We've spoken at length about the inexperience of the defensive backs heading into the season. I imagine it will be a massive talking point throughout the season as we see certain players struggle at certain points.
Three of the projected starting four have three years or less experience in the NFL. Starting cornerback Dee Milliner is entering his second year, projected starting safeties Calvin Pryor and Antonio Allen are entering their first and third years respectively, and Dennis knows it:
[You have to] coach like you're in college, because that's really what we're dealing with," Thurman said. "Me, personally, I feel like, when I'm talking to them or working with them, I feel like when I was back at USC."
I don't think we really appreciate just how difficult it is to pick up an NFL play-book. The audibles, the terminology the numerous exotic blitzes and coverage schemes, I can't even remember my home telephone number, let alone a complicated system like the one deployed in the NFL, especially under a creative mind like Rex Ryan.
Sometimes coaches will need to scale it back, sometimes they will need to talk Football 101. I always imagine the coaches having to get the principle installed before the specifics. Why this certain play is called, what the object of the play is and what the best and worst case scenarios are. Remember players have to be inch perfect.
For so many young players, training camp reps are invaluable. So it's disappointing to hear that both Pryor and McDougle have missed certain portions. Allen has remained healthy and by most accounts, is looking very good. However his projected partner this year has a little catching up to do:
"Pryor is a little ways behind, but he has time to catch up.We expect him to be a pretty integral part of the defense."