Offensive Coordinator Tim Kelly
Can you talk about how different it's been to create a game plan with QB Deshaun Watson being out how do you substitute for QB Tyrod Taylor?
"The philosophy here has always been to formulate a game plan that's best going to fit our skill set and put us in the best situation in terms of matchups. We're accustomed to doing that and making sure our game plans are fluid and really able to adjust and base it upon, again, who do we have up available and who are we going up against and what's going to give us the best chance to score."
How did you and Head Coach David Culley blend your offensive philosophies?
"Again, each year is different so once we got through the first, whatever you want to call it, week, two weeks of training camp, you get a feel for what the identity of your team is going to bend even going back to the first time I interviewed with Coach Culley, he made it very clear that he wanted to make sure we had a very tough and physical football team. We're going to do what we can to make sure this team reflects the image that he wants, and our guys are doing a good job of putting in the work to get that done."
How do you blend being a power team and being able to mix things up?
"I think it's becoming more and more common when you look at some of the different schemes that have been run throughout the League. We've got a lot of smart coaches on our team who have run a lot of different schemes, and everybody has good ideas. Like we said earlier, we are going to figure out what fits our team best."
You talked about the identity of the team – what would you say that is?
"We want them to be tough, physical and smart. We want to be able to depend on them when it's 140 degrees out here like it was today. We want a tough football team. That means coming out and being able to grind some of these tougher practices. Our guys have responded really well and put in a lot of work over the past couple of weeks to try and build that."
With a week before final cuts, how do you balance selecting players between tight ends and fullbacks?
"Special teams obviously plays a big part, especially guys in that role and who has been playing well. On game day, who is going to put us in the best spot to go out there and be successful and run efficient plays and continue to move the ball and score points."
What have you seen from FB Paul Quessenberry?
"He's done a good job being physical. He's done everything we've asked. Today, we're out here and he's been running different positions. He's smart, he works his butt off, and we're pleased with Paul. He's done a really good job for us."
Players have been talking about the improved coaching in the organization. Can you talk about your experience with that and what it means for you personally?
"I would say that the guys we have in this locker room right now, they are doing a great job coming to work every day, being professional and working hard and really holding each other accountable. It's early, but we are pleased with where we are at as far as that's concerned, and hopefully we can continue to take strides in that area."
How does that impact you as a coordinator?
"Obviously, there's an impact with the culture and the attitude of the team all the time. It's impacting me, but I would say I still come to work every day and try to do my job as best as I can."
What do you want to see in this final preseason game?
"First and foremost, want to see our guys come out there and play hard. It's going to be good to come out and play in front of our home fans and go out there and execute and really just let the offense work for them. In the preseason, it's a little bit different than the regular season obviously, so we want to make sure our guys are able to come out here execute, play fast and go out and make plays."
Can you talk about how important it is to have depth at running back versus having one primary running back?
"Ideally, you want to be able to run the ball to win the game at the end. So, what that allows us to do is that when we get in those situations, we are able to have fresh backs with fresh legs come in there and continue to keep throwing different looks at those guys. Like I said, we are very lucky to have those backs, the type of players, the type of men they are, they are doing a great job leading not only that room but being strong voices in the offensive room. Hopefully, we can go out there and play well on Sunday and they can go out there and make some plays for us."
Associate Head Coach/ Defensive Coordinator Lovie Smith
"Another day, I guess you could say training camp, still. Guys have come a long way since that first day we were out here, trying to establish what we wanted to be, how we wanted to play defensive football, and we've seen improvement. Some things we are doing a pretty good job of. Others, we need to improve upon. It's always good when you get a chance to play the Super Bowl champion to get a great evaluation of exactly where we are, but we like some of the things we've done. Can't wait to play another game. Getting ready for Jacksonville."
What are things you want to see the team do better?
"There's a lot. We can do a better job taking the ball away. We had some other opportunities that we left on the field last week. But it always starts up front, stopping the run. And we are about a gap-sound defense, playing hard, getting 11 guys to the ball. That's the first thing we talk about. Once you have good gap control, you're flying around to the football and you have 11 guys at the point of attack, takeaways come then. We had a couple breakouts, believe me. We gave up a few plays last week. Not satisfied with how we played third downs. We had some opportunities we let slip away, but hopeful we can take another step this week."
Do you have any way of tracking the takeaways in practice?
"It's pretty easy to track the takeaways per se, but a lot starts before that. I'm from a little small town in east Texas. You know, simple math that I got a little bit is you get more takeaways when you are trying to take the ball away. And what I mean by that is if you have an opportunity, if a ball carrier has a ball, you know, we want to see you going after the ball. That's the first step, trying to strip the football. So that's what we chart first, just how many times we see guys pulling and yanking and punching the football."
Regarding your son, can you talk about the pride you have as a father and as a coach?
"Well, I've always felt this way about coaches' kids in general. When they go into the profession, they have seen it, the good and the bad, throughout their lives. So, you know what you're getting and they know what they are getting into. As a father, it's just great. I want to be around family as much as possible and to get a chance to work with him. I'm a football coach pretty much 24/7 and when you have your son on the staff, you can talk football pretty much year-round, every day, every night, and that's what's expected. That part has been a lot of fun."
He says he never calls you Dad on the football field?
"You mean Coach Miles (Smith)? Calling me (dad)? I'm Coach (laughter) We understand our relationship together, but he'll tell you that I hold him to a certain standard like I hold all the other defensive coaches on our staff, same standard I hold to myself."
He says he understands that he may never lose the feeling that he's got the job because of his last name and that he has to work to prove that's not the case and that he's here on his own merits. Thoughts about that?
"Well, you can't get away from he's my son. So that part is there, and people are just going to assume certain things based on that. But if you start talking football with him, you see his products that's on the football field. I have been around a lot of coaches' kids. What I've found is that a lot of time people hold stuff like that against them, and they work harder than anyone. Again, when you know what you're getting into and you've seen it all your life, I think you get the best from coaches' kids. Yeah, he's my son. Can't get away from that. But as I'm judging him, he's our linebacker coach and doing a pretty good job."
I've always heard that when a son or daughter follows in a parent's footsteps, it's the ultimate compliment. How do you feel about that?
"I agree 100 percent. And again, they have seen the good and the bad throughout their lives. And for them to want to go into the same profession that you did, we're talking football now, but I think in most professions, a lot of sons follow their fathers because they have seen it all their life and there are some things that they like about it. And just like I wanted to be a football coach, it was in my blood. I think it can be in your son's blood too, and I know that's the case with Miles."
Is there a special moment that you can recall where you were especially proud of him?
"Well, you know, I had a lot of those moments. We've been coaching together for a while. I can't remember the first time we started coaching together now. I just know it's been a lot of moments like that, special wins and things like that. It's always great when you have somebody that you really love there right next to you."
There's been a lot of excitement about the defensive improvements, including the ability to takeaway, but what about the improvements in stopping the run?
"It starts with that. I know we are going to talk takeaways, but it's about first, gap control, running to the football. Getting 11 guys to the ball in a disciplined way. If you do that, then that's when the takeaways start coming. I think it starts up front. Our defensive line has attacked the line of scrimmage well. Guys are buying into, just trust your teammate. I just need to do my job and have faith and trust in the guy next to me. Once you get that concept down, the rest of those things come."