Press Conference: Steve Spurrier

With the big NFL opener between the New York Jets and the Washington Redskins rapidly approaching, head coach Steve Spurrier answers questions from the New York media.

Is it a coincidence that the Redskins signed four ex-Jets in the off season or was there something behind that?

They just happened to have free agent players that we needed. When we did our ratings of all the free agents in the NFL, we were looking for a guard, kicker, return man, and a receiver and all of sudden there were four Jet players that were either free agents or restricted free agents. After our scouts and coaches watched the tape, we said if we can get John Hall, Laveranues Coles, Randy Thomas and Chad Morton, then let's go and do it. Dan Snyder recruited them well.

What is Morton's role in the offense?

His role has not yet been completely determined. We certainly hope to get him in there in situations, obviously he is a little draw runner, sweeps, and can catch the ball out of the backfield. Everyone knows he does those things very well. We haven't used our entire team on offense to know what the role of each player is right now.

Do you think on Thursday night he [Morton] will get some plays at running back?

I can't say for sure or give out the game plan right now. During the preseason he has been in there two or three plays. Herman and his guys will know when he is in there and what to look for.

Last year were you surprised at the level of play in the NFL?

It was like two different seasons. We were pretty good in the preseason as you know, I think for whatever it is worth we were leading the NFL in offense in scoring and touchdown passes and low and behold the season started. We played pretty well in the first game against Arizona but then the Eagles came in and just clobbered us and we never really got that confidence rolling like we thought we would.

We've added better players on the offensive team from what we had last year, but we have to be perfect. We have to play and coach better.

What did you learn last year? What did you take away from it?

I don't really have an exact answer for it. Hopefully our staff will coach better this year. We had a turnover ratio that was near the bottom of the league, our punter and our kicker were near the bottom of the league. We weren't a good special team bunch. We lost games the way everyone loses, turnovers, mistakes, penalties, so we are going to try to be smarter this year, take care of the ball better and make sure our players are in position to make plays.

Have you changed from a college coach to a pro coach?

I don't know how much I have changed. I promoted Hugh Jackson to offensive coordinator and I've allowed him to do a lot of coordinating. He does a super job organizing our runs and passes and getting them in sections and this that and the other. I am still the play caller but he certainly has input in the play calling.

Are you still convinced that your offense can work on a pro level or have you had to tweak it much?

Our offense is not a lot different from a whole lot of offenses. We usually try to throw a little down field farther then some. We certainly haven't been doing that in the preseason. We try to throw it where the defense isn't. Patrick Ramsey has a whole lot of potential, but he hasn't done a whole lot. We are a wait and see type of team right now.

Can you talk about what Laveranues Coles brings to the table?

We are very excited about what Coles brings to the table. He is an excellent practice player, I think that he has made the other receivers better. We have to get the ball to him and the other receivers and to do that you have to pass block, good play call at the right time, get a good throw. Laveranues has been a good team player and works very hard in practice and we are glad that he is with us.

Steve were you ever contacted by the Jets years ago to be head coach?

No, I don't think so.

Vinny Testaverde hasn't had many reps this preseason, is that a difficult situation for any quarterback no matter his age?

As much as Vinny has played I don't think that is a huge concern. He has been in this league a long time and knows the offense well and knows what he can and can not do. I believe he will play well, the way he has always played. Our job is to cover the receiver and put pressure on him and stop the run and those kind of things.

Last year, do you think some opposing coaches took great pleasure in humbling you a little bit last year?

If they did they didn't mention it, but certainly human nature would say a veteran NFL coach would not like to see a college guy come in and have immediate success. I think coaches that have been in the NFL have a lot of pride and believe that the NFL is the best football in the world and it is no question about it. The NFL has the best players and coaches, but I really believe that I am decent friends with the NFL coaches.

Do you look at Vinny as someone who will still get the job done this season despite his age?

That isn't for me to decide, that is for Herman Edwards to worry about Vinny. I am worried about my quarterback Patrick Ramsey. He is only in his second year, got a strong arm and can make a lot of plays. He just hasn't played a lot. That is the guy that I am concerned about when it comes to quarterbacks in the NFL.

Is the plan to stay with Ramsey through thick and thin?

Yes, that is the plan. Last year Patrick Ramsey was a true rookie, the fourth quarterback all through preseason. He hardly ever got a snap or two. We sort of tossed him in, he played well early, and he played well two or three games, but struggled at times. We believe that he is much better prepared to play this year then last year. He is our quarterback, no question.

Breaking Burgundy Top Stories