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Coach Allen Mini-Camp Media Session


Coach Allen**: Obviously feels good to be able to get out on the field and start working football again. This is the time where you recognize the football season is coming on us quick. So, I think these rookies are doing a real good job coming out here the last couple of days, and they are very eager to learn, and try to get better and do anything they can to help this team win. So, we're excited about having them out there. We've had a good couple days of work and we get the chance to work with them tomorrow. So with that I'll open it up to questions.

Q: What's your philosophy in terms of how much you give these guys? Do you try to overload them and see what they can retain or give them a little bit at a time?

Coach Allen: Well, really, they're in catch-up mode right now. We've had our varsity in here for a while now and we've had an opportunity to meet with them several times, actually get out on the field with them a few times, and kind of run through some plays on air. So we're trying to get them into a catch-up mode and, this camp, it's more about not really overloading them so much, giving them enough to kind of test them a little bit, but really not overloading them so much where we get a chance to see them run around and see what they can do.

Q: How hard is it to gauge things out there against air and without them tackling and all of that?

Coach Allen: Well, I think you just got to know what you are looking for. I mean, I think, really, with the limited contact that you have in these camps, you don't get really a chance to feel as much with the offensive and defensive lines. I think you get a lot more out of seeing what they're doing from a skill-position standpoint. So, our coaches have been champing at the bit to get out here with these guys. We got some new coaches on the staff and I think they've done an outstanding job the last couple of days.

Q: This would have been, and even though it's not really football yet, but for Hayden's first time out to go out and make some plays on the ball and such, how do you think he looked?

Coach Allen: Well, I think he's looked pretty good. He's nursing a hamstring a little bit. He strained his hamstring running a 40 when he was going through the workout process, so he's still not quite 100 percent from that, but he's been out there working through it. He made a nice play on the ball today. So, I'm pleased with where D.J.'s at and, again, it's going to be a learning process. It's putting one foot in front of the other and I think when it comes time to play games this September, I think he'll be ready to roll.

Q: So, Latavius Murray's work catching the ball out of the backfield, he looked really, very smooth. Is that the kind of thing you're talking about, skill-position things that can jump out at you at a camp like this?

Coach Allen: Yeah, absolutely. And that was one of those things that we saw on tape that they did with him at Central Florida, was that they were able to use him out of the backfield to catch the ball, and he's done a nice job at that. He runs nice routes. He's extremely intelligent. So, he's picked up the offense real well, and he has really soft hands so he does a nice job, not only in catching the ball but, when you look at him, he's done a nice job picking up in pass protection.

Q: Brice Butler seemed like he made a lot of plays, too. Is he another guy who kind of jumped out at you?

Coach Allen: Yeah, today was a day where I thought the tight ends kind of stepped up a little bit. Yesterday, they kind of showed out a little bit, too. But today I thought Brice Butler, throwing the ball down the field to him, he's a guy that's a big target that can really run. So, we wanted to try to throw the ball down the field to him a couple times to see him go get it and he did a nice job today.

Q: Tyler Wilson seemed to throw a really hard and accurate ball, Dennis. What have you seen from him in these two practices?

Coach Allen: Well, I've liked the way Tyler's commanded the huddle. I like the way he's gone through his reads. Obviously, picking up a new system, I think there's still a little bit of rust there but throwing the ball, I think he's done a nice job. I don't have any question about his arm strength and his accuracy.

Q: Before the draft there has been so much of a stress on character and the right guys and the guys you want in the mix, and when you made the picks, Stacy McGee's pick kind of stuck out a little bit, just because there was some issues with him that kind of fly in the face of what you're looking at. But Reggie said you looked the kid in the eye and he deserved a chance. What's your impression of him so far?

Coach Allen: Well, I feel the same way. Hey listen, we're big on character. We want good-character guys, alright? Guys are going to make mistakes. Nobody's perfect. And when we did all of our research on him, we felt like he was a guy that we wanted to give a second opportunity to, and we have had a lot of conversations with him. I think he understands the mistakes he's made in the past. He's ready to learn from those and move on from it. I think if he can do that then he's got a lot of ability and there might be a football player there for us.

Q: What are the attributes there that you see, in terms of football-playing ability, that you see that McGee has?

Coach Allen: Well, when he walks out on the field, he looks like an NFL defensive tackle. He's got really good size and strength, and for his size he moves really well. So, he's the kind of guy that's got really good ability to stop the run. Pass-rush is an area where he can continue to improve on, but he's a guy that we're anxious to see when he really gets a chance to work. He's coming off the foot right now, so he's not ready to go 100 percent. So, he'll be a guy I'm anxious to see when he's totally healthy.

Q: Looking in these three days of this camp, are you going through a transition period? Are you working on some things one day and move onto another thing? Are you just kind of doing the same thing and seeing how the players progress over the three days?

Coach Allen: Well no, we're moving on. Yesterday was a first- and second-down emphasis; today was a third-down emphasis, tomorrow will be a red-zone emphasis. So, we're trying to expose them to, not only what we have in the base playbook, but also some of the situational stuff that we're going to see. And again, they're just getting the base foundation of what we're going to do offensively and defensively and they'll be back in again on Monday. After this camp is over they're back in again on Monday. We'll have the veteran players here and we'll keep moving forward.

Q: You said from the beginning, pretty much in terms of defensive schemes, 'Look, we're going to put a defensive scheme that's going to fit the guys that we have.' Now that you're pretty sure that you have your guys with only a few exceptions, is that scheme being implemented now? Can you say now whether you're a 3-4 team or a 4-3 team?

Coach Allen: Well, listen. We're basing out of a 4-3 just like we did last year, but we're going to have the ability to have some 3-4 looks and being able to implement those things and try to make them as simple as we can for our players as well as try to make it complicated for the offense. I think a lot of people look at, 'Well, they got this linebacker, they got this linebacker; we're stacked at linebacker. Now all of a sudden we're going to a 3-4.' Well, that's not really necessarily the case. I mean when you look at the team, you've got to develop depth across the team, and fortunately for us we feel good about the linebacker situation and when you really look at it, the quickest way we're going to help this football team is improving the special teams and that's a big part of it. I think the linebackers, the secondary, the tight ends, those are all areas we can improve our football team through special teams.

Q: Is the plan to keep Watson at right tackle going in through training camp or anything like that?

Coach Allen: Yeah, that's the plan. Yeah, absolutely.

Q: What did you see out of him? He looks pretty athletic.

Coach Allen: Yeah, he's real athletic. You can see he has power. He kind of rolled his ankle a little bit; we held him out a little bit there toward the middle and the end of practice, but you see all the attributes of what it takes to play offensive tackle in this league. And he's a guy, again, he's relatively inexperienced at the position so he's got a ways to go as far as growing, but the good thing is, over these first couple of days, he's picking everything up pretty good. He's not lost out there; he's got an idea of what's going on and I just see him getting better.

Q: You mentioned the linebacker corps?* *What is your impression of Sio Moore over the last couple days?

Coach Allen: Well, I think he's done a good job. We let him rush a little bit today. He's played the will linebacker. We've played him at the sam linebacker. His ability to understand multiple positions has been good. He's a guy that, like I said after we drafted him, he loves football. He loves football, he wants to work, he wants to get better, and he's a guy that I just think is going to continue to get better as he gets comfortable with the scheme.

Q: Is he almost, in terms of size and speed and how active he is, is he almost a Philip Wheeler-type guy?

Coach Allen: He's got some of those attributes. He's athletic in space, which was something Philip was really good at. I think he's got great awareness for the game and he's probably got a little bit more coming off the edge. Phil was really good inside, had a lot of wiggle; Sio has probably got a little bit more edge rush to him.

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