Q&A: Quarterback Kerry Collins
by BBI Reporter walterb
walterb: Some characterize you as a bit of a gambler. Others characterize you as a player who plays within the system. How much of a gambler are you in passing situations?
Kerry Collins: I think there’s a difference between gambling and being aggressive, and there are times when I like to be more aggressive and other times I want to be more conservative. If we don’t have a lead, if what we need to do is make a big play, I’ll look for certain things, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it gambling.
walterb: What has been the biggest improvement in the offense this year?
Kerry Collins: I feel as good about our skilled people as I ever have. We’ve got some guys who have been around, we’ve got some veteran guys like Amani, Ike and Tiki – in addition, Shockey is gonna help us out. So I just feel good about our skilled people.
walterb: Do you consider yourself to be the leader of the team right now?
Kerry Collins: I’m one of them definitely. I’m one of them – it’s a small list. But you got guys like Strahan, Barrow, Hamilton – guys who are real good leaders also.
walterb: When you’re playing against a defense that is disguising its coverage as is common in the league, and when they’re waiting for the very last second to show you what they have, how do you react to that as a quarterback? What goes into the the process?
Kerry Collins: I try to look at the safeties. The safeties tell you a lot. Fortunately I’ve played a lot and I understand it. I have a good ability to read keys and to read coverages. The hardest ones are the ones that are the most subtle- the subtle changes that defenses do. But at this point, I’ve seen a lot – nothing really surprises me.
walterb: So you can read a defense just before the snap and know what’s going on?
Kerry Collins: Yeah, before the snap, during the snap or within the next second right after the snap.
walterb: What have you done to improve your ball handling skills this off season and during camp?
Kerry Collins: I’ve work on snaps because I think I got a little sloppy with snaps last year. Also, just working some pocket drills, moving up in the pocket, ball security, having two hands on the ball, and trying to improve and work in the pocket a little bit better.
walterb: How would you characterize your pass protection last year compared to this year – do you see a difference?
Kerry Collins: It’s early – but I feel good about the guys that we have up in front, about the way they’re pass-blocking right now, I think they’re a talented bunch that could be a really good pass-blocking offensive line.
walterb:: I’ve seen you throw the ball off your back foot on a number of occasions is that in order to get the ball to the receiver quicker?
Kerry Collins: At times, yeah, other times you can drive take a good step up and throw. Then there other times when you’ve gotta be able to throw with your feet off-balance in order to be able to get rid of the ball quickly – just like any other quarterback in the NFL.
walterb: In college deep balls seemed to be your specialty. Have you thrown deep balls here to your satisfaction? And are there other patterns that you feel you’d be better off throwing?
Kerry Collins: I feel good about my throws on deep balls. You can’t call them all the time though, but a lot of our work is 30 yards and in, so it’s basically what I concentrate on the most.
walterb: How do you see Shockey helping you out on the passing game?
Kerry Collins: I think he’s gonna help in the middle of the field. I think he’s one of the guys that is going to be able to get down the middle field of field and he’ll help to put pressure on the linebackers and put some pressure on safeties. And he’ll help keep Amani and Ike from getting doubled on the outside.
walterb: During the course of a game how many audible calls do you usually call?
Kerry Collins: Normally none. It’s just not a part of our real package – we don’t have a true audible.
walterb: How did 9/11 affect your early season play?
Kerry Collins: I think it was tough for everybody. I think it was tough for everybody to get back to their work, and to be sharp, but you tried to get through it like everybody else did, and you tried to concentrate on what you needed to do. So, it had an affect, but I tried to get through it as best as I could.
walterb: How many types of prevent defenses do you usually see in the NFL?
Kerry Collins: There’s maybe one or two; you know it’s basically the same. It’s basically dropping eight or nine people, usually you have three or four deep and usually five or six underneath.