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Quotes (8/27): Shurmur, Jenkins, Carter

Head Coach Pat Shurmur

Opening: I think we tried to take advantage of the heat and the pads and did a little bit of extra conditioning – pursuit drill and then kind of a tempo no-huddle drill for the offense just to take advantage of this heat. When you don’t have the padded practices and the heat goes away, we’re done with it so we took advantage of it today. I thought the guys responded and we got a lot done.

Q: Today the last padded practice before the regular season?

A: We’re going to be in shells tomorrow so we’ll practice in pads next week prior to Jacksonville. Today is Thursday, right? In our world. So tomorrow will be a Friday practice and then Saturday and so on.

Q: Saquon (Barkley) had a wheel route today similar to the play he got hurt on. Does he look good as new to you?

A: Yeah he had a good day. He’s been practicing. Practiced well yesterday and today. He looked good.

Q: Is he limited at all or are you letting him go full practice at this point?

A: You can reveal to the world that he’s out here practicing full. Let’s reveal it. I know there’s – sometimes when you’re up here and you hear the questions, I see it differently because I’m on the behind-the-scenes day-to-day, but he’s doing very well.

Q: We assume, we just wanted you to confirm.

A: Yeah, confirmed.

Q: Olivier Vernon update?

A: Ankle like we talked about yesterday and so he’s day-to-day.

Q: Did he have his MRI yet?

A: He was checked out. The MRI didn’t show any breaks so he’s just day-to-day with that ankle. He got checked out pretty thoroughly.

Q: Is that the same ankle he sprained last year?

A: You know, I don’t know that. That’s a good question so we’ll see.

Q: Saw Romeo (Okwara) getting some reps today with the ones. What have you seen from him in camp?

A: He’s done a good job. He’s actually – he’s caught our eye again. I tend to watch edge players so Romeo and obviously what Lorenzo’s (Carter) been doing. They can crank up the pass rush and I think he did a good job today based on what I saw.

Q: Was today a step forward for (Connor) Barwin? Seemed like he did individuals and do you like where he’s at?

A: He was out there today. Probably did the most in practice he’s done in a while and so we’ll just see how the knee responded when we go in here this afternoon.

Q: When it comes to making decisions on roster spots, do you have a preference if it’s a young guy and an old guy, all things are equal, do you lean towards the veteran or the young guy?

A: I think those are individual cases so the comparisons on who’s the better guy for what reasons. Sometimes youth plays a factor, sometimes experience plays a factor. It might depend on the guy and the position so there’s really no harden fast rule on that.

Q: You’ve talked about team chemistry in this camp. Are there things that you look for to gauge how the team is doing?

A: Yeah, I guess when we have done this long enough where we sort of remember when teams were close and it built the chemistry and then we’ve all coached in years where it was ehh. I think I’m just looking for those indicators and I see a group of guys that really believes in themselves, they believe in each other. I like the path we’re on, we still got a long way to go, but I like the direction that our team is heading.

Q: Is there a team that you’ve been apart of that set the bar?

A: No, I’ve been fortunate to be on a lot of really, really good teams. I wouldn’t single one out.

Q: How about the floor?

A: And I’ve been on a few that were sort of (inaudible) that way so I won’t single them out either.

Q: How do you evaluate Eli Apple’s preseason so far?

A: I think he’s done a good job. I think he’s out there, he’s competing. I think he’s playing against some pretty good wide outs in practice. I like what he’s done in games and I watch for the connection game day and I think he’s showing that in the last three games.

Q: I’m sorry, connection on game day meaning?

A: Connection in the game, in the flow, knowing what’s going on, covering your guy, competing if you get beat, come back keep competing. Kind of that in-game connection, I think I’ve seen really good stuff.

Q: A year ago when we were talking about this team, everybody would sit there and say they have a chance to go to the Super Bowl. Do you like the fact that there is no pressure is in here this year?

A: I just told the team today, and I’ll say this, I’m not into predictions. I’m not into – I told the team today really don’t worry about Jacksonville, let’s just make the rest of today as good as it can be and then we’ll see where we go with it. I remember the feeling we had last year, Sam Bradford gets hurt, Teddy’s (Bridgewater) not in there, we start Case Keenum and everybody was – and the message was hey let’s have a really good practice and get ready to play the next opponent and then let’s just be better than them on that Sunday and see where it all falls. I’m not smart enough to predict, but I’m smart enough to stay in the moment and try to make it as good as it can be.

Q: I don’t think we asked you about Sterling Shepard and his game the other night.

A: Yeah he had some production and again, a gritty guy we can play him in the slot, we can play him outside. He gets involved in the run blocking patterns. I really like what I’ve seen from him.

Q: When a guy has a game like that, you know, seven catches a couple in traffic, do you kind of check the boxes like oh, he’s ready?

A: I don’t know if I check the box, but it’s good to see that he can take on a load and produce. Again, we’ve been very pleased from what we’ve seen from him and he’s a guy that’s going to help us win games.

Q: So just for the record, (Saquon) Barkley and (Odell) Beckham may or may not play on Thursday?

A: For the record (laughs).

CB Janoris Jenkins

Q: How do you think the secondary is looking as you head toward the season opener?

A: We are still working back there. We have a lot of things to improve on. I think we are focused on technique, and playing fast within the scheme, we are going to be pretty good.

Q: Are you happy where you are individually?

A: Not really, there are some things I’m still working on. Its preseason so I’m working them out, getting ready for the season.

Q: Do you wish the ball would come to your direction more in the preseason?

A: I don’t even pay attention to that to be honest. I’m just out there playing football and that’s all I’m going to do.

Q: Since you are going against Odell (Beckham) personally, do you see him as ready to start the season?

A: Oh yeah, he’s ready.

Q: You had a one on one against him in the corner, do you think that play will happen on gameday on a regular basis?

A: All I know is once Odell hits the field he’s going to be Odell Beckham Jr. As far as him being ready, that’s on him. I’m just here to support him and hopefully he gets back out there with us.

Q: Do you have a good feel for what this defense is all about?

A: Of course, we have a main idea, it’s an aggressive defense. Right now, as we are finishing up preseason it’s all about the tics, tacks, the ins and the outs of the defense and everybody playing together.

Q: You said Odell is ready, what makes you think that?

A: For one he is back on the field. He’s running his routes, he’s doing all the drills, he’s doing everything. We will continue to see.

Q: Do you see the same explosion? Does it look any different than before?

A: It doesn’t look any different to me.

Q: In the second team cornerbacks, who has impressed you?

A: C Lou (Chris Lewis Harris) has impressed me a lot. Grant Haley has impressed me a lot. They are learning, I just tell them every day, come out here and get better. Something is going to happen in practice, sometimes you are going to make a plays sometimes you’re not. At the end of the day, I just see them getting better every day.

Q: Who stands out as the leader of the defense?

A: To be honest, I think we all lead. As far as Snacks (Damon Harrison), LC (Landon Collins), myself, (Alec) Ogletree, just thinking we are coming out in front and playing fast.

Q: Eli Apple’s given up a few plays this preseason, do you talk to him about that?

A: I don’t worry, like I tell him, you have to understand they are going to catch some balls and you are going to make some plays. Just make more plays than they catch balls and we are going to be okay.

Q: How much of a difference on the practice field does it make that everyone is healthy?

A: It makes a big difference. Last year we were a little banged up. I see a hunger in everybody, I think we are just ready to go work.

Q: You said in OTA’s this year was going to be different, 6 months later is it the hunger in everyone’s eyes that makes you feel that way?

A: Like I said, last year I was injured. You all didn’t know that, I didn’t come out and tell you that. I’m healthy now, and I’m ready to go hunt.

Q: Is the whole team in that mood, after 3 wins last year do you sense something different?

A: Everybody is hungry. We understand that we have a lot of talent on this team and people are not going to just beat us, it’s just us making mistakes to beat ourselves. If we keep doing everything right and get everybody in position playing football, we’ll be okay.

Q; Have you eaten lunch with (Head Coach Pat) Shurmur in the cafeteria? Apparently some players have?

A: Yeah, he eats in there a lot with us. He’ll come by, sit with us and talk it up. He asks us what we think about the defense, I like that.

Q: What do you think of a head coach that does that, is that rare?

A: It’s rare, but its cool because you earn the trust of the guys on the team. It lets you know that your head coach is not scared to come up and talk to you as a person or as a man. Communication is key, as we all know.

Q: Have you ever had a head coach that did that?

A: Probably in Florida when I was in college. Coach (Jeff) Fisher would do it every now and again when I was in St. Louis. Coach Pat, it seems like he does it every day

Q: The first time he did it, did it take you by surprise?

A: Yeah, because it was unexpected. You are in the lunch room eating with your teammates and the head coach walks up. It’s like we are either in trouble or he is coming to talk, and then he comes to talk, chat it up and have fun.

Q: Does he ever bring any good food?

A: He lets the cafeteria cook all the food.

Q: What impresses you about Saquon (Barkley)?

A: He’s explosive and he’s smart. I can tell he loves football, because of the way he works, and how he goes about his business. I can’t wait to see him play.

LB Lorenzo Carter

Q: How does (LB) Olivier Vernon’s injury affect you?

A: It really doesn’t affect me too much. I’m still going after it, doing the same thing. At practice still trying to get better, taking it one play at a time. He’ll be back though. So, it’s no biggie.

Q: Do you get excited practicing with the first team defense?

A: Yeah, it’s just a chance to get out there and get better. Just to test yourself against the starters to see what it’s like. It’s still football at the end of the day. You still go out there reading your keys and striking blockers. Just have to go out there and make the most of it.   

Q: Is there a difference in speed playing with the first team defense, as opposed to the second or third team defense?

A: I don’t think so. The “ones” are a little bit more refined. They know their job, they’ve done their job for a couple of years. So, they have that on top of the “two’s” and “three’s” a little bit. The two’s and three’s, we’re all out there flying around, getting better, working hard.  

Q: Are you ready for the regular season after having a few preseason games under your belt?

A: Oh yeah, I’m ready. I feel like it’s been a process, definitely. From preseason on – it’ll be a progression even throughout the season. I feel like I’m ready to go out there and play some football with my guys.

Q: With Olivier Vernon going down, does this feel like a big opportunity for you to get some extra reps?

A: I feel like this whole training camp has been an opportunity. I’ve been trying to put it out there and stack the days and just get better. I don’t think nothing is really going to change that “OV” is out. It’s going to be going out there every day with a mindset on getting better.

Q: Where have you improved the most?

A: I think just knowing things, the knowledge of the game, trying to pick on keys, know what the offense does before they do it, so I can put myself in the best position to stop it. Talking to (LB) Connor (Barwin), talking to “OV”, (LB) Kareem (Martin), it’s all trying to put yourself in a better position before the snap. So, that’s what I’m working on. That’s what I feel like I’ve gotten better at.     

Q: Did you see that come to fruition against the Jets? Does it boost your confidence seeing what you worked on translate to game day?

A: Yeah, it’s good to see it in games, but we see it in practice too. When plays start to line up, when the coach calls a play, and people start to come free, it’s just good knowing you’re doing the stuff the right way. When it gets to game time, it’s just even better.

Q: Are there things you look at on film and say, “I’ve got to get better with this?”

A: Definitely, I am my biggest critique. I critique myself, I’m hard on myself. When I watch film, it’s not really too much good stuff that I try to point out. I try to point out all the bad things that I can fix and get better at.

Q: Is there one thing in particular that you realize you have to work on?  

A: For me, it’s just playing, just getting out there and going. At times, I feel like I’m thinking too much. But, its football, you get used to it. The game slows down as you get experience. 

Q: Did you get a chance to talk to Olivier Vernon?   

A: I haven’t really had a chance to talk to him. I’ll talk to him later. 

Q: What’s been your impression on this defense as it’s shaping up through training camp?

A: A bunch of hungry guys. Just a bunch of guys. We’ve got great leadership with “LC” (Landon Collins), “Tree” (LB Alec Ogletree), “Snacks” (DT Damon Harrison, Sr.) up front. It’s a lot of great leaders, and we’re going to go out there and follow, and they’re aggressive. So, we’re going to be aggressive.

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