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Transcript - Practice (Sept. 5, 2019)


Thursday, September 5, 2019 | Hoag Performance Center | Costa Mesa, Calif.


Opening statement:

"This is a great challenge for us in our first game. We can talk a lot about this team — how well their depth is. You just look at last year, they're a team that averaged over 27 points and won 10 of their last 12 games. They run the ball very well. They had two games, I think, with over 220 yards. They had 173 against Dallas. You can tell their mindset. They're strong up front — it's a very good offensive line. The running back is good and they have the ability to get deep shots — explosive plays with guys like [Colts WR] T.Y. [Hilton] and [Colts TE Eric] Ebron at tight end. They have a good skill set, too. It will be a great challenge and a great first game for us."

On how the Colts offense changes without QB Andrew Luck:

"There are some unknowns. You're going through it and you watch preseason to see some things that they do there. You get a feeling that [Colts QB Jacoby Brissett] can operate the offense very well. He does a good job. We anticipate seeing some of the same things philosophy-wise. I'm sure we'll see new plays and different wrinkles and things like that, but he does a good job. We've been spending a lot of time with our guys on Brissett and just watching him as far as handling himself on first, second and third down. The types of passes, how he extends plays. He's very strong in the pocket. We're learning more about him and really directing our focus towards him as a quarterback."

On how the change at quarterback affects the defensive game plan:

"I think because we're in such a training camp mode — sure you look at a few things, but for the most part we knew the information prior to where we were heavy in game planning. I'm sure that we're going to have to make adjustments as the game goes on, get a feel for what they're doing and how they're trying to attack us. We've asked our guys, we will have some different things up. We'll just kind of go as we get a feel for what they're trying to attack us with. We're anticipating a lot of the same philosophy."

On Colts QB Jacoby Brissett in 2017:

"It's just a different team. I think there was one game that he got sacked — I don't know, [maybe] 10 times they were saying today in one game. It's a different game, a different team for him. I think some of his mannerisms, how he tries to extend plays, but most of our focus has been on when he has been playing this year."

On starters not having played in the preseason:

"Well, it's a good question. I think there's no doubt that we'll be prepared and ready to go. It's just, what do we have? That's where, thankfully, we had those joint practices because I think that those times we kind of saw, 'Alright, this looks good,' and we made adjustments off of it. I think that gave us some clues right there. Still, until you go out there and play on a Sunday, I think then you'll learn even more. I think that there will be some growing pains just like we had last year early, but then they started to get into a rhythm and understood it. There are going to be some things like that to pop up. They're a very strong, cohesive unit and they understand the defense well. Like I said, there are obviously things that we have to throw wrinkles in. Now, it's just playing fast. I think that's our No. 1 concern — can we go out there [against] this style of offense and still play fast, and not think so much or over-analyze to where it slows us down?"

On replacing S Derwin James Jr.:

"I think the positioning of players — it gave us some time to look and say, 'What's best for us? How do we position guys?' Last year, we were a big dime team. Now, with [S Adrian] AP [Phillips] in there, what are we? We have two good linebackers that are playing and there are some guys very capable behind them. I think it's just how much dime, how much nickel and how we position guys. Those are the things that it gave us a little bit of time to figure out while we were in training camp."

On LB Uchenna Nwosu:

"He'll play OTTO for us and then he'll also be the backup to [DE] Melvin [Ingram III]."

On the defensive flexibility with S Adrian Phillips:

"I think we'll just be flexible. I think there will be some times and places where we move him around. Again, maybe not like we did [Derwin] DJ [James], but I think we just have to be flexible and see depending on — really, I think based upon what they're coming out in and how they're trying to attack us."

On the Colts offensive line:

"It's very talented, very talented. I think when you put up numbers like that in the rushing game — they're a team that wants to establish the run. That's at least how we're looking at it. They want to establish the run, get the run game going and then have the ability to take shots. They had 118 explosive plays and I think 38 of them went to T.Y. [Hilton]. They're relying on that to get big plays. That's our style, to say, 'Hey, we've got to stop the run and eliminate or cut down on the number of explosive plays.' That will be the battle. Can we stop the run enough to make them one dimensional so that we know or is it going to be a game where it goes back-and-forth and we have to get that rush on first and second down?"

On S Nasir Adderley:

"That's kind of always been our philosophy here — if a guy does really well in practice, we're going to try to find him a role on the team, whether it's a third down package or a second down package, based on personnel. It was great to see those flashes. I don't know if he's ready for that yet, to where we say, 'Hey, let's get a package for him.' I do think that his progress of what we saw in preseason intrigues us. His speed — he gives us reasons why we drafted him. Now, he really hasn't had many practices with us before that game, so I think right now we're getting him ready so, if something were to happen, he could come in as a backup."

On DB Desmond King II:

"There will be a subtle few things [that change about his role], but for the most part he will line up and you'll see him where he has been in the past. Some of the things that we ask of him might be different.

"Again, not getting too much into it — I think, if you watched it as a fan, you wouldn't notice it. Maybe some of the techniques that we're asking him to do. I think that he has played that position to where he has a good feel, so some of the things that we're asking him to do is because of his knowledge. Maybe we wouldn't teach a first-year guy, but he understands the position well enough. I feel like when you're rolling as a team, it might look like this coverage and we might know how the coverage looks, but sometimes the players know it so well that it doesn't match up that way. I think that's what we're getting closer to."

On King as a blitzer:

"He is an effective blitzer for us. I think that really all of those guys really have to have the ability to blitz. We want to make sure that we get them all involved. Last year, we felt like Derwin [James] was a very good blitzer, so we tried to utilize that skill set. I think that's kind of a work-in-progress to see who is that guy that we feel really good about bringing on a rush."

On the defensive line against the Indianapolis offensive line:

"I think now that we have the ability with linebackers, two linebackers in the game that are truly linebackers — that's what they're paid to do. We feel good about it. I guess we'll see with this challenge because we're going up against a really good running team. They made it known that they want to be a top-five rushing team in the league. That's their mindset. The experience with a lot of our guys knowing [Colts Head] Coach [Frank] Reich and his philosophy, we kind of understand what we're getting. We're going to have to do a good job against their running game."

On S Rayshawn Jenkins:

"I don't see [moving him to strong safety] right now. We have developed packages where the free safety has moved around. I'm not going to say that it's not an option. I think, now, for Nas [Adderley], the biggest thing is staying healthy and just to start stacking up good practices. When he's on the service team and he gets his second reps and things like that, — show us that he's ready to go and that we can get him in the game."

On missing defensive players:

"You always want as many good players as you can out on the field. Whenever you lose a player like that, it's always a challenge, but we do have guys that step up. I think a guy like AP, what you do when an injury like that happens with Derwin — you always appreciate him, but you appreciate him even more. There are things like that come up. That part is always a challenge, but I think our guys — it's amazing. I didn't know if I'd have to address that DJ is down and here's how we are going to handle it, but our guys were more like, 'Let's go. He's hurt, we're behind him, we'll support him.'"

On DT Jerry Tillery:

"I think that we're excited about his future. I think the more reps that he gets as it goes on, he is going to turn into being a very, very good player for us. Is he that right now? No, I would not say that, but I think he has a chance to develop to be a very good player. When I say, 'Is he there yet,' I'm talking about a dominating-type of player. He's not that right now. He's learning and he has his traits, length, speed and things like that. We just have to polish it up to where it's consistent."

On Head Coach Anthony Lynn:

"You know what I appreciate about Anthony? His demeanor with the team. His style brings a toughness to the team. I think that's what really jumps out at me. There's not a lot of talk, but they all know. They all know what he brings and they all know. When he addresses the team, if it's important, he's going to address the team. There's that mentality of toughness. As a defensive coach, you love that about him. He'll challenge us as coaches. He has a great view of things, offensively. 'Hey Gus, this is how we would attack you. I've been watching the tape and you had better anticipate this. Look at this game, that's similar to how we would attack.' There is great conversation like that back-and-forth with him. That's been since day one. He just does a really good job with the team. There are no real highs or lows. They know what they're getting every time that they come in the building and that hasn't changed from when we were 0-4 to start [2017] or when we were on a roll last year. I think that's what you appreciate about him, is consistency."

On LB Kyzir White:

"I think Kyzir, when he came here, he always jumped out talent-wise. It was just the health part. Our training staff and coaches have done a really good job monitoring him to where he feels really good. He's healthy and he's playing faster. Now, it's just getting more reps. He played at strong safety-type of position [in college]. Playing that linebacker is a little bit new. He's physical, his speed and quickness, strength — those traits he has. That's one where he's going to make some mistakes, but I think when he polishes up, he is going to be a pretty good player for us."

On LB Thomas Davis Sr.:

"This meeting could last a long time. The way he comes in, I've never seen anybody come in from day one and hold players accountable. He will hold a player accountable. You might think, 'Well, it might take some time. Maybe in OTAs he will get a feel for things and we'll see the Thomas Davis personality show up in training camp,' but it was from day one. He has the respect of all of the players. Just how he goes about his business. He's teaching our guys. We have some professional players, but I think he also takes it to another level. We're putting a lot on his plate now. Some of the things that we're asking him to do isn't familiar to him from when he was at Carolina. What a great challenge for him as far as a different mindset with what we ask of him and the linebackers. He has welcomed it with open arms. He sees it as a great challenge for him. His leadership [is valuable], especially for a guy like Kyzir [White] and those younger guys — Uchenna [Nwosu]. He has been great in that room with them."


On going up against the Colts:

"They have two great backs. We obviously saw what they could do last year. It's a different challenge with No. 7 [Colts QB Jacoby Brissett] back there. He can move around in the pocket really well. He's pretty elusive. He does a good job at getting the ball off even with guys draped on him. Something like [Steelers QB] Ben Roethlisberger or something like that. Obviously, not the same size exactly, but he's an impressive player. He can make the throws, it's definitely going to be a challenge."

On if the team is ready following preseason:

"I think it's going to be an advantage for us. It's a lot of wear and tear. It may not seem like a lot, but it's a lot of vets who were taking the time off for the games. I think [QB] Philip Rivers knows how to throw a football at this point plus we've been having unbelievable practice, especially with the Rams and the Saints. Those were both great weeks. I think it will benefit us and take some of that wear and tear off of us like I said. We will see. We've got a pretty nice schedule this year. With our bye week, things work out pretty well where we will get a lot of time off so I think our guys will actually be feeling pretty good this year, hopefully."

On the Colts offense:

"Yeah, I think as a defense, we're always stop the run first and then we are going to get after the passer because if they are having success running the ball, they're not going to drop back and throw the ball. That's kind of our mindset every week, but it's a little more prevalent this week with this running game."

On Indianapolis offensive line:

"They have a good offensive line. If you look at it, it's a lot of what [former Colts QB Andrew] Luck was doing back there as well. He was unbelievable back there, getting rid of the ball quick and mobility in the pocket, obviously. They have the All-Pro guard, they have a great center and they have a great left tackle. They have a great all-around line and that's exciting for us. It's going to be a great challenge for us. I think the Saints and the Rams were both good tests with the offensive line because they were both really solid, so we'll have another test this week."

On being mentally ready for the season:

"It's huge. It's what I've been working back towards ever since I hurt my foot. I'm feeling great. I'm feeling really good this week. I'm definitely ready to go. Mentally, I'm feeling good. Obviously, when your body feels good it takes a lot off the stress levels. I'm feeling great, I had a great camp. It's only my second out of four camps that I actually did, which was funny, but I'm feeling good."

On the defensive line:

"I think [DE Melvin] Mel [Ingram III], myself and that whole [defensive line] have really grown to have a nice relationship in there. [DE] Isaac Rochell and I were looking at each other the other day, just saying, 'Man, it's going to suck when we're not [all together] in the same room in a few years,' whenever that may happen. Not looking ahead. Obviously, the duo with me and Mel is great. We complement each other and when we're switching sides, it's such a different look for the tackle that I think it helps us."

On his health:

"I'm in the best shape I've ever been in, definitely. I've been getting better every year and it's going to continue to do that until I physically can't anymore. I think every single year I'm looking to have that jump in athleticism and as long as I stay healthy, I don't see why that won't be the case."

On LB Thomas Davis Sr.:

"He gained the respect of the players, obviously. He got voted captain. I was one of the people that voted him. It's just instant leadership when he comes in. You obviously know he has been around for a long time and you can see it. He has been around a lot of great players, so he just knows how to lead, he knows how to be one of the guys, he knows how to connect with even the younger guys. It's cool to see."

On personal goals for the season:

"I really don't. It never was effective for me. I really just try — as corny as it sounds — I really just try to be the best I can possible be and everything will follow with that. If I'm treating my body right and I'm training right and I'm practicing well, then things should fall into place. I don't think about reaching for sacks or [saying], 'I have to get this many sacks.' There's a lot of things that have to happen for you to get a sack. Beating your tackle is one of them, but the ball gets out fast. I just focus on being the best player I could be every day and I think things will fall into place."

On S Derwin James Jr:

"It sucks, definitely. Everybody misses Derwin. They're lying to you if they say they don't, but we have great guys to step up in place of him and it's not like he is going to be out forever. He's already excited to get this process moving, get healthy and get back out there. He was out at walkthrough today and his emotions are good, he seems happy. It's tough, but just like I went down last year it's always that next man up mentality. We're not worried. Obviously, we're upset and we're sad about it, but we're not worried."

On advice given to James:

"I gave him a doctor that he could go talk to if he wanted to. He's just been asking me a few questions about the recovery process. I'm sure more will come and I'll be there to help him with it. It's a little different scenario with the surgery and everything, but pretty similar, I think. Right now, there's not really much he can do, he's in a boot kind of just trying to keep other parts of his body strong so once he gets out, I'll make sure I'm helping him through it a little bit."

On added pressure on defensive line:

"Rush and cover always work together and a guy like Derwin [James] can cover pretty darn good. Again, it hurts, but we have great guys in our room and like I said, it's that next man up mentality. Nobody's nervous, people are just ready and excited to play."

On his family:

"My mom is coming out to see me this week and my dad is going to be in San Francisco, so they're splitting time this week at least."

On communication with his brother, 49ers DE Nick Bosa:

"You know, he's been dealing with some injuries. So I've just been really checking in with him about his injuries, making sure his body is feeling okay. He's an animal — he doesn't need any tips from me when it comes to [defensive] line play. Nothing. There's really nothing he could learn from me. Maybe I could help him with a new move, or something, but I learn probably as much from him as he's learned from me. In that aspect, he's fine. When it comes to life, and how to handle yourself and your injuries — just talking about anything, I'm always there. It's kind of like how my dad was for us because he knew he grew up in a different time. Technique in the [defensive] line is different, but he was just always there as a dad to help us with anything we needed. I know my brother is so far advanced that he doesn't really need much help, so I'm just there for anything else."

On how he feels to be taking the field in his new number:

"I can't wait. It just feels right. It's weird seeing 99 at this point. So yeah, [I'm] just excited to get out there and play. It seems like it's been forever."

On tips he received from joint practices with the Rams:

"He told me I needed to start working the hump-move more, which is where you get a lineman running upfield and you use his body weight and momentum to throw him by and get back inside. It's something we worked, but he thought it'd be a good move for me. "

On if he is the funniest player on the team:

"If you can get with my humor then maybe, but it's a little dry. I say some funny things here and there. I wouldn't go ahead and name myself the funniest player on the team though."

On who is the funniest player on the team:

"[NT Brandon] Mebane is pretty funny — and me of course."

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