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What We Learned From Wednesday's Media Availability

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



OPENING STATEMENT: "It's good to be back at the facility. As coach [Reid] explained to you, we're simulating a regular practice in-season week. So we're going through that drill."                                                                                                                                                                                              

Q:What progress did you see from Nick [Foles] from the first preseason game to the second?CHILDRESS:"He's certainly a lot more comfortable. I thought he did a great job with the first three minutes and forty seconds, taking us from the 11 [yard line] down to the half yard line. Some of that was called plays and some of that was two-minute. It was 16 plays and I thought he did a good job with knowing where to go with the football. You saw some things with him moving out of the pocket and being able to adjust and throw the football. Overall, he's comfortable with everything we're doing and coach's plan to get him in there."

Q:Is he where you expect him considering his timeline of being here? CHILDRESS:"Yeah. He's a quick study. The thing Andy [Reid] reminded me of yesterday was that [Foles] was only there one year with Coach Reid and how much this thing has grown since that one year. We've been here for four years now."

Q:What was the thought process at the end of the first half against the Rams at the goal line?CHILDRESS:"They had the penalty on top of the pass interference at the half yard line. We called in a go-to play. We had an error on the play. It was a great learning situation."

Q:How is Jamaal [Charles] looking? CHILDRESS:"He's looking good. He battled through some things yesterday. It's always different when you have people at your feet. All the rehab that you do. Seven on seven is more of an air thing. You saw him running through the line of scrimmage with some contested people. You have to find out some things about what you can do. He's probably working through some natural soreness. He'll spend more time on that leg and do more football-type movements.  It's like a quarterback, you're seeing these sore arms showing up around the NFL right now. You never quite get on it in the summertime like you do when there is coaches and real players around. You're not throwing to your wife, neighbor or somebody like that anymore. It's like that with Jamaal when he's in there and needs to do something a little faster."

Q:Is the offense where they need to be at this point? CHILDRESS:"I'm never really satisfied. There's always so many things we can do better in. I didn't like the three and out series we had in the first quarter. I loved the first drive. Then we settled down a little bit and did some good things on the third drive. There's always things we can do better whether it's operation of play, route adjustments, reads or protection."

Q:What's the best way to utilize Alex Smith's athletic ability in this offense?CHILDRESS:"You want him to be a thrower first. He obviously has tools when the pocket breaks down to be able to take off with the football. He has a good downfield mentality where he can hurt you with his feet, but he doesn't immediately tuck the ball and take off running like I've seen some quarterbacks do. In the first game, just scrambling and being able to get that ball to Jeremy [Maclin] down the sideline was big. And then we'll take care of some design things for his athleticism which you've seen throughout the years here. You don't want a heavy dose of quarterback runs because it just takes one lick for them to be done."

Q:Is the time now being spent on self-evaluation and self-scouting working towards Saturday's game?  CHILDRESS:"That's always ongoing -- our self-scouting and evaluating. We're really cognizant of what we put in during training camp, what we're holding onto, not putting out there and saving it for real time. We're getting better at base plays and maybe throwing in a wrinkle or two just to have our guys pay attention and know there's going to be more than a couple wrinkles when we get into the first week."* *


Q: Getting to the point now – special teams guys they've got to make their mark to make the team – some of your guys are on the bubble a little bit, how comfortable do you feel with some of the No. 2's and No. 3's you have on some of your units?

TOUB: "My guys are always on the bubble. I love the competition; I love the depth that we have right now. I think John [Dorsey] and his guys really did a good job putting some good players – with special team skills – on our roster. There are some spots that however it goes – whoever gets cut – I know that I'm going to have a good guy coming up. Not everywhere; I have my guys that I like, but there's a lot more depth then we've had in the past."

Q: Who were your special teams captains last year?

TOUB: "[Anthony] Sherman, [Dustin] Colquitt was always a guy, [Frank] Zombo – we rotated around. Andy [Reid] picks a guy every week and we try to pick guys that have performed either the week before, usually that's what we do."

Q: But your five phase guys were: [Anthony] Sherman, [Frank] Zombo, D.J. Alexander, and [Jamell] Fleming. That's about it right?

TOUB: "Yeah, pretty much. And [Daniel] Sorensen."

Q: You talk to your players a lot about going back to where they were beforehand - what does it mean to you to head back to Chicago this weekend?

TOUB: "It means a lot going back – it's exciting. I haven't been back since I've been here. Obviously they came here last year and played, but it's my first time going back. I'm going to look forward to seeing some old friends, I'm going to go to dinner with some friends – really when I look at the roster though, it's unbelievable how fast the roster changes just in four years. Robby Gould, Sherrick McManis – I can name them all on one hand the guys that are still there. It's amazing how quick the roster turns over in the NFL."

Q: Do you think it'll be odd to go to the visitor's coaching room and things like that?

TOUB: "Really I've never been in there. This will be my first time so it's going to be weird to be on the other side of the field at Soldier Field – coaching a game – but it's part of the NFL, it's the way it is. It'll be good to see old guys though, old friends. Especially the front office people."

Q: I know you guys never like comparing things, but you mentioned it was a pretty deep camp. Compared to other years, how deep is this camp for you?

TOUB: "I think it's the best that we've had – for me – as far as special teams talent. Whether it's returners, cover guys, linebackers, there's a lot of position,s but I think we've got some good talent – however it shakes out, I think we're going to be in good shape."

Q: Does that make the decisions more difficult or is it easier?

TOUB: "Well it's less stress for me – worrying about if a guy is going to make it, that is if he's a key core player or not. But, it also creates more competition. We're going to become a better football team because of the competition that we have."

Q: Is this a situation that you look around camp and you see a lot of guys that you know maybe aren't going to make this team, but you know can make another team somewhere else?

TOUB: "Yeah, I mean those guys know that every rep that they put on tape is there resume. Everybody is looking at that – we talk about that all the time and the guys are showing it in the way they practice and the way they compete, what they do on tape and in games."

Q: How much communication process is there between yourself and the personnel side of things, the coordinators and the position coaches as far as how they want to structure a certain position compared to what you want?

TOUB: "We talk, they know what my philosophy is by now. The front office guys, I'm talking Chris [Ballard] and John [Dorsey] and Andy Reid, they understand where I'm coming from. We meet all the time, we talk, we grade the players every day every practice and every game. We grade guys one through five at whatever position and I put a special teams grade on them and the position coaches put an offensive and defensive grade on them. It's open communication and everybody hears what everybody else says which is important."

Q: Earlier in camp you said that Tyreek Hill is faster than Devin Hester speed wise, what does it take to be a dynamic returner as impactful as Hester?

TOUB: "I said that, but Tyreek has a long way to go to be in the same category as Devin Hester. You have to do it on the field, and he hasn't broken out yet, it hasn't happened in a game. We've seen some spurts in practices and stuff like that, but he's got a long way to go."

Q: What could Hester do though to be so successful, what kind of things?

TOUB: "Well in his first game, Green Bay Packers game in his rookie season he went for a touchdown on his punt return. Then the next game he had a touchdown, then the next, you know what I mean? It was crazy. He's crazy good. That's a high standard, and a high level to compare a guy to, but I guess I've done that already."

Q: With the cuts coming up, how much does it way in, those guys that are excelling on special teams but maybe are lower in depth, how do you get your thoughts in there?

TOUB: "I give my opinion on how good a special teams player is and if we have two players that are close as far as offense or defense we refer back to special teams, and we'll take the better special teams player."

Q: Do you have that right now on the roster?

TOUB: "Yeah, it happens at a lot of positions"

Q: Was it just a miss-hit on the field goal Saturday?

TOUB: "Yeah it was a miss-hit, and there were a lot of miss-hits that week across the league. I watch all the games every week and there were a lot of misses. I don't know why, but if you're going to miss, miss early in the preseason. It wasn't because of pressure, it wasn't because of the hold, he just missed one, and he's human."

Q: Was there wind?

TOUB: "No, there was no wind, he just pushed it out to the right."

Q: Speeds obviously important, but do you feel like sometimes it can be deceptive in analyzing a player in terms of how good a hold he's got?

TOUB: "Yeah, overall you'll see a guy run a fast 40, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he's going to run fast on the field when guys are trying to block you, when there's a returner that has ten guys running down the field to tackle him. You don't necessarily see that speed translate. Some players are slow, not necessarily slow, but four-five-five guys, but end up giving four-five on the field, may end up looking a lot faster than someone that is faster. Play speed is the number one thing, that's what we're looking for. The guys that play fast on the field."

Q:  Do you feel like that's more of a mental thing than a physical thing sometimes?

TOUB: "It's mental, there's a lot of mental. But good football players usually play fast."


Q:What have you seen in the progression of Phillip Gaines?

SUTTON:"You know, I think probably the most important thing is he's becoming more comfortable with where he's at. Anytime you're coming off an injury like that, there's no guaranteed, set timetable. Each of those injuries, I think our trainers would say are individualized in their recovery and their response is the same. So, I think Phillip [Gaines] is getting more confident, and also, I think his reactions, and timing and those type of things have consequently increased – just by being out there – it's just not the injury. You've got to get back out there, see things in football speed and then, we want your body to go where your mind is telling it to go as quick as it can, and I think that's starting to come back for him."

Q:Is it important Phillip Gaines get some time during the preseason since he missed so much of last season?

SUTTON:"Certainly, I think that's good for the player, but I think the most important thing was the first part of your question. He needs to be 100 percent, and he has to be confident. We're obviously not going to send him out there until he feels that way, that's important for us. Obviously, anybody that can come back, you know, and get an opportunity and get out there. It's really not just defenses and learning all that. I think Phillip [Gaines] is a smart guy and understands that. It's again, your reaction time and that. If it works out that we can get him out there, that's great, if not, then, we have to deal with the cards we're dealt there in that regards."

Q:Has it hurt Josh Mauga not being out there?

SUTTON:"Well, we've talked about this before. We'd like everybody on our roster to be available to us, obviously. We think practicing is important, but we're also aware that there're times when you can't go. Josh [Mauga] has played a lot of plays for us since he's been here. You know, came in and was going to be a backup in 2014 and played 1,000 some snaps. We're confident that when he comes in, when he's healthy and when he's ready – we'll get him back in there. We're fortunate that he's played in defenses, both here and in New York; he's got that going for him and that's an advantage. I think players themselves would love to be out there just to say, 'Hey, I got the feel, and I understand it and go like that.'"

Q:What are the state of the three young guys behind them?

SUTTON:"They're all competing well, and I think it's going to be a close battle, which is great in a lot of ways. You love the idea that there's competition and that they're going to make a decision that's hard. You know, to me, that's a positive for our team. They're all contributors, they contribute on teams and they all can play out, pretty much, on all downs, so that's a real advantage for us. We'll just really have to see how it shakes out here in the next two weeks. For the situation with Josh [Mauga] out, it's a pretty good fall back for us, you know, really."

Q:I notice you have D.J. [Alexander] and Justin [March] playing together. D.J. typically stays to the weak side so March has to play strong side a little bit. I know you've seen he can do it in practice, but does that change his comfort level?

SUTTON: "It might be a little, but in a lot of the defenses and a lot of the formations that you play they become very similar. The quote "mike linebacker' is a lot more prevalent in the two-back type of things that we see and then once you get to sub they become a little more interchangeable anyway. You just have different job descriptions. D.J. plays both mike and dime and sub so he has to learn both of those. In almost every year you're training somebody because in the end you're trying to figure out who are the best 11 players in each of these personnel groupings to get on the field. That's the real task at hand here. For our terms if we use sub it's a DB, if we use nickel it's a linebacker. "

Q:Ramik Wilson was working with the first team and then you guys gave a look to [Justin] March, is that a reflection on March or Wilson or are you just trying to see what March can do?

SUTTON:"We're trying to see what everybody can do, because like I said, we have to make a big decision here if Josh [Mauga] doesn't make it back right away. We're trying to get as many evaluations as we can on these guys and give them a chance to go against the first unit of whoever you're playing and kind of see it as close to game as you can on a more limited basis."

Q:How do you handle game three when you do have evaluations and a roster cut coming up? How do you make those decisions? Is it harder this time in this game?

SUTTON:"No I don't think so. I think one of the most important parts of preseason is making sure you know your roster. Whether anybody was hurt or not, doesn't really factor in because at some point you have to reduce that roster. This isn't a coaching area, this is everybody saying, 'I want to make sure we know everything about these guys' and sometimes you have to make a hard decision. You have more than you can keep at a position that are good players. You'd keep them all on ability, but you can't do that so you have to really make sure that everybody's on the same page, we've looked at it the same way. Then the worst feeling in the world is if you've made a mistake in there. Like I said, there's nothing you can do about it, we have this many slots and this is how many guys we have and the good news is we have more guys than slots, but we have to pick the right guys. I don't think even as we get into these games, with injuries, whatever, you never want to lose sight of the personnel part of the game."

Q:Is that maybe the case at corner, you have a lot of guys there?

SUTTON:"Yeah I just think you're trying to evaluate as many guys as you can. The hardest part in preseason we can control when our guys play we can't control who they play against all of the time. That sometimes makes the evaluation a little harder to do based on who they've played against and that. In the end we run a lot of plays in practice in preseason. We've seen most of these guys in about every situation they can be in. They've all kind of rotated through and been against the first offense and that type of thing, so you feel pretty good and you just have to go. There's nothing you can do about it, you just go, and like I said, in a lot of ways it's a great situation to be in. It's a problem, but it's a good one."

Q:At corner opposite [Marcus] Peters, has that picture become clearer or maybe a little more difficult based off of the performances you've seen so far?

SUTTON:"No, we've just talked about Phillip [Gaines], we don't have Gaines in there full time so I don't know if that's going to totally clear itself up until we get ready to roll here."

Q:I know it's only been one practice, but how does the demeanor of this defense change once you have Tamba [Hali] back out there on the field?

SUTTON:"I think one, he's an energy giver. He has a great energy and passion for the game. He practices in a style that's unique to him, he is all-out every play. That's one of the hardest things for Tamba, you know, because you can't say 'Tamba you need this assignment, go in here, but go 75%,' he can't do that. Tamba only goes one speed and that's 100%. But that energy he brings and the passion, particularly when you're a veteran player, when players see that out of a veteran player, I think it's very meaningful, so we're excited to have him back out there. He brings, like I said, a lot of energy and [he's] not afraid to speak up and get everybody going. I think coaching wise we really appreciate that."

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