Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace and HC John Fox from the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine

Full-text transcripts from the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine of Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox.

CHICAGO BEARS GM RYAN PACE

EXPLAIN DECISION NOT TO USE FRANCHISE TAG ON ALSHON JEFFERY

“It was thought-out thoroughly obviously. I think sometimes when you can’t come to a common ground with a player and an agent, sometimes it’s necessary to kind of test the market to determine that player’s value, and that’s really where we’re at. He’s a good player and we’ll see how it plays out. But I think there are certain instances where testing the market is a necessary part of the process.”

HOW ACTIVE BACK AND FORTH WITH ALSHON’S AGENT WHEN FREE AGENCY OPENS?

“We’re constantly having dialogue with him and that’ll continue like it has pretty much always.”

HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE YOUR SITUATION WITH JAY CUTLER

“Jay’s under contract, so it’s fluid. I would describe it as fluid. There are a lot of conversations going on between us and Bus Cook. I think one of the things with Jay I value is his agent, Bus Cook. We’re close and I think at times like these that relationship is important because we can be honest and transparent. I think he’s one of the top agents out there and I think that helps in this process.”

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HIS STATUS RESOLVED?

“It’s fluid; a lot’s got to play out. I think in general guys the quarterback situation—and obviously that’s the hot topic and it should be—there are a lot of scenarios right now and there are a lot of different things that can happen and it is fluid and it’s fluid throughout this week and as we approach free agency and even after free agency. It’s our responsibility to have a plan in place—which we do—that’s flexible and adaptable as the landscape is changing and that’s kind of where we’re at.”

WHEN YOU LOOK AT QB OPTIONS, WHAT’S ATTRACTIVE TO YOU?

“I guess just the number of different options, whether it’s trades or free agents or draft or staying the course with what we have. There are a lot of different options and honestly I just have to be flexible because there are some unpredictable things that can happen along the way and we’ve kind of gone over every situation and that’s where we’re at.”

IS JAY HEALTHY?

“He’s far along in his rehab. I wouldn’t say he’s there yet, but he’s definitely ahead of [schedule].”

HAS HE BEEN CLEARED?

“He hasn’t gotten to that point yet, but he’s ahead of schedule.” 

MEETING WITH HIM OR EVERYTHING GOING THROUGH BUS?

“Both.”

HAVE YOU RECEIVED ANY INDICATION HE DOESN’T WANT TO BE A BEAR?

“No, I have not received that.”

DO THOSE OPTIONS INCLUDE HIM STAYING WITH THE BEARS?

“Yeah, that’s one of the options too. At this point we pretty much have everything on the table. For us, to do it the responsible way, that’s necessary.” 

WHAT’S THE PROCESS OF FORMING CONTINGENCY PLANS IN CASE JEFFERY LEAVES?

“We do. Starting with Josh Lucas, Champ Kelly, our pro scouts, they’ve done a great job. Our free agent board is stacked. There are options in free agency. There are options in the draft. We’ve got to see how it plays out. We’ll know a lot more in the coming week. A little over a week from now I’ll be able to answer questions a little bit more direct with you guys. But right now that’s where it’s at. So we have plans in place for every one of these scenarios. I feel extremely prepared for this free agent process that we’re about to enter and it gives me confidence with all these different scenarios.”

HOW DO YOU STAY BALANCED WITH FREE AGENCY MONEY?

“There is a delicate balance between being aggressive and being decisive, but being responsible. I think you can always recover from the player you didn’t sign; you can’t recover from the player that you signed at the wrong price. I think we’ve got to be conscious of that.” 

DRAFT – FREE AGENCY ARE SIMILAR AS FAR AS HAVING DOLLAR AMOUNT. DO YOU STICK TO THAT?

“Pretty much. You’re disciplined with that. Ideally with free agency we’re addressing most of our needs, to allow the draft to be best player available, which increases your odds. Between Jody Laine and myself, we have parameters set up for each guy, what we expect it’s going to get to, and we have to know when we’re going north of that number and when we might need to back away.

“Which can be hard, being honest, because you’re competitive and you visualize certain guys being on your team. But once it goes north of the number, you’ve also got to be responsible and disciplined. It can be a challenge.”

HOW DO YOU VIEW THE RECEIVER POSITION IN FREE AGENCY WITH QUARTERBACK UNSETTLED?

“That comes up. If I’m a free agent, there’s some questions I’d want to know. But with a lot of these things, it just comes down to the contract.”

WHAT INTANGIBLES ARE YOU LOOKING AT IN INTERVIEWS HERE?

“That part is awesome. We talk about the value of the Combine, and the event’s become bigger and bigger. It’s the medicals that are going on during the day, and the interviews we’re doing at nighttime. For us those are 15 minutes and it’s like speed-dating; they’re coming in one after another.

“Our college scouts have done such a great job, Mark Sadowski and our scouting department, of knowing a lot of their backgrounds, so when they get in that room, we’re really trying to gauge their football intelligence, and our coaches can do a good job of doing that.

“You feel a guy when he comes in the room: ‘Does he have that charisma? Does he have confidence? Is he naturally football-intelligent. I know it’s only 15 minutes but we have a plan in place to pull that quickly out.

“But after this, we’re still going to visit their schools and have 30 visits at Halas Hall. So there’s still a long process to play out. But this will be the first time for a lot of our guys to see  these guys eye-to-eye, which is important.”

THROWING SESSION?

 “You can get a feel for their release and velocity. But we’ve got to be careful here. You see a lot of mistakes made when you get enamored with these measurables and whatnot. They’re important and it’s important to see apples to apples, but it’s all on the tape. These guys are working out in their underwear and we have to make sure the weight is on what we see as a football player.”

EXPECTATIONS FOR KEVIN WHITE?

“He’s coming along fast. I still have a lot of confidence in him. He has a lot of confidence in himself. We’re getting daily reports on his progress. I just want to see steady, consistent progress from him. Right now he’s getting his body all in alignment, and he’s feeling good. When I see footage of kind of where he’s at now, I get excited. I just want to see steady improvement.”

IS IT HARD TO CONSIDER WHITE A NO. 1 WR DUE TO HIS INACTIVITY? 

“Yeah, the last two years we haven’t seen a lot. I have a confidence in our doctors and his rehab and his work ethic to get to the point we need to get to.”

KEYS TO DECIDING WHETHER TO TRADE THE NO. 3 PICK? 

“I think it’s really understanding the depth of this draft. We’ll have, obviously, all kinds of scenarios and who’s going to potentially be there at that pick. And then also scenarios on, hey, maybe this specific draft is deep. And maybe there’s a lot of value at a certain section in the draft. Or if it’s advantageous for us to trade back and acquire more picks, then that could be a viable option. So we just have to sort out the depth of the draft.”

ARE YOU LOOKING TO ACQUIRE MORE DRAFT PICKS?

 “We’d always like more picks. More picks just increases your odds, especially when you’re a team that has needs.”

TWO YEARS INTO YOUR GM JOB, WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT FREE AGENCY THAT CAN HELP YOU?

 “I think so. I think coming from New Orleans, my background had always been more in pro scouting. So I’ve always been very comfortable in free agency and kind of understanding, hey, free agency is dangerous. You’re stepping through land mines, and you’ve got to be careful you don’t step on the wrong one. A lot of times, these guys are available for a reason, so you have to sort through that. But I’m comfortable in free agency because that’s more of my background.”

TWO WEEKS FROM NOW, WHAT CONSTITUTES A SUCCESSFUL FREE-AGENT PERIOD?

“I think if we look back and we say we’ve addressed some of our critical needs. I’ll be able to be much more honest with you after that happens, and we can kind of touch on that.”

DOES JEFFERY WANT TO REMAIN A BEAR?

 “I have a good sense on that. Like all these things—you guys know—these contract negotiations can be complicated. We’re at a point right now where this is kind of where it is. Us tagging him two years in a row really wasn’t an option for us. We’ll see how it plays out right now.”

WOULD IT BE SURPRISING IF HE DOESN’T GIVE YOU A CHANCE TO MATCH AN OUTSIDE OFFER?

 “It’s still got to play out. I’ll have a lot of conversations with Tory this week. It’s just to play out. I hope you guys appreciate, like, I always want to be honest. But we’re at such a sensitive time right now. It’s just hard for me to be detailed on a lot of these questions. The two press conferences that are hardest is this one and the one right before the draft. I’m trying to work with you all, but I hope you guys appreciate that. 

WILL YOU REACH FOR A QB BECAUSE OF NEED OR DO YOU NEED VALUE?

“I think you have to get value. I think when you talk about reaching ant any position it’s hard. I’ve referenced teams that I’ve been a part of before where I feel like we’ve done that. And I’ve learned from that experience. You just have to be careful about doing that. I think what happens with us is that you get competitive and you know you need this position – and it doesn’t happen the day of the draft – it happens in the months preceding the draft. You start convincing yourself that you need to start pushing a certain position up the board. And that’s when the mistake is made. So we have to be conscious of that at any position. And there are positions in this draft that are really strong. And some of those positions fit our needs. And then there are certain positions in the draft that aren’t very strong. So you just have to recognize that.

IS THAT TOUGHER BECAUSE QB IS SO VITAL?

“Yeah. That would apply to that too. You’ve just got to get the right guy. And I think you have to be conscious of where that talent pool is.” 

IS WIN-LOSS ASSESSMENT IMPORTANT FOR COLLEGE QBs?

“It does. Because I think you want to see a guy who has elevated his program. Again, you just reference places you’ve been. I know I’ve talked about this [player a lot because he had a big impact on me. But I think about Brees when he was at Purdue. And he elevated that program. He took them to the Rose Bowl. I think that means something. I think that’s something that we have to pay attention to.”

GUYS WHO DIDN’T PLAY IN BOWL GAMES, ANY IMPACT?

“On that decision? We’ll talk to them about it. I think in all fairness to them, all of those have to be looked at on an individual basis. Sometimes when you dig into it, on the surface you might ask yourself, OK, why did he do that? Then when you dig into it a little deeper, there are some things that might make sense. So it’s a case-by-case basis.”

KYLE LONG. NO SHOULDER SURGERY?

“Yeah. So as we went forward with that, it was really getting more opinions on the shoulder. And so, I mean, guys at this point, when you get three, four different opinions on the shoulder. And it was determined that the best course of action wasn’t a surgery. So really, for us, that’s good. We’re trying to avoid surgeries if we can. So. He’s not going to have to have a shoulder surgery. And he can just focus on his ankle rehab.”

HOW IMPORTANT IS LOCKER ROOM CULTURE?

We talk about that all the time and we talk about toughness, intelligence, good teammates. And I think if you walk into our building right now, it feels that way. I tell guys it almost feels like a college atmosphere, because these guys are so tight and so close and all working together. There aren’t a lot of selfish players. The more we can add to that the better. I feel really good about that vibe. I know the last season was a struggle. But I think one of the reasons why when you walked through the halls of Halas, it felt like there was a sense of optimism. Because I think people feel like the culture is headed in the right direction. And there’s a lot of young talent that’s going to build our future.

IS THERE EMOTION IN MAKING THESE DECISIONS BETWEEN POSITIONAL NEED AND VALUE OF A PLAYER IN FREE AGENCY AND THE DRAFT?

“You do and you have to step back and look at the big picture. Right now, it’s good to have a clear understanding of where free agency is strong and weak and where the draft is strong and weak, and you can balance that out a little bit. I know in free agency, we might not get this position, but hey, it’s really, really deep in the draft, so we’re going to take best player available, but I think we have a good chance of getting this player in the draft because this position is abnormally deep this year.”

HOW DO YOU MONITOR LONG’S SHOULDER GOING FORWARD?

“He’s working hard and there’s daily progress on that. It wasn’t just one or two doctors, it was multiple opinions and doctors with a lot of conviction that this was the right thing to do. He’s strong. He’s kind of a freak genetically. His shoulder’s doing good. There’s going to be maintenance as far as strength and everything, which he’s doing. We don’t have a lot of concerns with that right now.”

WHEN DO YOU EXPECT LONG READY?

“It’s fluid. The shoulder is in pretty good shape. It’s really him rehabbing the ankle and we’ll see. One thing that I have learned in the last two years is to be careful to put timelines on these injuries, because it’s so fluid.” 

HOW DO YOU BALANCE INCREASING YOUTH OF THIS TEAM WITH THE NEED TO WIN GAMES NOW?

“We’re looking to set this thing up for long-term success. You’ve got to be careful not for these quick fixes that sometimes won’t work out. You pay an older player a lot of money, sometimes that doesn’t work, we’ve got to be conscious of that. But I also think there’s value to sprinkle in some vets with our young team, and there’s value with that, too. There’s kind of a mixture. I’m careful of the short-term, quick fix sometimes doesn’t work out. We’re more in building this the right way through younger talent.”

ARE THERE CERTAIN POSITIONS WITH A BETTER HIT RATE WHEN YOU INVEST IN FREE AGENCY VS. A HIGH DRAFT PICK? 

“Yeah, all our analytics will point us to different positions, whether it’s in free agency or the draft, and kind of when they’re hitting the sweet spot of their careers. So, yeah, we’re conscious of that.”

TIMELINE ON CUTLER?

“Really, honestly there's no timeline on it right now. It's so fluid right now, there's so many things, there's so many variables in place and so it's just kind of letting all that play out. And I think as each day goes by we get a little bit more information and it kind of helps guides us but right now I really believe, I feel so prepared for all the different scenarios that can take place so it is constantly fluid. and there's no definitive deadline on that right now.”

FINAL EVALUATION OF CUTLER LAST YEAR?

“Kind of an incomplete evaluation really on a lot of our quarterbacks because of the injuries. So it was a little bit of an incomplete evaluation.”

YOU’VE TALKED ABOUT THE INFRASTRUCTURE YOU WANT TO HAVE IN PLACE WITH A YOUNG QB. WHAT DO YOU HAVE IN PLACE NOW? 

“You know I feel good about what we've done with our offensive line. You look at the interior offensive line that we have you know I think it's set to be one of the better interior groups in the league. Of course there are more pieces we need to add that's important. I think you can see the value of building a strong offensive line and what it does for the quarterback. In Dallas you have a great example of that. It's still a work in progress but I feel like we're a lot better there than it was a couple of years ago. It's a steady improvement.”

HOW DOES NFL’S DECISION TO NOT ALLOW PLAYERS WITH PAST OFF-FIELD ISSUES ATTEND COMBINE IMPACT SCOUTING?

“Yeah, that's probably exactly what would happen, that would require a visit to their school or a 30 visit, so we would probably just allocate some time to that. I get it, but it would probably just force us to go out a little bit more on those guys.”

ASSESSMENT OF BRIAN HOYER LAST YEAR?

“Good, good, he played well, he's recovering fast from his injury and I thought he played solid. Again he's part of the big equation that we have right now.”

ANY VALUE IN HAVING A VETERAN QB IF YOU HAVE A YOUNG GUY YOU’RE DEVELOPING?

“I think you want a good mix in that room. I don't think there's any position room that's more important than the quarterback room and who you have in there and how those guys work together. We do in our minds have an ideal mix of how that room can come together.”

CONNOR SHAW REHAB UPDATE?

He's good, he's doing very well.

IS HE READY TO COMPETE IF HE’S PART OF THE EQUATION? 

Yep.

HEAD COACH JOHN FOX

TWO YEARS WITH JEFFERY, WHAT IS YOUR ASSESSMENT?

“I think when he’s been out there, I think it’s been positive. I think, really it’s just been that consistency of being out there and I’ll say it’s a partial evaluation and one we’ll just continue evaluating moving forward.”

WITH JEFFERY ABOUT TO TEST FREE AGENCY, WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO SELL HIM ON?

“Well, I’d say he knows us better than anybody else he could potentially go to. I think it’s a positive feeling. With typically these things, it comes down to the market value. It’s like walking into a store right now at this time of year and there’s no price tags. We kind of develop that moving forward. My experience has been that’s a very fluid process.”

IS JORDAN HOWARD THE FEATURE BACK?

“Well, no doubt, he’s definitely made a real positive impression on everybody not just on the field but the way … his humility, how he kind of handles some success early on as a rookie, I think says a lot about his football character and type of guy he is. He’s a guy that we’re very impressed with and I’m sure we’ll be very impressed moving forward.”

WHAT DO YOU APPRECIATE ABOUT CUTLER?

“I think again, the perception in the building may be a little different than outside from what I’ve gathered. But I think he’s very smart; he’s a very tough competitor. I think he’s had to deal with some injuries; unfortunately, they’re part of football. But he’s bounced back quickly from all the ones we’ve experienced in the last two years. But I think the competitive nature of Jay, I’ve been very impressed with.”

WOULDN’T IT BE EASIER TO DEVELOP A QB WITH A STEADY, RELIABLE RECEIVER?

“Really, we were a 6-10 team and a 3-13 team and we have a lot of improving to do. Some of that continuity, whether it’s been at the skill spots, whether you’re talking about tight end or wide receiver. This year, we experienced playing four different quarterbacks. Those aren’t ideal for NFL football. But we have to improve in all those areas, and I think a bright spot was our ability to block up front. I think that showed in our run game. But we have to improve in all areas of the passing game. We were able to do pretty good with explosive plays because anytime you could run the ball that sets you for some of those explosive plays but we didn’t get long touchdowns and we weren’t very good on third down. Everybody highlights that we didn’t’ score enough points, which is fact, but we didn’t get a lot of long touchdowns either. We just need more playmakers on both sides of the ball.”

ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH YOUR WR DEPTH IF JEFFERY LEAVES?

“The whole idea is this time of year and what’s unique and really not much has changed since the end of the season just because of the timeline we’re in right now. Two weeks from now, I think we’ll know a lot more, but we need to improve whether it’s receiver, whether it’s quarterback, whether it’s tight end. Those areas we need to improve that.”

PACE  IS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT FREE AGENCY PLANS. ARE YOU?

“The two years we’ve been here, we’ve done a lot of erasing. Part of that has been a little bit to get more youthful and a little bit to get better. And so as I mentioned earlier, we’re in good position from a monetary standpoint, not that we’re going to build through free agency, because we believe the right way to  build is through the draft. But last year, getting a guy like Akiem Hicks and Jerrell Freeman, some of the people we got in free agency, they improved us. We need to do that again this offseason.”

WHAT CAN YOU REALISTICALLY DO IN FREE AGENCY?

“We need to get better. And that’s in a lot of areas. We’re not free to talk about specifics at this point because of the timing, but we anticipate we’re in position, currency-wise, to do that. like everything, you gotta choose wisely.”

BIGGEST CHALLENGE OF PROJECTING A COLLEGE QB?

“I don’t if anybody has that all figured out. (If they did), I can’t tell you what you’d give them but you’re dealing with people. Evaluating people, not everything’s 100 percent. I think at the quarterback position, there’s a lot of intangible things that go along with it. It’s not just the strongest arm or the tallest guy or the quickest guy. There’s so much that goes into it. And then it does take a minute to develop. Basically, he has to control everything, especially in the NFL.”

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO GET OUT OF THIS WEEK, IN TERMS OF EVALUATING THE POSITION?

“We’re just getting our feet wet as coaches. The personnel people have been evaluating these guys all season long, and they’re in big meetings. We had big meetings last week, just like the other 31 teams, I’m sure, and those are primarily scouting things. As coaches, sometimes our first peeks at guys, especially sitting down and talking to them without a helmet on, sometimes it’s hard to feel what a guy’s all about when you’re watching video. We’re ready to start to embark on that tonight. Our formal interviews begin.” 

THOUGHTS ON IOWA PLAYERS AT SENIOR BOWL?

"This is kind of a competitive venue here. I think one of the advantages of coaching the Senior Bowl -- obviously, not the qualification to get into it -- is that you do get to meet with them. You do get to spend more time than when you go there and view it. It was really a lot of fun. I enjoyed it, our staff enjoyed it. We got a lot of good insight. I know you're asking probably about Iowa guys, but our whole team represented themselves in a really good manner. I was really impressed with everybody.”

WHAT WENT INTO DRAFTING JIMMY CLAUSEN?

“There's a lot that goes into it. You have to do a lot of research. That situation was a little bit unique, because I think people projected him maybe even into the top 10. On draft day, that's not how it materialized. I can't give you all the exacts. He was dropping. Personally, I never even watched him, because he wasn't a targeted guy for me in our pre-draft assignments. But I can say now I would hope we draft someone that I've actually gotten a chance to watch.”

BRIAN HOYER?

“Brian's unique in that he makes very quick decisions. He's very smart, been in a lot of different systems. He's been on the field a lot in the NFL. I thought he did a good job. I think he was probably one of the few guys -- I think his touchdown total, he didn't have an interception on the season, which for the number of passes he threw, I think probably ranked No. 1.”

WHAT INTANGIBLES DO YOU LIKE IN A QB?

“Just how they operate the team moving the chains. Obviously, turnover ratio is huge in this league, which we were on the wrong side of. And that's two-fold. I think the continuity at the position, that quarterback, that can help you a lot, which we did not have. And then on the flip side, on the other side of the ball, taking it away. You need people that can make those types of plays. That's where we're trying to get better.”

HOW WILL KEVIN WHITE’S DEVELOPMENT IMPACT TEAM?

"Well I think it's going to be huge. He was our first player taken. I think he was the seventh pick in the '15 draft. He lost his rookie season due to injury. We got him back last year, it took him a little bit to back in the flow after taking a year off, and then again got injured -- not as serious of an injury, thank goodness. But he's doing really well in his rehab. We look forward to him definitely being 100 percent as we enter this season.”

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN A QB?

“Well a guy that raises all boats, as far as work ethic. When the horn goes off, he’s not track shoes out of the building. Same way, we call it, first in, last to leave type of mentality. That raises all boats with your teammates. Successful teams I’ve been a part of had that intangible and that’s something we’re trying to build on. This year was tough, just because there was a point where the first two rows of our team room were filled with quarterbacks. That’s never a good sign. So that’s going to be a key factor going into this season.”

WHAT CAN BEARS SELL A QB?
“You know, again, it’s hard to — whoever it is, again, it’s going to be important — what I was talking about raising all boats, that mindset. Obviously, you always make tweaks, there’s always change in football year-to-year. And so, everybody is 0-0 is right now and uh, the work we put in, whether it’s coaches, personnel people or the players we choose, that’s the race you’re in every season. It’s kind of all the same, regardless of your position.” 

WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM BRADY AND GAROPPOLO LAST OFF-SEASON DURING JOINT PRACTICES?

“You get to know a lot of people in this league and just knowing their coaches, they put pressure on you as the coach. They put pressure on your coaching staff because the bar is so high, the standard is so high. Whether it’s a practice, you can’t waste it. It’s just like money. You invest it, you get returns on it. You just spend it and don’t use it valuably, it’s lost. They take great advantage of it all the time that it takes to be a championship football team.” 

THOUGHTS ON CURTIS JOHNSON LEAVING THE COACHING STAFF?

“You know it’s unique in this league, coaching, I think you have to be a good teacher. Kids today are different than they were 20 years ago. But it’s still about building relationships. There’s trust and interaction really to motivate people. You really try to find the best human talent you can find. You got to motivate them every day to be above the line and that’s how you get better. So I thought he did an outstanding job in that area.” 

THOUGHTS ON NEW WR COACH? 

“I think the thing I was impressed with is it was as good of a wide receiver interview I have ever seen. Just as he met with our staff and you go through the interview the process. He’s had a lot of good, young talent both in identifying it and motivating them to be better. I think he’s got a pretty good track record of that without going into too much detail. I think an outstanding teacher and we’re fortunate enough to have him.”

OLB COACH?

“Yeah, Vic being a coordinator, what happens in this league a lot, people call them walk-around coordinators and typically they will have an area that they highlight on. Vic has been in charge of the outside linebackers since we’ve been here. But there is still duties that he has to do that are time consuming that it helps when you have a younger coach even with Clint Hurtt when we retained him from the previous staff, he did that the last couple years. This will be pretty much the same duties for Brandon Staley.”

WHAT TYPE OF LOCKER ROOM DO YOU TRY TO CREATE?

“I think winning is No. 1 and we obviously have work to do in that department. But make it competitive, you do that by having good players that compete every day. So the first thing you learn in culture you set is how to compete every day above the line. Where we have to take the next step is to win and things you have to do to win. I went through our season and there were seven games that came down to fourth quarter plays. I’m talking about in the last 2 ½ minutes of the game. You flip that record and that is the difference in this league – guys in the tournament and guys not – are those close games. It’s an area we need to improve both from a playmaker standpoint as well as the mindset.”

ASSESSMENT OF YOUR OFFENSIVE LINE?

“It is probably our biggest area of improvement in our two years in my opinion. In this league they have YAC, which is yards after contact. And they also look at a thing called yards before contact. We were able to improve quite a bit in our run game in that department. I don’t think we are a finished product by any stretch, but we are further along this time this year than we were this time last year.”

WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHO YOUR STARTING QB IS UNTIL LATE IN THE OFF-SEASON?

“I would just say to you, not to compare, but Matt Barkley finished the season as our quarterback and was not in the offseason and wasn’t even in training camp. We’d like to probably not do that again. I think we’ll probably be pretty solid once we start our offseason, OTAs. I’m not telling you an exact time but we’d like to have that in place. The more you are like that and you can stay healthy the better it is for you.”


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