Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher -- October 24, 2019
Opening Statement: Coming out of last week, the beginning of the game is a thing we have to improve ourselves in. You go look at the tape and you judge the tape, you donít just sit back and say we started flat, we werenít playing, whatever it was. It comes down to at the beginning of the game it was first and ten, itís second and eight, itís third down, itís first and ten, itís second and long, itís third down. That cycle repeated to another fourth down again, the theme is win on third down and get off the field. I have to call it better, we have to coach it better and we have to win a matchup on one of those early third downs to get off the field. If the game were played out first and ten, first and ten and second and one and thatís what it was as they marched all the way down the field, then yes, I would wonder were we flat, were there things that I didnít do in preparation for our guys to get them ready to go early in the game. You look at the second play in the game, itís second and eight, we really have a chance to make it third and 11, we have a chance to hit them in the backfield and it ends up being a three-yard gain instead of a three-yard loss and itís third and five. We find those plays and we talk about fundamentals, techniques, how we can play better in those situations. There were a few big runs there where itís a combination (of) we have to coach it better and we have to execute better and see pulls. Two outside runs where there is stretch with pulls, a little bit different set ups on both of them, the one was an insert play where we didnít fit well, those are the three big runs that we have to get rid of and eliminate from the game. We do that, I like where weíre headed in the red zone, in terms of red zone defense overall. We have to get the runs and we have to get those handled in the red zone. Our guys are tough, they are resilient. Again, I love coaching this group. They love to work, they come in and they are open minded about corrections, they are very self-aware. You have no chance to build anything and get better if guys arenít self-aware and I love that about this group.
Q: Where is Sam Beal in terms of how close he is? I know he is eligible going into next week. When he does come back, do you see him as more of an outside guy or a slot guy?
A: Sam is going to be an outside corner when he comes back. Itís just going to be a day to day how he progresses, how he is fully healed, not where heís at. Sam hasnít practiced a ton, as we know, so every day is great for him, every meeting is invaluable for him. Heís been able to watch tape but he hasnít been able to watch himself on tape and so thatís why the meetings are so important. Itís a great self-evaluation, sit and watch every bit, watch individual, watch his scout team reps, watch his defensive team reps, watch his special teams reps, all those things are key for him to try to build until that decision is made next week.
Q: What are you looking at when you are working with him, technique, is it physical build up?
A: Itís certainly technique. Young players need as many reps as they can to get on tape, so that you can coach the fundamentals and techniques. Obviously, beyond that is the scheme and the calls, he just needs as many reps of those as he can get.
Q: Is he getting any team reps, is it all scout team work?
A: Almost all the guys in the back end are getting pieces of reps, I wonít go into details of how many. Theyíre all getting opportunities.
Q: Is he fully healthy enough to play if he were to play in Week 9?
A: I think that will be determined next week when itís time to make the decision.
Q: What does Bucannon give you?
A: My history with Buc, the things I know for certain about him, he loves football, he plays fast, heís a guy that was always much more physical than the frame and the stature of the guy, thatís really what stick out to me. I think just getting him out here the last couple of days, getting back into our system and our scheme, we are able to have some of the conversations reflecting back to Arizona and some of the things we did. Heís working hard and he wants to try to earn some time.
Q: Coach Shurmur said yesterday the plan was to get him up to speed so he could be ready to go for Detroit. How did that look the first two days?
A: Itís progressing that way. I think the plan of how much, and what and if heíll play, that will reveal itself on game day. Heís working his tail off, in terms of that stuff heís working just like the guy I know.
Q: That position in general since you came here last year, it seems like when you were in Arizona you were ahead of the curve a little bit. It was Buc and then Mark Barron at the time, I think, with the evolution. Is that almost a necessity now to have guys like that in those spots?
A: I think that the game has become enough, I donít want to use the word spread, but horizontal where people space you out, even in bigger personnel groupings. You saw Arizona try to do it one time, they had three tight ends in the game and they had empty. They had a penalty and didnít get to run what they wanted but they went three tight ends and went empty, thatís the game. The game is big people to go smaller looks and space people out. I think there is a lot of value in guys that can tackle in space, whether thatís a safety that tackles in space, or a linebacker that tackles in space, whoever he is, I think thatís certainly a necessity because of the game. From a matchup standpoint, when things become horizontal, even if you are playing zone defenses, you have to tackle in space and you have to play and manipulate your body in space to play the zones in space. It goes hand in hand, whether you are matching up in man or playing zone defenses.
Q: Was it a conscious decision when you guys put that position on the board, is that something that was in the defense when you got there? Can you talk about the evolution of why you decided to do it?
A: I think specifically for the reasons you said. Buc was a guy that we felt could do it. I think because he has a physicalness to the way he plays the game and I think you have to have that component for that guy. He still has to go down and fit in the run game and play tough and play strong and certainly those were some of the thoughts we had in Arizona.
Q: What have you seen from B.J. Hill this year?
A: I think weíve seen some really good snaps, just like other guys at the position interior wise, we saw some really good snaps. I think we have seen some snaps that he would really like himself to play better. Weíre all in on working on getting those other snaps out of his game just like the other guys.
Q: Do you want him to have as many splash plays, sacks and tackles for losses, as he had last year, or does he have a successful season without them?
A: I think disruptive plays are, whether theyíre plays that show up in a stat sheet or not, I think disruptive plays are really what define players in this league. Whether you are changing the math or knocking guys back, you are displacing offensive linemen, whether you are on the second level setting a tight edge knocking the ball back to the rest of the defense or on the second level seeing pulls, fitting fast, and disrupting the run game. I think thatís really what defines players. Sometimes itís not always a TFL (Tackle For Loss), itís not always a sack, itís the other things that go along with it.
Q: Do you see enough of those from B.J.?
A: I think thereís some plays where he has done some really good things, I think thereís some plays that him and I want him to play better.