(How encouraged are you the last two days with Brandon?)
Brandon Chillar? I thought he practiced very well again today. His medical exam this morning was very positive, so barring any setback, I foresee him being ready to go for Sunday.
(Is he the starter then?)
We'll work that out today. That's what today's practice was really for. I've talked about it before in here. We have our management meeting at 1 o'clock, and those are the types of things we talk about as far as going from 53 to 45.
(What did you see from Harrell today?)
I thought he fought through the practice. It was good to see him out there. Really, Justin Harrell, Danny Lansanah and Jeremy Thompson, those three players are all in a similar situation. It was important for them to practice today, and we'll see where they are. That will also affect the way we go with the 45.
(Do you have any idea what you've got in Justin, with him missing so much in the offseason and training camps?)
Justin Harrell is going through a tough spot right now with some medical issues, and that's really been the toughest obstacle for him to overcome. He's still a young player. He still fits into the scheme and is fully capable of doing all the things that we expect from him. But he's going through a tough medical spot right now.
(Do you have any feel for how good a player he is or could be?)
I'd say he's a young, developing player. I think he has a lot of football in front of him. He's had some unfortunate setbacks.
(Was Pickett back at 100 percent today?)
Ryan Pickett looks to be past his illness, and we expect him to be ready to go Sunday.
(What do you like about Malone? What does he give you?)
Excellent size. Really, gives you some flexibility too. He's a pretty good pass rusher inside. We see him trying to get some opportunities there. Also he's able to play special teams. Alfred is a young man you like to see obtain the opportunities that he's been able to put himself in position for. He's worked very hard, has a lot of energy. I like his personality, I like the way he works. He brings definitely some juice to that group, and this is a big opportunity for him this week.
(You like Hall as a fullback, and you also have Kuhn there. But how does likely not having Hall hurt your special teams coverage groups?)
Korey Hall is definitely one of our top core special teams players. It's taking another one of those productive players out of that group. Also Korey does a very good job for us at the fullback position, and we've been trying to use John with a little more flexibility as far as running the football. It's definitely a bonus to have two fullbacks that give you some diversity, to get into some personnel groups that you normally don't get into with the two-fullback sets. But they're both smart, tough football players that contribute on the offense but also are very good players on special teams.
(Can Humphrey allow you to do that two-fullback thing?)
Can he? Yes. We train the fullback and the tight end in a number of spots the same way, and that's really the reason why we've gone in the direction that we have with our tight end group. So there's definitely a lot of carryover between the tight end and the fullback position.
(Do you think you have good blitzers? When you look at how much you blitzed last week and the production, what's your assessment there?)
Well, blitzing is no different than other techniques. It's no different than tackling, it's no different than blocking. It's something you need to work on. You can compare it a lot to pass rush. Those are all things we need to continue to work on. Can we do a better job blitzing? Absolutely. Can we do a better job with our spacing in blitzing? It's another thing we can improve on. But as far as the players and the tempo and the attitude, I think we have players that are fully capable of being pressure players, but we need to improve in that area. We need to win the one-on-one's more, and that's something we haven't done enough of, whether it's in the pass rush or whether it's in blitzing.
(Is there a difference between practicing it, but if you don't do it a lot in games, are you able to develop a higher skill level at it?)
I look at blitzing just like I answered the question before this. It's a technique, it's a fundamental. It's something you need to work on. And obviously when you get to in-season practice schedules, when you work in pads as opposed to when you work in shells, it's different. You have to be smart. We don't want to lose players in practice. But those really all fall under fundamentals. You can do probably a better job in the training camp, with more opportunities with padded practices.