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Transcript - Practice (Dec. 11, 2019)


Wednesday, December 11, 2019 | Hoag Performance Center | Costa Mesa, Calif.


On CB Michael Davis:

"I thought [CB Brandon] Facyson did a good job the last couple of weeks. I definitely want him to continue to get reps in practice. He'll probably be in the game at some point, but Michael Davis will start."

On CB Brandon Facyson:

"[I like] his physicality in the run game. I love the way he stepped up, taking on blocks and made plays.

"He has shown flashes of that, but seeing him back-to-back weeks and him being consistent at it, that's what been impressive."

On Facyson's experience earlier in the season:

"I'm sure that helps some because this time around it was better. I think he was getting his feet wet the first time around. This time, it was night-and-day."

On patience with young players:

"I know we live in a microwave industry right now where we want instant success, but these guys are rookies and second-year players, they're still developing. You have to be patient with these young men. I believe you can put them in a situation or a mindset where you set them up for failure if you're not because it takes some time to adjust to the speed at this level, and everybody is an elite athlete. It's not like college where you're the dominant guy anymore. You look at quarterbacks around the league now, they come in their rookie year and we expect these guys to be like Pro Bowlers. Hell, when I played, the quarterback couldn't get on the field for four years. You do have to be a little more patient with young players.

"I think it's just the world that we live in now. It's just what it is."

On possibly making a difference in another team's season:

"No, I haven't thought much about that at all. I just want to make a difference on this team here and try to get another win."

On LB Drue Tranquill:

"He started last week, but he hasn't taken over as the starter. I think Drue has played better and he was more consistent last week. He had his best game last week, in my opinion. I like what Drue has done. He's a very mature rookie. He takes his job seriously."

On the starting MIKE linebacker:

"[LB] Denzel [Perryman] is the starting MIKE."

On Minnesota's play-action game:

"Well, I'll tell you, you have to be really good with your pre-snap reads. I know this offense like the back of my hand. This is the one that I grew up in. Half of those coaches over there, I've played for or coached with. You have to be very disciplined with your pre-snap reads because they make it look identical — the run game, the run-action game. It's simple for them, but it's complicated for others and that's the way they like it."

On implementing play-action into the offense:

"I think your scheme is based on your personnel and what you have. If I had that personnel, then yeah, I probably would use more of that, but that's not our personnel.

"I mean, I have a classic, dropback passer. I build my offense around what I have."

On Vikings QB Kirk Cousins:

"I think he's playing better. I think he's taking care of the football. I love the way that they're using him, [Vikings Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Adviser Gary] Kubiak is running him around the pocket. They're running boots and nakeds, they're protecting him that way. He's throwing with some accuracy."

On the Vikings defense:

"I think [Vikings DE] Danielle [Hunter] is at 12 [sacks] and the other one is at eight or nine. Those guys, they can get after the passer. That defensive line is outstanding. I like the interior guys as well. It's pretty similar to what we saw last week, but maybe even better. We're going to have to step up, protect the quarterback, we're going to have to run the ball. When we need to, run-action, and do the things that we're capable of doing."

On DT Jerry Tillery:

"I don't make those decisions on Wednesday. I usually do those at the end of the week."

On Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer:

"[His defense is] technique-sound, fundamentals. They play hard. They're going to play hard for four quarters. Aggressive and they don't beat themselves."

On Vikings RB Dalvin Cook:

"Well, I'll tell you, he's a good back. I mean, he's fast and he has gotten that zone-read down — that wide-zone down that [Gary] Kubiak likes to run. [Vikings Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator] Rick Dennison, that offensive line coach, he has done a heck of a job with it. He is definitely a threat."

On deciding whether to go for a fourth down:

"I'm a numbers guy. I think there's a time where you have to trust your own instincts. You have to know if it's too early to pull the trigger with something like a two-point play or do it later in the game. I always look at the numbers. There are times where you just have to go on the instincts.

"I'm getting fed numbers constantly, yeah. [Offensive Assistant Coach Dan] Smash [Shamash], my assistant tight end coach. He's upstairs."

On the fourth quarter of the season:

"You just said it, absolutely. Not even 2-0 — we just want to be 1-0 this week. We can be 1-0 this week, then we'll start all over and do it again next week."

On the season:

"Right now, I don't have that luxury to reflect back on the season because I would get my butt kicked this weekend. My focus is ahead and is on the Minnesota Vikings."

On playing at home for a long time:

"It's always great to play at home, not travel and play in front of your fans. Yeah, we're looking forward to it."

On the performance in Jacksonville:

"We tackled better, we blocked better and we took care of the football. We didn't take any away, but we didn't give them any."

On stopping the Minnesota offense:

"Well, you can't reached on the front side and we can't get cut on the back side. That's what that offensive line is built for — they're athletic, they're light and they can move. We definitely can't let them cut us off on the backside. That's huge in the wide-zone scheme."

On QB Tyrod Taylor:

"Tyrod is just a really cool guy. He doesn't say a whole lot. He is very much prepared every single week. He's there every day. He's a football junkie. I thought he went in last week and he did his job. We didn't ask him to do a whole lot, but what we asked him to do, I thought he did his job well."

On Perryman starting:

"It's because he's been our starting MIKE all year. Last week, we had a disagreement. He went home and he understands. Now, he's back."

On RB Austin Ekeler:

"I love what he did last week. I just hope he can do it again this week. That's my focus, is getting that same type of production this week."


On Minnesota's defense:

"Yeah, they're good. Obviously, I've gone against [Vikings Head] Coach [Mike] Zimmer and this scheme a handful of times over his years in Cincinnati and in 2015 up in Minnesota. We saw him the preseason once briefly out there. It's a good defense. They've kept some continuity player-wise as well, which he had in Cincy, which helps with this scheme. They give you a lot of looks. They work well together. They fly around. They make you earn every first down. Nothing will come easy. It will be a heck of a challenge."

On trying to play spoiler:

"I think we want to win for us. Obviously, it's been tough with every loss by one score. Obviously, the tough stretch there right in the middle. We're playing for us, but certainly, there's a lot on the line for them. The Rams are pulling for us as well. It'll be a heck of a game. Again, our focus is 1-0 this week. I think keeping that focus served us well last week. We'll have the same approach and see if we can find a way to get another one."

On T Russell Okung:

"I think he would probably tell you, too, that he is getting more and more in a groove. Having been out a large portion of the year, then come back, then get injured, and then get back in there. Again, he's a Pro Bowl tackle. I think a veteran like him, like with [C Mike] Pouncey, they bring more than just their play — just with their leadership. The whole vibe in the huddle and the whole deal, it's been good to have him back.

"Gosh, yeah from where we were four or five months ago, you didn't know if he was ever going to play. Who knows? I know it was tough for him and I know it probably weighed on him heavily, the whole process of coming back, 'Should I?' I'm sure it was heavy on him as well. He had a great approach and I'm happy to see him healthy. Besides the fact that it's nice to have him out there playing football with us, the fact that he's healthy feels good. It's awesome."

On Vikings QB Kirk Cousins:

"I don't know if you call it a turnaround. I think Kirk has been a consistent player his whole career. Obviously, he's a competitor, he's accurate. He's done a heck of a job leading those guys. They've been scoring a lot of points and haven't turned the ball over. Their defense has gotten a lot of takeaways. That group, again, they've won nine football games for a reason. He's certainly had his hand in it, as well, leading the group. It'll be a heck of a challenge. It's an all-around good football team that we're playing on Sunday."

On LB Thomas Davis Sr. helping with the play resulting in a touchdown on Sunday:

"[It doesn't happen] very often. I think when you have a guy that's played as long as he has, the dialogue between players and coaches with things here and there — there is some back-and-forth. I think when coaches trust players — and certainly when guys have earned that over a 15-year career — our original way of having that play set up, Thomas said that he would have alerted it right away. We tried to just hide it a little bit and it ended up working out for us."

On the season:

"I think it's tough. It's tough to not play the what if game and the would've, could've, should've game. Especially being that the games were all so close, every loss. It makes it tougher. Had we been blown out eight times, it's hard to say that we could have done this or could have done that and been sitting here differently. It does make it tough to not do that, but we can only control what we have left. I think, as a group, we've been pretty resilient and kind of just kept that one-day-at-a-time mentality. We'll do that the rest of the way this week and the next two and see if we can at least finish the year off the right way."

On RB Austin Ekeler:

"He's been a big factor for us, not only this year, but the last handful of years. I think last week was, again, he continued to show his versatility in both the run and the pass game. He's had big plays for us all year. Last week, with it being rushing and receiving over 100 yards is remarkable when you think about that it's been 35 years since it's happened here. He continues to surprise none of us in that locker room. Just his consistency, the way he works, the way he prepares. It shows up each and every week.

"There are times he reminds me of Danny [Woodhead] and [Darren] Sproles. He is his own, just like Danny is his own and Darren is own. I hate to do too much comparison of guys because they are all unique. Certainly, Austin has turned himself into about as versatile as anyone in the league as far as his route tree. He's continued to grow. He doesn't just run. It's still expanding, and he wants that. He really loves to compete, learn and see how much he can get better. I think that has shown from day one as he trotted out there wearing No. 3 to where he is now [three] years later.

"Shoot, I don't like to look ahead too far. I'm just glad that we have him this week. That's about as far as I can go, to be honest with you. Yeah, he's certainly a guy you want around because of, shoot, what he can do to help us get first downs and score points. He has been a big part of it."

On the team needing a win like last week:

"Shoot, we all wanted that. We had shown spurts of that, really, all year long. I think what gets lost, and rightfully so, in the midst of losing eight close games and having the turnovers that we've had is all the good things we've done. You can't enjoy them as much and they don't mean as much when you're not winning games, but we've had spurts like that all year long. We've played good football in a lot of games. Again, the turnovers and some critical mistakes have kept us from winning. It was nice to kind of put it all together in all three phases and go win us a game in comfortable fashion. It didn't have to be a one-score game."

On having fun on Sunday:

"I was [having fun]. Shoot, you never know who's mic'd up these days I guess, but yeah, I was. Certainly, it was fun to be excited. Again, we've been through a rough stretch. It was an all-around fun day."

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