Transcripts: 9-2-2021 Press Conferences 

HEAD COACH DAVID CULLEY

If you had to pick one thing about your defense that you are happiest with, what would that be?

"Just the consistent play of our up-front people. Been that way all training camp and that's because of our competition up there and they have been like that from day one."

You took a lot of lineman is that because you are going to use a lot of lineman?

"Yeah we will use those guys. We really feel like we have six or seven guys there that can play for us and we are going to play them all. You have to do that over the course of the 17-game season and we are fortunate enough that we have enough depth there to do that."

How is OL Laremy Tunsil looking to you?

"He's coming along. He's not where he needs to be right now, but his condition is getting better and better. You know we limited him in practice in terms of how many reps that he gets from a time standpoint. He's coming along but he's not there yet."

Do you expect he will be where he needs to be for game 1?

"I expect him to."

You guys are carrying five running backs and carrying five wide receivers, do you expect that to be the same all season and what does that say about your offense right now?

"I think we have depth at those positions especially at running back. I mean we have five guys, I'm going to mention Scottie's name, Scottie Phillips. That guys earned a spot on this roster with how he played all throughout training camp and how he played in the preseason. I'm not saying it's a surprise, but when we are sitting down deciding who is going to be on the 53-man roster, here is a guy who played his way onto the roster.

Do you have hope that OL Lane Taylor will contribute to your offense at some point this season?

"We hope so. Lane will start to do somethings this week. He hasn't practiced to this point, he has to practice, at some point when the season progresses, we hope he will be able to play."

By that do you mean, he will start practicing this week?

"He should start to practice this week."

On OL Marcus Cannon the fact that he missed last year and he missed so much of training camp, if he had to play what do you think it might be that he is close to 100%?

"I don't know about the 100% but I do know he had a good week this week with the few days we've had to practice. He's looked fine, he hasn't had any setbacks but we will know next week about the conditioning and how we start into practice next week, next Wednesday with our regular week practice, Wednesday and Thursday to see where he is at but we are expecting him to help us and play unless there is a setback."

Are you still happy with OL Charlie Heck since you said he was the most improved player this training camp?

"Very happy with Charlie to where he is at to this point. Very happy with him."

What's your evaluation on OL Max Scharping?

"Max has had a good preseason. Max has improved. There were somethings we wanted to make sure Max got better at from a strength standpoint and he's done that and he's been healthy. I wouldn't say he has been a surprise, but I would say he's been progressing really well for us that has allowed us to do somethings with the offensive line because of his play."

How comfortable do you feel moving OL Tytus Howard from tackle back to guard in a game situation?

"Very comfortable. That's simply because all throughout training camp moving him from tackle to guard and moving him over and we feel like if that happens that won't be any issue for us and the reason is we've done it during training camp."

What was the process from the end of that preseason game to Tuesday when you get to that initial 53-man roster? Could you talk to us about the conversations you had with Nick (Caserio) and how you processed that together?

"It all boiled down to what was the best 53 to put on the field. When you look at the roster, you got to be able to make a decision and do what you feel like is best with what we are dealing with right now with our roster. Basically, that's been ongoing and right now it is still ongoing, even up until next week. When we built our practice squad, that we got now with our 53 and our practice squad, guys that are on our practice squad could be playing against Jacksonville and can be brought up at anytime so they are an extension of our 53 and that allows us some flexibility going into the season with guys that are on our practice squad. Those guys could be playing a bunch against Jacksonville."

Was that just Nick (Caserio) you were having those conversations with?

"Our whole coaching staff."

With half the team on one-year contracts and being able to talk wee-to-week, month-to-month about potential futures and having a conversation about those things, is that something that you expect to be apart of and how do you approach that?

"When I am coaching out on the field, I don't really know if he got a one-year or a five-year. We coach them up as if they are going to be with us, we coach them up for now and not for later and that's how I approach it. For the most part, I have no idea if he's got a one-year or three-year contract, I know he is here, he is apart of us and I am going to coach him till he isn't here."

How is LB Whitney Mercilus doing health wise?

"Whitney is doing fine, we will reevaluate next week. We hope that he is going to be available but we will just have to see next week because the time between now and next week when we first start is very good for those guys to heal and rehab and hopefully, we anticipate him being ready to play."

What is it about WR Brandin Cooks, you've been around him every day. You knew what kind of person he was before, but this guy is excited about every drill just as if he got a touchdown. What is it about him that makes him so important for the team?

"He's a pro. There's probably seven or eight guys that I would put in that category, that they are pros and they love to play. Brandin's been around a little bit, he's been on a view teams, he has been productive on every team he's been on, I am very glad to have him. I think he is a great mentor for our young guys, not just at wide receiver but on our football team with the things you just said about how he goes about goes about his business not just on the football field but as a human being. He loves to play."

When you brought in DB Desmond King II there were high expectations for him, how do you think he performed on special teams and defense?

"Well he's had a productive career, he's been a Pro Bowl player in the past. At our nickel position, he's the kind of guy that Lovie (Smith) feels comfortable there. I thought early in the training camp that things were a little slow for him but now he's kind of got the hang of what we are trying to do right now and the last two games he's really played well. An additional thing with him, that guy is an excellent returner and helps us in our return game also. Obviously we have Andre (Roberts) back there and he did a phenomenal job for us in the preseason with Andre not being back here returning and we are not surprised by that."

Do you expect DB Lonnie Johnson Jr and DB Eric Murray to be back out there this week?

"We are hoping they will be back this week, we anticipate them being back this week."

DL Maliek Collins is he expected to be back as well?

"We expect Maliek to be back also."

How much thought do you put in the way you guys into running the ball and turnover considering how bad the Texans were at those last season?

"Well obviously the turnover is the most important thing. Last two practices we had that has been a big emphasis and like I said earlier in the week, those turnover are correctable and with that obviously the good thing with that was that those turnovers did not come from our running backs running the football which is a positive. They came from a strip sack and a couple of interceptions but those are things we have corrected, they are very correctable, if that continues it makes it very tough for our football team to have any success and has far as the running game, I am very comfortable with where we are at right now and we are going to continue to do that and basically come a little more consistent and better with what we were doing during the training camp and preseason games."

What about on defense, how much stock do you put into put into them getting turnover?

"The stats don't really mean a bunch during the preseason but the one thing that does happen is in a game you get a turnover, you got a turnover and most of those turnovers that we end up getting was forced turnovers, whether we forced the guy to throw it early or coverage and a guy is doing a good job of where he should be in this defense. I think as far as statistics and as much as run are irrelevant right now but what is relevant is that we have preached about getting turnovers and we got them."

You talked a lot about wanting to improve the running game, how confident are you in TE Brevin Jordan and TE Jordan Akins in the block game and their ability in that part of the game?

"Like I said before we have three tight ends that are basically on the roster but Antony (Auclair) is still with us and he's done a heck of a job for us up to this point and our tight end position has been strong from a depth standpoint and I feel confident that whatever guys we have for us on game day will get the job done and they have done it during the preseason."

During the preseason Tom Brady and Kyle Trask were able to throw on you guys a little bit, did you learn anything about your secondary and is there anything you guys have cleaned up a little bit?

"You just said the right word, clean up. We had some alignment issues with that and we had some guys who weren't really in the right place at the right time and some miscommunication and I think that had something to do with that also but we corrected those and we know if we get in the right position, we line up right, those type of things don't happen and we will get guys off the field. We felt on those two drives, on one of those drives we could have prevented that if we did the things we are supposed to do."

QB Tyrod Taylor said he has not been given word that he is the official starter, is that something you guys are still trying to decide?

"We have not indicated to anybody right now that they will be a starter. We have gone through this thing with competition wise and obviously next week when we get back in here on Monday, we will say who is who but at this point we have not told anybody anything."

We low numbers at the slot right now, is it safe to assume you might pick someone else up or put a running back or tight end in that position, is that safe to assume or too much to assume right now?

"That's too much to assume right now. The thing is to our tight ends right now are very flexible, we can take those guys and do that and flex them and do those kind of things. We can also with what we are going to do offensively, we can be that type of team where we are not going to take three wides, maybe put two tight ends in sometimes in some situations and we also have the ability to put a back there if we need to."

You mentioned TE Antony Auclair being available and you also have FB Paul Quessenberry on the practice squad as well, throughout the season do you feel like you will have the flexibility to move them back and forth?

"Yes we will have that flexibility and that's the beauty of how the practice squad is set up in this league that you are able to do that for so many times you can't do it all year long, you only get to do it so many times but that allows us early to have the flexibility to do that and like I said, Antony along with those other guys that have been hurt we are just going to wait until next week to see where he is at and hopefully he is ready."

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