SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR CHRIS HORTON
Opening statement:"[It's] good to see everyone. [I] hope everyone's doing well. We're heading to Week 3. For us, we're just looking to go out there and really just play our best football. We still haven't done that yet as a unit. I know one thing – our guys are working hard, and pretty soon, we're going to take off. These guys want to be good. They want to be great. We have to make sure we just continue to take care of the smallest little details. [Any] questions?"
What is the range of yardage that you think to not send K Justin Tucker out to attempt a field goal? (Cordell Woodland) "I think on a day like that [Week 2 on the road at Cincinnati], it's a fair question. We do go back and forth with [special teams coach/specialists] Randy [Brown] and [head coach] 'Harbs' [John Harbaugh] in those situations and saying, 'Hey, is this one [that] we want to go for it – we want to go out there and kick?' If we feel good about it, we put 'Tuck' [Justin Tucker] out there, because he does have that capability to go out there and make that kick. We've seen that done numerous times. I think it just depends on the situation in games. There are times [like] last year where we had to win the game, and we put him out there, and we make those kicks. It's just a, 'What do we feel? What do we feel like in that situation?'"
Have you had to swap players into playing special teams because of all the injuries the team has? (Kyle Barber) "It is something that goes into our process. I think it's one of those things where when guys start going down, then [it's] all hands on deck. I think it comes to that point of, 'OK, well what can this guy do for us? He is a valuable player, and he is playing maybe more on offense and defense. How can he still help us?' Those guys – they want to do it, because it's all about the team. It's all about winning. What can they do to help us win and help us be successful? We look into it. We take that into account. We make sure that we take care of those guys that are playing a little bit on offense and defense. Then, it's an opportunity for some new guys to step in there and really just play to our standard and play the kind of football we want to play."
What happened on the punt return that the Cincinnati Bengals scored on in the Week 2 matchup? (Jeff Zrebiec) "It's just one of those things. You go back, you're sitting on the sideline, and you're asking yourself, 'Man, how could that happen?' These are things we prepare for. Then when you watch the tape, [and] you see how those things happen. We don't fully execute the punt coverage. It's just not one guy. It's all 11, including myself. I'm watching the tape. I'm like, 'Hey, could I have told this guy maybe something a little bit different?' It was all of us. We watched it. We got it corrected. We feel pretty good about putting those guys out there and making plays from here on out."
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR MIKE MACDONALD
How pleased were you with S Geno Stone's play against the Cincinnati Bengals in place of injured starting S Marcus Williams? _(Luke Jones) _"I'm not surprised. [I] said we had 100% confidence in him, and he played a great game, obviously, with the huge pick there in the red zone. [It] changed a bunch of expected points in the game. Obviously, [I'm] excited about how we played, but we're expecting him to keep moving just like the rest of the defense. We have a long way to go. [We have] another challenge this week, but [Geno] definitely played a great game."
How much does the Indianapolis Colts' run game change if QB Anthony Richardson cannot play because of a concussion suffered in Week 2? (Jonas Shaffer) "Well, the base runs are the same. It's probably more the quarterback-designed runs where they want it to ultimately end up in the quarterback's hands, I would imagine, [are what may] go down a little bit. Those are different types of situations that pop up in the game, but it's more similar that you'd anticipate."
DT Justin Madubuike has committed four penalties in the first two games of the season. Is that a fine line to walk between telling him to be smarter and not trying to curtail his aggressiveness that makes him the player he is? (Jeff Zrebiec) "I think you hit it spot on. That's exactly the message with [Justin Madubuike], and he knows. We've talked about it. He's well aware of the penalties, but I don't foresee it being an issue moving forward. I think it's more of a thing of chance, based on how he's played and things, but he has to make some better decisions in some of those moments, and he will."
Are you still learning things you can do with OLB Jadeveon Clowney in defensive situations since he was signed only a month ago? (Cliff Brown) "It's an interesting question. I think you're always looking to find ways for guys to do things they do well. I think how we can be disruptive in the run game, and how you can move him around in the pass game, we'll continue to find ways to build on – just like everybody else. He's doing the things that we imagined him to do. Hopefully, we keep it rolling."
What has ILB Patrick Queen and ILB Roquan Smith's influence been on each other from a communication recognition standpoint? _(Brian Wacker) _"I just think you're talking about two great players that have a passion for the game and work extremely hard and care about their teammates and care about our defense and how well we perform and want to lead both through their actions and both through how they handle themselves on a daily basis. As a coaching staff, [I] give a great shoutout to Zach [Orr]. He's done a tremendous job of building that camaraderie throughout the whole [linebacking] room. I wouldn't make any more of it than that. [It's a] credit to Eric [DeCosta] and our personnel department for getting them in the same [linebacking] room together, and the rest comes to life."
What have you seen from CB Arthur Maulet since DB Ar'Darius Washington was placed on injured reserve this week? (Luke Jones) "I haven't seen anything different than what we saw when we wanted to sign [Arthur Maulet] versus when he first got here. Obviously, he had the setback during [training] camp, but he's right there. If and when his opportunity comes along, just like Geno [Stone] last week, let's roll. [I'm] very confident in him coming in and doing a great job when asked."
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR TODD MONKEN
How pleased were you with the way the offense looked in Week Two compared to Week One? (Cordell Woodland) "Well, it was a [heck] of a lot better. [It's] just in terms of operation, communication [with] myself, Lamar [Jackson] … Huddle, breaking the huddle, [it wasn't] perfect. [We] still left some things out there just in terms of operation. To me, that's the start of it, otherwise you have a lot of drag. It doesn't look like how you want it to look like. So, I was pleased with that part of it. Obviously, the guys did a great job of executing, but it started with the operation." (Reporter: So, there wasn't as much drag?) "This past week? No, not as much drag [and] not as much wasted plays. [Also], not as much not giving yourself a chance to be successful, and we talked about that last week. So, it's still an ongoing process, what we do each week, what we do well, what they do, [and] what we put in the plan carrying that over into Sunday."
The offense is tied for fewest amounts of three-and-outs in the league. Can you talk about the importance of getting the first first down and how you practice to get that?_ (Kyle Barber)_ "Yes. What's crazy is that first game, half the battle is getting that first first down, and then we just stalled. [There was] a lot of drag. But, as I always say, overall statistics just make you feel good, because it doesn't make [stuff] for this week. Our job is to the same thing this week, if that makes sense. I'm not trying to be mean, but it's really week to week. You can't carry that over and say, 'Well, hey wait a minute.' No, we have to do it each week, that's what we're paid to do, and that is to try and find a way each week to do that and then continue drives. But it is. It is important to get that first first down, get yourself going, and I've been happy with that part of it, yes."
How much fun did you have in the Cincinnati game? _(Melissa Kim) _"It's never fun. Gameday is not fun. I don't know why everybody says that. It's stressful as [heck], but I enjoy watching our guys play. I enjoy coaching our players. We have a great group of young guys that it's fun to come out every day and come to the meeting rooms with those guys. That I enjoy, but it's a job. Everything builds up to gameday, and I don't take that lightly. So, it is what it is. You fight like heck during the week to get the looks you want and try to carry it over on Sunday and put the guys in the best position to be successful."
WR Zay Flowers was very involved in the first two games. How much of that is situational and how much is it that he's a guy that gets a lot of coverage? (Brian Wacker) "All of the above. You're going to put any player in the position that gives them the best chance to be successful, wherever that might be. You're not going to put a tight end out there to run a take route normally. You're going to be where they can be successful. You're going to put Zay [Flowers] where you think he's going to be successful. We dictate some of that. The defense dictates some of that. [The] number of reps dictate that, [and the] style of game it is. Like this week, we were in two-minute [offense] while the wideouts are happy as [heck], right. [When you are] in four-minute [offense], the running backs are happy as [heck]. That's just the way it works, and so you get more opportunities to showcase your abilities, which is what every skilled player is looking to do. So, we do try to find ways to get all of our players involved as best we can."
What stood out to you about WR Zay Flowers? (Brian Wacker) "Well, I'm just going to go beyond his skillset, because that's easy to see. Being around him, you can just feel his contagious spirit, his youthfulness, his smile, his approach every day. I don't know if I've ever come to work which hopefully, I've tried to do the exact same thing, but he has a smile on his face. He loves playing football – which all of our guys do – but again, it's just fun to be around. He has a little bit of absence of fear. I think he's expected to have success, and that's half the battle when you're a young player is to expect to have success, and he expects to have success."
How rare and how valuable is it to have OL Patrick Mekari who can play all five offensive line spots, he's started at multiple spots over the course of his career knowing that injuries are going to happen in the course of the season?_ (Luke Jones)_ "It feels like you're trying to get him a contract extension here by my comments here. First of all, it's extremely valuable. Anybody that makes – I said it way back when – whoever makes our 53-man roster or who's a part of our practice squad is elite. They're elite. They're here for a reason because you feel good that if something were to happen at any given position, the expectation is that those players will go on and play at a high level, and we should expect that, and [Patrick Mekari] did that, and he has done that. That wasn't new. We were not surprised that he played at a very high level."
RB Kenyan Drake was just signed yesterday who was here last year. Was there any familiarity with this offense compared to what he was doing in last season's offense? Can he grasp that? _(Cordell Woodland) _"I think so. There's some carryover. Some of the verbiage is the same, some of it's different. But again, it's getting up to speed with what the little different nuances are, but inside zone is inside zone [and] outside zone, gaps, schemes, a flat route, a wheel route, it's all the same. We just have to get [Kenyan Drake] up to speed, and if he ends up being up [on the active gameday roster] at some point, then you start with a certain base of plays that he feels like he can handle, that we know he can go on the field ... It's not a matter of execution, it's a matter of the operation of it. Everybody can run a flat route, but not if he runs an angle, [and] we're expecting a flat, if that makes sense. Then it's not worth [anything]."
Is it difficult for the linemen to switch positions to line up where they typically aren't? Is that an expectation of your offense? (Jonas Shaffer) "Well, it's a credit to those guys. It's a credit to those guys being able to move around and be able to play both sides."
What is the biggest difference you've seen out of WR Odell Beckham as a person since you were with him in 2019 in Cleveland?_ (Chris Bumbaca) _"From a person standpoint, Odell [Beckham Jr.] has always been a fantastic person. People gravitate towards him. He has a great personality. He has great charisma, and he loves playing football. He loves being around the locker room. He loves the guys. You see – I've said this before – you see, like any of us as you age, you mature. He may think differently, but I'm giving you my opinion. But it's to the point like I said, [the] Rams win a Super Bowl, [he] gets hurt, comes back, [and] I think there's a certain wanting to be able to prove that he can still play at a high level which is fun to be around. He's done a great job with our younger guys. He's always been good at that, but I think he feels more sense of being a little bit older, how important that is for the younger players."
S KYLE HAMILTON
On facing Colts QB Anthony Richardson:"[Anthony Richardson]'s super talented. There is a reason he was drafted so high. Lucky for us, we go against somebody who can run and throw pretty well, too, every single day in practice with Lamar [Jackson], so I think that prepares us. We've been preparing all camp for it."
On how S Geno Stone has stepped up especially last week:"I said it last week when I knew Geno [Stone] was going to get the start. I have full faith in him. He did the same thing last year. [He] came in and did his thing while Marcus [Williams] was out. [I'm] super happy for him and that he got another pick. [He] should have cribbed it, but that's a conversation for another time. Yes, he's doing well."
On if it was an intense conversation with S Geno Stone telling him he shouldn't have gone out of bounds after the interception: "I was just happy he picked it, and everything else was a plus at that point. Everyone was giving him a hard time about it, but it was a great play – a great read – and he made the play."
On how the possibility of facing Colts QB Gardner Minshew on Sunday changes how the defense prepares:"He provides a different set of problems than Anthony Richardson does. Obviously, Anthony Richardson was highly drafted [and] is super talented and has been doing well the past few games. Unfortunately, he got hurt, but Gardner Minshew steps in, and he's done a great job wherever he's been, stepping in, and when teams have needed him, he's performed well. Like you said, he's got a great arm, [and he] makes good decisions. It will certainly be a challenge for us either way."
On how disappointing it was to see S Ar'Darius Washington go down with an injury and if it reinforces everyone having to be ready to adjust:"'AD' [Ar'Darius Washington] was turning a lot of heads the whole [training] camp. He might have had the best camp out of anybody on the team, honestly. He's been playing his butt off, and it sucks to see him go down like that, especially at this time when he's been playing so well for us. Just the whole DB room, it's kind of been a testament the first two weeks of the season. Guys go down, [and] guys step in and make plays. Guys like Art [Arthur] Maulet, Daryl Worley, [and] Geno [Stone] last week, it's been kind of a revolving door back there so far, but there's been no drop-off, and we kind of preach that every day."
On how guys playing multiple positions helps the team when other players are injured:"Coach [Mike] Macdonald, Coach [Chris] Hewitt and Coach [Dennard] Wilson, they all do a great job of keeping us flexible at certain positions. They always try to preach that everybody should be able to play everything, which is kind of a hyperbole in a sense, but at the same time, it's really not because we're so flexible at the back end that guys can move in and out of different places. Like 'B-Steve' [Brandon Stephens] can go inside, go to safety [or] play outside. Like myself, I can go play nickel or safety. A lot of people in the back end can do that. It's like a pitcher having a bunch of different pitches. You don't just want to be throwing the same fastball the whole game. You want to have some changeups, sliders and stuff like that so it's difficult for the offense."
C SAM MUSTIPHER
On his Week 2 performance:"I thought I played well. I thought there were some things I can improve on [and] that we can improve on, as an offensive line. We did a good job against [the Bengals] overall, but we've got another tough task this weekend."
On how much his preseason work helped him in Week 2:"Oh, it helped a ton – it helped a ton. Being able to get out here during OTAs [organized team activities], too, and work with [offensive line coach] 'Joe D.' [Joe D'Alessandris], [assistant offensive line coach] 'Dev' [Mike Devlin and coaching analyst] Adam [Schrack] and then getting the installs in the offense from [offensive coordinator] 'Monk' [Todd Monken] and then just getting to know everybody on the offensive line, that really helped a lot."
On his comfort level playing with the linemen surrounding him:"Oh, very comfortable. I'm very fortunate to be able to play around a lot of guys who have played a lot of football. 'Zeit' [Kevin Zeitler], he's been doing this for a long time – Morgan [Moses], as well. So, just that right side alone, the experience that they have in the NFL and [their] understanding, that really helps me a lot. Obviously, Pat [Mekari] and I came in the same year; he's an undrafted guy. [He's] very hungry [and] a technician – a guy who you can trust out there. He blocked a very good edge rusher this week. And then John [Simpson] and I got to play next to each other during the preseason. So, the comfortability was there, and then just getting the reps last week was huge for us."
On what he learned from this past week:"I don't know. I've played a lot of football. I guess, really, what I learned is that I have a great group of guys around me. The supporting cast here is spectacular. I get to snap to Lamar Jackson, and you saw the way those receivers were moving down the field last week. 'Nelly' [Nelson Agholor] coming in and making those big catches; Lamar putting the ball on Zay [Flowers] deep. I mean, it's crazy. Mark Andrews catching seam routes. It makes our job easier as an offensive line when you have a ton of weapons out there like that, and when you have a quarterback who's able to distribute and then also make plays with his legs."