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Ron Rivera Presser: I’m anxious to see what we’re going to look like; I’m anxious to see what we are

Ron Rivera and Ken Zampese speak to the media after practice

Ron Rivera

Injury Report:

Kam Curl:

“Well, I think obviously it’s gonna be by committee. I mean, we have a few guys that we have a lot of confidence in, guys that had a good couple of weeks in terms of preparation just in case he wasn’t ready. So, we’ll just plug those guys in.”

“I’m pretty optimistic. But again, I’m not the doctor. We’ll have to wait and see, but feel pretty good about how he’s recovering, how he’s healing up. I know he went and saw the doctor. I know things went pretty well, so we’ll see what happens.”

Percy Butler:

“I think it’s been really good. Just, when you ask a guy to play one specific position, that’s pretty cool. But now all of a sudden you’ve got him splitting his time between being a safety and being the Buffalo, which is really the nickel. You ask a lot, especially of a rookie but he seems to be handling it very well. So, I’m pretty optimistic about his opportunity to get on the football field and play well.”

Darrick Forrest:

“Well, what you’ve seen from DeFo is you see him playing very fast. He’s very physical. After Kam he’s probably one of our more physical guys. He’s a downhill player. He’s very active. He plays with his eyes pretty well. He sees a lot. I like his ability to run. He’s got good quickness. He’s quick in a small area, confined area. And he can turn and run. I think using his skillset, using Percy’s skillset, using Reave’s skillset. We have a combination of guys that can go in and play.”

Preparing for Jacksonville:

“You have to look at a lot of different things. You gotta look at what they’ve done in the past with their associations, with particular teams. So, it’s a lot of work. It really is, especially on the defensive side. I think watching what Jack and the staff have done, I think is solid. Sitting in on the meetings and listening to what they’re talking about and what we’re planning for, I like to feel that we have a pretty decent handle. Then there’s always the unexpected though. I like to say with Doug, I kind of think there is gonna be a little something unexpected.”

Defensive End depth:

“Well, I feel pretty good about them. They’re guys that have played for us in the past and have done a pretty good job. So, the big thing again is just understanding the situation and circumstances, as far as what’s going on, where the ball is, who you’re rushing with. I think that’s probably the biggest thing that these young guys will have to understand.”

Montez Sweat:

“I think the biggest thing for him — I mean, he has a lot of talent and a lot of ability and I really do think he can do a lot of good things. But just the biggest thing is just be who he is, play his game. You can’t get caught up in ‘You have to, you’ve got to, you must.’ What you’ve gotta get caught up in is ‘Okay, gotta do my job, gotta do the things that I’m supposed to do first and foremost.’ And I believe if he does that, it’ll come to him because he’s got a tremendous skillset.”

Chase Young:

“From the beginning. I mean, we understood what the potential is for him being back and when we expected him to be back. So what we had to do is, we were trying to work and train these guys that we knew were gonna play until Chase is ready to roll. That’s a big part of, I thought what we did during OTAs and mini camp and training camp. We got a group of guys that are sharp, solid guys with solid skillsets that we think can do the job by committee. And again, to me, the biggest thing more than anything else is playing within your abilities, play within the structure of the defense and understand, as I’ve said, gap control, rush lanes are important. Making your specific move at the level. I mean all these things, if we do well and do right, I think we can do some good things.”

Young’s return to playing:

“I like where they are with him right now. I really do. They’ve had him out on the field. He’s been doing a lot of things. He’s gone and done a couple of tests just to see where the knee is in terms of overall strength. And what we’re looking for is for him to get that leg strong. Get it back to where it’s equal to the other one, or if not probably better. I mean, that’d be awesome but that’s what it is really all about. I mean, you’re not gonna put him out there until everything that you’ve done, all the data you have on him tells you he’s ready to roll, he’s ready to play. That was a big part of putting him on PUP was to make sure that he realized and recognized that, ‘Hey, you’ve got time. There’s no hurry. There’s no timeframe. We’re not putting pressure on you. We wanna do this the right way because we’re looking at the longevity and the long run.’ If it means we’re missing a piece, we’re gonna miss the piece then so be it. But I think the guys that we have have in place, got a lot of confidence in them.”

“I think he’s done very well. I mean, I know he struggles with it because he wants to be there and you guys know how he is. He’s just so anxious. We’ve had to verbally tell him, dude just slow it down. You’re gonna be fine. Trust us. We know who you are. I think he’s understood that, but he wants to be out there so bad. I mean, he’s now at the point where he starts to get closer and closer, we’re pulling him into more and more of the meetings. H’s spending some time with the coaches individually. He’s met with Jack individually as well. I think Jack’s done a great job with trying to keep him focused and engaged. So, I really like where he is right now. We’ll see where he is hopefully in three weeks. We’ll see when the doctor gets another chance to evaluate him.”

Benjamin St-Juste:

“Well, the biggest thing, obviously, and St-Juste has been working on is just the underneath route running. I mean, knowing that he’s had to work against some of our guys who we feel are really good, he’s worked against everybody from Jahan to Curtis to Dax to Terry and those all are pretty skilled guys as well. So, we just feel that he’s had a good opportunity to learn and grow as as a nickel.”

Anxious about the season:

“Kind of interesting because yeah, I think in all honesty, other than the pandemic year, this year going into it, this got the most questions, because we didn’t have all of our offensive alignment up, ready to go. We didn’t get to see all of our tight ends. We don’t have all of our backs up this week. I mean, so I’m anxious to see what we’re gonna look like. I’m anxious to see what that combination is gonna be. It’s the same thing on defense. Going to miss a couple parts, but I’m anxious to see what we are, who we are, where we are. I mean, I really am. I think it’s exciting. You get that pit in your stomach already where you wanna throw up. It’s that anxiety, that anxiousness and it’s crazy because that’s something we can’t control. And that’s why, for me personally, I try not to get into it where we start thinking about what’s going to come on Sunday. I always kind of refer to what Andy used to say is don’t play the game now, play the game on Sunday. So just trying to make sure we’re focusing on what we’re doing right now. And that’s the preparation to preparation, to preparation.”

It’s all on me:

Ken Zampese

Ernie Zampese:

“Deeply saddened of course selfishly, but very happy and thankful everybody hopefully gets a chance to hear well done, good and faithful servant he did two weeks ago today. So, congratulations to him, very happy for him. He’s my first call. My first guy. He and I were tighter than tight, so there’s nothing left unsaid. It went quick and it was good for him. He’s in a better place.”

“Well, I got a chance to go to training camp at an early age so that was so much fun for me to watch and be around guys. The ball never hit the ground. I’m watching Don Coryell with Dan Fouts, Charlie Joiner, Kellen Winslow, John Jefferson, Wes Chandler, Lydell Mitchell. All these guys running around catching balls.

I had no idea what I was looking at. I had no idea. The ball just never hit the ground. Oh, this is pretty cool. You know, guy’s throwing the ball around that, I come to realize how hard that was and how good they were. That was a lot of fun and just seeing dad being the orchestrator of it all. Putting the pieces together but more importantly, what I gained from him was developing relationships, deep lasting, meaningful relationships that just get you to another level of kumbaya with the group you’re in and friendship and comradery with the guys.

As you noticed, anybody who finishes playing or coaching, they missed the comradery more than anything else and he was a comradery builder. From quarterback barbecues in the backyard on Friday nights to all sorts of different things. He built community at every turn. All one off relationships, meaningful, unique to that person. He’s got little crews all over the place. You go to the Chevron, he’s got a crew at the Chevron 5:00 AM coffee, he’s helping the lady open up. Taking the old papers out, putting the new papers in, getting her set up. Then the guys that work the manual labor jobs are rolling in for coffee. He’s there.

They’re going through whatever the deals of the day are. Then he goes over to the grocery store. Hey, Ernie. He is rolling in there. He knows all the ladies at the pharmacies. Got the pharmacist. The Costco he rolls in there, he’s got his crew in there that he knows everything was building unity, relationships and community and that’s what I took from him.”

Carson Palmer:

“Oh gosh. I mean just years with Carson Palmer. Getting from a pup and raising him with John Kitna. So, you have a older guy, yourself and a younger guy, you’re all working together to bring him along to a point where he can see things fast and clearly, and then all of a sudden, I think it was the second year he was starting. We’re in a playoff game and it happened really, really fast. Just the reinforcement between myself, John Kitna and Carson. That was one where we really got tight fast and really relied on each other. There are things that John could answer that I couldn’t answer cause I didn’t play the spot, you know. So, we really had both sides covered for him where he really wanted to learn and we got a chance to get good fast. Then, we went no huddle one year and with the skill players we had and we finished, I think in the top five in offense, really early in his career. That was kind of fun.”

Carson Wentz:

“Well, there’s always certain things you want to move in the direction of more often to gain consistency. And we try to do that on a daily basis, and he really likes to work like a lot and he puts his mind on it and he really likes to talk about the details of things. So those conversations are easily had getting things fixed for anybody. It’s not an overnight thing, It’s a process thing. And as long as both people are committed to going in that same direction and see things the same way you can make strides as you go. And that’s what we’re doing.”

“Yeah, I think playing in any offense for a period of time helps you because there’s concepts that carry over and the key is okay, we know what this concept looks like. We know where all the bodies are buried out here. When we put ‘em out there, how do we read it? And those are where the subtle differences come in and thank goodness, he’s got an urgency about him that wants to know why we do it this way so that we can then play that way. Because you’re ingrained one way, been in the same system for a while. You see things easily, one way, it’s hard to flip it. But for the guys that want to and want to really dig into where they’re at and be a part of where they’re at, we’re going to see some of these concepts a little differently in order, because sometimes you have a different style of player that you want to emphasize that part of the read versus another. Even though it’s the same play and that’s where we’re at with the different pieces that we have trying to emphasize where the ball’s going to go and why.”

“Each day is just a little bit more. It’s just a little bit more. It doesn’t mean that you’re going to win. It just means you’re going to put yourself in position more often to do it right. And then that will lead to winning. The consistency over time and making good decisions to being in on time, knowing who that person is and where he comes out of the break. All those things increase your odds just a little bit. And that’s all we’re trying to do each day is put the odds in our favor a little bit more through technique, through understanding of players, through understanding of zones where the ball’s going and why. And then after a while we’re not thinking about things as much, we’re just reacting and it’s a process and we’re going right through it.”

Sam Howell:

“Well, you never wonder where his minds at. It’s always where it’s supposed to be. It’s always in the room with you when you’re going over stuff or when it’s time to, you know, let your hair back a little bit. We’re outside and we’re joking around when the time’s right. But he never mixes. You know what I mean? He knows when to do what, and that’s a maturity thing he’s wise beyond his years. That way he can read the room easily and you never wonder if he’s locked and loaded.”

Kam Curl

Logan Thomas