The big gripe from last season was conservatism on both sides of the ball. How will you address that?
Mike Johnson: “I have no idea what has happened before I got here. I refuse to even comment on that. But I don’t think I’ve ever been associated with conservatism. I don’t think it is in my nature to be conservative. I think that you have to dictate to a certain point what the defense does. It is not my nature to sit back and react all the time to what a defense is doing. Sometimes you have to make them react to you. You have to do things to offset tendencies, to take shots down the field, have to run reverses. You have to do all the things that fall into vertical and horizontal philosophies, so that you can run the ball up the middle when you want to.”
Joe Tresey: “There’s a reason why you pressure. There’s a reason you play a base defense. There’s a reason you sub out and play nickel. Or play five or six DBs. Why you play a three-man front or a four-man front. There’s a reason why coaches make the decisions that they do, based on the evaluation of video. I think you have to understand what the strengths of your players are, and you have to accentuate those strengths and diminish those weaknesses. We’re very multiple – we have a lot of fire zone patterns in our package, pressure patterns in our package. We have a lot of pressures overall.
Now are we going to be good at understanding blitzes and pressures? Are our guys going to be able to play fast, play downhill, and be able to see where the tackle is going, so he’ll be able to go off of it? Are they going to be able to stay on an edge and not run into people?
You have to teach people how to blitz. They have to understand body position, how gaps move, all those things. It’s just not lining up people and turning them loose. There’s a process of teaching how to do those things. For your players, is that in their tool box? Can they become good at that? If they can, you’re more apt to pressure. If you got guys through the recruiting process, you thought they could, they get here and can’t play fast, don’t know how to fit the edges, don’t take the proper departure angles that are needed, then you have to make that determination. End of the day, whatever your kids are best at, you need to be doing.”