Head Coach Robert Saleh, 6.9
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Antwan Staley, New York Daily News: What’s the message you have for players as you wrap things up for the summer?
I feel like we’ve had a really good set of OTAs when you look at phase one, two, and three. We’ve kind of turned the next 40 days of football, the phase me period where players are left to their own devices, but there’s a lot of players who have lost or won jobs over the next 40 days, League-wide, so the challenge for our players and really any player in the NFL is to attack these 40 days with a mindset to come into training camp in the best shape they’ve ever been so they can have the most productive training camp ever, so the message to our players is don’t stop now. It’s not vacation. We’re entering phase me and attack it in the same manner that they’ve attacked the entire offseason.
Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: How do you think things have gone in terms of installing a new offense? I know you’re saying it’s a little similar, but now they’ve had a couple of months of practice and stuff.
It’s gone well. You’re obviously looking for more efficiency always, but I think they’re going against a pretty good defense every day, so it’s going to be very challenging for them to continue to hit strides. I love the communication, pre-snap, post-snap. I love the meetings and the conversations that have been had and very confident that we’re going to hit our stride when we need to.
Dan Leberfeld, Jets Confidential: What have you said to the players about the gambling stuff that has been a big issue now with the Lions situation and the Colts? You guys had an assistant last year.
I feel like we’ve had about four meetings on it. Anytime something comes up, just a quick reminder. Personally, I’m too cheap to gamble, so I just don’t do it, but it’s just not worth it. It’s a little gray because the rules are different for coaches and players, but you just remind them of what the rules are. Be cognizant of where you are if you are going to gamble on something. Be very mindful of where you are because you can’t do it when you’re with the team. You’re just constantly reminding your guys of what the rules are and it’s just not worth it. The $50 bet or whatever your bet, it’s just not worth it, so hopefully they take that to heart and they’re just mindful of what those rules are.
Brian Costello, New York Post: How would you assess Zach’s (Wilson) spring?
I feel like he’s done a really nice job. I give him a ton of credit because it’s hard to do what he’s been asked to do. To be the second overall pick, to have two years of playing a lot of football, then being asked to take a back seat to allow another man, to watch and learn from another man. So, from a personal standpoint, it’s very humbling to be in his shoes right now, but at the same time, the way he’s attacked it, his demeanor, his personality, the attitude at which he’s done it, he’s been very positive through this whole thing. I really look at him and just his overall footwork and his demeanor and how relaxed he is at throwing the football. He’s a lot more accurate. Obviously, he’s learning a lot of new verbiage and being asked to do a heck of a lot more than he did when he was asked in the past obviously as a rookie, we’re just putting more on his plate. I think he’s handling it very well. I’m very excited to see him continue to get better.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Have you spoke to Wilson at all about this time of year and in training camp are critical for him because if things go as planned and he’s the number two quarterback, come September, he’s not going to get as much work in practice. How important is this time in training camp for him in terms of just getting those reps in?
I think he knows. It goes without saying. He knows he’s next man up and he’s one snap away. I think professionals know that. I think he’s built the right way and that he’s going to prepare as if he’s a starter regardless. Again, I speak for everybody who’s on an NFL roster that you are preparing that way. It goes without saying, you always have that pressure to be your absolute best and just when you step on the field to be your absolute best and whatever happens, happens, but I think all that goes without saying for him.
Dennis Waszak, Associated Press: Do you think the fact that it’s Aaron (Rodgers) has kind of helped for him? I mean, he’s talked about how he looked up to him and now if he has to be the guy who sits, sitting behind the guy who looked up to him.
I think so. I think they have a really nice relationship and because of it, guards are down and there’s really good communication back and forth. I think there’s a level of trust in the quarterback room right now between the coaches and the players amongst one another where communication isn’t met with cynicism, it’s met with acceptance and because of it, I think it’s going to help him get better.
Given Aaron’s presence, leadership, and communication skills with his teammates, how further along is your program right now, as opposed to where it would be if you didn’t have those things?
It’s a good question. I feel like we’re taking steps every year. From an offensive standpoint, I’ll speak on that side of the ball, having a new coordinator and all these new faces to have kind of a flag bearer who knows the entire system. I’ll put Allen Lazard in that mix and Randall Cobb too, two guys who are very experienced in the system, who’ve had a lot of success in this League. They’ve been helping it move along very well.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: Is there interest in Dalvin Cook?
We’ll turn the stones over on that one, but again, that would probably be more of a Joe (Douglas) question. I’m not sure how the money works on that.
From the start of the program to now, what do you see in Aaron’s chemistry with the receivers, in particular, with non-verbal things at the line, things that you can’t really teach, that you kind of just need reps?
Yeah, it’s all reps. What I do appreciate is the communication that’s happening pre and post-snap. The continuity, the timing and rhythm, all that’s going to come with reps, but the instant feedback post snap that’s happening, I think is going to accelerate that entire process. All the way from coaches coaching, the players coaching one another, it’s been awesome to watch. I’m very confident that it’s going to get going sooner rather than later.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: One guy who jumped out is Jeremy Ruckert. He didn’t do much last year at all, so what have you kind of seen?
I’m excited about Ruck (Ruckert). You know, I never want to put too much stock in OTAs because I’ve found a bunch of bobbleheads running around with helmets on, no pads, but Ruckert was battling a year-long foot injury that he had, so he’s healthy. He’s really attacked the offseason. He looks fluid. He looks athletic. I would say I question the pads part, but if anyone watched that last game of the year when he flat backed a couple of guys in that last game of the season. I think he’s very physical, he has a physical mindset to him, so I’m excited for him to get pads on and continue to pick up where he’s left off here in OTAs.
Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: What has Keith Carter brought as a new offensive line coach? How is he different than other coaches you’ve had?
I don’t want to compare that. I think he’s got his style to it. I think that’s the most important part with coaches. It’s not necessarily what type of style you have, it’s more how authentic you are in your teaching and what you want to teach. I think collectively as a whole with the offensive staff in terms of trying to, not that it wasn’t done a year ago, but just trying to help guys along with trying to make it simple, but it’s not to knock others before him because they’ve had a lot of success in this League, but he’s got his style, he’s very authentic and I’m excited he’s here and excited for the season to start with him here.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: Looking ahead, have those joint practices with Carolina and Tampa Bay firmed up? And would you also look to do something with the Giants again?
Well, with the Giants, I’ve already talked with (Brian) Daboll. We’re going to bypass this year. We’ll reconvene next year with how early our game is during the season. We’re still ironing out details with Carolina and Tampa, but plan on practicing with both of them.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Do you know if guys like Duane (Brown) and Mekhi (Becton), will be ready to come back 40 days from now or whatever?
I am fully anticipating, for sure Mekhi. Waiting to get the report on Duane, we think he is, but I can’t verify that one.
Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: Have you heard if you guys are going to be on Hard Knocks or not yet?
I haven’t gotten word or anything like that. I know there’s several teams that would love for Hard Knocks to be in their building, but we’re just not one of them.
You have said a couple times that your best five on the offensive line guy, which I think creates a perception that whoever doesn’t win the left tackle job between Mekhi and Duane becomes the right tackle, but is there a possibility that guy is the backup left tackle and somebody else is the starting right tackle? If somebody else is one of the best five?
Well, that’s where Billy Turner and Max Mitchell who started games, Billy Turner started a lot of games. We drafted rookie Carter Warren, so there’s a lot of tackles on this team. I’m sure I’m forgetting somebody. But it’s a really, really good competition in that group with those tackles and I am excited to see how it pans out.
Andy Vasquez, NJ Advance Media: Carter Warren, you haven’t seen it a ton yet at this stage, but what have you learned about him since he’s been in the building?
You know what, it’s unfortunate that he hasn’t been able to practice, and with this entire setup, with regards to, especially, I’ll speak with our d-line with the new additions that we’ve had on the d-line, it’s just hard to get a true assessment of these guys without pads and the fact that we’ve been doing so much seven-on-seven and when we do 11-on-11, it’s been darn near patty-cake. I’ll reserve my opinion on that one. I do know he’s made up with the right stuff, so I am excited to see him get to work with pads on.
Brian Costello, New York Post: I think you got a taste of it today and other days ago, but are you ready for what’s coming in training camp with this team, with how much attention it is going to get?
Well, there’s a difference between being ready and prepared. Ready is, I won’t get into it, but we’re prepared for everything. Again, we have no control over this, but we have control over what we put on the field for ourselves every day. Knock on wood, I’ve been a part of some really, really special football teams in Seattle, San Francisco, so the attention, the external attention should have no bearing on what you do day in and day out and for a lot of guys on our team, it’s probably going be new for them, but they’ve also got to be reminded that they played big time college football. They’ve been in big time moments and while the circus on the outside is going on, they still have to keep the main thing and that’s putting your best foot forward.