Defensive Coordinator Chuck Bresnahan. Photo by Tony Gonzales
*Q: *How much does it impact you that you did not have your starting middle linebacker out there in practice during the week as these guys set things up and call some plays?
*Chuck Bresnahan: *It makes a difference. You know, the guys get used to that throughout training camp. We didn't have an offseason, but through training camp and through the first series of games, they're used to having one guy out there running the show so there's a difference. It gets a little monotonous about hearing about the next man up philosophy, but that's really what it is especially on our side of the ball, so you have to be ready to have the next guy step up. So we have to prepare as if he's not going to be there and whoever shows up shows up and we're ready to go to work. It's a little bit of a distraction early on but you can't let it be nothing but a bump in the road. You can't let it be a distraction when game time comes.
*Q: *You have a background with [Darryl] Blackstock, he is apparently your next man up if Rolando [McClain] can't go; what can you tell us about him like what you like about him and what he's good for?
*Chuck Bresnahan: *Well, I think he's got instincts. He's played linebacker. I had him in the United Football League so I've seen him play I know what he capable of doing. He's done a great job at working with the coaches, Greg Biekert and Ricky Hunley, have done a great job at preparing him. He's worked preparing himself like a starter every week because you never know in this league when your time is going to come. I mean you just saw it happen with our quarterback. So guys have to prepare themselves each and every week and he's done a great job at getting himself to a point where if he has to play we have total confidence in him.
*Q: *There's been a lot of discussion about you guys blitzing more the last couple of games, what would you attribute that to?
*Chuck Bresnahan: *I have to say whoever it is that put all that stuff in thank you because you did my self scout for next week during the bye week already so I don't have to do it. Seriously, we look at that every week and with a team that has a new coordinator, a team that didn't have an offseason, you try to keep it simple early on. We still have the same number of pressures in the early games, but once you start to get a feel and once you get past some of the injury factors that we had early on, that in a way mentally limited me to what I wanted to call. We want to be an aggressive defense; we want to set the tempo. Some of the comments about with the passing of Coach Davis that now we're free to do more things and all that, that's not really the case. If you back to when I was here before, we mixed the zone pressures, the man pressures, the zone coverage, the man coverage, and it gives you an opportunity in my mind and our staff's mind to create turnovers. Because you now don't always have your cover people playing with their backs to the ball. You now have vision on the quarterback and you can make some things happen and if you can keep the disguise element whether you're rushing four or bringing five or however it may be, that adds to your package. So we're growing and I think you're going to continue to see a good balance of pressure and coverage.
Q:Part of it just getting a feel for personality of the team as it goes along too?
*Chuck Bresnahan: *No question about that, no question. Hue's a big believer; Coach Davis always said it; 'You take your playmakers and you put them in playmaking positions,' and you got to be patient with them. It may not happen the first time, but stay consistent and keep that in mind and that's what we try to do on offense and we certainly try to do it on defense as well.
*Q: *You mentioned that the injuries played a big part. Do you think the injuries in the secondary affected how much pressure you wanted to put on the quarterback, so they wouldn't have to stay with their receiver as long?
Chuck Bresnahan:It's not so much who got injured, it's where you have to make the adjustments. Moving somebody from a corner to nickel who'd been practicing outside primarily all of a sudden he's in at the nickel. We now went from practicing dime all week with the six DBs on the field to going to nickel where you have the linebacker on the field so that limits some of the things you can do with coverage and you don't ever want to use that as an excuse. I probably got overly cautious, but at the same time I'm always going to try to keep somewhat of a mix of pressure and coverage in because if you just sit back and let the offense dictate to you what's going to happen in the game, it's going to be a long day. We've already experienced that in the second half of the Buffalo game and really the New England game.
*Q: *The new piece to the puzzle [Chinedum] Ndukwe, he looks like another big, fast kind of guy that can do blitzing and that kind of thing too; is that his personality also?
*Chuck Bresnahan: *Yes, Chinedum is a physical player. When he hits you in the middle of the field you know it and he can make some impact hits. I think he's got thirty-one starts in his four years in Cincinnati and he's been a very productive player. So he's a very good addition to the ball club.
*Q: *You expect him to play right away?
Chuck Bresnahan:Oh he'll contribute. To what level on defense and special teams it's still yet to be seen as the week goes on and the game goes on, but he's a guy that can step in and not miss a beat.
*Q: *What did Desmond Bryant show you that had you move him from defensive tackle to defensive end?
Chuck Bresnahan:Well, it's just the versatility we have within our defensive line. You've also seen Lamarr Houston go from defensive end to defensive tackle in the sub package. So we're trying to take advantage and give the offensive line a different look as far as the type of people they're going up against. But Des is an athletic, strong, competitive player that gives you the ability to have some flexibility that way and he's really done a great job since we've moved him out there. First week he had to get a little bit of the rust off but he's done a great job.
Q:On the secondary you have three or four safeties out there on those packages; what about it do you like having the versatility with guys like [Mike] Mitchell, [Michael] Huff and [Matt] Giordano?
Chuck Bresnahan:With you know Matt, I think if you ask any of the players, Matt's really the guy that sets the tempo mentally in the back. He's like a coach on the field, he knows everybody's position, he knows tendencies, he knows all that type of stuff. Mike and Tyvon both know that stuff, but they're the guys that you want to take advantage of athletically that can cover, that can blitz, they can do all that type of stuff. When you got three of them and you can show some disguise and bring one or the other or all three, those are the things that you kind of lick your chops as a defensive coordinator when you get that type of talent back there and the versatility.
*Q: *Matt's been a cover two guy for a lot of his career. What did you see that let you know that he could…
Chuck Bresnahan:Matt is way more athletic then you guys would ever believe. He goes through our DB drills and he does stuff as well as some our corners in the footwork drills and all that. So he's not just a cover two safety, and I know because you get tagged with a team that you played with and that's how you're looked at, but no, he can play in the middle. You saw that in the Denver game when he ended up picking that ball up at the end of the half. He's a blitzer; he's shown that in the Denver game as well as this last week. He's got good timing, he's a smart football player so he brings a third guy that can really give us some versatility in the deep end.