Outside Linebackers Coach Mike Dawson -- May 8, 2019
Q: What did you see from (LS Jake) Carlock this weekend?
A: Really smart player. He longsnaps, I think everybody knows that. He was able to play both the Sam and the Will at the outside spot. One series was playing one side. The next series, playing the other side. He showed some flexibility to be able to go ahead and do that. Between the special teams, and the offense and defense reps that he had, he played a million miles an hour the whole entire time. Heís a great guy to be around.
Q: Thatís a new position for him, right?
A: Yeah, getting into a three-point stance a couple times for the first time, that looked a little funny, a little strange, but heís a guy that you can kind of direct and heíll be able to process it, and then be able to find his way on it. Iím pretty confident with that.
Q: You kind of need guys with that attitude, right? Willing to do any and everything.
A: If youíre going to play hard like that, it doesnít matter if youíre talking Pop Warner all the way up through the NFL. You want guys that are going to play hard, that are going to run to the football on defense, and then guys that are smart. Youíre just adding to your toolbox different things that you can do in different situations that you can be in. As much of that as you can do, the better off youíre going to be.
Q: You tend to see this in more 3-4 defenses, but linebackers and pass rushers share similar abilities. How much is an outside linebacker a defensive end?
A: I think thatís a great question. To me, the neat thing about being in this system and coaching those outside backers, the edge guys, whatever you want to call them, thereís times in certain defenses they are truly a defensive end. They can be a five, a seven, or a nine just like your 4-3 defensive ends would be, and sometimes theyíre up on their own two feet. Theyíre like a second-level linebacker. Then, thereís even times in this system where theyíre doing the same job a safety would do. Walk down in the box, if you will, safety. So, youíre kind of learning all three levels at this spot, which is great for me to be able to be tied in to both the front, the coverage, and how they mesh together. For these guys, you got to be a certain kind of athlete to be able to handle going at the quarterback on some plays, and then on other plays, youíre dropping and going away from the quarterback, and be able to change direction, and to have a different mindset on both of those. Something that is a unique skill set for sure.
Q: Does stopping the run also fit into that as the first option?
A: The way I kind of always look at the position is, can you set the edge of defense in the run game. Thatís going to be a primary deal. Then next, can you go to the quarterback and can you rush the quarterback. Those are going to be your 1Aís and 1Bís. Then the third aspect is can you play a little bit of coverage. We wouldnít do necessarily the same things that a cornerback or a safety would do, but you have to be able to do a little bit to be serviceable in that, and do some things that way. Probably, those are the three prongs that you got to kind of have an idea about, and you got to have a good plan for.
Q: Does Oshane (Ximines) have to make a jump going from where he was to what he is now?
A: Yeah, I think with all of the college guys thereís a jump in the speed, thereís a jump in the pace. You kind of go from every level of football as you work your way up from youth all the way up to the top level and being a professional. All the new guys are going to have to get used to that speed. Itís a step faster, itís a step bigger, and they guys are all going to have to get into that for sure.
Q: What excited you about him specifically? (Ximines)
A: Thereís a few things I like about him. You guys will see, heís got a great first step, heís got great quickness. Heís a bright-eyed kid. I think you guys are going to all really enjoy his personality. Heís got a big smile on his face. Heís been coached extremely hard. His college coach is a good friend of mine, and weíve crossed paths. So, I know heís been coached that way. Heís a guy that loves the game. You can tell just even a couple days with him here when we were out here training. Heís a guy that wants to get better, he wants to know what he did wrong. Even if it wasnít necessarily an incorrect or a bad rep, how can I make that rep a little bit better? Coach me on the film. Some guys, they just go, ĎHey coach, I did what Iím supposed to do. Letís move on to the next playí. Heís a guy that wants to know the ins-and-outs of it. Heís going to be a fun guy to be able to get your hands on, and get to help mold and shape, and watch him grow.
Q: A guy like (LB) Lorenzo Carter, how much is he going to influence this defense in his second year?
A: I think you always see, in any system, from year one to year two, that jump is something you hope to see with a lot of these guys. Heís got the tools where heís strong enough, heís got the athletic ability. Really kind of getting to know this language. He was in kind of a 3-4 system in college, but some of the terms are different. It may be the same term, just named something different, and having to process that in your head. Now when you donít have to think about that, itís just natural where you just kind of react, I think that helps you play a little bit better. Hopefully a big jump from him from year one to year two.
Q: (Defensive Coordinator) James (Bettcher) reminded us that (DE) Markus Golden used to be one of the best pass rushers in the league before he injured his knee. How confident are you that he can get back to that level?
A: Heís a double-digit sack guy. Once you guys watch him train and watch the way that he plays, and you go back and watch his pre-injury film, just the way heís all over the field in the run game and the pass game. When the ball is down the field, heís backside chasing that thing like a mad man. That intensity and that level of effort he plays with is going to lead to production with him. He and I have used the term, coming off of one of those injuries, and he was able to get out there and get on the field last year, but thereís always that kind of in the back of your mind, am I ready to go, is this going to happen again -- things like that. To be able to put that behind him, get a full year under his belt, both in the weight room and the training room -- being able to do those things and then get out on the field and being able to put all that stuff behind him and just go and do his thing thatís has made such a good player -- which is go and attack the ball and be able to get after the quarterback, I think is going to be a lot of fun to watch.