Outside Linebackers Coach Mike Dawson -- October 18, 2019
Q: What kind of strides do you think Lorenzo (Carter) has made in the last week?
A: Yeah, it was good to see Lorenzo make a good play there. When he comes off the ball and he’s going fast, he has the chance to do some really good things. He happened to hit that, and he had another one that was probably pretty close. Once he gets going like that, I think it’s going to be real fun to watch him play.
Q: When you see guys come in (to the season) and outside expectations were huge for him, and he even said double digit sacks was a goal, and then he gets off to kind of a slow start— do you worry about that mentally? Then obviously when he makes a big play last week, is that important?
A: Yeah, I think any time you make a big play and can contribute like that, you get excited about it. These guys are all competitive, they all want to play their best. There are a lot of different factors. Sometimes when you press to try to do something more than your job, it seems like they kind of get away from you a little bit. When you can relax and just play, I think things kind of happen. I think he had a couple that he was close on, or missed on, or just couldn’t get a guy down early. If he just continues to play like he can play and play within himself, I think that’s when he’ll have his best success.
Q: When you say, “when he gets off the line like he did,’ what things go into it that prevents him from being able to do that all of the time?
A: I think there are a lot of factors also. When you go really fast off the line of scrimmage and you’re going as fast as you can play, that’s going to lend to more success. When you kind of slow yourself down because you’re thinking of different situations or what are different plans that I can use, or things like that, I think generally that old saying of, “when you think, you stink,” you kind of start to slow yourself down. When he can put all of that stuff outside of his mind and just go fast, I think that’s when he’ll get a chance to really showcase his athleticism and his explosiveness.
Q: Is there a way to work on that or is it just saying to him, ‘hey, just go out there and play?’
A: I think the more reps you get, probably the more times you’re out there, the more experience you have, I think all of that stuff builds. I don’t think he does that a lot, I think when he is going fast and is explosive off the line of scrimmage—you want that from anybody. You go watching guys or you’re scouting guys on film or things like that, you’re always looking for guys to be as fast or as explosive as they can be. When he does that at his max level, that’s when he puts himself in the best position to be successful.
Q: Does Markus Golden have better technique than maybe he’s given credit for? We all jump to the motor, we all jump to the work ethic and how hard he plays—do you see the technique that is also helping?
A: Yeah, I think to have the production that Markus has had, you have to have both. You have to be playing hard all the time and then you also have to have good technique and fundamentals. If you don’t have one, then the other probably doesn’t work as well. So, you can go out there and try as hard as you can, but if you don’t have good technique and fundamentals, then you’re not going to be that good. And then the same thing, maybe if this guy really knows how to do it, but he doesn’t give the effort or the maximum to strain and make plays, then maybe he’ll miss some. The production can come in a lot of different ways. Sometimes it’s not when you’re expecting it. It might be a three-man rush where all the sudden the guy gets covered up or the secondary covers guys up and then you end up with a sack. Or then it can go the other way around where you’re overload pressuring them and you’re on them before anything can get going, and kind of anything in-between. So, it probably goes hand in hand.
Q: Does facing a quarterback like (Kyler) Murray throw guys on the edge off balance? Can you do less full-tilt pass rushing, is it more about contain?
A: I think he’s a great athlete, I think he’s a great quarterback. He can really throw the ball when he’s in the pocket, and then the thing that makes him dangerous is that he can extend plays with his legs. He’s obviously a great athlete, we’ve seen that coming out of him when he breaks the line of scrimmage, he can really take off and go. I think with any pass rush, no matter who you’re playing against, you have to be able to rush hard and at the same time rush smart. So, you’ve got to know where the quarterback is, how do I fit in the rush—most rushes won’t work well if the four guys rushing the quarterback don’t rush together. You could have a great move on one side, and then somebody jumps out of their lane on the other side and that great rush is wasted. So, I think no matter who you’re playing, you have to be smart in what you’re doing, and that goes along with Kyler, also.
Q: You just coached in college and this is like a college offense. The theory used to be that college offenses didn’t translate to the NFL—why are they translating more now? Is it the speed of the players coming in?
A: Yeah, I think there’s a lot of different ways to skin a cat. There’s a lot of great offenses that work, there’s different offensive minds that work, and then this is the ultimate team sport, so when you have a scheme and you have players that are all pulling the rope in the same direction and hitting on all cylinders, then the better the scheme becomes. So, obviously when you have great players running around that are athletic, then it makes for a good offense. Then, it probably works the other way as well. There are some great athletes, some great receivers on the edge—Larry Fitzgerald is guy that I was a GA at Pitt right before he was coming in, so I’ve seen his career for a long time, you talk about great player. So, there’s a lot of good players that are running a good offensive scheme.
Q: What have you seen in Oshane (Ximines)? What’s been his biggest growth since you first got him in the spring?
A: Oshane’s working hard, he’s been able to keep growing in his techniques and fundamentals and keep getting that experience and seeing the looks from NFL-type of offensive linemen on a daily basis. I think that’s been a big factor for him, the more he sees that, probably the stronger he gets. There are sometimes you see his explosiveness and power where he can hit a guy and kind of knock him back, and then there’s other times where he gets caught and gets bounced. So, I think him just kind of seeing that and dealing with that, that’s going to continue to help him grow.