Head Coach Robert Saleh, 10.27

[please click photo for link to the video]

Opening Statement:

Real quick, these are guys who won’t participate: Tevin Coleman, hamstring; Bryce Huff is dealing with a back; (Trevon) Wesco is dealing with a knee; Quincy (Williams) is dealing with a concussion; Zach (Wilson), obviously, with a knee. Joe Flacco, he’ll be here Friday for practice. But he is participating in all meetings, virtually.

Rich Cimini, ESPN: Why is he taking so long?

Personal reasons.

 

DJ Bien-Aime, New York Daily News: When he’s ready to go, whether it’s the next week, will he be the starter for the game against the Colts?

We’ll see how it goes. We’ll see how everything goes with regards to absorbing the offense and all that stuff.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, can you give us kind of the thought process behind making that trade for Joe?

Obviously, Joe, he’s been around the league, been a prolific quarterback. It was an opportunity that was hit on Joe’s desk in the morning, Joe Douglas, this week. It was something that we thought would be beneficial to the entire team, especially with Zach being out for two-to-four weeks, felt like we needed another quarterback in there to make sure we always have three on the roster.

 

Connor Hughes, The Athletic: With Joe, does he have any experience playing in a similar, I mean, basically how quick do you think he can pick up the offense, does he have any experience in it?

Yeah, he was with (Gary) Kubiak, that was probably the best year of his career, in Kubiak’s offense. Then when he was at Denver with (Rich) Scangarello, who came from Kyle (Shanahan), some similar verbiage and all that stuff. The recall should happen quick. At a certain point, all these offenses run the same concepts.

 

DJ Bien-Aime, New York Daily News: Why not bring him in earlier, whether it’s the offseason or training camp, knowing that, just in case Zach were to go down you would have at least had that safety net where he could just step in? Versus now, your kind of in a situation where Mike White has to go out there and then we’re kind of trying to get Joe up to speed.

Two things. First, we have a lot of faith in Mike. Mike has done a hell of a job. He’s earned this right to go out there and play on Sunday and show what he’s capable of. I can’t speak for Joe Flacco on that. Obviously, as a free agent, he has opportunities and the decisions he makes are personal, obviously. But we’re happy he’s here now and we’re excited to get to work with him.

 

Rich Cimini, ESPN: You said we’ll see how it goes on whether Flacco, so is Mike on a game-to-game basis?

No, I wouldn’t say that. I’m a day-to-day guy, so right now Mike is, obviously, he’s starting. We have a lot of faith in him. We think he’s going to do a hell of a job, and then from there we’ll go on.

 

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY: You do have a veteran quarterback in Josh Johnson on the roster. Was there consideration to riding with him as the backup behind Mike White?

There was, obviously. Like I said, the opportunity came on Joe’s desk and we took advantage of it. Josh will be up this week and he’ll be ready to go if he has to step in. I feel like we’re in a good situation. Getting Flacco, we have good stability in the quarterback room. Now we just got to go play.

 

Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Is there any chance that Zach goes on IR? Has that been determined yet?
It hasn’t been determined yet.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: If Josh is up, so Joe would be inactive against the Bengals?

More than likely.

 

Rich Cimini, ESPN: I’m just a little confused by it, so you traded a draft pick, so really Flacco maybe, it’s only a one game thing for him? Because if Zach comes back against Buffalo, then really you gave up a draft pick maybe for one game?

No, I wouldn’t say that.

(follow up) Because he’s not active this week, so if he’s your backup the following week…

Not quite, we’ll see how it goes. He’s going to practice on Friday, so he’ll be here. So, we’ll see how that goes as we go.

 

(follow up) Oh, I thought you said that Josh would be the backup?

(Johnson) is obviously going to be practicing. Like I said, when he gets here Friday, we’ll go day-to-day. As far as the answer to your question, we’re assuming the worst. We’re still trying to make sure that that quarterback room is exactly where we need it to be. Obviously, Zach got hurt, an opportunity came, and it’s a good one. So, we took advantage of it.

 

Connor Hughes, The Athletic: I remember you had said on the conference call that once Zach got in here, I think you guys would assess if it would be closer to the two weeks or four weeks, has that happened? Like, have you been able to tell if this is going to be…?

We want to see how it goes through the course of the week and how strong his leg comes back with regards to range of motion. So, if it gets stronger, obviously, as the week goes on, then the shorter it’s going to be.

 

Ian O’Connor, New York Post: Robert, as a coordinator, you were a coach at the highest level in this league in the Super Bowl, I’m wondering the transition to head coach. Is there something about it that has been more challenging than you expected it to be? And if so, what?

I don’t know if it’s challenging, it’s just different, right? You’re dealing with more administrative stuff, you’ve got more departments that you’ve got to deal with. Obviously, there’s offense, defense, special teams, you’re dealing with every single player. You’re more involved with the weight room, the marketing crew, (communications), so there’s just more to do. But I wouldn’t say it’s any more challenging.

 

(follow up) What about on gameday? The speed of the game as a head coach, when you’re responsible for everything, is that dramatically different than as a coordinator?

The speed is not different. I mean the speed is the speed, you’re used to it by now. It’s just trying to be there to help the coaches, help the players try to put their best foot forward and do the best they can to find a win. There’s a lot of different discussions I’m having more with analytics, with go-for-it situations and all that, but other than that, it’s not any more challenging that it would be if you’re a play caller.

 

Connor Hughes, The Athletic: You mentioned the personal reasons for why Joe isn’t showing up until Friday. Did you guys know that when you made the trade that he wasn’t going to report until Friday?

Yes.

 

(follow up) I figured if you made the trade, you’d want him in here right away. So, you guys knew?

Yes.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, the zero interceptions for your defense, how do you kind of make sense of that? And have you ever been through anything like this before this long?

Yeah, I don’t know about this long, but sometimes you just get in a drought, there’s an old saying that they come in bunches. Turnovers come in bunches. You look at the New England game, again, Quincy (Williams) had his hand on the ball and we just didn’t get it. We’re on an unlucky streak right now, and eventually, we did the study over the course of the Bye Week. Like, ‘Alright, how can we find the ball?’ We’re looking at three different opportunities a game where we have a chance to get a ball and we’re just not getting it. We’re going to get them, we just have to catch the ones that are thrown to us.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: How much is it hurting you right now? You’re -8, I think, in turnover margin. That’s a basic tenant of football, is that killing you guys right now?

It’s every team in football. If you’re not winning the turnover battle, you’re probably not winning football games. You do your best to take care of it, you do your best to take it away, and the teams that do the best at both of those are the teams that usually win. Hopefully we get this thing flipped quickly, so we can start getting some wins.

 

Rich Cimini, ESPN: Is C.J. (Mosley) going to practice today?

Yeah.

 

Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Fully?

Yeah.

 

DJ Bien Aime, New York Daily News: Defensively, you guys were playing pretty well the past couple of games, bit on opposite end. What do you guys have to do to get back to the way you were playing earlier in the season? Especially with the Bengals coming up who have a high power on offense?

It starts upfront, it’ll always start upfront. We got to dominate and dominate the line of scrimmage. And then from there, we just got to keep our feet in the ground and play fast. It really is that simple. It’s win one-on-one battles, pressure the quarterback, win in the run game. The Atlanta game, they did a really nice job getting rid of the ball quickly. It felt like we adjusted in the second half, just didn’t finish. Last game, everything fell off, which I’ve been a part of those, it just happens. It’s a prideful group. D-line will get going this week, linebackers get back C.J. So, hopefully we get some stability in there and we get a chance to go play.

 

Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Robert, what are your conversations with Mike White? And what are the expectations now that he’s in this different role for him?

Same expectations every starting quarterback would have. Take care of the football, move the football, move the chains, score when you get a chance to score. But just really command the offense, the way he has since OTAs and training camp. I thought he did a really nice job when he stepped in there on Sunday. Finish off the scoring drive, had another drive into field goal range that we just failed on fourth down, had a scoring drive to start the second half, had another drive that entered field goal range, we just didn’t finish. So, he can move the ball. He can do well. It’s don’t make it bigger than it needs to be. Just go execute.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, just watching the first series of your offense on Sunday, the one run with Michael Carter, there was as a free runner, I think on no. 8, came in a linebacker is the third down free runner. So, it’s like there’s communication errors in the blocking scene, how does that happen at the beginning of the game where fatigue is not a factor yet, I’m sure you’ve repped these plays a lot during the week. What do you see in there on that series?

It is frustrating when it’s in the first 15 (plays), because those are the ones you talk about, you rep, you walkthrough. It is line-up, go play, go execute. So, whether it’s guys just being amped up and the communication isn’t where it needs to be, whatever it might be, it obviously is something that needs to get fixed.

 

DJ Bien-Aime, New York Daily News: This should probably be the best receiving core that you guys have faced the entire season, Ja’Marr Chase, Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins. What challenges will they present for your secondary?

They are a very talented group. I think this Cincinnati team is really the epitome of what a lot of teams strive to be in the sense that, I was in San Francisco, obviously in 2019, in this (Cincinnati) regime’s first year, and we scored on the first play of the fourth quarter to make it 41-10, and then we just absolutely beat the brakes off them in year one of their system. They’ve done a really nice job building it and bringing in the right guys and really keeping everything together and playing together. And now you see them playing at the level that they’re playing. So, kudos to them that they’ve been able to bring all these guys in and operate the way they have. And this receiving core, without question, is very very talented. It’s their third year in the system, Ja’Marr  has really unlocked the entire group, the tight end, the running back, Boyd, Higgins, it’s talented. And they’re playing very, very fast because they’ve been together so long.

 

Connor Hughes, The Athletic: The NFL trade deadline’s obviously coming up and with your guys record where it is, I know you’re in a position as the Coach where you’re trying to win every single game. Joe (Douglas) has to take more of the long-term approach, which could obviously mean trading away guys to acquire draft picks that can help you in the future as opposed to the present. How do those conversations between the two of you go, when maybe you’re two present beliefs can separate some?

No, I’m in complete lockstep with Joe with regards to making every decision that we need to make that’s in the best interest of this organization and the future of it and the direction we’re trying to go. So, if it’s something that will help us, great. If it’s not, great. Forcing things is not Joe’s forte, he is very deliberate, he communicates with us all the time. So, I love the way he goes about his business and I love his process. But I’m with Joe. If it’s something that’s going to help us, awesome. But I also know we’re not looking for a fire sale either.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, we’ve talked about the explosive plays. A few weeks ago, you guys gave up quite a few, and you’re not getting them on offense. How detrimental has that been?

Same thing. It’s been a while, from a defensive standpoint, that we gave up 16 explosives, which is not something we want done. In our world, every time you give up an explosive in a drive, you’re giving up points. If you get an explosive in a drive, you’re getting points. So, they’re a big part of this football game and we’re actually playing a team that, I think they’re second in the NFL in explosives created and fifth in explosives allowed. So, the whole formula of everything that they’ve been doing is pretty cool. But yeah, we’ve got to be a lot better in those categories.

 

Dennis Waszak, Associated Press: Robert, is there a chance Jarrod Davis can be back this week too? We could have Mosley and Davis?

Yeah, he’ll be out there practicing today, and we’ll see how it goes. Obviously, day to day.

 

(follow up) With the other two guys also that were cleared or designated to return to practice, (Braden) Mann and (Kyle) Phillips, do those guys have a shot at this week? Or is it still kind of..?

They do. But again, let’s see how they look at practice first.

 

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