Coach Olson: “It’s not where we need to be yet. It’s typical to me at this time of year. Still getting some timing down between the new quarterback and new wide receivers. It’s about where I expected it to be.”
Q: Has there been anything about
Coach Olson: “He’s about what we thought he was. He’s a guy that’s obviously has experience and that shows in the way that he manages a game and manages the huddle. Obviously he’s an accurate player. He’s good in the pocket. He’s got a good pocket presence in there. He’s got good leadership skills, he’s very intelligent. He’s shown the accuracy right now that we’re looking for.”
Q: Is the arm strength there?
Coach Olson: “Yeah, I think the arm strength is there. What you’ve seen over the years with him, he’s definitely got a strong enough arm still to play at this level.”
Q: Did you initially expect that
Coach Olson: “I just think that every player develops differently. You don’t really have a feel until you get a player in the room and you get a chance to have him in a meeting room session. Then you get a chance to get a feel for his intelligence and for his confidence. He’s a guy that’s got a great amount of confidence. He’s an extremely intelligent player. He’s one of those guys that you don’t feel the game is too big for him. There’s not any anxiety or nervousness when he enters the huddle. He’s played in a lot of football games, that helped him, playing in a lot of football games at Fresno. I think being around the NFL with his brother [David] has helped him become a mature player. He’s a very mature player and because of that, we felt after being around him that we should accelerate that learning curve for this player. Let’s give him a chance to get in there with the one and two huddle and see how he does.”
Q: You’ve got two running backs that you’re trying to turn back the clock on for various reasons. After that, it’s pretty much a jumble in terms of the other players. What do you see at that position?
Coach Olson: “We’re looking for big things from
Coach Olson: “We like it. In
Q: How much of your experience with Donald helped bring him in?
Coach Olson: “I think sometimes change of scenery works for a player. Certainly that’s our thought in bringing him here. I know that he’s comfortable with the system that we run here. I think that [assistant head coach/offensive line coach] Tony Sparano will get the most out of him. I think he’ll thrive under a coach like Tony. He needs someone that’s on him and that’s how Tony coaches. I think Tony will bring the best out of Donald.”
Q: Is anyone standing apart at tight end?
Coach Olson: “It’s still really [David] Ausberry and [Mychal] Rivera that are the two guys that have separated themselves, to me.”
Q: The team didn’t bring in big names at the tight end position. Is there anybody who has pleasantly surprised you?
Coach Olson: “Not at this point, because it’s difficult. Both of those players, Ausberry and Rivera, their true positions are more of an ‘F,’ because they’re serviceable blockers but they’re not dominant blockers. There aren’t a lot of those in the NFL at the tight end position. If you’re looking for a true ‘Y,’ we’re hoping the other two tight ends, [Nick] Kasa and Bemidji [
Coach Olson: “I think it helps tremendously. With Austin Howard being able to play either, really. He’s a right tackle, but he probably could move out to the left. We don’t see that, we see him as a guy that can play right guard and could swing to the right tackle for us. We think Penn could play both positions for us.
Q: Menelik Watson told us last year that he didn’t know how much it took to take care of his body, to learn the playbook, etc. He said he wanted to get a nutritionist, a trainer, etc. Have you seen that? Coach Olson: “We’ve seen a lot of growth. He’s got to stay healthy for us, above all. But, tremendous growth from him. We knew he was a very talented player. You don’t see men of his size with the kind of feet that he has. We had high expectations of him and he had high expectations for himself. There’s a steep learning curve for any rookie coming in at any position coming in. The physical presence of an offensive lineman and understanding what a man’s game it really is to play from college to the NFL, that’s the biggest thing for your linemen, on either side of the ball. It really becomes a man’s game in there. We’ve seen growth from him. We’ll know more when we get into live situations, but we’ve got high expectations and he has high expectations as well.”