Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo
October 19, 2017
Opening Statement: Beautiful day. Enjoy that. We had two really nice days. Hopefully, that reflects what will happen on Sunday, but thatís not guaranteed. So, with that, Iíll open it up.
Q: What was the big turning point for the run defense last week?
A: I donít know if I can put my finger on it other than they had the Ė early in the game, we had a couple with some pressures and stops that I think our guys got a little confidence in the run game. They came with the right attitude, Iíll tell you that. They were determined to stop the run and that doesnít always mean youíre going to stop it because the team youíre playing has something to say about that, too. But I think we were all encouraged by that. Hopefully, weíll continue. Again, thereís no guarantees this week. Itís a whole new challenge.
Q: How great is it to have CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie back?
A: Yeah. Yeah. It was good to have him out there. He enjoys football. We enjoy that.
Q: Does he fit right back into where he was?
A: Iím going to tell you this right now Ė Iím not going to answer those questions. Iíll tell you why. Iím not telling Seattle what weíre doing and I hope you can respect that and appreciate it. Weíre going to do whatever weíre going to do and weíll do it on Sunday.
Q: How big of a loss is DE Romeo Okwara?
A: Yeah. Yeah. It was discouraging for him and disappointing for us that he had to go on injured reserve. Now we have to find ourselves another defensive end. I mean, Avery (Moss) has stepped in there. But, you know, Romeo will have to fight through it to come back. I mean, itís the old next man up, right? Thatís what we have to do. Canít control it.
Q: You have DE Cap Capi now.
A: Capi. Yeah. Heís Ė well, we donít know a lot about him because we didnít get him until after training camp and itís really hard once you get into the season to evaluate some of these talents with regards to playing in a real game. You donít want to use your team reps or the reps you get on the field for someone thatís not going to play in the game. So, itís really, really difficult. I mean, his effort has been great and if we have to use him, weíll use him, but I donít really have a good feel.
Q: What have you seen from DE Avery Moss?
A: I think heís made really good jumps since heís been here. I mean, I thought it was obvious when he first got here and Pat (Graham) and I talked about it that he looked like a fish out of water just because, you know, small school. But, I think heís really come along. I think heís got a little more confidence. The guys trust him a little bit more and the system obviously feels a little bit more comfortable for him, so weíll move him around a little bit. Weíve probably put a little pressure on him playing in different spots, but thatís what heís got to do if youíre a backup defensive starter.
Q: Whatís the difference in dynamic for a coordinator when it comes to calling plays or not calling plays?
A: Iím not sure I can answer that because Iíve never done it. I donít know that Iím an expert on that. Probably just give advice as you go. I donít know that. I mean, the closest thing I had was when I was a head coach in St. Louis and we had a defensive coordinator. The two of us Ė we kind of worked together on calls just bouncing things off each other during the course of the game. But, other than that, I donít know it the other way around, to be honest with you.
Q: Knowing offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan like you do, how do you see him as a play caller?
A: I think heís great. Iím happy Mike is here. Iím glad we both got back together whatever year it was. Itís been a few years now. I got a lot of respect for the person he is and the way he coaches football. Heís a great asset to us.
Q: What can you say about LB Nigel Harris?
A: Found his way back to New York, right? Heís back. Hard for me to get a real good feel. Heís a guy Ė I know heís athletic and I have a relationship with a coach down at his college and he says good things about him, so from what we know right now, itís really positive. His role initially is going to be special teams, so heís got to kind of cut his teeth that way fully and then slowly but surely, hopefully we can get him segued into being a linebacker, but itís going to take a little while.
Q: What did you find as a head coach you could do more of when you werenít calling the plays?
A: I lost you on that.
Q: When youíre the head coach and now all the sudden youíre not calling the plays, what were you able to do?
A: Well, I mean, when youíre the head coach, no matter what Ė whether youíre calling it, involved fully, half Ė youíre still managing the game. I donít think that part changes. I guess if youíre not thinking about the next play on defense or on offense, you could be focused on other things. But, thereís a lot of guys in this league that function as head coaches managing the game and call the plays. I mean, theyíre all over the league. So, youíre certainly able to do it one way or the other. More minds, the better, I guess. Too many minds can mess it up, too. But you have to find that balance, and Iím sure thatís what Mike (Sullivan) and Ben (McAdoo) did last week.
Q: CB Eli Apple and S Darian Thompson, both young players, looked like they bounced back last week.
A: Iím glad you asked about both of them. I thought they played really good games, too. Look it, in this game, at the level that they play, as competitive as it is, and everybody we go against has really good players, too. To me, when you can gain some confidence, then you automatically become a better football player, in my opinion. So I think both those guys, slowly but surely, have gained confidence. When you go to Darian, thereís no denying it, in our minds, heís really a rookie. I mean, he only played a game and a half last year, then spent the whole year on injured reserve. Heís finally finding his way. I know this Ė the guyís got confidence (inaudible) and that was the first thing.
Q: Was that vintage DE Jason Pierre-Paul in Denver?
A: Yeah. It was pretty good. Now, we can always find plays where we need him to be better. Iím sure he feels the same way. I thought his comment that I happened to see. Look, weíre going to make mistakes, but effort can outweigh that all the time. And, I think all the guys kind of focused on that.
Q: It seems like S Darian Thompson picked up his game after his interception against the Chargers.
A: Confidence. Confidence. I go back to Landon Collins the same way. People tagged Landon as a guy who couldnít catch the ball and now heís kind of (inaudible) because he worked at it and Darian Thompson has done the same thing. So, hopefully itíll be a spark. Weíll see.
Q: What have you thought about the spark to S Landon Collinsí season?
A: Well, you know, heís fighting the injury right now and that kind of slows him down. I donít know. I donít sit back and assess it and put it in a Ė again, I think somebody asked me the same thing. I think youíre better off asking Landon how he feels. I mean, I just do it week by week. I know what we need him to do this week. Last week is behind us. We do talk about mistakes we make and donít repeat them and hopefully heís not repeating them.
Q: Can you talk about CB Eli Appleís ankle injury and the affect that his ankle injury in the summer had on his confidence early on?
A: I donít know that. I thought he was healthy coming back, so Iím not sure I can answer that whether itíll affect him or not. Iím sure in his mind it didnít. Interesting question. Iím not sure I can answer.
Q: What did you think of CB Donte Deayon?
A: Great. Brought energy. Love that guy. Went out there and made another big play. I donít know if Ė you probably werenít out there to see it, but we have to keep oiling him up, keep getting him reps.