HEAD COACH JOHN HARBAUGH
Opening Statement:"Thanks for coming. I appreciate you being here. [It was a] very good practice. The guys are back at it [and have] good spirits. All eyes are towards the opening against [the] Houston Texans. We're very excited about that. What questions do you have?"
QB C.J. Stroud was named the starter for the Houston Texans. Do you have any impressions of him? _(Jamison Hensley) _"No, we're just kind of focused on ourselves right now. The game planning begins, and we'll take a look at him hard. He's a rookie. That's a challenge in terms of really having … there's really no book on him in the NFL, but we'll look at their team as a whole and do the best we can to game plan."
Speaking of QB C.J. Stroud being a quarterback, we saw the record where you are 14-2 against rookie quarterbacks. Do you think maybe there's a reason for that, or is there any reason for it? (Kyle Barber) "Right now, we're just focusing on what we have to do to be the best team we can be, in all honesty, without thinking too deeply about that stuff. There might be a reason for it, but I haven't really done the research on that. But I tell you what, I'm excited about this team, and we're going to have a big challenge in front of us. I've seen [the] Houston [Texans] on tape in the preseason. You can see it through the reflection of their coaching staff. They have a lot of young players. They're fast, they're physical, they fly around, [and] they play super hard. So, we're going to have to be at our very best to win that game."
WR Dontay Demus Jr. was in the first round of cuts. There was a lot of interest in him because he's a local guy. What did he show in the last preseason game, and what does he need to show to keep his career going? _(Childs Walker) _"We had a great conversation, [and also with] numerous guys today, and [they were] very personal conversations with guys. It's individual. Everybody is in kind of a different place, and you really get the opportunity to sit and talk to guys about what they're trying to accomplish. Dontay [Demus Jr.] did a really good job. Look at how he showed [up] in that last game. Throughout the course of the offseason and the training camp, he came out every day, and he worked at it. He has talent. He has radius. He's a physical player. It was just really fun to see him develop. He has a bright future in the National Football League. And really what he needs is to keep doing what he's doing and get an opportunity and take advantage of it."
How tough is it from an emotional and human standpoint for a head coach and his staff to whittle the roster down? _(Shawn Stepner) _"Right. Yes, the emotional standpoint is real. You have guys that you get close to. You have relationships. You get to know their stories through the whole process. You go to work every day [and] have conversations. Sometimes, guys [are] out there in their vulnerable type trying to chase their dream in a moment, and it's very meaningful. Like we've said so many times, it's a very important part of all of our lives, but especially the guys who are trying to make their way for the first time in this league. It's a process that I take very seriously – all the coaches do – and I think we do a good job of just trying to personalize it and make sure that everybody understands where they stand and what they need to do to maybe get to the next level and also understand how much they're valued, because we really value our guys. Those guys did a great job for us."
Has there been a determination with the No. 2 quarterback job between Tyler Huntley and Josh Johnson? (Jamison Hensley) "The best answer I can give you is that we're going to work all that stuff out in the next couple of days. It's really not information that we're probably going to just put out there too much for any position, just because why would we? It's not something that we need to do right now. But we're making plans – in most cases we have our plans organized other [than] a few cases, maybe, we still have some decisions to make."
Is QB Tyler Huntley a candidate to go on the injured reserve list? (Jamison Hensley) "I don't see that, no. No, I don't see that."
Is TE Mark Andrews making progress? We haven't seen him out at practice in a while._ (Jeff Zrebiec)_ "He is. You don't need to panic about that. Tell the fans, 'It's going to be OK.' He should be out there practicing next week. I expect him to play in the game, and he should be fine. So, that's where we're at with that."
Is there anything you can share about OLB Tyus Bowser after we saw him working out on the side field? (Jonas Shaffer) "I don't really know. I'm a little more vague on that one. I'm hopeful really that he'll get back here – first game, second game, third game – somewhere in there. But we'll just have to see. It's with the doctors and Tyus [Bowser]."
Is it fair to say that the non-football injury list will not be a consideration for OLB Tyus Bowser? (Jonas Shaffer) "I don't have any comments on any of that right now, no."