Opening statement: "OK, good seeing everybody. I appreciate everybody being here. We had a good team win. I felt like every phase contributed after looking at the tape. [There are] plenty of things to work on and improve upon. We're preparing for a tough divisional matchup going forward this week. So, what questions do you have?"
Did QB Robert Griffin III ask you if he could get some playing time yesterday? (Ximena Lugo Latorre) "No. No, he didn't ask. He's always prepared. He works hard, and he knows his role. He's doing a great job in it. [He's] practicing really well, and whenever his number is called, he's ready to go. We appreciate that about him. He's doing a good job."
Health-wise, do you feel like you got out pretty well? It seemed like only a few guys got nicked up, but nobody left and didn't return. (Jamison Hensley) "Right, some of the questions you might have … I'll give you some updates, I guess. [Ronnie] Stanley, you kind of know his situation, so we're very hopeful for him. [Justin] Madubuike looks like he's getting close, so there's a good chance he could be ready this week. Then [Derek] Wolfe, he has a little elbow situation; he should be fine. So, that's really all of it, I think, unless there's anything else you can think of. I actually think we're in good shape going forward, unless something jumps up. And I'll tell you; it has happened. Things have jumped up on us, so you never know."
I know you were asked about T Orlando Brown Jr. a little bit after the game, but having a chance to watch the tape and knowing how difficult it is going from right to left side, how do you think he did at left tackle? I know he played there at Oklahoma. (Luke Jones) "Right, Orlando [Brown Jr.] and I also put 'Fluke' [D.J. Fluker] in there, too. Both of those guys did a great job; they really did. I felt good about it during the game; after watching the tape, I probably felt even better about it. [Offensive line coach] 'Joe D.' [Joe D'Alessandris], I know, felt really good about it, as did [offensive coordinator] 'G-Ro' [Greg Roman]. So, those guys … You know, it's not easy. On Friday, all of a sudden, we're flipping things around and making sure everybody knows what they're doing. It's a credit to them that they knew what to do. Really, flipping those techniques are not easy, either. That's not as easy as you might think, especially against the defensive line we were going against in this last game. So, those guys did a good job. Thank you for asking. That was a good point."
Staying on the topic of the offensive line, G/C Bradley Bozeman is a guy who we don't often talk about too much, but he had a nice seal block on QB Lamar Jackson's run. Just through the first quarter of the season, how would you assess his play and how he's contributed to the offensive line? (Daniel Oyefusi) "'Boze' [Bradley Bozeman], he's just, really, kind of a gamer almost. He's a really solid player, very smart [and] very physical. He fits what we're doing really well. That was a really good block. Really, the whole right side of the line did a really good job on that play, as far as knocking that down; we had a couple pullers on it. Really, just a really good play, but of course, Lamar [Jackson]. 'Boze' is doing a good job. He had some plays he'll want back, too. Just like everybody, there's a couple in there that he'll want back, so we keep chasing that. I think 'Boze' has really established himself as a real legit starter in this league."
ILB Patrick Queen had 12 tackles and had a really nice play on the goal line. They did a lot of underneath stuff to avoid the blitz. How do you think he looked in coverage yesterday? How do you think he's getting better in coverage? (Todd Karpovich) "Yes, he did; he played really well. The run game, I'll tell you, just to re-emphasize what you said there, he made a lot of good plays. He was sorting the schemes. He read the schemes well. He made a bunch of tackles for us at the point of attack and also, some rally tackles, too. In coverage, he's doing well. Man-coverage, he's got speed. He works on his technique; he's always working on that. He did pretty well with that, [but he] always can improve. Zone-coverage, I think, is probably the toughest thing for the inside 'backers as young guys, because it's not just so much as just dropping back there and seeing where they throw the ball. There's a lot of matches that go on [and] a lot of pattern reads. There are different things you have to understand on the run; if they get four receivers on one side or is it balanced? It changes up who they're matching off of. So, he's doing a good job with that, but he knows that's probably the one area where he can continue to improve. And that's just going to happen with time, because he's young and it's really more of an experience issue with the zone drops."
Just again on ILB Patrick Queen, what does it say for him to bounce back from the game against Kansas City? And I noticed when he went back into the game against Kansas City, it looked like you talked to him on the sideline before he went in. Do you remember what you said to him during that time? (Jamison Hensley) "That was a long time ago. I don't know if I do. (laughter) But the thing about the Kansas City game, that was a tough game for all of us. We were … They had us on the ropes. We didn't play our best – anybody. I went back and watched the tape on Patrick [Queen] and I thought the tape was better than the feeling during the game. But he had a really good game against Washington and we're real pleased with him."
By almost any statistical measure, you guys are playing really well on special teams. We've seen the big plays, obviously, but when you dig down deeper, it seems like in just about every area of it, you're doing well. Have you been pleased with the progress there? (Childs Walker) "Yes, very much. I'll tell you; we have some young guys who are really committed to it. When you bring in young players who like football and want to play, and they understand the value of just being on the field … There are not too many really good football players who don't excel on special teams, historically, [during] the time I've been in the league, which is kind of getting to be quite a while now. So, they're playing well. I give those guys a lot of credit. Of course, [special teams coordinator] Chris Horton is doing a great job. We have the 'Wolfpack' – that's a good anchor. But the young guys are doing a heck of a job, and our leaders are doing well – Anthony Levine Sr., L.J. Fort … Man, I don't want to miss anybody off the top of my head, but we have some … Nick Boyle goes out there and does a great job. Patrick Ricard … We have a lot of guys doing a great job on special teams."
The broadcast showed something with TE Nick Boyle's knee on that onside kick. Did he get out OK from that game yesterday? (Jeff Zrebiec) "Yes, I haven't heard anything about Nick [Boyle] on any report. I haven't seen him yet today, personally, but it doesn't seem to be an issue."
CB Anthony Averett played a ton of snaps yesterday. How pleased have you been with how he's stepped in and seized the opportunity that he's had in front of him? (Garrett Downing) "Yes, we had a lot of confidence in Anthony [Averett]. He had a good year last year; he gets better all the time. He has a really good man-cover skillset. He understands the zone coverages now. He tackles. Yes, he's doing a real good job, and yet, he can still be a lot better as he continues to tighten up his technique, and his eyes, and some of his footwork things. So, I'm really happy with Anthony right now. He's playing well."
QB Lamar Jackson got to about the 5-yard line yesterday when he lifted the ball up, but then he saw someone to his right and tucked it again. After the game, he said you show him – or the team – six or seven plays a week of what not to do. What's the motivation behind that? And can you speak to that a little bit? (Bo Smolka) "We try to learn from other things that happen around the league. We do it in every phase, and we do it as a team. So, yes, it's one of our teaching tools – I guess you'd say – and sometimes that comes up. He and I actually talked on the field about that – about maybe not showing up on that tape. But we've had some guys who've let the ball go early or have been stripped before they get across the goal-line. So, it's just a teaching thing that we use with our guys. But he'll be fine. He's a quick learner. And that was a great play, wasn't it? He did get that ball up, then he saw the defensive back coming from the right, and he was able to get it away real quick. So, he didn't show up on the tape this week."
The reports about today's league-wide conference call about COVID-19 responsibility; can you update us regarding if you were part of it, and if so, what that call was about today? (Shawn Stepner) "We haven't had it yet. We have it here at 3 [p.m.], I think. So, we'll see what it is. I don't know what it's about. I can tell you that I was involved in one call last week with the league, and then our higher-ups – front office – have been involved in numerous calls, regularly. But they seem very happy with what we're doing. And you know what, a bad outcome can happen based on … This is the state of the world right now, but our guys have done a good job. It looks like our protocols are good. And anything we can learn today on that conference call; we'll implement it right away."
You pointed out OLB Matthew Judon's five quarterback hits on Sunday. When we talked to him, he said that he feels like he's been playing at a high level, even if it hasn't been showing up in the sack counts. So, just looking at the tape yesterday, what stood out to you as the difference between him getting to the quarterback and taking him down, and what happened in the previous three games? (Jonas Shaffer) "The biggest thing is he stayed true to the scheme. He really just let it come to him a little bit more. One thing I love about Matt [Judon] is it really matter to him; he really cares, and he wants to be the difference maker at all times. Sometimes it just works out for you; other times, sometimes, less is more a little bit. So, I felt like he was playing hard. He always plays very hard. He was in the right spot, and of course, he was able to get the quarterback down. So, yes, he had a great game, and I don't think it's a lot different than other games. It just kind of worked out a little bit better, and he was in a little better position a couple times."
I know you said after the game that the fake punt, a lot of it is just having confidence in P Sam Koch. I'm curious about the deeper decision-making process. When you call a trick play on special teams, do you think about how that's going to affect your future opponent, or whether you can use it again and that part of it? (Aaron Kasinitz) "Yes, we do consider that, and sometimes it's a factor and sometimes it's not. That's not the only trick play or fake that we had up in the first four weeks. We had many other ones that we didn't call for whatever different reasons. That's one that we've run before, as you know. It's not the first time we've run it. We've run it numerous times before, and it's a really hard one to defend, so that one really is more of an execution play. Hopefully, you catch the corner thinking more about keeping the gunner off the 'pooch punt.' That's a tough job for that corner to do, so if he's running hard to do that, then sometimes you can throw that stop-route right in there at the 'sticks.' So, that's kind of where that comes in. But it's hard to do if you don't think you're going to be able to throw it and catch it. And the timing is really important, too. Sam [Koch] threw that thing before Miles [Boykin] had even turned around, obviously, so like any good timing-passing game would do. Sam made that happen. So, I'd stand by, probably in that one, it probably has a lot to do with Sam himself, and of course Miles, too."
Did you say anything to Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera after the game? (Ximena Lugo Latorre) "We talked – yes. We talked before and after the game. We kind of made plans for after the season to get together with our wives – probably somewhere between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore – and get a good dinner and stuff. [We're] great friends and just wished each other luck going forward, and Ron, with his cancer treatments, as well."