Marvin Lewis News Conference
Paul Brown Stadium
August 6, 2015
"I'm pleased with the beginning of camp. It has been a good opportunity, particularly over the last three practices, with the addition of shoulder pads and so forth. We can really work on the physical parts of football which we were anxious to get to, and I've been pleased with where we are.
"We will get another good session this afternoon and ease through the weekend and work more on situation football. Get the quarterbacks into different situations and get the other 10 guys in the huddle understanding and thinking about what the situation is, based on field position, and then the same thing defensively. Adjusting to what you're defending. That's what we will use the weekend for, and obviously, we have a couple days of work next week with the Giants. So I want to continue to press forward, and it's important to get a lot of the physical work in and then move into the mental stuff as well."
What do you need to work out before putting something together with the Giants?
"Number one is, the two head coaches have an agreement of what the plan is going to be, the direction of the plan, what's important, and that we get both teams to understand that. I think you have to have the confidence of the coaching staff, what you feel is important and what we both have agreed on, that we want to get done without any of the extracurricular. Whether it being talking and so forth, all of the nonsense and horseplay, we don't need that. We're here to have two good days of work and football."
Have you talked to Tom about that or does that come a little closer to the date?
"We've talked about it. Coach is not going to leave any stone unturned."
Practices can be very detail-oriented. Do you have every minute of practice mapped out?
"Oh, yeah. We did the practices back in May or April, once the schedule came out. Then we let the coordinators get together and talk so they understood how everything would unfold. We tried to give them the things they wanted to work on, and we were pretty flexible."
Particularly with the new scheduling and how practice has been for a couple years now, is it difficult to find that right balance for you?
"No, it's not been a big change for us. Frankly, I think we practice more now in shoulder pads. We don't have two-a-days. I don't call what we do in the morning a practice, but we make the best of it as far as instillation and time goes. Certainly when we have the opportunity to wear shoulder pads, we're going to wear shoulder pads more than we ever have in the past. Maybe not as many full padded days, but I do take advantage of wearing shoulder pads as much as we can."
You have a mock game on Saturday, can you run through the mechanics of that?
"It's an opportunity for us to get the quarterbacks in situations I just spoke about. That they get an opportunity to work through the different situations of field position, because I can orchestrate where the ball starts and go from there. You know, get the quarterbacks into one-minute situations and just a good opportunity to really tie up the first week of training camp."
So it won't be a real live game like you use to have. It's just a series of situations?
"Well, it will be the same as it's always been. I've always manipulated where the ball started."
Do you know how many plays everyone will get?
"You know you have two teams working, so I would imagine we'll get Andy around 20-25 snaps and will go from there and pare it down. I'm thinking if you have 100 plays, that's only 50 plays a side, so I'm thinking it will be somewhere around that mark."
Have you noticed over the years that as kids come out of college they're better prepared for tempo of practice?
"I think it depends on the offensive style. I think a lot of them don't huddle in college, so that part they're good with, but there is other teaching that needs to be done within that. It was a teaching moment when we got started with them back in May and it was a teaching moment on Sunday or whatever it was the first time we put shoulder pads on."
How has P.J. Dawson acclimated to some of that?
"I think, in that fashion, P.J. has listened and heard well. I think I'd probably give him a star for understanding that it's not about him anymore, it's about the football team, and generally that guy with the other colored jersey (offensive players) should never touch the ground."
You spoke highly of P.J.'s instincts and football IQ when you drafted him. Has that been in evidence in camp?
"It really has. I've been pleased. Now that we've had to do football and blocks and so forth and it's not just skating around. That part of the game he's going to be fine with."
Was it during OTAs and mini-camp that he came to realize he can't blow up everyone?
"Well, that's good. We put it upon him to understand that. We've had other young linebackers in that situation, with a lot of ability, and they come out of being kind of the big man on campus and the guy that could throw guys around and do those things back where they were, and they've got to come here and realize that we don't want Jeremy (Hill) or Gio (Bernard) or anybody else hitting the ground. I don't care who it is."
What have been your impressions of the young tight end group?
"I've been excited about it. Their ability to bend their knees, get their pads underneath people and finish, I've been really pleased. We've done a lot of work, we'll continue to do a lot of work every opportunity we get to work them. That's why these couple of days with the Giants will be great, and obviously the preseason game. The only way you're going to get battle-tested is to get battle-tested, is to get thrown into the fire time after time after time, and they're going to be fine."
Were you curious to see how they would look first time in pads?
"I think you're always curious about the new guys, the young guys particularly, because we haven't really been… football in shorts is one thing, but their thing has to be physical. They're playing on the line of scrimmage, and it's important that they can physically block people and physically get their pads under people, drive their hips, accelerate their feet and get the things done."
So is the timing good for the Giants to come in and practice with you guys?
"I think we took some steps forward, and I think you're right, we'll have today, tomorrow evening and then Saturday, and then we'll have some work on Monday and they'll be here on Tuesday. It works well, and the main thing, again, is we're getting great video tape, we're getting an opportunity to critique our players and correct them and get them moving forward to be in the right spots when it counts."
Interesting matchup between their receivers and your secondary, should be a good test?
"That's part of the element of wanting to work against another group. Obviously in Eli Manning, they've got one of the best quarterbacks in the league and a guy that's very accomplished-and has a great ability to throw the football. So that's great work for us. Defensively, with Steve Spagnuolo going over there, we'll see a good scheme, and it will be very solid work for us. And their special teams are well coached, so I think throughout the two days, it's really, really good work. We benefit from these opportunities."
What have you seen in Geno (Atkins) the last few days, now that the pads are on?
"I think Geno is really playing well. He's got the explosiveness we came to know out of him. He's exhibiting it each and every period, each and every play. I'm pleased. I think he's excited about things. He needs to help us be better. He's willing to put that on his back again."
Marvin Jones has done work the on side. Is he going to be back in practice or is this something you have scheduled for him?
"Yeah, I schedule for guys to work on the side all the time (laughs). Marvin has got to get to practice if Marvin wants to get to play. That's part of it. He hasn't played football for us for a year, basically, he had two or three practices, whatever he had last year in the fall. Marvin has got to get prepared to play NFL football."
Tyler Eifert looking pretty good in your eyes?
"He's come back, he's taken good steps forward. We'll continue to look at different apparatus to help protect him in practice so he can become a little bit more comfortable, but he is doing a good job. We'll limit some of his exposures at times, so some of the young guys can get ready as well."
The young defensive lineman seem to be flashing a little bit?
"We have a good, strong group. DeShawn (Williams) has done a nice job. (Marcus) Hardison has done well. We'll progress Margus (Hunt) back into physical practice, now that he's been cleared, but we are going to ease him in day-by-day , building up, but not necessarily to him playing in the first preseason game."
You said Marvin Jones was not ready to play football yet?
"In order to play football, you have to practice. We are not going to play people that can't practice with us. He's missed practice, whatever day we practiced last. He's got to be ready to practice and go. That's part of it."
Is that anything from last year, not playing football physically yet?
"I don't know, again, he's got to be like everybody else and find a way to get out there and get going. The passing game is a lot about timing and repetition. It doesn't just happen. You have to work through it and practice and play and do those things. And he didn't have last season, so it's important."
What can be gleaned from seeing Vontaze (Burfict) out there?
"That he was tired of being inside? I think wanted to see the sun (laughs). He's doing what he's supposed to do. It's always a step in the right direction when Vontaze does what he is supposed to do. He's got to keep after it, stay after it and get going. He's got a certain time frame in his mind. But like I always say, I see better than I hear. When he is ready to get back and join the football team, just like we talked about with Marvin Jones and Michael Johnson and whoever else it is, when I see that in my eyes, he will join the football team, but not before that. They don't exist until they are ready. That's the way we have to go about it with all these guys. When they are in rehab mode that's where they are. They are in rehab mode until they come out and prove they are ready to come back to practice, and then we will make that determination whether they are ready to play."