HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN
Could you start off talking about your first week and what you’ve accomplished?
“I think we’ve gotten a lot accomplished. A lot of situational football, third down, red area. A lot of different things that I’m not going to get into the details of that we’re doing on both sides of the ball. These guys compete. That’s the big thing. This is a very competitive football team and that’s really – I mean, I can’t wait to come to meetings and practice every day because I know these guys are going to do what we’re asking them to do. They’re a very coachable group, the whole group, and it’s been a fun week so far.”
Is there anything you wish you guys had done better that first week?
“I think it’s the beginning of training camp. I think every day you’re looking at things that you can try to improve upon, whether it’s playing or coaching. You learn a lot when you’re out on the field. How can you attack this better? How can you perfect your technique as a player? So, I think every day you’re looking to come out here and try to improve on things.”
What do you think about the camp RB Tyler Ervin has had and the kind of asset he can be?
“When we drafted him out of San Jose, he was a versatile guy there. He was a guy that played in the backfield, he played as a receiver. He has good hands. He’s a very, very bright guy. He’s a hardworking guy. So, there’s a lot of different things, and we’re still figuring out what we’re going to do with him. He’s a running back, he’s in the running back room, but I think he’s the type of guy – special teams, good returner. So, he’s a guy that when he’s healthy and ready to go, which he’s been, knock on wood, since OTAs. He’s had a good spring and a good training camp so far. He’s going to help our team.”
What do you like about ILB Benardrick McKinney?
“He’s a pro, he’s a pro. He loves the game. He prepares. He loves meetings, loves practice, loves everything about football. He’s one of our leaders now. He’s on the inside there with Cush (Brian Cushing) and that’s a good duo on the inside. He’s come a long way since his rookie year, and he’s one of our better players, there’s no doubt about it.”
What have you seen from CB Robert Nelson Jr.?
“He had a little injury, a little soft tissue deal, a couple days ago but came back – rehabbed it, came back – and he’s a competitive guy. What he gives up in physical stature he makes up for in competitiveness. He’s got good speed, good instincts. He’s picked up our system well. He’s competing for a spot on the team, there’s no doubt about it.”
Do you like where the team is at right now?
“I do. I’m positive about this team. I think this team is a very competitive team. Time will tell. It’s a tough league, everybody’s good. I think health will be a big key. Injuries with any team is a big key, and so health’s going to be a big key but I like this football team. I like the way they come to work every day, I like the mix of veterans and young players that we have here and I’m excited to come to work every day.”
Do the young guys hit a wall at some point during camp where they have to climb a hurdle to reach that next level?
“Yeah, I would say that’s the case for every rookie, but I like our rookie class. You’ve got guys that are really battling. That was three straight days of full pads, very physical practices, and I thought that the young guys did a decent job. There will be a wall. That’s the same for every rookie. Every rookie’s a little different when they hit that wall and the guys that are able to overcome that by taking care of their bodies, by staying in the playbook, getting some sleep, those are the guys that end up helping you during the season. So, I think we’ve got some good candidates in that group to help us during the season.”
What do you tell the guys making the jump from year one to year two?
“Well, I mean I think everything for them as far as schematically should be review. They should know what we’re doing schematically. Now, it’s a matter of really perfecting their technique. They’re not thinking anymore about where to line up, what the call is, what to do, their assignments. They know their assignments – they better know their assignments – and now they can go out there and really perfect their technique on the different plays that we call.”
What do you think about how WR Will Fuller V has done in camp?
“He’s had a good camp. He’s a really good route runner, comes to work every day. Again, a guy that’s a very studious guy, knows the playbook inside and out. Fun guy to coach.
What kind of camp are you having?
“I’m having fun. I mean, I really like this team. I do. I like everything about it and I’m having a lot of fun.”
Check out photos from Day 5 of training camp at The Greenbrier in West Virginia.