Head Coach Robert Saleh, 9.5

[please click photo for link to the video]

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, do you know who your quarterback is going to be for Sunday? 

Well, we put Zach (Wilson) through a workout today. Looked good, felt good. We’re going to see how the knee responds today and tomorrow and we’ll have an answer for everybody on Wednesday.

 

Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: So, there’s a possibility he could play on Sunday?

Yeah, it’s possible.

 

Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Is that surprising at all, given what the kind of initial prognosis was?

No, everyone heals differently. It’s like I said, we’ll see what happens tomorrow and all that stuff, but I almost feel like some of the guidelines that are put on are guidelines, but everyone responds differently, I guess.

 

Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: So, when you when you say you guys worked him out like what does that entail exactly? 

Just putting him through some workouts, running and all that stuff. I mean whatever they do, I’d have the get you that answer from the training staff and our docs (doctors).

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: Did he throw or was it just like running and stuff?

He did do some throwing, but again, like the details of all that stuff, I couldn’t give you the details of what his rep count was and all that stuff.

 

Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Robert, when do you want to make that decision? Before Wednesday’s practice?

It does nothing for us in terms of from a game plan standpoint. They’re both, all three of our quarterbacks are capable of running our offense at a high level, so for Mike (LaFleur) and all them, they’ll be able to game plan the way they need to.

 

Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post (Follow up): In terms of, you making it public so to speak. Are you going to wait until the end of the week, or is that something that we’re going to know?

It’ll be Wednesday, guys.

 

Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: From a pure football standpoint with Zach, is one of the factors you have to consider is the fact that he missed like three weeks of practices and reps and games and that Joe’s (Flacco) more comfortable, like how much does that factor into the decision?

Eventually, whether it’s this week, next week, it’s going to be the same story like you’re talking about, Rich where eventually he has to get back in there and whether it’s this week, next week, the week after, it doesn’t matter, so you just have to rip the band aid off. When Zach’s ready to play and he’s healthy, like I’ve said from the beginning, when he’s healthy and he feels good, he’s going to play football.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: So, he wouldn’t need any kind of period to ramp up again? Robert, you’re saying once he’s healthy, he’s ready to go? 

Yep.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: What’s the difference like with a game six days away? Do you feel a difference in the building? 

Yeah. Well, you know, after a three-day weekend, usually this Monday is like, at least I’m speaking for myself. I feel like there’s always been injuries on that Monday following a three-day weekend, so we just had more of a workout and kind of a walkthrough, so it’s a weird feel on Mondays, but I know that the guys are really, really excited. They’re amped up, they’re talking about it, they’re watching tape, they’re asking coaches all the right questions and as we get closer, especially on Wednesday, that’s when the building really electrifies on Wednesday and really excited for the week of preparation.

 

Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: What’s the latest you have on DJ Reed and his availability for Sunday?

Same thing. He went through a workout today too. So, we’ll see how he how he feels between today and tomorrow and should have better answers on Wednesday.

 

Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: What are the challenges, and this has been ongoing for the last few years where teams and coaches played starters much less in preseason games than it used to be and because of that, it seems like it takes a little bit longer for teams to be sharp, for lack of a better word. What are the challenges of that as you now are getting ready to start to play a game for real when you’ve had so little time to see your offensive line together and everybody else?

It really kind of depends on where you are as a football team. Whether you’re a veteran team or a young team, for us, with what happened with us is our offensive line has just been injured in terms of just trying to re-acclimate and kind of ramp back up to get healthy, got Duane (Brown) late, George Fant has been working through his knee and he’s gotten himself back to full strength and so, it really hasn’t been a choice in this building at least, but getting those guys together, obviously I’ve talked about it, is important. We were able to get it some today. We had it all of last week. We’ll get it again this week, so I feel really good about the direction that it’s going and I’m pretty confident that they’ll be able to play very well.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert, what are your expectations for Quinnen (Williams) entering this season?

Shoot, with Quinnen, it’s no different. Dominate your moments, step on the gas and just roll. He can be a very dominant football player and I’m not talking dominant from a statistical standpoint; I just think he can be a very disruptive football player and he’s fully healthy, he’s in tremendous shape, he’s got the right mindset and he’s saying all the right things. Just really excited for him to just put that effort out every single day and see where it takes him, but he’s in a much better place than he was a year ago just in terms of his overall physical makeup because of the injury he suffered during OTAs last year, but really excited about the direction he’s going.

 

Al Iannazzone, Newsday: How much do you think the people around him help him as well? The fact that you have Carl (Lawson) now and some of the other d-linemen you brought in.

It always helps, when they can’t focus on one guy, it makes everyone’s job, when you create one-on-ones and the objective is to try to find a way to get all four of those guys one-on-ones in a third down situation where everyone knows it’s pass and you just know one of them are going to win. You know JFM (John Franklin-Myers) is going to win, you know Quinnen is going to win, you know Carl’s going to win. You know whether it’s Jacob (Martin), (Sheldon) Rankins, Jermaine (Johnson) on the other side, (Bryce) Huff, whoever it is on the other side, you know they’re going to win. You just know that one of those guys are going to win. When you have four guys like that and you have offenses that do everything they can to stay out of those one-on-one situations, it’s just advantageous for the defense. So, when they can’t focus on Quinnen completely because they do have to worry about others, it absolutely helps.

 

Brian Costello, New York Post: Are you able to draw anything from the 2019 game against Lamar Jackson and the Ravens or is that too long ago? Personnel too different? Obviously, you’re on a different team now.

Yeah, it’s different. Feels like forever ago. The one thing you do see is that teams, they’ve seen everything and Rome (Greg Roman) does an unbelievable job recognizing within the first 15, the game plan that a team is going into and he knows exactly how to make the changes he needs to make. You try to look at as much film as you can and you try to look at what you put on tape with regards to some of that zone read stuff, but at the end of the day, you’ve just got to stay true to who you are and what you believe in and then from there, it’s just a matter of making sure you are fundamentally sound and in a mental state where you can execute at the highest level because if you’re off by a step, Lamar, he’s pretty talented.

 

Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Robert, with Lawson back, obviously we didn’t get him to see at all last year and just kind of, you know, the second year for everybody in the system, Zach offensively and everything, as you get closer to this first game, what are your expectations? I mean, do you feel like there’s a lot of unknowns? You’re coming off a four-win season or whatever last year, what are you feeling right now?

There’s always excitement, like I’ve said before, we’ve got this combination of a lot of youth with some good veterans and I’m just really excited to see who the bell cow is going to be in the fourth quarter. We have a really cool roster, a really cool group of guys offensively, defensively, and special teams. A lot of youth, a lot of good veterans and football always comes to the fourth quarter where your playmakers just rise to the occasion, and they take things over and that’s every team. It’s where you see guys like (Patrick) Mahomes and Josh Allen just throwing haymakers and Stefon Diggs. At the end of the Super Bowl where you see Aaron Donald make the last two plays of the game and closing that game out. It’s every team and what’s great about this team is I know we have them and it’s going to be so fun to watch this team kind of grow up this year in terms of who those dudes are that step up in the fourth quarter, whether coach is making the call or players stepping up and making the unbelievable happen or the magnificent happen or whatever you want to call it, but that’s going to be what’s great about this year and then who knows from there. I’m just really excited because I think we’ve got a really good thing going here and it’s going to be fun to watch it evolve.

 

Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: You said that a lot this summer about waiting for those, I think you’ve used the word superstars, to emerge kind of thing. You obviously have a pretty good idea who those guys potentially are going to be. How long is it going to take, or does it need to take? I mean, does it have to start on Sunday, for example? Do you have any idea how long it’s going to take for these guys to emerge?

That’s a good question. I was reading an article, John Schneider at Seattle. He was commenting because they were asking about his team and he said nobody knew, and he had the perfect quote, nobody knew who Kam Chancellor was and Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas, nobody knew who those guys were, Bobby Wagner, and then they just they show up week in and week out. We can play a great game week one, they still won’t know. We can play great game week two, still won’t know. It’s not going to happen until we stack up great days and create that identity throughout the season, so that’s the identification of superstars is more for everyone else. It’s going to be fun, I know in this building to see it all happen, but at the same time, you never know until you know, but I know we’ve got them.

 

Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: Robert, have you picked captains yet?

Yeah, so offense, Zach Wilson and these are all voted on by their peers. Defense, CJ Mosley and then special teams, Justin Hardee, so I believe it’s same three captains from a year ago and then we will have a fourth captain voted by the coaching staff for every game.

 

Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: We know that obviously Sauce (Gardner) is going to start, but you guys got a lot of rookies who look like they’re going to play. What kind of impact do you think these rookies are going to make for you?

It’s going to be like every other rookie. And that’s me, I mean, say I’m hard on rookies or not, but you’re going to have your hair pulling moments. If I had hair, I’d pull them out, but you’re also going to have some wow moments because they are explosive. They’re full of energy and they’ve got a lot of talent, but at the same time, the mental aspect, I’ve always said before, you play young guys with the hopes that they become veterans mentally while they still possess all their athleticism that they showed when they ran at the combine and their pro days. Coaches, traditionally, we want veterans, but usually if you’re getting a veteran who’s a veteran mentally, they’re usually at the back end of their career where they may not be as fast, they may not be as explosive, but they’re very safe because they’re always where they’re supposed to be. A young guy may not be where he’s supposed to be, but he’s fast, he’s explosive, he does a lot of cool things, and he has a lot of splash plays and he pops off the tape, so the objective for us is to get these guys as many reps as possible, so they can get that veteran mindset. There’s a sweet spot and that’s what we’re aiming for. That’s why we’re trying to get them as much experience as possible. Same thing with last year’s crew, mix in some veterans this year and let’s see if we can grow up pretty quick. And to me, you grow up by getting reps and hopefully I answered your question there.

 

Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: Specifically, about Sauce (Gardner), how grown up has he shown himself to be this summer for you so far? 

He’s been great. He’s been great. He’s shown that it’s not too big for him, but now he’s getting into the season, so it’s a whole different animal and something that I think every rookie, at least every rookie I’ve ever talked to, that first game is just different. In terms of the amount of speed, the amount of violence that possesses, just how fast everything is moving. There’s still another step that they’ve all got to take. There’s a bunch of steps they’ve all got to take, but I love his mindset. I don’t think it’s too big for him. It’s not too big for Garrett (Wilson), Breece (Hall), Jermaine (Johnson), Micheal (Clemons), all our rookies. Really excited to see those guys in their first week.

 

Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post: How would you describe Sauce’s confidence level if you had to put that into words?

 

Andy Vasquez, NJ Advance Media: One more with Sauce, obviously you guys grew up in the same area and share a connection to Detroit. I’m just wondering how that kind of shaped his whole recruitment or the pre-draft process and how it kind of shapes your relationship now?

As far as the draft process, the good thing about the NFL is we don’t have to recruit them. They’re either coming or they’re not, but you know, as far as the relationship, from my standpoint is understanding where he was raised and how he was raised in having to walk through those streets when I was younger, and just understanding his mentality helps me be able to communicate with him. I don’t think he ever came on my side of the tracks, he probably would have ran for the hills. I’m just playing. You guys have no humor today, but no, I think it helps me communicate with him, understanding where he is mentally and what he needs at that moment.

 

POWERED BY 1RMG