- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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Secondary coach Dennis Thurman, always a straight shooter, sat down with reporters to discuss various aspects of his unit. Some sound bites:
On sixth-round S Josh Bush: "He's picking it up really well. ... He has more of a veteran presence than a rookie presence because he's a mature individual. Our expectations for him will continue to get better. We expect to see a tremendous jump in training camp from him because, as it stands right now, he's probably our fourth safety."
On seventh-round S Antonio Allen: "One of the things he has to learn to do is play more in space because of how he played at South Carolina. They played him closer to the line of scrimmage. We're playing him as a normal, natural safety, and this is an adjustment for him. But he's a physical guy, an athletic guy, he's got tremendous ball skills. We feel that, with continued progress, we may have found something in the seventh round."
On Eric Smith replacing Jim Leonhard as the "quarterback" on the secondary: "Eric Smith has done a tremendous job of filling that vacuum, but he's been here, going into his fourth year of the system. So we expect him to do that. Picking up Yeremiah Bell, a veteran guy, he's picked up our system really quickly. ... He's a vocal guy and he leads by example. He has been a tremendous find for us."
On concern that S LaRon Landry might fall behind because he skipped most of the offseason: "He's had his playbook and we spent time together earlier, when he was here. The transition from one team to another, it's not about the coverage, because they play the (same) coverages. It's about the terminology. ... I don't expect him to have any problems. He hasn't shown that he's going to have any problems. Our expectations are that he is going to give us what he gave Washington, but with an improvement. It all depends on his ability to stay on the field."
On whether he's worried about Landry's injury history: "If he's out there practicing, my expectation is that he's giving us 100 percent. If he can't do that, he'll be in the trainer's room. ... But we fully expect him to be healthy."
On whether he'll be ready for training camp: "If he's not, that's when he'll fall behind. So we'll see."
On the development of nickel back Kyle Wilson: "We fully expect Kyle to take another tremendous jump this training camp, in the preseason, and put himself in position to be a starter on this team. ... Kyle and I have had this conversation. I expect him to push (Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie). I know Revis, obviously, is probably the best corner in football, but who cares? You have to go out and compete. It's what's inside of you that you try to pull out. He has to accept that challenge. You never know, he may find himself out there starting. He has to think like it, he has to act like it and I fully expect him to play like it."
On whether they addressed the coverage issues at safety: "I think we've answered that question with the (Bell and Landry signings). They're athletic, they're talented, they're physical and they've played in this league. It remains to be seen, but I'm more comfortable and confident with this group than I was a year ago at this time."