More Coaches and GMs Live from Indy

17 NFL head coaches and general managers addressed the media on Friday at the NFL Combine, and another dozen or so are scheduled on Saturday. Several rumors are in play right now, including Willis McGahee possibly being dangled as trade bait in Buffalo. From Bobby Petrino and Ken Whisenhunt to Jerry Reese and Ozzie Newsome, Scout.com has got it covered.

OZZIE NEWSOME
General Manager, Baltimore Ravens (1:15 P.M.)

On his decision not to put the franchise tag on Adalius Thomas:
"That was not an eleventh-hour decision. I mean, we've been facing that since the beginning of training camp of knowing that we could have to make that decision. I think it was a fair decision. I think it was fair for the organization and fair for AD. I had a chance to sit down and talk with him the Monday before I came here and explain our position [and] gave him an opportunity to talk to me. But I think it was the fair thing to do for him."

On whether he needs to find players specifically fit for a 3-4 defense:
"Can you tell us whether we are a 3-4 or a 4-3 right now? Cause I can't. We define our defensive players [as] someone that's a good athlete that can stay on his feet, can run, and can tackle. And whether it's in the front seven or the back four, those are the type of players that we try to get."

On whether or not Kyle Boller is in the team's future at this point:
"As I had [the] end of the year press conference in Baltimore, I said right now I'm looking for a quarterback for 2008 and 2009 because I don't know how long Steve [McNair] is going to play. So that's in the back of my mind already."

JAMES HARRIS
Vice President of Player Personnel, Jacksonville Jaguars (1:00 P.M.)

On if there will be fewer quality free agents available this offseason:
"I don't know if it makes it a tighter market. I'm not sure if there's the same type of talent available on the market this year with teams signing so many of their players, and a lot of the top players in this market have been franchised."

On whether he would shy away from taking another receiver in the first round:
"Yes, it makes us less [inclined]. We won't go receiver in the first round this year. When we get [Reggie Williams and Matt Jones] full chance to develop, we certainly probably won't go receiver this year."

On if he believes a small market like Jacksonville can survive as an NFL city:
"We like Jacksonville. We feel we have a lot to offer in terms of the weather and a grass field. So we're happy with Jacksonville. The fans have been good, and we just continue to be good. This year we sold out the games, so we feel we're on the upswing."

MIKE NOLAN
Head Coach, San Francisco 49ers (12:45 P.M.)

On his organization's approach to the free agency process:
"For us, free agency is not a sprint nor is it a marathon. Last year we were able to benefit at the beginning, in the middle, and late. Two players that we got in the middle and late were Larry Allen and Walt Harris. Both of them made it to the Pro Bowl. So whether you come out fast doesn't necessarily mean you came out good. It just means you came out fast."

On the status of hiring a new offensive coordinator to replace Norv Turner:
"Thus far, I have only spoken in a formal interview sense with the five assistants that I've got on my staff. I've spoken on the phone with several outside candidates. Many candidates obviously I've been denied with because at this late in the process, you're only allowed to just pretty much just ask if you're interested, find out 'yes.' Then submit the letter and find out 'no.' So it doesn't go very far.

On what he saw in Vernon Davis a year ago and where he is now:
"We thought he was a good player going into the Combine. He reinforced his athleticism, his speed, his strength, his work ethic, his passion, his competitiveness - he solidified a lot of that here ... He was a young player last year. He missed six weeks because of an injury. I think he's going to be an outstanding player ... A rookie compared to a five-year vet, there's a learning curve that has to help a lot of those younger guys play.

BOBBY PETRINO
Head Coach, Atlanta Falcons (12:30 P.M.)

On the rising stock of 19-year-old defensive tackle Amobi Okoye:
"Well, the first thing that's really going to help Amobi is he's very intelligent. He's a real student of the game, so he understands blocking schemes. He knows how to attack pass protection. He's a real physical, explosive young man that combines his strength and his quickness together. The thing that you don't know is how much bigger is he going to continue to get. He played his junior year for us at about 317 pounds, and then we asked him to drop weight so he would be quicker and play more snaps. We went back and evaluated his junior year. He wasn't on the field as much as we wanted him to [be], so we dropped his weight and [he] really was more effective playing at around 305 pounds as opposed to 317."

On whether he even wants Michael Vick to be a 1,000-yard rusher again:
"It's really hard to think that a quarterback rushed for 1,000 yards. It's amazing. The thing I really like when you watch Michael on his runs and the things that he did is he protected himself. He knew when to get out of bounds. He did get down at times. So he didn't take the hits running. What concerned me was the hits that he took when he was throwing the ball in the pocket. But that's a lot of yards. I'm not sure that can be done again. We'd certainly like to see him throw for more yards."

On the NFL prospects of Michael Bush, another one of his former players:
"He's really unique because he's a guy that's 250 pounds. He can get his pads down and run with power, but he also has very good feet. He can get in and out of the hole. He caught a lot of passes for us. He's a real good receiver. Actually in high school his sophomore and junior year, he was one of the top-ranked receivers in the country and then just kind of grew out of it. [He] played quarterback [his] senior year, so he can throw the football. He can just do a lot of things. If you're looking for one guy that's just a great athlete, then it's definitely Michael Bush."

SCOTT LINEHAN
Head Coach, St. Louis Rams (12:15 P.M.)

On whether he has had any contact with Marshall Faulk and if he can still play:
"I have not. I certainly had some last year at this point. He was still going through the evaluation of whether he was going to play with his knee and those kind of things, but I personally have not had any discussion with him. I've heard that he's still considering it and those kind of things, but he and I have not had any discussion about it."

On whether he has any update on the status of Kevin Curtis:
"Nothing now. It's still too early. We certainly would love to have him back. We've been talking to his representative and those things, but it's way too early to say what the market will be for him and whether it's workable or doable. We're certainly hoping that at least we'll have a shot at getting him back, but I know how it is. He's going to have a number of options, so hopefully he'll be able to stay with us."

On being burned by Devin Hester and looking for a special teams star:
"Everybody is going to be looking for that. There wasn't anybody that was here last year that didn't know Devin had the ability to be an impact returner. He didn't play a particular position in college, so I think - maybe unfairly so - that was probably a knock in some cases against him. But he did one thing better than anybody, which we saw in person. So I'm sure game-changers like that, if they have that ability, are going to rise up those charts a little bit more irregardless of how much production he has on offense or on defense."

ROD GRAVES
Vice President of Football Operations, Arizona Cardinals (11:15 A.M.)

On just how debilitating it was to lose to the Bears the way they did:
"Obviously it was a disappointment, and it took a lot out of our football team. I was actually more disappointed not in that game, but in the two previous games that followed. Where we play Green Bay, and we didn't play as well as we needed to play. We came back against Oakland. We didn't play as well versus Oakland ... I felt like we exemplified to many people what type of team that we had in that Bears game. That we were capable of playing good football. And the fact that we lost our air in the second half to me was really not as big of a factor as it was not being able to bounce back from it in the two subsequent games, which I felt like we should have won those games. We should have been more prepared than we were."

On how good Anquan Boldin has been despite a poor Combine performance:
"I think it certainly throws a lot out the door in terms of the emphasis that teams or personnel directors or general managers like myself put on speed, and I think there's got to be a balance. We've seen repeatedly - it's not just a case with Anquan - where you have players that don't meet the ideal standard for speed or the ideal standard for size, and yet they turn out to be great football players."

On using the room under the salary cap to retain his own free agents:
"My objective - and it has been over the last couple years - is to use our cap room to solidify a strong corps of players, and that corps, in my opinion, could be anywhere from 15 to 20 players that we would like that group to be the cornerstone of our team. The whole thought process is to re-invest in those guys to keep them with us to try to maintain some continuity within that group, but we want to be selective about who is a part of that group."

KEN WHISENHUNT
Head Coach, Arizona Cardinals (11:00 A.M.)

On the prospects of working with Matt Leinart at quarterback:
"I'm very impressed with Matt. I spent some time talking with him the last couple of weeks, and we talked about football and kind of where he is. I see a young man that's driven to be successful. He's had success on the college level, and he wants to do that on the pro level. And I certainly that think there's a comfort level for me from the standpoint of having worked with a young quarterback."

On whether he can continue to be so creative on offense in Arizona:
"Well, it's kind of ironic. Anquan Boldin played quarterback in college, too. He hasn't lobbied me to throw the ball yet, but certainly that's something that we're going to look at over the next couple months, kind of get a feel for that. We've had success with those kind of plays, so I think that they'll be a part of what we do, as well."

On going from football-rabid Pittsburgh to laid-back Arizona:
"Certainly there's a reason why the Steelers have such a loyal fan base, and that was because they've won a lot of football games. That's what it's going to take for us. We're going to have to win some football games, especially early, because I think there's a lot of people in Arizona, especially Phoenix, that want to support the team. And hopefully we'll put a product out there - a competitive, tough, smart team - that will have a chance to win some games because I think that we have some people that want to become fans. It's exciting to have an opportunity to build that kind of base. It's going to be tough for me because I'm used to the type of fan support that we've gotten in Pittsburgh, and hopefully we'll do our job and we'll get the same thing out there."

JERRY REESE
General Manager, New York Giants (10:00 A.M.)

On the recent war or words between Tiki Barber and Tom Coughlin:
"I don't want to talk about that. That's not even a conversation. That's old news, the Tiki-Tom squabble. That's old, guys. Tiki was a great player for us and we love Tiki, but Tom's our head coach. Tiki's retired, so we're not going to talk about Tiki anymore. That's yesterday's news with that Tiki-Tom squabble. That's over."

On Hollis Thomas saying that the Giants are a mess right now:
"Well, you always worry about the perception of what your organization looks like. As far as I know, Hollis Thomas has never been inside [the] New York Giants' offices, so I'm not sure why he would say something like that. Some guys talk and really don't know what they're talking about at times. So as far as I know, Hollis Thomas has never been in our building, so I'm not sure what he's talking about as far as that goes."

On the health of Amani Toomer and his status for next season:
"We expect Amani to be back. He's ahead of schedule with his knee injury. We missed him a lot, obviously we did. Amani's a guy that can go get you that first down on third-and-short, third-and-long, third-and-medium. He's a sure-handed guy that knows how to get open. He has range and has a body range. He's a veteran guy that the quarterbacks are comfortable with. [Eli Manning is] comfortable with him, so we expect him to make a full recovery and be back for us."

JC


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