On coaching training camp practices when a limited number of players are present: "That's the best teaching opportunities that you can have as a teacher -- a limited classroom and an opportunity to get one on one with the players. That's what these first three and four days are all about right here."
On how it hurts DE Victor Abiamiri to not be able to participate during training camp: "There's no doubt Victor is a big part of our plans for this year. It hurts any player who's not out on the field. I think anybody who's ever gone through a training camp knows the importance of training camp. Knocking the rust off the first couple days, and anybody who's ever played the game of football knows how important the first contact is. But, he'll be back and we look forward to having him back on defense for us."
On whether McDermott worries that Abiamiri will be a player who continues to suffer injuries: "No, I don't worry about that at all. I honestly don't."
On what positions DB Macho Harris will be playing: "Macho is a talented football player and that's why we drafted him. We think he can add a value at more than one position and we're going to look to get him on the field any way we can. Wherever he can make the most impact right away is where he'll play."
On whether it's easy to get Harris worked in at CB during training camp practices: "It's not an easy thing but the onus is on us as a coaching staff and on Macho. The mental part of it is the biggest challenge. To learn more than one position in this defense, there's no doubt that's a challenge."
On how he plans on fostering an environment where leadership can be developed: "That's what training camp is all about: to develop leadership and an identity for your defense. We'll see how that progresses as we move forward when the vets get out here."
On whether he finds himself thinking about what former defensive coordinator Jim Johnson would do at this camp and whether he feels Johnson's presence at camp: "Not so much 'what would Jim do here' I ran through those situations already in my mind and if I hadn't by now it would have been a big mistake. But more so, missing him coming out of the locker room, missing him in the meetings this morning, just his presence. He had a way about him that you loved just being around the guy. Our offices were next to each other for a number of years and so, you miss that."
On whether he has spoken with Johnson since he's been at camp: "We've made contact with the family here in the last couple days. He and my family have both corresponded. We look forward to staying in touch as long as we can."
On whether the past few days have been a whirlwind: "No, it really hasn't. I've prepared for this my entire life, I really have. I think anytime you're an assistant coach and you have the desire to be a defensive coordinator, offensive coordinator, or take the next step in some way, shape, or form, you prepare for it and that's what I've done."
On whether not having enough bodies to practice 11-on-11 hurts the team's progress in the first three days: "No, as I mentioned before, I think you take what you can get out of these camps. By the NFL rules, we're only allowed to have certain players here. All it does is accentuate the things we can get done in the seven-on-seven and working the red zone period. The teaching opportunities are magnified even more."
On whether his brother was accurate in describing a hallmark of McDermott's defense as being "nasty": "Yeah, we used to beat up on each other growing up and so nasty was a part of the family. And that's how this city is. It's a blue-collar town. The fans of this city love the great defenses and part of what comes with the great defenses is a toughness and a nastiness. So, that will be a part of it."
On how his responsibilities at training camp this year differ from what he has done in the past: "There's no doubt the responsibility and the scope is different. But really, how you prepare yourself and how you approach every day, there's no difference. In terms of you always want to be prepared, just as you guys do in your job, and try to be the best at what you are, and I just so happen to be the defensive coordinator right now."
On whether or not his room has been upgraded: "What upgrade?"
On whether the secondary spot is most competitive position right now: "We want competition and I told the guys that in the spring. I want as much competition—and our personnel have done a great job of bringing in players that are going to compete for jobs. The best eleven are going to play. The players know that, the coaches know that, and the secondary will be one of those positions where we'll see how things shake out here."
On whether CB Jack Ikegwuonu is ready to play: "I've been impressed with the progress Jack has made since the spring. From coming off the knee and he's moving well and it's great to have him out here. I think these first three days will be certainly beneficial for Jack, not only scheme wise, but again, gaining confidence in his knee. We look forward to seeing what Jack can do for us here."
On whether he has spoken with CB Sheldon Brown:"Our coaching staff has communicated with Sheldon. I've always taken this approach as a coach: I think that you coach who's in your meetings, and you coach who's on the field in front of you as a position coach and that's the approach we take. We expect Sheldon to be here and I have no reason to expect otherwise at this point."
On what position he sees LB Omar Gaither playing this season: "Omar is a talented player. He's been a good player for us for a number of years. He's started and had a very solid career up to this point but we look for him to add value anywhere he can. And he going to come in right away and compete with Akeem Jordan at the WILL linebacker position and go from there. But, as I mentioned before, the best eleven are going to play."
On what position he sees LB Joe Mays playing: "Joe played some weak-side and Joe's main position right now is that middle position and quarterbacking the defense, and knowing the defense as well as Stewart knows it, and developing from there."
On why Mays was taking reps at weak-side linebacker during practice: "You always want to have linebackers - especially young linebackers - that learn the system coming up not only at one position, but more than one position. Joe is a guy that affords us that opportunity to move him around because of his skill set."
On the effect of having a lot of young players: "We are young and at the same time we've got players with great character that are all coachable. I think anytime you're in a professional sport and you have those two qualities, in your players and in your people, that's a great foundation to start from."
On whether this is a Super Bowl caliber defense: "We'll see as we move through training camp, and we'll see in January if we're a Super Bowl caliber defense."
On where the defense can make improvements: "We have a laundry list of areas we can improve upon. We'll start off with last year finishing in third; I mean that was a tremendous accomplishment being the third ranked defense in the NFL. But, until we're number one, that's our goal and it will remain our goal until that time. In addition to that, you can look at the red zone, the two-minute defense, so we've got some areas that we're going to focus on this camp."