Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher -- September 5, 2019
Opening Statement: I hope everyone is doing well. Really, coming out of training camp I really like where weíre at. I think this is a group that every day thereís really a come to work (mindset). I think there really is a difference between work and purposeful work. These guys are in the meeting room, they are highly engaged. The mix of young guys and vets has been really fun for me to work with because you get a lot of the questions that are foundation questions, whether itís scheme, whether itís how to do, what to do. Then you get some of the advanced questions that guys that have been through either this system before or been through different systems, those guys kind of have different questions and take the conversation to the next level. I think at practice, people have probably seen, itís been there, this group they fly around, compete, they are going to play hard and they are going to play 60 minutes. Really look forward to getting to this weekend, without skipping the process that is necessary to prepare. Looking forward to getting to Sunday and seeing these guys go play. I know one of the questions will probably be about the starting cornerback opposite ĎJackĒ (Janoris Jenkins), weíll have a great plan for that Sunday and that will reveal itself as it goes. Plan to see multiple guys at that position and that will reveal itself on gameday. Excited to see whoever that is go compete and play, just like all the other guys are going to be out there playing.
Q: What does it mean that DeAndre Baker will be available to play for this defense on Sunday?
A: First of all, Iím happy for him. Because he was working his tail off to learn how to be a pro, how to play coverages, to just improve himself. He was growing as a player, Iím happy for him that heís able to get back out and start competing and getting back to getting on that track of improvement and making himself a better player. Obviously, excited for our guys because itís another guy thatís going to have a chance to compete to play meaningful snaps for our defense.
Q: You have surrounded Oshane Ximines with some veterans, talk about the influence they have had on him?
A: Between Markus (Golden) and even Kareem Martin, a guy thatís not a good pro, heís a great pro, a guy in that room that really brings a lot to those guys from an understanding, awareness, what to look for, how to prepare. Kareem has done a lot for that room. In terms of X-man (Ximines), I see a guy thatís definitely going to play with a purpose. I think we all have seen he is going to play with his hair on fire, heís going to play fast, and I love that about him. If you donít do that first, you donít have a chance, it doesnít matter how fundamental and technique you are, you donít have a chance playing defense. Heís a guy that just every day is going to grow, every day he is going to work to get better. As it goes, young rushers, sometimes they donít rush with a plan, thatís the truth. Whether you have it laid out or not. I think, again, thatís whatís fun working with him. Mike Dawson is doing a great job with him, trying to make it streamlined, ĎHereís a couple things you are going to do, a couple things we are going to work at for you specificallyí. A guy that brings a lot of energy. Heís an exciting young player that every day, he needs every day, every meeting, every rep.
Q: Whatís the challenge of having so many rookies, one at each level?
A: I think for me personally itís just being mindful of the conversations we need to have in preparation. Then on gameday, we are going to play, we are going to run the plan and what we are going to call, we are going to call. How we get them ready for Sunday is our course of preparation. Making sure in meetings we are covering what we need to cover, walkthroughs, and we are putting them in situations of things we are going to call on gameday and they are going to be the things we major in. I think from a preparation stand point, you are very mindful, I would say that is the biggest thing for me.
Q: Where will the pressure come from in your mind?
A: As it goes, I think initially itís going to be a group effort. I canít tell you 100 percent as we sit here today whoís going to be the sack leader, the disruptive player. To me, I kind of like that, because there is a little bit of unknown for people that are prepping for us. Thereís a lot of guys that have something to go play and prove and establish themselves. I think itís going to be exciting for me as I watch it from my position to see how it unfolds.
Q: How do you prepare young guys for the environment?
A: Itís just daily preparation, and then our mindset is we play one play at a time and thatís all that matters, the play weíre in. We talk a lot about being where your feet are on defense, thatís in the moment, thatís focused, locked in, eyes, communication. Every down you get a call, you communicate the call, you get in a stance, you get your eyes right and when the ball is snapped you go play. Being able to do that as a young player for 20 plays, for 45 plays, for 60 plays, whatever you are tasked with doing that week, thatís how rookies have to do.
Q: How much do you expect to see Ezekiel Elliott? How different are they with Tony Pollard based on what you saw in the preseason?
A: We all know Zeke is going to get touches, he is going to carry the ball. Heís a special player, they have some special players on offense, itís going to be a fun challenge for our guys. I donít specifically know what the workload will be but I know he is going to touch and carry the ball.
Q: On the defensive line, would you rather settle on somebody that can lock down the interior and stay there or do you think it is going to be kind of a mix and match?
A: One, I think the flexibility of the guys that we have allows you to do some different things. I think, more importantly itís what offenses do. This team, they are going to motion the tight end, they are going to YAC across the formation, they are going to motion him in big personnel and little personnel. They are not always going to allow you to keep your middle guy specifically in the middle. Those guys have to have some flexibility to play over the center or over the three technique or vice versa in different packages or different situations. I think all of those guys have things that they will create issues for from an offensive perspective, whether its length, power, or quickness. Having a chance to rush on different people, having a chance to play the run game on different people is something they also have to prepare for as well.