(On the challenge of getting the defensive line ready with all of the new faces) "Actually, it's been really good. I mean, the guys that we've brought in here, whether it's been a transitional period, whether it's been free agency or guys that have been coming in as camp started, they've been doing a great job. I mean, these guys are really receptive. They want to learn, they want to understand what we're doing schematically, they want to know each other in and out. We spend a lot of time in meetings, not only going over what we've got to do from a practice standpoint or a game standpoint or a situation standpoint, but we do a lot of talking amongst each other. Getting to know, 'Hey what are you good at? And what are you good at?' So we can get out there together and understand, 'hey man, this is this guy's strength, or this is this guy's weakness or something he needs to work on.' And these guys have been really doing a great job of being receptive of each other and honing in on each other."
(On the difficulty for a coach with the amount of injuries in the room) "You know, it's easy to point a finger, but that's not who we are. I mean, that's not—my dad raised me, my dad raised bird dogs when I was a kid. And his deal was if he shot a shotgun and that dog shied away, that dog wasn't a bird dog anymore. So you can sit there and say these are the guys that we got or these are the people that we have and you shoot those shotguns off and you say, 'Let's go, let's blast and let's get out there and play with whatever which ones we've got out there."
(On DE Dawuane Smoot's growth) "Yeah, he's had substantial growth. I mean, you're talking about a guy that wants to hone in on his craft. He shows up, he's had probably a little chip on his shoulder since his first rookie year, until really transitioning into more of a role player. Especially in the third down stuff that we did from a year ago, and he's had one heck of a camp. Sometimes it takes some guys some learning curve and understanding what we're doing from a technique standpoint, scheme standpoint. And Smoot is doing one heck of a job, not only that, but in the classroom and on the field, he's becoming one heck of a leader. You know, sometimes you look at that room and you say—you try to point out who the leaders are and you've got Abe [Abry Jones] and you've got Josh [Allen] and Timmy Jernigan has been a real good pleasure to come in here, a guy that's been in the league a bunch of years. But Dawuane Smoot is one heck of a leader in that room. People listen to him and people understand what he can do and what he can bring. So yeah, we really enjoy what he's been doing from a defensive end standpoint and then what he gives us as value on third down."
(On his dad bird dogging for a living or a hobby) "Yeah, it was a living and a hobby. You know, I grew up next to a milk farm and my dad was more of a carpenter by trade, but we had everything that you can think of; from a garden, to rabbits, to obviously bird dogs. But yeah, I was around Brittany spaniels for a long time as a little kid and I figured out at a young age that working dogs do not have a name, they're strictly a working dog."
(On interest in bird dogging) "Yeah, it's funny you say that. This is probably my 22nd or 23rd year of coaching and I've missed opening day of hunting season for 23 straight years now. So yeah obviously, I loved [doing] it. Luckily, I have three kids and they watch the outdoor channel with me. And I have aspirations of having and fulfilling that stuff with them hopefully someday. I haven't fulfilled a lot of bird hunting stories as much as I did as a kid."
(On DE Dawuane Smoot's efforts to be better) "Yeah, you hit a lot of them. You know, there's been some frustrations on both ends. Like you said, he had some frustrations from a playing standpoint. Obviously, you brought up some of the diet things that he potentially went through earlier in his career. But you know, we've always sat down and had candid conversations. To me, I think part of coaching is having a relationship with these young men. And if I can't sit down with them, not different than I'm doing with you guys, and have a candid conversation of what I see or what I believe, whether it's right or wrong, we can at least talk about it as men. And that's what we did. Dawuane and I, we've sat down on several occasions, throughout his career that he's been here, and they've all been great conversations. You know, we all leave that room, whether—we don't sit there point out, 'You're right, you're right, you're wrong, you're wrong.' We walk out that room and we say, 'Hey man, once we close that door, whatever we decided in this room, that's what we're going with.' And he's been really good at holding up that end of what we're asking him to do and it shows. The guy has gone out there—and to piggyback on what you said, from a year ago obviously that hard work paid off for him and hopefully it benefits for us here in the near future."
(On DL Taven Bryan's biggest area of growth) "Yeah Taven, to kind of go into a little bit about his background, I mean, you guys all know. He's one of the most gifted, physical, strong, athletic, big men at 295-298 pounds. But it was really—what the thing is, is that Taven at times overanalyzes some things. And it's analysis by paralysis or paralysis by analysis, however you want to say it. And that's the biggest thing that we've transitioned here in the first part of camp. We've said, 'Taven, here's your three things that you've got to do on each snap, that's it. And if you can hone in on those three things and not let yourself wander around and look at this and look at that and guess. If you can hone in on that, good things are going to happen.' And hopefully all of you guys have watched some tape for the last few 9 or 10 practices, Taven Bryan is having one heck of a camp now. He's showing up quite a bit in his running, in his toughness at the point of attack and how he strains, it's showing. And I'm going to tell you this, his confidence level is coming with that, too. You know, everybody wants to get a pat on the back, everybody does. And when other guys in that room, they sit there and they look at [him], they see it. When he shows up and he starts getting those pats on the back, that confidence breeds a lot. And you can see that Taven has really adopted it now and [has] seen it a little bit. You can say slower or quicker, however you want to say it. You know, the game slows down for some people and it's definitely working for him. We're looking for a lot of good things from that young man."
(On whether DL Taven Bryan was discouraged at all over the last year) "I don't know if discouraged—frustrated, maybe that's the same type of a word I guess, maybe for you. But, yeah obviously, anybody is going to be frustrated. But, I think you sit down with him and you watch him and you go over the plays and you start saying, 'Hey, see this other man, he's making that play a lot better than you are right here and this is what you've got to do to get better. So yeah, anybody is going to be frustrated in a situation like that. But like I talked about with Smoot, these guys are men and if you treat them like men and you talk to them like men and they have an idea that you've got their back and you bring some energy every day to them, these guys they're going to play. They're going to play for themselves and obviously play for each other and go win for championship."
(On how DL Taven Bryan handled being a first-round pick) "Yeah, I don't know how much—luckily I have a personal relationship with that young man and if you know Taven Bryan, Taven Bryan doesn't care what the outside world says about this guy. That's not Taven. He takes more to heart what other people are saying in that room, whether it's a fellow D-lineman, whether it's a coach, whether it's Coach Wash, Coach Marrone, whoever it is. So I personally never heard any time of a story brought up of, 'This was [written] about me in the paper, this, that and the other.' That's not Taven. Taven is—he's more to himself and he'd rather listen to his peers to get himself better or more prepared to what he needs to do."
(On expectations for DL Taven Bryan to jump now) "Yeah absolutely. I mean, the closer you get to the ball, fellas, the harder the game is. So we transition to him, as you guys know, playing a little bit more [defensive] end early in his career to kind of pick up the speed and obviously now transition him down to his home position as a three technique. So, yeah there's a learning curve, there's a growth. And do I see that? Like I stated earlier, there is no doubt. Taven is mentally, physically understanding what we're asking him to do from a strain standpoint in the run game. And guys see it, like I said, there's a lot of confidence going into that young man right now."
(On DT DaVon Hamilton's progress as a rookie) "Yeah, like I stated earlier, the closer you get to that ball, the harder it is. I mean, that thing is snapped and it's quick. And this kid is really, really—not only is he a big kid, the kid is smart as heck now. And he's on himself all the time about being technically correct and he's got some athletic ability for 385 pounds now. You watch him run over the top and make some plays from the sideline, from the hash to the sideline, that kid can run that alley. So there's been a lot of really good things we've seen in a short period of time with D-Ham. And it's going to continue to grow. I mean, transitioning from a high-profile college, Ohio State, he's played in a lot of big games. You know, he's going to transition very well. He knows the stresses of what it is to compete at a high level, he's done it for how many years he was at Ohio State. So we're looking for a lot of really good things for this young man. And Abry Jones has done one heck of a job of putting this guy around his shoulder. Abe is the leader of that group. I know you guys have talked about that for the last few days or what not. And Abe has done a phenomenal job of teaching him on the run, coaching him up as he's going and seeing different thing. And how to play that block, whether it's a pole scheme or getting vertical, or whatever he needs to do. But D-Ham has got a really, really bright future."
(On DT Timmy Jernigan's energy so far) "Yeah, obviously you're talking about the energy because you guys have seen it, I'm sure on film and other practices. There's no secret Timmy brings some energy now. He's a really humble man, I don't know if you guys have had any relationship from Florida State or what not, but he's a really humble man. And when he gets out there and it's time to put that helmet on and the shoulder pads and mosey out to practice, he's going to tell you he's there. Whether it's by his play or whether he's going to let you know with some hootin' and hollerin'. And that's what we need. We pin that in our positional meetings, we'll watch and say, 'Hey fellas, this is what we need, man. If you can't have fun and have energy at playing this position, then this isn't the place for you. And Timmy is—I really enjoy it. Timmy Jernigan is going to be a great attribute for us, a great addition and I'm looking for a lot of good things from him."