Have you been pleased with Eli and how he’s been doing in the spring?
"Yeah I have. He’s been much... well he’s been healthy and has been able to practice, which was a surprise a little bit. We weren’t sure exactly when we were going to get him so having him out there has been a big plus for us. I think he’s done an excellent job of studying and being prepared for each practice each day. He’s picked up the offense in a short amount of time, he’s done a great job with adjustments. I think all-in-all we’re very pleased with where we’re at, especially with him."
Have you tried to work with him specifically on fine-tuning any of his techniques or anything like that?
"We’ve spent a lot of time fundamentally throughout the spring, both footwork and everything from ball fakes, ball handling to throwing accurately to dropping back. There’s a little bit different of footwork that we’re using, some of the routes that he’s used to, and we’re timing it up with the receivers so there’s a little bit of fundamental work but he’s a veteran guy and a pro that’s had success for a long time so we’re not doing anything, drastic changes, but just trying to fine tune and tweak a few things."
What are your thoughts on Nassib so far? What have you seen from him?
"Really smart. I think he’s done a great job, especially in our no-huddle periods of just being able to get guys lined up, whether we’re in a two-minute situation or whatever situation we’ve been in he’s done a great job of just getting us in a correct formation, getting us lined up. He’s just got to keep working on executing, whether it’s a throw or timing with the receivers, he’s just got to continue to work with those guys but he’s been very good to this point in terms of studying and learning."
It seems that he can move a little bit. Is that a part of his game that you’ve seen as well?
"Yeah, he’s taken off a few times when we’ve had either a broken play or a breakdown in protection and made some plays with his feet. That’s an element of the game that he has and he’s used it. I think if you’ve seen practices he’s gotten out on the perimeter a few times and has looked pretty good."
With Eli being the quarterback he is with the resume he has but also coming off the year he’s coming off of, do you ever feel… does he want tough love? Does he want you to give it to him straight to improve?
"You know, he’s taken it upon himself that he needs to have a great season coming up. He knows, I think he’s had, with the amount of success he’s had in the past, I think he knows the challenges of last year, the turnovers and things. He’s been very motivated to improve and you can see that just with his daily preparation. He’s in early, he stays late, he’s studying. I know he was on his way to a function and he was studying in the car. He’s taken it very seriously, he’s taken the offensive changes very seriously in terms of studying and being ready each day. I think there’s no question that he’s motivated to improve from last year."
I’m sure it doesn’t work for a coach at your level to walk on eggshells around a player but did you have to kind of feel out a relationship with him at all?
"I think there is definitely a trust factor that you’ve got to gain. I wasn’t here to bring up a bunch of stuff in the past, we’ve got enough changes philosophy-wise offensively, that’s where we really put all of our attention going forward. I didn’t have to bring that up or harp on last year at all, he knows that he’s got to cut down the interceptions. Those things kind of go without saying. I didn’t have to spend a lot of time with that stuff. We really focused this spring on kind of moving forward and how can we improve and just try to work on getting better each day."
What about Curtis Painter?
"He doesn’t get very many reps, that’s the hard part with him. He doesn’t get as many chances out there but fundamentally he’s really improved. I think he’s a very accurate thrower, that’s his strength. He had a little bit of a knee early on so he didn’t get as many reps in the individual periods that we had at the beginning of the offseason program. He’s gotten more work lately. He’s a veteran guy too that’s been a backup and kind of knows what that entails. He’s done a great job preparing himself and with the limited amount of reps he gets he’s been pretty sharp. He stayed sharp through the spring."
You talked about making sure everybody is getting the reps. At one point I think you had five on the roster. Were you a little worried about that?
"Having the guys at the time, we had some questions about where people were health-wise so we were carrying a little bit more but as we got healthier we got that down. That certainly, it’s hard to rep five guys for sure. Three is a good number. You’d like to be able to develop that fourth if you have enough spots. Without the extra spot, having three is some pretty good work and you know everybody gets… the starter and the backup get the majority of the snaps but the third guy gets a few reps here and there."