Transcripts: 12-2-2021 Press Conferences 

Offensive Coordinator Tim Kelly

How do you feel about your options in the slot with WR Danny Amendola's knee injury?

"Yeah, good. Davion (Davis) has been here. He has been putting in good work on the field. He's got really strong hands, has the ability to separate. Obviously, we've seen what Chris Moore can do when given the opportunity to go out and play an extended role. Feel good about those two going out there and being able to make plays for us."

Do you think OL Tytus Howard playing left tackle and OL Lane Taylor playing left guard is the best combination moving forward?

"Yeah, I mean kind of how we talked about it a couple of weeks ago was that every week is a new game and people coming on and off the injury chart and all of that good stuff, a lot of stuff plays into that. That was our best combination last week with those two over there. I think they both played well so we will see what this week holds for us."

Is that the first time OL Lane Taylor felt he could go a whole game?

"Yeah he's been doing a good job working back from injury and putting in the work in the training room and the weight room and the practice field, and we felt like he was ready. He did a good job and went out and played well."

Is OL Justin Britt back?

"We'll find out. He's going to be working back. He did a good job last week again in progressing and we will see where he is at, at the end of this week."

QB Tyrod Taylor has traditionally thrown a couple of yards further downfield on average in his career. What is as an offense kept you guys from pushing the ball down field more?

"Obviously, we have to be able to extend drives in order to do that, a couple of times that has been an issue. It's hard to push the ball down the field with consecutive three and outs, so I have to do a better job of getting our guys in a rhythm to where that isn't an issue. There was a near miss with the one on Sunday with Nico (Collins), it was about a foot off. So, he's shown the ability to do it, just have to be more consistent in my ability to call it and when it's there be able to connect."

In your two years as play caller, the team has been 31st and 32nd in the run game. How hard is it to call what you want to call when you can't run the ball?

"Yeah, it's obviously not an ideal situation. We get paid to figure it out. We have to do a better job, I have to do a better job of figuring out how to make sure we have more efficient runs and more success in that area. That's why we are here early and stay late to try to make sure we can do a better job of getting that done."

What have you seen from OL Tytus Howard in how he can compartmentalize different positions?

"Not only physically but like you said mentally, he is able to handle a lot. I would feel comfortable with him being able to go in there and play four out of the five spots. Just because I haven't seen him snap the ball is the only reason why we wouldn't want him inside. He takes pride in his work, being able to come and learn and understand conceptually as opposed to just memorizing what one player or one person has on a particular play. His ability to conceptualize and learn the whole thing as opposed to just one spot really, really increases his value and allows us to be able to move him around without skipping a beat."

How important was OL Tytus Howard's versatility in how you prepared for this year?

"It's important because everything changes like that. I don't think any of us planned on sitting here without having Laremy (Tunsil) or a number of guys that we don't have at this current time. His versatility allows us to continue on and move forward."

Special Teams Coordinator Frank Ross

What has your assessment of P Cameron Johnston been this season?

"I'm really happy with where he is at. Consistency has been pretty good so far, got to continue that. As you know, critical games going up against a divisional opponent. I mean, these margins of plays cover more ground than every other play in the game in every kick, every punt, kickoff, kick return, punt, punt return. It's got to be consistent through. He has been pretty good to this point of doing just that. Always points of emphasis for us are hang matching distance and then ball placement. Whether it's getting outside of those numbers so we can have our most effective coverage. He's done a pretty good job to this point so far this year."

Are you happy with P Cameron Johnston's net average and punts inside the 20-yard line?

"Absolutely, yeah. Nets been pretty good. You are going up against a team that has good interior holdup blockers. They have skill on the perimeter and fast returners. They can chunk you for 12 yards. You don't realize, 'boom' that's the difference between points and not points. That's a free first down for their offense. We've got to limit that. We got to have a great net this week."

You mentioned last time that the Colts were good at directional punting. What have you guys learned from that and how are you approaching that this time?

"I think they had a punt that went out of bounds and then a punt that was basically caught on the tick marks on the side of out of bound. So, there is zero chance for a return when you do that and it eliminates any return plan that may have had, I guess you say. They've been great with that. (Rigoberto) Sanchez has directionally punted really well this year and it has reflected in their limiting returns as well."

What have you seen from DB Tremon Smith as a kickoff returner?

"He looked really good in that one opportunity we had there last week. You guys all know this, that it's an 11-man show. One break down might stop you in your tracks. Two break downs, you might not have any shot at all. When you do get that one crease, when you do get that one shot, he's got the speed and a little bit of wiggle to him. We want to attack aggressively downhill. I think he's done a good job with that. Going to continue to press him to do just that."

What progress has LB Garret Wallow made on special teams this year?

"He' been good. Let me tell you something, Garret Wallow regardless of physical, regardless of skillset, development of certain techniques you have as a pro that you might not have at the college level just yet, he has bought in mentally. Very proud of Garret, studies hard, works hard, reads all the materials, asks questions. So, to this point he's done the things we've ask of him as a rookie and excited for his future where he is going. Now we just have to make sure that every time he goes out there, he is playing with the proper techniques and executing the best he can. To this point, pleased with where he is at in Week 13 of the year."

Associate Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Lovie Smith

What do you see from Jonathan Taylor? What do you have to do to slow him down?

"Pretty familiar with Jonathan from my time up north. He has everything you are looking for in a great running back, when you have a commitment to the run like they do. He has size. He has great vision in the hole. He can run in between the tackles. He's as fast as anybody on the field, I know he was a track star in high school. He can catch the ball out of the back field so every down back that can do it all. It's a big challenge. We have to be, of course you've heard a lot about being gap sound. It's about pursuing, getting as many guys to the ball as possible when you play a guy like him."

How much more prepared is the secondary now from first facing the Colts?

"Hopefully a lot more prepared and ready. We are not the same team we were back then. We've grown a lot, the discipline of the defense, we've seen a lot more. But it's easy to say that when someone beats you up the way they did us the first time, you want another shot. We get our shot at home, so we are excited about it."

Is it a coincidence that since DB Eric Murray has been back in the lineup the defense hasn't given up a big play? Can you talk about how you've prevented the big play these last three games?

"I don't know if it's a coincidence or not. It's just what Eric brings to the table. He's smart, extremely bright, knows not just his position but others. He handled a tough situation the right way. We asked him to move into a different role. He did it. We moved him to the nickel position. He was in the room with me for quite a bit and just took notes, just a student of the game. You expect those kinds of plays, and not just from Eric, we expect our secondary to keep the ball in front of them. To win football games you have to not lose them, and you can lose them by letting the ball get over your head, but we've done a lot better job of that right now. Eric also plays the run well because our safeties are a part of our fit quite often. Expecting big things from him."

What happened in the Jets game where you weren't able to stop the run?

"Normally if you get the running game going somebody is out of their gap. We haven't missed a whole lot of tackles. Normally if you have something like that, there is some discipline of gap integrity that comes into play."

What do you think it is about DL Roy Lopez that had some teams to overlook him in the draft, but still be really effective as a rookie?

"I think as general rule, I don't think nose guards don't go very high. Quarterback, nose guard, defensive end, nose guard, the position kind of says that an awful that. I think you can pick up good players later if they fit your profile for what you are looking for. Roy fit the profile. Our personnel department did a great job of identifying him. We were on the same page of what we were looking for and he took advantage of an opportunity. We like, I like, what the nose guard positions has done, not just Roy but Jaleel (Johnson) also."

What are some of the traits that DL Roy Lopez provides that you are looking for?

"Tough run supporter first, a little bit of size. Most of the time we have a shade where that guy is getting double teamed quite a bit, got to be able to hold your gap, anchor of your defenses. Of course, you work from inside out, starts with the nose guar. But Roy also and both of our noses have a little bit of pass rushing ability too which is an added benefit."

Where you able to talk to DB Justin Reid after what happened last week?

"Talked to all of our players every day. We try not to live in the past too much. I'm sure all of that has gone over. I won't go over that anymore. Justin will be out at practice today. I expect him to play and play well this week."

How do you talk to LB Kamu Grugier-Hill after missing that interception last week?

"I think the first step to making a play is getting in position to make the play and get in position to make a play you have to know what you are doing. Kamu does. He plays all three linebacker positions for us and I think he plays them well. The more you get in positions, you eventually make those plays and we expect that from him. He is an excellent zone coverage guy, can play man also. Of course, he had a sack last week. We can do an awful lot with him. Just not Kamu, I like the linebacker position. Zach Cunningham played his best game last week. He's capable. Of course, Neville Hewitt has done some good things and we can't wait to get Christian Kirksey back out there."

What have you seen from DB Lonnie Johnson Jr. in his development at cornerback?

"Well to get into the game, we like something you've in practice. First off, Lonnie has accepted his role to try to make up time to become the best corner he can be. We expect our corners to tackle, number one, that goes without saying. Of course, to cover, zone, man, I feel like he can do that but it's a running football team we are getting ready to play, starting off with that. He has the size to play the run well. If guys do well in practice and feel like they deserve time, we give it to them. You do a decent job, we give you more time."

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