Re: approach to the first practice
A: The first practice was keep it simple' so that we could find out who could take instruction, who could listen, who could get it the first time around, if you will. And then just put them through enough individual drills that we could see some of their natural athleticism and start to get some thoughts about how we could use people.
Q: Was it good to get to see some of your high picks again, up close?
A: It's good to be out here. It's just always good to be outside with the players in the football environment. They have anticipated this. They have done all of the offseason workouts for everybody that has come along. The draft has come and gone and they have settled into the fact of where they are going to be, where their opportunities are. There are always a lot of first impression type things. We always tell them, 'You never get a second chance to make a first impression.' So they are excited about this. And sometimes you have to temper that just a little bit in order to get what you are looking for.
Q: Is this almost a time of observation more than anything else; just observing what they can do?
A: It is a time of observing and then talking about what you have seen. And there are no pads, so obviously you do have to temper that in with your thoughts. But you are looking for something that you can put your hat on as far as some form of athleticism or some way that a guy might be able to help, even if it is special teams or covering a kick. Out there we had about eight candidates for long snap. So you are always looking for something.
Q: Based on this group overall, what impressed you the most after you watched the practice?
A: Well, just the fact that we got them in, we had our meetings, we got them out here. I saw some individual things - nothing real glaring. A couple of guys caught my eye here or there. But we'll look at the tape and maybe have more thoughts on that.
Q: With Kiwanuka, did you take your first round pick aside and say, "Hey, listen, you don't have to do anything flashy out here?"
A: No. You don't do anything like that. You expect him to be first in line. You expect him to be more or less the leader of the class, if you will. And he has done that. We just visited with him. Yesterday, to be honest with you, was kind of a long day for these kids because many, many of their flights were disrupted. They were off schedule. They were later than they were supposed to arrive. They were scrambling around through their physicals. They had to eat their dinner on the fly. There wasn't a lot of time for any individual conversations. It was a little bit better today, although we had a lot of information for them today.
Re: how you assess the players
A: Everything you throw at them - you tell them you are evaluating everything: how they treat people, how they treat people in the equipment room, how they are in the cafeteria, how they treat one another, how they respond to coaching. Everything is an evaluation.
Q: For a guy like Wilkinson, what does it say to you when you see the guy play a couple of days after his mother passed away and actually excel?
A: It's a difficult time for him. He has tried to stay focused, tried to stay with everything in front of him, it has been a tough time for him. His mother was there for his graduation. He was real proud of that.
Re: Jai Lewis and his transition from basketball to football
A: To put it in perspective, I was out there kidding with him this morning. I said, Gee, Lewis, look at that body of yours. It looks like a basketball player's.' He loved that. He has got a lot of work to do, no doubt. But the key thing is that he is excited about trying; about working at it.
Q: Is he an offensive lineman now?
A: Right now he is an offensive lineman, long snapper; we'll see.
Q: Pretty good athlete for a long snapper?
A: A good athlete, yeah. Once he learns it, when he came out here he typically just grabbed the ball and started throwing it between his legs. In the beginning of practice he did a pretty good job. We got him over there and started coaching him and the ball was going all over the place.
Q: Moss is obviously a little guy, but obviously I'm sure he caught your eye the way he can run.
A: That is the whole thing. He caught our eye long before this, but his quickness, his ability to change direction. There is something about him. He is an upbeat guy, he is a good solid kid who has come in here and has impressed us any time we have interviewed him. He has done that already this morning already. Hopefully he will just keep getting better.