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What We Learned From the Coordinators on Thursday

Defensive Coordinator Bob Sutton, Co-Offensive Coordinator Brad Childress and Special Teams Coordinator Dave Toub spoke with the media on Thursday afternoon

Defensive Coordinator Bob Sutton



Q: Is it overwhelming to have to replace a player like Derrick Johnson?

SUTTON: "I don't think so. I think the players look at it a lot different than you might or we might. 'This is my chance to play. I'm going in.' You share all the parts of it with other people, and you try to make it up. We're not going to replace Derrick [Johnson]. He's a Pro Bowl football player, veteran guy, has a great voice in our locker room, great energy. We hate to lose him, but we've been through this before with different guys from EB [Eric Berry], to Justin [Houston], to whatever. Those other guys have done a great job preparing for these first 12 weeks even though you're not playing, then things work out. That doesn't mean there isn't some bumps in the road or any of that, but I don't think players think like that or see it like that. I think they just think, 'Hey, this is my chance to go play. I'm looking forward to it, and I want to do a great job.' We've done this with a lot of guys this year already. Unfortunately, we'd have to do it one more time here."

Q: Their responsibilities do increase though?

SUTTON: "Well, yeah. To me, the team on the field is the team, so whoever walks out there – whatever personnel group – we're expecting you to perform like a starting player. They don't give you any points for this being your first start or this is it. You have to play, man, and you have to play well. That's what we're going to expect out of whoever is that guy that goes in the game. So, that's how we look at it."

Q: Derrick Johnson wants to do stuff off the field now to kind of help the guys get ready. What might that role look like and what do you think he can do for those guys?

SUTTON: "Well, we're not going to let him get away free here. He can add, like I told him, his voice is well respected in this organization within the locker room, within the players. He can provide a lot of things. Once he gets settled down and gets squared away, I mean during the week talking to them about, 'Hey, these formations equal this. Hey, this is what you've got to be ready for.' Let them hear it from a different voice, see it through his eyes. Like I've said, he's broken a lot of huddles throughout his day, and so, I think he can kind of have that calming effect by saying, 'Hey, you can do this, this is how you play that and go like that.' That's kind of how I envision it. I think he wants to stay part of this. It's a really tough break for him. We all feel bad for him, but unfortunately that's part of what these guys do."

Q: What have you seen from Terrance Mitchell that made you think he was ready to play?

SUTTON: "Well, he had practiced very well. [He] was highly competitive in practice. We felt it was worthy to give him a shot to see what he could do. Obviously, he's gone in there and done a really nice job – competitive. I think he's improving, which is a big thing. He should get a chance to improve because he's getting more reps in. There's nothing like 'real reps' – game reps. You know, I think you really have to say that this guy has really stepped up and done a really nice job."

Q: How differently do you have to play Tennessee depending on who's in the backfield? 

SUTTON: "I don't think a lot. They don't really change your system very much. These are just two guys [DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry] that are sharing a load. They're obviously a heavy run team. I think they've just tried to spread that out a little bit. So, as it's getting close to the end, they have two fresh guys instead of one that's just beat down from the wear and tear of the season, and it's worked very well for them. Both of them are very capable players. To us, there's no drop off. Both of them are physical guys. Both of them, in particular 22 [Henry] for a big man which he is, he has the ability to bounce out and get outside the defense. They're a real challenge. They do a really good job at finishing runs – what we say – coming out the backend. Maybe, hit them for three, and they end up with five. That's credit to them – the way they play, their talent level. It's going to be a big challenge for our defense."

Co-Offensive Coordinator Brad Childress



Q:What do you attribute Alex's success against the blitz to? CHILDRESS:"He does a good job of directing the line in protection -- he maximizes that. He's aware of things that are happening and he does a good job using the snap count to get a 'tell'. And he knows nothing good happens in this league holding onto the football [too long]. He gets the ball out of his hand effectively."

Q:Is Travis Kelce on as good of a 'run' as you've seen a tight end go on? CHILDRESS:"I can't remember one that we've had -- we've had some decent ones -- but 100-yard games for tight ends are rare. I don't think anyone realizes at the end of the game that, 'Hey this guy just had a 100-yard game.' We've come to look to him for big plays -- even catch-and-run plays. A lot of guys can catch and fall down but he has the ability to catch and run after the play."

Q:What do you want to see done in order to get more efficiency out of the run game? CHILDRESS:"I think we can be efficient both ways. I think we can be more efficient in the run, and also more efficient in those shorter area handoffs that should be like extended handoffs in order to chew the clock. You don't want to do that in detriment of turning down a big shot downfield if it's there. Being more efficient run-game wise and becoming more efficient in the intermediate and short passes where a guy can get a catch and run for three or four yards. Four yards every play in this league is a heck of a deal."

Special Teams Coordinator Dave Toub

Q: What was kind of going through your mind when you heard the crowd chant "Tyreek, Tyreek"?

TOUB: "That was awesome. They started cheering and chanting his name, I felt like I was in a gladiator movie. It was unbelievable and then he takes it. The kick was perfect for him, the blocking – they did a good job, sometimes a good block is a no block and 84 went down there and didn't touch the guy in the back when he easily could have got in his way. Tyreek made a miss and then DJ's block kind of sprung him right there. Once he gets out in the open field he gets hard to stop."

Q: Sunday it's supposed to be exceptionally cold, what do you do to the footballs for the kickers?

TOUB: "We're practicing outside right now, we practiced outside yesterday and today so you just have to get used to it. You have to get a feel for it, the ball gets a little slicker. I always tell the guys, whoever handles the weather the best is going to win the game. It holds true, it held true in Chicago, it holds true here. It's something that we have to experience in practice and carry over into the game."

Q: Tyreek Hill's fumble, was that weather related the other night?

TOUB: "No, he kind of took his eyes off, he tried to steal one there, he didn't make a fair catch and he knew he had people around him so he took his eyes off of it the last second and it slipped through. I thought he fell on it but it actually squirted out the back end. Unfortunate, but that's the first mistake he's made in 14 weeks."

Q: On the fake punt in Atlanta

TOUB: "It was a great call by Andy. It was fourth and one and he did a nice job there. Obviously we had this play, it was something we thought we could get on them, the situation came up and really what you're thinking on that is to get the first down. It ended up being a lot bigger than we thought we'd get."

Q: Was there more that went into that decision other than you were fourth and short and at midfield?

TOUB: "You're thinking are you going to pooch it, are you going to take a penalty, are you going to try and draw them off sides or do you put the punt team out there and try your fake and the decision we made was good."

Q: Andy [Reid] and a lot of other people have said some complementary things about your readiness to be a head coach, how much do you think about it?

TOUB: "I don't think about it every day. It's something that if it happens, it happens. I just like the fact that more and more special team's coaches are being recognized as guys that could be head coaches. If you look at three of the interim coaches this year, they're special teams guys. The awareness is getting better and I think someday somebodies going to pull the trigger on a guy. It's not something I think about every day though.  I have my hands full with this job."

Q: If you look around the league, a lot of coaches, Belichick, Harbaugh, they have a special team's background, why do you think that uniquely prepares a coach to be a head coach?

TOUB: "You work with everybody, you work with all athletes, all the guys on the team, you're working situational football. As a head coach you have to make those decisions. That's the biggest thing you do during game day and it's something that we think of all the time. It kind of trains you to be a head coach in my opinion. I think that's important."

Q: What besides Tyreek's speed when you drafted him did you like about him?

TOUB: "His personality, when I first met him – he just has an instinct about him, about football. You could sense it right away. I felt that right away about him without even seeing him step on the field. Then his lower body, his lower body is really strong. That's something that people don't realize. He's not a real big guy, tall, stature wise, but his lower body is like a 220-pound guy. That low center of gravity and his balance and his strength, that's what separates him from other players.

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