Defensive Line Coach Patrick Graham
October 20, 2017
Q: How much is on DE Avery Moss to step up?
A: A lot. Luckily, heís been working pretty hard since we got him and studying really hard. Kidís a smart kid. Smart kid, has a lot of natural ability and what weíve tried to do as a coaching staff and also himself working with him and even like OV (Olivier Vernon) talked to him. Trying to get him to play to his abilities better and just try to emphasize the things he does right like the explosiveness, the get off. Things of that nature. Being violent with his hands. I mean, he knows that weíre counting on him a lot now. He has to grow up in terms of a football player. I think heís pretty mature as a person and professional, but Iím looking forward to him getting an expanded role and playing more.
Q: What did you see from him last week?
A: Last week, what you saw from him Ė you saw the explosiveness, you saw whether it was the violence with the hands, the get off in the pass rush. The thing that was missing probably you would say is just the experience. Like, OK, you need to finish here. Alright, you need to get into your transition quicker. And, all the things he can do is just the process as a young player, like being able to process it and being able to execute out there on the field at a faster pace. But, itíll come. Itíll come out. Thatís why we like him.
Q: Can you tell him just to go out there and play and try not to think about it?
A: No. You have to be careful doing that like you know, you want the game Ė they play the game out there between the white lines and we coach them. We try to give them some tools, try to cut down the variables for those guys and what we do is we go back and we watch the tape and say, ĎOK, see here you could have transitioned quicker. Alright?í And just try to bring it to his attention because, again, I canít control what he sees out there on the field. I can point it out as a coach. You just hope that with time and with reps and practice, more importantly, that the transition speeds up for him, but heíll be OK. Heíll be OK.
Q: How pleased were you to see the run defense this week with DT Damon Harrison?
A: Iím a D-line coach. If I wasnít happy with Ė but, you know, we got a big challenge this week, though, too. But, I mean, I would be lying if I told you that I wasnít happy with the way we played the run. Itís the same challenge thatís going to come up this week versus Seattle. They got a good O-line. Those guys play very hard. Their O-line coach gets them to play hard. Those guys Ė theyíre executing what their coach wants them to do. They play with a mean streak and I got a lot of respect for those guys and then you put that with the ball carriers that they have that are dynamic with the ball, whether itís the guys with speed or (Eddie) Lacy with just power. But, the key from last week that we had that weíre trying to carry over to this week Ė we have to constrict the space on the field. Whatever it is in the run game, you got to just constrict the space so thereís less lanes for them to run through and do a good job of that and I think when we went back and evaluated last week, you know weíre moving on. Thatís what happened Ė the space in there was constricted and we just got to do a better Ė keep working on doing a better job of that.
Q: How can you contain a guy like Russell Wilson with his ability to extend the play?
A: Man, I remember Russ when I was a coach at the University of Richmond. His brother played for us there and he worked as our ball guy a little bit. He was a little guy. We tried to offer him like in eighth grade. This guy Ė I mean I couldnít contain him out there in eighth grade, but weíre going to try our best. I mean, the thing is we got a plan to try to work around that, but heís an elite player. The guy has been a good player for a long time in this league and heís dynamic with the ball in his hands whether itís run or pass. But, we have a plan for it. Iím not going to get into any specifics, but heís not the only person we have to defend out there on the field, either. Weíre going to play our defense, defend the field how we know how to in the situation and see how it plays out.
Q: How unique is Russell Wilsonís drop back?
A: His launch point changes, but unique Ė like heís different. Heís definitely a different player, but I hate when a question about unique or the history of the league, I mean, there have been a lot of players like that. Whether it was Randall Cunningham or even when Aaron Rodgers was dropping back, but our plan for Russell is just to try to keep everything in front and just, you know, heís a challenge. Heís a challenge, but heís a good player. So, whatever theyíre coaching him to do or whatever heís doing as a player, wherever his launch point is, I mean, we got to adjust to that. Itís tough. Heís a tough guy to defend. Thatís the honest truth there.
Q: What gave you the confidence to give DT Dalvin Tomlinson such a big role?
A: Dalvin Ė I mean, the kid is smart, heís tough. And then more importantly, the thing that he does that I give him a lot of credit for and heís just following the role of his leaders Ė Snacks (Damon Harrison), alright. This guy practices like itís the most important thing other than the game, which is as a coach what you tell them. Practice is the closest thing to the game, so you have to get that right and thatís what he does every day. Whether it was training camp, whether it was OTAs. Like he had a little spell on OTAs where we had to teach him and even Snacks was. We had to get him like, ĎHey, this is how you got to practice even though there are no pads on.í And, I think that transition and seeing how heís grown there as a practice player gives us as coaches the confidence to put him out there on the field. And then, in the classroom, his work he does. All of them Ė all the guys are working like that, but just to be on it. Whether itís the tendencies. Whether itís the techniques that guys are using against him. Noticing different things with different players. I mean, thatís what makes him smart, tough and then he executes it out on the field. But, I would say (Jay) Bromley, Rob Thomas Ė all those guys have improved in that aspect. That answers your question, hopefully.
Q: When DE Jason Pierre-Paul has the type of game he just had, what kind of an impact does that have on the other guys?
A: When JPP Ė when his juice is energy, it fuels the team, I think. Especially on the defensive side of the ball. Heís a pleasure to be around because when that energy comes, like, itís contagious. Me personally, Iím a nerd and a D-line coach, like Iím usually in a bad mood. It just is what it is. I mean, I go home, I have to take a few minutes to get out of my bad mood. Iím miserable most of the time. Not in a bad way, but itís not like I have everything wrong with the court. Just thatís my mood. His energy when he has the juice, itís just contagious and guys get excited. I mean, we were joking on the sideline. I said, ĎCan you please get another sack? Get it up to three.í Heís like, ĎCoach, itís already at three.í I was like, ĎWhatever man. Get four then.í You know? His juice is always a positive, man. Guys will feed off that, but we need it to be every week. He needs to be consistent and he knows that and heís working towards that and I think last week were some steps in practice, especially, in practice, that are going to help transfer onto the field.
Q: Did you have to get into DE Jason Pierre-Paulís ear last week about getting back on track?
A: You would have to ask him specifically about that, but Iím always in their ear. I mean, he did three sacks Ė Iím still in his ear. Thatís what he would tell you, like, ĎPatís always in my ear.í
Q: Did you have to change your approach at all though?
A: No. I told you. Iím always miserable. Nothing is good enough for me. They know that. They know their coach. Iíve been like that since day one. Theyíre like, ĎWhatís wrong with this guy?í But, thatís me. I donít know what to tell them. I donít do that with my wife though. That would be stupid.
Q: Do you do more with LB Devon Kennard now that youíre down a couple healthy defensive ends?
A: Iím not going to get into the specifics, but you guys are at the field. Sometimes DK is talking to me. Most of the time, DK is talking with Bill (McGovern). Spags (Steve Spagnuolo) has DK sometimes. We as coaches Ė I do what the head coach, Spags has me do and then whoever I need to talk to, to talk about whatever the part of the things that happened on the field that I have to help them with. Thatís what I do. But, DK makes his rounds, whether itís with the linebackers coach, D-line coach, coordinator. I mean, he makes the rounds, so thatís what he does.
Q: How do you think LB Devon Kennard has done when heís doing things on your side of the ball?
A: I think that DK is one of the more consistent players Iíve ever been around in my career. So, in terms of just the way he approaches the game and again, as he spends more time with us in the room just in terms of what weíre teaching and how we go about our weekly process, Iíve seen him grow in that because he has the linebacker element. Then he has the defensive line element. So, itís a different process how we go about it. How we prepare for the week. You know, big picture as we narrow down specifically to the people by the end of the week. OK, this is what they run. But, howís he running this? How does he do this? So, we go through that with him and Iíve seen him grow and mature with that process and itís a process I learned from older veteran players Iíve coached before.