Defensive Backs Coach Everett Withers -- July 31, 2019
Q: Howís the group coming together now that theyíve got some more time under their belt?
A: Good, I think since the springtime the guys have gotten acclimated to each other. Some guys spent some time together this summer working out and doing some things. I think the group is gelling well so far during camp.
Q: It looks like early on there have been some flags, so itís obviously an opportunity to teach. Are they picking up the lessons? Are you seeing fewer flags from them and fewer mistakes in their technique from before?
A: Again, I think just working everyday on techniques and fundamentals, hopefully that goes down as we get further into camp as they get more comfortable with the technique. In the offseason you donít get to play a lot of press, so when you get into training camp and you can, you have to continue to work on your fundamentals and technique. I think the guys are getting better at it and hopefully that will diminish some of the flags.
Q: How has Julian Love handled bouncing around between safety, corner, and nickel? What have you seen in his growth?
A: Heís done really well. Heís a sharp kid, he has a lot of spatial awareness, he understands football, (and he has) a really good football IQ. We kind of told him again in the rookie portion of training camp that we were going to give him some reps at safety more, and he embraced it and heís done well. I think heís done well at both spots.
Q: Where does Sean Chandler stand? It seems like before yesterday he was a little bit further down on the depth chart:
A: Heís doing well. Heís in the mix, (and) heís working hard. Obviously not having much of an offseason with the injury, heís just trying to work his way back in. We just really started to up his reps this week, so as he continues to improve physically, I expect to see him get more reps.
Q: What about Corey Ballentine? Coming from a small school, he probably had a larger learning curve, then the unfortunate incident setting him back. Have you been pleased with what youíve seen from him?
A: Yeah, I have. I have been very pleased. Corey is a very eager young man to learn technique and fundamentals. Heís worked his tail off this offseason. He texted me probably four or five times a week during the summer about questions on coverages, so thatís what you like about him. Heís got some physical tools that God gave him, so now itís just a matter of putting that all together. Heís done well the past few days of practice.
Q: How do you make up for the lack of game reps the cornerbacks have? (Janoris) Jenkins is really the only one who has ever played in an NFL football game, so how do you make up for that? Can you?
A: I think more of what you do is get as much live action as you can out here, put as much pressure on them out here as possible as far as making plays in more situations, understanding down and distance, and putting them in as many of those situations as you can right now.
Q: Whatís your confidence like in (DeAndre) Baker? It looks like heís going to be out there starting Week One.
A: Heís done well so far during camp, and hopefully he continues to improve. As he improves, his confidence level will continue to get stronger. Hopefully by the time we get to preseason game one, he feels really comfortable in what heís doing Ė and we will, too. We do now, because weíve got him out there right now.
Q: As a defensive backs coach, but also as a former head coach, what do you think of challenging pass interference calls now?
Q: Is it good for football?
A: I donít know, Iím anxious to see it. I donít know, to be honest with you. Iím anxious to see what it looks like during the preseason and maybe Iíll have an opinion after that.
Q: Does replay slow it down?
A: I think anytime you have stoppage of play, you know (it does).
Q: I mean the play. I feel like sometimes they zoom it inÖ
A: I donít know, Iím just anxious to see it when it happens.
Q: Head Coach (Shurmur) once told me that his ideal secondary would include four cornerbacks, as they are better athletes. Do you agree with that?
A: Thatís a good philosophy. In college football the game is like this, but in the NFL itís not so much like that. You still have to be able to stop the runs, so you better have safeties who can insert, tackle, and do those things. Your safety position, probably, is more athletic than itís been in years past. You donít have big 6-4, 240-pound safeties anymore, you have to be able to cover. You have to be able to cover, and you have to be able to fit the run.
Q: How has Janoris embraced the leadership responsibilities you guys are putting on him?
A: I think heís done really well. I think heís done well since we got back from the offseason, and really taking the young guys and trying to help with mentoring themó not just in practice or in meetings, but off the field. I think he has embraced it, and itís been something thatís been good for him, not only him but for our players, too, and the young kids, too.
Q: Is it more difficult to put a group together like this when you have so many guys that havenít taken any NFL snaps?
A: I donít know if itís difficult. There are some challenges because you have so much youth, but I also believe itís a clean slate, too, so what they learn, they learn together as a new group. Theyíre not bringing a whole bunch of things in from other places, so they learn together as a new group and I think that has some benefit to it.