September 16, 2020
Opening Statement: “Good morning everybody, hope everybody is well.  Obviously a big week in front of us, another divisional game here (with) Green Bay. Have to go up there and obviously play an outstanding Green Bay Packers team that went to the conference championship game, a team that has a great amount of talent, some great players, just doing a really good job. For us, we’re obviously hitting this on the field today. We’ll be out without pads on today, kind of working some different aspects of the game. A couple guys that will probably be out for practice – they might be out there to start – we’ll see what it looks like – Hunter Bryant, Kenny Golladay, (Desmond) Trufant probably won’t do anything. Darryl Roberts, (Halapoulivaati) Vaitai and Nick Williams will be out there. We’ll see how it goes at the start of practice and progress forward from there. So those are kind of the major ones for us from that standpoint. We added Chris Jones, a defensive corner onto the roster, obviously with Justin (Coleman) going on short-term I.R. yesterday. That’s pretty much it for the roster, and we’ll dive into Green Bay.”
On how the team communication has altered when there are no fans in the stands, so opponents won’t hear: “Yeah, I mean 100 percent, definitely. There’s some communication on both sides of the ball that we make sure we keep moving or change or signal or have different ways to get that out to everybody with the first run at it this past weekend. Definitely was a situation where we can hear a lot more than what we anticipated before. So we have to do a good job of keeping that moving from that standpoint.”
On how to evaluate the pass rush on its own: “You break it down into different stages. There are different types of pass rush. There’s going to be the isolated one-on-one pass rushes, where you’re just looking at the individual technique and maybe the particular offensive set, defensive pass rush move and how effective that was – trying to take into account the situation, but the individual himself. Then you look at the scheme rush on top of it, maybe it’s two guys working together, and maybe it’s how a particular attack point that we might have in a protection scheme. Not everything is usually one-on-one blocks. There’s usually five normal defenses, four-man rush, five-man blocking with a chip held on the sixth running back or something like that – so there’s going to be guys that are two-on-one, there’s going to be guys that are one-on-one. We’re going to try to read different slide protections and be able to take advantages of the, call it the ‘break points,’ where the slide goes and try to use some natural games at that point to be able to create pressure in the middle of the pocket. So you evaluate all that first, the individual technique and in the pass rush against the protection itself, we usually call that five-on-four, just to see what that looked like. Then incorporate what is the game situation? Is it an early down? Is it a play-action transition? Is it a drop-back pass? Is it 90s or three-step? Is it something that may be a third-down-and-shorter versus third-down-and-medium because then that all goes into the gameplan rush? If you have a longer time to get to the quarterback based on the down and distance, then we could maybe do more of an elaborate pass rush game or a pass rush move. If it’s a situation where the ball is coming out faster, then the pass rush tends to be a little bit more vertical and pushing into the pocket, trying to get in the throwing lanes. So it’s kind of multi-layered there – and then obviously the coverage. You add that into the last factor. You certainly look at the individual effort, the individual one-on-one production first.”
On what goes into the decision of placing a player on the Reserve/Injured list: “Obviously the time and the length and then the injury-type. So certainly with – let’s just go with the shorter term – if we have some maybe the pulls and the strains that we’ve had, some of the soft-tissue injuries, that we know are in the 10-to-14-day window, then obviously the short-term I.R. is something that doesn’t really help us. The times are all approximate. Everybody’s body heals differently. So you just try to go off general injury information there. Just staying with soft-tissue injuries for instance, the soft-tissue injuries that might be the four- to six- to eight-week windows, then you really have to gauge, ‘OK, what is the value of the short-term situation versus the long-term situation?’ Sometimes maybe if the guy is a quick healer, sometimes if the guy can come back early or if they’re not – obviously non-surgical situations here is what we’re talking about. Then obviously the ones that are major that require surgery or longer-timelines, then you move into the next category from there. But I think it’s really been a very interesting new rule for us, from the standpoint of evaluating guys maybe in the past were four-week injuries, that you would hold onto, and you would wait it out, as opposed to the three-week window and seeing where it goes from there. Even if you’re off a week-or-two on the far end with the short-term I.R., it’s probably better for the player.”
On how to handle the multiple injuries at the corner position: “I think the big thing for that is – we’ve talked about this before – we try to cross-train a lot of guys on our team and certainly in the secondary. Obviously with corners and safeties, we know that there’s going to be some cross-training packages that we can have with that and have those positions backed up. That’s one way to do it, and we obviously have other players on our team that if there’s an emergency situation, we can move over to there, and we use our practice squad depth, and then we identify a guy like Chris Jones who was with us before a  couple years ago that we know, that we liked, and we weren’t able to hold onto at that time that we were able to bring back. We just go forward from there. We look at timelines understanding that maybe one week may look really not good, and we have to do the best we can that particular week. But maybe in two weeks with other things that are moving parts with some of the other injuries, maybe look a lot better, and you just try to make sure you don’t overreact one week, understanding the bigger picture of what it looks like down the road.”
On if CB Jeff Okudah will be practicing today: “Yeah I think Jeff is going to go out there. We’ll see how it goes during warm-up. (I’m) anticipating him going through practice, and we’ll obviously keep an eye on it from that standpoint. I expect him to be out there and go.”
On if he’s listening for opponent play calls as he prepares for the Packers due to the lack of crowd noise covering it up, and how to disguise his own calls: “It’s a huge part of the game, honestly. We get a lot of information from the TV, and we get a lot of information from previous years of just studying opponents and keeping track and records of different systems that everybody plays, whether it’s offense or defense. A lot of the stuff honestly is pretty common knowledge. Before the game, what you’re trying to identify is what’s taking place in-game and if anything is switched. Peyton Manning – this is a classic example – We’re playing Peyton Manning one year, and we do, obviously, the audibles at the line of scrimmage. We have two young linebackers, Jerod Mayo and Gary Guyton, and we had one of the calls. The first time he said it, they took off, and it was a great play. Two young linebackers really excited about the play, and it was a T.F.L. (tackle for loss). The next time he comes to the line of scrimmage, dummies the thing, and Gary goes through the middle, and I think Jerod did too. Pretty sure (Dallas) Clark hit the thing over the middle for about 35-yards deep. I just think you understand the situations, that there’s communication out there, but you really have to look at all the other nuances that go along with it. If you get a piece of communication say, ‘OK, here’s what I heard, but this guy is showing me this, or this formation is showing me that, or this set is usually this.’ You take it as what it is, but you still have to go out and play and react at that standpoint. So on the flipside of that, we have to be conscious of that communication, and certainly if there’s something we think somebody’s tapped into that we need to change, and then signals are just something that we have to constantly keep moving.”
On how to accelerate correcting fundamentals: “It’s obviously a huge problem for us. The plan is just to not be in pads today. We’ll see what tomorrow looks like, and sometimes that’s trying to make sure we get the guys that we want out there and take a look at it, sometimes it’s more about moving the bodies around, maybe at a quicker tempo then it is slamming into each other. We’ll gauge that day-by-day. One of the tricky parts in the NFL I think of the last couple years has been how do we practice good fundamentals without being in pads? I think we’ve come up with creative ways through the different sled work and the different bags and some of the different drill work, fundamental stuff, that we’ve been able to do. I think we’ve definitely expanded on those type of individual drills and those type of individual periods throughout the course of practice. So even later in practice, where individual periods tend to go away, we’re actually going back to more individual after or during team periods. So if you’re not out there in a particular team period, kind of going back and working some of the sled work because at that point you’re not slamming into each other. So it’s a good opportunity to hone in on some of those fundamentals. Obviously from last week, there’s areas like you mentioned that we got to get better at, and so do a lot of people in the League. If we can do that quicker, we’ll be better faster. That’s something everybody understands. Just trying to keep coming up with creative ways to do it, be disciplined as we’re repping those things to try to get better at it. Guys are great though. They understand it. They know that this is their craft, this is the things they need to work on, and they’re going to stay and put extra time into it and do everything they can to get it better.”
On if he thinks the short-term Reserve/Injured list will be beneficial in the long run: “Yeah, you know, it’s a great conversation piece because I think before we had it, everyone was wishing we had it. From that standpoint, we’re all like, ‘Gosh, I wish we had a different way to do this. That’d be great.’ So, now we do. I think that everyone is trying to use it to the fullest and to the best of the rule and we’ll go back and take a look at it afterword’s and say, ‘Hey, what were the benefits of it and maybe what was the downside?’ I think right now, I think we’ll just try to use it as much as we can.”
On how long it takes a veteran quarterback to recognize a defensive check and change calls: “Guys that have been playing quarterback for a long time and in this system, they change that stuff pretty quick. They might change it on the next play. They might actually go back to the huddle and say, ‘Hey, I’m going to dummy this call right now. Everybody ignore it because we’ve got to slow the defense down, or vice-versa.’ We do the same thing on defense. Guys do it. I would say this though – early in the season, in the NFL, everyone’s a little nervous about doing it. I’m sure, again, the veteran quarterbacks like (Matthew) Stafford, Aaron Rodgers and those guys, they feel comfortable being able to do that stuff. But sometimes, when you have a lot of new players on the field and you have those situations where you’re trying to make dummy calls, it definitely can bite you. It definitely can be a tough situation. In 2009, it was the Saints. I mean I won’t forget this one. We got beat down there, but we had a particular blitz on and we were trying to dummy-cadence a coverage call, and the guy out in the secondary looked right at the safety and gave him the dummy signal back and it was all good and then we played the coverage and went and we had a guy wide open down the middle of the field and it was a touchdown. It was like 80 yards later. Sometimes, there is a little bit of a, ‘OK, let’s just make sure everybody is on the same page.’ We’ll build to that point, so Week 2 is a little bit tough. Right now, for us, it’s, ‘Let’s just make sure we’re being discreet when we use our communication and not give any of that away right away.”
On the dynamics of going on the road in the COVID-19 reality: “I think it’s a great observation because honestly, I think through the month of September, no different than the offseason program and training camp, the first couple weeks, the first three weeks as we get into all of it because it is so new, there is so much that goes into making sure everybody knows what is happening those weeks. So, there is some comfort level to what’s being done as opposed to kind of just springing it upon everybody that it does feel like it takes away from just kind of our normal process. So, it’ll be the same this week as far as how we get on the buses and how we get on the plane and obviously, for our guys, being able to fuel them properly for the game and what that looks like from the hotel situations, to the meeting spaces and making sure that we’re socially distant. The mask wearing that we have to do in the hotels and in common spaces that are maybe more public than maybe our building. And sometimes, we’re just at the mercy of the space that we’re in, and then we’ve got to work around those details, too. It’s all just new challenges. I mean our operations department; I mean they are just phenomenal. Gina (Newell, Director of Team Operations) does a great job of coordinating and just giving us information and making sure that we have a bunch of different choices to keep everything moving in a way that will help the team prepare. And really, what you’re trying to do is just eliminate the distractions. Everybody just wants to stay in their routine as much as they can. Even going to the stadium’s going to be different. Each stadium will have a different locker room setup, and some locker rooms are a little bit tighter than others and how does that effect guys in the locker room or coaches in the locker room? All of it’s just kind of new. I think part of it, for us, is good. The guys are used to adapting to all of it, but there is still kind of that, ‘First time on the road, let’s get it over with,’ and then it will be much more comfortable the next time we have to go on the road.”
On if the Greater Green Bay area has any restrictions that will impact what the team is able to do: “There are restrictions with all that stuff in the hotels, and a lot of it’s based on the space that we have available to us and trying to keep everybody distant. Obviously, with just our general COVID-19 testing rules and the contract tracing, we have to make sure that we have enough space so that if something happens, the contract tracing doesn’t affect us too from that standpoint. All of the setups have to be a little different than what they’ve been in the past, and some of the space is definitely different and some of the meeting times are different. Even – I know this is not really what you asked – but on Monday for us, that was entirely, entirely, new for us –  to do a team meeting the day after the game virtually, and not be able to actually get in there and coach the guys in person or show the video in person, where as the head coach, I’m trying to correct the game. Maybe the video’s skipping a little bit, maybe I fear that a coaching point might be lost because the translation of the video through the Zoom call isn’t necessarily on point. Obviously, everything is done after that with the position coaches and smaller groups, but it’s an unsteady, uneasy feeling from that standpoint until we get used to it, which we will, and then we’ll be OK.”
On if Green Bay will be totally different even though he’s used to going there: “It definitely is. It’s going to be, and we know that. We’ve actually tried to make some adjustments, like I said, ahead of time, anticipating some of that stuff in the spring. So, we’ll see how that looks.”

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