Mar 25, 2013
With the draft still more than a month away and the biggest names in free agency finding homes, we are in a little bit of a lull when it comes to news. However, John Hansen attended the combine and Adam Caplan spent time at the owners’ meetings looking to pick up any information from coaches, executives, and other team officials. What we have here are some of the nuggets from the coaches that spoke last week in Arizona.
Bruce Arians, Cardinals
-Believes addition of Rashard Mendenhall helps because of their history. Mendenhall doesn’t need to come out of the game.
-Prefers to use one RB instead of committee
-Wants to name starting QB ASAP, possibly by end of spring. Comfortable with Drew Stanton because he knows the system already and has some athleticism.
-Outside of Levi Brown at LT, there will be competition on the OL.
-Wants flexibility at TE because he doesn’t like to use a FB. Rob Housler praised for being an excellent receiver, just scratching the surface.
Tom Coughlin, Giants
-Excited about Brandon Myers’ catch total from 2012. Believe he’s well rounded and can help with ground game.
Jason Garrett, Cowboys
-Need more than one RB. Need to run it better. Need to balance offense and healthy DeMarco Murray has meant team has been at their best on offense. Murray does good job catching and running. Injuries to Murray, Felix Jones proves they need another guy. Liked what Lance Dunbar did as instinctive runner, good route runner, but not everything translates well from practice to game. Dunbar a good special teamer, but maybe not a legit #2.
-Feel they have played to Tony Romo’s strengths and he doesn’t really limit them at all, as production has shown. Love his instincts, great vision, great feel for bodies around him in pocket, great feel for defender spacing, don’t want to stifle him. Continues to harp on improved ground game helping Romo.
Chip Kelly, Eagles
-Looking for QB to grasp offense, how they process it on the field, transfer from practice to game important
-Not looking to use 2 QBs
-Still needs to see more of the team on the field to get a better grasp of what he has, roles, etc.
Mike McCarthy, Packers
-Randall Cobb picked up things very easily, able to play lots of positions. Tried to tailor some things to him last year and worked out well. Excellent slot receiver.
-Need to get Jordy Nelson healthy and keep him that way. Could be very good with Cobb, Nelson, and James Jones healthy.
-In process of finalizing running game. Schematic changes coming. Run blocking needs to improve.
-Feels great about DuJuan Harris and how he finished the season, but stops short of naming him starter.
Sean Payton, Saints
-Believes Drew Brees’ job changed with lack of run game and shaky defense.
-Wants more opportunities to run the ball. Will help the whole offense.
Ron Rivera, Panthers
-Impressed with Steve Smith because he does everything. They put him in position to take advantage of abilities.
-Brandon LaFell has developed into a very solid football player. Will continue to grow. Can get in tight spaces and make catches.
-Need to work on using RBs. Need to work on rotation to get quality touches.
-Cam Newton needs to keep improving base fundamentals, like footwork, especially in shotgun, because tendency is to get lazy.
Greg Schiano, Buccaneers
-Wants Doug Martin to get some time to rest in the offseason, maybe take a little bit of the load off him, but also use him more on third-down because he’s a good receiver and blocker.
-Called LeGarrette Blount a backup RB. Will gives carries to those who earn it.
-Josh Freeman needs to figure out what he was doing wrong on turnovers (7 INTs in 13 games, 10 INTs in 3 games).
-Wants Freeman to scramble when he can make a play. Can extend play in/around pocket and with arm strength hit a big play. He’s an accurate passer on the run, so pocket was moved more. They are a vertical passing team, which might explain Freeman’s lower percentage. Hinted that issues with Freeman’s mechanics were feet/upper body not being in sync.
Jim Schwartz, Lions
-Compared Reggie Bush’s big-play ability to a hitter being able to clear the bases. Also said Bush could return kicks.
-Believes Bush can help Calvin Johnson and vice versa because they open things up for each other and make teams play if they focus on Johnson.
-Doesn’t believe Bush is declining. Said he ran against eight-man boxes a lot last year and did it well. Still thinks he’s explosive.
-Said there’s more than enough touches for others like Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell.
Mike Smith, Falcons
-Said Steven Jackson has a great skill set. Runs and catches it well. He’ll get opportunities and open up opportunities for others.
Marc Trestman, Bears
-Thinks Jay Cutler can improve mechanics and knows he can have high-level mechanics. His arm is as good as any he’s seen. Can make all the throws, change speeds.
-Will have some read option in the packages. Know how to coach it. Cutler has tremendous agility and mobility. Can move and throw it accurately. Cutler is exceptionally tough.
-Believes Evan Rodriguez can play FB. Excited to see more of him. Offense can use more traditional FB, but will see where they are with personnel after OTAs.
-Matt Forte has a skill set that goes the whole spectrum of what you want in a RB. Can run in and out, catch it extremely well, very good route runner, versatile, willing blocker.
-Looking at Alshon Jeffery as a starter, has seem him do some very good things, but not enough to really know.
-Devin Hester is just a specialist for now.
Bill Belichick, Patriots
-Danny Amendola is productive on the inside and has had some production on the outside. No explanation for his injury issues.
-Donald Jones has the opportunity to improve.
-Thought Ryan Mallett really performed well and improved a lot last year.
Gus Bradley, Jaguars
-Told told Blaine Gabbert, ‘We’re supportive of you. We love your talent level and all you can bring, but we’re still going to have competition. That’s the NFL.’
Rob Chudzinski, Browns
-Believes Josh Gordon has all the tools to be solid #1 WR.
-Greg Little improved as the season went on. Very physical player, does a lot of things well. Can play in slow and they can move him around. Norv Turner should help development of receivers.
-Jordan Cameron has some tools to work with and should have opportunities.
-Open to using read option. Noted Turner has been an innovative guy for years.
-Thinks Trent Richardson can play on any down, but wants to keep him fresh. Called Montario Hardesty a nice change-of-pace guy. Happy to re-sign Chris Ogbonnaya because he’s versatile and does a lot well.
-On Brandon Weeden: he can throw the
ball, he’s got good feel and presence in the pocket and really it’s just going to be about getting him into this system, into
the meetings, getting a chance to coach him and seeing what he can do once we get out there on the field. Noted he’ll be learning a new system, so almost like a rookie again.
John Fox, Broncos
-On signing Wes Welker and what he brings: This game is about matchups, and depending on what matchups you get defensively… One of the reasons we went a lot of what we call 12-personnel was if they go to nickel or put a DB in to cover one of those tight ends, [then] all of a sudden they’ve gotten smaller so there are some advantages there in the run game. Everybody does this. Now, if they sub base
then it’s a matchup you like in the passing game. You do the same thing with the three-wide sets—we call it 11-personnel. What do they have against you? How are they going to matchup defensively? A lot of it is how the defense matches up. Having had to defend Wes for so many years, you learn to appreciate how touch a matchup he is. It’s hard to have one guy cover him.
-Thinks Peyton Manning will be better now that he’s had a season back.
-All the RBs got opportunities and happy to have large stable. Ronnie Hillman is getting better, really pleased with. Transition as a rookie a little slower because of having so many plays to know with audibles, so protections change, which is tough. Needs to be bigger/stronger, needs a year to develop pro body.
John Harbaugh, Ravens
-Replacing Anquan Boldin will make WR very competitive. Named pretty much every WR they have as someone who could step up.
-Believes Tandon Doss would be the first guy you have to look at to play the slot. Also thinks having guys like Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson helps because you can flex them out too.
Gary Kubiak, Texans
-DeVier Posey won’t do anything in the spring coming off Achilles surgery
Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati
-Mohamed Sanu has a great understanding of the game, very mature for his age. Complete player, better in games than practice.
Doug Marrone, Bills
-Will be very multiple with their offensive scheme, will depends on what they want to attack.
Mike Munchak, Titans
-On signing Shonn Greene: “He’s a guy that can fall forward. A guy that’s physical. A guy that understands his role. And we’re not (just) looking at him as a short-yardage back, a goal-line back, a four-minute back and that’s all he does. We feel he can play all three downs. He may get a series where he gets going, we’re taking over the line of scrimmage, we want that type of runner in there and we’ll leave him in there. He gives us some more options. We haven’t stayed healthy at that spot the last two years. We’ve been really nervous. Luckily C.J. has been very durable and hasn’t missed a game. We feel very blessed there with that. … Especially with a young quarterback, we have to start moving the chains better and making that time of possession better.
-Jake Locker enters 2013 as the unquestioned starter, but needs to stay healthy. Has the component of running in his game, so could use some read option to add another dimension.
-Believes that Taylor Thompson is still learning, so Delanie Walker became someone to target because he’s different than what they have.
-How Walker helps: Chris Johnson’s had his most success, we’ve had a guy that can move and felt comfortable as that second tight end, moving around, creating different formations and opening up the defense. He can line up in the slot, he can line up at tight end, he can line up in the backfield. He gives us a lot of versatility, which creates matchup problems and confusion for the defense, which we like. We talked to guys on our stuff, and we know how many problems that gave them with certain guys.
-Got away from being physical last year, weren’t able to stay on the field, didn’t get enough offensive plays. If they can get ground game going consistently, gives them matchup to win with guys like Walker vs. LBs.
Chuck Pagano, Colts
-Will be some West Coast flavor to offense under new OC Pep Hamilton, but know they have to run it. Believes adding some short passing game, catch and run stuff will help.
-Vick Ballard always gets positive yards, extra yards. Did a good job as the closer. Has make miss-ability in the open field. Gets better the more carries he gets.
Joe Philbin, Dolphins
-Wants improvement in decision making, accuracy, play-making ability at critical times from Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill showed he could make vertical throws, out-breaking route throws, in-breaking route throws, move around and show athleticism.
-Believes Mike Wallace brings element to offense they didn’t have, but not having him run go routes on every play. Need to do more.
-Hopes Lamar Miller takes advantage of opportunity with less crowded backfield. Impressed by his running skill, explosiveness. Wants more consistency in pass blocking and catching the ball, which he showed flashes of last year.
-Dustin Keller is competitive in terms of blocking, but they need to work with him.
-Michael Egnew didn’t earn any opportunities last season. Didn’t even do it on special teams. Just showed some flashes, needs to get his game speed up.
-Hopes Daniel Thomas can stay healthy and be more consistent. Has to eliminate the fumbling and mental errors.
-Brandon Gibson has good route skills, caught the ball consistently, moved the chains, got some YAC, played bigger than his size.
Andy Reid, Chiefs
-Alex Smith has been able to handle a lack of stability and that’s a tribute to him. Thought a change had to take place, always had his eye on Smith.
-Jamaal Charles was moved around in 2010 and it worked out well, which is what Reid has done in the past. Handled himself well in the passing game. Wasn’t utilized in passing game in last couple of years.
Rex Ryan, Jets
-Made it clear competition at QB is important, but Mark Sanchez will get the first snaps.
-David Garrard had a strong workout and can still throw it well. Believe he’s healthy.
-Believes if Santonio Holmes comes back healthy, they’ll have an above-average group of receivers. Just want Holmes ready for Week One. Could be limited in camp.
-Will be using West Coast offense under new OC Marty Mornhinweg, but wants other aspects as well to be very multiple.
Mike Tomlin, Steelers
-Will be leaning on strengths of their guys with switch to zone-blocking scheme. Want to optimize what they do best.
-Too early to tell where Heath Miller is at in recovery and his timetable.