Head Coach Robert Saleh, 5.31
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Brian Costello, New York Post: We obviously saw Aaron (Rodgers) last week with his calf. Can you give us an update on his status?
Yeah, he’s fine. Just doing a bunch of rehab. He’ll be limited today and then just hoping to ease him back in. Hopefully get him full on Friday, for sure.
Brian Costello, New York Post: (follow up) So, Friday of next week?
No, no. This week and following into next week.
Dan Leberfeld, Jets Confidential: Are you going to perhaps alter the kind of stretching or conditioning that he does? Considering his age and what happened, or how do you handle it moving forward?
Yeah, you’re always trying to educate or learn, obviously. I still argue he’s still a young man, the way he takes care of his body. I know his age, his body is not his age, but we’ve got to do a better job just making sure we communicate with the players and understanding where they are at certain points, but I think that was our first tweak in our stretching or activation period, but we’ll always look to modify if we need to.
Andy Vasquez, NJ Advance Media: I know it’s been light practices, but how has Zach (Wilson) handled getting some first team reps?
I think he’s been doing a good job. The big thing for him is to just kind of loosen up and just throw the ball. And I’ve said before, swing your swing. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it doesn’t have to be rigid. He needs to be able to feel himself in the pocket and just let the ball rip. I feel like his accuracy’s been pretty darn good so far through the first half of OTAs. I think he’s getting more comfortable in the offense. It’s interesting with the way (Nathaniel) Hackett, he puts a lot of onus on them knowing the defense and understanding what’s going on, so that’s all kind of new for him in terms of, it’s not just progression, it’s understanding from a global standpoint. I think he’s taking it all in and doing his best to learn as much as he can every day, so he’s been good. He’s been attacking it for sure.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: What’s the biggest difference in playing quarterback in this innate system as compared to the previous system in terms of like you just said, responsibilities and so forth?
There are similarities obviously because Hackett’s been part of a lot of different systems. Obviously, he had a lot of success in this particular system with regard to being with (Matt) LaFleur in Green Bay, but having the experience with a guy like Aaron (Rodgers) who has the ability to do things at the line of scrimmage, there’s a lot more, I don’t want to say leeway, but there’s a lot more, I guess it is leeway, for the quarterback to get us in the best position possible and it’s not just call it, run it, and if it doesn’t work, we’ll do something. It’s more, “Hey, if you think you’ve got something then go ahead and take advantage of it. Otherwise, here’s the call and let’s go run it”. And just listening to the meetings and the communication, the collaboration amongst everyone and how everyone’s communicating, it’s really cool and it’s going to be exciting to see it translate once we start getting into training camp and start running the ball and seeing all the different things that they do off it.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: You guys were in on Odell (Beckham Jr.) when he was a free agent. DeAndre Hopkins now, another veteran receiver still pretty good and available. Is that something you guys intend on pursuing or are you happy with your current receiving core and that’s not an avenue you’re going to go down?
No, we love our current group. I know there was some stuff with Odell, but other than that we love our group.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Where is Breece (Hall) in his rehab and recovery and all that stuff?
He looks good. Again, he’s one of those kids that we’ve had to kind of hold back from him because there’s a process. It’s weird to say it, you don’t want to heal too fast in a ACL. You’ve got to be able to balance it out with the strength. He looks strong, he looks powerful, he’s learning. I mean, I’m excited for him to get back on the field. I feel like he won’t need to be limited during training camp, even though we still will, just to be conscientious and cautious with him, but he looks awesome.
Brian Costello, New York Post: (follow up) That sounds like he’ll be ready for Week One then if you don’t think he’ll have to be limited?
Yeah, I’m very, very optimistic on that one. I don’t want to jinx it. I mean, the kid’s already hitting over 22 on the GPS, so he looks freaking good.
I realize since you became the Head Coach, you’ve carried a certain responsibility to the office every day, but when you have a player like Aaron who’s probably the most, definitely the most accomplished player you’ve ever coached, does that responsibility feel a little different or heavier?
Well, knock on wood, I have been around some really, really good ones. Obviously, he’s a first ballot Hall of Famer. Tom Izzo, long time ago when I was at Michigan State, a GA at Michigan State, I heard him say “The best coached teams are the teams that coach themselves”. And what that means is that there’s certain things that players have control over with regards to their attitude, the commitment level that they have, their effort, the identity at which they show themselves and how they approach the locker room. And when the players grab hold of the locker room and they control the standard, when they take control of the standard, they take the messaging that’s come from top down and they take it to the locker room and they champion that message and it becomes a very collaborative effort in the sense that coaches can spend more time digging into the tape, players focus on absorbing information, having communication with the coaches, controlling the standard, how we practice, how we do everything. To have a guy like him who embodies all of that, who embodies what you want out of a football player, and who has the track record and who has had success and who has a voice like he has, it makes our job easier because we’re not having to worry about things that we don’t have control over. They can control that part and because of it, it’s awesome because you’re not spending time talking about what the standard is as a coach when a player should already be controlling that. You’re really focusing on scheme and trying to help the guys get better, so they can make the plays that they need to make on Sunday to get paid.
Has there been a player that’s really stood out to you during this process through OTAs and practices that you’ve seen a lot of improvement in?
I have, aside from the obvious, I’m not going to throw names out, don’t need the other teams to start looking deeper into the roster, but no, there’s been a lot of guys who have showed up very well. Sorry, I’m dodging the question for you, but I feel like we’ve got a couple of gems in there that can be exciting to watch.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, on the surface level, the signing of Randall (Cobb) looks like, “Okay, you got Aaron, you want his friend and longtime receiver here.” What was the deeper level of you signing him and what was behind that? Or was it just Aaron told you guys it would make sense?
No, remember Hackett was with Randall too, so he’s a guy who’s got a lot of experience in the system. He’s a guy that they’re very comfortable and familiar with. He’s a guy who, again, to go back to the question I just answered, flag bearers, like the guys who are going to plant the flag and be able to echo the messaging, they already know what it is. To have those guys are priceless. No different than why we brought Solomon Thomas and Kwon Alexander a year ago, Marcell Harris, DJ Reed, all the guys who have had familiarity with our system and our messaging and our voice. When a player’s hearing it for the first time, they’re like, “God, I’m not getting it”. And then, here comes the vet to step in and say, “Well, let me break it down to you in another way”. And players speaking to players just always comes off a little bit differently. It comes off a lot more powerful, so there’s a lot of elements to that, but again, to bring in a guy who can still play the game at a high level, who knows the system inside out, who stands for everything you want, it’s really a no-brainer at that point.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Has he done those things already? Some of those things you talked about, has he done that already since?
Yeah, he’s been here. I know he’s going through some rehab and all that stuff, but he’s in the receiver room. I’m in there listening in on the receiver meetings and he’s got a voice and he’s doing everything he can to help those guys.
Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: What did it mean to get Duane (Brown) back? I know it wasn’t a guarantee at the end of the season.
Oh yeah. You guys know I love Duane. He won the first annual Selfless Warrior Award for the team in terms of just what he sacrificed. Like I said, last year his money was guaranteed, didn’t have to play a down and his money was guaranteed and he didn’t have to subject his body to what he did, but he stepped on there, he stepped on the field, played as many games as he possibly could with torn rotator cuffs and did a really nice job, so he’s going to fight for it. He doesn’t believe he’s entitled to anything. He believes he’s got to earn everything and there’s a reason why he’s played for so long and has had so much success. I mean look at him, he’s a brick house. He can still play as many years as he’s willing to play.
Andy Vasquez, The Record: Corey Davis, how involved has he been? And I think you guys have obviously added some weapons and there’s a situation with his contract creating some uncertainty. How involved has he been? Have you had to kind of talk to him?
We’ve had talks with Corey. I believe they’re having another child, so I don’t think you guys will see him here, but he’s been great. Corey is the epitome of a teammate, and he doesn’t worry about targets and catches and yards, and obviously he wants those things, but he’s willing to do anything and everything to help the team. And as far as contract is concerned, I’ll leave that for Joe (Douglas), but he’s definitely an asset to this football team.
Robert, you mentioned spending time in the receiver room. When you have a guy coming off the year Garrett (Wilson) has, and so many new players, what’s the key to getting them all on the same page so quickly?
Reps first and foremost, but to be honest with you, with all the second-year players, and I speak to the entire League, the challenge for second year players is balancing the success they had as rookies if they had it, and then the newfound success, the social life, the money, all of it. And how do you balance it to keep the main thing, the main thing, which is attacking football day in and day out. Knock on wood for that kid, he’s having a really good OTA, he’s a juicy route runner. He’s gotten a lot stronger. And his mental makeup, his internal drive is second to none, so I’m excited for him this year.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Another receiver question for you. How has Denzel Mims looked this Spring and where does he fit in on this puzzle right now?
He’s competing. He’s competing his butt off. He won’t be here today, but he’s got a chance to compete and make this roster and do something special with it. He’s got size, he’s got length, he’s got strength and all that stuff. The big thing for him is to show up and keep finding ways to make his mark.