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Head Coach Doug Marrone: September 30, 2020

(On TE Tyler Eifert going back to play against his former team in Cincinnati for the first time) "I was just talking to him earlier on in the week, saying, 'Hey, we're going back to Cincinnati and you're really lucky because normally you'd be taking us all out to dinner at the best place or bringing stuff in or anything like that.' Then I told him about what the empathy is of these players that are going maybe back to where they played, where they know a lot of people, or back to where they're from [with] family and friends and all that that might not be able to attend the game depending on what the protocol is in each state that we play in. You'd have to ask him if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Sometimes you get overwhelmed with that stuff. A lot of times after a game you like to see your family before you go but because of the protocol that we have when we travel, we're pretty much locked in a bubble."

(On if players have to pay for meals when the team travels back to their hometown) "I'm just saying, before all this COVID stuff, like if we went back to a place [where a player is from], that player usually knows the best place to eat. Everyone usually relies on him [and asks,] 'Hey, where do we go? What's the best place to go grab something or afterwards, the after meal, what to do?' I don't know if our team does that, that's happened a lot in my career. Obviously, food is a big part of who I am."

(On what caused the Miami defense to play a soft zone scheme) "I think it's a little bit of everything. I think we've got to do a good job for him. [In] the pass game there, more of a game plan-type defense, you really don't know what you're going to get in some of the normal down and distances. It was a short week, so putting that stuff in is a little bit challenging for making sure you have enough stuff and obviously when you lose DJ [Chark Jr.], it hurts too. I would say it's probably all of the things come into play and we just have to be able to go make some plays."

(On if it's QB Gardner Minshew II's responsibility to recognize the defense and if he didn't play as bad as the statistics might suggest) "No, I thought he took some shots that we wanted him to take. I thought he did a nice job. I think anytime you lose a game, everyone's going to walk away and say, 'Hey, I wish I could've done a better job,' coaches included, myself included. I think that's always going to be the way people look at it and if you're not looking at it that way, then you probably have some difficulties. I think if you walk away and you're like, 'Well, I did everything I can.' that goes against everything we're trying to get done as far as team concepts where we're trying to get better."

(On the play of OL A.J. Cann) "I think he's played as good as he's played since he's been here. We're talking about he's had three really solid football games. I think he's playing at a really good level. He's comfortable. He's overcome some of the weaknesses that he may have had in the past and he's really worked hard to [fix] it. Right now, he's playing as good as he's ever played here. Week in and week out, he's going to be tested and he'll be tested this week. They're [the Cincinnati Bengals] really good up front, have a good wave of players that can play. But A.J.'s playing well so I'm happy for him because he's taken a lot of heat. He works real hard. He's one of those guys that just, he'll play when he's banged up. He's always at practice. He's always studying. He's always working and to finally see some of the success that he's had this year is really a good thing for me, but I'm sure especially for him because of the amount of work he's put in."

(On the biggest weakness OL A.J. Cann has overcome) "I just think some of the footwork stuff, some of the leaning stuff, those things. He's done a nice job of that and he's always done a nice job in the run game, but he's worked hard at really cleaning up a lot of his game just from a technical standpoint and I think that's really helped him. His patience is better. [He has] much better awareness. I would say overall he's really done a nice job; he really has."

(On the decision to release former Jaguars DT Timmy Jernigan and his thoughts on the depth on the interior defensive line) "I feel good. Obviously, now we have Doug Costin who we like that you guys haven't really seen a lot of coming up and he'll be playing in a rotation and he has flexibility. Then obviously we brought Daniel [Ekuale] up from the practice squad and he creates a lot of flexibility for us to move some people around and we think we can get more production out of. So that was the reason why those moves were made. Then, obviously, our kicker was injured so we had to go out and bring in a kicker and we wanted to make sure we had two just in case anything happened, whether it be COVID or an injury during the week."

(On an update on WR DJ Chark Jr.'s injury status) "Right now, the tests, he's passed it. He'll be out on the field, he'll be back at practice today in a limited role, so we feel good about that."

(On if the COVID-19 outbreak in Tennessee is a worst-case scenario) "I think anytime something affects the team from a standpoint of COVID, it's a problem. I don't want to say it's the worst because obviously things could get worse as far as what may happen or may not down the road, so I don't want to speculate towards that. But I really believe that the way the league is set up, the protocols and the contact tracing and everything from that nature has at least given us the ability to go ahead and continue to play these games. I think that this is a great opportunity right now for all of us in this league, coaches, players, support staff, to remind ourselves, with a lot of these openings that are going on, of our awareness of once we're outside the building and what we're doing. Knowing that you test every single day, that doesn't mean that you're not going to be exposed to it because those tests don't come back until the evening, so that virus can incubate and go. I think it was a great opportunity. We took the beginning of our team meeting today and really re-emphasized that protocols that have been in place and hopefully something like this won't happen again."

(On if the league should re-evaluate and test for COVID-19 on Sundays as well) "I don't have enough information on that, so it'd be hard for me to talk about it. I think I just trust what the league does and the doctors and it's also the PA (NFL Players Association) people are involved and there's consultants. I mean there's a lot of smart people on that stuff that they know more than me. Like I said, I'm trying to do the best job I can for this football team and have them tell me what the protocols are and try to make sure that we abide by them."

(On if he anticipated that the pass defense would be harder to improve than stopping the run) "I think it's easier to come out there and be able to improve on stopping the run. I just think from a standpoint [of] you have much more body types to go to be able to do that. I think it's very difficult to go out and really get the pass rushers, so this way you have enough of them where someone's going to be singled up and someone's going to have to win. I think that Josh [Allen], K'Lavon [Chaisson], and obviously we're banking on [Dawuane] Smoot, and maybe even [DaVon] Hamilton and a couple other guys that can get in there and get the rush. The one thing I say is that I always look at pass rush and you can see when someone beats someone one-on-one, like right off the bat, and goes ahead and creates a sack with a good move and you see those top level guys at times doing that. I think Josh has been close but like I said, close doesn't really mean a lot. It's a game of inches and what you can do. K'Lavon's done a nice job, he's getting better each week. But I think it's in conjunction of how do you create pressure on the quarterback? It's from both ends, it's from the guys up front, it's from the guys in the back end making sure that we cover. I've always said that even when I've been with teams that have a lot of sacks, all the media attention and attention around outside of the building was always on the players that are creating those sacks, but really the guys that are creating it are in the back end at the time. So I think it's truly a group effort of everyone working on [it] because that's where I think the term, where you hear, 'coverage sack' comes in. I mean we've all heard that term before, 'That's a coverage sack.' You just have to be able to make sure that if that quarterback's going to that first read, sometimes even a second, but mostly the first, if he's going to that first read and that first read's open, unless you just completely whiff, it's going to be very difficult to get guys down. So we're working on this group effort to try to get a little bit more pressure on the quarterback."

(On if the lack of pass rush in the first three games correlates with playing three veteran quarterbacks) "I think all the quarterbacks that are playing are very good, I really do. I mean you don't really play in this league, the one's that we've played or like the quarterback we have coming up, [if you're not]. That's why I don't want to get myself into a mind of saying veteran quarterback and rookie quarterback, because I'm going against first-year quarterback in Joe Burrow who doesn't play like a rookie quarterback. He can run, he can move, he's got a quick release, he can throw the ball, he can hit all the different spots, he's got a hell of a lot of talent around him, and he's very talented player. He's tough as hell, I mean you see that on film. So I think whenever you're playing these quarterbacks when their first reads are open, it's always going to be tough to generate a pass rush."

(On if they are looking at tape of rookie Bengals QB Joe Burrow's first three games in the NFL or in college more to prepare) "I think three games is enough, but we understand who the player was when he was in college. I think that the transition that he's made despite [not having] an offseason, I can't tell you how much credit I give him because it's unbelievable. That's why I wanted to make the distinction with the last question of veteran quarterback [versus] rookie quarterback. Sometimes you see people play in this game and by nature they're rookies, but they don't play like rookies. By nature, they may be free agents, like the guy we have [RB James Robinson], and doesn't play like a free agent, doesn't play like a rookie. I look at Joe Burrow as a guy that's not playing like that. He's not a guy that gets rattled. He's not a guy that may get confused. He's definitive on exactly what he's doing and his footwork plus he has the ability to extend plays and run. So I would say what he's done is a credit to him and that staff because without an offseason, to be able to be as comfortable as he is and as tough as he is in the pocket, I tip my hat off to him. He's done a great job."

(On the impact of LB Myles Jack and LB Joe Schobert in the run defense) "I think they've been excellent. I think Myles has been playing his best football really, kind of like the A.J. Cann question. Myles has had flashes before. I think the consistency of how he's playing is up. I think both he and Joe have done a nice job for us. That obviously helps us quite a bit. Again, I don't want to say that we've gotten to where we need to be. I think there's still a lot of improvement that we'll make in the run game as we push forward with the guys that we have. So I think both those guys have played well and I think Myles is playing at a very high level right now."

(On how helpful it is to have two linebackers in LB Myles Jack and LB Joe Schobert that have both played the 'Mike' linebacker position) "Both of those guys are great communicators. We just have to make sure everyone else can listen and hear. Meaning that the calls are coming out quick, they're making their calls and the guys up front, the guys on the back end, everything we do. As the game calms down, we've been communicating much better, but we have to come out in the beginning of the game and communicate well and make sure that we're all getting it. Now we're doing a great job at the linebacker position communicating; we just have to make sure we do a good job up front and in the back end too."