Here's a few of the things Venables had to say about the state of the defense.
On if he's confident and comfortable playing extra guys at the linebacker position—Oh, I feel very confident and comfortable putting any number of guys in the game. They've more than proven their ability to play and play at a high level, so [it's] the first time in a long time we've had more than four guys we could play.
On the strength of the secondary—Again, [we] saw some guys really make some huge strides this spring, and [I'm] really pleased with the group of guys we have at both corner and safety, and even some flexibilities we have and can do some different things playing both corner and safety. Really, it's been great to find out who can do what.
On the improvement of the new expected starters and their influence on the chemistry—Particularly our D-line and a number of guys in the secondary really made some huge improvement, and I thought it was a terrific spring the way guys competed and got better, and attitude and work ethic every day. So again, I like the chemistry and all three across the board, not that we have three deep at every position, but it's a fantastic group of guys with some really good leaders that have a chance to have some really good chemistry as a unit.
On the attitude of the defense—More than anything I've been really, really pleased again overall. I know all of us coaches think that the attitude of our guys, the improvement that we've made, the competition that we've had at our own positions and then some with the offense, without reservation we've gotten a lot better in the areas that we needed to.