Q: You guys do a short passing game. Can you continue to be successful with the way you guys are throwing it?
PEDERSON:"Yeah I think so. Obviously the ball is out quick and everything that you do in the passing game whether it is 3, 5 or 7 steps should come off a vertical step as if you're running a go route or a deep route. We use a multitude of formations, motions and shifts to sort of disguise our three-step passing game and that's been helpful for us as well."
Q: I don't know if I have seen a team that's been as productive offensively as you guys without having to keep teams honest deep. How sustainable is that? It just doesn't seem like a sustainable model.
PEDERSON:"It's strange that things have happened that way for us. I think a part of it is our ability to run the football, particularly in the second half which we did this past weekend. We had success there. The other thing is, if you do throw it short you expect your guys to break tackles and make longer runs. We just have to continue to use the formula that's been working for us and continue to grow off of that."
Q: Would you say that you guys use shifts to kind of disguise the things you do short? What can you do to make up for it?
PEDERSON:"Well yeah. It's like the defense disguising coverage and blitz. I think we do the same thing and I think we do it pretty well, I think offensively, with the different motions and shifts, lining up guys in different spots and just utilizing your strengths. That's really the bottom line, that's what it comes down to – using the strength of your guys offensively and putting them in the position to be successful."
Q: What is it that you guys do that keeps teams from just lining up, like stacking the box and going press coverage on your receivers and saying beat us over the top?
PEDERSON:"I think you're seeing the first part of our season, you started seeing the eight man box, the cover one, the press on the outside. We had success running the football against that. And when teams want to present a nine-man box, you're receivers become very important in what you do. And then the zone read stuff, the stuff we've been doing with the zone and throwing the ball out to (Travis) Kelce or 13 (De'Anthony Thomas) or one of our guys that way, has also helped in the ability to throw the ball down the field. It just kind of softens the defense a little bit."
Q: Talking about running after the catch do you feel like your receivers are pretty good in that regard? Including the backs and the tight ends?
PEDERSON:"Yeah, (Travis) Kelce obviously stands out. He's broken some tackles and been able to take some long runs. Dwayne (Bowe) is another guy that here recently, you throw it to him quick and he has the strength and power to break a tackle. Obviously our backs, Jamaal (Charles) can do that. So we have the guys that can do it and they've done a nice job here in recent weeks of getting extra yards after the catch."
Q: The bunch tight end formation that you guys have been using, how much of that is designed – if they want to go eight in the box that you will make them thing about it.
PEDERSON:"A lot of our run game and I think what you are seeing league wide and it goes all the way down into the collegiate level, is that you're seeing if teams want to crowd the box you're going to flip it out to the sideline somewhere. That's the extension of your run game. That formation, that personnel grouping has been good for us whether we put them in a wide bunch or keep them tight to the line of scrimmage with those tight ends. It has been a good package for us and we are going to continue to grow that."
Q: The history of the west coast offense is that short passing game is another part of the run game.
PEDERSON:"Yes it is and we've got the right guy. Obviously, Alex is smart. He gets the ball out of his hand and we have the receivers that can get open in those short to intermediate routes and make some good, strong catches."
Q: Rex Ryan throws out defensive things that you will never see again for the rest of the season. How do you prepare for that?
PEDERSON:"You just go back and look at all his body of work and obviously this season and take a look at all the games they've played this year and a lot of times too, people will be creatures of habit and come back to certain things that they're familiar and comfortable with. Offensively, you just have to go into a game with plays run and pass that are kind of good vs. every look. There's something that presents itself in the game and the quarterback has to do the right thing with the football whether it be checking the protection or throwing hot or utilizing a back out of the backfield, something like that. He's going to throw you a bunch of looks and you just go in and execute your game plan and fine tune the details of your work."
Q: You had a chance to work with Michael Vick when he came back. What did you guys find there and how did he develop into the Andy Reid system?
PEDERSON:"One, tremendous athlete, great leader on that football team. He still has the ability to extend plays with his legs. He still has that quickness. He's got cannon for an arm. Smart quarterback that knows where everybody's going to be on the football field and with the thing we were doing offensively with him allowed him to be successful and allowed him to get the ball out of his hands. We utilized our backs and tight ends at the time and he is a quarterback that is dangerous in that way because if you want to pressure him, then you've got to be ready to break a tackle and make a run and that's some of the things that he can do."
Q: Did you watch the game last night?
PEDERSON:"I did. I was on the edge of my seat the whole night. What a tremendous series. Gosh, it's a tough way to lose, but hats off to the Giants. They played a great series as well. For a team that was obviously an underdog to win to do what they did, the runs, the hits and the way they came back in that game six, I thought in my mind there was no doubt they were going to take the series and get game seven."
Q: In that situation was there a lack of confidence or did they build confidence?
PEDERSON:"You build confidence from day one. I think it goes back to the wildcard, playoff game they had there when they had the chance to beat the A's and get in and I think it just steam rolled for them and I kind of remember that feeling when we won the Super Bowl in Green Bay and then went back the next year, lost it, but yet the confidence was there, the momentum was there and we just got beat by the better team that day and there's a lot of great lessons to be learned and the things you can carry onto the next season to make you not only better as a baseball team, but a football team."
Q: Rex Ryan said he wants you to get a head coaching job, just not his.
SUTTON:"That sounds exactly like Rex. One of the great things about Rex is that he truly enjoys what he's doing. He's such a personality that I think a lot of times I think it goes kind of unnoticed how good of a coach he is. Having been with him, he is an outstanding football coach and what he's done with his defensive system speaks for itself. But he's a great coach. I think you can see how hard the players play for him, that they respond to him well. He's got a great way about it."
Q: How much defensively did you adopt from Rex's system?
SUTTON:"It's a lot of what we did in New York and what Rex brought to New York from Baltimore. I think each system goes off a little bit on its own as you get to a place, a lot of time it's driven by either what you're faced with and also what your personnel can do. We always think about this system that it has a lot of flexibility. We can play a lot of different ways and I think that's one of the real strengths of the system. You kind of push it over to one side or the other based on your players or the issues that you're facing from the opponent. But a lot of it honestly is driven from what we did in New York."
Q: What sets Justin Houston apart as a pass rusher?
SUTTON:"I think he's got great physical skills, there's no questions about that. But I think the other thing he's really taken to a level that's allowing him to be really successful is that he understand the person that he is rushing against, he understands formations, which all those little things allow you to play a little bit faster or maybe give you just a little bit of an edge. The tribute has to go to Gary Gibbs who helps prepare him and Justin himself for studying. Because it's not a lot different than what happens over there on the baseball field when pitchers and hitters go up there. They know what you do well, they know what you don't do well, and if I can take advantage of that, that's the huge thing rather than just, 'hey, I'm rushing because this is my rush.' That tackle is studying you as hard as you are studying that tackle."
Q: Sacks typically come in bunches like last Sunday, but Justin Houston has had a sack in every single game this season except against the Broncos. What do you attribute that to week in and week out?
SUTTON:"I think it's a lot of that – the technique, the study. The only possible way you can be successful as a rusher is if you're tenacious because you're going to get blocked. Very seldom you do one move and you're by the guy. Which he showed the other day, he was getting blocked on the backside, he slid in underneath. As the quarterback stepped up, he grabbed the quarterback. So to me, the one common quality that all rushers have is they're tenacious. They don't stop. I'm getting blocked, snap my feet and come back. And if you keep working, good things will happen. And I think the other part of it obviously is we've got a lot of guys that are really going. Obviously Tamba on the other edge causes his own set of problems for him. And I think Allen Bailey and Dontari (Poe) have done a great job pushing up inside. And when you push up inside, there's nowhere to go. The pressure now is on the offensive tackle because he no longer can set deep and go like that because if he sets deep and the pressure is in there and you step up but there's no place to step up, then it's a different deal. So if you keep those tackles where they've got to sit there, both Tamba and Justin have enough speed to go right around you."
Q: Every day he hits that pad up to 300 times after every practice. What does that tell you about him?
SUTTON:"I think it tells you that his craft is important to him. This is your profession and that is one of the things he does in this profession, he rushes the passer. Like I always say, 'you've got to be willing to work on your things on your own.' We run out of time out here in practice. We can't drill everything down. I call it 'OYO', you're on your own. You have to do that if you want to be good. I think the guys that are really good are the same way. The quarterbacks that throw extra, they are better. The receivers that catch it, they are better. You can't ever get enough of that. The key is to keep identifying what you need to work on. Not just do things that you do well but the things that you know, hey if I improve this whoa. If I'm a fast ball pitcher and now this is my changeup, I'm a tough guy to handle."
Q: Another guy that is playing well for you is Sean Smith. He played well last year but seems to have picked it up, why?
SUTTON:"I think he's more familiar with the system, what we are trying to do exactly. I think that's helpful. I always think defense, a lot of times, is knowing where you're help is and understanding what's going on. And sometimes as a corner you're out there isolated so much but there's some you don't have any help on and others that you do. And if you can play to what you get into, really the same thing we are talking about with Justin (Houston). You start to studying and you start to learn splits and you start to learn formations. It allows you not to have to play every single possibility right. You say, 'hey that's what I studied for because I know this split is telling me this or this formation is telling me that. Or this down and distance is telling me that.' And that's what helps everybody whether you're talking about, 'hey, this is when they like to take their shots.' These are the situations on the field. Knowledge is power and the more you have of that, it gives you a chance to really, I think, enhance your individual game and collectively as a defense."
Q: I remember over the summer you guys bumped him (Sean Smith) down to the twos and really made him earn his way back. Why?
SUTTON:"Well we thought it was open competition. We had all three guys out there at that time. And we felt that all of them were competitive, we said, 'let's see who's going to come out of this and be the starting guys.' So I think that was it, we thought we had to improve on the backend of course. So hey, competition is good. I think Sean took it the right way. And really the only way you can be successful you just have to go out and work and let it take care of itself. He did a really good job at that."
Q: Do you think that's got anything to do with the way he's playing now?
SUTTON:"It may, but you'd have to ask him about that. I think anytime you are competitive, it is no different than talking to Coop (Marcus Cooper). I said, 'hey, this is the NFL brother. Things change in a day so you have to keep driving down and preparing.' Then all of a sudden he was back in that game. That's why you have to always do it. You can't relax and say, 'well, I'm not on this unit.' Because one play you're on that unit and you're on that unit the rest of the day or the rest of the year it could be. I think that's one of the things we do a really good job at preaching to them and talking to the guys that are on what we call the look team. 'Hey, this is your chance to get ready right here. You've got to do what's on that card but this is your chance. You've got an NFL offense that's training you if you look at it the right way. So take advantage of it. They are running routes for you.' And that to me, is what we are trying to get across to them all the time."
Q: How did Josh Mauga go from not playing, to signing, to never coming off the field?
SUTTON: "He's done a great job. I was obviously familiar with him in New York. He played multiple roles for us. He played both positions in base, both positions in sub. He was our backup outside linebacker when we traveled and we had to lower the snap count at that position. Very smart, much like we were talking about the preparation thing, he's outstanding in preparation. He knows our defense, he knows the opponent's offense and I think he's obviously becoming more and more comfortable in the role that he's done, but he's done a great job and Gary Gibbs and Mark DeLeone have done a great job preparing this guy too. It's a combination, but just the same as Justin (Houston) preparing to rush the passer, I think Josh has done the same thing in preparing to play the defense. He's got a great command. He knows pretty much what everybody's doing and from our standpoint, we're very comfortable with that and he can get you lined up, he can fix something out there. He'll come over to the sideline and say 'hey we have to do this like this' and he has enough presence that I'm okay and I understand what you want to do. That's easy when you understand the big picture, you're not just going 'this is not what I do on this defense'. You've got to understand what everybody's doing and much less we were just talking about that he understands that 'hey this is where the help is, this is where the weakness of the defense is, this is the strength and that allows you to play, one, better and differently and I think the other thing is it's really the only way you can adjust if you understand the big picture."
Q: What kind of threat is Michael Vick still?
SUTTON: "Oh he's still a big threat. I wish I could say he wasn't, but unfortunately, I think I read this some place, that he's lost a step, but there's a lot of people that are looking for that step still because he's dynamic and he can do anything. We played him last year. We're pretty familiar with what he can do. He had some big runs, scrambles against us a year ago. He's the kind of guy that you can never say, 'the play is over', which puts a lot of pressure on the backend people because you can rush him and you've got him dead to rights and he can still avoid and get away and extend the play. That's a real problem, and obviously when he gets out in open space those five yards click off pretty fast still. To us, he's a real issue. We've got to deal with him."
Q: When you look across the street at the Royals and what they have accomplished, is it a confidence builder or a depressing thing when it happens to a team?
SUTTON: "Well, I think you've got to look at it both ways. I think the Royals have come from nowhere to do what they did and look at them a couple of weeks ago, I don't know much about it, but it just appears to be, they have a great team, they seem to be very close together and they've got that dynamic thing that happens when you have confidence. That's some kind of electrifying force that goes through your whole organization and when you have you know it. It's a force multiplier. It allows you to do things you can't normally. I think they've demonstrated that. When you go down to the seventh game to the last inning and you've got a guy on third base 90 feet from tying it up. It's unfortunate that somebody's got to lose. That's the risk you take every time you go out there. I think they did a great job, and to me it's inspiring for everybody."
Q: Were you ever tempted to scrap the project of Knile Davis as a kickoff returner?
TOUB:"I think he dropped one in a preseason game where I was like, 'Uh, I don't know if he is ever going to be able to do this,' but we just kept sticking with it."
Q: Then he dropped one during the Cowboys game last year in the regular season, right?
TOUB:"Yeah, in the regular season. He put it down, but it wasn't a fumble. We ended up falling back on it, so it wasn't as disastrous."
Q: But in the bigger picture were you ever tempted to pull the plug?
TOUB:"Well, you think that a little bit, but I'm glad we stuck with it. Let's leave it at that. He's gotten so much better. We continue to work on it. He knows he's got issues at time, but he's really improved at that and proof is in the pudding."
Q: He didn't have any background returning kicks. What was it with him that you saw that made you want to try him back there?
TOUB:"Well, his size and speed. Those are things – you can't teach that. He had that and brought that to the table and you know how he's able to break tackles, his vision, those things. All those other intangibles that he had, they were so strong that we had to try to get him to be a good catcher."
Q: It's not too common where big men return kicks.
TOUB:"You have to really want to do it, you have to be courageous, and he's hungry for it. And he just wants to touch the ball, so every time he gets the ball, he's happy whether it's kick return or as a tailback."
Q: How come you don't see a lot of bigger type backs take on that role in today's NFL and be as good as Knile Davis is at it?
TOUB:"We pick one spot to hit the returns. A lot of other teams might do a lot more counters and stuff like that. We're more downhill and power kind of kick return team, so he kind of fits with what we do."
Q: How about Cairo Santos? He's starting to settle down.
TOUB:"He's coming around; he's gaining confidence every game. And last game was really good for him, hitting the 28 and 53 right before the half in a hurry up situation. Huge. And then it carried over in his kickoffs because he was bombing them, the last four of them out of the back of the endzone. It was a little windy though too."
Q: Where did the one that went to the stands come from?
TOUB:"He got that one up in the jet stream, it kind of blew out."
Q: How does Dustin Colquitt get the backspin on the ball when he punts it?
TOUB:"It's a rugby kick so when he kicks it and he's got the nose down like this, it's rotating like this so when it hits the ground, it bounces back. And that's why across the league everybody – I don't know one punter right now that doesn't use a rugby punt in the pooch area because the ball hits the ground and spins backwards."
Q: But three out of every four inside the 20?
TOUB:"He's got a really good feel for it. He doesn't try to get too much, he doesn't try to put it on the one although that does happen. He's going to get it inside the 20 and give our gunners and cover guys a chance to down it."
Q: Did you watch the game last night? What are your thoughts on it?
TOUB:"I felt bad for those guys; I was with them. Our whole team was. I think a lot of our players were talking about it; they went to the game last night. Everybody is kind of down right now, but at the end of the day, I hope everybody realizes what they did for the city and everybody's spirits and just talking about baseball at the end of October. It was awesome."
Q: What is it like when you're in a situation like that to be so close and just come up short?
TOUB:"When I was in Chicago, we had the White Sox in 2005. They went all the way and won it. It was kind of contagious for us, too. The next year, we went to the Super Bowl so those kind of things – the guys see how hard they have to work and what it took for them to get there. It kind of carries over to our team as well."
Q: Have you ever gotten over the Super Bowl? TOUB:"You never get over that. Really, it's probably a good thing because it stays with you. You know the next time you go, you've got to win the thing. It's more than just getting to the Super Bowl, you've got to win it."