Defensive Backs Coach Everett Withers -- October 4, 2019
Q: What did you get out of the change you guys made last week where Rabbit (Janoris Jenkins) didnít follow one guy around the field, he took one side and (DeAndre) Baker took the other? What did you like out of that, and will you use it going forward?
A: Well, I think it gave us an opportunity for guys to stay on one side of the field and get comfortable on one side of the field. Not saying that we couldnít go back and match Rabbit, or whoever, to a particular receiver, but it did give us an opportunity to do some things coverage-wise where communication was able to happen immediately, and that probably was the biggest issue. It helped us a lot.
Q: Did you look at last week as a breakthrough for Jabrill (Peppers)?
A: Well, I looked at it as a start. Itís a long season, so hopefully heíll continue to get better and improve on some little things and work on technique and fundamentals as I discipline those things, he can continue to do that, but at least that was a start. Last week was a start.
Q: Obviously he had the pick-six, but what did you like about his game?
A: I thought he was really locked in on pre-snap keys and reads, which I think the whole back end did a really good job last week of that. Moving forward, thatís something that we have to be better at. When youíve got a couple of young pieces back there, or pieces that havenít played together, having some of the answers before a test is given gives you an opportunity to be successful in plays.
Q: Why are Corey (Ballentine) and Julian (Love) not playing?
A: Theyíre playing on special teams, theyíre helping us in that role, so they do add value to our football team. Those guys will continue to work and get better, weíll find roles for them. Both of those guys are getting reps in practice, but they only give you 11 spots on defense, so you can only play 11 guys.
Q: What can Sam Beal give you if or when he comes back?
A: Another healthy big guy that can run and play on the outside part of the field.
Q: Is he a rookie in your mind? I know he was around all last year, but he didnít play, so do you consider him a rookie?
A: For me, he is because I wasnít here last year, and he didnít play last year. So, when I look at him, I look at him as a first-year guy that hasnít played in a meaningful game yet. So, to me, anybody in that situation is a rookie.
Q: If you have a guy who hasnít played and who missed a good chunk of the summer, to jump in in the middle of the season, if heís a rookie, that wonít be an easy thing for him to do?
A: Obviously playing the game is so much different from being in meetings and getting the information on tape and that type of deal, but hopefully heíll be a little bit ahead of the game because heís been around.
Q: There were some deep throws that they did not connect on Sundayódo you guys treat them when youíre watching tape as if they did?
A: Yeah, no question. Fundamental techniques, we addressed that immediately. As coaches, you always address the things that you need to fix first, thatís just a coaching thing, but yeah, we addressed those immediately.
Q: When things are quiet around corners in the game, you can kind of miss whether they had a good game or a bad game. It seems like with DeAndre (Baker) the last couple of weeks, things have been quiet around him. What do you like about what heís shown since there was a lot of attention on him coming out of the gate?
A: I think heís really tried to focus and detail himself on the little things, and that means technique, fundamentals and communication. Those are all thingsÖ When youíre a college corner, you go stand out there, thereís no huddle and the guy comes to you. Then all of a sudden, heís playing in a game where weíre traveling Jack(rabbit) and he has to know where Jack is. He has to run on the other side of the field. In college, you never see those guys chase motion. They always stay on their side of the field. He had never done any of that. So, the little bit of what he did at Georgia really didnít carry over here. Now, heís having to learn just technique and fundamentals, and understand, ĎWhen Iím the inside corner, when Iím the outside cornerí and all of those things. Itís just taking him a little bit of time, but I have seen a tremendous amount of improvement from him.
Q: You guys are obviously banged up quite a bit at inside linebacker. One of the ways it seems you coped with that was to put three safeties on the field, more defensive backs. Obviously, you have to do it, but what does that package give you? What do you guys get more of with that?
A: Obviously, it gives you a little bit more flexibility to match formations that are unusual. You can match guys a little bit better with that formation. It gives you a little bit more flexibility because there are a lot of DBs on the field, and sometimes identified where the protection slide gets hard for offenses. It gives us some flexibility to do some things. It also gives us the opportunity to get maybe a little bit of a faster guy, a better matchup coverage wise, on the field.
Q: Is that more viable in that situation when you have the three safeties because of what Mike Thomas can bring? It seems like whatever he may lack in athleticism or playmaking ability or whatever, the reliability factor of Mike Thomas, it seems like whenever heís on the field, you know what youíre going to get.
A: Yeah, Mike made a great play at Tampa. That was a game-changing play. Mike adds a lot of value to us with obviously experience and intelligence. Mike can play multiple spots. Heís a really good fundamental tackler, a good cover guy. Mikeís done a lot of good things for us. We continue to find roles for guys like Mike.
Q: How do you coach a secondary to stay aware of the pass when you know the other offense wants to run the ball and establish the run, but then has that kind of in its back pocket?
A: When you play a team that runs the football effectively, the play action pass off of that usually tends to be as effective. That goes hand in hand, stopping the run and then stopping the shots down the field, the boots and the big-time shots trying to throw it over the top of you. Thatís been a real big emphasis for us. Most of the teams in this league are throw-first teams. This team this week, they want to run it and then they want to take shots off of the run. We have to be very aware of that.
Q: Do you have keys for what (Kirk) Cousins is doing, how heís acting or how heís stepping, for whether a play action is coming? What are they watching?
A: Yeah, weíre looking at formational keys like we do every week.