On his expectations going into the second preseason game: "The key is the third downs. We practiced pretty well and in the first game we had about five or six third downs and we were one out of six so that is something we need to improve this week. We did a good job in practice at Lehigh after the game but we need to improve that."
On the challenge that the tight ends of the New England Patriots present to a defense: "What ends up happening is they end up moving those guys all around. Besides the mismatch they are looking for, it is just lining up schematically. How you're going to line up because now all of a sudden you can get a receiver on a linebacker. Besides the mismatch part of it, just schematically (knowing) where to line up so you don't get mismatches."
On how much LB Mychal Kendricks will be tested against the Patriots offense: "Very good challenge. Mychal is very athletic so I think he'll do well. I think more of the challenge will be schematically (and) knowing where to line up with all the different looks and all the different packages that they do a good job with."
On his expectations for DT Fletcher Cox going into the second preseason game: "I think the first thing with (defensive line coach Jim Washburn's) concept (is) you basically rush, you crush, and you close. I think initially with all of the young kids when they first start in the system is rush. So the next part he is working (towards) is to be able to crush. When he reads run to be able to react to that or being able to close when he needs to. I think that's the next part. He has done a good job of getting off of the football in practice."
On the most effective way to use CB Nnamdi Asomugha on defense: "Well, you know it depends on the game. There's some things we could probably do in the New England game that if it was during the season we would not do. I think it depends on the receiver and with (CB) Dominique (Rodgers-Cromartie) the same thing. I think during the season there will be some things we do that we're not going to do during the preseason just so that we still have an advantage with those two guys."
On how LB Jamar Chaney has looked since his injury: "He went through some of the practice (and) the individual (portion) but you'd have to talk to (head athletic trainer) Rick (Burkholder) about that."
On whether he expects the communication in the secondary to improve in the second preseason game: "We've had seven or eight days of practice and I think we are going to be better. I think just with OTAs, communication in the first game was not a problem. Just those third downs (and) the scrambling part, being able to stay back and let the quarterback get past the line of scrimmage and us to stay in our areas."
On why it seems like the tackling problems have not been resolved: "Well it was corrected at the end of the year. I think it's like everything else and we haven't played football. Just like I'm sure if you turn on tape there's people missing tackles in a lot of different places. I think the thing is we are working the tackling circuit to get better and we just started playing football again. Those are the things that will get better and get corrected."
On his expectations of S Jaiquawn Jarrett in the second preseason game: "J.J. is a competitor and really the next practice that we had at Lehigh he came out there and showed the type of physical presence he can be. We expect him to come back and do a good job."
On his evaluation of LB DeMeco Ryans' progress in the defense: "DeMeco is a leader. He is a professional. Besides just the playing part he's done a lot for those linebackers. Being able to help them and just a guy who has done it (and) a guy they can respect. He's a guy that can lead the whole defense. That's really what he brings to the table right now for us."
On whether leadership was missing from the defense last year: "This is a new year. We're not talking about last year. That's the past. We want to talk about this year."
On how important leadership is this year: "That's the first thing that when you ask me about DeMeco, that's the first thing that I bring up. It's his leadership and what he does for the other linebackers."
On whether Ryans has proven enough so far in training camp to instill confidence in the team: "He's a good football player in a lot of areas besides the leadership part as a football player."
On what goes into the transition of adding multiple new linebackers in the defense: "I think really just feeling comfortable with the defense because all of a sudden you say we play a lot of the same coverage as Houston does. Again, different terminology for all of the fronts, the blitzes, the coverages, and I think that's what takes a little bit of time because now you don't have time to think. You have to react and you have make sure if that works and can I translate it into what I am used to. I think in time what will happen is he will feel really comfortable. I think that's the challenge."
On whether the Patriots will be a good test for the nickel defense packages: "We're going to keep working with that because we have some athletic linebackers and we're trying to mix and match and see who are the best for that group. Really what we have is a nickel package that's on first and second down, we have a nickel package on third down, and we have a dime package that we also use on third down. Those are three different packages where different guys can be in those packages just like they were last year."
On whether it is better to evaluate the defense against a team like the Patriots: "Yeah depending on how they come out and attack. That's one thing about New England. Do they spread it out and do you use nickel or do they come back in tight alignments and do you play your base?"
On how comfortable he is with the depth at the safety position: "Very comfortable. I think what you have is some experience with (S Oshiomogho) O.J. (Atogwe) and J.J. now can knock your block off. He came back and had a good week and I expect good things from him."
On whether he is concerned Atogwe is thinking too much and not reacting to situations: "Not concerned just what it does is he is not playing fast like he will once he understands all of the little verbiage just like (Ryans). That's the hard thing (and) when he's back there and he has two deep and it's called two deep but it's called different (on another team) and then the adjustments. It's the name of the adjustments, the calls, the different verbiage, (and) the signals that he has to make to feel comfortable and he's not just thinking about those calls, he is reacting because he knows."
On whether the defensive ends have the ability to move to defensive tackle in certain situations: "You've seen (DE) Phillip (Hunt) move inside and (DE) Brandon (Graham) can. Really the good thing is we have a few guys there. Really we have eight starters and nine if we take nine into a game and from there Wash will mix and match and get the best (situation). Sometimes it depends on what he is calling (and) what is being run with the front and who is going to be where."
On the improvement of DT Cedric Thornton: "I think the (for) people who have been at training camp I don't think he's been a surprise. Cedric is a good athlete. When you're an athlete like that and you're being coached by a good coach things are going to happen. I think that is the thing that is important. (General manager) Howie (Roseman) does a great job bringing guys that are athletic. When they're athletic it doesn't matter if they've been drafted or not. With a good coach they have a chance to be productive."
On how tough it will be to make cuts along the defensive line: "I think what happens is it irons itself out. You don't ever know what is going to happen (with) injuries and things here so I think it will iron itself out. That's why we have those games so those guys can compete and play."
On whether it appears that Cox will make an impact in his rookie season: "Yes, you've seen that in practice. He's a tough guy to block, he's explosive, and enjoys playing the game."
On the importance of a fast start to begin the season: "I think the thing that our players understand first is that schematically we've had OTAs and what ends up happening when a guy makes a mistake or something happens they are able to know just as fast as the coach knows. I mean you've got a head start. You basically do. The tackling part I think when you look through all of the NFL games you're going to see people who are missing tackles. It's how quick we can get into our tackling circuit to make sure we are working that hard and the thing that is important is we want to start the way we finished."
On whether DE Brandon Graham has shown more confidence now that he is healthy: "Brandon is on a mission. You can ask him and he'll tell you the same thing. He's on a mission. We expect some good things from Brandon and he's in a dog fight. It's tough to keep twelve of them."
On the progress of CB Curtis Marsh in his second season: "The confidence and understanding the scheme and being more comfortable. Last year I think Dominique and him were pretty close to all of the pass breakups in training camp. He just feels more comfortable with some of the adjustments we are making and some of the things we are doing where last year it was easy for him when we were in man to man. Just understanding some of the other schemes he feels more comfortable and understanding the defense."
On what a tackling circuit entails: "What we do is we work four stations. One of them really is a turnover station. The other three is what we call the fundamentals of tackling. What we'll do that is important is we want to throw our arms, roll our hips, accelerate our feet, and what it is if we keep doing that our eyes are up, our chin is up and you do it over and over. Then what happens at the point when you have to make the tackle your body just naturally does it because you've done it so many times and over and over again. That's why we do the tackle circuit because that's the most, if not one of the most important things in football which is tackling. We're working on it every day or at least twice a week."
On whether tackling in the NFL is different than in college: "The difference is the people they are having to tackle. Some of those guys are pretty good athletes and they have pretty good moves. That's the difference. You're not tackling 4.7, 4.8 (seconds) guys but you're tackling shifty 4.5, 4.4 backs or shifty 4.3 wide receivers. I think that is the key so the angles and the fundamentals are even more important because now the type of athlete you are having to tackle is a big difference from college and high school."
On his relationship with former T Tra Thomas: "I love Tra because when Tra talked about the technique we were able to take it to another level. We were looking for the perfect set and the perfect punch because he was a good athlete and so it was very important for him, and it was important for my growth as an offensive line coach, because you kept looking for things to help him and Jon Runyan and other guys we've had. The thing I love about Tra is that he is a competitor. Having him in the room when you are going up against studs and the way he talked to the young kids is why I think he is going to be a good coach. I think the important thing is that's what a coach's job is. Our job is (to have) all of our players talk like that about us. If they don't then we haven't done a good job."