HEAD COACH DAVID CULLEY
Are you worried about as some other teams are that players are going to comeback from there mini vacations and test positive?
"No. Not at all. Can it happen and has it probably happened with some people, yeah but not really worried about it right now. It's just the times we are in right now and we have to deal with that and hopefully it doesn't happen and if it does happen, we deal with it and move on."
Would you have already heard if something like that was going to happen before practice this morning?
"Well it could have happened, but we are just going to wait and see right now."
How did OL Marcus Cannon look in his first back at practice?
"He looked healthy. He's not ready yet in terms of the workload and that's why this week will be very important."
Still limited then this week?
"He will practice, and we will see how much he can do."
Is there a chance he will start?
"Not really sure yet."
How do you feel personally with this being your first official game as an NFL coach?
"I mean I feel like I have had three already. Although they did not count, they did keep score. I'm approaching it the same way I approached those three games."
Did you have a feeling you would be in this position given your long career?
"I felt that at some point if it happened, I would be ready when it would happen and fortunate for me it did happen and I'm looking forward to it."
Can you talk about this week being the culmination of the three preseason games and all of the hard work that has been put in during practice?
"The thing about it is that today we will have a bit of a walkthrough today, we got them all back in the building today. It actually starts for us on Wednesday. We will have Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to get back into the swing of things and really focus on Jacksonville. Right now, today we are just focusing on us."
How do you go about preparing for a team with so many new coaches, systems and players?
"The three preseason games have been important for that reason because what ends up happening is what we showed in the preseason is who we are, and we feel the same way about them playing their three preseason games. We are not going to do anything differently then we did during those preseason games and hopefully what we did we can do better."
Can you talk about what you have seen in Trevor Lawerence?
"I haven't seen a bunch of him. I know he is a very talented player and from the evaluation process he has all the traits that you want in a quality quarterback in this league."
You mentioned it already feels like you've coached in three games, has there been anybody who has reached out to you leading up to your first game?
"I talked to John Harbaugh a couple of times because that was the last guy I was with. I have taken a lot of things from him because that's where I was last. He told me before the first preseason game and I've said this to you guys before that they keep score and approach the games the same way and once you get into the regular season basically shouldn't be any different."
Is there anything that has come to the front of your mind as you are preparing for this week?
"No I have just keep getting flashbacks to our last preseason game and that the execution wasn't there from a standpoint of turning the ball over and I know that when you turnover the ball, your chances of winning the game go down and that has been the one thing that has been sitting with me and we are going to make sure that does not happen and correct it this week in practice."
With five running backs, how do you determine who is active each week?
"Injuries have something to do with that. Not that any of those guys are injured right now but that also has to do with the whole total team. Obviously, we are not going to carry five running backs in the game, but we are going to practice and see how it goes and see which guys fit. Obviously we know those first four guys that we have been playing through the preseason games along with Scottie (Phillips) are quality players and we will just make a decision as we come into Friday on who will be up and who will be down."
A lot of people are interested in seeing RB Scottie Phillips get to be with the starters instead of with the backups for the past two years, how do you make a decision like that?
"It gets back to that he has three or four guys who have been around and have done that. It's just that when he does come in there, regardless of who it is against, he has proven that he belongs in there and don't see him running any different against the first group and the group he has been going with."
When will you feel comfortable this week to talk about starters?
"Well Tyrod Taylor will start for us at quarterback, for sure."
You ready to disclose any other starters?
"No, I just know that is the one everyone is always asking about but he will start for us on Sunday."
At what point did you guys start preparing for Jacksonville and where do you guys feel like you are with that now?
"Well it's ongoing. Last week we focused on us but we did take a peak at them as we always do and I'm sure they did to as well but this week is the really big focus of isolating on Jacksonville and not just what we have been doing."
There is a rookie quarterback for them and the defensive line that you have tried to improve, where do you see that has a factor in this one?
"We will just have to see where things go. Again, looking at the total package, we are looking at it as playing complementary football, offense, defense, special teams and basically our focus is making sure we do those things and taking care of the football."
Do you expect WR Anthony Miller to do anything today or Wednesday?
"We will know more about that on Wednesday."
You mentioned not being happy with the last preseason game and you chose to give the Thursday off for the long weekend, what does that say about how you treat the players and the type of coach you want to be to them?
"Well I did that simply because we had practiced so well the two days leading to that and I had heard around the league that some teams did not even practice last week for the most part. Basically, with those three preseason games and the way we practiced those two days, I felt like it was important for us to bond more before we got out of here and came back today. I felt like it worked well and I didn't know that when I told them that they would clap for me, it was the first time they actually clapped for me which was the first time they have done that since I have been here."
You have been around QB Tyrod Taylor for a long time. Since you have been around him in this building, is there anything that has stood out about his leadership and the way he has command this locker room?
"The thing about him is that he has always not been a very vocal guy but as a quarterback, he is the first one in here and the last one to leave. Our players see that with him and that's what you expect out of that position. I haven't been with him the past three years and seeing him go into his 11th year, I am seeing him a little more vocal than he has been. He has gone through some things the past two years and I think those experiences have helped him get to this point where he is able to lead this football team as he did three years ago when I was with him in Buffalo."
He said he's more motivated this year with what has happened with him last year, have you seen that from him?
"He's been a lot more vocal than I ever remember him being and that's been a positive for us."
You mentioned last week how you have some flexibility when it comes to the practice squad, how do you project doing that given the limited nature with that?
"That will depend on our injury situation. As we move into the week, we will see what guys are going to be able to go for us and if not the ability to take those guys and move them up is very valuable for us because we treat those guys just like they are going to be active and they practice like they are going to be active and I think that is going to be a positive for us because we have some guys on the practice squad that we feel like could play. Like we mentioned before with Scottie (Phillips) and if we had to put him in the game we would feel comfortable doing that as well as some of the other guys on the practice squad although Scottie is not on the practice squad."
OL Marcus Cannon has not played since 2019, when you look at him what are you looking for since he has not played in so long?
"He's been there and don't that, he's got experience in what we do here offensively so there is some carry over there and he's leadership. He does things the right way, he know exactly how we want things to be done and he's been good for our young guys and I suspect when he is back and healthy and ready to go, he is going to be a big contributor for us."
What are your expectations for OL Laremy Tunsil this week?
"I am hoping that his stamina is a lot better. Obviously, he came off the COVID list, he's been practicing with us all last week and I expect him to be better for us this week and hopefully he will be ready to go."
You've talked about OL Charlie Heck and you are pleased with him, is this a situation in where if OL Marcus Cannon is available, what is that decision if they are both available?
"We will just see how it works through the week. Looking at Marcus right now it is an ongoing thing and we are not really sure exactly where he is at, but we will know more by Friday."
Have you gotten a chance to talk to CB Bradley Roby and has he talked about how hard it is going to be for him to miss this game?
"Obviously he is one of those guys that we were counting on and we knew going in he wasn't going to be available but he has been one of those guys that has done everything we have asked of him to do. He's been here as limited as he can be and I know he is disappointed, we are disappointed but we knew this was coming and we knew this was how it was going to be but he is looking forward to get back out here and being ready for the second week."
What would it mean for you personally and this team to start out with a win?
"Well it is so hard in this league to win and basically our motto has always been the only game that matters is the next game and our next game is Jacksonville that really counts and we kind of go once a week is all you want to do each week is go 1-0 and we get a chance to go 1-0 this week and that's our goal and we are hopefully going to be able to do that."
OL JUSTIN BRITT
Now that the season is starting, can you give us an evaluation of the offensive line, across the board, what you expect with run-blocking and pass-blocking?
"I think we've got a really physical group up front. I think they've done a really good job of building this corps and having Camp (Offensive Line Coach James Campen) and Koogs (Assistant Offensive Line / Offensive Assistant Robert Kugler) to lead the way. I think we're going to be real physical and dominant. This preseason kind of gave us all the what-ifs and possibilities of what might happen, and we've adjusted and been able to overcome it. We've got a veteran team, a veteran O-line, a lot of experience up there and it's going to pay off."
What have you seen from OL Marcus Cannon as he's come back in the last week?
"Yeah, I mean there's a reason why he's a three-time world champ, one of them against me. But seeing him come back, he looks fresh as ever, bouncy, quick, fast, explosive. He looks like what you would expect of someone of his caliber and what he's done in the NFL to look like at this point."
Did that Super Bowl come up with OL Marcus Cannon?
"Yeah, we talk about that Super Bowl every now and then."
Can you describe QB Tyrod Taylor's leadership style? What's it like playing with him, the way he runs the huddle, the way he runs the plays?
"Kind of like Cannon, Tyrod has been in the league -- I think this is 11th year? So, he has a lot of experience, a lot of knowledge in different systems, what different coaching staffs bring. Someone like that who's been around and knows a lot, you want to listen to him. You want to give him your attention. Kind of any quarterback that steps into the huddle, they demand your attention and they deserve that attention. But the way Tyrod goes about it – it's me and him and Marcus Cannon trying to be the first ones here in the morning. Kind of a race without it being a race. I think Tyrod is more lenient with it than me and Marcus are. I feel like Tyrod is kind of the epitome of our attitude on offense and as a team."
What time do you get up to get here at work? What time do you have to get up to get here early?
"I get up anywhere between 5, 5:10 in the morning. I feel like when I get up that early, it just kind of makes me more alert and less drowsy compared to if I wake up at 7 a.m., sometimes I get too much sleep."
You have three guys returning from last year as starters with OL Laremy Tunsil in the same position. Are you guys beyond all that as far as the communication, is it where you need it to be going into the start of the season?
"Yeah. LT, he's one of the best in the league at left tackle, so he knows what he's doing. Him and Tytus (Howard) have played together. Tytus has played left guard, so it's not new to him. He just has to get 're-familiar' with it. Their relationship on the left side's pretty close, so it's easy for them to play next to each other. Max (Scharping) is as smart as they come as far as it goes being an O-lineman, knowing the playbook, the defenses, so it's been night-and-day for him. It's just an easy transition. For Marcus (Cannon), it's just getting in there and getting comfortable with hearing the play call again and getting off on the snap count, which he is going to do. He's a really good pro and he goes about it that way. Communication-wise, we could plug anyone. (Justin) McCray could go in there, Geron (Christian Sr.) could go in there. You could throw Hjalte (Froholdt) in there, Ryan (McCollum), Greeny (Carson Green), Lane (Taylor). All of them could step in and we'd be fine because communication is part of the O-line's job and what we do. Sometimes there's a lot of moving parts and you've just got to be able to do it. That's why in practice you'll see this guy running in at left guard and next time he'll go into right guard, just so he's forced to communicate and forced to do it. You just teach your body to be able to adapt."
You played with QB Russell Wilson for so long. Is there anything as you've gotten used to QB Tyrod Taylor that maybe you took for granted or forgot about, like things you need to learn about your quarterback in that sort of dynamic?
"What do you mean?"
Things you were on the same page or knew with QB Russell Wilson for years, or just were kind of understood versus things you kind of relearn as you have another quarterback?
"Sure, but I mean at the end of the day, it's football. I need the same information from Tyrod that I get from Russ. I played with Russ when I was a right tackle, when I was a left guard and when I was a center, so I got to know him really well in different aspects. I feel like I was one of the first free agents to sign, and then I saw they signed Tyrod and I texted him and just kind of forced my hand on him and said, 'We're going to be friends.' All jokes aside, yeah, it's been pretty easy. I feel like the center and quarterback relationship is kind of a given. As long as each person is not an asshole, if you will, it's going to go well."
Saturday is the 20*th* anniversary of 9/11 and you were like 10 years old when that happened. Do you recall what your memories of it were and how long it took for you to grasp the significance of it, and that kind of thing?
"Man, I'm pretty sure I was in elementary school in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri when all that happened. I just remember all the teachers kind of pulling all the students in the class. I can't remember if they were making it known or if they were trying to distract us from it, but I remember seeing it on the TVs in the school. I knew what was going on then, I know that, but I don't think I understood the magnitude of the situation for a couple years."
How old do you think you were after you took a couple years to grasp what happened?
"I mean, I was a kid. Thinking about my daughter who's eight, if I told her something like that happened right now, it would kind of go (sound effects). She's just trying to figure out how to stay in the lines when she's coloring and how to read a book. Yeah, I think everyone in my circle at the time was just trying to not stress me out with something like that. At the same time, my dad was in the military. I think if I recall, I was being shielded more than anything at that point."
Are you encouraged by the way you all ran the ball in preseason, or does that not matter?
"Yeah, no it all matters. I'm very encouraged. It's really fun to block for running backs like Mark Ingram II, Phillip Lindsay, David Johnson. I'm excited to block for Scottie (Phillips) whenever he gets in. He's ran the ball really hard this preseason. But group one, two and three on the O-line, they went out there and did their thing. It was cool to see it doesn't matter who's in there, but the system, it's going to be aggressive."
OL MARCUS CANNON
How has the recovery been, from getting back to practice to now?
"It's been great. There's a lot of good guys around here. It's a good staff and they have made sure I was doing everything to make sure I can get ready for whenever they need me. I'm just having fun."
How close are you to being 100%?
"I really don't want to put a percentage on it. Really just taking it day-by-day trying to get better as fast as I can and do whatever I can to help this team."
When you got back out there, how long did it take to knock off some rust—obviously you haven't played in a game situation, but just to sort of start feeling like yourself again after missing so much time?
"It's a process. Just taking it day-by-day, there are little things. There's some things that stick with you and there's other things that you have to watch on film over and over again, work on every day, and just put the time and effort into getting back playing the way an offensive lineman should play."
There are things that Head Coach David Culley said that you were familiar with the way that you're running your offense here. What are those things that you connect with that you think might be easy to jump in and play?
"There's so many things. It's real similar. It's not a secret where most of this stuff came from. So a lot of the stuff is similar and I'm very thankful for what I learned from there, and I can use a lot of that stuff here in the same offense and team."
What do you think about OL Charlie Heck after you've gotten to help him and watch him?
"Charlie's a great guy and I like watching him. He puts in work every single day and he tries to make sure his technique is sound. He's just an all-around good guy. He does everything he's supposed to do, he comes in early. He's even helped me. I've had questions for him on how we run certain things and how Coach Campen asks us to do certain techniques. He always has an answer for me, so he's smart and he's always working hard and he's a great teammate. He'll help me out whenever I ask him."
How are you doing in the competition with QB Tyrod Taylor and OL Justin Britt to get here first in the morning?
"It's hard to beat Justin sometimes. Tyrod, I got him a few times, but man, those guys wake up early. If you want to beat those guys, you've got to come in around 5:15. But I got them a couple of times."
What time do you normally get up in the morning?
"I usually wake up at 5:15 and get here around 5:30, but sometimes I'll try to throw a wrench in their plans and get here a little bit earlier than them."
Who won this morning?
"I won this morning."
It sounds like with you not putting a percentage on your recovery that you don't want to rush anything. How important is that to you not to rush back from an injury at your age? Not saying you're old, but…
"Ouch. Over the years I've been through this process of coming back. I just really lean on the staff and kind of whatever they tell me to do, whenever they tell me to start running full speed, I do what they say. They're professionals. We have a great training room staff and our sport science department is one of the best. They're tracking everything I'm doing: how much I'm running, how much I'm lifting, checking my gains and losses in the training room, weight room, all that. So there's a good group of people that I have around me and I'm kind of just listening to what they're saying. I'm listening to my body and telling them how I feel and we're working together. Whenever they think it looks good and whenever I feel good enough, that'll be when I'm the best."
How instrumental has OL Laremy Tunsil been to you?
"A lot. He's kind of a quiet guy, but all of our offensive line — I had to lean on them a lot because they went through this whole training camp. Every single day they're doing stuff. When we get out on the field and we do offensive line drills, he'll come up and give me pointers. I'll ask him questions, but everybody, the whole offensive line, has been great. We just try to work together and that's just how it is in the O-line room."
You were saying how the offense shares some similarities with the New England offense. How does Offensive Line Coach James Campen fit in that mix and what are you noticing that makes you comfortable at your position?
"I don't know how to answer that. He's going to make me feel comfortable however he can. He's a great coach and he's coached many great players, so I kind of just listen to whatever he has to give me and I try to do it to the best of my ability. I trust that if I listen to him and do everything he's telling me to do that I'm going to be successful at whatever I do."
In preseason camp even though you weren't practicing, what are some of the things that you were able to do to get up to speed with the offense?
"I was able to take a lot more notes and watch a lot more film. I had a lot more time to familiarize myself with the playbook in my own time. How training camp goes, you come in, you have your meetings and then those guys go out. It's time for them to practice, they've got to get ready for practice. They're tired, they want to rest and go to sleep. I just had extra time. I couldn't do a lot of the physical stuff they were doing, but I definitely got a lot more time for myself to learn the playbook, learn the technique, learn the calls and just figure out everything I could that wasn't physical."
Is there some carry-over with some things that former Patriots Offensive Line Coach Dante Scarnecchia taught you over the years to Offensive Line Coach James Campen?
"Definitely, there's carryover, but he has a different approach, different style. Both are great. I love the way he coaches. It's a plus that he was a player. That's awesome. As an offensive lineman you couldn't ask more than for your coach to have played the game, because in some ways he understands how we're feeling and how we're thinking. I'm not saying he knows what we're thinking, but he knows how we're thinking. He takes all of that in when he's trying to coach us and teach us certain things. It's awesome being able to play for him and so far I'm really enjoying it."
What are some intangibles that you bring to this team with you owning three Super Bowl rings?
"Man, I bring whatever they need me to. Whatever they need me to bring, that's what I bring. Anything they need me to do, that's what I bring. I'll give you another question because I'm sorry about that one."
Where are your rings now?
"That's a good question. I don't know, that's kind of embarrassing. I have no idea. I'm looking for the next one. They're not even in Houston. I think they're in a POD or something in Fort Worth, possibly."
WR CHRIS CONLEY
How does it feel to have WR Anthony Miller back out there with you guys, and what does that do for the offense to have him back?
"It's good. It's good to have him back. We've missed him for a few weeks, and he's been out there working on getting back on the field and keeping up in the classroom. But to have a dynamic guy like that on the field, it changes things. You can see what happens when Brandin Cooks is on the field, you add another shifty, fast-speed guy on the field, it opens up what we can do."
The Jaguars have made a lot of changes in personnel and coaches. Is it going to be a different team than the one you left?
"For sure. I think every team every year is a new team, regardless of coaching staff, player changes. You see how the team is different here this year, and we've had coaching staff and personnel changes. The Jags definitely will be a different team. They have some core players that they return, but every year our team has a new identity."
The new coaches, can you help them in a game plan talking about some of the players that were your teammates?
"I have experience with some of the guys there, and if they ask me questions, I'll do my best to answer them. But at the end of the day, that's part of the reason why they're coaches. They've been scouting them this whole time. They've been watching every rep that they've had. So if there's anything that I can shed a light on, I'll try to do that. But I feel like they have a solid plan in place already, and I'll just do whatever I can to help and be ready to play."
How do you feel about where QB Tyrod Taylor is right now going into the opener?
"I feel good. I feel good. I feel like we as an offense have all been progressing, and him at the helm, he's been doing the same thing. He has a big part in that for everyone else in all the other position groups, so I feel like the steps are being taken in the right way. We don't want to peak too soon, but we feel like we'll be ready for Sunday."
QB Tyrod Taylor understandably didn't run a lot in the preseason with designed runs. When you guys start to deploy more of those, how do you think that kind of opens stuff up for the passing game?
"I think that he's a threat in three places, three areas. He's a threat with his arm, his legs and with his mind. We fully expect him to make whatever plays are available to him. In terms of a game plan and game planned runs, that's not my job. We don't have all of the game plan put in right now, anyway. But I'm sure that he'll be ready to affect the field in a bunch of different ways."
What's your mood heading into Week 1, what is it like for the team, and is it different for you specifically facing a former team?
"It's just my second time facing a former team in the first game. I think it creates a unique headspace. I'm excited always to play in the first game of the year, but especially playing against a team that you were on and seeing guys you were with for two years, it's going to be a lot of fun. The preparation, I don't think that that's changed. It's always been a focus on getting better each day and stacking hay so that you can cash in on Sunday. But when you play against guys that you know, it always brings a little something extra."
Red zones and third downs were something you guys were working on in the preseason. Where do you all feel you are going into this, and what are some of the things you may have done to fix that?
"We feel good. We feel good about where we're going. You always want to clean things up. You want to be a football team that first, doesn't beat itself, and then you want to be an offense that can stay on the field, sustain long drives, wear down defenses. That's been an area of emphasis for us and it continues to be. Really just little things, little things. We have the talent and the players to go out there and make big plays, but putting more emphasis on the little ones and routine plays and not falling asleep at the wheel."