Coach Jackson July 30


Q: How did we look out there?

Coach Jackson: How did we look -- a team that is building something, trying to become something and working every day. I am most impressed with our player's retention and the effort. As a head coach that is what you look for that your team is working and these guys are giving me everything that they have. I couldn't be more pleased in what they are trying to accomplish.

Q: Team seemed to get pretty physical at times with the pads, do you like that?

Coach Jackson: Oh you better know I do because that is the name of the game. If we're going to be a team that is building a bully, I can't all of sudden just walk out there on Sunday, Monday or Thursday and say we are. We have to learn how to become one and I think our guys understand that it is a contact sport. We have to line up every now and then and run into each other.

Q: Hue, how do you gauge, first day of pads you want their motors running but you don't want them hurting each other?

Coach Jackson: No doubt there is thought to it. There is a process to it. I have to monitor with the other coaches to make sure we are getting enough work done and that we are doing the physical part of it. Also trying to make sure that we keep a healthy football team and I think we are doing a good job. Obviously there is always going to be minor licks, bumps and bruises as you go but nothing that is out of the ordinary. So we will keep going and I will keep a running total in mind about exactly how much of that we are doing but we have to do it. If we are going to be and I keep saying what we want to become and I think our players understand it. I think our coaches do and we understand that it is a part of the sport.

Q: Trent Edwards is here and was practicing fourth or whatever it was; how did that transpire and what do you like about him?

Coach Jackson: Well myself and Al Saunders have done a lot of video tape stuff. As you guys said, we need to add some arms to this team and watching him work whether it was at Buffalo or Jacksonville. He had some characteristics that I look for in a Quarterback and I had an opportunity to sit down and talk to him and he was what I was looking for. I mean, he is a big, strong, physical guy who can throw the football. Very intelligent, loves football, very passionate about the game and he is a gym rat. He likes to go in and study from morning to night and it is important to him and he is looking for an opportunity.

Q: His second year, he had a pretty solid year; he was considered one of the better young quarterbacks in the league. He has had couple of concussions since but he got to rest most of last year; do you think that time off will do well for him?

Coach Jackson: I think the time off has motivated him. He wants to come in and compete. Again I am trying to build something here where it is a lot of competition and guys compete. Not so much for the starting job, Jason Campbell is our starting quarterback but we need to continue to get better on every aspect of our football team.

Q: He is going to be competing essentially with Kyle for the second spot?

Coach Jackson:Absolutely, so we will go in there and I mean they are two veteran quarterbacks that have played in this league enough. I am very comfortable and happy that we have them. I am looking forward to working with them but watching them compete out here.

Q: What happened with Gaither? Was it a health issue?

Coach Jackson: Everybody said we signed him, I told you we haven't. Obviously when you check a guy out I want to make sure we are putting healthy players out here. Nothing to him, he has done everything he is supposed to do. He is just not where he needs to be to compete on a physical level all the time but he will go back and keep working. You know it just didn't work this time so we will move on.

Q: Opportunity later….

Coach Jackson: Never know, you know who knows that path might be something we go down again. At this point in time it was not the right fit, right time, right now.

Q: Have you added Khalif Barnes?

Coach Jackson: Yes I have.

Q: You still look at him as a guy that can do different things for you or is there a chance that he can step up and compete for a starting spot at one spot?

Coach Jackson: There is no doubt. In my opinion, we are trying to put together the best five guys. We will give them a chance to compete on that offensive line and obviously he has done multiple things for me a year ago, but I want to see him go in and compete and see if he can strengthen our offensive line and play tackle like he has played in this league and be a good player. We will put him anywhere we need to play him to win a game. That is truly what it is all about.

Q: How wide open is the defensive back position? It looked like Chimdi Chekwa left early today. Do you have an update on him?

Coach Jackson: He just had a little nick, that's all. I think it was one of his shoulders, but I think he'll be okay as it's nothing major. But still, it's not so much that it's open because I know everybody thinks that. We have Stanford Routt and Chris Johnson. We also have some young players as well as old veteran players that have been here a year or two, and they are rising up and playing. But again, they will keep competing every day. I love our young corner "DVD" [referring to DeMarcus Van Dyke], he was out there taking reps today and you mentioned Chekwa just a second ago. But, [Walter] McFadden is out there doing a good job and that gives this football team a chance to get better.

Q: How about Taiwan Jones; did he get a little banged up out there?

Coach Jackson: Yes, again just one of those nicks. It looked to me like a hamstring, groin or something like that but nothing major. They'll be fine. Again, this is day three and this is when those things start to show up. You have been running, pounded pretty good and the body has to get ready for it. The guys have done a great job and I'm happy with where we are, but we have to keep going.

Q: How are we looking with our own free agents right now?

Coach Jackson: [Laughs]. We're working, I can tell you that much. We're working on this every day, every minute. I'm sure when I get out of here, I'll check my phone to see what's going on. But again, this process just began on Friday and it's still ongoing. We're going to continue to add good players to this football team, as many as we can. I know we're going to and I think once that's said and done, we'll make sure you guys know who they are.

Q: I saw FB Marcel Reece and LB Bruce Davis watching practice. Will those guys be cleared on the 4th to practice?

Coach Jackson: Absolutely. Those are guys that are part of our team, it's just the rules won't let them get out there just yet. We're excited that they're here and we can't wait until they get out there.

Q: Can you tell me about Rolando McClain?

Coach Jackson: Wow, what an improvement and a different guy. Last year, I wasn't as involved with him that way but the guy has a lot more confidence, takes control of the defense, wants the responsibility, and understands that it is time for him to play like he can. It's not that he didn't a year ago, but he knows I expect him to play. The real guys play every day, so he brings that attitude to practice and demands it from the rest of the defense. He, Richard [Seymour], Tommy [Kelly] and those guys are doing a good job.

Q: You said recently that run defense is something that is very important to you. What are you able to do so far to install and improve?

Coach Jackson: In terms of what we are doing scheme-wise, we are doing similar things but the guys are getting off blocks better. The recognition and communication amongst players is a lot better. I wasn't happy today when sometimes the ball ran through there but that's a credit to the offense too. We are blocking some people, but I think both sides of the ball are challenging each other and I'm seeing what I needed to see. I'm seeing the defense have major success, the real good players make plays the way you want them to make them, and we're starting to see what it takes to be a defensive-run team and a good run-offensive team. So, we're working at it.

Q: I saw that the offense and defense were doing line drills. I saw that Steve Wisniewski was stepping in, putting his hand down and demonstrating but I know Bob Wylie is the Offensive Line Coach. But how important was that?

Coach Jackson: [Laughs] He can still bend down? But that's coaching and teaching. Sometimes, if a player doesn't understand, you have to demonstrate it and we have those kind of coaches. I want our coaches to be hands-on to get the performance that I demand and we're going to get it. Again, three days in this process, we have a long way to go. But I'm happy with where we are; I'm not ecstatic or anything over the top but for three days of practice – two days in shorts and now out here in pads, I feel comfortable with this team. Number one, they came back in shape. Number two, they heard all the messages you guys that you helped me get out with what we're trying to do here. They truly believe they have the opportunity to be something special and they do.

Q: Will you pad up every day from now on?

Coach Jackson: It's on my schedule, I don't have it off the top of my head. But again, I have to always check the health of our team, kind of see how everybody is, and we'll adjust accordingly. Just like I told our staff, everybody has to be flexible. They way things have gone on, things could change based on how the team is. We'll stay flexible and do what is best for our team to make sure that we grow every day.

Q: Chaz Schillens just has had some bad luck with injuries? Has he started off this camp at a hundred percent?

Coach Jackson: Yes he has. He's going and out there making plays, making catches. He's done a tremendous job and looks like Chaz towards the end of the year. He hasn't budged from anything and I'm excited that he's out here every day.

Q: What does he bring that other guys don't have?

Coach Jackson: He doesn't bring something that they don't have, but he's just a big, big man. He's fast, he's tough and he's courageous. He loves the sport, but we just have to keep him healthy. He's just a huge asset to our team but we're glad that he's healthy and able to compete every day in practice.

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