Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher -- December 6, 2019
Opening Statement: Iíll tell you what, these last two days of practice, we come out here to work and I know that wins are the most important thing, but Iíve also been on teams that have been double-digit win teams this time of year and I will say this, and Iíve said this probably over the last month, I love the mental makeup of this group. They are competing, theyíre practicing hard, theyíre working with a purpose, with a high intent. I see individuals getting better, now we just need to take it to the collective. Thatís what needs to happen on game day, it needs to take to the collective. The rush needs to work for the coverage. We need to sack the quarterback when we have opportunities to sack the quarterback, we need to knock the ball away when we have an opportunity when weíre in coverage. Thatís the next thing that needs to happen for the progress that we see on a daily basis in practice to show up. Iím sure youíre going to ask questions about Jack, about Janoris (Jenkins), but let me just say this about Janoris Jenkins, you noticed it today at practice, he competes every day. Since Iíve been here and had an opportunity to work with him, he has competed on a daily basis for me and for his teammates. If you were here and watched some of the walk-thru, youíll see him grabbing young players, our young corners, and leading them around and making points to them of what heís looking at, of what he recognizes, and him and I have a really good relationship. I have been places where we traveled all the time and Iíve been here where weíve traveled at different times and in the course of different games and different situations. The philosophy on that is if it works for everyone, itís a great thing to do. If it works to where it allows our best guy to be on their best guy, but at the same time, the other guys that are on the field playing to have their feet settled and able to play the downs in whatever those man or zone, or whatever coverages you want to run on them, then itís great. And we weigh those things when we make the decision, whatís best for the collective group. Again, I love Jack, love working with him, heís been competing his butt off and I look forward to him having a strong finish to the rest of the season.
Q: Did Mike Evans play any impact on maybe thinking that it wasnít the best decision for everybody, including Janoris, to have him travel?
A: No, I think again the decision is on the collective, not on the one guy. It was the same way if I go back to my time in Arizona when I had Patrick (Peterson). If it would not have been the best thing to do for everyone, we wouldnít have done it.
Q: Is that part of the youth? You have so many young guys back there, I think four rookies or first year players, that they just donít have the experience, to ask them to move around more than they have to is detrimental?
A: I think that, again, you look at the collective and whatever those reasons are. Iíve seen young guys that are fast to pick up, Iíve seen Julian Love the last couple weeks and he gets in there and heís fast to react, fast to respond, fast to communicate. So, I donít know that itís youth, itís just you look at each situation, maybe even each week separately. When we traveled all the time, there were weeks we didnít travel because it wasnít maybe best for some of the stuff that the opponent did.
Q: Had he asked you about why he didnít travel before he went public with his issues?
A: Him and I have great conversations, constant communication, and thatís what Iíll say.
Q: You mentioned Love, do you watch him the last two weeks and think, ďYou know what, maybe we should have made a move earlier to get him on the field?Ē
A: I think part of how Julianís playing right now is the fact that heís worked the process all along. Four weeks ago, eight weeks ago, I saw a guy that was in the meeting with his feet on the ground, taking great notes, paying attention, asking A.B. (Antoine Bethea) questions, asking questions in the position meeting room. When we were doing walk-thru, he might not have been getting the reps, but he was back behind taking mental reps and building for his moment, so that when his moment came he was able to play as fast as his mind would allow him to. I think thatís why heís playing like he is right now, because in the moments that led up to it, he was doing the work that he needed to do. So, to directly answer that question wouldnít be right because every player would be potentially different, but if you work the process during the process like he did, this is what tends to happen. Iím proud of him, Iím excited for him as we go through the last four weeks of the season.
Q: Does it make you wish you had that luxury to work the process with Baker, Ballentine and all the young guys?
A: I think one of the first times we talked at the very beginning of the year we talked about when you develop rookies itís not just back pedal, break. Itís in the meeting room, how you take notes, the film you have to watch when you go home. When you watch the tape what are you looking at when you watch the tape? I think thereís a distinct process. I think thatís why players generally that make it and play a long time in this league, their prime years are three, four, five and six because they build their process. Iím not saying anything about a luxury of playing or not playing. I just think as players play more they are able to take good things they do, mistakes they make and learn from them. Thatís how they build their process and build themselves into being able to use some of the talents they have to play at a high level.
Q: Youíve had Leonard Williams now for about a month. Are you getting what you expected out of him? Is there more you want to see from him?
A: I have seen great energy. Today at practice he was flying around, he brought great juice. He has things in his game that heís working on to get better at. I thought this past game, he was even more disruptive for us, I thought he did some really good stuff. This last month of the season he needs to keep trending in the direction heís going. Iíve used the words as weíve talked before, using his prescription to get better at those specific things that we talked about that needs to get better at. I do like the direction heís in.
Q: He doesnít show up a lot on the stat sheet. Does that matter to you at all? Do you need him to get those tackles and sacks and the numbers that everybody else sees?
A: I think that all of us would say we would love for him to have 10 sacks. I think he would love to have 10 sacks. I think before that happens, disruptive plays happen. Plays where he is changing the math, heís getting the quarterback to drop his eyes, moving him off his spot, changing the run lane on a run down. Those are things that you see him do. The other stuff, I believe for him it will come.
Q: From a rushing defense stand point, the last three games opponents are under three yards per carry. What changed there and are you surprised that making teams one dimensional like that hasnít helped the pass defense?
A: Iím a yards per rush (guy) thatís what matter the most. Through the course of the season, when weíve been the number one run defense in the league before, that was the number. It wasnít yards per game rushing. If someone rushes it 20 times for 150 yards or run it 30 times for 150 yards that changes the number of times they are willing to throw the ball. Obviously, when people throw the ball yards per pass attempt is obviously a higher number. Iím excited that itís gone in that direction that we have been getting better and better. I think some of that is weíve been better with our gap leverage. Weíve been better with our eyes on pullers at the second level. Those are things that weíve tried to identify and work in practice as much as we can.