(On an injury update for WR DJ Chark Jr., OL Brandon Linder, K Brandon Wright and S Andrew Wingard) "Yeah, DJ I should know more about here in a little bit. We're just running some tests and as soon as those testing levels come back, he'll be ready to go. So, we're just waiting on those. Linder, we're going to do some things with him on the side today. That's our goal, to see how he feels. And then Brandon Wright, we're still working on him as far as seeing where he's at tomorrow. He won't do anything today. But I think tomorrow he'll work with the trainers and we'll have a better idea of where he is. Yeah, Andrew will be the same thing. He'll be out of practice, but he'll be working on the side."
(On the COVID protocol during the mini-bye week) "The protocol is that you have to test daily. So, we all had to make sure that we were tested every day."
(On how the players are doing with the COVID protocol) "I think they've been doing really well. I mean, like I said before, there's a great level of responsibility in trying not to bring it into the building. I think when you leave it's all about you have to have a great awareness of where you're going, who you're around. I think what we're doing protocol-wise is great. I think that we feel safe, we feel like we're obviously going to be ready to play and not lose anyone. So, that's kind of the mindset of going into this."
(On the kicker situation and his appreciation for Josh Lambo) "Yeah, the first thing is we are bringing in some veteran kickers. We'll know more today. I have the names, but I just want to make sure if they're actually on campus. We had to wait a couple days because of the protocol. You know, to make sure that they pass it before we bring them in. So, we'll be doing a workout here at about 10:15 a.m. with the kickers. And you know, if we feel like we can upgrade ourselves or don't feel that Brandon [Wright] is going to be able to recover or whatever it may be, then obviously we may make some moves. So, as soon as we do that, obviously we'll go out and get it to you guys. The next thing is with Lambo, I think I don't ever feel like he was never appreciated. I think we always knew how good he was and consistent he was, and we've always appreciated that. We signed him to a contract, he was voted [to be] one of the captains…from where we're sitting, the coaches and the players, we have a great appreciation for him and it's unfortunate that he had that injury because, obviously, he's very consistent, works extremely hard. I just saw him right before we came in here and he's off crutches, so he's walking around, and we'll just work on rehab and try to get him back as soon as we can."
(On RB Devine Ozigbo and LB Quincy Williams) "Yeah, I think we're still talking about that, making sure that they're fully cleared. I mean, when you sustain these injuries, you just want to make sure when they come back. And then we'll make a decision with Quincy and Devine as we keep going. Basically, waiting for the medical people to say they're okay to go practice. And then, we've got about a three-week period of practice before we have to do anything as far as activation."
(On OL Jawaan Taylor's growth) "You know, he's still a young football player. I mean, you're going to see growth. I think overall there's times that he's really looked good and the whole O-Line has looked good. But sometimes during the course of a game, when the games have gotten to a point where we're just throwing and you get beat inside, or you get beat around the horn, you know, things like that. So, the consistency of being able to go out for 60-something plays, run and pass and win on all of them, it's something that's really striving for. And I think Jawaan has worked extremely hard to do that, along with the rest of those guys. So, I still think there's a lot left, I still think that he's going to really keep improving as the season goes along. And I think he's going to improve over the course of the year. I think he's a second-year player. I thought for a first-year player playing tackle, I thought he did a very good job. And then, this year, there's an expectation of him to take a step up and I think, at times, we've seen that and now we're looking for the consistency in him."
(On quarterback point trends this early in the season) "Yeah, I would say I think that's something that—I think just in general you always view the defense always being a little bit ahead and the offense catching up. I'm talking about in general when you're talking about the whole league. I think the same thing's going on in college. There were a couple college games that were in the 50s or 60s scoring. So, it's obviously going up, which if you're an offensive coach, you feel good about it, if you're a defensive coach, you don't. I think if you're a fan, you like it. I mean, that's what everyone says, people like the scoring in games. But you still have to find ways to defend and stop your opponent from obviously scoring a touchdown. I don't know how much I get into the lack of this or lack of that, for what it is. I think that, I don't know if not having the offseason is something—I'm sure people can rely on that. But we had ample enough time to get together, be able to go out there and play."
(On the mentality of the team coming back) "Well, I think all the time, when you have a young team, I just want to make sure that there's going to be challenges. What I try to do is to make sure that, 'Hey listen, what are we focusing in on?' Today, is kind of a day where we can catch up on these past two games, because the players had a mandatory day off. So, this morning, we're catching up on these past games that we've played and really correcting some things and looking at it a little bit longer because now we have a little bit more time. And then, kind of this afternoon, after lunch, kind of switching and going to Cincinnati. What I'm trying to make sure the team realizes is that with this focus, this is what we need to focus on. We need focus in on, 'Hey listen, are we in position? In the right position where we want to be? And are we doing technically what we're supposed to do from a technique standpoint?' And I think you've got to keep it very precise, very—you don't want to be too broad where there's too many things. And those are the two things that I'm really looking for out of this team and the coaches these next couple days. And then obviously, let's go play, let's see if we can make a play. If we're in position and we're using the right technique, we should be able to make some plays. And I think that'll help us get better and I think those are the things that I try to do. I try to go back to this foundation and really kind of re-focus. Because I think one of the difficulties of where you go in the season, especially early on—and it doesn't matter whether you're older or younger, everyone handles things differently, each team is a little bit mixed—but it's just everything is so extreme, of what goes on in the beginning. You win, and oh my gosh, all of a sudden it's just one way, if you lose it's another—and there's so much talk that goes on that challenges you to stay focused and it pulls you away from maybe some of the things you need to focus on to get better. I mean, that's kind of what I spoke to the team about today and that's what I've seen in my career, that's what I believe and it's up to me to keep these guys with their focus, where we can keep getting better each day and have a better performance on Sunday to win."
(On CB CJ Henderson's efforts) "Yeah, I just think it's exactly what I said before, those two things, the position that we want you in and the technique we want you playing.' When he's done that, he's played at an extremely high level. Just trying to get in to develop, for everybody, just the confidence about it, so you can do it, play in and play out. It's a difficult position to play because you've got to play 60-something snaps, full speed, all the time, really for a possibility of four plays. And it's that type of mentality and he has all of the ability in the world. And we have all the confidence in him, we're just going to keep working with him and getting him better, because he can be that guy that can lock somebody down and that's why we drafted him. And he works hard, but you know, like anyone, you get to these games and early on—for us defensively and then sometimes even offensively, and you just kind of, you lose it for a minute. You can't do that. You've got to be consistent play in and play out. And that's the type of focus that you have to have, and you don't want a lot of things going into your head as you play a game. Whether it be the play before—because then all of a sudden you start overthinking out there, you're going to get yourself in trouble, or you're just not going to be able to help the team."
(On CB D.J. Hayden's performance and importance of veteran leadership) "It's important and D.J. is a great example of [veteran leadership], for me. D.J. is always—you know how I said some people can get pulled away with things and maybe not be focused on the things you need to focus on and really get you better—D.J. has always been that guy that's always had really high level focus of his job and what to do. He's always been available, has played through numerous bumps and bruises and things like that, and then plays at a consistent level. That's the one thing, you know what you're going to get with D.J. game in and game out. He's going to be out there, he's going to be our nickel, he's going to play the run well, he's going to tackle well, he's going to be in the position he needs to be in, he's going to play with good technique. Knowing that, at the end of the day, it's just a matter of, 'Hey, who can make the play? Is it you or our opponent?' And D.J. has always done a very good job for us. So, his mentality and his business approach or just being that steady type of guy, that day in and day out comes in the same way, with not a lot of outside distractions. I know that I appreciate it and I think that when you're looking at leadership and when you're looking at veteran players, I think that he can help some of those guys with maybe some distractions or challenges that they have outside."
(On RB James Robinson's performance) "I think I knew a little bit—like I said before, going back through it, I said many times, I saw a couple clips of him when we signed him and then when we got him here, you're in shorts, so he's kind of running and you can see the discipline, you can see the effort and it was fine. I mean, you don't really go overboard, because you're not playing, you're not hitting. And then when we got the pads on and we went to some protection drills—which is one of the keys, a lot of times when you have a back that has a lot of yards in college or a lot of yards in high school, you really can't see a lot of the protection part of it. So, what you really look at is, hey, because you do it in a one-on-one situation. So, we started doing some one-on-one pass protection during training camp and I was like 'Holy cow.' I mean, he's—and I didn't realize how good he was at really covering guys up, bodying them up, the strength and the explosion he had. So, then I kind of go back and I went back at the weight room stuff and looked at that. And he's one of our most explosive players, I found that out during training camp—which weight he can do, as far as his lower body explosion. And then it was just a matter of, 'Hey listen, is this guy going to be able to hold on to the football when he gets hit in the NFL?' And I think that he's proven that. So, I knew he could catch, I think he's a guy that—he can do everything, I mean, he can be a three-down back, he can protect, he can catch the ball out of the backfield, obviously he can run the football. There's a lot of things that he does and it's just, it'll be interesting to see how he does as the season goes and being able to take care of your body. And that's the one thing I've always admired in this game, I don't know if you can ever realize, unless you're down on the field, the amount of contact that those guys take, day in and day out, or [on] Sundays. And you talk about appreciation, I have great appreciation for those guys because they're getting hit, one guy, two guys, three—you know, they're coming from all over. I know James is working extremely hard to make sure he's taking care of his body, because it is a long season."