Coach Olson: “He’s gotten better. I think when Matt took the week off with the elbow issue, Derek had a real good week of practice that week, stepping into the huddle with the one offense. He had a good week of practice leading up to the game and certainly played a good game in the game against Seattle. But he’s gotten better, like I said, from the day he’s gotten here. He’s continued to improve. We thought he was a special player when we drafted him. We thought he had some of the abilities you look for in a special player and he didn’t disappoint us. He’s just gotten better each week. But really, the week that Matt took off he went in and did some good things.”
Q: That game seemed like a convergence of everything that could possibly go right or a quarterback – no penalties, running the ball, good pass protection. Everything was rolling right. Are you sold on the fact he is able to play well even when things don’t go as well?
Coach Olson: “Oh, there’s no question. He had some luck go his way, too, on the tipped touchdown pass that he had. That could have gone the other direction, but you kind of make your own luck somewhat. Certainly he knows that it’s not going to be like that. You’re not going to go out two back-to-back series and throw touchdown pass, touchdown pass. It’s not going to be that way. However, he has faced adversity before in his college career. He’s faced adversity in his life. We’ve got all the confidence in the world in him and really, we know he’s a rookie quarterback, so there may be some growing pains with him. I just think that if a guy shows that he’s got the maturity level, the intelligence and he’s comfortable in the system, which I think he gets more and more comfortable every day, than the best way for him to get better is through experience. We feel like we’ve got some pieces around him, some guys up front that can protect him, so he’ll have a chance to get better every week.”
Coach Olson: “Like I said, I think Derek has really jumped in wholeheartedly throughout the entire process in the offseason. There’s some – I wouldn’t say any anxiety over that, because he’s shown that he can do that and he’s done that. Certainly, there’s a guy with experience that you would think would be obviously more qualified to do those type of things, but Derek has done that since he got here. If we didn’t feel that way, we wouldn’t throw him in here the way we have here. He really spends a lot of time at it. He works at it. There hasn’t been any time throughout this process where I thought he really is not sure, he doesn’t know what he’s doing here. He’s been able to answer all those questions in the meeting rooms. He hasn’t had a chance very often out here in a game situation, but every time he’s done it in a practice situation, he’s made the right checks and made the right calls. He’s just had the intelligence factor there that kind of lifts him above some. There are some examples of some rookies coming in and playing well right away, so I look at that as well. Everyone grows differently. Everyone matures in a system differently. But he’s shown acceleration since the day he got here. We’ve been able to accelerate his growth just based on a number of factors, intelligence being one of them, but also the number of years that he played in college. His experience in college helped him a lot over some guys that are just coming into the league for the first time.”
Q: Does he open things up a little bit in terms of your offense?
Coach Olson: “That remains to be seen. I do know that he’s a really good athlete and he can –you probably didn’t see that as much in the preseason, but we’ve seen him out here in practice – create. So he’s a guy that creates with his feet and also we’ve all seen his arm strength and we’ve seen his ability to fit the ball into the tight windows. He’s got to go out and be Derek Carr. We like what we’ve seen thus far and we’re excited to see how it transfers here into the opening game.”
Q: There was talk about
Coach Olson: “I wouldn’t say we pulled back on that. I’d say there are times when he may defer to ‘Wiz’ [C/G
Coach Olson: “Yeah, I think – again, time will tell – I think here’s a big jump from going from college to the NFL, from college to the OTAs to training camp and then preseason. Most players will tell you there’s a big jump from preseason to the regular season. But right now, at this point, there’s been nothing, there’s no evidence to suggest otherwise that he’s not going to go in and not suffer from anxiety or nervousness or anything like that. I just think that he’s played a lot of football. Again, as he told you, he’s been around the game a long time. He’s had the experience of watching his brother and even watching some of the adversity that his brother went through. I just think he’s a mature kid and I think he’ll be fine.”
Q: Dennis Allen mentioned he sees a different demeanor in
Coach Olson: “Yeah, I mean, that’s hard to pinpoint to be honest with you. He had a good last two weeks of the training camp, or last two weeks into the last preseason game, and it was important for him because there was some real competition in that group. It’s hard to say, but I know that we’re excited that we were seeing some things here that we hadn’t seen in a while. So hopefully, with the success that he’s having, that he’ll become a more confident and more outgoing player and we’ll get what we need out of him.”
Q: Reggie McKenzie had talked since the offseason about wanting to be bigger, be the team that pushes people around rather than get pushed around. You look at the Jets front seven and how they defend the run, that’s about as good a test as your offensive line could get going into your first game.
Coach Olson: “Yeah, it’s a tremendous challenge. That’s going to be one of the keys of the game, keys to winning the game, will be, if we can win the physical battle up front against their defensive line. It will be one of the better defensive lines. It will be one of the better defenses we see, period, just based on schematically and what they do. So it’ll be a big test. I know that our guys are looking forward to it. I know that Tony Sparano, from being back in New York, he’s looking forward to this matchup. But it will be a tremendous test.”
Coach Olson: “I think it’s really close. I think, again, the competition’s still tight and there will be competition probably on a weekly basis to see who is up on game day. Some of that – special teams play into that, on which players on the bottom end of those receivers that are up who can help us with special teams, because obviously we’ll need help there, too.”
Q: Do you see
Coach Olson: “Yeah, yeah, he had a good week. That was encouraging this week to see Dave Ausberry out on the practice field, and he ran around. He’s running around pretty good. I didn’t see any limitations in Dave, so we’re excited to get him back, too.”