Wide Receivers Coach Tyke Tolbert -- October 25, 2019
Q: Do you think your guys are getting enough separation?
A: Yes. If you look at the tape, which we do, I think separation isówe do it by scheme, we can get guys separation. I think itís an accumulation of a lot of things as far as getting separation, your route technique, your speed, how you set guys up, where you put guys and everything. But if you look at the tape, I think there is enough separation at times. Obviously, we could be better, but we could be better as a whole unit, as an offense, but one of the things we try to pride ourselves in is having good technique and getting separation. But if you look at the other side, those guys are paid professionals, too, getting paid to cover, so is there separation all the time? No, but nowhere is--but, I think itís a work in progress to continue to get separation. Are we getting enough? I would say yes.
Q: Darius Slayton handled a pretty big workload last week, I think it was like 90 percent of the snaps. What has he done to earn your trust?
A: I think since heís been back from his hamstring injury, every time he gets on the field, his reps continue to get more and more and more, and heís getting more confident. He was extremely confident at the end of last spring when we ended for the summer and when we came back he pulled his hamstring so early and it was tough to get back. But since heís been back, his confidence has continued to grow. So, as his confidence continues to grow, heís making more plays, and when you make more plays you have a tendency to feelówell, I like having playmakers on the field, so itís hard to get him off the field when heís making plays and getting separation.
Q: Heís doing well in that category (getting separation)? Thatís one of the things thatís stood out to you?
A: Yeah, he does his fair share of getting open when you look at the tape. A lot of times a lot of receivers are open, but the ball doesnít come their way, so itís hard to say whether theyíre getting separation, getting open, but if you look at the tape, the tape will always say the eye in the sky doesnít lie. So, Slayton has done a good job with that.
Q: It hasnít been exclusively against these guys, but Darius has gone up against (Xavier) Rhodes, then (Stephon) Gilmore, and then Patrick Peterson saw a good deal of him on Sunday. What kind of lessons has he learned that youíve seen over the course of three weeks against guys of that caliber against a rookie who is really just trying to find his way so far?
A: I think itís a credit to him because of all the film study that we do. I make a DB tape every week of each DB and how they cover particular guys and what techniques they use, how they use press, how they play off, man, zone, and they study that stuff really well. Heís studying that stuff and heís going and running routes against those guys with a kind of cheat sheet, already having been looking at them for a week or so. But the guys weíve been going against, theyíve been pretty good guys. As you mentioned, our first four losses, at the time we played those teams, the defenses, I think I checked two weeks ago, they were ranked one, three, four and six in the league, so weíve been playing some really good defenses. Last week, obviously with Arizona, they werenít ranked that high, but Patrick Peterson being back out there, heís made the Pro Bowl every year heís been in the league, so talking about a good, experienced cover guy. But Slayton, because heís playing against those good guys and good defenses, his confidence is continuing to grow, which is a good thing for us. I just hope it continues to take off from there.
Q: If I could go back to the Vikings game for a second, because thatís the only time weíve seen Shepard and Tate out there together. I assume weíre going to see that again sometime in the second half (of the season). How did they do out there together in terms of, there was so much talk in the preseason that they were similar players in the slot, ran similar routes. How did it work with them out there together?
A: Oh, itís fine. As Iíve mentioned before, those guys are playmakers. Anytime that you can have playmakers on the fieldÖ itís not like they are a bobsledding team where they are in the same car. They are all doing their own different things or whatever and getting open in their own way. Itís up to us as coaches to put those guys in positions to explore their talents and put them in position to make plays on the ball.
Q: Do you have a preference of which guy you prefer on the outside or in the slot? I think all of Goldenís (Tate III) catches are from the slot so far, and Shep (Sterling Shepard) has 80% or something. Someoneís going to have to go thereó what would be your preference, and how would you, in an ideal world, like to juggle that when that time comes?
A: Ideally, get them out on the field, and wherever they line up is where they line up, and make plays. As Iíve mentioned in previous press conferences, when we teach systems, we teach the whole concept, not just the position. They can line up at X, F, or Z, they could go to any spot and make plays from anywhere. It just so happened that sometimes on third downs, Goldenís inside, Shep could be outside, but when Shep comes back, Shep could be inside and Golden could be outside. It doesnít really matter, we just put those guys out there on the field, and by them knowing the concept of how we want to run things, they can get open wherever they areóinside or outside.
Q: You donít think one of their skillsets maybe lends a little bit more to them being successful on the outside?
A: I think their skillset lends more to (them) being a playmaker wherever they are, inside or outside. Some guys youíll say they are outside guys or inside guys. We donít like to bind them so much because you limit guys to what they can do. Youíll never know if a guy is inside or outside until you put them in both spots and see what they are. In our system, we move guys all over the place so they can play and make plays wherever they are on the field.
Q: Why is Golden (Tate III) so successful, it seems like, on contested ballas and in traffic, especially last week in some of the plays he made?
A: Yeah, that was huge for us. He converted some third downs for us in traffic and caught the ball on contact. Golden has always been able to do that when you look at him on tape from his years in the league, and we thankfully were able to get him here and do the same thing. He can make plays in traffic, yards after the catch, make those tough catches. He has good hands, he has good vet savviness, knows how to get open versus a zone, man, knows how defenses are trying to play him. So, he has that advantage. When youíve been in the league for, I guess, 10 years, like heís been in the league, you have a sense of how guys are trying to play you and get open. Sometimes you donít get open, you donít get the separation that you want, so you have to be able to make plays in traffic. When you make plays in traffic, that separates some guys.
Q: I understand that Evan (Engram) is in the tight ends meeting room, but do you ever work with him as a receivers coach, since such a big part of his game is receiving?
A: No, I think (Tight Ends) Coach Lunda Wells does a great job with Evan. Heís with Lunda Wells all of the time, and Lunda is coaching him up hard. He does a great job with him.