ML: “Continue to spend a lot of time on stance and starts – things like that. Those things will be important for him in making the transition into the techniques that Mike (defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer) wants to see and use in the back end. So that will be good. He’ll get a chance to get back out there with the other guys next week. But this has been a good introduction for him – really good. He’s had a chance to see himself on tape, doing the things we’re doing, and really focus in on that. So it’s been good.”
Is that the biggest thing, spending four years learning techniques, and now coming in for a weekend to unlearn and relearn new techniques?
ML: “They’re going to have to re-learn some other things. That’s, as you know, part of football. For Dre and these guys that we have the high expectations for, it’s kind of the fun and the challenge. We talked about it when he came here to visit, back prior to the draft.”
When you see guys that are skilled and have good grasp on technique, does that speak to the level of coaching in college?
ML: “Yeah. We’ve taken players that have been well-coached in college. We mentioned that on Saturday afternoon, at the conclusion of the draft. You can see that by the quality of their abilities out here and how they go about it. Just the way they’re carrying themselves around here the last 24 hours.”
What did you see out of Dan Herron today?
ML: “Dan has some ability. You're talking about a running back, and they don’t get tackled (in a minicamp). He has to learn to get to the right spots in protections, and things like that that will come. I don’t know that you're going to get a lot of evaluation from me spouting off about (any) running back right now, because the running back's job is to make people miss, ultimately.”
From a mental standpoint, how have they as a group caught on?
ML: “They’ve done a good job of that. We had one center-quarterback exchange mix-up earlier and one this afternoon. You have to feel pretty good about that. The guys are learning what to do. They’ve had some stuff thrown at them the last two meetings and they will have a chance to critique it tonight and start fresh again in the morning.”
So mental busts have been at a minimum?
ML: “There have been some things with eye locations and details with what we’re doing that guys have to adjust to.”
With a guy like
ML: “We’re expecting Armon and Vidal (Hazelton) to both stand out. They’ve been around here a little bit – Armon for most of the season on the practice squad. It gives him a chance to really push forward and show what he learned last season, even though most of his work is coming off cards (assignment cards on practice squad). He is in for the installation. He is getting the work on the routes and now he is a getting a chance to learn it from the ground floor, because he wasn’t with us in training camp (in 2011). He might have known what to do, but not why he was doing it. This is a good start for him that way.
Tony Pike looks like he is still working through some things with his elbow:
ML: “He’s been cleared and recovered. He’s trying to give it a go and see what he can do.”
You guys have brought in some fast WRs. How important is speed in the NFL, especially at that position?
ML: “We feel it is good that you have some functional playing speed. There are track guys who don’t play that way, but hopefully we have some football players who do. You have to take the top off the defense, or they are sitting on you. It’s also good when we want to flip it around for our (defensive) guys, so they can run around the field with speed. You can get in some poor habits if you don’t have speed on the other side. You can laud yourself into a false sense of security.”
The Browns and Ravens both lost key guys over the past couple of weeks to freak injuries. Does that change anything you do, or is that just part of the game when you see that happen?
ML: “It’s just part of the game. There’s nothing we can do about it. Any point, any time. That’s why you try to get your football team as deep as you can.”
I know you haven’t seen the film yet, but were there any of the undrafted guys who stood out to you?
ML: “I think there’s some of the undrafted guys, but we kind of expected that. The receiver group, first of all, I think they’ve done some nice things. At linebacker, the linebacker that’s here from Kansas State (Emmanuel Lamur) who’s here working out, I think he’s done a nice job with things. We’ve got some other guys that played down-ends (in college) that are playing linebacker now and making those conversions. I’ve been impressed with them physically. They have the bodies to play in the NFL. It’s just a matter of the training and so forth. That’s the hardest thing you’re looking at the linebacker spot all the time – both the athleticism and yet the body to hold up and stay and play NFL football.”
Roster depth is the gold nugget everybody is looking for. Do you feel like your roster depth is getting to where you’d like it to be?
ML: “We had some and we trimmed some. We’ll keep working things that way, and when we feel like we can add and get better at the 85th guy, or whatever we are at now, then I think we’ll work to do that. I think we’re going to get through this weekend, and that gives me a chance to evaluate the young guys and make some decisions and move forward.”
You had four guys fail physicals today. You’ve got a little bit more space. Does that influence maybe adding a few more guys via tryouts then what you usually do?
ML: “I don’t know if it’s been a few more. In the past, when the roster limits were different, it seems like we’ve always had somebody that’s kind of broken through out of this group and gotten to stay a little bit longer. We’ll go through tomorrow and Sunday and try to make that evaluation and see. I don’t know if it will be more or less (than usual). We’ll just have to see. We have enough players now, and we have enough under contract. So we’ll kind of wait. We’re not going to rush it too much.”
It looked like
ML: “I haven’t watched the tape. But obviously that was something we felt good about Kevin being able to do.”