On his impressions of the three rookie defensive backs selected in the 2013 NFL Draft:
"I like what I see. Obviously, there's a lot of teaching that's involved and a lot of learning, but I think things are starting to click in for all three of them. I think all three of them are going to be good football players… We've kind of worked them in. We worked David [Amerson] in with the ones and Bacarri [Rambo] more than Phillip [Thomas] because Phillip missed a week. I think all three of them are coming along very well."
On what he liked about each rookie defensive back:
"First of all, I'll start with David. He's a guy that has great ball skills, great length, good speed and has the ability to play man or zone. I think that's probably the biggest thing about him, that he's a playmaker that had 13 interceptions as a sophomore and six as a junior. He really kind of struggled his junior year, but we just think that his playmaking skills were off the chart. Phillip would be the second one. Same thing. He's got great ball skills. [He] has the ability to come up with key plays, big interceptions. Both of them led the NCAA in interceptions. Phillip's got good size, good enough speed. The guy likes football, understands football, studies football. And then Bacarri [Rambo] is a guy – he's a really good athlete. [He] was a high school quarterback. Also has good ball skills, has the chance to make a lot of plays for you. And that's what wins in the league. So we figure last year we had 31 turnovers, which is really good for a defense, but we have a chance to pick up three guys that can add to those totals through the interception market."
On if anything about Amerson has surprised him:
"I don't think anything has surprised us. He is very knowledgeable and he understands the game. He is a guy that spends a lot of time in the office, so David hasn't really surprised us with anything. I like what I see with him. I think he's going to be a good player."
On Amerson's struggles in his junior year:
"Well, you know what he really struggled [with]? He got surprised the first game of the year. Tennessee comes out with these two wideouts, one was a junior college transfer and he didn't know who he was. He got beat on a double move a couple of times, had some bad body language and he struggled the first half of the season. I think after that he settled in he played like he did his sophomore year. So, to me that's just a maturity thing. You know a young guy, you've got to understand he's still young. But when you watch him move, when you watch him close on things, everything is smooth and it's effortless, and the ball skills and everything that come with it."
On how much the rookie defensive backs can improve the overall defense:
"Well, first of all, can you play with three rookies at one time? I don't know if that's going to happen. We'll see. But we'll play the best players and I think that over time all three of guys are going to be on the field at some point. I don't know when that's going to be."
How long will it take to select starters at safety:
"Well, Brandon [Meriweather] hasn't come back yet. Brandon will be back for training camp and I'm sure Brandon's going to be in the mix. So far, between him, you know Reed [Doughty] does a good job in situations. Jordan [Bernstine] did a good job for us last year in certain situations. So we'll put the best guys on the field or a combination of safeties until they are all ready to play."
On if it will take through preseason before he knows his starters at safety:
"It all depends on what happens with Brandon and we'll see how that plays out."
On things that are hard for a rookie safety to adapt to from college to the pro level:
"Number one, the complexity of the defense. The number of defenses we have in, including zones and blitzes; it's not the easiest defense to learn from that standpoint. And they've got to play two positions. They have got to learn strong and free. They can't just play one position. It's just going to take reps. They're going to need time on the grass, but I think as they get the more time in training camp and we get more reps on there that they'll start to shine."
On if it is realistic for one of the rookie safeties to earn a starting job:
"I think one of them. Yeah, I really do think one of them will be on the grass. I'm not sure which one, but one of them I think is going to have to... I think they'll all help us. I think all three of them are going to help us. I just don't know to what extent yet."
On if he views Phillip Thomas and Bacarri Rambo as free or strong safeties:
"We're saying Rambo is a free safety and Phillip is a strong safety, but it doesn't really make a difference because they change the strength, the motions, the shifts, the adjustment. We don't run them across the field so they're always strong or free, so they're going to have to know both positions."
On if the free safety position is key because of Brandon Meriweather's past success:
"Well, Brandon's another one. He can play both. He can play free or strong so that's a good thing to have. And like I said, they've got to know it anyways."
On safety Reed Doughty:
"Well, every year Reed starts for us, so you can't discount Reed. I think Reed brings something to a football team. One, he's a really good special teams player. He's really intelligent. He understands the game. He studies the game. He's really good around the box. He makes a lot of tackles. He's good in the run game. I think everybody has some form of deficiency in the NFL. What Reed brings to your football team is invaluable."
On how Doughty masks his deficiencies:
"With smarts. With great tackling, great competitiveness and he has a good feel for the game."
On defensive end Adam Carriker:
"I don't know where Adam stands. You'll have to get with Mike [Shanahan], the Head Coach, on that one. Just being around, knowing how competitive Adam is, he'll be back at some point. At what point that is, I don't know. I know he's had a couple surgeries on his leg, but I see him in there every day working. He's probably one of the hardest working guys we have on the team. If you don't discount anyone, the one you don't want to say, 'This guy won't make it back' don't say that about Adam. Adam will try to find a way to get back. When that will be I don't know."
On his impressions of defensive end Jarvis Jenkins:
"I think Jarvis has looked better than he did his first year. He understands the defense now. He has got his feet under him. He's got the brace off. He's running around. You can just tell he feels a lot more comfortable, kind of like Barry [Cofield] and Bo [Stephen Bowen] did their first time. I think he'll make a lot more plays this year than he did last year."
On if he can get linebackers Rob Jackson, Ryan Kerrigan, and Brian Orakpo on the field at the same time:
"I don't think that's a problem. The question is can you get four of those guys on the field at the same time, because you've got to add the young guy [linebacker Brandon Jenkins] too. So we'll see. Yeah, I mean, if there's a way to get everybody on the field, we'll find a way."
On if the team's comfort with the defense comes from having several years in the system or certain players returning:
"I think it's both. I think it's [comfort] with the front seven that you can do some different things. Obviously it takes time to learn it and then you can add on to what you're doing if you've been together. To me, the good defenses in the league, in the NFL, usually have been together for a while and they've played together like the Baltimores, the Steelers, those type of teams. That group's been together for a long time. So, I do think that gives them a little more freedom and leeway to do things within the scheme."
"I think from what I see right now, I think he looks great. He's probably moving as well as he's ever moved. He looks in great shape, strength all of that, that's all there. I think the guy looks awesome, just watching him."
On Brandon Jenkins:
"I like that he has good rush ability. He's another guy if you go back and look at stats, I think you've got to look at production in the league. He had 13-and-a-half sacks as a junior, 10-and-a-half as a sophomore, projected as a first-round pick at one point and obviously he broke his foot and had one sack in one game. So, he's a guy you can bring in the mix. I don't think you can have enough pass rushers. You know, just like last year, we lose Orakpo you never know what's going to happen… So far, what I see from him, I think he's another guy that's going to be a good player down the road."
On Jenkins' transition to linebacker:
"Obviously that's the learning point. You know, that's not easy to do. I mean, you've got your hand in the dirt your whole life and then you stand up and it's a new world. You've got receivers out there, you've got to know the coverages, you've got to learn to drop, you've got to learn the run fronts, you've got to know when the run forces – you know, all that stuff and that takes time. That's going to be the learning part of it. In the meantime, we'll try and find ways that he can help us on the field, whether it be nickel, short yardage, goal line, we'll try and get these guys involved somehow."
On getting four pass rushers on the field:
"I think Brandon down the road, I don't know when that will be, but I think he has… Anytime you have a good rusher – and I think he has a good chance to be a pretty good rusher – you try and get them all on the field."
On getting more pressure from the defensive line:
"We'll try to put these guys in better position a little bit to get sacks. If we get some obvious passing situations, we get a little freedom to go get the quarterback. So yeah, we would like to get Jarvis in. He didn't get any sacks. He needs to get four or five, six sacks. Obviously that will help with getting some more out of the D-line."
On the slot cornerback:
"We've played [E.J.] Biggers there in the offseason. We've played [Richard] Crawford there. You know Josh [Wilson] obviously is not practicing. We kind of limited D-Hall [DeAngelo Hall] a little bit to the outside. We've got some guys that can do it this year and last year we were kind of limited to one or two guys."
On tough roster decisions:
"The good thing is I don't have to make those decisions. The head coach makes those decisions. But hopefully we do because I think then you're a better football team. If you're cutting some players that other people are picking up, we must be doing something right."
On inside linebacker depth behind London Fletcher:
"Well, [Roddrick] Muckelroy's playing there right now. When we get Keenan [Robinson] back, Keenan will be in there with Perry [Riley] on the other side. I like Bryan Kehl. Obviously he's a guy that can run, he's athletic. I think between that group we've got a couple young guys that have a chance, a couple guys we signed. I think it's a pretty good group."
On what part of Richard Crawford's game has shown the most improvement:
"I think his understanding of the scheme. Like I said everyone's got limitations and he kind of knows them. You know he's not the biggest guy in the world but he's got great ball skills and the guy can go out and make plays. We've just got to make sure that we put him in the right positions to make plays."
On if he envisioned E.J. Biggers as his slot corner:
"I don't know. He's been working in there, Josh is working there. D-Hall is working there. We've got some options that we didn't have in the past."
"I think he's a good football player. He understands the game, studies the game. He's got good quickness. He's a guy that's got a good feel for it. He knows when to blitz, how to hide behind lineman. So far, when I've seen without the pads on, I'm impressed with him. "
On suspended safety Tanard Jackson:
"To be honest with you, until you brought it up, I haven't thought about it. Obviously if we got Tanard back, you know that's another bonus because he's a heck of a football player. I don't know where that stands with the NFL, but we'd welcome back with open arms."
On if DeAngelo Hall is a possibility as a nickel cornerback:
"Yeah, we're just working other guys because he's played there."
On if the defense was better in the last seven games:
"Obviously, if you look at the stats the last seven games, we were. We still ended fifth in the league in rushing and third in turnovers, which is the most important thing. If you look at the points, obviously the points and the passing yards were way down. We did a lot more, we did a lot of different things in the last seven games which helped. You guys worry about those stats, I worry about wins. I know we got seven in a row and that was the most important thing… I always felt good about the unit. We struggled to get all the pieces when we had the injuries and we struggled to get the guys on the field that we wanted on the field. Obviously we didn't do enough things to help those guys. After we got settled in, we got Rob and all those guys settled in and everything fell into place."
On cornerback Chase Minnifield:
"I think Chase has been practicing – he'll probably be off today – but I think once he gets to training camp… You can tell he's not 100 percent yet, but once he gets there, you can tell he's another one he's been around football his whole life obviously with his father and everything. He's got great football instincts and you can see that right now even when he's not moving at 100 percent, he's still got good football instincts."
On if the return of Orakpo and Meriweather feels like having a free agent class:
"You know what, 'Rak came in the first day, he stepped right in back in the starting job, never missed a beat, never made a mistake just lined up like he's never been gone. But obviously you can feel the presence out there. It's totally different."