Head Coach Robert Saleh, 8.15
Antwan Staley, New York Daily News: We didn’t see AVT (Alijah Vera-Tucker) out there. Is there any concern or what is going on?
He’s just dealing with an ankle. He’s going to be day to day.
Rich Cimini, EPSN.com: Robert, can you walk us through what ultimately led to pulling the trigger on Dalvin (Cook)?
Like I said, I think it was more from their camp, just trying to cross their t’s and dot their I’s and go through their process and making the best decision for their family as possible. Obviously, very excited to add a really, really good football player to this team and he adds another dynamic to this group that I think anybody would be excited about.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Robert, he obviously has some off the field stuff that he’s been dealing with. How much, obviously you guys are vetting that stuff, what made you comfortable with this decision?
With him, I’m obviously not going to go into detail. Obviously, the conversations we had and the depth at which we researched everything, I think we all came to agreement that we were very comfortable with the person and his situation.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Just real quick on AVT, when did he get hurt? I think he did WFAN this morning so was this at practice?
No, he’s been dealing with it for a while, so it’s just a matter of we’re just trying to help him kind of just take a break to see if we can get his ailment under control.
Rich Cimini, EPSN.com: With Dalvin, what is his timeline in terms of arrival and being able to practice and what do you see his role as?
I don’t have that answer for you yet, Rich. I know it’s going to be at least a week. I know he’s having a baby, which we’re all excited for him on, but it’s just a matter of getting on the phone with him today and getting him in here and just having those conversations to see where he’s at.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: We know he is a dynamic player, what is he going to do for this team?
There’s a lot. As a defensive coach, I’ll just sit there and just say, “God, you got Breece (Hall), Michael (Carter) and him and you got two of those guys in the backfield,” and there’s a lot of different things that you can do to create a bunch of headaches for defensive coaches and he’s not a trick back either. You can turn around and hand him the ball and he can run downhill and he’s done it for a long time. I look at it like our d-line (defensive line), you can never have enough and just let them rotate and be fresh and get downhill and wear people out.
Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: What did it mean to get Breece (Hall) back out there and what does the ramp up look like for him?
So, we’re going to take our time with him, like I’ve said from the beginning. If you ask him, he’s ready to go now. He’s chomping at the bit, wants to get in there with his teammates, but to have him back out there in pads, he looks freaking good. Just his size, kind of like Jermaine Johnson, just the way they’ve kind of morphed their bodies and he looks explosive. He looks powerful, so we’ll get him in, we will ease him in, but right now, it’s just acclamation.
Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Robert, you guys obviously all know it’s a business, everybody here does, but when you bring a guy like Dalvin in, you have a pretty full running back room right now. Is that something you or a position coach will discuss? Potential roles and whatnot when you bring a guy like that in with these guys?
There is nothing we’ve done that isn’t without a plan. Even when we talked to Dalvin, when he was here, just mapping out our vision of how this running back room would look. Talking with Joe (Douglas) and his staff and what our vision would be for Dalvin and Breece and Michael and ‘Bam’ (Zonovan Knight) and ‘Izzy’ (Israel Abanikanda) and just how that thing maps out, (Damarea) Crockett and (Travis) Dye, and just how that room is going to shake out, so we have a plan in place. I think expressing that plan to the players was very important, to make sure that everybody was on board. And just always being transparent. We will always be transparent with the players, be transparent with everybody, and I think everyone was pretty comfortable with it and we are rolling.
Connor Hughes, SNY: Have you and Joe (Douglas), after Cook signed or anything like that, thought back at all between the two of you on what this roster looked like before that 2020 offseason, when you first came here and compared to now, Cook, (Aaron) Rodgers?
It’s usually the case, right? It’s no one’s fault. Sometimes things don’t work. When we came in, we knew we had work to do and just knock on wood. Joe is so great with being transparent and communicating and getting input from the coaches and scouts and just making sure that we’re making the best decision for the organization with every decision we make and, knock on wood, we’ve been able to stack up some really good decisions over the last couple of years and it’s led to having a roster that has a purpose. It’s not just bringing in guys to bring in guys, there’s a plan for all of them and it’s been awesome to see it kind of evolve.
Connor Hughes, SNY: I think the one concern probably still with this team though is the line. We talked to you a couple of weeks ago and you had said after the Carolina game you wanted to have the five set, that you had your guys and you knew you were going forward with those five. We are after that Carolina game and unfortunately there’s a lot of rotations.
No, no for sure, there’s still going to be. I’ve said before, ideally would have wanted it done yesterday, but we’re not quite there yet, so we’re still rotating guys, trying to find the best five. Mekhi (Becton) is starting to come along, Duane Brown has still got to get in the rotation and come back, so there’s a lot of guys lobbying, so we’re going to continue to work to find our best five. It would have been great to have it done by the end of last week, but it’s not the case and we’re just going to keep working until we find the best five.
Antwan Staley, New York Daily News: What do you want to see from the joint practices tomorrow? Why was it just one joint practice as opposed to two?
I like one, one from a safety measure standpoint. I never like two practices because the second practice is usually when the injuries happen. Then the second practice is when the team that knows they kind of got beat, they go into their meeting rooms and the coaches are yelling at them and then they come out and they play with a little more edge and it pisses each other off and all the melees happen, so I just think the second day is very unproductive, except for trying to be reactionary to getting your butt kicked the day before, so it’s a lot more productive if you have one, it’s a lot safer from a player safety standpoint and you can get a lot more work done on your own and you’re only a couple of days away from a game too, so you don’t want that physical of a practice that close to a game, so there’s a lot of reasons for it, mainly safety for the players, and production of work, just avoiding all those useless melees.
Rich Cimini, EPSN.com: Back to Breece (Hall), how would you feel about his chances for being ready for Week One, and does Dalvin’s (Cook) presence now afford you the possibility of sitting Breece until he is totally comfortable?
Dalvin’s presence doesn’t change Breece’s timeline. We’re very comfortable with where Breece is at, very confident that he’ll be ready for Week One. I’ve said it, he looks awesome, he really does. Our plan for him has been very deliberate in making sure that we’re protecting him from him, and making sure that he’s 150% ready to roll, but as far as Breece goes and his preparation for Week One, we’re still anticipating that, and his timeline has not changed with the arrival of Dalvin.
Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: Joe Tippmann – we saw him getting some snaps with (Aaron) Rodgers today. How have you liked his progress and what made you confident?
I’m excited to go see the tape on this one just to see how he did because we wanted him to get some action with Aaron. Anyway, I’m just thinking about a couple plays in practice that got Aaron pissed off, but he’s a beauty, but Tippman has been doing a really nice job. He has elite strain and he’s been showing up really well in the games and we just wanted to get him against better competition with our starting d-line because there’s some things he’s got to work on, but the one thing that I can attest to is that he doesn’t have any work on his strain and athleticism and all that stuff. It’s just a matter of just learning the different techniques and football that we’re trying to teach him and how to do it versus bigger people and better people and to do it with all the thought that you have to have when Aaron’s under center with cadence and changing plays and all that, so we just wanted to give him that look. Connor (McGovern) will slip back in with the ones tomorrow and we’re just going to alternate just to give Tip (Tippmann) some of those opportunities. It was good to see them out there, I’m excited to see his tape.
Dennis Waszak, Associated Press: Robert, today’s typically, would have been a first cut down. As a coach, do you like the fact that there’s one cut down, where you can go through the rest of camp with this full roster or?
I do because there’s so many guys who are making late surges where you’re just not sure and you just ‘God, if I could just have one more week with this guy’ and sometimes you have to let those guys go. On the flip side, just having the body, so you’re not wearing down these last two weeks of camp, where you can hold practices, like today we had kind of an extended move the ball and we can do that because we have all these bodies. There’s still a lot of guys battling for those back-end roster spots and special teams, and every year, it feels like it’s the same case where you’re just begging to have a few more days with certain young men and sometimes you can’t.
Dennis Waszak, Associated Press: Does it help that you can maybe hide some guys too, if you keep them a little longer?
I guess, I’ll speak for Joe (Douglas) and his staff, but all staffs in all scouting departments throughout the NFL, I think they do a good job scouting and looking ahead and seeing tape and having an idea and a radar of who’s going to make it and who’s not. It’s why they get paid the big bucks, so it’s good to try to hide some, but I feel like there’s no hiding in this League anymore.
Connor Hughes, SNY: Just a quick follow up, with Joe, when we talked to you about Tippman before the Hall of Fame Game, it seemed like he was buying the eight ball quite a bit. Did something change that you saw in that Hall of Fame Game game, where you were like he might be a little further than we expected because suddenly since then, it’s been like one, one, one and then Zach (Wilson) had a good day?
Yeah, for sure. A couple days leading into the Cleveland game, it was pretty good and then that Cleveland game was really good. Then he had a really nice week in preparation for Carolina and he had another really nice game against Carolina. He’s coming along like all rookies do if you just give them enough reps they’re going to figure it out, especially with his demeanor and the way he plays, so he’s improving and he’s making it interesting, for sure, so it’s just for us when that starts to happen, ‘All right, let’s elevate the competition and let’s see if we can continue that’. That’s kind of the progression you take with these rookies, you just start out easy and you take it up a notch and you see where they go, but yeah, he’s moving in the right direction, for sure. Long way to go, but he’s still moving in the right direction. As for Zach, he’s been stacking up a lot of great days, really pumped for him, and I’m just going to keep knocking on wood for him. He’s doing really, really nice.