VIDEO: Ulbrich on Starters

Defensive Coordinator Jeff Ulbrich answered questions after Friday night's practice, discussing how some open starting spots are starting to look clear, and more...

On the linebacker competition:
I think we're starting to figure out who it could possibly be. But it's not done, it's not over. We've just got to see some consistency now. Some guys have shown sparks. Once we see some consistency, guys will earn their spots. We'll have more of a rotation now. I think it's necessary that you rotate. Teams are healthier and fresher and I think it's good for our defense plus you develop the defense.

On Kenny Orjioke and Aaron Wallace:
Today it was Myles, it was Aaron Wallace, it was Kendricks and Kenny Young. That was today. In our nickel package, it was Deon Hollins, Myles, Eric Kendricks and Owa. They have a lot to prove. Sometimes you like to say practice is everything, and we value that highly, but at the same time, lets see these guys perform on Saturdays and that will be telling as well.

On how much tougher the defense is:
I was telling the team and the defense this a couple of days ago. It just feels different. There’s a different vibe. There’s a different attitude. I don’t know if you guys see that from the outside in, but they’ve got a little spiciness to them. It’s like that feeling like there’s always going to be a fight on every single play. They’re on edge which I think is a good thing.

On who's stood out:
They all did. Over the course of two weeks, they all had their moments. I think the guys who had more moments than the rest are going to be the ones who are going to play. I thought collectively as a defense, we got a lot better. We got what we wanted out here.

On Anthony Jefferson:
He's a jack-of-all-trades. It's awesome to have a guy like that, the more you can do. Coach Meat talks about it all the time. He likes DBs, not just corners, not just nickels, but DBs.

On Aaron Wallace's development in fall camp:
Aaron is a guy who always had the potential and always had the physical skill-set. Sometimes it takes a little longer to develop. He's shown signs that he's coming in to his own. He's starting to figure this out and it's pretty exciting. We'll see where he'll go from there.

On how he makes a defense tougher:
There are a million things that we do. We have a standard. We uphold it for them, not for us but for them. And really it’s become a situation where they’ve taken the reigns a little bit. That’s who they want to be. We talk about being hard and tough and nasty and passionate about this game. At first, it was our words. Now it’s become their words so it’s very cool.

On how Zach Whitley manages with not being out:
It's tough. He's an emotional kid so it's tough because he loves ball. It's the most important thing in his life so to not be out here is killing him. But, it's also a situation where we have to be careul with him and we handle it correctly. He's coming along. He looked way better the last couple of days and we'll see him soon. Another guy to watch with this defense.

On if he's athletic enough to come back quick:
I think it's a thing we'll try to find out what he's comfortable with initially. We'll find a role for him. He's a guy we have to involve in some way with this defense.

On what he wants to see from Kenny Orjioke:
He's like ANthony Jefferson, in that he's so versatile. Sometimes pigeon holing him into a spot is selling him short. Even if he doesnt earn a starting spot, he'll get a ton of playing time.

On if there are some guys in the defense who have that toughness he wants:
Shoot, it starts with that man in the middle, Kenny Clark. He's a grown man. He's a grown man. I played with a lot of great defensive lineman in my career, and he'd be top three with those guys. If I'm an inside backer, that's the guy you want to play behind. He's unselfish, he's tough, he's strong as hell, he's technically sound. Everything you want. You jump around, Owa has that mentality now, Kendricks has always had that, he played with one leg cut off. On the headseat last year, Meat's like 'you're going to get a lawsuit on you, Kendricks is dying.' I tried to pull him out like 30 times, he won't come out. I can't cross the white line. Then it goes to Randall Goforth, Fabian, Ish is just tougher than shit too. We have guys all over the place. Kenny Young has slowly emerged. And Myles is the biggest prick on the field. He's awesome.

On building out from the nose on his defense:
I think it's a big part of it. We're not going to be just a 3-4 team. You can't be anymore. We have guys with skill sets that aren't conducive to that. If I played Owa as a 4i or 5-tech all day, that's selling him short. At times, we'll be that, but at times, we'll let these guys do what they do best.

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