(On OL Ben Bartch) "I like Ben, I like him. His college tape was good, but level of play didn't give you a great indicator of what he possibly could be. I thought when he was at the senior bowl before he got hurt, I thought he competed extremely well there. [He] showed some things that we like in our guys, some strength. He has some tenacity. He's a bright kid. I think it's really just him getting comfortable. He hasn't shied away from the competition, just technically getting used to how we want to play, making the transition from tackle to guard. It's not as easy when you don't have a spring, so he's fighting through the early parts of making that adjustment, but I'm fired up for him. I think he'll be a good player for us in the future."
(On first impression of OL Ben Bartch's size) "I'm not surprised by anybody's size. It doesn't matter where you play, right. He was a tall kid, at least, coming out of high school and he had to work to put on weight. So, no I wasn't shocked. And I think he did a good job from the spring draft until now putting on more weight. I think when we drafted him, he was like 308 or 309 [pounds], and I think he's in the 315 to 317 range now. So, I think he's done a nice job with that. He has good strength and power as well."
(On the offensive line looking good despite not having an offseason) "You know, that's interesting because the thing about this offseason, all of the pressure was on the individual player in terms of how he returned. They didn't have Milo [Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Tom Myslinski] in the weight room to monitor them, they weren't around us to be monitored. So, it was going to be a direct indication of what their commitment was to how they wanted to come back and there was nobody else responsible for it but themselves. That was made very clear in our encounters and our meetings, that 'Hey listen, when you come back here, if you're not in shape, this is going to fall on your shoulders, nobody else's.' And those guys listened to that and they all worked. I mean, I know Cam [Robinson] was working, I know A.J. [Cann] was working, all those guys. So, I was pleased with where they came back. Now, we've still got work to do, but they came back in a position where we didn't have to fight to get them into shape before we could start making progress. They came in a position where we could really start making progress without being hindered by somebody being overweight or out of shape, or not ready to go."
(On OL Will Richardson Jr.'s progress) "You know, after last year with Will, I thought he did a tremendous job for us going into guard, making that transition. But I wasn't sure that that's what his best position was. I was thinking he might be a better tackle than guard. So, we put him at left tackle, which is new for him as well, right. He played a little bit last year, but his whole college career he was a right tackle. I'd say in the last three or four days, he's really starting to settle in being on the left side and getting comfortable back at tackle. So, I think Will has a variety of skill sets for us. I mean, last year, we got him to snap, in a pinch he can pull the ball, as long as we get him some work. We know he can play guard if need be and now, he's a tackle. So, until he establishes as a starter for us, at some point in time if that occurs, we have a really valued—a guy with some extreme position flexibility. So, I like where Will is. I like where his head is, and again, he shows up to work every day."
(On whether there is competition for the left tackle position) "I'm going to be frank and honest. First, Will had to get adjusted to playing left tackle. Alright, so I don't think he was there when we started training camp and as I stated the last 3 or 4 days, you can see him settling in. As he gets more settled in and he gets more comfortable, he can create some more competition, that's just where it is. When he walked in the door, I wouldn't say day one he was truly competing with Cam [Robinson], because Cam is so far ahead of him. As he closes the distance, he'll start competing. And I think he's starting to close the distance."
(On keeping this group together after last season and on biggest strides from the group) "I'm going to start with your first question, and yes, I wanted to keep all these guys. My opinion about my guys often differs from other people's opinions about my guys. But the one thing I saw from this group last year was they were physical, right. They were physical, Cam [Robinson] was dealing with a knee so you really didn't see all of him. And I'm hopeful we'll see all of him and what he's capable of now moving forward. I teach things a little bit differently and it takes some time to understand that. But again, at the end of the year, I thought our guys had a good understanding and they were going about it the right way. The biggest strides they're making now is that they know what's expected of them. So, there's really nothing new. Of the 14 guys we have here in camp now, 10 of them were here last year. So, there's not a whole lot of teaching going on, other than with Garrett [McGhin] who's new and then the three rookies. So, they know what it is, they know what the expectation is, they know how we want to play, and the emphasis is on being physical. We want to run guys over and that's our thought process."
(On OL Cam Robinson's importance and progress) "How important? I mean, Cam is going to be our starting left tackle, I think he's extremely important. And we need him to perform at a high level. The biggest thing from last year to now is he can take all the practice. He's out there in all the practices, he's taking all the reps, there's been, to this point, no issues with him physically. So, I mean, he can just keep going and getting better and we don't have to worry about managing him like we did last year. Last year, it was a daily managing of him to get him through practice and, at times, to get him through the games. So, that part of it now, now that he's healthy, in my opinion, we can start seeing what he's truly capable of."
(On OL Jawaan Taylor's strides this offseason) "First and foremost, I don't think you can shake Jawaan's confidence. Whatever happened last year, if it was negative, it's gone for him. Jawaan is upbeat. If you've ever been around him, he's upbeat, he's positive, he's always looking to be the best. He's an unbelievable teammate. You know, he's a second-year player and he carries himself like he's a seasoned vet in the room. And I don't mean that from a selfish standpoint, I'm just talking about how he engages other guys, all the rookies, all the new guys, the four new guys we have in the room, he's engaged those guys, they've pulled him right in. So, that part of Jawaan, that's one reason why he'll be a good player, because his demeanor is such that there's nothing that's ever going to get him down. In terms of building on last year, for him it's just, again, just continually becoming more consistent. We're preaching his hands, bin, pad level, all the stuff that's needed to be consistent in playing a high level. He'll buy into all that. So, he'll just stay on his track and he'll keep working at it and we'll keep trying to get him better."
(Closing Statement) "I've got one thing I want to say though and this is outside of this, but [Former NFL Offensive Line Coach] Howard Mudd passed away a week ago. And you guys all saw, there's probably been—I haven't seen all that's been mentioned about him, but I want to make a statement about him. I love that guy. When I was coaching and when I was a young coach, he reached out to me. He saw some of my guys play, reached out to me and took me under his wing. I wouldn't have this job today if it wasn't for him. I don't think people understand what an impact he had on almost every line coach in the NFL, and quite a few guys in college, in how we play. I mean, every day in my meeting room, I'll make a statement or a comment and it's directly from him. I'll teach a technique and it's directly from him. And I just don't think people truly understand how he's going to be missed in this profession. Because he's touched every one of us. He's touched my family, my kids, my wife, all of them. So, I just want to make the statement [of] how truly beneficial he was for me as a coach, as a man to my family. And again, I wouldn't be a third of the coach I am, if it weren't for him. So, I just wanted to get that out there."