OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR / QUARTERBACKS COACH TIM KELLY
What will it be like calling plays with the additions of WR Brandin Cooks, WR Randall Cobb and RB David Johnson?
"I think when you look at the people that we have in our offensive unit room right now, you've got a lot of explosive players there for us, guys that have unique skillsets, guys that are experienced and guys that have produced at a high level in this league. It's an exciting thing to be able to kind of sit back and watch those guys come together throughout this virtual offseason and learn the offense and kind of come together as one unit."
Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line Coach Anthony Weaver said that the Zoom meetings with the team have been very productive because you can get deep into of the details. Do you feel the same way about the meetings with the offense?
"I think any time you have the opportunity to get your hands on them and be able to get them out on the grass, I think you'd rather do that, obviously, with being able to allow those players, those new pieces, to kind of build that chemistry on the grass. But as far as what we're able to do throughout these Zoom meetings, it's really kind of a unique deal because everybody seems to be more comfortable in front of the screen, whether it's in front of their phone or their tablet or their computer, so the communication that's going on right now between our players, between one another, between coach to player and player to coach, has really been encouraging. So, while yeah, you're able to kind of dive into those details and really – I know Weav said get into the graduate level portion of it – I think you'd always really want to be able to get your hands on them and be able to use the grass. But for our guys to be able to come in here and approach this offseason the way that they have in such an uncertain time, it's really been encouraging."
What is it like to be able to now call plays, and what do you envision for the offense this year with the personnel you have?
"I think any time you take the field with multiple weapons, multiple guys who can hurt a defense at a variety of different levels not just necessarily deep, short or intermediate but be able to threaten every aspect of the field is a good thing. So as far as being able to attack the defenses and really as each opponent presents its own issue, being able to take advantage of different matchups throughout the entire field and not necessarily one player, it's an encouraging thing. Again, we've got a great quarterback, a guy who's going to be able to distribute the ball and again get the ball to the guys that are winning, and we've got guys who have won consistently for a long time scattered throughout that room. You look at Brandin (Cooks), you look at Randall (Cobb), you look at Will (Fuller V) and Kenny (Stills) obviously with the production they had last year, Keke (Coutee) and DeAndre Carter, Steven Mitchell (Jr.) made some big plays. Obviously those are guys that have produced and that are coming in with a great mindset and with a chip on their shoulder and are working hard every day to make sure they're on the same page with the coaching staff and making sure they're on the same page with Deshaun."
How is the transition going with you being in the quarterback room and calling plays, and do you think the personnel is being better adjusted to QB Deshaun Watson's skillset this season with the new additions?
"I think as for the adjustment to being in the quarterback room, I spent a lot of time in that room last year working closely with Deshaun and AJ (McCarron) and Alex (McGough) and Coach Carl Smith. So there's not really too much of an adjustment going on with that, and yeah, I think Deshaun's obviously excited to get to work with these guys and we'll see what they can do once they can all get together."
What was it about last season that helped prepare you to be able to call plays in 2020?
"I think anytime you're doing something for the first time there's going to some form of a learning process. So last year being in the offensive coordinator position for the first time, it was the first time I had done so, so I was learning something from OB (Bill O'Brien) every week, every game, every day we were in there. So being able to take those lessons and make sure that we're able to improve in certain areas as we move forward here was a good thing."
What are your expectations for TE Kahale Warring this season, and what is the significance of having your offensive line starters back intact?
"Starting with Kahale, he's doing a good job, as they all are. That entire room with (Jordan) Akins, Jordan Thomas, (Darren) Fells and Kahale, they're doing a great job coming here and working with Coach Will Lawing and making sure that they're on top of it. The expectation for Kahale is for him to be on top of his game mentally when he comes in, just like all of them, and be able to compete for a spot once we get on the grass. As far as the offensive line, I believe – you guys can correct me if I'm wrong – but I believe it's the first time that we've had all five starters back since we've been here. That position especially, there's a lot of chemistry that goes into that position of playing next to one another, how certain people are going to handle certain blocks and how it's going to feel and the different responses and reactions that you'll get. I'm sure Coach Dev (Mike Devlin) will be able to get into that in depth with you, but having all five of those guys back is vital. It's a good thing and it's something that we're definitely excited for."
What are your expectations for the new additions and your offensive draft picks?
"With the guys that are drafted, obviously they're here putting in their work, just trying to catch up. They're so far behind and it's not their fault, they're just rookies. They're so far behind the vets right now that they're just doing what they can, meeting extra with the position coaches, meeting extra with one another to try and close the gap between them and the vets. They're doing a good job as far as that's concerned. With the new players that are in the room, all of them to a T have been great professionals. They come in, it's been great communication between everybody, kind of talking about what they see, talking about how they treated things in the past at different places. And again, this setting, this medium that we're using has really allowed people to open up the lines of communication and it's been great. From David (Johnson), to Randall (Cobb), to Brandin (Cooks), they've all come in and made contributions in terms of how they've seen things, in terms of what they like. It's really been an interesting thing to kind of take part of, especially with this unique circumstance we have, doing it all virtually."
Do you think your current receivers can play on both the inside and the outside, and what is the level of excitement that you've gotten from QB Deshaun Watson on working with this new offense?
"I think Deshaun's excited. I don't want to speak for him, but with the communication that we've had these however many days throughout this virtual offseason, he's come in with a great mindset, coming in, trying to get better at some areas and really take grasp of the offense. He's doing a great job as far as that's concerned. Then, yeah, obviously there's versatility that goes along with playing that wide receiver position, being able to play inside and outside and do some different things and have a diversified route tree. It's all things that are going to help us basically take the next step here as an offense."
Can you speak on having a running backs that pose a running and pass catching threat on all three downs?
"I think it opens up the play calling, obviously. You're not limited by a guy's ability to only run the ball or only catch the ball. When you have guys that are versatile and are both a vital running threat and a good receiving threat, it allows you to open up and be creative and find different ways to get guys the ball in space and do some good things. So, yeah, we're excited to have both of those guys back there. Especially with Duke (Johnson), this is the first offseason that Duke's gone through, it's the first offseason with us that Laremy's (Tunsil) gone through, it's the first offseason for us that Kenny's (Stills) gone through. So, a lot of this stuff that we're covering right now, it's the first time they're really being able to kind of hear it in depth and it's really, really good."
How much better do you think T Laremy Tunsil will be now that he has more of a comfort level with the offense, and have you had conversations with WR Will Fuller V about how he's doing in his recovery?
"All the conversations I've had with Will have been encouraging. He's been good in the meeting room, he's been great with his position coach, John Perry. So, we're encouraged by that. As far as Laremy, him being here for the offseason is going to be very beneficial. Again, more importantly, when we all get together, him being able to get those training camp reps, those reps with the offensive line, with Max (Scharping) and things like that are – I can't stress how important those are for an offensive line to be able to kind of come together and play as one unit. It's a good thing that we have all five of those guys coming back."
In what areas do you want to see QB Deshaun Watson improve and does your relationship have to develop more now that you are calling plays?
"I think you always – if you're calling plays or you're a part of the play calling process, you want to make sure that you're seeing the game through same set of eyes as the quarterback, that you're all on the same page, that you all have the same vision of the play when the play gets called. That's something where as we continue to grow, that's going to be important. And yeah, there's things that Deshaun needs to get better at, as all of us need to improve on. We've talked about that with him, coming out and being consistent and playing at that – he's set the bar so high, so it's really a challenge for him to be able to play at that level every time he steps on the field."