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Quotes: Bill O'Brien press conference

Posted Aug 29, 2014

Head coach Bill O'Brien addressed the media on Friday.

Head Coach Bill O’Brien
(on if he can discuss any of the cuts from today) “Really, right now, we’re still in the process. We’re almost done. We’re almost done. It’s like I was saying the other day, it’s a very difficult time because it’s just been a really good group of guys to work with, whether it was the 90 guys or 75 guys. We’ve had guys that came in here and practiced hard, lifted hard, conditioned hard, but at the end of the day, you have to get down to 53 and then a 10-man practice squad. We’re still in the process of doing that. Out of respect to those guys, we’re going to hold off on announcing all the right now.”

(on the difficult level of the waiver process) “That’s a very difficult process. It’s something that is good for us in the fact that we have the first priority claim on anyone that gets released at this point. It’s difficult because obviously you have guys here that have worked very hard. It always goes back to doing what’s best for the team. Whatever we think can improve the team, if we think it can improve the team, then we’ll always look to do that. At the same time, it’s what’s best for the team. If what’s best for the team is to make sure that we keep the locker room intact basically as it is right now or as it will be when we get down to 53, then that’s what we should do also.”

(on if the waiver evaluation process has already started in looking at who potentially may be available and who would be a good fit) “Obviously Rick Smith, our general manager, and then our pro personnel department with the help of some of our college personnel department. Our pro personnel director Brian Gaine, he and Rick Smith have been working for a long time now on the evaluation of other rosters, both on film and then trying to project what those other rosters may be. Those guys do a great job of that and they’re on top of that every day.”

(on comparing Case Keenum and Tom Savage against one another) “If you look at Case, early in the game he made some decent plays. He made a nice throw on the right sideline to Keshawn (Martin). Keshawn made a great play on that, kept both feet in bounds. We had a little drive going there; we kicked a field goal. Case did some decent things. At the end of the half, I think he made a decision that he wishes he would have back where he kind of whirled around and just ripped the comeback to the left and it got intercepted. Part of that was the protection breakdown and things like that, but there were some good things. Obviously it wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t near what it needs to be and we all know that. Savage, I thought again, played more like a rookie. He’s a guy that has only been here since right after the draft. He’s improved a great deal, but last night it kind of leveled off. He didn’t play as good as he wanted to play. I think a lot of that had to do with him, but also a lot of guys around him didn’t play very well. We’re taking that into account when we look at it. It’s a position that is very, very important and we’re making sure we’re doing a good job of evaluating it and again, like I said, doing what’s best for the team.”

(on how difficult it is to bring a new quarterback in and teach him a system fast) “Very difficult. Very difficult to bring a guy in and get him ready in one week to be a backup or a number three. It’s a difficult process. Is it something that we would do if we felt like it was something that would improve the football team, certainly we would look at that. At this point in time, these three guys: Fitzy (Ryan Fitzpatrick) our starter, and Case (Keenum) and Tom (Savage) have worked hard. They know the system. Part of it and this is not an excuse, it’s just something I’ve been thinking about all night, but when you play in the preseason, it’s a little bit disjointed in that you play two series here. You play one series here. You get thrown back into the game here. Part of that, we’re trying to evaluate how you would handle that, but again, it’s very difficult to get into a rhythm. I think we all have to understand that as coaches and understand that these guys have worked very hard and they have improved. Last night was not one of any of our better nights.”

(on what he can do better as a head coach and what has he learned in the preseason that will help him moving forward) “It starts at the top with me. As I look at all of the preseason as a body of work, there are things that we are always going to try to do better as coaches. Number one is look at our personnel and how are we using our personnel? Where are we putting our best players and what are we doing with them? Making sure that they’re doing things that they’re really good at and not doing things that maybe it’s not in their skillset to do. That’s number one. Number two is we always have to continue to work on situational football. Overall as far as use of the clock and two-minute drives and when to call timeouts and things like that, we’ve been decent, but that’s something that we’re always going to try to improve on. We tried to keep the gameplans fairly vanilla so that our guys could go out there and play fast. Now we have to work to put a really good gameplan together for the Washington Redskins, an excellent football team. That’s what we’re working to do right now.”

(on how pleased he is with the team’s process of challenging plays on the field) “I feel good about our challenge process. Last night, the official did a great job; Walt Anderson did a great job of explaining to me why that call could be challenged. It was the spot on that fourth down play, which I thought was close. It was a progress spot, so we could challenge where they felt that the progress stopped. It was very close and that was a good challenge. Our guys upstairs said that it was close enough to try and challenge that. The other plays where we’ve challenged, the penalty call or whatever the call was, we felt the process has gone pretty smoothly for us.”

(on how he views Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum and Tom Savage as far as being on the roster) “I see that these three will be on the roster. I see that right now. As we sit here right now, I see that these guys will be on the roster. They’ve worked hard. It’s time to get ready for the regular season and I can see a definite scenario where the three of these guys are here.”

(on D.J. Swearinger not being fined by the league for his hit on Wes Welker and what that means for his reputation) “I believe that that particular hit was a bang-bang play where he was leading with his shoulder and at the last second Welk (Welker) caught the pass and kind of ducked to make sure that he was protecting himself on the hit and it ended up being a shoulder into the head/neck area. It was a very bang-bang play. Like I said last week, D.J. was not trying to do harm to anybody. D.J., in our building, has a good reputation as a guy that works extremely hard. He’s been at practice every day, never missed, very competitive, loves to play the game, works out hard, competes in the weight room, competes on the practice field. That’s the reputation that I believe he should have all over the place. That’s the way he is with us and that’s the way I see him on the field.”

(on if he has made a decision on who the backup quarterback is) “No. Obviously right now it’s either Case (Keenum) or Tom (Savage) but we have not decided on which one it is.”

(on who his top kick returner will be) “It will be Keshawn (Martin) to start the season. He’s done a good job. He’s gotten better. Keshawn is a guy that when we got here in April, was working really hard at learning our offense and working in on special teams. I talked to him right at the end of OTAs about some of the improvements that I thought he needed to make. He’s a guy that’s one of the most improved players on our team and he’s got to continue to go that way. He came back in training camp and whether it was his return ability or his play on offense, he’s done a really good job of taking what we coached him on in the spring and what we wanted him to get better on and come here and improved a great deal. He’d start the season as our kick returner and our punt returner.”

(on what changes in preparation and how he runs things when the roster is trimmed to 53) “It’s an interesting question. It’s an interesting time of the year. It’s a part of the year that’s very difficult because you have choices that you have to make and guys that have worked hard and you’re having to release guys to get to 53 but at the same time it’s enjoyable because you walk into that room and there’s your 53 guys. That’s something that I really enjoy about pro football, that there are 53 guys, that it is a small roster. We’ll add the 10 practice squad (players), so we’ll have a total of 63 (players). They are guys that come from different backgrounds, guys that have all different kinds of skill sets. There are some front-line star players on our team, there are role players, there are guys that just love playing the game. To walk into that room and to know that you have 53 guys that are working towards a common goal; of course sometimes the 53 changes based on things that we’re always going to try to do to improve the team. But at the end of the day, you have a core group of guys that you’re looking forward going to work with.”

(on if he’s been fielding a lot of calls about potential trades) “I field a lot of calls, I certainly do. It’s that time of the year and those are interesting calls because it tells you what people think about your roster and it also tells you about their roster, the people that are calling. Without getting into details on that, you certainly do field a lot of calls during this time of the year about, ‘Hey, we’re heavy here. Do you need this because it looks like you’re kind of light there at that position?’ Those types of calls happen all the time.”

(on how he feels his roster stacks up top-to-bottom against others in the NFL) “I believe that it’s a roster that will be evolving all the time. I believe it’s a roster that we always have to look at the depth and make sure that we have as good depth as we can possibly have. Our front-line players: the J.J. Watts, the Andre Johnsons, Arian Foster, Brian Cushing, Johnathan Joseph. Guys like that in addition to our role players. Guys that will be on this team that will be backup players on offense and defense and then special teams contributors, big-time special teams contributors. And then our younger players, our draft class. We feel that it’s working toward being a fairly strong roster but it’s one that we’re always going to try to look to improve if we can. But again, we’re looking forward to working with these guys, eventually, who we get down to the 53 by whatever time it is tomorrow.”

(on how excited he is to see all his players playing at the same time and seeing the best his team has to offer) “Very excited and also understanding that there is an unknown because we haven’t had everybody out there at the same time yet, really, if you think about it. When you look back to all the games: Arizona, obviously, Atlanta, Denver and then obviously, last night, we haven’t yet had everybody out there that we know is going to be out there against the Redskins. We’re looking forward to that and we’ll begin that process of getting everybody out there at the same time, which we’ve done a lot in practice but not in the games, on Monday. We’ll get everybody out there and start to get this game plan installed and figure out what we have to do to win the game.”

(on what he has learned about Brian Cushing’s passion and work ethic) “Cushing is a guy that is definitely one of the leaders of this team. A very intense guy, a very hard worker, a good teammate, really good leader. He’s been really good with the rookies. A guy that you can see him, whether it’s eating lunch with the rookies or talking to them in the locker room, you can see him every day really trying to be a mentor to a lot of those guys. He’s been a very successful player in this league. I remember coming here in ’09 with the Patriots and he had a great game against us. I believe he won Rookie of the Year that year. We’re looking forward to him being back at full strength and he means a lot to this team. He’s worked very hard, like you said, to get back. Those are hard things. When you’ve been through that rehab a couple times and to have to do it multiple times and come back says a lot about the man. Like I said, we’re looking forward to seeing him play well this year.”

(on where Andre Hal is in the discussion to make the 53-man roster) “He has definitely earned the right to be in the discussion to make the team. He’s had two interceptions for touchdowns. He’s played well on special teams. He’s a rookie. He’s still got lot to learn but he’s got good size. He’s tough. I like the way he carries himself in the building. He’s a hard-working kid both in here in the meeting room and out on the field. He’s definitely earned the right to be in the discussion to make the football team.”

(on how pleased he’s been with Louis Nix III since he commented on what Nix needed to do to catch up and be a professional) “It’s been OK. He’s got to get a lot better. He’s a third-round draft pick and he needs to make sure that he is working extremely hard every day to play pro football. We’re in the process of figuring out who the 53-man roster is. A lot of those things we take into account that you have a guy there that’s a young guy that really doesn’t totally get it yet what it means to play in this league and he has to come out and earn it. He’s better than he was when he came out on the field a couple a couple weeks ago against Atlanta but he’s got a long way to go.”

 

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