We conclude our week of hearing from the assistant coaches with a few thoughts from cornerbacks coach Peter Giunta.
Q: You have some new veteran faces (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Walter Thurmond and Zack Bowman) in your room this year…
A: Yeah, we’ve got a great group.
Q: Tell me what you’ve seen so far from them and what you like about them.
A: I like the work ethic that they have brought; they really want to learn the system to where they feel comfortable with themselves and with each other as teammates and as players to communicate on the back-end. It’s kind of interesting; you have two guys who were on opposite ends in the Super Bowl. That’s kind of wild to have them on the roster; there’s been some good ribbing about that and the way the game went.
Q: But that talent…
A: Yeah, as I said, it’s a great group and they want to be successful. Two of the guys (Rodgers-Cromartie and Thurmond) obviously tasted success by being in the Super Bowl last year, so they really want to have that feeling again this year.
And then Zack Bowman, coming from Chicago—he played great defense the whole time there, so he’s been a really good addition to our program, really knows how to play defense.
Q: How much does having guys who have been to the Super Bowl help you as a coach?
A: Oh, that’s a big help to me because it’s so special to play in that game and to win that game is a special feeling. To have two guys who have done it recently, who know what it takes as individuals and as a unit, and as a defense to make it that far and share those experiences – and don’t forget that Prince (Amukamara) and Antrel (Rolle) also have that experience as well. The more guys you have that have had that experience, the better it is because those guys are going to keep after the younger guys.
So when we say something as coaches, those guys that have been there can reinforce it to their peers. I remember in St. Louis and as coaches, we were trying to sell the importance of doing the little things to get to the Super Bowl. It was tough because no one had experienced it themselves, and it was different because you really didn’t have any players who could back it up the way we do here.
Q: You’ve mentioned Prince Amukamara. He had a solid year last year. What’s next for him in his development?
I think he’s had a great spring. He really feels comfortable with the defense, he feels comfortable with the guys he’s playing with. He’s been communicating well and understands the packages and the system. I just see that he’s going to be able to take it to the next level.
When you have a good corner playing on the opposite side, you’re going to see some action, which is good. So he’ll have that opportunity to show what he can do. All the pressure won’t be on him to handle the best guy. We have quality people at every position, so we have some flexibility to put people where we need them. We can match up on different size receivers, different types of receivers, and we can match them with the different guys we have.