Take a look at top quotes from Defensive Coordinator Renaldo Hill, Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi and linebacker Kenneth Murray, Jr., before Tuesday's practice:
Defensive Coordinator Renaldo Hill
On LB Kenneth Murray, Jr. returning to practice:
"We're excited to get Kenneth back. I've been seeing him in the meetings going through all of the checks and going through the adjustments there and now we get a chance to get him on the field. It really adds some more depth at that linebacker position. He's a competitor. He's been wanting to get out of there. So, we get a chance to see him out there in practice today in 7-on-7. We're all excited."
On OLB Kyle Van Noy and depth at EDGE:
"We know he's that piece that can do multiple things, so you also have to include him. And then, obviously, Kenneth did some last year. So, the depth can be created through the guys that we have, which is really good, but we still want to see what these young guys do in this last preseason game. See if someone can really step up and maybe get some separation in that group. But, we're happy with how Chris Rumph [II] has been playing. He has really come into his own in year two and he's been a problem in the pass-rush, but he's also added some weight so you can feel him in the run game as well. I think we can go a number of different ways with it. I think as coaches, we just have to put our heads together and see what those combinations are going to be after this final preseason game."
On S Derwin James Jr.'s impact since signing his contract extension:
"You felt him from Day 1. He was itching, even in the 7-on-7 period. We we're trying to make sure we gave him the right reps, so we kind of held him out of Play 1. I had to hold on tight to make sure he didn't get off the handle [laughter]. But he was a pro about it, like he always is. Once he got out there, you felt the difference immediately. He brings that leadership, he brings the Alpha mentality to it. The guys feel it, and they were excited when they knew that he was going to be back at practice. He definitely adds a different element for us. We're just excited that he's here and available, ready to roll."
On CB Asante Samuel Jr.'s performance in training camp and competing with CB Michael Davis for a starting cornerback role:
"It's a competition until that ball is kicked off versus [Las] Vegas. These guys have both been competing at a high level, making our jobs difficult. That's the way we want it. I think it'd probably come into that week, who gives us the best chance. It could be a situation where both of those guys play, but we're going to look at all angles here. We just want those guys to keep competing until we make that decision. But that's what they've been doing and I really like what is done with our defensive back group. It has allowed everyone to elevate their game. They're playing at a high level right now."
Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi
On if G Zion Johnson is 'grasping NFL-level play':
"For sure. He's real smart, but you have to experience those things and experience how those things feel in real life. It's different sitting in the film room. It was all good experience for those guys."
On WR Joshua Palmer's development:
"Just more consistent. Last year, I think I mentioned this earlier, there was a volume to the offense that can become overwhelming to a rookie, and he's not dealing with that, so he's able to go out and play fast. I think what we saw in that preseason game is kind of what we expect from him, and what we've seen from him all of training camp. The arrow is up on him. He's a guy that, from Day 1, we felt really good about. I think he's just getting better and better, so very excited about his progress."
On FB Zander Horvath:
"He's a willing guy. He goes in there and hits. It is a new position for him and some of these things are a little bit new. We had an outside zone play where he's leading from the backfield, and really got the same look three different times from the Cowboys, and each time he was getting better at it. He's just a guy that the more reps he gets, the better he's going to be. He has athleticism, that's a big positive. I think he's a guy that can — I mean, he did it in college — you can hand the ball to him from a tailback position or a one-back position, so it gives you some personnel flexibility. I think he's smart. He has all of the makeup you want. Again, another guy that we feel real optimistic about."
Linebacker Kenneth Murray Jr.
On returning to practice:
"It felt how it is supposed to feel. It's been a long road; some ups and some downs. Obviously, having surgery and having to work through that. My mindset and how I feel about it is I'm grateful for every opportunity, whether it was individual drills or whatever I get. I'm trying to just take in every opportunity. It felt great. I'm extremely grateful to be able to play this game."
On if he uses 'setbacks' as motivation:
"Absolutely. I truly believe that adversity comes and it either makes you or breaks you. My life and who I am, I choose to use that to forge me into what I become today. Like I said before, I thrive on going out there and showing that every day. That's just how I feel about this season and how I am approaching that this season is just every day just responding and showing who the hell I am. Period. That's just how I feel."
On 'if he hasn't been able to show who he is due to injuries':
"Yeah, that all goes into it. I think everything happens for a reason. Honestly, I truly do believe that everything that I've been through up to this point has been preparing me for this moment. That's why I would say before I come out here with a grateful heart, trying to just take advantage of every opportunity. I attack every day as that. I control what I can control. I don't worry about things that I can't control. That really has just been the mindset. That's what got me through rehab every day. It sucked because I was coming up here and I virtually couldn't be with the team because the team was doing team things and I was stuck in the rehab room all by myself. It sucks, but I can't dwell on that. I had to continue to just tell myself, 'Control what I can control.' We found some unique ways to get things done and come back in great shape. I feel great. I feel ready to go. I'm ready to dominate the season."
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