Coach Pat Shurmur
Opening statement: I think it got released. Corey Coleman unfortunately hurt his knee yesterday, so we'll just have to see where it goes for him. I feel bad for the guy because he's worked really hard. We'll just have to see where it is. I don't have all of the details right now. We'll just see where that goes. But otherwise it's Day Two. I thought yesterday was a good day. It was competitive. I thought the guys practiced smart. We got a lot done. I think we took one step forward yesterday. Another day today.
Q: We were told it was an ACL injury [for Corey Coleman]. Is that true? Is he done for the season?
A: Yeah that's true. So most likely that will be it. Again, he'll go through the process. He'll get second opinions and all that stuff.
Q: How much did he figure into the plans for the offense this year?
A: He was a guy that had a chance to be in there and compete to either start or have a role.
Q: Is there a chance Sterling [Shepard] is out for all of training camp? Will he be back for Week One?
A: He'll be back soon. It's the tip of his thumb. He'll be out there running around today. I'm not concerned about that one at all.
Q: You're pretty short at that position now.
A: We'll get somebody in, I'm sure. There will be some other guys in. We brought in Da'Mari [Scott] already. We'll adjust if we have to, how we practice, just to make sure we've got what we need.
Q: Will you bring in a veteran now?
A: I don't know. This is very new for us. We'll go up there and we'll discuss as we go. As I mentioned, for whatever reason, adjust the roster to get done what we need.
Q: No surgery for Sterling?
A: No, no surgery.
Q: With Coleman, how did it happen?
A: Just in practice, running around. I don't know if he was hit. He may have been bumped. But no, he was just out there playing.
Q: Where does that leave you at kick returner?
A: We still have guys that can do it. We have [Cody] Latimer. We have Golden Tate, Brittan Golden. So, we've got guys back there that have done it, and we feel good about them.
Q: You don't want to use Jabrill [Peppers] in that role?
A: Jabrill is a guy that…yeah, I didn't mention him but he's one of those guys that we could put back there at any time, obviously.
Q: Can he return kicks, punts and play defense?
A: Yeah, I mean we'd like to find somebody else to at least work at it. The one thing about Jabrill is in critical situations, we can certainly put him back there. He's done it. I mean, he's a guy that I've talked about it, he can play on all four downs. That's good.
Q: Given Evan Engram's skillset, could his versatility help you fill that void [at WR]?
A: Yeah, I think so. I think he's got wide receiver traits. I think we talked about that yesterday. We actually use him in a detached role, or what would appear to be a wide receiver role. We did it last year, and we'll continue to do that.
Q: A few of the wide receivers currently on the roster have played less than four NFL games. Does that inexperience worry you at all? Does it increase your interest in signing a veteran?
A: I don't know if the first part influences the second part. We've got a lot of young players at a lot of positions. We'll get the guys ready to play. I've said all along, everybody has to do their part. We had guys yesterday that made plays.
Q: With Janoris [Jenkins] as the veteran in that group, what are you looking for from him this year? Maybe more of a leadership role?
A: Well yeah, he's going to be thrust into that leadership role by the nature of his age. He's one of the older players on defense. Talking to him through the offseason and then being with him as we start camp here, he understands that. I think he's ready to take that on. I think sometimes you look at a guy that doesn't say much and you think he hasn't been a leader. All along, he's played well and played hard and he's been there. The one thing about Janoris is he's been very durable. Just by the nature of doing those things, he's led. So I'm sure he'll continue to do that and even do it more.
Q: Can Sterling play with the thumb injury?
A: Sure, yeah. I'm not concerned about Sterling. He'll be out there. He'll be out there running around today.
Q: Do you think he'll be back catching at some point in camp?
A: Oh yeah, absolutely.
Q: Will he get preseason action?
A: We'll see. I think we called him "week-to-week." So we'll just see where it is. It's this part of his thumb, right up here on the tip.
Q: Will we see Darius Slayton?
A: He won't be out there yet.
Q: How close is he?
A: I'm not sure yet. We'll see.
Q: What did you think of Daniel Jones' first day?
A: I thought he did a good job. I thought he made strides. Early on, I think somebody said something about his completion percentage early on. But he had two deep balls that were dropped that were good throws. He finished the practice with a high completion percentage. We track that all along. But within the practice, in terms of getting us in the right plays and making sure we were in the right protections, for the first time out in a training camp setting, I thought he made progress.
Q: In those situational periods, do you focus more on him making the right read as opposed to how it ends up? Because the read is probably more important.
A: Sure, sure. I think you can watch a guy and see it live and say "Well he did this" or "He did that." Sometimes you have to be careful about what the results appear to be, because we may have been trying to do certain things. There are times when we're trying to force the ball down the field where there may be an interception or two in practice that gets charted as something where if it happens in a game, it's not good, certainly. But there's something to learn from that. I think as we go, we watch all of the plays. We know what he's being asked to do. There are times where balls get batted. There are times where balls get dropped. You just have to be… from our standpoint, if he's making progress and doing what we try to ask him to do, then the mistakes he makes, you learn from it.
Q: So on the deep ball to Bennie Fowler that was dropped, it's charted as a drop or an incomplete pass. But do you also chart it as a good throw?
A: Yeah, I mean we chart everything. You sort of correct it and move on. The Cowboys didn't see that play. You learn from it. The guy that needs to learn from that is Bennie. Catch the ball… For your purposes to write about it, I think it's maybe important. For ours, it was a good read and a good throw. Bennie, catch the ball. That's it. By the way, I'm not pointing out Bennie. Bennie made a lot of nice plays yesterday. He can drop one post in a lifetime, and that was it.
Q: The play that Lorenzo Carter made, the interception in the backfield, we hear so much about his athleticism. What can you say about that?
A: That was a terrific play. As a head coach, that's what you like to see. As an offensive coach, you don't want those kinds of things to happen. But when a guy makes a great individual effort like that, that was awesome. Hopefully we'll see more of that.
Q: There were some flags thrown in the secondary yesterday. Is it good for the young guys to see what's going to be called in the NFL, since it's a little different?
A: It is, it is. What you saw yesterday, too, through the offseason, the guys aren't allowed to bump and run. There's really no contact. Yesterday was the first day out there they're bumping and running. So there's a lot to be learned from your first time through it. It's very important to have the officials here. There were a lot of things that happened yesterday that we were able to clean up in the meetings last night. Then we'll come out today and make sure they get corrected.
Q: Getting back to Lorenzo [Carter], can he be a double-digit sack guy? And do you need him to be?
A: We certainly hope so. We've seen guys in their second year really make a jump. He played a lot of really good football last year as a rookie. When I look at him, just looking at him physically, he came back and looks like a more mature body type in his second year. He's going to be a really fine player. We're hopeful he can create pressure, just like Markus Golden, who two years ago I think had 12.5 sacks. We've got guys there that have gotten close and sacked the QB in the past. Plus X-Man (Oshane Ximines). Plus the other guys we have at the position.
Q: How is Golden Tate's grasp of the new offense?
A: He's got it. He's ready to go.
Q: Have you had any conversations with him about what he likes?
A: Yeah, I think we kind of know what he likes. As we go through the installations, you'll see depending on what the plays are that we're installing that day, certain guys in practice will get more touches than others. As we hone in on the game plan, we kind of focus on those plays.
Q: We didn't see much from Antonio Hamilton last year as a DB. We saw him used more as a gunner. Obviously he makes a play yesterday at DB. Where does he fit in for you guys at corner? What do you like about him at that spot?
A: He's competing there. We've got a better feel for him, and that really was a terrific play yesterday to punch the ball out and score with it. He's in that group with those guys trying to make the team. He obviously did a lot of good things on special teams a year ago. That sometimes gets you on the roster. Then you kind of grow on the roster into another position, which obviously would be corner for him.
Q: With all of the draft picks at that spot, can a guy like Hamilton, who showed how good he can be on special teams, can that elevate him and kind of keep him on a level playing field as the draft picks?
A: Well, I don't know. When guys show that they can play on teams, especially skilled position guys, you know the gunner, cover the gunner type guys, they have a role on the team. So once they're on the team, their role can expand.
Q: On Eli's response to Odell's comments to GQ.
A: I don't make much of that. I think we move on. Those become issues of the day. Quite frankly, I don't have much response to those comments.
Q: Did you like the fact that Eli had a comeback?
A: I think Eli is a very competitive guy, and very prideful. That's what I like. Again, those are issues of the day that really don't concern me.
CB Janoris Jenkins
Q: So how's this mentoring of the young flock you have? How's it going?
A: It's going good so far. They're paying attention to details, they're taking the notes down, and they're just ready to play.
Q: Are you enjoying it? Do you have to be on your Ps and Qs even more to make sure you know what to tell them?
A: I just go out and ball. I let them pick my brain when they want to, and if I see them messing up, I pick them up a little bit. Other than that, they seem like they're ready to me, and I can just lead by example.
Q: Do you feel like with all these young guys around that you need to maybe assert yourself a little bit more, rather than them just ask you?
A: Of course, you have to assert yourself more. You never know what they're thinking, these are young guys. So, the more you can talk with them and conversate with them, just about football, and not only football, life, on and off the field – just show them how to be a pro, and they're going to be pretty good.
Q: Are you embracing that? What part of that do you enjoy doing?
A: Just being around them, just having them come up to me and have conversations about football. I tell them every day, just pay attention to details, make sure you take the right notes, and just stay focused.
Q: Have you ever been asked to be in a role like this?
A: I've never been asked, but I always played this role when I was at Florida – had that one national championship. When I got to North Alabama, I did the same thing. So, it's nothing new, it's just – I'm not the guy that likes to talk, I like to play football. If you can't follow a leader that likes to play football, then you have a problem.
Q: What has (DeAndre) Baker shown you so far on the field? What is it you see from him as a player?
A: As a player, I can tell that he's smart, I can tell that he's been studying film, I can tell that he's taken leadership, taken mentorship roles just looking up to guys like myself. He's in the film room every day studying, he's always on time, and we always say in the DB room that there is no such thing as a dumb question. You can always ask a question, whether it's the smallest question—it might be a dumb question—but like we say, no question is a dumb question, and I think that's going to help him along the way.
Q: Did Sterling (Shepard) get hurt on that play yesterday where you guys went for the ball together? There was a play where you guys kind of banged into each other.
A: I don't know, I just know that after that play I didn't see him anymore. So, when I saw him in the locker room I asked him what happened, and he explained it to me. Sterling – stay strong bro.
Q: Would you say he hit his thumb on the ground as you were going down?
A: He was catching the ball, but it kind of hit the ground, and I guess it got on the ground, and he got up and went and told coach I guess.
Q: When you look at Baker, He's very physical. Is there a fine line between being physical in college and the NFL?
A: Yeah, I told him you could be physical but you got a certain level to be physical because you don't want to get up there and be too physical and have guys push you off and throw you by and stuff like that. So we getting that under control right now.
Q: We have been asking about Baker, but what about Julian Love what do you see from him so far?
A: A guy that can play multiple positions, very smart, got a knack for the ball and just likes to study.
Q: Coaches can challenge pass interference now, what do you think of that?
A: I think it's awesome, it gives us the opportunity to challenge the play, whether it's a good play or a bad play because in the NFL every game is won by 3-7 points at the most, so I think it's great.
Q: You think it's great if your coaches can challenge it to get it flipped if you get called for it. But, what if you don't get called for one on the field and a coach challenges it and then you get a flag for pass interference.
A: I've got to live with it, that's something I got to live with.
Q: There's a chance that you'll be the only starter in the secondary who finished the year back there last year. How hard is it to get so many moving parts together and on the same page?
A: It's tough but you got older guys like (Antoine) Bethea, you know he's been in the system already, (Jabrill) Peppers, he understands football and he's been around a long time so for guys like that it just helps us even more because everybody played a lot of ball and we just got to teach the young fellows.
Q: Have you seen (Antoine) Bethea, like you talk about him knowing the system and he's played for (James) Bettcher before. Have you seen him during the spring and summer even with you, helping you kind of understand parts of the scheme more or kind of taking on that player/coach role and all?
A: Yeah, He knows the nicks and knacks of the defense, something I didn't know when Coach (James) Bettcher got here. You know I just knew the defense. But now I know the ins and outs and just those small pieces I can get away with and can't get away with.
Q: What are your conversations like with Corey Ballentine, obviously he comes here as a rookie with a very unusual situation with the tragedy that happened, so what discussions do you have with him along those lines?
A: Man, you're here to play football, you can't worry about any outside distractions. Your main focus should be football and football only, it's just when you show up to work make sure you focus on football. He understands that, he understands what happened. He can't take it back so just come here every day and work.
Q: That's a pretty hard thing to go through what he went through, having one of his best friends killed like that. Did you talk to him about just getting through that or anything?
A: Yeah, I mean you got to understand things happen in life. Somethings you can't control, somethings you can and what I told him is "I feel sorry for you, you should feel bad as well but you weren't in a position to handle that situation or help him out because you had to come up here and play football so just come in and focus."
Q: You had a similar tragedy happen in your life last year did you draw on that experience when you were talking to him?
A: I mean I shared it with him, but you know I try to stay away from it because I don't want any distractions between him and I or anyone else on the team, so I just talked to him about that.
Q: What do you think about him as a player?
A: As a player oh, he can play. He has a nose for the ball. You can tell he's been coached very well by a very good coach, whoever that may be because he's technically sound and he's aggressive.
WR Darius Slayton
Q: How long until you are back out there?
A: I'm just day to day right now. Just trying to work my way back as quick as possible.
Q: Did it happen during rookie practice the first day?
A: Yeah, I was just running and reached out for the ball and overextended a little bit.
Q: Have you had this kind of thing before?
A: I had one hamstring injury in college. This one is not as bad as that one. So, I definitely plan on being back quicker than I was then.
Q: How tough was it to stand around and watch yesterday?
A: Very (tough), that was my first NFL practice, especially with the fans out there. I didn't know what it would be like, but with the energy out there, it was hard to just stand there. I'm working my way to get back as quick as possible and get out there.
Q: What did you do from the end of the spring to now?
A: Just been at home training at some different facilities. In the Atlanta area in general, there are a lot of players that train around there. Just training at home with different people trying to get ready for camp.
Q: No teammates though?
Q: Are you shocked by all the injuries to the wide receivers?
A: It feels like there is a dark cloud over our room right now. Sterling's injury wasn't major, mine wasn't major. Really the only major one suffered was Corey. Obviously, Sterling, he is going to try his best to get back as quickly as possible and I'm going to try to do the same. At the same time, we are rooting for Corey and his recovery.
Q: How much opportunity is there for you to take?
A: Definitely a lot. If anything, with these (injuries) going on, it's made me extremely eager to get back because of the opportunities that are available.
Q: What did you think of Daniel Jones yesterday?
A: I think he did really well. He made some good throws. He's a rookie just like I am, so he is still learning, but I think he had a good practice.
Q: With your speed, do you think you can factor into the return game?
A: Towards the end of OTAs, I was fielding punts and fielding kicks. The first day we did it I was fielding punts and stuff, it's definitely something I'm looking to be a part of.
Q: What kind of impact do you think you can have if you are given the opportunity this season?
A: I think I can have a positive one. I can bring some team speed to the offense, and the ability to make plays with the ball in open space. Hopefully, once I get back from injury and back to practice, I can get back into the swing of things. Throughout preseason, kind of get a feel for games and how it is competing against other teams in the NFL. Just have a positive impact this year.
Q: How good do you think this receiving corps can be?
A: I honestly I think it's really good. I've come to realize that even the guys that aren't the biggest brand name guys, guys like Sterling Shepard, there are a lot of guys on teams that are really good football players. Obviously you can't cover everybody, but I definitely think we have a really good group going forward. When we all get healthy and come back together, it will be a really strong group.
Q: How much help have Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate been?
A: Tremendous amount of help. Even just watching them on a daily basis, watching how they run their routes, how they get open and get the ball, it's incredible. Neither one of them are really big guys. Sometimes when you're not in the NFL, you think everyone is huge. Both of them are smaller guys, but they make big plays and it's been a blessing to have them as teammates.