hard worker. Heís always prepared. Heís always working hard and did a nice job with learning the offensive technique and the fundamentals. Critical for the center. Heís the kind of leader of the offensive line, making the calls because calls come from inside out and he did a good job. Doing a great job. Heís improved every day.
Q: Whatís different when you have OL Brett Jones in the lineup opposed to C Weston Richburg?
A: Well, again, the key thing is Ė the nice thing about Brett Ė he works so hard preparing. Heís just like Weston as far as his knowledge, being able to communicate. The most important thing is being able to communicate with that center spot because thatís where all the calls come from Ė from the ID of the front to the blocking schemes and, you know, each of them have their own compliments what they can do best. But, again, the most important thing, theyíre solid football players.
Q: Why do you think your confidence in T Bobby Hart hasnít translated to the field?
A: I think heís getting better. Maybe a little bit inconsistent this last week and I think because of the time he Ė in between the games. I know the second game, he played also. But, the second play he gets hurt and heís out. So, again, thereís a lapse there and in the NFL if you donít practice, you lose a little bit of your skill. Thatís something that weíre working on hard with Bobby and Bobby has worked hard this week at regaining his techniques and skills.
Q: What kind of challenge does Von Miller present?
A: Unbelievable. Unbelievable. Again, heís one of the best and I think itís exciting to be able to play against him. Itís exciting as a coach to prepare against him and heís dynamic. What makes him dynamic? His first step. His initial quickness. The other thing thatís really impressive about Von when you watch him is all his moves. He can go right into a spin. He can go right into a power. Heís got dip and rip. Heís got it all. And itís awesome. And heís special. Itís fun to watch.
Q: How much do you expect the Broncos to move Von Miller around?
A: Theyíll move him. Theyíll move him. Absolutely, they will move him. They have a very good football staff and theyíll make sure, you know, theyíll make sure they move him because they donít want you to bead in on him. They move him as well as from a defensive end spot to a three-technique. Over the guards Ė a three-technique. Heís standing up. But, again, they move him so you canít lock in on him and double him and chip him all day long to help him out.
Q: Do you feel like you need to double Von Miller as much as possible?
A: Yeah, I mean, heís a guy you have to adjust for. Heís a guy you have to change up. You double every time? No. I mean, no. But, again, heís a guy that you want to change up, whether you chip him, whether you slide to him, whether you double him with a tight end chip in, with a back chip in, will you slide your line to them. You have to change up your protection against him as well as moving the pocket, as well as your rhythm of throws.
Q: Is it similar to if you had one guy to be able to follow him all over the place, like a corner?
A: Right. They have the luxury on the other side. They have the luxury on the other side. Again, the key thing is we study each individual, each defensive lineman that weíre going to face or an outside linebacker that weíre going to face. We study their techniques and skills and try to learn and get a feel for them. So, again, every man is prepared for him whatever spot he lines up and you always trust your technique and fundamentals. Thatís the most important thing. Trust your techniques. Trust your fundamentals. Trust your teaching.
Q: Thereís nothing you can do to force Miller to go to the matchup that you would prefer, right?
A: Correct, thatís in their corner. Again, we understand usually he does line up to our right, we understand that. But youíll see him also on the left. They move him in a little bit. But again, just like anything else, we always talk about footwork technique and skills. As a pass rusher, itís the exact same thing. Itís the timing and the rhythm of which foot is first, the hand placement and so forth. So, you get a rhythm also as a better pass rusher on one side or the other. Again, heís talented, either side.
Q: How frustrating are the breakdowns in fundamentals during the games across the offensive line?
A: Well, how you fix it is practice. How do you fix it? As a coach, as a line coach, thatís my responsibility, is drill work. Youíve got to make sure your drills Ė just donít do drills. Your drills are designed, your drills need to change to try to enable that person to achieve that technique, or that movement skill that they need. Each week your skills and your techniques change because of the defensive front. The alignments, the shades, the wider alignments, if thereís variations. Tighter on the line of scrimmage, deeper off the line of scrimmage. So, your techniques, your assignments, your drills change. So, to answer your question, the key thing is to implement your drills on Wednesday and Thursday, so thatís a Thursday in pads, where itís a look that youíre preparing them to see. Or, itís a skill that youíre preparing them to achieve.
Q: How much did you need to stay in left tackle Ereck Flowerís ear early in the season to make sure he stayed confident?
A: Well again, Ereckís working hard, Ereckís working to try to develop the consistency in his techniques. And I think in his play, youíre seeing improvement in some things that we really want him to do and itís coming along. Is it coming along quick enough? For a coach, you always say no. But Ereckís working at it. And as a coach, all you can ask from a player is to work at it, develop the skills, make it a habit. Not just where it shows up once in a while.
Q: Did you worry about his confidence?
A: No. I donít think so. Ereckís strong. Ereckís strongminded. Ereckís strong and I donít think that bothers him. Heís looking forward and trying to get better Ė trying to help us win.
Q: What does D.J. Fluker bring to the table?
A: A physicality. A physicality as a young man. You just talk to him Ė heís exuberant with passion. He loves the game, but heís a physical, tough, hard-nose player and he brings passion. Heís great not only on the football field for us, but heís great in the locker room. Heís great in the classroom. What he brings as a pro, what he brings is just experience and he loves the game. We love the way he practices and we love what he brings to the table.
Q: Have you seen any drop off in Justin Pughís play bouncing back and forth between positions?
A: I think Justin is really working hard. I think Justin is playing at a high level and I say that to you, you know, last year he was banged up a little bit. So, when he came back, like I just said earlier about Bobby (Hart) Ė when he came back thereís a lot of days he missed practicing, staying sharp and so forth. But, heís playing at a high level right now and heís giving everything he has in his technique and fundamentals and finishing, straining, really like what heís doing in the sense of what heís bringing to the table. Heís a finisher. And, itís just a matter of, you know, is lock into a position where you can re-find your techniques.
Q: Thatís hard?
A: Thatís hard. Itís hard. Itís hard. But, again, most important thing is Ė these guys here Ė theyíre working. They donít complain. Theyíre trying to achieve what weíre trying to ask of them as far as their technique and fundamentals and weíre all working to get better.
Q: Whatís it like to have the conversation with Justin Pugh about moving positions?
A: Again, you know Justin. Heís a pro. I mean, Ďwhatever you want me to do to win.í Heís a pro. And, Iím trying to say not only is Justin, but all the men making moves and making adjustments and trying to get the best vibe on the football fields theyíre competing and to get better. The nice thing is, is theyíre competing and itís good. Itís what you want. Itís what makes us better.