Linebackers Coach Bill McGovern -- July 30, 2019
Q: How has Tae Davis matured from where he was last year as an undrafted rookie?
A: Like you would expect. He has learned a great deal through the first year, and heís taken it upon himself to, well he has matured naturally, but he has matured physically, and as a professional he understands whatís asked of him when weíre on or off the field. Heís building more confidence and Iím looking forward to seeing him out on the field more.
Q: He was a college safety if Iím not mistaken. What kind of transition does a college safety have coming in and switching to linebacker like Tae has had to have?
A: Thereís always a transition as you go from that position, to playing two different positions. Nowadays the game is being played in space a great deal, so it kind of fit to his athletic ability where he can play in space, he can move around, but he also has developed his body a little bit to help us with the physical aspect of the game.
Q: I donít know if thereís a position on the field that is any different down-to-down than the inside linebackers in this league nowadays. Itís almost like you can play with a completely different prototype player on one down, and the next down you can bring in what looks like a line in hockeyóitís completely different. Do you feel that over the years, and how do you adjust to that while trying to figure out which players fit your system the best?
A: I agree with you on that. To find a three-down linebacker is a hard thing now. Youíre trying to get the guys who can do it all, who can be physical versus the run, can make all of the checks, can handle everything, can play in space, can cover a man, can blitz, and obviously, is a good tackler. Those things all in one package are harder to find nowadays. But as we go forward with it, we are trying to use everybodyís skills on the entire team. So if somebody is better in coverage, if somebodyís better versus the run, we are trying to mix and match. Youíre not going to be perfect with it all, but youíre trying to get the guys to execute the best they can.
Q: Not only do you have Tae and (Lorenzo) Carter, but you have a lot of young kids Ė you have X (Oshane Ximines) and (Ryan) Connelly. How are they picking up compared the other young players?
A: All of those guys have done a nice job. All the young guys have come in and done a nice job. Mentally, they are handling the workload, the capacity, and volume of our playbook and everything as we are putting it in. Itís been a real pleasure to have these guys respond to that.
Q: How much mentally can you give Connelly in that spot if heís not out there with one of the veterans? Is he one of those guys who can handle the load?
A: Thatís what itís all about right now, finding out how much all of these guys can handle. Not just Ryan, but all of the guys. Everybody out there, we have to find out what they can handle, how much they can handle, and what they can execute. Itís important to keep giving them more and more. Again, as you guys know, we all went through the first week, so itís been four days and everything, but we are excited as coaches getting to the second week because now (we get) to see these guys handle more and more of the workload or playbook, and then see them get out there on the field and continue to execute it. That will be a good test.
Q: You have some veterans here who will run your huddle. B.J. (Goodson) has done it before and obviously Alec (Ogletree), but there are some younger guys here who are paired with those veterans at times. Is a guy like Connelly, specifically, ready to be the guy who can run the huddle if he needs to?
A: Well, we are going to find that out. We are going to find that out if we continue on. Itís the same thing with Tae. When Tae came in, you didnít want to try to overload him with too much stuff. Having Tree (Alec Ogletree) out there obviously is a benefit, but then now, as these guys come along we are just trying to find out which guys can handle more and more and just try to keep feeding them.
Q: So there will be periods where youíre going to throw them out there and see if they can run the huddle?
A: Oh yeah, I want to see what those guys can do. Absolutely. I want to see what they can do, and how they stand on their own two feet.
Q: The knock on Alec Ogletree was that he wasnít very good in coverage, but he had a very productive year last year. Was it just something not tapped in him, or what do you attribute that to and what can he build on as a coverage linebacker?
A: I think everybody tries to improve on everything they did last year. Tree had five interceptions last year, and thatís in coverage. He came back in better shape, he worked on things where he felt like he struggled at last year. He took it personally and heís worked on all those things. All of these guys are trying to get better at every phase of the game because they need to be good at all of them.
Q: Where do you view B.J. (Goodson) fitting in? We see him, and he starts with the ones, but then youíre in nickel so much. How does he fit in?
A: He understands the nickel game, (and) he can play the nickel game. Heís strong, heís physical against the run, heís gotten better against the pass receiver and moves better, even in this preseason camp. Weíre excited just to see everything that heís doing as it continues on, and kind of plays itself out as we get into the games.
Q: Going back to the conversion questions from safety to linebacker. Is it easier to convert from safety to linebacker because youíre maybe going forward a little bit more than you are at safety?
A: Obviously going forward, youíre moving from a person who should have, technically, some more speed in that sense, and youíre moving forward. Itís harder for guys who may be playing linebacker to go back to another position, that would be harder. Itís fair, (and) itís mentalówhat can they handle mentally, how can they adjust to it, and can they handle all the rigors of that position?