Head Coach Robert Saleh, 8.11
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Brian Costello, New York Post: Do you take any extra precaution on days like the next couple of days are going to be, where it’s 100 degrees out?
Hydration is key. Your body doesn’t respond to the water you’re taking in now, it’s 24 hours from now so they’ve got to be very conscientious, especially for today, because tomorrow we got pads on. The precaution is just being aware of self and making sure you’re taking care of yourself so you can put that little bit of body armor on for when these days do come.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: You guys have had kind of an interesting practice structure in the way that you’ve ramped up and then come back down and then ramped up and then come back down. It hasn’t necessarily been like two or three days in a row of just 100 miles an hour, you kind of give the guys a chance to, I guess, rehab in a way. Is that something you learned from San Francisco, is that something you learned from the medical staff here, where did that kind of come from?
A little bit of both. I do take an interest in the science of the body and all that stuff and just the overall health of it. It’s been proven that if you just stack 100 MPH days on top of another, you’re really wearing out the body in terms of its ability to not get hurt, for lack of a better word. So, we look at it like, we go high and then low to give these guys a chance so that when the pads do come on, they give us everything. These padded practices are very, very hard. Players are doing a great job getting themselves callused for the season. We still think we’re able to accomplish exactly what we want. We’ve been, knock on wood, pretty darn healthy, and because of it we feel like the quality of work we’re getting is pretty darn good.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: You did more seven-on-seven than you do on a typical day.
Yesterday was a bruiser, the o-line, d-line took over 45 snaps in practice and it was hot. I just wanted to give those guys a little bit of a break because tomorrow we’re going to stack up another padded practice that we’ll get to about 50 snaps. To give those guys a chance to recover, we’re already down on the o-line a little bit so I just wanted those guys to, those extra six plays of third down weren’t going to help anybody.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: I’m probably going to jinx this for tomorrow, but I think this is one of the first camps that I’ve seen where you’re into the third week that pads have been on and there hasn’t been that training camp fight, per se. But seriously, even when (La’Mical) Perine hit (Lamarcus) Joyner the other day, the two guys got up and were in each other’s face but like almost encouraging each other. Does that speak to the players that you have and the way that these guys are bonding together to this point?
Yeah, I think this team really cares about one another. I think these guys understand what each person puts in every single day and I think they respect that the work that they’re trying to put on tape. I think when you see fights, it’s when players are being cheap and doing extra and really trying to hurt another person’s career. Playing your tail off and playing with effort and technique and a little bit of physicality is not cheap, that’s just part of football. I think these guys respect one another and the fact that everyone’s putting out their best foot forward and doing everything they can to try to make a roster.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, have you made any decisions on the playing time for Saturday yet?
We’re talking about it as a staff tonight.
DJ Bien-Aime, New York Daily News: Corey Davis has been showing up a lot this week, he caught a bunch of touchdowns today, how much having a receiver like him, that’s going to be your number one, how much does that help the development of a quarterback like Zach Wilson?
Just the veteran presence, you could put Jamison Crowder in that mix and having that veteran presence who understands coverage, who understands route running, who understands how to attack leverage, who understands how to create separation. Then on top of it, to be able to speak through experience and to be able to talk to the other receivers to bring them along, they’re priceless, especially when they’re as talented as those two are.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: Robert, what are your plans are, it seems like it’s a pretty level competition between (Morgan) Moses and (George) Fant. What are your plans there, when you do have to make a call on that so they can, the five guys can get reps up front? Would you ever consider a rotation during the regular season?
No, I’m not a big fan of rotations just because I think, especially at the o-line level, there’s certain spots that, just me, it’s just personal philosophy, where I don’t believe in rotations because I think you have to get into a rhythm, you have to play a game within a game. I think the trenches at the o-line, corners, I think that’s where most that comes into play but, as far as the making a decision, I feel like we have all the time in the world. Because that group, there’s a lot of continuity with the other four. Moses and George are getting run with the ones and twos and it’s just a matter of the constant communication between all of them. I think we have plenty of time to make that decision.
Kim Jones, NFL Network: Robert, when you see Denzel (Mims) in position to make what would probably be a great catch but just doesn’t secure it, is that confidence?
No, it’s a two-way street. I thought the DBs had extremely sticky coverage today. Do you want him to go up and “Moss” the DB and go get it? Absolutely, but it’d be a phenomenal play, for anybody, to be able to do something like that. The biggest thing is to go up, compete and understand that those are 50-50 balls and the expectation for the DB is to go take it and the expectation for the receiver is to go take it. Both of them get paid and both of them are competing so he’s won a couple of those battles and he’s lost a couple of battles, but it’s been a great competition.
(follow up) I’m not here every day like these folks so I don’t know if this is repetitive or not but, it seems that there’s at least some theme that maybe this organization is ready to give up on Mims at this point.
No, absolutely not. There isn’t a player in this organization that anyone is ready to give up on. We’re in the second week of camp so they haven’t even gotten a chance to go against another roster yet. They’ve got three opportunities to go against other rosters and to continue to compete and establish themselves as what we want on this 53-man roster. Every single player is competing their tails off and they’re doing a really good job and I’m just excited for them to get an opportunity to go against a different colored jersey.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Mike (LaFleur) and Rob (Calabrese) are working with Zach, day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute. What’s your communication like with Zach? Obviously, quarterback is important for the head coach. What is your interaction like with Zach?
I guess my interaction, he asks a lot of questions about scheme. I’ll do everything I can to help him with the scheme part. I don’t want to mess with the messaging with the quarterback. Obviously, I’m listening in and I’ll talk to Mike LaFleur and give my thoughts. He can take whatever I say and give it to the quarterback. I believe in one voice. My interaction in terms of philosophy and all that with Zach, and really every player, is the same in terms of, whatever I can do to help you get to where you need, I’m available. I expect that out of every coach, to be honest with you. To answer your question, the interaction has been about scheme, philosophy, thought process, and life in general.
(follow up): Is there any element of like, pep talk isn’t the right word, do you know what I mean? You talk about his confidence, he’s obviously a young guy, going through his first training camp. Is there any?
He’s not wavering. I’m telling you, he’s in a great space mentally, he’s learning every single day. He tested it again today, he wanted to see if he could get that throw in behind C.J. Mosley’s right ear, couldn’t do it. He said, “I’ll go to the check down.” He knows, he goes, “I saw the check down.” So, he knows, he is in such a great place and he loves competing, he loved that red zone competition period we had going down there, because it challenged him mentally. It forced him to make quick reads and quick decisions because there was a clock on the scoreboard, and the ball had to get up and down. He loves, and he’s taking in all of it. We’re really excited about where he’s at.
DJ Bien-Aime, New York Daily News: Brandin Echols had a really good practice today. Pick six on the tip drill, a bunch of PBUs. How close is he to really making that first-team competition at cornerback? How close is he to really getting into that?
He’s already gotten first team reps, so he’s already in the mix. For everybody on this roster, can you find a way to make that even better? Just like everybody else on this roster, he’s going to get an opp. He’s got Green Bay coming up, he’s got the Giants, and their plethora of wide receivers. He’s got plenty of opportunities to show why he belongs on this roster and why he belongs on the field when the ones take it in Carolina. For him, really excited that he had this day, I think he’s catching everybody’s eye, and that’s a good thing. Now, he’s just got to go stack up days, not get complacent, and do something with it.
Dennis Waszak, Associated Press: Robert, how does (Blake) Cashman look? He’s a guy who has dealt with a lot of injuries his first few years here. What have you seen?
You see the speed, you see all the stuff, you see the athleticism. He’s very smart, can play all three positions. Same as everybody else, really excited for him to get these opps against different offenses where you don’t know where everything, like, our guys know every single route by now, it’s been repetitive. For him to get these opps, he’s dominating in special teams like we all know he does. Now it’s a matter of getting on the field and doing it on defense. He’s done it before, he’s a phenomenal linebacker and we’re really excited to see him get to work.
Brian Costello, New York Post: We’ve mentioned C.J.’s play on the ball. We saw (Jamien) Sherwood make a play on the ball. How critical has that become at linebacker? It’s no longer Dick Butkus, because the way offenses have evolved, how critical is coverage now for that position?
I think we learned it way back in 2012. The evolution of the running back and the passing game was far outpacing the linebacker. We’ve had these smaller, longer, faster linebackers since 2012. When you look at the pass game in our system, we ask more out of our linebackers, I think, than any system in football. They are stressed heavily in the pass game. They were almost asked to be supermen, to a degree. But the good ones can do it. You see Fred (Warner), Bobby Wagner, Paul Posluszny had a very successful career in Jacksonville, K.J. Wright, you can go on and on with all the guys that have had success in this system, Deion Jones, when Dan Quinn was in Atlanta. We’ve got a lot of faith in the linebacking crew that we have. We feel like they’ve done a really good job in taking the system, attacking it, and absorbing all the stress that’s put on them, and they’re getting comfortable. They’re about to see different schemes, and it’s going to create a whole new set of challenges for them. It’s going to be a great learning experience over the next three weeks.
DJ Bien-Aime, New York Daily News: I saw that Jason Pinnock and earlier throughout training camp saw Bryce Hall, they tried their catch technique. I wanted to ask you, what goes into a successful catch technique from a defensive guy?
Define your version of catch for me?
(follow up) So, when you’re just sitting out like six or seven yards, and you’re kind of squatting.
Okay. The biggest thing for us is, obviously, you got to be inside an area where you can’t have illegal contact so, we scoot up. The biggest thing is to have confidence in your reads, your eyes, your footwork and just stand strong, stay in there. It really comes into play when you’re getting those condenses blitz and all that stuff but, the biggest thing is patience. Absolute patience, and getting in front of the receiver to give yourself a chance to break in either direction and make a play on the ball.