On how he gets LB Ernie Sims to understand how to fit the scheme and do the "dirty work": "Well, I've seen a lot of free agents come and go here, and he's well ahead of schedule, as far as the learning side of things. And just like you alluded too, it doesn't always show up on stats. But, from a defensive standpoint every man has a role. And I think more than anybody Ernie understands his role. There were a lot of people that made plays last week, it just so happened he didn't show up on the stat sheet. But, when you turn the film on and you really watch from a coach's standpoint, his value to this defense is innumerable. What he does for us is, I mean, you watch him on a crossing route and he's banging the receiver coming across the field, he's freeing guys up to make plays, and he's blitzing off the edge and he gets picked up and somebody else comes free. So, those plays will come. (Head Coach Andy) Reid said it best yesterday when he said he's a tone-setter. That's what he is for us. He brings the toughness and the attitude that I want on this defense."
On CB Dimitri Patterson and his status on the team: "He's done a very sound job since day one of training camp. You saw him come up and make a couple big plays in the game the other night, which I was happy to see and happy for Dimitri because he works extremely hard. He's another guy that's probably been one of the more unheralded guys of our defense, including last year. And to see him make plays on the football and get a chance to play emotional football on top of that was great."
On the effectiveness of Sims on the blitzes that led to the interceptions by Patterson and S Quintin Mikell: "On the one on Q's (Quintin Mikell) interception, I think it was, Ernie came in and got penetration and got in the quarterback's face. And also on Dimitri's interception as you alluded too, Ernie was right on the quarterback. So, you're not always going to be freed up. But, another step and a half and he was right there. He knows what it takes to play in this defense. Like I mentioned earlier, he's well ahead of schedule from a learning standpoint. And each and every rep he's going to continue to get more and more comfortable. I love what I see right now."
On Patterson's strengths as a player: "First and foremost, he's a very physical player, which you don't always find in the secondary around the NFL anymore. He can play in the slot. He can play outside because he has the speed outside, but he also has the quickness and the toughness inside. He can cover, yet blitz for you. So, he brings some versatility for our package, in terms of what he can do. And I think he's playing with confidence right now."
On whether the secondary, being a new unit, has evolved: "Well, they're starting to gel together. We have to get them all healthy at the same time for that process to continue the way it needs to continue, here. And now, having (CB) Asante (Samuel) getting back on the field this week will help that. So, I've been pleased to a certain extent, in terms of what I've seen from the first group."
On whether moving DE Brandon Graham around on the line was the plan from the start or whether that has evolved after seeing what he can do as a player: "Absolutely. You see on film what you think Brandon can do, or a player can do. And then when you get him here and you have a chance to work with him each and every day and see what he brings to the table from a skill set standpoint. It offers, certainly the flexibility to move him around, stand him up, move him inside to tackle, move him outside to the end position. So, Brandon played extremely well the other night and very productive on top of it."
On whether the first unit was able to put pressure on the quarterback without dialing any blitzes: "When you face an offense like Cincinnati's offense, it's a timing oriented offense and the ball comes out on time. And so, the coverage works hand-in-hand with the pressure at the same time. So, we need to continue working on getting pressure with our front four. But, that said, the ball was coming out on time and that's the case with an offense like Cincinnati."
On whether he has liked any of the first team nickel combinations that have played, specifically DE Daniel Te'o-Nesheim and DT Trevor Laws:"Well, it's still early. We still have two weeks basically until the season starts. So, we're looking at different combinations and right now, I saw those two inside improve from what they did the first week, that's number one. And then, we're still looking at different combinations of players that can move inside and give us that push and pressure."
On whether Laws has been productive at the defensive tackle position: "Absolutely. He's given us the push inside that we're looking for. When you move guys inside, you're looking for players that can push the pocket, yet get on an edge, get vertical, and get to the quarterback at the same time. So, we see those skills from Trevor and Daniel at the same time."
On how LB Akeem Jordan is progressing at the SAM: "He looks good. He's adjusted well and adapted well to the overall position change. He's a football player, as you guys have seen him. He can play probably any one of the three positions and he works well with (LB) Stew (Stewart Bradley) and Ernie, which that chemistry and building that continuity is important. Those three have been out there, now, healthy for most of the camp."
On LB Keenan Clayton moving from the SAM to the WILL: "Yeah, somewhere early in training camp he moved over."
On whether Clayton moving to the WILL had anything to do with Jordan playing at the SAM: "No. They were different times."
On his philosophy of moving Clayton to the WILL: "Well, when you look at your overall personnel, you're trying to find where people fit into the overall puzzle. And giving players the opportunity to make a contribution and to offer their skill sets to make that contribution. So, he's a player that fits probably at either outside position. In this case, we moved him to WILL linebacker and he's made some big plays over the last couple of weeks."
On how he evaluates a player like Clayton because he seems to play better in games than in practices: "I'd say overall consistency. You find that with young players. They're going to have good days and bad days. In Keenan's case, he's made some big plays in the two games that we've had to this point. So, that's certainly a plus. On the other side of it, there needs to be consistency day in and day out and each and every practice."
On whether Clayton has been making progress learning the defense after missing some time earlier in camp: "Yeah, he has, and it's a credit to him and his coaches, (Assistant Linebackers Coach Mike) Caldwell and (Linebackers Coach Bill) Shuey, there with the time that they spend with the young players; not only working with the starters, but with the backups as well. And so, it's a work in progress just like it is for any rookie and the new players."
On what he saw from Te'o-Nesheim in the game: "Well, as somebody mentioned in here, his motor is non-stop. And I don't care what your skill level is, or it isn't, and this is in any business, and not only the NFL, but if you work hard, you're going to reap the fruits of your labor. And that first third down when he was in there, the ball came out, but he was about to hit the quarterback. So, I saw an improvement, as I mentioned earlier, from the first week with the two inside rushers. We need to continue to move in that direction. I love his motor and he's going to be a heck of a player for a long time around here."
On whether he's seen what he's wanted to see from Laws: "Absolutely. That said, it's still two weeks into the preseason, going on our third week. But, we need to continue to move in the direction, we have a lot of work to do overall, not just in Trevor's case. We have some goals that we set that we (still) need to accomplish, yet and check off for the preseason. And continuing, for Trevor, to improve is one of those goals."
On whether Patterson will see an increase in playing time: "Well, I'm a big believer in 'nobody's won a job, until they've won the job'. There are eleven spots on the defense on any given down. So, it's open competition for every job and guys need to earn those jobs. If we, day one named starters, it wouldn't be fair. You have to earn your job and you have to each and every day, and each and every week."
On DE Trent Cole: "The motor that Daniel has is very similar to Trent's motor. And he's tough to block because you're never sure what you're getting from a scouting report standpoint. He's all over the field, and he's one of the best in the league at what he does."
On whether, with his size, Cole will be able to keep increasing his sack total: "I don't see why not. He's a phenomenal player; the sky's the limit, as far as Trent goes. I mean, you keep busting your tail, working hard like Trent works, approaching the game like he approaches the game, and who knows where that will go."
On whether S Nate Allen has been progressing at a good pace: "I think we all saw Nate get tested the other night in a couple different capacities, the run and the pass game. And I saw him cut loose a little bit the other night and he was tested, and he rose to the challenge. For a young player to go against that caliber of receiver and show up the way he showed up, I thought was outstanding. That said, he has work to do. And there are going to be plays and growing pains, yet. We need to continue to move him along through the process here and spend time with him. If there's one thing about Nate he's very composed and he has outstanding mental toughness. So, that will serve him well."
On whether he is surprised about how quickly Allen has picked up on the nuances of the defense: "He has. I mean, like I said before, he's unlike any rookie I've been around to this point. From the way he approaches things off the field, to the way he handles himself on the field, and we're just going to keep moving him along and see how he brings his emotion to the defense."
On LB Jamar Chaney and the positives elements in his game and the things he needs to improve: "Well, Jamar's a player that had a number of coaches in college that really came here and handled the defense just like Nate; really handled the scheme part extremely well, from a mental standpoint. The other night, he showed up and played with the two's and the three's. So, he continues to improve, and he's going to get more and more opportunities with that."