Q & A with Joe Mendes

On the eve of the Indianapolis Scouting Combine, we chatted with Redskins vice president of football operations Joe Mendes, seeking clues into what they'll look for in players over the next four days. While with New England, Mendes and Co. fell in love with an obscure tight end named Ben Coates, eventually picking him in the fifth round.

Q: How do you approach the combine?
A: You go there with open eyes and evaluate everybody. There will be times when you're disappointed, but you have pleasant surprises. The area that clubs or scouts are most careful about is, don't go in there and if a guy dos poorly or not as well, don't hammer him too much. It's football, not the Olympics.

Q: Has this combine become even bigger in recent years?
A: It's become more advertised. They've always been very important to clubs as a part of the puzzle. Over the years teams have become smarter in utilizing information from the combine. But at the end of the day you can't forget what you're looking for and that's football players.

Q: What's your philosophy in regards to this weekend?
A: Scouting is logic. If a player shows this, this and this then he can usually do this, this and this. If a guy has size, speed, athletic ability, competitiveness and intelligence then he has a chance to succeed. His skills might be limited, but that's OK. I don't know how you give a guy heart or improve his thought process and you can't make him bigger. There are no heart transplants in Indy.

Q: Is this the biggest part of the puzzle when it comes to evaluating players?
A: You can call it a major part to the puzzle, but not the entire puzzle. It certainly gives you the one playing field where all the elements are equal for each player.

Q: Do you enjoy this weekend?
A: Yes I do. I'm really worn out right now with contracts and caps. Those tasks are not pleasurable at all. It's very difficult to tell people no. Who wants to do that?

Q: Is there a chance Big Daddy's contract will be restructured?
A: All the big contract people are possible.

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