Head Coach Robert Saleh, 10.6

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Opening statement…

Injuries real quick, D.J. (Reed) has not passed his protocol, so he will be out. (Brandin) Echols will be out. You will see Billy Turner on the injury report, I am not worried about him, he is just dealing with a toe. Sam Eguavoen will be limited today. T.A. (Tony Adams), Wes (Schweitzer), and Mekhi (Becton) will be full.

 

Zach Rosenblatt, The Athletic: With D.J. (Reed) ou,t does that mean Bryce Hall will start or will Michael Carter II go outside?

We will see. We have a plan.

 

Zach Rosenblatt, The Athletic: Do you want to tell us the plan?

We will wait until Sunday.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: What is your confidence level in (Bryce) Hall since he hasn’t started in a while?

I have confidence in all the DB’s (defensive backs). Whether it is moving people around, however we have to shuffle it. We have a lot of guys who have played a lot of football in this League and have played at a very high level. So, we will be fine.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: Tony (Adams) is back?

Tony is back, yeah.

 

Dennis Waszak, Associated Press: What has Hall’s progress been like? He came in and he was coming off of an injury when he was drafted and ended up being a starter, now he is a backup, what have you seen from him?

He has been great. He went from a guy you wouldn’t want to play on special teams for example, to you know what, I am a backup, I am going to attack the heck out of special teams, and he has become a very good special teams player. He approaches it, he is a professional, he approaches it day in and day out the way he needs to. I just love his mindset. Guys like him, they look at the role that they are in and they look at ways to attack and find ways to get better and he has done that.

 

Zach Braziller, New York Post: Is there hesitancy to move (Michael) Carter II at this time?

No, whatever we have to do to win a football game.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: Obviously, D.J. has had a big impact in his time here. How big of a loss is it to not have him back there?

It is because D.J. is a special football player and he alleviates some of the pressure of trying to be perfect, in regard to match up because you feel comfortable about all your match ups when those two are on the field at the same time, him and Sauce (Gardner). Him not begin out there, anytime you have a player of his caliber out there, you are kind of put behind the eight ball. But like I said, we will be fine.

 

Connor Hughes, SNY: With AVT (Alijah Vera-Tucker) could you foresee a situation where fulltime he becomes your guys right tackle? Because you continually talk about how he is an All-Pro guard, but he seems like he is actually great and better outside?

Yeah, I talked to him yesterday about it. He kind of looks natural out there, doesn’t he? He has been doing a great job and we will continue to always communicate with him to make sure he is in the best position possible, both mentally and physically. I feel like he is natural at every position, he looks really natural out there.

 

Connor Hughes, SNY: Just from a scouting perspective and a talent acquisition perspective, is it generally easier to find quality guards than it is tackles? Is tackle a harder skill set for a player to have for where on the outside it could potentially give you guys a better chance moving forward?

Yeah, you would like to think that it would be easier to find an interior guy. It happens a lot faster inside than it does outside. The outside guys are usually bigger, longer, but you would say that it would be easier to find an interior guy than it would to find an outside guy.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: How have you felt about the way Mekhi has played?

He has done a good job. He doesn’t practice on Wednesday, which you would love for him to practice on Wednesday, but we get why he can’t with the knee and all that, but to continue to sharpen his tools so that he can play, he can get better faster, but he has been improving and he has been doing a lot of good things. As the season goes, I think he will get better and better.

 

Andrew Krane, New York Post: How much, if at all, do you rely on your observations of ‘Russ’ (Russell Wilson) back in his early days when you were in Seattle versus the past games plans you had in San Francisco, compared to the fact that he is in a completely different system now? What is the balance there for you?

Obviously, Russell (Wilson) has things that he likes and you are seeing it. So obviously, he and Sean (Payton) have been communicating. As far as the player, I think he has lost over 20 pounds and he looks like the same guy to me. He is doing a lot with his feet. He is scrambling to throw, he will scramble to run if he has to, but he is looking really good. You can tell they are starting to get comfortable, they are starting to understand each other, they are starting to understand what is being asked of each other. I am talking about Sean and the quarterback. They are moving in the right direction. They are doing a really nice job.

 

Brian Costello, The New York Post: Robert, you faced Sean (Payton) three years in a row. Two in San Francisco, one here. Three in San Francisco and one here.  Do you see his fingerprints on the offense, I know its four games, but do you see his system there?

Yeah, that’s his system. With all the, I’m not going to talk about what I see, but that’s definitely his.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: So, you can draw from those three games that you played him?

Yeah, there’s going to be things, but at the same time because it’s new and he has a new staff, there’s a lot of new voices, there’s a lot of new thoughts, definitely expecting some things that will be new.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: Did you guys have a like a crazy forty?

I try not to remember that game. We came back the next year and did pretty good, but that game, nobody was stopping anybody that day. It was a miserable game. Funny story, I’ll never forget that day, our assistant d- line coach, we give up the touchdown and were down by one. (George) Kittle has that big run down the sideline, gets the personal foul penalty, I could give two (expletive), excuse me language. I was just so angry and mad. Our assistant was like, “We won,” and I’m like, “Yeah, I guess we did, buddy,” but no it was a good day.

 

Zach Braziller, New York Post: With DJ out, would you consider having Sauce shadow (Jerry) Jeudy?

You know what, we’ll see.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: Aaron (Rodgers), it’s been going on for two weeks, but he said on Tuesday his goal is to come back this season. In your mind, is that realistic?

I wouldn’t put anything past him. Obviously, I think he gets stronger when people say you can’t, when people doubt him. I think he’s the type of guy that gets stronger and that’s why I like him so much, because when someone tells me I can’t do something, well watch me. It’s the same thing.  He’s got that mindset where if someone tells him he’s not capable or something is impossible he’s like, you’ll see. So no, I don’t put it past him.

 

Connor Hughes, SNY: Robert, for him to come back at the tail end of the season, that would probably mean you guys are in the playoff discussion. If you guys are in the playoff discussion, that means quarterback you have is playing pretty well. Is that a problem you think about?

I’m just worried about this one. If that problem shows up, I’ll be and we’ll all be very happy.

 

Dennis Waszak, Associated Press: Robert, with Breece (Hall), we’ve talked a lot about him all week and this season. Knowing when you walked off the field last year in Denver and the type of injury, is it kind of amazing to see what he’s been able to do so quickly?

The way he’s attacked rehab, I talked about it some during the offseason. He is here every single day, putting in work. You can start seeing him kind of get confident. When he first came back, there was a little bit of hesitancy as he’s running through practice, but he is running with intent and purpose in practice which should translate obviously even more so than it has in the game. Just excited for him, he’s earned the right to be back where he is and the best part is he’s only going to get stronger, but if he keeps approaching it the way he has with the same mindset, same drive and intent, it only is going to get better.

 

Brian Costello, The New York Post: With Zach (Wilson), I know you’ve talked about the way he’s practiced all year. Do you see any lightness in his personality a little different this week kind of because the wall isn’t caving in on him this week?

For sure. He has, but I want to make sure that I say this the right way. It’s a looseness that will only help him get better if that makes sense. It’s not a I got it mindset. It’s more confidence. Anytime you’re getting an affirmation, it’s always positive. You become what you think about, all of the different cliches that you can talk about. He is in a good frame of mind. When you talk about climbing Mount Everest, that dude is climbing. There has been a lot of adversity over the course of the year and you wish guys like him nothing but success, aside from the team, just individually, you wish them all success. The more he has success and the more this team has success around him, I think he’s only going to get better.

 

Zach Rosenblatt, The Athletic: Jeff (Ulbrich) said yesterday that he thinks Quincy (Williams) is the best linebacker in the NFL this season, what has it been like seeing his journey from when you got here with him to where he is now?

Yeah, it’s funny, when Quincy was drafted I remember we drafted (Nick) Bosa, felt like we needed a linebacker, Kyle (Shanahan) asked us, he said “Hey, if you want a linebacker you got to find a day three guy.” We had our day three guys, he was one of them and then he gets drafted in the third round, which came with some questions for the team that drafted him and he gets here, we have a chance to claim him which was awesome and it didn’t start off fast, he was learning, but you could tell his length, his speed, his mindset, he is still trying to figure himself out. All these players, it’s like I said, you don’t just throw these young men away, just give them a chance, surround them with the right people and put them in the right system and continue to work with them as individuals, and eventually they find their way, so the issue with him was never his ability, it was never his mindset, it was just he needed some time and you could tell that in the way he approached every day and credit to Rudy (Mike Rutenberg), our linebackers coach and the environment that is created in that linebacker room, they have done a great job and he’s done a great job. It’s funny, I actually texted Dave Caldwell, he was the GM that drafted him, there was a little photograph of him, and I said “Hey, man you were right,” so he is a good freaking linebacker.

 

Connor Hughes, SNY: How challenging is it for you as a coach, for example like Quincy, for example like Zach (Wilson), maybe needing more time to develop, but as a coach you are graded kind of quickly to find, ‘okay we want to develop these guys, but also we need players that are going to play now,’ otherwise your job, theoretically could be on the line?

No, that is always the deal, our job is to develop and if it means that we are developing for the next staff then so be it, but our job is to pour our heart and souls into the people that are here now, regardless of the agenda we have of wanting second contracts, of wanting to be here longer, of wanting to have success in our own right. Sometimes you are going to have to sacrifice your own wants to help the man that goes between the white lines to develop the right way. That is my mindset in that our job is to develop, like I said, whether it is for the next staff or not, it doesn’t matter, our job is to develop the people that are here.

 

Dave Blezow, New York Post: Dave Blezow from the New York Post, my question is a little off topic from all the others. Just want to get your thoughts on the atmosphere at MetLife, particularly the two night games, the lights going down, the green armbands all over the place, the fans how they have been. Just as a coach and for players, do you guys notice that and feel anything from that? Is any kind of a help?

Heck yeah. A lot of credit to the people, whoever is in charge of all that stuff, because those night games have been lit. You always, whether you’re going into Seattle, you go into Lambeau (Field), you go to Arrowhead, all these different stadiums where the atmosphere, Baltimore with the way they handle the scoreboards and the PA announcer and all that stuff, there is so much juice and energy that is pulled, that you can pull onto the field from the fans and the total atmosphere. These night games and the way they have been orchestrated, choreographed or whatever the word is, has been phenomenal, probably the best I have ever, one of the best I have ever been around, for sure.

Dave Blezow, New York Post: There were comebacks in both of those games, Buffalo and Kansas City, so I wondered if that had any role?

Yeah, for sure because you can feel the buzz and you can feel the emotion. I learned a long time ago from Pete (Carroll), sometimes it’s okay to call a play based on the feeling and the emotion of the stadium and the fans and the players on the field, you connect with it and you are like, then it is alright let’s go make an aggressive play call, like they are on their toes, let’s roll, let’s capture this moment. So feeling that and it’s a weird feeling, but you feel it when the entire connection between the players and the stadium is made, and it’s like let’s go get one, but yeah it always helps.

 

Jeane Coakley, SNY: Your shirt?

Yeah, so we are recognizing Don Drust from Cheshire Highschool. They are 4-0 on the season, they are ranked third in the state, he has been there, he is an alma mater, he graduated from the high school and he has been there since 2007. They just won in overtime against the top ranked team, so good luck to them the rest of the way.

 

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