A: Good, real good. I'm ready to go.
Q: What was the whole offseason like for you, wondering if you were going to be back and not getting a head coaching position?
A: No disappointment. No disappointment; not much wondering. It was a great opportunity. I went out and did a couple of interviews and it was a good opportunity for me to learn and grow. I'm excited about being back. We did some nice things during the offseason through the draft and free agency. I'm excited about getting started.
Q: What has been the most exciting change to the defense?
A: Personnel; everybody that we got. Everybody that we got is pretty exciting.
Q: You knew there would be some changes. Did you expect this much of an overhaul?
A: No. You never know from year to year. I'm an assistant coach and I'm involved in the evaluation process, not necessarily in the decision making process; but evaluations. But it was a big offseason.
Q: As you saw all the new defensive players being signed, did your eyes kind of light up, "Now I have something to work with"?
A: Yeah, that is about it. That is about it.
Q: Is it true that you actually don't want the opposing quarterback to throw a single pass next year?
A: Yeah, that would be good. It is kind of a balancing act. If they are not throwing a pass, then they are probably running the ball. You don't want to get a ton of those either if you are not stopping it.
Q: Talk about the frustration of the Carolina game last year, being beat up physically on the defense and now as you go into camp trying to improve.
A: Well, you like that word ‘frustration.' I'm not going to use that word. We were disappointed, but I wasn't frustrated. The fact of the matter is we took over a team that was 4 and 12 and in two years we are 11 and 5 and the guys are playing hard. You can't control the injury factor. It's not in our control; we can only control what we can. The fellows that were out there were playing hard and they gave everything they had and we lost the game. We were disappointed, but we are excited about getting started again.
Q: Do you have a lot of work ahead of you between now and that first game in finding a way to incorporate the new players into what you want to do?
A: Yeah, I'm looking forward to a challenge.
Q: Just talk about that a little bit. What is the challenge now?
A: Trying to find out how they all fit, what their strengths are, what their weaknesses are, and trying to put it all together.
Q: Have you been scheming in your head, trying to be creative, trying to figure out …..?
A: You can say it just like that. That's exactly right and that is what you do, whether you are in the shower or walking to or from work. If you see something that happens maybe by accident on the field, you say, ‘Boy that looks pretty good, let's call it something.' That is all we are doing right now, we are trying to …..
Q: There are going to be a lot of questions that have to be answered in this camp.
A: Sure. I look forward to coming to work every day. We are going to put them together and try to figure out how we can use them most effectively.
Q: Were you on the LaVar Arrington bandwagon right away? Could you just talk about what he brings?
A: I was fortunate to have watched him play in high school. He was from North Hills and I was in Pittsburgh at the time. He was a big, strong, fast athlete coming out of high school. Then, of course, did a great job with Penn State. We interviewed him a number of times before the draft. He was a local kid and he always loved the Steelers. So I have gotten to know him over the course of time fairly well.
Q: Why is he better suited to the strong side? It seemed like the opening was on the weak side when you signed him. What skills does he bring?
A: He is a good rusher. To have he and Strahan and Osi line up next to each other at some point will be a pretty daunting task for an offensive team. And he is just as much – in our defense, because we run – I think I explained to some of you guys – a closed side reduction and an open side reduction – it may be a little bit too technical; but the fact of the matter is that he will be weak just as much as he will be strong.
Q: Could you talk about Jonas Seawright and how you have seen him progress over the last few days?
A: Jonas is big; he is a big kid. He is young, enthusiastic and energetic in learning the program. His endurance has gotten better. He is stronger than he was when he first got here. He understands the defense better. He has really done a good job pushing forward. He is trying to learn how to play – snap-by-snap, game-by-game, and to stay focused on the next play.
Q: What about his weight? Is he where you would like him to be right now?
A: I'm not the weight coach. I could care less. I just want him to play football.
Q: Do you know yet what you have at that tackle spot? It is a lot of guys with kind of unprovedn potential, maybe.
A: Yeah. That is everybody on the team, yeah. Fred, William, Jonas, Duckett – that is kind of what we had last year, too. It's the same thing.
Q: Were you surprised in the first round of the draft when you traded down and you drafted a pass rushing defensive end?
A: Surprised. No. We had all evaluated him and we had all – I may have given him the highest grade that we had. He is really a talented player. We're excited about having him.
Q: They said they wouldn't have drafted him if they didn't think they could find a place to put him at some point. Do you see him getting on the field with the whole new crew here?
A: Oh yeah. I doubt he will be inactive in a game. Were you at practice today?
Q: Yes, I was.
A: Did you see him out there? He's doing a good job. He's smart and fast; a good pass rusher.
Q: Do you believe you can never have enough pass rushers?
A: Oh, absolutely. Oh, there's no doubt. Obviously, if you can't put enough pressure on a passer, you are going to be in for a long day on the back end. I was not here for the game that, I think, Jerry Reese referred to – San Francisco -- some years ago. But evidentially they had some problems at the end of the game, or whatever. But I would say the same thing. In my tenure at Pittsburgh we had good pass rushers and we had a number of them and we gave a lot of different people opportunities to rush. We ended up, I think, in our 40's in sacks this year here. I think it was in the top 10 in sacks. But, yeah, you would like to have a lot of pass rushers. You would like to have people that could put pressure on the passer. That is part of our defensive philosophy, stopping the run and pressuring the passer. That is the way we get it done.
Q: With Osi and Strahan, you probably don't want to take them off the field?
A: Oh, they won't be off.
Q: So how do you ……?
A: Very carefully. If I tell you, then I'm going to tell the Eagles and the Redskins.
Q: There will be other places besides defensive end where you might see them?
A: Oh yeah, absolutely.
Q: I understand you don't make the personnel decisions; Will Peterson's health status and ………
A: We're only going to talk about the guys that are working here.
Q: Would you have preferred to have him….?
A: I'm only going to talk about the guys that are working here.
Q: How about the guys that you brought in – Sam Madison. What do you see from him so far?
A: He does a good job. He is really instinctive, experienced, obviously, intuitive, hard worker, quick. He holds a lot. Other than that he is a very good football player.
Q: Are you going to rely on him to now be the veteran – the steady force in that secondary?
A: Yeah. He - and I'm going to push Gibril that way, now that we have been together three years. James Butler, in just his second year, is going to have to be the veteran. Will Demps has done a good job picking up the defense. All of the guys that are new are really relying on those guys to help them and to lead them and guide them. R.W. McQuarters is a veteran guy and people are asking him a lot of questions. So that is good.
Q: Do you think that Gibril is ready to take on a leadership role?
A: We hope so. We'll find out. I'll try to lead him and guide him and help him that way. So we'll find out.