VIDEO: Mora on Thursday
JM: actually, the tempo today was good. It was okay the other day, but we needed that one day to remember how we practice… and good energy, good tempo. The concentration level is good. I like the way the defense is going after the football. One of the things that hurt us last year was our turnover ratio and just untimely turnovers. So we're making a real emphasis on that which we should and we need to. And I want the defense going after the ball hard. It forces our offense to secure it and concentrate on securing it so that's a real point of emphasis. You know, just every day we're going to come out here and just try to get a little bit better, and I think today, we got a little bit better. So that's it.
Q: everything okay with Keenan [Graham]? Didn't see him out here.
JM: Keenan, he pulled his hamstring. Slight hamstring pull. He'll probably miss a week, but he'll be back out. What we did, because we're short at the defensive line, is we put Nate [Iese] down there and he looked good. You know, he's got strong hands and violent disengage and, you know, he's a guy that, as you guys know, we've experimented a lot with. He's played some of the Y position, he's played outside linebacker... Heck, he played a little inside linebacker. So, you know, here early in his career, we're just trying to find the right spot for him. And he looked good today. Now we'll see on Saturday, when he's in pads, how he does. And I'm not saying that that's a permanent move, but it's something we're looking at right now.
And then Eric Kendricks, he… you saw him getting taken off of here. He sprained his ankle. Don't know if it's significant or minor. We'll find out when they go in and evaluate him. It doesn't appear to be anything too serious, but I'm sure he'll miss some days.
Q: how do you balance, you know, just wanting to get your system in and also maybe experimenting with things that you might want to use?
JM: yeah, that's a good question. We… you know, I think we can experiment a little more this year because we have a year's experience in the system, and there's not major changes in what we're doing. You always are tweaking things. I mean, you tweak things during a game. You obviously tweak things during a week of practice. And we can come out here in the spring and experiment with some things, but I think you just have to be judicious in how you do it, you know, because you don't ever want to move too far away from your core, but you've seen us putting Devin Fuller in there at quarterback and running some plays with him. So far only runs but we'll have some pass plays with him. You know, we need to be able to do some things like that to try to force people to prepare for different looks and different plays and different personnel groups and keep our opponents off-balance as much as possible.
Q: anything else new we should expect to see from your offense or defense?
JM: well, we're always trying to, you know, tweak things to get better. One of the things you do in the off-season is you go and you find teams around the country that do things really, really well. And you study them. You say, "Are there other parts of their scheme that we can incorporate into our scheme and be effective doing it?" And sometimes there are things and sometimes there's not. So, we do that every year. You go and you look at teams, and we're trying to incorporate some things. And then we also, you know, as coaches, we have a background of things that we've done and last year was kind of… I don't want to say football 101, but, you know, we were trying to figure out how much we could get in and still play effectively. This year, we're able to pull some stuff out of our background and install it.
Q: any recruits that you're particularly excited about or think will make an immediate impact?
JM: all of them. Yeah, all of them. Right now, the two are Kylie Fitts and Eldridge Massington. Both being out here. Eldridge is in the red jersey still. Kylie's working. You'd have to ask him how it's going. I think it's probably, you know, quite a wake-up call for him, but I'm excited to get all these guys out here. Tyler Foreman was out here this morning watching. Tahaan Goodman was out here the other day watching. It's good when those young guys come out here and participate in practices. I mean, they're just watching, but they're hearing the coaching points. Saturday, we should have a good group of our incoming guys out here.
Q: how do you think Devin's taken to that new formation? He's probably pretty excited, right?
JM: oh, I think he loves it. Yeah. And it'll expand. You know, right now, we've only got two run plays in out of it, so our defense can say, "oh, well, Devin's in there at quarterback, they're running the football." Well, you know, as we move into spring ball a little bit more, we'll start to add different concepts. You know, we'll leave Brett [Hundley] in at wide receiver some so you can't know by the substitution pattern that we're going to be in that particular formation so… but we have to kind of spoon-feed it, you know. We're still a developing team, still a very young team offensively and we want to make sure we master the fundamentals before we just go crazy.
Q: were there any guys, in particular, that jumped out at you on defense today?
JM: no. Not really. A couple guys jumped out at me on Tuesday. They usually jump out at me when I watch the film. The guys on Tuesday, Devin Lucien did a really nice job and so did Ishmael Adams. Those two guys did some good things. I thought they looked good. Cassius Marsh, you know, he looks like he's taken his game up a step in terms of his effort and his energy and his attention to detail and, you know, heck, he had a good year last year with 8 sacks or 8 and a half sacks. And I think, you know, he's really anxious to build on that. It's always fun to watch Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks work because they're extremely hard workers. They're very detail-oriented. It's obviously fun to watch Brett develop. I usually see it on film.
Q: you had both tall cornerbacks last year. Ishmael's not really the tallest guy.
JM: not really, no.
Q: is that a concern or is that something you just have to work around or do you have to do things differently with him or is it just making up for the 5 inches of difference?
JM: no. Well, he's an excellent technician. And he's sturdy. He's short, but he's not small. And he can jump. He's got good timing. You've seen him in the one-on-one. You know, he's got good timing at the ball so he knows when to go up and elongate and make a play. You know, we've got a guy, Priest Willis, coming in that's a 6'2" corner. Once Marcus Rios gets back on the field, you know, he's about 5'11". I think we'll be okay. They just have to play it a little bit differently. Alright? Alright, thank you.
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