Ozzie Newsome: Questions and Answers

OWINGS MILLS -- Questions and answers with Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome from the NFL scouting combine. Subscribers, please keep reading for further details.

On the tight end position: "A talented tight end can come in and play because he'll be used as a pass catcher or a run blocker.''

(Doing a good job on character evaluation in the interviews?

"The key to that is our area scouts do a great job of gathering information when they're out on the road. So that when that young man comes and sits in our room, we already have a great deal of information on him. There may be a red flag we may want to talk about. A lot of times they feel free to discuss that on their own.."

Steve McNair's rehab from surgery on his rotator cuff and torn biceps?

"As far as I know it's been going very well. He's been in the building a lot over the course of the last two months since the season. That's as about as much information as I have. We've yet to have a medical meeting.

"What is it still in February? Who would be our starting quarterback in September, you'd have to say Steve McNair. We have no one else."

(Feelings on African American head-coach candidates receiving enough opportunities?

"I think there are qualified African-American candidates that people want to interview.

We didn't go into our search and say, 'We have to make sure we have to interview an African-American.

We just feel like there's African-American candidates that we want to interview.

We feel there's a certain amount of teams that feel the same way.''

Feel the same way about offensive and defensive coordinator opportunities?

"We have more African Americans being quarterback coaches. They're finally coming up through the pipeline where they are getting those opportunities. You look back 10 years ago Maybe it's not. But right now that talent pool and the pool to draw from is growing every year.''

Guys are getting to the point they want to get a good fit because there isn't a lot of patience with head coaches right now. You've seen a number of guys who have been fired over the last three or four years. You have to make sure you get a good fit.

"It's upon that person who's been offered the job to make a decision whether he can be a success and a success right away.

(Reaction to the meeting on Spygate with commissioner Roger Goodell and the competition committee in the morning)--

"I thought it was very detailed. I thought they were very honest. They gave us blow by blow between Roger (Goodell), Jeff (Pash), Greg (Aiello) and Ron Hill. I'm thoroughly pleased with the results. I think the penalty was very severe. And has been stated, we can move on.

(Of course the league will want to move on, but the public and Capitol Hill still have interest?)--

"All I can say is for an hour and a half today, I was able to digest a lot of information. I was able to ask as many questions as I wanted to ask to come away to make a conclusion for myself about it. At the conclusion of that meeting, I had no other questions.

"I think it was good on Jeff and Roger's part to be able to have the meeting for us to give us a chance to discuss it and digest it. I applaud Roger and Jeff for doing that, for giving us that opportunity."

(The punishment?)

"It fit the crime. Anytime you take a number one draft away from someone, maybe it didn't mean a lot when it happened in September. Wait until we get toward April.

Instead of me picking 40, I'm going to be picking 39. So I'm going to be one better player.

"So yeah, I think it's very severe And as good as New England can draft, that's going to be one other good player that's left for me. The commissioner has the authority to put the penalty in. And the one thing he did with that penalty. Nobody in Baltimore will be doing anything like that. I don't think any of the 31 other clubs will be doing it either."

(on the draft)

"I think it's a good draft. But I think every draft is a good draft if you know what you're looking for. Because we always have needs. You can go into the draft and fulfill those needs.

(do you draft on need?)

"I always draft the best player."

(Asked about Derek Anderson?

"Derek is not a restricted guy. He's not a UFA. He's a member of the Cleveland Browns and he had a great year.

''I can't. You're trying to get me in trouble.

"I don't think you can determine there's more guys for the 4-3 or 3-4. You have to find guys who fit your scheme.''

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.

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