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Transcript - Training Camp (Aug. 21, 2018)

Tuesday, August 21, 2018 | Jack Hammett Sports Complex | Costa Mesa, Calif.


Opening Statement:

"These guys are probably excited that tomorrow the Saints will be here, so they can stop looking at each other, hitting one another and can practice against someone else. It should be fun. Last year, we got a lot of good work in, so we're looking forward to the same thing this year."

On T Joe Barksdale:

"Joe was sick. He wasn't feeling well, so we kept him back at the hotel."

On if Barksdale will be practicing tomorrow:

"I hope so, but I don't know."

On CB Trevor Williams and RB Justin Jackson:

"They did a little bit of individual [drills]. We wanted those guys to go out and test it so we can see where they were. We got a pretty good idea, so they'll probably do a little more individual and just keep progressing and get them back in 11-on-11s."

On if Trevor Williams and Justin Jackson will play against the Saints:

"Like I said, I don't like to put timetables on those injuries and I definitely don't want to put a player on the field before they're ready. We'll just have to wait and see."

On WR Tyrell Williams:

"He had some foot soreness. Maybe he had a bone bruise or something like that, but he's going to be okay. We're just being very cautious with him because he's had a good camp and we don't want any setbacks."

On if Tyrell Williams will sit out against the Saints:

"It's possible because we have some other guys that we're looking at wide receiver."

On CB Casey Hayward leaving practice:

"I asked him right away how he felt, and he said he thought he'd be fine. I think he just kind of felt it a little bit."

On how he plans to use the depth at wide receiver:

"You can go in four- or five-receiver sets, but we're not going to live in that world. We're not going to turn into the run-and-shoot, but it's always good to have some depth. We have one guy, two guys, one-and-a-half guys with NFL production. These other guys are just strictly projections. [WR] Mike Williams hasn't done a lot in NFL games. I love what he's doing in these camps, so we don't want to get too far ahead on how deep we are at that position until we get into the season."

On if he feels good about the projections:

"I feel good about the projections. Absolutely. We are definitely going to use them all. It's good to have depth there because those guys — the put a lot of miles on their legs, and those guys get the soft tissue injuries and it's next man up."

On the new helmet rule:

"I'm worried about [RB Melvin] Gordon [III] because he was the poster child of striking people with the crown of his helmet. He has done a heck of a job this camp of getting his shoulder pads up, getting his head up and taking it on the side rather than going down the middle and striking people with the crown of his helmet."

On preseason officiating:

"I think everybody's questioning some calls right now, but all the calls in our games I think have been fine. I think the officials are really trying to emphasize it right now. I don't know if you're going to see this many flags in the regular season, but right now we have to send a message to our players that this is how we are going to play the game."

On joint practices with New Orleans:

"Last year, we had good, clean, physical practices against this group [and] I expect the same thing. I've known [Saints Head Coach] Sean Payton for a long time. I know what he's telling his guys and I know what I'm telling my players, so I don't expect any fights or anything like that tomorrow."

On if there have been any coaching points on the new helmet rule:

"Oh absolutely, we've been teaching it all offseason. I don't think the NFL could've been any clearer with the examples that they gave us and the literature [and] wording. It's just different. Any time there's a major change or something different, it's going to take some time for people to adjust to it."

On if he's seeing the helmet rules being applied the same in games as in practice drills:

"Yes. We had one called last week. [DB] Jaylen [Watkins] caught the guy with the crown of his helmet. If you can take a side or strike with your head up, that's what we're trying to teach and trying to promote. That's easier said than done when guys are playing full speed. So, I think a lot of these are going to be hard to call in real speed, but right now I think they're erring on the side of precaution [and] just trying to emphasize it."

On if he thinks replay would help enforce the rule:

"That would be helpful, but we don't want to slow the game down too much as well."


On the wide receivers:

"We have a good group of receivers. I think that we get a chance to evaluate them every day. We have a good secondary, and going against our guys in practice, you get a good chance to see how they can handle those situations, but there's not a substitute for the preseason games. That's a spot that is not always easy to find guys that you can get some depth. To have guys competing for spots on our team and doing a good job, that really helps us. It's a fortunate situation to be in for our team. It's going to be exciting over the next couple of weeks to see how these guys progress."

On the potential of keeping six receivers:

"If you're talking about having six active on game day, those are all decisions that are based on where you are as a team. To sit here and say that we would have six active [on game day], you never know. I think some of that, obviously, is reflective of what they can do on special teams. That's an area, too, that probably Coach [Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator George] Stewart would be better served to speak on. I don't think that you can have enough of those guys. It's good to be able to see them do a lot of different things."

On C Mike Pouncey:

"He's a good player. Watching from afar, you think he's a good player, but he's so much more than that. Physically, he's a good player, but the leadership that he brings and his knowledge — those kinds of things really help. That line — that group of guys — there is a chemistry with them. The really good ones have a strong chemistry. Mike really contributes a lot to that. [T] Russell [Okung] did a great job of that. We have [G Dan] Feeney, who is coming on as a young guy. [G/T Michael] Schofield [III] played for us last year and [T] Joe [Barksdale] is a part of that. We have some guys that have been here and played for us in [T Sam] Tevi and [C/G] Spencer [Pulley]. When you add a guy like Mike — who has been very good in this league and has a good reputation — and then he comes in and he's the first one in the building, he's here early, he works hard, he never wants to miss practice and always has a great attitude, it really helps forge that chemistry with the group. We have been truly excited with Mike and everything that he has done."

On Pouncey's athleticism:

"There are different situations where his athleticism really helps. We try to do a number of different running schemes so that it's not just dependent on one component, which would be having a center that can move. Certainly, in some of our sets, his ability to even pull from the center position — which is not easy to do — and be effective doing that can really help us. A lot of it is all dependent on what fronts we are playing [against] and the opponents that we're playing. There is no question that his mobility really helps us, but he has good strength in the pocket, too, and good technique. That's something that is important because a lot of times you get a guy that has really good mobility, [but] he can't hold up to the big nose [tackle] or the big three-technique that is slanting into him. Mike has done a good job with that. We're very fortunate to have him."

On QB Cardale Jones and QB Geno Smith:

"I think they both have done well. They have gotten about equal snaps — it's been in different situations, but they both have made plays. It's one of these things that is going to go for the next couple of weeks. That's what you want. You're getting to see these guys compete. You're getting to find out a lot about them. I like the way that both of them have competed and played."

On Geno Smith getting comfortable with the playbook:

"You know, he has been in the league for a little while. A lot of concepts are similar, it's just trying to get the terminology associated with them. He's worked at it very hard. He has come in and studied it. He is still not as proficient in it as he would like to be, but he has made tremendous strides and he is doing a really good job."

On TE Sean Culkin:

"He didn't have a lot of flash plays against the Seahawks, but he was consistent and what is what we needed to see. When you got a guy like [TE] Hunter [Henry] and you compare your tight ends to [TE] Antonio [Gates] and Hunter, sometimes it gets hard — especially for a young guy because those guys are so talented. Sean has done really well as far as coming along as a tight end. From where he was last Seattle game to this Seattle game, it is a huge difference from where he was and that is exactly what he needed to do. This will be a good test for him this week. The Saints do a lot of different things, but he is definitely trending in the right direction."

On T Forrest Lamp:

"I give him a lot of credit. He has been there every day, including the offseason. It's never easy when you have an injury like that and you're not practicing or you're not working out with the guys. [It's never easy] to get in that room with them because it is uncomfortable. He has been there every day. He has been committed. It is nice to see him get back on the field and do some things. We really are excited about Forrest, but we don't know a lot about Forrest because we haven't seen him do a lot on the field yet. From the short time he has been back and what he has done, we are excited about him.

On WR Keenan Allen:

"I think whenever you have a player that can make the splash plays that he does — that knows what to do, where to line up, instructing other players and understands the scheme — that helps you as an overall offense because it sets the tone and he is a guy who works at it. One of the things that are impressive about Keenan is watching him in individual drills and watching him when he is working. Every day it's the same thing, he works really hard. I've been around many good players — one of which was [Cardinals WR] Larry Fitzgerald — and the way he works is similar to the way Larry worked. In a high-level performer like that, you see those similar tendencies that are exciting to see."


On Wide Receivers Coach Phil McGeoghan:

"[It's been] solid. He came in with some new coaching techniques for us and I think [the wide receiver group] has all done a good job buying in. I think the room did a good job picking up on it and putting it out here [during] games." 

On any noticeable changes with the new techniques:

"There's a couple of new techniques -- I don't think it was a major change. It's just a few things that we added to our game and implemented [them]."

On McGeoghan's energy:

"Coach [McGeoghan] just [brings] the energy to us and [boosts] our motivation. [He inspires us] to come out here to practice another day. You know, [with] the back-to-backs -- [it] just keeps [us] going." 

On Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt's praise:

"It means I'm doing my job right. It speaks volumes. I like to work. My work ethic is there and thinks it shows."

On thoughts about the upcoming joint practices with the New Orleans Saints:

"It's just something different, [especially] with going against our guys every day. Now we get to go against another defense and go out to compete to see where we are." 

On joint practices in preseason Week 3:

"I wish it could've been two weeks ago or [even] a week ago."

On why he would rather have the joint practices earlier on:

"Just to get it out of the way. I don't know, we're just at the end of pre-season and at the end of training camp."

On thoughts about the fights occurring in joint practices:

'I've seen them. It's hard. [The players are] out here competing and everybody is trying to make a play. It gets physical -- so you just need to be able to take it." 

On Saints CB Marshon Lattimore:

"He's pretty good, he had a great season last [year]."

On the difference between past joint practices with the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints:

"It's just being professional. Understanding where we are, with everyone out here trying to get better. Like I said, we're out here competing, so everybody just needs to be professional."

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