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Wade Phillips press conference (8/20/07)

After reviewing the tape of the game, we did some good things, but some things we need to work on. Technique needs work, but overall I am pleased. One, with the effort, it’s the first thing you need, our players are giving effort, the pursuit on defense was outstanding. We practice that all the time, they carried it over to game. Execution has been progressing well. We are just halfway into preseason, not everything is in yet, but a lot of the basics are in - run, block, tackle, we have those things in and we are progressing.

We’ve got four kickers and we’ll evaluate as we go. We got two punters and two FG kickers. McBriar is probably ahead of Sam (Paulescu). (Laughter). But Sam did a good job the other night. It might give him an opportunity to be seen. When we cut to 75, I doubt we would cut one of the FG kickers. Both have done well, we want to look as long as we can. (Keep both?) Depends on overall team, how many you keep – kickers, FB’s, safeties – if the 2nd kicker is better than the 5th safety for the team, in the long-term, you have to make a decision. Keep the best 53 that can contribute. There are minimums of course at each position.

I don’t know on all, but we didn’t get any major injuries, just banged up. Don’t know about Fasano tomorrow, the trainers are checking him today.

Day to day, he’s working hard, I hope it’s soon.

I think Hatcher and Quincy Butler will be back tomorrow. I know Butler will be, Hatcher should be.

Why was the defensive pursuit so good?
That’s what we work on, we started out the first snap when we came here, we did a pursuit drill. I always emphasize it, they bought into it. We have high character guys, they know what to do. On a certain level everybody thinks they try hard, but there are different levels of effort.

What do you think of Denver saying you violated a "code of conduct?"
Our guys play football; I don’t know any defensive player that doesn’t want to be aggressive.

Run defense?
I went to SD, they weren’t very good when we got there, we moved to #1 quickly, first to #3 then to #1. It’s something you have to establish. It’s a double-sided sword, you have to stop the run, then they pass and you have to stop that. In situations were they need to run, to move clock, you have to stop it. Great emphasis on that even though we have a pressure defense, we are sound on the run.

Does this preseason make you think this could be a very good season?

I don’t know if you can tell in preseason, our team has looked solid, everyone can see that. But we have to progress, two more games to do that. We overcame two turnovers, that is good. We’ll see how they react when things aren’t great.

Spencer’s footwork?
Getting off the ball better on the rush, still has work to do. Standing up instead of the 3-point stance was the first step, he’s getting better.

Concerns on the team?
Concerned about getting better and being strong for the first game. (What about concerns at specific positions?) I said earlier I didn’t think we had specific weaknesses. I think we have concerns that everybody won’t play up to their level. But we have no weakness in an area where our starters, or potential starters, aren’t good enough.

Is that comforting to you?
It’s just our football team. Just worried about getting them to play. Problems could show up. I could be misjudging some things, I don’t think I am. Based on performance, we don’t look deficient.

For practicing three days as WR, it was pretty good. He had two catches, one spectacular catch for a TD, showed his ability. He got away from a bump on another play, it’s hard for some WR’s to get off the bumps, I thought it would be tougher for him. He showed some good signs, he has a ways to go on routes, but he had a good showing.

They’re one of the bigger lines. It’s something we addressed in the offseason, I think we did a good job. Tony Sparano is a great coach, they had a good running game last year. This is a good group, a cornerstone of the team.

Do you like bigger lines or smaller lines like Denver?

I jut like teams that win, players that win. It’s the route they’ve gone here, height and size, I think it’s always tougher for a defense to push and shove on those guys, wears you down. We’ve only seen them all for a quarter now, Flo and Colombo only played in the first quarter, but they should mesh and gel. I know last year they weren’t consistent on 3rd and 1, 3rd and short, but it looks like we can be strong on that with the size we have.

Is that due to L. Davis now being here?
They had two guards last year who weren’t massive, Kosier was here but he’s a little guy on this line. You line up Colombo, Davis, Gurode on one side, that’s three powerful, strong guys. I tell you a secret if you don’t repeat it, we might run behind those guys in short yardage. (Laughter)

Flo and Colombo play more this week?
They’ll play more this week.

Is the plan for the starters to play into the 3rd quarter?

Tentatively, into 2ndf half.

Is that to work some on halftime adjustments?
That’s part of the process, but most of that is done on sidelines. Only 12 minutes really at halftime, you don’t have a lot of time. We got the photos on sideline that we go over after each series and come up with adjustments. But it’s good to do it halftime, also.

Would you put Roy closer to the line even if Hamlin wasn’t here?

Probably, regardless of Hamlin, you get your best players in position to do their best. You have to find out what they do best, that’s coaching to me. Everybody knows Ware will rush a lot, try to get guys into position to do things they do well. With our defense we might put more pressure on Terence Newman in man-to-man coverage because we think he can do it. I can think of thousands of defenses, but the players need to be able to do them. You have to utilize the talent.

How did Roy play?
They were 0-5 on 3rd down when Roy was in there, and they are a good 3rd down team. It’s only one game, but Roy covered TE man-on-man some, played some zone.

Would you like to get Reeves and Thomas some looks against the other team’s first unit?
That may be part of the evaluation, we know we are looking at a lot of people at defensive back, we want to get them playing time. We are trying to get starters honed-in too, this is a new system. It’s a fine line, but they’ll get some playing time against quality players.

He’s improving, he’s a good competitor which I like, he was doing some things before that we didn’t like, but he works at it. Players that are competitive tend to get better.

Confidence in Brad Johnson?

He can come in and play and win, he’s not going to play outside the box, he’s smart about stuff. I have a lot of confidence. If something happened and he has to go in the team would have confidence in him.

Can you see carrying 4 TE’s?
I can see 2, 3, or 4 TE’s on a roster. Again, it’s the best 53 guys, 2 is the minimum for TE’s, you could keep 4, if the 4th is better than extra DB or something.

Tony Curtis?

He did a good job again this week overall. Still has a ways to go. He impressed me blocking-wise, he did good things against 4-3 teams blocking a DE, he had a nice block on the goal line, we’re still evaluating.

Captains for the season?
I need to get with the team on that, we haven’t decided if we name them, elect them, go game by game. I need to talk to the team.

Importance of preseason?
If you evaluate it, it’s important. Teams I’ve been around, if they weren’t playing well in preseason, then I was worried. It’s an indicator, it’s not wins, but its how you’re executing, techniques, utilizing ability, those are factors and you can see those things. First team against first team you can see how they do.

Did well, didn’t play long but was real active, he did some good things. He got on the football (fumble recovery). Made a nice pass rush move, he used some quickness and strength. He was downfield on a play, a screen pass, they made 7 yards but he caught the guy. Impressed with our pursuit, a wide open play and they only made 7 yards. That impresses me, when a team can make up for an error.

Did you have Spears as a candidate to draft at San Diego?

We had about 15 guys at SD because we had 2 first round picks. Spears was one of them.

Anything special about going back to play in Houston?

If based on where I coached was special, then half the place in the league would be. My mom lives there, that’s special. No, it’s just another preseason game that we need to work on our team. (Pause)There maybe some banners there that say "Welcome home", maybe some University of Houston alumni. I have no control over that. (chuckles). Maybe they’ll unveil the statue. (loud laughter).

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