Head Coach Pat Shurmur
Day 4, we’re just working through the first phase here of the padded practices. It’s important we get out here and get a lot of good work done like we did yesterday. Behind the scenes, we just keep working with the players so that they embrace getting the proper sleep, proper rest, eating proper meals – and then hydrating properly so that once the practice is over, their thoughts go immediately to recovery. So, those are the three components of making sure they come out the next day and train and increase their workload. That’s what we’re going through. I’m assuming the 31 other teams are doing the same thing. We’re just looking forward to Day 2 in pads.
Q: Three straight days in pads now. Do you increase the intensity of the practices? Or does it slow down?
A: There’s certain things we want to get done. You saw yesterday, we embraced the redzone. We did our first seven-on-seven in the redzone. We’re working situational football. You guys aren’t privy to the scripts. One of our team periods was all first downs. We’re always teaching situational football. So, every segment of plays or group of things that we’re doing speaks to a part of our game. Over the next couple of days, we’ll try to hit all those areas.
Q: You’re installing a new offense and defense. Do you expect one to be ahead of the other?
A: No, I’m expecting it to be very competitive. I’m expecting the offense to execute well, and I’m expecting the defense to do the same. I expect the offense to do things to score points, and the defense to keep them out of the end zone. Along the way, those are the things we’re working on. And you’ll see out there – it’s easy to do the math. Every once in a while, you’ll say, well this guy gave up this or this guy gave up that. But, it’s a competitive situation. We’re all out there getting better. Sometimes the mistakes that show up in practice are very important. If they weren’t important, then you wouldn’t practice. Because when a mistake occurs, what typically happens – at least our mindset is, first the player admits he made a mistake. Then he gets with his coach, or whoever. They discuss how they’re going to fix it. They go about fixing it, then they move on to the next play, and hopefully not make that mistake again. That’s why we’re out there competing. As long as we’re all about the ball, and negotiating the ground, and staying off the ground, and being a great teammate, we can practice any phase of our game and get through those mistakes.
Q: What are the benefits for Odell when he’s in the slot?
A: Anytime the defense can predict exactly where you’re going to be all the time – if you’re an offense that only runs one protection, you’re going to get nailed. Or, if the receiver is only in one spot all the time, that player is easier to defend. I think I’m speaking to the obvious. If you move him around, hopefully they’ve got to at least have some meetings and decide how they want to cover him.
Q: Tight ends have to block and work with the offensive line. They also have to be a factor in the passing game. How important is the tight end position to this offense?
A: You answered the question better than I could. It’s a critical position. Other than the quarterback, that’s the one connection to the run game, to the passing game, and then obviously the protection game. Those players need to be efficient. As we know, tight ends – they have a redeeming quality. Go through the league, and just take all the tight ends and what’s his redeeming quality? Is he a pass receiver? Is he more of a blocker? Is he a guy that can do both and play on all three downs? Hopefully, you have a good guy on your roster that can be all those things. That’s why I think it takes a village at tight end, and we’ve got to use them strategically to get the best out of their skillset.
Q: Lorenzo Carter is known for setting the edge. But, is he a player than can create pressure up the middle as well?
A: Yeah, he’s working through it. I think he has one of those redeeming qualities. We’re down that road right now. One of his redeeming qualities is he’s an excellent edge player. But, you also have to be able to work in conjunction with line stunts. Those are things we’re trying to get out of him. He’s a big athlete that’s very long. He’s just working through it.
Q: Does bringing Connor Barwin in speak to anything in regards to Lorenzo Carter’s role?
A: No, no. Actually, we brought him in to try to help Carter as well. Connor Barwin has got some good rushes left in him – I think you saw that yesterday. He’s a very veteran player. Along the way, these veteran players help rookies. I don’t think you can have too many edge players – I really don’t, because at some point we’re rushing four, they’re dropping back throwing. We’ve got to be able to get pressure, and we’ve got to be able to cover.
Q: What have you seen from Ereck Flowers so far? And can you elaborate on the depth at the offensive line position.
A: I think Ereck had a good day yesterday. I think he got comfortable through the backend of the OTAs at right tackle. He’s been competing real well in both the run and the passing game. I think he had a good day yesterday. I think when we put the second group in there, I think they’re very competitive guys. The backups, we’ve got a mixture of experience and youth. The whole idea of training for the preseason games is to see them do it in game action. I’m hopeful that we’re going to get a couple good players out of that backup group.
Q: What has Donte Deayon shown you thus far?
A: He’s one of those guys that – he’s done a good job. You’ve seen him mostly in the slot covering. He’s got good cover skills. He must’ve felt like he’s done some lifting this summer. He uncovered his arms yesterday. So, I was giving him some grief about that. He’s got very good coverage skills, he’s very competitive. He has a knack for getting his hands on the ball. You’ve seen him be little bit disruptive on some throws, and actually get a couple interceptions. I would say that’s pretty much what he is at this point.
Q: What have you seen from your defensive line?
A: It’s still early – and again, yesterday being the first day, I think they were a little bit disruptive at times. But no, B.J. Hill has come in really fast. And then (Dalvin) Tomlinson, Dalvin is a really good player. I’m getting used to them. Now you see them in there with pads on. I’m getting a quicker, better feel for how we’re going to rotate those guys in there.
Q: Did John Jerry leave practice yesterday?
A: Yeah, John Jerry left practice yesterday. He had an upset stomach. We got him checked out. He’ll be out there today, he’s fine.
Q: How’s Sterling Shepard? Seems like he had a problem with his foot yesterday.
A: He’s fine, he’s fine.
LB Coach Bill McGovern
Q: Thoughts on being reunited with [Connor Barwin]?
A: I’m excited to have Connor on the team. He brings obviously a number of years of experience and also success on the field. He’s a guy who is a true professional, but he also adds some athleticism to our team and some proven leadership.
Q: Coach Shurmur just said that he feels like Connor’s got a lot of good pass rushes left in him. Do you feel the same way?
A: Absolutely. We saw him on the first day, he’s a guy who has always kept himself in tremendous shape. He comes ready to play all the time, he’s a consummate professional, he works at his craft all the time, he’s always trying to improve, trying to find something to give himself an edge.
Q: Do you have to limit a guy like that, in terms of situationally, the number of snaps he might play?
A: That’ll be as we see. We’re trying to find out right now, just the first day we had out in pads and obviously Connor’s only been here a couple days, so we’re looking to get all the guys on the field at the right time when they can do something for us. We feel that it serves them best.
Q: We hear the term ‘edge rusher’ a lot and it’s starting to apply to the outside linebackers. In this scheme, are you differentiating between the two, or is it just kind of a preference thing as far as terminology goes?
A: Well, basically, there’s obviously a couple different styles of defense. You have 3-4 defense, and that’s where you hear the outside linebacker term really come into play more where they’re a standup outside linebacker. But then when you get into the sub packages, a lot of that becomes 4-man fronts, which goes back to a 4-3, and that’s a [defensive end] type responsibility. Those guys have the ability, we’ve been trying to find the guys that have the ability to do both.
Q: Does this defense fit [Olivier Vernon] to a T?
A: Yes. I think any defense fits him. I think he’s that kind of a football player. He’s strong, he’s powerful, he’s smart, he works at his craft, he’s a true professional, again, in terms of being prepared and coming here and showing up and going to work. I think it plays him in space, we can rush him outside, we can bring him inside, there’s a lot of different things, so he’s hard to key on a little bit when he’s bouncing around on the edges.
Q: How do sacks work for you guys during practice? Obviously you can’t hit the quarterback, do you guys have a way of charting them?
A: No. If you ask how many sacks the defense had in practice and the offensive guys how many sacks we had, there’s two different numbers.
Q: Do your guys log them?
A: No, that’s not one of the things we’ll focus on. We’re trying to focus on just kind of getting better. We know that, hey, we’re just trying to get better, they’re just trying to get better, and we’re just competing at each snap.
Q: How much better is your group with Connor [Barwin] here?
A: It’s great to have Connor here obviously. He’s a true professional, proven leader, good person, just a guy you enjoy having in the room. Again, he adds something to the room. We’re always trying to add guys who can add something to the room.
Q: How can he help Lorenzo [Carter]?
A: I would like to think he can, and so can some of the other guys in the room, too, in terms of just showing him how to become a true professional, how to approach his craft and how to work at it.
Q: Connor had some of his best years in Philly playing for you. What about your scheme or your coaching style do you think helps him?
A: That’s Connor. We might help some players, but those guys take it upon themselves and they want to get better, and they improve their job, and they study their craft and get better at it. That’s really, you’ve got to give the credit to Connor for the success he had down there.
Q: What kind of effect has [Alec] Ogletree had on B.J. Goodson’s development?
A: I think it’s been great. Again, having more proven leaders around, having good people in the room, you just kind of rub off on each other. You see good things, you hear other things that maybe somebody did or he might give him a heads-up like, hey, ‘I did this or I tried that, why don’t you try doing it this way? It can only help you get better.’
Q: Lorenzo [Carter] looked like he had an inside pass rush yesterday. Is that something he has to develop?
A: Yeah. I think right now, he really needs to develop his whole game. Again, being a young guy out there and it’s the first day in pads against the guys, he’s going to go against obviously better players than he’s seen, but he’s got to develop everything. He’s got to develop the way he’s playing against the run, the way he’s going to do the pass rush, and you need just a couple of moves as you get going, but he’s going to have to fine tune, he’s got to work his steps, his eyes, all of it. It’s just the overall game right now.
Q: Physically, when you get handed a rookie like this, if you look at him, you’re probably thankful. He looks the part, right?
A: Yeah. He’s long, he’s athletic, he’s sudden, he’s smart. We’re finding out here, which he’s doing a good job of so far, he’s working at it right now.
Q: In this defense, how much are you coaching them to disguise who’s coming and who’s not?
A: Well, that’s part of it, yeah. The scheme is, we’re naturally going to be an aggressive defense, but you also with the two outside guys when you’re in a 3-4, they both have the ability to come, they both have the ability to drop. So, you try to make it look the same as best you can all the time.
Q: How has [Olivier Vernon] picked up the drop part of it?
A: Dynamite. He’s as athletic as any of them out there. He does a great job, he’s fluid with his hips. He’s really done a nice job. Again, and Robbie Leonard has been working a lot with the outside linebackers and has put him in some drills, but he’s really responded well and he’s really handled it well so far.
Q: How have you managed B.J. [Goodson]’s kind of confidence – He had 18 tackles in Week 1 last year and was so frustrated through the injuries. How have you managed him through this offseason back to where he is?
A: It’s one of those things, again, you’ve got to give credit to him. He’s been working at it, and again, that’s something as a young pro you’re growing, you’re learning, you’re maturing, and I think that’s a hard thing to go through but it’s something that you have to. It happened, you gotta deal with it. And I give him the credit for the way he’s approached it, he’s trying to get better, he’s come back ready to go and he’s looked good so far.
Q: In a perfect world, how big of a rotation do you need at outside linebacker?
A: In a perfect world, you’ve got two guys that go 95 plays each game, it’d be great.
Well, you kind of had that last year.
A: Honestly, if you’ve got – basically, if you can rotate three or four through, that’d be great because the reason why those guys give you, they help you a little bit in terms of being pass rushers on third down, when you get to the passing downs. So, if you can put a fast group out there that can really get after the quarterback in certain pass situations, that’s why ideally some of those extra guys can really help you.
Outside Linebacker Lorenzo Carter
Q: What was it like yesterday to finally get out there with pads on?
A: It was fun. Finally get a chance to play football again. We’ve been running around with helmets on and shorts, but now the pads are on so it’s time to go out there and do what we came here for and play the game we all love.
Q: Do you know when you got it right? Do you know when you’re doing the right things? There were a couple plays yesterday where it seemed like everything went right for you, you were in the quarterback’s face. Do you feel that coming? Does it almost kind of get you going?
A: Yeah, you can feel it. You definitely can tell when you’re doing it right just the way things happen. You can tell when your eyes are in the right place and your movements are doing the right things. I just try to keep doing what I’m doing. Try to keep getting that feeling because that’s the thing you just want to let the coaches know that you can continuously do it.
Q: Do you also know when you’re doing it wrong, you get that “uh oh?”
A: You definitely know when it’s going wrong, that’s when you just turn around and put the jets on, try to keep running. Everybody’s going to make mistakes, especially as a rookie, but you just have to make mistakes and you don’t lose, you just learn lessons.
Q: How was playing in the defense at Georgia helped make this transition a little bit easier?
A: I was talking to my old teammate, Devin Bellamy, he’s in Houston. We were just talking about how Georgia really prepared us well for this stage and just the style of defense we play. They taught us a lot about playing outside linebacker and setting the edges and also being able to drop. I’m grateful for all the coaching tips they gave us there.
Q: At the same time, you did so many different things in that scheme in college. I’m guessing here, as a rookie, they have you focusing more on one type of linebacker. What is that and how well is that working for you to have one focus instead of many?
A: So I had a lot of focuses back in the day. Here I’m playing straight outside linebacker, strong side. My job is simple: set the edge, affect the passer and lastly I have to drop, but dropping is next. That’s an after thought. In the front of my head is pass rushing and being aggressive going forward. I love it.
Q: What about your style of game suits you well for what they’re asking you to do?
A: The coaches ask me to go for it and go for it fast, I can go for that. I can do that.
Q: Is the hardest thing with the edge rusher, I mean I assume getting to the pass is the easy, but protecting that edge?
A: Protecting that edge, it just comes, I say, kind of natural. You just have to get off the ball and just try to get some knockback. That’s the thing coach is telling us, we don’t have to really – you can set the edge by knocking somebody back and forcing them to get in the hole. Just playing physical, playing very disruptive.
Q: How quickly did you and Connor [Barwin] click?
A: I love Connor. Once he got in here I just saw… He’s a tenured vet. I’ve learned as much as I can from him. He knows the recipe, he has the formula so it would be ignorant of me not to follow him and do everything he does.
Q: Do you guys have similar skill sets?
A: I think so. Connor [Barwin] was showing me a little bit of his quickness and his agility the other day. We were just watching film and I was like okay, I could do some stuff he does. I love learning from him.
Q: You guys were out there on the practice field after everything broke down yesterday, right? You and Connor [Barwin] and Jordan [Williams] and Avery [Moss], too. Is that something that he brings up, you guys talk to him about, or does it kind of just happen organically?
A: It just happens organically. Like I said, he’s a tenured guy. He’s where all of us want to be, all of us want a chance to get to. If you see that he’s doing something, then hop in. He’s going to workout, I’m going to workout with him and anything he does; try to get that edge.
Q: And that’s happened already in the five or six days together?
A: That’s happened within, I think that was his third day here with us. I’m definitely going to ride his tail.
Q: You had an inside rush yesterday. Is that something you feel you can do?
A: I feel like I could do a lot of things: inside rushes, rush the edge. I don’t want to be known as a guy that’s going to keep juicing the edge because you guys know it, the offensive guys know it, the offensive coordinators know it, so you got to switch it up. I have to have the ability to do different things.
Q: Little bit more aggressive in there, right? Little bit more pounds in there.
A: Just a little bit more heavier guys in there, but I mean you got to use what God gave you. God gave me quickness, so I’m not going to run in there and try to bang with those 300-pounders, I’ll use my quickness and get around them, really work that edge.
Q: Once the pads are on, is at some point for a rookie you want to think I played a high college level but I want to see if my physical stuff can do it here. Did you get that sense in the last couple of days?
A: That’s been the thing. Like I said, we’ve been running around in shorts and helmets, that’s not football. Football is when the pads come on and when you got to go strike a man so that’s what I’ve been looking forward to. Went out there yesterday and we got after it so I’m going to continue to get after it with my teammates, we’re going to keep pushing each other.
Q: Any particular hit or collision that made you think I got the better hit, not him?
A: Not really. I’m just going out there trying to work
Linebacker B.J. Goodson
Q: How has your relationship been with Alec Ogletree, are you guys beginning to gel?
A: Ever since he got here, we have been gelling, so to speak. Our relationship is great and it correlates on and off the field, like I said in previous interviews. He’s from Georgia, I’m from South Carolina, we’re right there and our relationship is great.
Q: What makes this defense a perfect fit for Olivier Vernon?
A: OV is a natural freak athlete. With OV, it’s not about scheme. OV is going to be OV, regardless and it’s great to have a guy like that in front.
Q: What do you mean by OV is going to be OV?
A: A freak athlete, he is going to take care of his business.
Q: Do you feel like this defense will play to his strengths?
A: I think it will, having different …. and offenses not knowing what to expect, it will work out in his favor.
Q: What’s the benefit of padded practices and how many do you think you guys need in camp?
A: Whatever coach sees fit. Obviously with me loving contact, I’ll take as many as we can get. Like he said, play by ear, be safe and make sure everybody goes into the season healthy.
Q: How difficult is it to learn the new rules about helmet contact that the league is putting into effect?
A: You just have to take precaution. It all makes sense. We have been playing this game for so long and it all takes its natural course. We all have to take precaution and be professionals.
Q: With the exception of Snacks, the defensive line is relatively young. How has the dynamic been between the defensive line and the linebackers?
A: It has been great. Those guys are hungry and eager to show their talents. I’m excited about that as well.
Q: How do you think the rookies handled the first padded practice yesterday?
A: I think they did a great job. They came out there and they were physical and I liked what I saw.
Q: How does someone with your skillset fit in a 3-4 defense?
A: Honestly, for me, it doesn’t matter what type of defense it is. Scheme doesn’t really matter to me. Line up, and I have an offensive lineman in front of me, the ball behind the offensive lineman, win against the man I’m against, and make the tackle.
Q: What’s your impression of the offense?
A: I can’t help any other defenses out, obviously. We obviously have a special group on the offensive side and I enjoy sharpening myself against those guys.
Cornerback Janoris Jenkins
July 29, 2018
Q: What have been your emotions the last month or so, and how did you get yourself ready for this training camp?
A: My main focus has always been football. Things that happened I can’t control because I wasn’t there, and just coming back, dealing with my team, and just being excited to be here.
Q: Have you been able to talk to your brother?
A: No comment. I haven’t talked to him, to be honest, but I will, just see where his head’s at, and as far as that, I’ll [leave it there].
Q: What have your spirits been like through this whole thing?
A: It’s shocking, but I still gotta come and play football, and right now, my main focus is to come out here and get better every day for my teammates and just stay focused.
Q: It is something you still have to deal with, or you’re able to sort of put it aside for now?
A: Put it aside. I understand I’ve got to focus on my job, and being here is more important, and just training hard, just going hard is more important.
Q: You were doing an album, right, with Trypps [Roosevelt Rene]? Are you still honoring that plan?
A: Yeah, I’m going to do it. But right now I’m just focused on football, like I said. That will come out later once everything is over with, and move forward.
Q: You said you want to focus on football, is that easy to do? How difficult is that?
A: I mean, it’s difficult, but at the end of the day, you’ve got to be a pro. Things [are] going to happen in life, some things you can’t control, and it’s just one of those situations.
*Q: How is your football going so far?
*A: Pretty good so far. I’m back, I’m working good, I’m at top-speed, I’m just continuing to make plays and just do what I’ve got to do.
Q: Does it feel very new to you, with the new coaches and system?
A: Not really, you know, just different terms for different schemes. But it’s basically the same thing and once you put it all together, football is football.
Q: I know you got banged up last year and it really lingered up until the season-ender. Do you feel as healthy as you’ve been in a while?
A: Oh yeah, I’m one hundred percent. I can say that today. No issues, no ankle soreness, none of that. I’m one hundred percent.
Q: Is that boosting the way you’ve been able to play early on?
A: Of course. I came back the whole offseason just preparing, working on getting my ankle stronger and in and out of cuts, and so far I’ve been doing good.
Q: First day of practice, you had an interception. Does that make you kind of feel like ‘I’m ready’?
A: It [doesn’t] make me feel like I’m ready. It’s just made me feel like I’m taking some steps to being ready, and like I said, continue to work, getting better, and just being there for my team.
Q: Does Odell [Beckham] being back make you guys better as cornerbacks in practice?
A: It makes everybody better, the whole team. He’s a dynamic player, he’s a great player, he’s going to come out to work every day.
Q: What’s it like having [Odell] on the field? What’s he like? You go one-on-one against each other.
A: It just feels good, because you know you’re competing. You can compete and practice against a top receiver, and just me and him going at it every day. He’s gonna win, I’m gonna win, he might win the whole day, I might win. It’s back and forth, but it only is getting us better. When he catches a ball on me, he’s going to critique me. if I knock it down, I’m gonna go over there and critique him, and we just keep moving forward.
Q: Do you chirp at each other at all?
A: If we chirp, it’ll be something fun, but other than that, we just leave that off the field.
Q: What do you think of [Defensive Coordinator James] Bettcher?
A: Oh, I love him. Great D coordinator, understands the game, understands his players, how they play, and I’m looking forward to it.
Q: What do you think of the depth behind you, the young guys, obviously coming in between you and Eli [Apple], but then everybody else just jockeying for a position?
A: That’s where we’ve got to step our role up and do things the right way so that they can follow, and when it’s their time to step in, they’ll be ready.
Q: What’s your advice to Eli [Apple]? He obviously had a rocky year last year.
A: Just stay focused and just ball, man. You can’t listen to the outside rim because they don’t know what’s going on behind the lines, they only see. So you just keep working, and just continue to strive.
*Q: Do you notice anything different with him?
*A: Yeah, just preparation, the way he approaches practice, some of the things he used to do last year before practice he eliminated. I just see a focused Eli Apple.
Q: What kind of stuff did he eliminate?
A: The little dancing, stuff like that, but other than that, he’s good.
Q: For a veteran like you, when everything starts happening and you get beat on a play, is that when you get to really know if Eli Apple is matured?
A: Correct, because you’ve got to understand that you’re gonna get beat sometimes, but after that, it’s how you respond and I think Eli will do a very good job. So, I’m ready to see it.
Q: He said yesterday that when he watches you every time you make a play, he feels like he has to make a play. Do you kind of feel the same way, too?
A: Of course. We’re out there competing, holding each other to a high standard, and making sure that we are doing what we gotta do outside to make sure that we can control the game our way, and just continue to get better.
Q: How would you describe Bettcher’s defense and how it fits you in particular?
A: It’s aggressive. He lets you play a little bit, he’s not going to have you being a robot. All you’ve gotta do is listen to the call and just trust the call that he called, and you’ll be OK.
Q: What do you mean by not letting you be a robot? You can freelance a little bit at times?
A: No, not freelance. Just getting out there, if it’s cover 2, just lining up showing cover 2. That’s what I mean by robot.