Coach Whisenhunt's Monday Press Conference Transcript



(on Marcus Mariota watching film now compared to watching film in college)

If it's anything like what I've seen, there's a lot more stuff going on in this tape than there is in what he's seen on a down-to-down basis in college. There are just not the complexities on the defense. You don't see as many coverages or combination coverages or even fronts. I certainly understand with the speed at which they were playing. I think at this level, with all the versatility of the defensive linemen and linebackers, you see so many different fronts, so many different combinations, coverages, there's a lot.

(on why the team kept five tight ends and four wide receivers)*

The reason that we kept them is because they deserved to be on the football team. And that was what we said, the message all along and how they played. So we felt like we picked our best 53, our best players. We made some adjustments to that, obviously, after the initial roster, which is no different than what you normally do. But our goal is to make our team better and we felt like, I guess in a nut shell, what we feel like Chase (Coffman) and Dexter (McCluster) and Delanie (Walker) can give us is a potential slot receiver, if we needed them that would help compensate for the numbers at wide receiver. But it really came down to, when we talk about who had the best camp, you guys yourself said it was going to be a tough decision between the tight ends. We felt like they earned the right to be on the football team and we felt like because they did that, because we felt like we could use Delanie in the slot, we could certainly use Chase in the slot, and Dexter at times, that would compensate for not having that fifth receiver.

(on if he is counting on Justin Hunter and Dorial Green-Beckham with only four receivers on the roster)

That's an important piece of it; we're counting on them to do that. They've both shown us things during the preseason that you can get excited about. A lot of this, I'm counting on those guys to do that for us.

(on what Terrance West brings to the team)

We liked him coming out last year. We brought him in for a visit. He was one of the players that we felt like we had a pretty good feel for, that we thought was a good match. We had an opportunity to get him and we felt like he could help our team be better.

(on his expectations for Terrance West Sunday after only being with the team for a week)

We'll have to see. The biggest problem for a running back is understanding the terminology. We talked all offseason about how we were trying to get better, more disciplined on our courses and how we approached the hole. So obviously getting integrated into our system is something that we'll have to see how he can handle it. At least he's been in a pro system, he's played at the NFL level and had some success doing that. So that's one hurdle that you don't necessarily have to face with a young guy. If you're getting a rookie that you pick up at this point that really hasn't played in a regular season game, it is a lot more difficult. I don't know the time table on that, we'll push him and see what we get out of him.

(on what he likes about Terrance West)

We thought he was a good player. He led their team in rushing, so we thought he was a good running back. He had good vision, also a good healthy catch on the football, so we like him.

(on if the team has a handle on some of the negative things that have been said about Terrance West on his way out of Cleveland)

I hope so. You don't ever know about those things as far as how it's going to relate during a course of a season. But I think coming in here, a lot of times, even players understand, when you're with your second team in two years, you've got to make sure that you try as hard as you can to fit in with that team. So we felt from the way we felt about him, the way we got him where everything progressed it was a good move for our team.

(on if bringing in Terrance West now says anything about his opinion of the other running backs who have been here all along)

I don't think you ever worry about that. You're trying to make your team better and you feel like that guy can make a contribution. So I don't think there's any team that's going to not bring a player in because they're worried about how the other guys feel about it. I don't know if that's the case at all. In fact, I would argue that's against it. Even if you feel great about your guys, what's wrong with bringing in another guy to help you get better?

(on why he used the option of David Cobb being placed on IR list, designated to return)

A lot of times if you don't use it, you may not ever use it. This was a good opportunity to use it with a player that we feel like can help us. He's shown us enough in the limited time that we've had him that he looks like he's going to be pretty good. With this injury, one of the biggest risks that you face is trying to get him back too early, and then you don't want to actually go with 52 for an extended period of time. The reason that that rule is in place is for this kind of scenario. You can see a couple of other teams have already done it too, so that's why we did.

(on if there is a different feel during a game week in the regular season)

Yeah, I think we're all excited. I mean you get excited to play a preseason game, but it's not the same as a regular season game. We're finally to the season. We've got our roster. We were able to go out on the field today and work on some things. It was good energy. It's exciting. There's no substitute for this and we get an opportunity to see if we've gotten better. To show that we can get better, and that's really what we want.

(on if he thinks Tampa Bay will vary from their straight forward Cover 2 defense )

I don't think that's really a factor. They're doing that not because of Marcus (Mariota) but because they're trying to scheme against any football team. Even though you may only see one thing, you're going to see something different on game day, that's the NFL. So you prepare as best as you can for what you think you're going to see, as far as the looks that you have seen. I mean, that's the chess game that the NFL is.

(on how good Marcus Mariota is at watching film and if the other quarterbacks help and teach him)

I mean that's the value of being in a room with some guys that have done it before with the quarterbacks. They can certainly share information. But we talk about those kinds of things. It's just what you're looking at, how you break them down, what your breakdowns are, how you're grouping them, all those kinds of things. But Marcus (Mariota) has been doing that already, so it's not like it's completely foreign to him.

(on how the coaches relate the speed of a game to Marcus Mariota)

Yeah, I think that he plays fast enough, so usually when a player is gifted that way physically he can handle it or he can adjust to it quickly. There's no substitute for it, you can talk about it, but when you're going against their first team defense the whole time and their pinning their ears back and coming, it moves quicker. I think we got a little bit of a taste of that in Kansas City, from the standpoint of playing on the road, and having to deal with the noise. Certainly I think that helps prepare us for this, but that was a brief glimpse. That was a quarter, maybe a quarter and a half, opposed to a four-quarter game, that's a big difference. I don't think he will struggle adjusting to the speed of it after he gets acclimated, at least from what I've seen from him in the preseason games we've played so far.

(on if he wants other players to have the leadership mentality of Brian Orakpo)

He's been great. He's been a great leader. I think we've seen flashes of him on the practice field being very good at doing just that. We've seen examples of that, of him doing that at the NFL level in games. You always want your leaders, your players that are high profile guys to have that type of attitude, because other players feed off of that. If we can do that, then that's the kind of leadership you want from guys.

(on if he agrees that current rookie quarterbacks are better equipped to play in the NFL )

I would ask, like pretending we were in a courtroom, what evidence do you have of that, or what statistical evidence do you have to back that claim up before I would comment on that. I don't know necessarily that that is the case. In my opinion, it's tough for young players to be successful in this league. There has certainly been a lot more guys who have struggled than there have been guys that have had success. Certainly, I've experienced that with Ben Roethlisberger, if you look at what Andrew Luck has done, he's been very successful as a young quarterback. I would think, and I don't think I have any evidence to back this up, there's quite a few of them that haven't done that. To me, it's hard to play any position in the NFL. Once you go from college to the NFL, quarterback is even more difficult. With that being said, we've been very impressed with how Marcus (Mariota) has been able to it to date, and we're excited to see how he's going to progress as we go forward.

(on if Marcus Mariota seems like a rookie)

Well, I think you make a mistake if you don't recognize that he is a young player, and you make sure you are clear in what you are communicating and what he's going to face. He is getting reminded of that every day by our veteran guys, but that is because they respect and care about him. That to me is an important component to having good team chemistry and so to me, that is a good sign.

(on his evaluation of Jameis Winston)

Well, he's a good football player. We put a lot of work into he and Marcus (Mariota), and I have a lot of respect for Jameis Winston and what he's done. He's performed at a high level. He's performed at clutch times with Florida State in big games. I've seen him do some of those things on the football field at the pro level. I'm under no illusion that this guy will not be a good NFL quarterback.

(on how he has prepared Marcus Mariota for playing into the second half)

I don't think that will be an issue. I think the biggest thing was we got a chance to do a two-minute drive with him at the end of the half and had success there. That's a big thing, just to be able to understand what you can do when you have that. Going back out and starting the second half is just like starting a game. I don't think that he's going to have too much of an issue with that. We have to make adjustments to what we're seeing in camp the whole time when you're going against our defense, because of what's even from one period to another. I think he'll do just fine with that.

(on him stating his expectations before the season last year and him later regretting that statement)

What do you expect me to say last year in our first year when I'm here, that we were going to have a tough season, that it was going to be hard? We didn't go the way we wanted it to go last year, I've made that very clear. We're excited about this season and we're committed to showing our fans that we're a better football team. We're working hard to do that, and hopefully that will start in Tampa.

(on why things didn't pan out with Jonathan Massaquoi)

Once again, we look at what we thought was our best 53 and what we felt helped our football team, and that's the decisions we made going forward.

(on if David Bass and Steve Johnson will immediately contribute on special teams)

I sure hope so, because that's an area where we need contributions. That's where you usually expect those guys to do that, but they've got to get acclimated as well.

(on if Deiontrez Mount will be the alternate outside linebacker or if David Bass will be ready to play week 1)

Both. I mean I hope both of those guys we can use them. There's been some things that Deiontrez Mount has done that we've been excited about, but he's a young player. Hopefully, David Bass has played in some games; he's a guy that's been around. Hopefully he can acclimate and see. That's a decision we'll have to make later in the week.

(on if the roster will remain the same for Sunday)

Probably this will be our roster for Sunday, unless something becomes available that we think can really help us.


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