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Transcript - Training Camp Day 13 (Aug. 12, 2019)


Monday, Aug. 12, 2019 | Jack Hammett Sports Complex | Costa Mesa, Calif.


On the passing of Steelers Wide Receivers Coach Darryl Drake:

"Before we start tonight, I just want to say that we lost a soldier in Darryl Drake, with the Steelers. He's been a trailblazer in this league for a long time. He paved the way for [me] and a lot of the other coaches. I just wanted to recognize him, his family and let them know that they're in our prayers. We're going to miss him. Darryl, rest in peace."

On the night practice:

"We play at night, so every now and then it's kind of cool to practice at night so that you can catch the ball under the lights and track the ball, things like that if you're a defensive back. In training camp, it gives fans a chance to come out that are working during the day to watch a practice. It was a great turnout tonight. There was a lot of energy in the place. I thought our players kind of fed off that a little bit."

On where the team stands at this point of the preseason:

"We have a lot of work left to do now, don't get me wrong. We have two weeks of [preseason], but I saw some good things in that game the other night. [QB] Tyrod Taylor was very efficient in running the offense. I thought that we ran the ball well. I thought our completion percentage with that group was pretty good. We have to play a little better in situational football, like two-minute, four-minute and things like that. Overall, I was pleased. Unfortunately, we had one injury, but other than that I thought it was a productive night. I know any time you're keeping score, you want to win, but I thought the guys did some good things."

On WR Keenan Allen:

"Consistency is where I see [growth from] Keenan. He's very consistent. He's in great shape. His intangible, I feel like, have improved. He leads by example. He's a leader on this team. I'm glad we have him."

On the change-of-pace that a night practice can provide:

"It is a nice change-of-pace. It breaks camp up a little bit and the whole routine. You have to play at night, so we thought we'd schedule a Monday night practice."

On LB Chris Peace:

"He had a little groin soreness, so we just took him out. We want to get Chris to the game [on Sunday]."

On officiating practice:

"Today in our last competitive period — our referees forgot that we had a night practice, so they didn't show up. If you noticed, I was blowing the whistle and doing all of the refereeing. It's a pretty tough job. I was looking for holding, I was looking for [pass interference], I was doing everything."

On standouts at practice:

"I thought a lot of guys did some nice things. It was a situational practice. We put the guys in a game-type situation, got to have it's in the game. The players stepped up."

On DE Isaac Rochell:

"I love his development. He just keeps getting better every single year. He's growing like a weed, man. He's going to be a heck of a football player — well, he's already one, but he's getting better."

On DT Jerry Tillery:

"It's good to see him getting some live reps in team periods. He did some good things the other day. Tonight, he got a little tired at the end so we have to watch his conditioning, but it was good to see him in team periods."

On the upcoming joint practices with New Orleans:

"It's going to give [Tillery] the chance to see an NFL-type of tempo and speed before he gets into a real game. I like the joint practices. It gives us a chance to get game reps in a controlled environment."

On DE Joey Bosa's commitment to details:

"Joey is a perfectionist. He wants to be in the best shape. His technique is right on point. He works hard. Joey is going to be as good as Joey wants to be because he takes his business seriously."

On QB Tyrod Taylor:

"What he's doing right now is kind of what I expect from him. He's a starter in this league — he's a luxury for us because we have a backup that's a starter in this league, in my opinion."

On QB Easton Stick:

"You know, Easton is still learning the system. When he's confident and knows what he's doing — he can throw the ball. People talk about his arm strength, his arm strength is fine. If you have to cover them all, he can create with his legs. I like what he's doing right now."

On LB Drue Tranquill:

"He showed back in OTAs and minicamp that he was really mature for a rookie. I like the way he's learned our system and the way that he can go into the game and, as a young man, help guys around him. That has been pretty impressive."

On LB Emeke Egbule:

"Oh, you're talking about 'E.' I just call him E. You don't want to mess that name up, just call him E. He's doing well. Right now, he's playing a lot of outside linebacker for us, but he also has some pass-rush ability. As soon as he learns that position, we'll move him around a little bit and he can show you his position flex."


On the night practice:

"It was pretty good today. It wasn't bad. I enjoyed it. It felt like high school, to be honest, under these lights."

On the defense:

"I think the main thing is that, as a defense, we just trust each other a lot more than we did last year. Last year, we were all young — well, we're still all young — but there wasn't as much trust as there is this year. I think that's the main thing. As long as you trust the guy next to you, you don't have to worry about what he's going to do."

On the competition on defense:

"I think the competition in all of the rooms have really improved. As you can see, we have a lot of DBs, a lot of linebackers and a lot of [defensive] linemen. Just knowing that there's somebody behind you trying to take your job allows you to improve your game and be better at your game."

On what it is about the lights that creates a different atmosphere:

"I think it just takes you back to when you were young. For me, personally, when I first started playing football, it was under the lights — Friday Night Lights. When you're in high school, you're out there having fun with your teammates, your brothers, and just going out there and balling out. I think that, underneath the lights, it brings out the child in you to just go out there and have fun."

On the joint practices with New Orleans:

"Personally, I look forward to going against [Saints WR] Michael Thomas. Obviously, as you guys know, he's now the highest paid receiver. It'll be a good competition between our defense and him and [Saints QB] Drew [Brees]."

On WRs Mike Williams and Keenan Allen:

"Going against Keenan, he's shifty. He's good, man. Mike Williams is big and strong. He's good, as well. Being able to go against him and compete with him, you know you can guard any NFL receiver."

On his focus for the season:

"[I want to get better at] interceptions. As you guys know, last year I dropped four interceptions. This year, I'm trying to grab those four and then plus more. I'll try to take two or more to the house. I just have to focus. Last year, I wasn't really focused on catching the ball, I was focused on scoring before catching the ball. This year, I'm focused on catching the ball first and then scoring. [I've done more work on] JUGS [machines], more concentration and being more focused."

On the stress of takeaways in the defensive backs room:

"Every morning, we have presentations — it's all about the ball. [Assistant Defensive Backs Coach] Chris Harris goes up there and shows a big presentation about the ball — stripping the ball, getting the ball back, intercepting the ball. He also says that we're defined by the way we score on defense. That's the main thing that we go over."


On the night practice:

"It was great, man. It felt like a Pop Warner practice. It's Monday, like the first day of school and you have to finish your homework and get out here for practice. That's what it felt like, but it felt good. The energy was great. It was a little windy. We're not used to practicing at night, but it was a great environment. The fans came out to support and show love, that was cool."

On how he feels:

"I feel good, man. I'm just taking it day-by-day, slowly progressing my way back into it. I'm just trying to get this knee right, get my mind right."

On preparing for night practice:

"It was different. We're all used to getting up, having meetings and then getting ready for practice in the morning. Instead, we had walkthrough, had some meetings and some time off, then had to get ready for practice. It was a little switch-up for us, but it'll be good for us. We have a couple of night games on the schedule, so this was good for us."

On the potential of the defense:

"I feel great, man. Like I say every year, just stay tuned. I'm not going to say what the defense is going to do, but I feel pretty good about the defense."

On LB Thomas Davis Sr.:

"Thomas is like that big brother that you want to fight, but you know you can't. He has been sharing a lot of knowledge. Every day, I'm learning something from him whether it's football or life."

On Davis' on-field performance:

"He can still run, he runs like he's 19-years-old. He's quick, he's fast. You can't tell he's 30-whatever it is. On the field, he's still physical. He's fast. He's still balling."

On LB Drue Tranquill:

"He's making plays. I told him, just keep going. I coach him up whether it's good or bad. No matter what it is, I just tell him to keep going. He's doing his thing."

On Tranquill learning quickly:

"I wouldn't say that he's completely got it, but he's got it. I'm not saying he's got it, but he's got it — if that makes any sense. He came in on day one, asked a lot of questions. He's been making plays. It's going to pay off."

On the linebackers:

"Yeah, we've gotten stronger. Not just physically, but with depth, too. Last year, we were down in numbers and now, we're up in numbers. It's a great competition all-around."

On playing under the lights:

"The lights come on, so should everything else. It's like a switch. I'm not saying when the sun isn't out that's when you're supposed to ball out. When the lights come on, it's a whole different ball game. You just feel differently."

On where the feeling under the lights came from:

"For me, it's Pop Warner. You started out and the sun was out. After practice, it was dark and all that. It reminded me of Pop Warner."

On if the night practice was a change-of-pace for camp:

"It's another day of camp. Another day to get better."

On the joint practices against New Orleans:

"It's going to be great to hit somebody else, obviously. It's going to be great to go against somebody, too. Every day, we do it against each other, but like I said, just to go against somebody else. We did it against the Rams twice and now we have the Saints. It's a little switch-up."

On the New Orleans offense:

"You just have to bring your big boy pants. I know we're going to be in pads both days. We're not just trying to practice in helmets. It'll be great."

On the defense:

"We have depth in every single position, if I'm not mistaken. That's like I said, there is competition all around the defense. It's going to make us get better and come together as one."

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