(what is your goal with the special teams unit?)
"The main mission is to win football games. From my personal standpoint , we just need to try to get a little bit more consistent than what we've been the last couple of years. I think Coach (Pete) Rodriguez did a good job of getting personnel in here. I think Coach (Jack) Del Rio and his staff have done a good job of getting personnel (here). It's my job to make sure we stay on the right path and try to get that consistency back to where it needs to be."
(you have been able to develop returners. Do you have players here who can be impact-type returners?)
"Yes. Dennis Northcutt, competed against him a lot when we were in Atlanta, so he's an excellent returner. I think that's a good start. Obviously, with Maurice (Jones-Drew), he has unbelievable explosion. So there's a lot to work with here. I think (John) Broussard has got a chance to be a guy who is going to do some things. There are guys here I think are very capable. Alvin Pearman is another one. So, it should be a good situation."
(is John Broussard a player who can return punts or kicks?)
"Right now, he'll just be a kick-off guy for us."
(is kick coverage and punt coverage the number one goal?)
"It always is for me. I think most special teams units are judged on how good their coverage is. You don't see many guys getting fired for having a bad return game but you see a lot of them getting fired for bad coverage. So, we're always trying to be at the top of the league as far as where our defense gets the ball, and try to help them out from that standpoint as much as possible."
(what is your background with Jack Del Rio?)
"I've just known him as a player. This will be my 19th year (in the league). He was in Minnesota and I think in Kansas City when I was in Denver, so I've seen him around as a player. I've gotten to know him through the years. He's a guy I have a lot of respect for. My former coach, Coach (Dan) Reeves, kind of a mentor of mine and obviously he's my father-in-law, and I had a chance to go to several places and he told me the place I should go is with Coach Del Rio. He felt like he was the best young coach out there and he has the most respect for him and that played a big part in my decision to come here."
(what do you see in the personnel here?)
"I think the personnel is excellent. I think for our end of it, teams-wise, I think you've got a good nucleus of core people. Montell Owens is a guy that I'm extremely excited about. I think he's got a chance to be a top guy, a Pro Bowl-type guy if he just goes on the right direction from here on out, and there are several other guys. I just think there is a lot of talent here and we just have to cultivate that talent and try to get them playing at their best."
(on saying that Montell Owens is a Pro Bowl-type player. What do you see in him?)
"When you watch him I think he is the kind of guy that makes tackles first of all, he causes penetration when you watch him, for the most part. Teams last year were having to double him which to me means that's the best cover guy most of the time. He's a very tough kid. I think he's got a chance to be that type of guy. Now, I didn't say he was going to be. I said he's got a chance to be."
(is it tough to fully evaluate the players without pads?)
"I think the evaluation process starts now. I think you can gain a lot from the OTAs as far as if they can get their assignments down, how they run, those types of things. But really when the preseason games start, that's when you'll be able to get a feel for really how good they are."
(what do you see in Josh Scobee?)
"He's been hurt, so right now it's hard to evaluate him. Coming into this job I looked at him a lot on tape and he's improved, I think to the point where he's got a chance to be one of the top guys in the league. But he has a long way to go from the standpoint of doing it year-in and year-out consistency-wise because those are the guys - the David Akers, the Jason Hansons, the guy I had in Atlanta, Morten Andersen - those are the guys who do it year in and year out, not just have one good year. You've got to continuously keep going that way."
(have you had rookie punters before?)
"Yes. We had Michael Cain in Atlanta the last two years. In New York, I've had some younger guys. It's a challenge, no question. He's (Adam Podlesh) going to go through some ups and downs just like all young guys, all young players do, but he's got a lot of talent, so we're looking forward to working with him."
(what are the adjustments for a punter going from college to pro?)
"We're running a different scheme than what he did in college. He did do some directional punting but what he's being asked to do now is going to be a little bit more difficult from the standpoint of where we want the ball placed. It's just better. You know you're going to get better rushes, you're going to get better people coming after you, you're going to get better returners. In college, you've got maybe three or four games a year where they have a great returner. Every single week here you're going to have a great returner. It's just the level of competition."
(is the punting yards average not as important as where he punts the ball?)
"I think probably the most overrated stat in the NFL is what his gross punt is. When you see those announcers go crazy over a guy who knocks a ball 55 yards down the field with no hang time, usually that ball is coming right back at you. What we want to try to do is put that ball as close to the sidelines with as much hang time as we can get. That's a way to limit returners, and like I said, there are such great returners now in this league that you have to do something to limit them from a punting standpoint."
(where you in Atlanta in 1996?)
"No, I came the year after so I saw that tape when Morten (Andersen) missed that kick, which was amazing to me because in '98 when we went to the Super Bowl he's the one who made it, and I was a lot more worried about the protection than I was his making that kick."
(on the draft selection of Adam Podlesh. Were you really high on him?)
(what were your thoughts on him?)
"First of all, he never had punt blocked in college. That was the first thing that stood out. The second thing was he kicked in tough conditions. Maryland is not exactly the greatest conditions in the world, so he's been in cold weather, and he was a guy that hung the ball up in the air, and that was really what we were looking for. So, we just felt like that he had the best chance of coming in right now and developing a guy that hopefully is going to be a guy that we have for a long time here in Jacksonville."
JagNation Press Pass: Joe DeCamillis
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