Transcript: Wednesday, September 9, 2020: Jaguars WR DJ Chark Jr., Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden, QB Gardner Minshew II, and Head Coach Doug Marrone

JAGUARS WIDE RECEIVER DJ CHARK JR.

(On QB Gardner Minshew II’s growth) “[It’s been] just from confidence of filling in, to just being his team—being the captain. I think that’s a big jump because you know that the guys in the locker room support you and they want you to succeed. [As] opposed to wishing that somebody else was quarterback and things like that. So, I think that’s the biggest thing that transfers on the field—translates to the field because when you’re dropping back, everybody on the team wants you to succeed. So, I think that’s the biggest thing and the confidence that he has.”

(On the lack of faith from fans acting as motivation going into the season) “How big of underdogs are we? I [haven’t been] paying attention, so maybe it motivates us, but I really think our attention isn’t on that. So, I think just going in, our attention is [on] being a better team and showing that we can do what we say we want to do. I think that’s the biggest thing, I think that’s the thing that Coach Marrone wants from us the most, to be ourselves and not worry about outside noise and things like that. So, I’m just interested to see how these young guys get out there and play for the first time and battle with them and get a win.”

(On surprising the fans with success) “Uh yes. If you don’t expect us to do well, then I consider that we can surprise you. But I don’t think that anyone that really, really supports us would be surprised.”

(On his own improvement over the last year) “I just watch some of my plays from last year and I’m my hardest critic and even now I’m still my hardest critic. I think I’ve gotten way better; I have way more confidence, I know what to expect. Week 1 last year, I was excited to finally be a starter, I wasn’t expecting to have the game that I had Week 1. This year is kind of different, you know. I’m expecting the attention from the defense, so I’m preparing like I’m going to get the attention from the defense. I think I’m a better player, I’ve just got to go out and prove it.”

(On last year’s last game against the Colts being one of the best second half they’ve played and if any of that will carry over to this year) “I think last year, it was our last game. We had been through a lot and we just wanted to go out there and ball. And it was just a good feeling in the locker room, going out on that note. This year, there’s a lot of the younger guys that were on that team, they were still here. And we understand what it’s like to go into games [as] underdogs and things like that. But we also know, any given Sunday you can beat anybody. Teams that go undefeated lose to teams that have won one game. It doesn’t matter, it’s just who prepared the hardest, who’s willing to go out there and play. So, I think this week, we don’t feel like we’re underdogs at all. We don’t really see how we could be underdogs, so we just want to go out there and ball, [the] best team wins.”

(On challenges that the Colts present to the receivers) “They’re really good at cover two, it’s one of their staples. A corner like [Xavier] Rhodes who’s a big guy that helps the scheme. They also have a good defensive line and linebackers which makes things usually easier for the defensive back to sit or jump routes and play more comfortable. You know you have a defensive back who’s playing comfortable and confident, that’s a tough thing to go against. So, we expect that, and my goal is to really just study all of these guys, see their strengths, see their weaknesses. And know whatever play is called, how to attack a weakness or how to create a weakness in his game because of the play. The biggest benefit that I have, is I know the play and it’s kind of hard to disguise defenses when you study them. So, I feel like I have the upper hand when it comes to preparing. But at the end of the day, they are good in what they do best, so it’s going to be challenging.”

(On the progression from Week 1 to Week 17 and seeing a difference in coverage) “I definitely saw a difference in the way that I was being played, from Week 1. Week 1 was … the first three or four weeks were pretty easy because I was able to get a lot of single coverage. Because you have to do it over and over again before someone really respects you. Towards the end of the year, I saw more cover two to my side or two-man, or double coverage or brackets, things like that. And I expect that again this year. I feel like that’s a sign of respect. So, I embrace it. But I tell guys like LaViska [Shenault Jr.], ‘You know if they are doing that to me, that means it’s your turn to be one-on-one. So, it’s your turn to do your thing.’ But either way, we’re at this bracket, double cover, I see I have to get open, that’s my job. But hopefully LaViska can make it a little easier for me. But we have a lot of veterans in the offense, so I think this year the difference is if you do try to take me out of the game, we have some guys that can really make you pay for it. We just have to do it.”

(On his confidence of having an explosive offense) “We have some pretty good concepts. We have some concepts that you kind of have to pick your poison, as a defense. You have to choose wisely and if you don’t, then there’s going to be somebody open and it’s up to that guy to make the play. But I feel like we have a 53-man roster where every man is capable of making a play. So, you know, I’m confident. We have a lot of guys that [are] eager to show what they can do and that’s the biggest thing that I think is going to help us. As a rookie, when you get your shot, you want to make a play. And having a lot of—this young team, everybody wants to make a play. So, with these concepts, with the mentality that Coach Gruden has, being a head coach [in the past], there’s a lot of hunger in the offensive meeting rooms. And we’re just ready to go out there and perform.”

(On if it helps when Coach Jay Gruden says to be more aggressive) “Oh definitely. I love the fact that he’s a guy that, like he said, wants to attack—that’s the perfect word. No defense or defensive player puts fear in him and I’m pretty sure if you follow him, you know what type of mentality he has and that has kind of carried over into the meeting rooms. And that’s the guy we’re playing for, so that’s how we’re playing.”

JAGUARS OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR JAY GRUDEN

(On what gives him the most hope in bringing together the new offense this year) “You always have to have hope, otherwise you’re in the wrong business. We’re very optimistic going into the season. We know we have a lot of challenges. We have some youth playing, but really, I think the biggest reason for belief I have is the offensive line. I think the offensive line is very solid right now with the tackles that we have, the interior players, and obviously the center I feel good about. With an offensive line, it gives you the ability to do a lot of different things I think and hopefully it’ll give us a chance to get our skill players the ball in space and between the tackles and do some good things.”

(On if his skill players can contribute to a high-scoring offense this season) “Yeah, we’d like to think that we can. You know I think we have some talented players outside and inside and at the running back position, so yes, that’s our belief right now. But there could be a game where the defense is playing really well that we might play it a little more close to the vest. We’ll see how the games go but we’re going to go into the season with a frame of mind [that] we’re going to attack a lot of different ways: running the football, getting the ball down the field. DJ [Chark Jr.]’s obviously been explosive. Chris Conley’s had a great camp. Keelan [Cole Sr.]’s done a good job. Our rookies have shown explosion and the ability to learn the offense. At the running back position, we feel pretty good. Adding Tyler Eifert helps and James [O’Shaughnessy] coming back from his injury’s been a good sign for us. We feel pretty good about where we’re at.”

(On if WR DJ Chark Jr. reminds him of any other receivers he has coached previously) “He’s got great work ethic and that’s usually the case for most great receivers; they have great work ethic. You can’t be a lazy, undisciplined wide receiver and be great. You have to have great work ethic. You have to be in great shape, which he is. You have to study the game. You have to study your opponent, which he does. So that’s standard amongst NFL wide receivers or should be anyway. But as far as skill set goes, I think he has the talent to do a lot of different things vertically, intermediately, in between the hashes, which is critical. A lot of receivers don’t want to go in there, but DJ [Chark Jr.]’s fearless in there so I feel good about his versatility number one. His work ethic is second to none and he’s picked up the offense mentally. It’s our job to try to do the best we can to put him in positions to succeed. He may get double timed at times, which will open up the field for other players, but when’s he’s singled, we have to do a good job at getting him the rock.”

(On OL Cam Robinson’s camp) “Cam did good. I like Cam. I think he loves football; that’s what I like about him. He likes to practice; he likes to work. He’s a big, strong guy. I think he feels a lot more [comfortable]. I wasn’t here last year, but just watching him on tape, he looks more fluid this year. He looks a lot healthier sort of speak. I like his ability to be physical in the running game and then obviously when we get to third downs and stuff, I think he can protect. We’ll see, but I feel good about where Cam’s at and obviously the other tackle Jawaan [Taylor]. I feel like they’re very good. We just have to give them a chance to give different sets. We don’t want to drop back and throw seven step-drops all day, let the rushers rush us every down. We have to do a good job at mixing it up [with] run, pass, draw screens, all that stuff, so that will help Cam out a lot. But he’s been [playing] well, he’s been good.”

(On QB Gardner Minshew II’s personality during the week within the organization versus his persona for the fans) “The good thing is I don’t hang out with him outside the building, so I really don’t know. I don’t care. I know that inside the building, when he’s here, he’s [a] focused individual now. He’s got a lot to learn. He knows he has a lot to learn. He works extremely hard with his fundamentals [and] with what we’re putting in front of him from a playbook standpoint. He’s been a professional and that’s the way you have to be at the quarterback position. When he wants to let his hair down, which he has a lot of it, I’m sure he can do that off the field but I’ve been very impressed with Gardner as a professional quarterback and how he’s handled himself on the field and in the classroom.”

(On why undrafted rookie RB James Robinson is prepared to be at the top of the depth chart) “He’s a no-nonsense guy, he really is. I try to get under his skin a little bit. I ask him if he’s nervous every day. He’s a very poised individual, no nonsense. He’s ready to go. We’ll see when Sunday hits, the first time we give him the ball, the first time there’s a third-and-1 or we have to get a yard. We’ll see how he does, but we have every indication that we’ve seen in training camp that he can handle it. He can handle the workload. He’s tough. He’s strong. He’s got great vision. He can explode through holes. We’ve been impressed with him. Unfortunately, we haven’t had the preseason games to really look at him in live situations. We’ve had a couple in practice but they’re still not the same, but I feel very confident in his demeanor and his approach to the game that he will be ready.”

(On if he knew anything about RB James Robinson before he showed up at camp) “We just knew he was a free agent from Illinois State. We did a little bit of work on him. I think the scouting staff did a great job at targeting him as one of our free agents that we wanted to get into this building. He had a successful career at Illinois State. [He] ran for a lot of yards and has been very productive. My biggest surprise with him is his ability to catch the ball and block. He’s a great blocker; he has great hands. He’s picked up everything extremely well. [Running Backs Coach] Coach Robiskie’s done an outstanding job with him, but James has really taken it to a level for a rookie free agent, not getting the reps early in camp, to really dominate in the reps that he did get and really turning our heads and that’s the key to a rookie free agent making the team. Evolving into a starter is almost impossible without any preseason games, but he made us all feel very comfortable about it with his ability to do the right thing and then when he does have the ball, he makes something happen.”

(On if he feels confidents that RB James Robinson will be the first running back featured on the first drive on Sunday) “Of course. I feel good about him. I’m excited to watch him play and I know he’s excited. He won’t show it though. I haven’t seen him smile but twice the whole time he’s been here. He’s a very focused guy and I think he’ll be ready. I know he’ll be ready I should say. I’m sorry, I know he’ll be ready.”

(On if Colts’ defensive line will bring challenges in Week 1 and how important it is for the offensive line to step up to meet those challenges) “Very much so. They do a great job with their front. It’s not a very complicated front. They sprinkle in some blitzes that are nuisance type blitzes that give you problems, but really, it’s about the movement with the defensive lineman. They’re strong, they’re physical, and they have quick movement. We have to handle the movement. They stunt the three technique, they’ll stunt the backside defensive end, the frontside end. The linebackers do a great job of scraping. They’re fast and they can run so how we handle the movement will be if we have any success in the running game or not. Even in the passing game, [in] their ability to stunt and rush the passer, they’re very effective in what they do so it’ll be a great challenge for us. They have great skill upfront, [Denico] Autry, [DeForest] Buckner, obviously Justin Houston’s still there [and] he’s a good player and they rotate guys in there. They’re effective in what they do. The defensive coordinator, [Matt] Eberflus, does a good job of putting these guys in positions to succeed and also moving them around to make it hard on the offense to get set.”

(On the challenges the Colts’ secondary present to the offense) “Well the challenge is good because they give you different looks. They make everything look the same and then all of a sudden, it’s [different looks]. They do a great job disguising their intent. Then when they have to have it, they play great tight man to man. They get all over. They crawl up in your grill and make it hard to get crossing routes, make it hard to get the ball down the field because their pressure is very good on their defensive line with their four-man rushes, some of their five-man rushes they get home. So, it will be a great challenge for us to recognize man, zone, and then when it is man, be able to separate and get us some good plays. But most importantly, we have to protect the quarterback and give our receivers time to get off the jam, get in the holes in cover two or cover three, whatever coverage they’re playing, palms, and be able to have the quarterback be able to read it out. They do a great job if you get forced out of your first read, they can take that thing away. Sometimes you have to get back to your second or third progression against this defense and you have to have time to do that. So, it’s going to be critical for our offensive line to give us that time and Gardner to make sure he recognizes the zones and the receivers as well.”

JAGUARS QB GARDNER MINSHEW II

(On his perspective of how the offense will attack and be able to score more this year) “I think every year’s a new year. I think every team’s a new team. I don’t think years past really have anything to do with this current season, so I’m excited for the opportunity that we have. I think we have a lot of guys that can make plays and I think when we talk about attacking and attacking in different ways, that’s getting different people involved, having multiple guys get touches. We have a lot of guys that are really good with the ball in their hands so I think as long as we get those guys their touches, spread it out even, then that’s how we’ll be able to attack and get in the end zone more.”

(On if he knew the words to the Celine Dion song prior to shooting his ESPN commercial and if it took him long to shoot) “I had to learn that. That honestly, I’m ashamed to say, took a little work. That was a good time. Honestly, I think the money shot was the first one after I quit laughing, so we were good.”

(On if they could’ve used a teleprompter during the commercial shoot) “No, the turning the head, that was more for dramatic effects than looking at any words. I was only doing it for a little clip for the commercial so I kept doing it over and over because I thought that was the money shot, but when it came out, it was the whole piece. [It] definitely wasn’t my best.”

(On WR DJ Chark Jr.’s progress from last year to this year) “DJ [Chark]’s done a great job. He’s also standing right here so I’m going to give you my very honest opinion. DJ’s done a great job. Coming in last year, [I] didn’t really know what to expect. I remember seeing him at LSU put up big numbers, very productive and then didn’t hear from him much his rookie year. But man, it was evident in OTA’s last year that he’s going to be a big player for us, and I think he’s definitely grown into being one of the number one guys in the league. I think he’s going to continue to work and get better because that’s just the kind of guy he is.”

(On WR DJ Chark Jr. being both a deep threat and good possession receiver) “I think it’s huge, man, because you have guys that have the speed to take the top off and it really threatens the defense to where it opens up so much underneath. I think that’s one of the things that makes him good is [that] they respect him so much deep; he can really carve you up underneath as well.”

(On if he prefers ‘It’s All Coming Back to Me Now or ‘My Heart Will Go On’) “’It’s All Coming Back to Me Now.’ I’ll be honest, before the commercial I didn’t know either of them so I might have to go with the one I know.”

(On his relationship with RB James Robinson and what kind of person he is) “You all probably won’t honestly hear much from him. He’s kind of a quiet guy, but man, he’s a great guy. He’s coming in [and] he’s gained all the respect of all the older guys because he came him, knew his stuff, took the responsibility that he had and proved that he’s deserved it. We keep giving him more and I think everybody on the team is very excited for him and the opportunity he has.”

(On the running backs transition to getting first team reps) “It’s been awesome, man. They really haven’t changed much at all. They’ve kept that same hunger, that same work ethic like they’re all on the bubble of making the roster. They’re all really still practicing really hard and I think that’s a lot of fun seeing those guys compete every day.”

(On what he’s seen from the offensive line this summer and if they are going into the season with a chip on their shoulders) “They absolutely have a chip on their shoulder. I think those guys, maybe more than anybody on the team, when something goes wrong, it hurts them. They don’t want to mess up because they know that’s putting somebody else in danger. One of the biggest things I’m proud of is how they’ve come together. I think as a unit they’ve really grown, and they’ve grown closer. [Their] communication is really tight; it’s really good. I think they all have a lot of belief in each other that they’re going to be able to get the job done. I know everybody else on the team has that belief as well.”

(On game planning for the Colts without tape from preseason games but having faced them twice last year) “You always kind of know your divisional opponents a little bit more. Having a team that has had a staff that’s been there for a little while, you can kind of see year to year how they change. I’m expecting they’ll definitely have some wrinkles for us, but I think we have a pretty good grasp on what they try to do since they are in division. We played them our last game [of last season]. We feel good about our planning.”

(On if playing well in the last game of the season against the Colts gives him confidence for Week 1) “I think [looking at] last year, there’s definitely things that we can all build on. I think we have a young team, a lot of these same guys coming back. I think ending on the right note definitely gives us confidence going into the offseason. Coming into the season, we know it’s a whole new [set of] challenges, but we’re very confident, regardless of what happened last year, where we’re confident in the preparation we put in, the work we put in. More than anything we’re just excited to get out there.”

(On how he stayed calm and level-headed during his quick trajectory last year) “I’d say it wasn’t, at least in my eyes, a super-fast, upward trajectory. It was something that I’ve been working for and preparing for really as long as I’ve played football. It’s on a bigger stage now with higher competition, but the game’s still the same, the relationships you have are still the same, the preparation’s still the same. So, I think it’s something I’ve been preparing for for a long time.”

(On being named a captain of this year’s team) “It means everything. That’s one of the highest honors you can have is being voted on by your peers to represent them and to be their captain. Of all of the awards you can win, that’s one that really, to me, means a lot. It means the most because that’s really how you are with the guys around you and their opinion of you and I think that’s the best judge of somebody.”

JAGUARS HEAD COACH DOUG MARRONE

(Opening Statement) “Well hey, it’s exciting. The NFL season opens tomorrow night in Kansas City and we’re getting ready to start. For our team, we have a division opponent right off the bat, coming here at home, so we’re excited about that and it’ll be a great challenge for us. I think that this team has done a good job. We practice well, but now the proof will be in the pudding, I guess, once you go out there on Sunday and you play. So, we’re excited about that. I know that Tad [Dickman] is going to have the injury report at the – I guess, somewhere either before practice or after practice. Probably just as of this week, if injuries happen, you guys know me, things happen during the games that we play, I’ve got no problem telling you the status of somebody or where I think he’s trending. But with Week 1, I’m probably going to be a little bit, you know, I’m probably not going to mention or talk about injuries much, or play time, or anything like that going into this first week. But I’ll try to answer your questions the best I can. I just wanted to be upfront about that. And then after Week 1 when we start playing, it’ll be back to normal, probably—or it will be.”

(On being better equipped with this offense after hiring Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden) “Well, I think it remains to be seen how the games work out. I think that we have upgraded our talent at receiver, tight end, I’m very excited about the running back position. You know, we spend a lot of time talking about the offensive line and where they’re at and really wanting to see strides by them. I think they’ve worked extremely hard. I know they’ve got a great challenge this week. And with Gardner [Minshew II] coming back in his second year, excited to see how he goes. He’s had a good camp; he’s done all the right things. But I think what’s going to happen is when we okay on Sunday and we play the following Sunday and then you play Thursday and then as you go along through the season, I think your play really defines who you are, not what you want to get done. I mean everyone will say a lot of the same things. We want to be able to attack, we want to be able to protect the quarterback, we want to be able to run the football, we want big plays, explosive plays. But to answer your question, I do feel that we do have more talent and now we have to go ahead and execute.”

(On WR DJ Chark Jr.’s improvement) “You know, he’s one of those guys that’s constantly working on improving. I mean, you see him on the side, him and Coach [Keenan] McCardell, working on little things, attention to detail. You know, I think he’s excited. He’s had a really good camp for us, he’s been very, very productive. I think his mindset is to go out there and do what he can for the team and work hard. Obviously, we’re expecting great things from him.”

(On whether he has theories that the offense will be ahead of the defense or vice versa) “I don’t know, I think that goes by what happens in the first week. I mean, normally in history, people always say that the defense will be a little bit ahead. That’s how it is in camp, that’s how it is from when I was a little kid. But I don’t think that’s necessarily true. I think it all depends on how all these games come out and then people will start putting labels on offense ahead of defense or defense ahead of offense. I think a lot depends on what type of team you have. You’ve got a bunch of guys that have played together, a bunch of guys that are ready to go. Obviously, you expect them all to do well.”

(On whether it’s exciting or daunting going into the opening game) “It’s definitely exciting. I mean, you see a bunch of guys that have worked extremely hard, you see guys that are pulling together. Obviously, you can’t predict what’s going to occur. But the focus, all the things that you’re looking for, that you’re checking off the box of things that may cause you anxiety. We worked extremely hard about discipline, we worked extremely hard on penalties, we worked extremely hard in not turning the ball over and creating turnovers. So, we’ve put a lot of time in this and it’s been reflective in the practice. Now, when you go out there and play, you expect that to carry over, but that doesn’t always happen. So, I guess for me, I’m really excited. There [are] guys that have worked and created breaks for themselves, or maybe didn’t come into this league or come into this team the way they wanted to. But now, they have this opportunity. And talking to some of these guys during the week, where now that the team is set, you can have these types of conversations of, ‘Hey what were you thinking when the season was over? Or what were you thinking a year ago today? Where do you find yourself now?’ And those stories are really just uplifting stories in a time where there’s a lot of stuff going on around us—it’s a pandemic and everything. And there’s multiple stories, from Josh Jones, to J-Dubb [Jarrod Wilson], to Abe [Abry Jones] being a captain, those two guys right there. Josh Allen coming into his second year and being a captain, Joe Schobert coming on our team, Myles [Jack] going to play a position he feels really comfortable about. A lot of the d-linemen, where were they last year? Timmy Jernigan, these are the stories that I’m getting at my first opportunity to really talk to these players. Because I don’t –it’s hard to go and talk to someone, before they’ve made the team, about what their thought process is. And that’s exciting.”

(On the approach in preparing against QB Philip Rivers with the Indianapolis Colts) “I think, like anyone, I think Phillip [Rivers] has been a—I mean, he’s a potential Hall of Famer. I’ve got a ton of respect for him. He’s an ultimate competitor, we all know that. So, there’s really not a lot of things that he hasn’t seen. We understand that he can play at a very, very high level and they’ve got a lot of good pieces around him on all three sides. So, I think you look at a lot of things, I think we’ve kind of exhausted that, especially when we were all out of the office at that time and we had a lot of projects and a lot of things. So, we’ve bounced around a lot of ideas and we’ve kind of looked at it from a lot of different perspectives.”

(On if he already has expectations for the team in regards to the playoffs) “I don’t. I mean, again, everyone else will judge what’s fair and I should be looking at and all that stuff. I understand it, but I really think that this team can be special, I really do. And that’s what I feel, that’s what we put together. I don’t have the opportunity to go through a rebuild, right. I mean, we all know that, so that’s being realistic. We’ve got to go out there and win games and I’m confident that this football team will be able to do that.”

(On saying that this team can be special and whether that means this team can be a playoff contender at the minimum) “I mean, yeah. Am I going to sit here and say that’s not what I expect? I expect for this team to do well and I know that we’ll have some – I hope that we don’t have any shocking headlines like, ‘Marrone says this team is going to the playoffs or bust,’ or anything like that. I think every coach that you talk to today, that’s what you’re going for. I mean, our first goal, obviously, is to win the division –something that we haven’t done in the past two years. I think after that you want to make a run at it, you want to go. So, I think with a lot of teams, whatever the goals are, we know the ultimate goal is the Super Bowl and you try to go. But when you start going so far ahead and you start predicting all these games –right now, we’re just focused on the Colts and trying to win our first game of the year. And that’s what we’re focused on. So, to get caught and get asked questions about predictions and all this other stuff, is a very difficult for me to be in. But I can tell you what our expectations are, and our expectations are that we’re trying to win our division and that’s the best way to get into the Playoffs. And then we’re trying to go ahead in those playoffs and take it game-by-game, trying to get home field advantage if we can with our record and pursue the ultimate goal, which is the Super Bowl. I don’t think that’s—I think if anyone says anything different, I mean, I’d kind of be shocked to be honest with you.”

(On the advantage of playing teams in our division for Week 1 and Week 2) “I think it helps the coaches a little bit and maybe some of the players that have played against those players, just on the little things that go on. But you never really, you don’t really know the impact of the 11 guys that are going to be on that field together. When you start, it’s going to be—it’s a new year, the teams are—schematically you can look at it, but there will be some changes schematically, what people do depending on what their talent or who they want to teach here or what they feel they do well. You know, all those things come into play. But I definitely think playing someone in your division, or someone you’ve at least played the year before, it helps a little bit. And I think it only helps—not necessarily for the preparation, you’re going to prepare the same way and I think you’d be prepared whether it’s a team you haven’t played or have played. But I think going into it, it creates a little bit of a comfort level. But again, you don’t want to ever be comfortable with it. You want to make sure you dot your i’s and cross your t’s and get everything done and be prepared for anything.”

(On QB Gardner Minshew II’s personality and comfort with videos on social media) “I have no idea. I know I wouldn’t. You know, I don’t, I really don’t. I just think—I would guess, I’d say it’s who he is. I don’t think—like I say, it’s difficult for me because I know I’m in a different light. I see him as a guy who comes in here every day and prepares like he’s an accountant. Which is probably the exact opposite of what you feel because you see him in a different light. And that’s a light that I keep turned off, the light that goes outside. Unless Tad tells me what’s going on, or ‘Hey you might get asked this question.’ So, really, I just laugh. It’s not only you guys, I get—obviously, I have children at home, and they see the same things you guys do and I’m just like, ‘Ugh.’ They ask me the same questions, I tell them the same answer I give to you, I give to them. I don’t know that person, I know the accountant that comes in and works his butt off and tries to get the team and all that stuff. That’s what I focus on.”

(On whether he watched QB Gardner Minshew II’s ESPN video and thoughts on his singing) “I did. Tad showed me it afterwards. I don’t know if I was in tune to what he was singing, I just thought it was nice. I know I watched the video and you feel good. Yeah! How could you feel bad about listening to a little Celine Dion? I mean, right? It’s uplifting. In a time where we want to look at things and feel good. There’s a lot of stuff we’re looking at now that we can’t feel good about. That’s why Thursday night is special. I think what we’re doing is special and I think that it gives you a chance to take a moment and put a smile on your face, which is—these times are tough for a lot of people and we understand that.”

(On playing against the Indianapolis Colts and what the rushing attack for the Colts could do on Sunday) “Yeah, I don’t know if I put a lot into the first part of the question, this thing that this run and everything. I understand that, I acknowledge that’s what happened, that we didn’t play well that game or the game afterwards. But I look at those running backs as a whole. So, you have all three of those players that have different types of skill sets and all three of them are very productive. I have always felt that [Marlon] Mack was an underrated player in this league. I think that when you look at the things he does, he does a lot. [Nyheim] Hines is a guy that has unbelievable speed, is an excellent returner and he has a really good skill set, that’s a challenge. And then obviously they drafted the player from Wisconsin [Jonathan Taylor], who is a heck of a player, who has size, speed and all of that. So, I think when we look at that group as a whole, I think when you look around the league and you look at position groups where you look at their skill sets and really what they’ve done. What they’ve done in college, if you’re just coming into the league now and what they’ve done in the NFL. That’s a strong room that they have back there with a good offensive line and a veteran quarterback and some good skill on the outside.”

(On importance of having leadership within the returning players on the offensive line) “Yeah, I think a lot of things go into it. I think that I think of where they were last year, the amount of criticism, some deserved, some not. And then, for me and the coaches, we felt, going in, that they were going to make a big step from year one to year two. So, everything that you’re saying, we’ve put a lot into. Now, they have to go out there and perform, and I feel very confident. I think that everybody up front is healthy, they’ve had really good camps, they’ve come back in shape, ready to go. Whether we want to say they have a chip on their shoulder or not, I can’t speak for them. But I know what our expectation is for them to have—to really be the driving force, whether we’re running the football or we’re throwing the football and protecting our quarterbacks and making plays with great effort. So, we have a high expectation of their play.”

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