Transcript: 8-1-2022 Press Conferences

HEAD COACH LOVIE SMITH

Opening Statement

"You always want to get to the first day to put pads on. We're not going to all of a sudden Thursday have a scrimmage or anything like that, but it's a different game when you get the pads on. You try not to make too many big impressions where you are until you put together a few days like this. Good to get the first day in, pads. We'll practice in pads the next two days really, so we should be able to see some more things from our team. Quarterback continues to protect the football. We're progressing along, adding different situations, which we want to get to the day, of course, finishing up. Most games are going to end up in a two-minute situation, so that's really important for us. No major injuries to report. I'll take your questions."

Is there an update on QB Kevin Hogan?

"Is there anything come out officially? We'll respond to it a little bit later. He was not here right now. Next day I'll talk about Kevin a little bit."

What did you see from TE Brevin Jordan and WR Nico Collings today and how they progressed?

"Well, Brevin (Jordan) is a good match-up. He's a tight end. He's a big receiver. Against linebacker safeties, we should have the advantage. And Nico (Collins) versus cornerback, he's a big body. Those are two guys that need to be productive for us this coming year. I know they can be. They're both talented athletes. It's left up to us to get them involved. Good to see them step up a little bit today."

What was your message to the defense about taking the football away? What kind of standards are you trying to set?

"Well, hopefully every practice I'm doing that. It just didn't feel like the standard of excellence, of us playing good ball. I didn't feel like we were playing our best ball as much as anything. Didn't really have to go out and tell them that, of course. We have a lot of veterans that are leading the way before I get a chance to voice my opinion on that. The play wasn't where we needed to be."

And the standard is?

"Excellence. Better play than that. As a head football coach, in those situations I'm an offensive coach. So, I was pretty happy about that."

What separates OL Laremy Tunsil from other veteran tackles in the NFL?

"I mean, we could talk a while about what separates Laremy (Tunsil). There's a reason we pay him more than anybody else on our football team. He's not a good player, he's a special player, a special man, his presence around. But when I talk about the tackle position, Tytus (Howard) is a good player, Cedric (Ogbuehi), Charlie (Heck). We feel like we have a strong four with (Austin) Deculus coming up, also. Maybe our strongest position on our team."

What have you seen from DB Isaac Yiadom?

"Big body. He's physical, likes to tackle. Our corners have to want to tackle. He'll be a special team contributor for us. A good addition since he came into the building. Again, good target, big body, does all the things we're looking for in a corner."

What are you seeing from the defensive line and what do you want to see from them at this point?

"Production. Right now, we are working on a lot of different combinations. Early in camp you just want to get as many guys as possible on video. We have three preseason games. We'll get into more situations where we isolate on exactly who's playing with what group, but right now we're just trying to get everybody on video for us to make a good evaluation."

Does the defensive line feel like the deepest position group on the team right now?

"We like that position. I'm going to say the same thing about our linebacker position. We have depth at those positions."

What have you seen out of OL Charlie Heck and his ability to play left or right?

"That helps you when you can do multiple things. Charlie can. I think he's a starting offensive tackle in the league, and he's in our third tackle, fourth tackle slot. He and Cedric (Ogbuehi) both have played starting football. That's why I talk about the strength of that position."

What have you seen from your young blocking receivers like WR Davion Davis, WR Connor Wedington and WR Jalen Camp?

"Well, first day of pads, what I've seen from them is they've showed up every day. They're getting better. If you come out every day, they have an excellent coach coaching them up, and they'll pick their moments of course to make plays. You notice them, that of course is a good thing. We've noticed quite a few good things they've done."

What does DL Mario Addison add to your team?

"As we add defensive linemen, can they rush the passer. Start with that. Mario (Addison) has -- I think he had seven sacks last year in a backup role. I drafted him, I signed him as a free agent when he first came in the league. I've known him for a long time. He knows how we want to play football. A great veteran presence in the locker room. Love everything that he's done and he'll do for us."

How do you approach two-minute drills and in-game situations in the off-season?

"As head coach I'm going to be in charge of all those two-minute situations like everything else. We're no different. How do I approach it? Situations come up, we make decisions. Don't look too much into that, all right?"

For DB Derek Stingley Jr.'s development, how important is getting to work with a pro like WR Brandin Cooks?

"Well, I think that's really good after practice. I like it even more in practice. Derek (Stingley Jr.) right now is getting -- like the rest of the group, he's getting I think just about every period except the last one we held him out. He's getting all of the work. He'll continue to get better. Every day, every rep he goes against Brandin Cooks will make him a better player. Simple as that."

QB Deshaun Watson was suspended today. Is it a relief to not have to deal with that this year at camp and start fresh?

"What happened again? Another player for somebody else's team? I ain't paid a whole -- as you can see. 91 guys here kind of occupying all of our time. I know the rest of the league is kind of moving on and whatever is happening they're good for."

QB DAVIS MILLS

How do you feel about your growth as a quarterback and a leader this offseason?

"I feel really good. I think I've developed a lot since the end of last season. I think I felt the progression at the end of last year and then really taking it into the offseason, big momentum and stacking on it has allowed me to come out here and start playing really fast at the start of training camp and throughout OTAs. I'm excited to keep progressing."

What were some of the things you worked on during the off-season you needed to improve on?

"A lot of it with the new offense is making sure, first, I have command and control of this offense, make sure I'm on all the details, and then personally just making sure I'm able to make every throw. We kind of pinpointed and saw the shot chart or the throw chart from across the field, saw the different percentages, and I had a couple boxes where I needed to work on, so I focused on those type of throws, just making sure my feet and my body were in line to make all those throws. The biggest thing is just coming out and being ahead of schedule in the playbook so you can come out and play fast."

HC Lovie Smith said that everybody gets a vote for team captain. He said his vote would be for you. What does that mean to you?

"It's awesome. Obviously we still have a lot of time to go before captain voting, but I think I've worked hard. I know we have a lot of guys, though, that have stepped up and been leading the team. I don't know if I can pinpoint it entirely on myself, but that's an honor."

How much did your relationship develop with WR Nico Collins on the field?

"A lot. Nico (Collins) has put in a ton of work all last year and through this off-season. It shows what he's been doing out here in practice. I think we've definitely developed chemistry, and he's going to be dangerous. When we're on the same page and how we are on the same page, I don't think there's many people out there who can stop him."

Do you see him WR Nico Collins as a match-up issue because of his size?

"Definitely, yeah, size and athletic abilities. I don't think there's too many people out there who can play and jump with him."

On players that are working at the center position and the importance of that as it relates to you and the offense as a whole.

"Yeah, so this year Justin Britt is the guy right now, and then you have Scott Quessenberry and Jimmy Morrissey behind him. I think all of those guys have stepped up and have been doing an amazing job at their job this year. Different from last year, the center has to drive a lot of the mike [linebacker] points in this offense, and I think all those guys have stepped up and have really been efficient in doing their job well and making sure we're on the same page. I'm excited to see them go out and actually get physical. Today was the first full padded practices, so you saw a little bit of it, but you'll see some more once we get to that first preseason game. It'll be exciting."

We've seen you rotate in behind different units. How does that help you throughout the entirety of a season?

"It definitely helps. You never know. Unfortunately, in football there's always people who go down on any given play, so some of those other guys are going to have to step up and make plays, and I've been able to get some valuable reps with them, and it's nice. I'll go out there and get reps with the twos and threes and there's never any drop-off, so that's the biggest thing is making sure everyone is out there on the same page and there's no really drop-off from when the ones go come out and the twos go in. That's the biggest thing."

What have you noticed about yourself and gaining confidence from your role? How have you approached that with your teammates?

"I mean, I don't honestly think too much has changed. Obviously the assurance of being the starter, that's the one big thing that changed from this time last year, but other than that I'm still the same football player -- try to come in the building every day with the same mindset and kind of be myself, and that's kind of my leadership style, come in, be the same person every day, and then when you need to step up and, say, call someone out or hold someone accountable, then you can do that. But people will respect you if you're doing the same thing every single day."

Is the role opening up more in the second year with your teammates?

"Not necessarily. I mean, I'm in the role now where I'm able to be more vocal in meetings and just out here talking what I feel is best or what we feel as an offense would be best, so everyone can get on the same page. I don't think there's anything in particular where I need to do more."

What's your relationship like with QB Kyle Allen?

"Oh, it's been great. Kyle (Allen) has stepped in and it felt like he was here all last year with the way he has felt in the room. He's come in and already added a lot to our room. I mean, with all the guys in the QB room, we're able to share insights and kind of bounce ideas off each other and make sure we're all on the same page and flowing as a unit."

Lovie talked about some of the physical changes he's seen in you. What kind of work did you do to make your lower body stronger?

"Biggest thing, diet and working out in the off-season, staying clean. Obviously, I think I've put on some pounds from last year. I want to come in and maybe bulk up a little bit so I can take those hits throughout the season. My body will handle it. It comes with being a football player. There's guys on the defensive side of the ball who are much bigger than I am, so I'm just trying to keep up."

What were you hoping to accomplish by going to Oregon with WR Brandin Cooks and other players right before training camp?

"Yeah, I mean, the first thing we did out there was trying to build chemistry heading into camp, making sure we were on the same page with what we had installed in the offense at that point. Then the other part is kind of team bonding, hanging out with your guys. We had a good time up there. We spent it at the lake. He got us a little AirBnB on the lake, so we were able to go out and paddleboard and swim around with each other, and it was a lot of fun."

Can you talk about what it means to have OC Pep Hamilton and the growth of this offense?

"It's been great. You see a little bit of a different side of Pep (Hamilton) this year, too, now that he has a bigger role as the offensive coordinator. He's kind of -- Pep is the same person every day. He's going to come out and he's going to be Pep. Take that for what it's worth. He's very unique, and I think the control of the offensive unit he has right now is amazing. I'm really excited to see what he can do in year two calling the plays."

What stands out the most from the pass catchers that you have?

"I'm excited. Really other than Brandin (Cooks) we have a ton of guys -- him, as well, he's probably at the top, but right after him we have a ton of guys who are able to contribute and who are really showing every day in practice that they're going to go out there and make big plays. I mean, it makes it hard on the QBs to go out there and make pre-snap decisions because we want to throw it to all of them. It'll be exciting. I think there's a lot of guys stepping up making plays, so it's going to be exciting once we actually get out there on the field and see who's going to do it."

What did you learn about those guys at the lake? Any stories?

"Nothing crazy happened. It was a good time."

Can you talk about having OL Laremy Tunsil back?

"Yeah, I mean, it's awesome having LT (Laremy Tunsil) back. I think when he's playing at his best, he's a top one if not top three tackle in the league, so it's definitely exciting dropping back knowing your backside is covered."

Can you talk a little about WR Chris Moore?

"Yeah, I mean, I think Chris (Moore) is one of the hardest workers we have on the team. He comes in puts his head down and gets to work. When he's running routes, everything is consistent, and he's just one of those players when you're out there you know where he's going to be, and you know when he's going to get there, so we're able to stay on the same time, and he has really good hands, so we trust him a lot."

What's the message you're trying to send to these rookies as they get adjusted to camp?

"The biggest thing for the rookies is just come in and put their head down and get to work. Obviously, there's a big change from college to the NFL, and especially the time you're supposed to be at the facility. Those guys [the rookies] just make sure you're taking full advantage of the time you're here and just put your head down, get to work, make sure that -- the biggest thing when a rookie steps in, you don't want to know there's a rookie out there on the field with you. You just want to feel like they're the other guy next to you, knows the same amount as you, and he's going to do his job."

Are you going to keep the moustache?

"We'll see."

RB REX BURKHEAD

Did QB Davis Mills' mustache just show up today?

"Just showed up today. I noticed it right away. I was like, I like it, man. Looks good on you."

What do you think of QB Davis Mills' development and growth?

"Yeah, he's done a tremendous job. Physically he's in great shape, arm looks great. Mentally he's stepped up his leadership even more. Some of our installs and stuff as an offense during meetings, like he's leading it. He's telling guys what to do, which is super impressive to me, and it's going to help his leadership skills even that much more. I love his confidence out there. I love how he's being commanding in the huddle, and really taking control of the offense and leading us down the field."

What do you think about playing behind OL Laremy Tunsil?

"Oh, I love it. Love it. Big guy, can move, just an absolute freak athlete. He's tough. Comes to work every single day, and it's fun to run behind those guys. It makes your job easier. Anytime you get a run play going behind him, it works out well. Of course, his pass protection. He's one of the best in the game and has been doing it for a few years now."

Players tend to open up after being a rookie. How have you seen that with QB Davis Mills?

"Yeah, definitely. He's getting to know his teammates. Of course, that first year I remember being a rookie. At times just trying to see what you need to do for that day, whether that was out on the field or in the building. He's definitely more comfortable, even getting so every single day and getting to know his teammates. That's huge, brings guys together, and having that camaraderie to go out there and perform every day."

What have you noticed from Dameon Pierce? More specifically, how has he adjusted to the NFL?

"Yeah, he's done a great job. He's really trying to learn as quickly as he can. I think the biggest thing for him, as a rookie you're going to make mistakes. That's just how it is. If you have one one day, try not to do it the next day, and he's done a great job of that. Just learning from things that maybe he didn't have all the way down the day before and coming back and showing, 'Okay. I've got it down now. This is how to do it,' and asking questions. He's come up to me on little details, too, which is huge. Usually if you're getting questioned about the big things, it's like, 'Okay, yeah,. There's that.' But when you're asking some small details on routes and just run techniques or whatever, that's when you know someone is really locking in and picking it up quickly."

How important is it to be able to take away some of the messier things from RB Marlon Mack?

"Yeah, it's huge. Whatever way he can help, whatever way I can help out Marlon (Mack), whoever has got the ball or just out there on the field, if that's in the passing game, pass protection. It's huge. It makes us that much more versatile, and being able to open up the offense even more for Pep (Hamilton)."

As a running back, how do you know when a quarterback is in his comfort zone?

"Really it's just kind of a rhythm deal. Just play after play, understanding the assignment, understanding the down and distance, and making that simple play. Whether that's just a check-down, if guys are spreading out or dropping back in the zone, where that is. You can just tell they know what the assignment is play after play and getting the job done."

Can you talk about the growth QB Davis Mills has had from last year to this year?

"Yeah, it's been huge. Like I said, he's much more comfortable. Physically he's in great shape. Arm looks good, and just mentally leading us down the field, where that's also in the classroom, as well, making sure we're all on the same page and understanding what we're doing."

What's your evaluation of the whole offensive line group?

"Yeah, they've done a great job. Guys like Laremy (Tunsil), of course J.B. (Justin Britt) right there in the middle, great leader for that group. Just the way he comes out and works every single day is impressive. When you have a guy like that leading the way, whether that's some younger guys in the room, of course we've got a first-round pick in that room, and just new guys on to the team, that's huge. To show their toughness every single day and to run behind them, it's quite a joy."

OL LAREMY TUNSIL

HC Lovie Smith said they pay you more than anybody else because you're a special player. What does that mean to you coming from your head coach?

"That sounds good to me. I'm going to get another bag, right? I'm just joking. I mean, it's great, just getting praise like that from a head coach like Lovie Smith who led a team to the Super Bowl with the Chicago Bears, so it feels great."

Can you take us through your recovery last year and how things are working with that?

"My hand is doing great."

Do pass rushers or edge rushers pick your brain and do you kind of pride yourself on being able to help develop these guys?

"I for sure pride myself to help my teammates out, get better rushes on different opponents, but they help me out, too, with different rushes. I'm just glad to have veteran guys like DL Jerry Hughes and DL Mario Addison and DL Jonathan Greenard going on his third year, so we're going to get better each and every day in practice."

What have you seen from OL Kenyon Green so far in camp?

"Dog."

What have you guys focused on in the offseason to improve the run game this year?

"We went and got Pep Hamilton. We're finna get this rolling."

Do you like the creativity of the new offense, or do you prefer a more traditional approach?

"I like the creativity. You know, put LT (Laremy Tunsil) at quarterback. I can get a little pass down the field. We can switch it up, but I do like the creativity."

What will QB Davis Mills bring to the team this year?

"Dog."

At what point did you feel 100%?

"Right now."

RB Dameon Pierce?

"Dog."

Davis Mills' mustache?

"Nah, that's kind of clean. I like that a lot. Dog. I'm sorry, dog."

How do you define OL Laremy Tunsil?

"Dog."

In what way have you seen this team grow so far?

"In the offseason program, I think the attendance was 90-plus. So that speaks for itself right there. You know, Lovie (Smith) preaches that all the time, follow his direction as he leads. We're going to follow him. 90-plus (percentage) for offseason attendance is pretty special. I was there too."

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