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Herman Edwards Interview ~ 08/28/05

Head Coach Herm Edwards Interview

On John Abraham returning…

I have no idea. No, I have not, I have no idea.

On John Abraham not being at practice wearing on him or the team…
No. I think that we’re just so consumed with coaching that the guys who are here, making decisions, making tough decisions and have more to make next week. We have to cut 18 guys and bring eight back. I think John is counted as one of our guys on the roster. He’s counted, but he’s not here. The whole thing with John is that when he gets here, my concern is, how do I bring him along and get him ready for the opening game. I can’t visually see that, or do that, until I sit down and talk with him. We’ll have a conversation. He’ll go out to practice similar to what Ty Law did; no different than what Chad (Pennington) had to do and we’ll see where he’s at when he gets in there. I think he understands that we want him to suit up for us and play in Kansas City. How many plays that is I don’t know, I have no idea. I think, further along when he gets here, we’ll have a good measure of what that is. Now, there are only six practices left. So, that’s another thing that we’re running out of time for practices, not only for John, but for us as a football team. I think our guys understand that.

On Ty Law’s physical state…

He did extra stuff. He’s doing running between stuff so that’s why he was winded. He runs after practice. He understands too that there are only six practices left so he wants to get in shape where he can answer the bell in the second half if has to play. Kansas City is averaging about 71 plays a game. They have a number one offense. Our guys understand that’s a lot of football plays and hopefully they don’t get 71 against us. But that’s a lot of plays and the guys understand. This week our starters will play a little bit, but not a whole lot, so they have to get it in practice. They have to get themselves in shape to play maybe 50 or 60 plays.

On John Abraham being a third down player…

I don’t know. I don’t know that. I would hate to label it that. But that is the quickest way to get him on the field, obviously, to give him the opportunity to rush the passer on certain passes. Like I said, Kansas City, we all get enamored with how they can throw the ball, but they have one of the best runners in football too. So, I think they are going to run the ball a little bit too. I know Dick (Vermeil) and I know his mindset. He’s going to run the football with those guys. But they also throw the ball. I think they have a good offense. I think they were the number one offense last year, I believe. Somewhere in there, one or two.

On the first round of cuts…

We’re basically done. We’re down.

On Friday’s game against the Giants being a setback…

I don’t know if it’s a setback so much, if you look at the game you have to be true to yourself when you watch it because there are a couple occasions where we’re in pretty good shape to score, to put points on the board, and we don’t do it. If you score those points you walk away in the first half maybe it’s 14-3, maybe its 10-3 football game. But that didn’t happen. What happened was we didn’t score twice down and turned the ball over. That’s generally not one of our traits, turning it over in the red zone, and it happened to us. The Giants made two good plays and prevented us from scoring any points. I think when you look at that part of it and we turn the ball over three times in the first half, you’re generally not going to win a game doing that. Surprisingly, the game was still close when you think about it. You don’t want to do that, but when it happens I always tell the players, the way we consistently play around here, we’re always going to be close in games. And we were in the end. We still had the ability to win the game at the end. It wasn’t what you planned for going into the third game, but the Giants probably didn’t plan for it that way either. You play a game where no offense scores a TD, you don’t like that to happen in your third preseason game for anybody. But it happened and it was one of those defensive games, hard hitting games, and turnovers were a factor. You have to learn something from it. We did some good things, but we didn’t score any points. We didn’t score any points on offense, that’s kind of disheartening, but you have to learn from it and move on.

On the next few practices being critical…

Yeah, because we’re in a different mindset now. That was established today in our meeting, exactly where our mind has to be and what we’re preparing ourselves to do. I think our players took a hold of it, for the most part, and did a good job practicing. We had a pretty fast practice, moving around, and guys are going where they’re supposed to go. When you start cutting the team down, things become very magnified because there aren’t that many players left. There are 18 players left who are walking on eggs right now trying to figure out how this thing is going. But I think the veterans who have been here know with seven practices left that it’s going to get real. We have to start focusing on our routine now. If we were in a routine this would basically be a Wednesday. I told them you have to start getting into your routine. How you come to practice, how you come to work, how are you going to spend your time when you leave here. All those things you have to do now because we’re in a one-a-day practice mode. You have three days to prepare every week before you play. Now we’re practicing that mode to be in. don’t wait until next week. You have to start, whatever your routine. The players are very strict on their routine and we need to get into that routine now. How we’re going to prepare ourselves, not only as a coaching staff, but how you prepare yourself as a player to get ready to play.

On why Micah Knorr was waived and not Ben Graham…

I think the consistency. I just think the thing we liked about the guy is that he hasn’t punted in a game yet where guys have handled his ball very well. For some reason, every time he punts, guys drop the ball. We kind of laugh at our guys and they see it every day, our guys can’t catch it. Our guys are tickled to death on the sideline when he starts punting in a game. They say “watch.� They’re almost betting money that those guys aren’t going to be able to handle it because it’s a tough punt, especially when he gets it up in the air and it starts curving away from them. So far, every game we’ve played, three games, the PR fumble that ball. They put it on the ground. I’m just hoping it continues in the season. That’s a big deal if a guy can’t handle his punts. He’s held pretty good. Mike (Nugent) is comfortable with him holding the ball. We just felt that at this point we were going to go with the guy.

On Ben Graham’s punts playing mind games with other teams…

They are. You can see it. You can look at it, but until you really try to catch it, it is a different feeling. It really is. You can just see. When I’m back there with those guys, there are certain ones where he kicks and I’m going, ‘there’s no way he’s going to catch this.’ It’s hard. It’s difficult because of the velocity in which it comes down and how it spins away from them. It’s amazing because every week they drop the ball. They drop the ball. They fumble it or they bobble it. I think that’s a good thing. Dante Hall, he’s pretty good. Hopefully we don’t even punt it to him and we punt it out of bounds some where. We don’t want that guy running it out of the ball park.

On him not wanting Ben Graham to play very physical…

He’s a football player. This guy is a football player. He’s not afraid of contact. He’ll go down there and tackle guys. I’ve already thought about using him on the Hail Mary play, the last play of the game. If you watch him play in Australia that’s what he did. He jumped up and caught balls. I’ll put him in there and let him run down there underneath it. Throw one up and he might jump up and catch it. This guys’ an athlete. He’s a kicker, a punter, but he’s an athlete by trade. This guy is an athlete if you watch him play. He can be a guy where we have the final play of the game, run those three guys down there, you see it every Sunday, everyone tries to throw it in the end zone and see if a guy can jump up. He jumped up in his career and caught balls. The one he caught was a little fatter than the one we have. Maybe he can jump up and catch one for us, I don’t know. It’s a thought.

One play is good enough. If you could jump up and catch one of them in his career that would be saying something.

On rethinking how much to play Chad Pennington against the Eagles…

No. Our guys will play. How long they’ll play, I’ve got an idea, but don’t blink. I can’t get into that.

On if playing Chad Pennington is worth the risk…

No. If you play a guy a quarter what difference does that make? I don’t think so, not at this point and time. He’s going to practice more than in this game. It’s the last preseason game, so you know how that is. Your starters will play a little bit, then your seconds and your thirds. The 18 players who are going to get cut, you have to give them the best opportunity now to show what they are. I think that’s what’s great about the last game. When you get your starters in there early and you put your other guys in there because basically they have to play the game. The young players have to go play. They deserve it. They’ve been here since March and I think it’s good because now they have to go play a real game. They have to play the whole game almost. Sometimes that’s good because you find out a little bit about them and how they react.

On the third QB spot belonging to Brooks Bollinger…

Brooksie, I think at this point, is the guy, for the most part.

On the last drive of the Giants game and the incompletions…

Yeah. There are a lot of things I liked to see with that second and third group, but I didn’t see a whole lot. Not just on the QB. One time we got the ball on the 33 (yard line). We went backwards. We went three plays minus 15 yards. We tried to throw it and you know what they’re going to do, they’re going to blitz you. We couldn’t make any yards, we ended up punting. Got the ball right there. Guy punts the ball they fumble it we get the ball, I say ok. Mike’s in field goal range. Ok, lets try to score. If we can’t, we’ll let him kick it. He should be able to make this. We go backwards, we lose 15 yards. It was just one of those games. Both defenses were very good not allowing people to score points. And their field goal kicker was excellent. He kicked a 54-yarder, a 52-yarder. He put on a show kicking, put on a clinic for field goals. After a while I started saying wow, that’s good. That’s good. Five in a row, that’s the most kicked in the preseason so far. He did a great job.

On Derrick Strait practicing…

Yeah, he practiced. The only guys who probably won’t play in the game right now in my mind are Dewayne (Robertson). He has a cast on his hand, he probably won’t go. We’ll give him a rest. Other than that, Curtis (Martin) could make a cameo. I think (Rashad) Washington will be able to play this week which is good. Willie Mayes Hayes (Harry Williams, Jr.) is back, hopefully he can play. Jerald (Sowell) will be able to play. So we’ll see. Most of the guys are going to play.

On what he is looking for in practice from Chad Pennington…

When you look at it, it’s one of those games where he obviously tried to force some things which is generally not his nature. He generally manages the game well. He just wasn’t clicking. He has to deal with it and that’s ok, it’s a preseason game. You hate for it to happen, but it happens. I think he’ll learn from it. His rookie year he did the same thing down there- two picks in the end zone. Four years later he did it again. I said that ain’t bad. If you wait another four years you’re really doing good. That’s a heck of a curve. He’ll be fine.

On Chad Pennington’s adjustment to the new offense…

He’s ok. He wants to do everything right and he is a little bit of a worry wart. He worries about things that are out of his control. That’s just him. That’s the kind of player he is. He has to make sure that he understands that he has to do this and that to make this offense work. The thing he knows is that we do not want to turn the ball over and he has been very good, in four years, of not turning the ball over. But then again, if you throw the ball down the field or hold onto it a little bit too long sometimes that happens. You are going to get some turnovers. We have a pretty good defense. If we turn the ball over we can get out of it, bail out of it, but you have to take some shots and that’s just part of taking shots. When you throw the ball further down field, things can happen, good or bad, so I think that his history is to not look down the field, right away all the time because the offense was a little different. It was a three prong offense where it didn’t really matter what the coverage was. You were going to play this side of the field and when you see the guy going one, two, three, your guy is always going to be open because he’s a check down. So, you have the ability to check it now. This offense is not too much different then that, it is more about reading the coverage and getting match-ups. When you see a man to man situation and you see that this guy is probably better then the guy that’s covering you, you throw the ball to him. It could be on any part of the field. Not just half the field, but on both sides of the field, so your vision has to open up, you have to read the field faster and figure out where the one on one is at. There are certain coverages where you know that this side is man to man and this is certain coverage, so I have a good player over here, I want to attack over here. That’s just a matter of process during it and doing it. And once he gets it he’ll be fine. Is he comfortable doing it right now? No because it’s new and he missed a lot of time. But, I think that he is the type of player that is a quick learner and the more he plays the better he’ll get. He’ll be better during the eighth game of the season then he is on opening day and that’s ok. That’s part of it.

On Chad Pennington being a perfectionist…

It will (effect him) because any time you’re a perfectionist, it’s not good enough. And I think for him, this is something new. He’ll grow accustom to it. That’s just another thing he has to retrain himself to think about. If I turn it over or something happens, have to let it go. He’s good about letting it go for the most part. It bothers him, but after a while you have to have selective memory. You have to be like a corner. I tell him to be like a corner. You get beat for a TD have selective memory. I got beat and when I went back to the huddle I was in there whistling. I missed a fifty yard play I would go in there whistling. They thought I was nuts. They would say, “What’s wrong with this guy,� and I would ask, ‘what happened?’ Next play. Just go on to the next one. You can’t worry about that. You can’t get that one back. It’s over. You’ve got to keep playing and I think the more you understand that you just have to go, ‘ok, I’ve got to go,’ you’ll be fine.

On telling Chad Pennington to let it go…

Just let it go. Throw the ball. He remembers and I will get him again. Not now, it’s not time yet. But, he knows that eventually I’m going to tell him, ‘hey, this is what you’ve got to do. I don’t care where it goes, just throw it. It will be ok.’ He is so hard on himself. That’s what you like about the guy. You wish all guys were like that. He wants to do it right. He’s a very coachable player. Probably the most coachable player you’ll ever find, as far a QB. Those guys have their own little deals going and he isn’t that way. He wants to do what the coach tells him to do.

On the game planning the coaching staff does for opening day…

I think most teams do (this week). You start practicing for the other team. That’s how we practice. Our ones practice against Kansas City and our twos practice against the New York Jets. That’s how most teams practice to be quite honest. When our ones go they play against Kansas City and when our twos go they will be against the Jets. That’s how you do it. You get through practice that way. Most teams do it that way. Most teams do it around the second preseason game. We’ve been practicing on them. We haven’t taken a whole practice, but we have been in certain periods. We practice certain things they do. That’s nothing unusual. We did it last year with Cincinnati. Cincinnati did it with us. We did it in training camp. People don’t know that, but that doesn’t matter. Other teams know that on a certain day on a certain script we are going to do these plays against this team. That’s what we all play with, that’s what you try to do.

On Adrian Jones…

He’s done well and I thought last week was a good test for him at this point. Third preseason game playing against an All-Pro DE with Michael Strahan, physical, fast, has all the accolades, and he did a good job against him, for the most part. We knew Michael was going to beat him some and do some things, but it was a good test. I was anticipating this game for him because it was on his own turf and it was against a good player, not to say that he hasn’t played against good players before, but he was going to have to play three quarters, at least to the half against Strahan and he is one of the better players in the league at that position. It was a good test for him and he did, for the most part, a good job. I think that helps. It is no different then when we put Kareem (McKenzie) in there, when Kareem became a starter. This was a game that I looked at for Kareem and was like, ‘ok, you have Strahan.’ I think what has helped him too was Shaun Ellis. Once a week we tell Shaun, ‘take it hard or him now. Beat him up in practice. Make it hard on him.’ We can see how he is going to react. Shaun did a good job and Shaun gives a weekly report. “He’s doing ok coach. He’s getting better.� That’s good. That’s another guy who is an All-Pro DE that he is practicing against everyday. He hasn’t seen John (Abraham), but 99 (Bryan Thomas) is another guy. When you have some good players, you make sure that when they line up against him, they go. They really go, because that player has to be a good player for them. Even though he is playing in offense for us, he’s his teammate and you want to make that player a good player. And the way you do it is to make sure that your good player is going hard at this guy to see where his mental frame is. I think those guys have done a good job of helping him. He has responded well, which is good. That’s what you anticipate.

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