Taylor talks, Smoot Awards are back and what is going on with the OL?
Five Questions With: Gregg Williams
A: "When we first brought LaRon in here, he was able to make all of the OTA's and he had the chance to get in there. The other guys in earlier years, for whatever reason, there were things that kept them out and slowed them down. Sean Taylor missed some OTA's during his draft year. Carlos Rogers had the foot injury, which really set their development back in training camp. I am not trying to set LaRon up to fail but he had a good base coming in here. To his credit, he made every single meeting and every single practice in the OTA's. I like the fact that we have the OTA's the way we have it now because it allows players to get out to numerous practices before training camp begins. He put himself in a position so that everyone felt comfortable around him. With that being said, the opportunities that he has had during practice, training camp, the scrimmage at Baltimore, and the preseason game have caused his teammates to notice that the team plays better when he is in there. He has built trust in a lot of people."
Q: Will the improved team speed allow you to do new or different things strategically?
A: "Coaches are always talking about stopping the run and being able to do things with an attitude and toughness, you can't get knocked off the ball. The only way you have the chance to overwhelm an opponent is with speed. When you are able to overwhelm an opponent you can be a little smaller at particular positions that may not match up size-wise. To overcome that deficiency, you match up with speed so that you get in positions where it is two, or three, or four on one. We would like to get to the point to where it is 11 on one as many times as we can with everyone improving their speed. Our team speed is better."
Q: What is it about London Fletcher's ability to avoid pile-ups?
A: "It's a combination of instinct and experience. When he first came into the league, he ran in the blocks. I don't ever want to hear a coach tell a player on defense they've got to leverage a block over the ball. A block doesn't score and doesn't get a first down. The ball does. Ray Lewis was one of the guys I really studied early in his career for his ability to avoid blocks, and London does a very good job of that too. That only comes through experience and the natural instincts that he has."
Q: Can one guy like London make that big a difference on a defense?
A: "One guy can help, but his has to be all 11 executing together. One guy can be the catalyst, but everybody has to do their job. We can't blow it out of proportion, and say that London Fletcher is going to swell up and take the whole other team on. He's got to do his job, and part of his job is trying to help make the other guys play up to their potential."
Q: Will Pittsburgh provide a better test for you?
A: "It will be a much better test. In the first half of the Hall of Fame game, they had 305 total yards on offense. They started fast, they are explosive, they are well coached, and it will be another good test to see where we are at. We are going to go in there and try to match up well with them. By the way we played Saturday night, we probably got their attention too. They saw that we played physical and fast. We'll get a good test because they will be well prepared. They are having a "toughness" camp up there under Mike Tomlin. I've said this before, but one of the best coaches in the history of the National Football League, and if there is an assistant coach that should be in the Hall of Fame it is Dick Lebeau. I think he is one of the best football coaches in the NFL, and our offense will be tested anytime you go against his defense."
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