Q&A: Defensive Coordinator Johnnie Lynn
by BBI Reporter walterb
walterb: Who is making the best impression on you from the second team players?
Johnnie Lynn: A lot are. Ralph Brown is doing a tremendous job out there. Ralph Brown has responded well to many things. I think the young corners are playing well. I think Clarence LeBlanc is doing some good things. Ryan Clark is doing some good things for us. DeWayne Patmon is in the right spot at the right time – he gets his job done. I think with the linebackers Kevin Lewis is doing some good things for us. Mallard is doing a nice job. Greisen is doing a good job. Quincy Monk has done some good things for us. Frank Ferrara is playing real well and having a good camp. They are playing with emotion and carrying out the details of their assignments. So I am enjoying this.
walterb: With your defense simplified what does that specifically mean for a defensive back? Is he playing fewer techniques? Relying on fewer plays? And is it making it easier for him?
Johnnie Lynn: What we did as far as making things easier is in the whole package. We still do everything we did last year. They would not know what we took out and what we didn’t. What we were able to do is give the position coaches more time to look at all the little things, and the little nuances that might occur in a game- The what if situations. As far as technique and fundamentals, that stays the same.
walterb: Why is it easier for young players to play in this years defense?
Johnnie Lynn: It’s not . It is still difficult. It is not a streamline defense. Everything we used last year is still what we are.
walterb: Take me through a live play sequence on the field. What happens before after and during a play.
Johnnie Lynn: Before the down and distance play a part. When it’s 1st-and-10, or 2nd-and-short, or 3rd-and-short, or 3rd-and-long you have to know what personnel the offense has on the field – whether it’s two wide receivers, a tight end and two backs, or two wide receivers, two tight ends and one back, or three wide receivers, one tight end and one back, or if it is four wide receivers. In our defense we have different personnel for these situations. And with that personnel we play a game of match up. We have a lot of things to prepare for. As well this depends on the other teams tendencies, and we evaluate the other teams tendencies over the last four, five, six games they played. With this information you try to match up and outwit what they would like to do. And your calls depend on what they like to do with the personnel they have on the field.
walterb: It sounds like a chess game
Johnnie Lynn: Very much so.
Background: What is the best dining room fight you ever saw.
Johnnie Lynn: (laugh) I didn’t see any.
walterb: What new trends are you seeing in the NFL on defense?
Johnnie Lynn: I don’t watch defense. I watch offense. You ask Sean Payton that.
walterb: What then are the trends you are seeing on offense?
Johnnie Lynn: Last year we were seeing more slot formations, and more opening up of the offenses – moving guys around, shifting guys around, and things like that.
walterb: And can you tell me if statistically this has been a more effective offense to run?
Johnnie Lynn: That’s just what they did. I look at how well we do against them. I don’t look at all those numbers. We will look more at how much a team is different from the 1st time we played them to the second time.
walterb: How much emphasis do you put on a top flight quarterback? Say for example you have one of the top guys coming in. Does your planning change?
Johnnie Lynn: There is not that much difference between a top flight quarterback and one who is not very good. You also still need someone who can catch the ball.
walterb: So… a top flight quarterback will not put any added pressure onto your preparation?
Johnnie Lynn: You have different quarterbacks. You got a McNabb, the Culpepper types, you have the Favre types, and the Griese types, the Garcia types – and you have the pocket types. So each one of these types is different ,so the preparation is different.
walterb: Is a certain style more difficult?
Johnnie Lynn: A quarterback coming out of the pocket who can break tackles places a lot more pressure on defense. A guy who can move around and throw the ball as well. And you have guys like like Garcia, Favre and Griese – they can scramble around for a while, and then throw the ball. That’s different that guys like McNabb and Culpeper who will go a little sooner. I prefer the guy who sits back in the pocket. BUT…. you also have pocket guys who have great receivers. That is pressure in itself.
walterb: How have the characteristics of your safeties changed with Sam Garnes gone. What’s the new chemistry like? And is there a new way of play?
Johnnie Lynn: It is pretty much the same as before. Of course the chemistry is different. Sean is working with Omar and they have already worked together.
walterb: Are the safeties interchangeable?
Johnnie Lynn: Yep. You don’t have the straight free safety who sits back in the middle of the field deep. We have them more involved.
Johnnie Lynn on Will Allen: He is doing a fantastic job. I am very excited about both Wills. Will Allen is doing a tremendous job. He came back with a mind set that last year was learning and now this year we’ll play. Everyday he competes without a doubt.