Head Coach Sean McDermott
Opening statement: The following players will not play in the game this week at Philadelphia: Jeremy Butler, still with a concussion; Jordan Matthews with the chip fracture in the sternum, he’s week-to-week; then Cordy Glenn, Cordy flew to Wisconsin and had an injection in his foot done by Dr. Anderson – we will list him as week-to-week at this point.
The following players are questionable: Michael Ola (toe); Shareece Wright (thumb sprain); Kevon Seymour returned to practice yesterday as you saw – we’ll still list him as questionable; then Adolphus Washington had a back issue yesterday – it flared up – he should be on the field today, but we’ll still list him as questionable.
Before I move forward I just want to thank the fans and the staff here at St. John Fisher College – and all the time and effort that went into putting on camp. It’s a little bit bittersweet, we leave today, but certainly appreciate all of the effort, all the time; Great to see our fans in this part of the country, and we look forward to getting back next year. With that, I’ll open it up to questions.
Q: Cordy Glenn – You’ve already said you were concerned about him, now that you’ve taken this step with the injection – What are the doctors saying in terms of prognosis with the regular season and such?
A: Well the doctors are hopeful, we’re all hopeful. That said, it’s really week-to-week at this point, and we hope to get him back as soon as possible.
Q: Does it change your thinking at all with your contingency plan that you referenced the other day with Dion [Dawkins] and such?
A: Well it doesn’t really at this point. Where we are right now is getting Dion comfortable at the right side. As I mentioned earlier in the week, we have a little bit of a foundation built up at the left side there, so we just have to stay on top of it moving forward.
Q: Yesterday we all saw what happened at practice – You stopped it, you talked to the team – Can you tell us what was going on there and what the reason for that was?
A: The biggest reason for it was I didn’t think we were practicing well, plain and simple. We need to understand, all of us need to understand, that starts with myself. Winning in this league is earned, and winning is an all-the-time thing when you practice the right way, you prepare the right way – you give yourself a chance to win; And when you don’t, you’re starting from a deficit position, and that’s not what I’m about, and that’s not what this team is going to be about. I appreciate the way the players responded, the intensity picked up as you saw, we had a couple live sessions in there; I thought you saw some physical football, and I appreciate that. That was one of the objectives of coming to camp – was to develop the toughness of the football team and I saw that yesterday on display at the end of practice.
Q: How has Nathan Peterman responded to getting more time with the second team offense over the last couple days?
A: He’s done a good job, he really has. This is a rookie quarterback that is in the development phase of his career, and he’s done a nice job. He did a nice job in the game, I thought he’s handled the additional reps well, and we need to continue to develop Nathan, so we know what we have; I thought he’s done a good job. With that said, I thought T.J. Yates has done a nice job the last couple days as well – I appreciate his leadership, he’s been decisive with the football; And Tyrod [Taylor] as well. There’s some good competition there.
Q: Will Nathan [Peterman] work with the two’s on Thursday?
A: He will.
Q: You spent a lengthy time on the field after practice with both Marcell Dareus, Jerry Hughes – we asked Jerry about that conversation, he said off-field matter – What was the nature of those discussions, if you could reveal that, and was any of it connected to what was going on in practice when Jerry was pretty upset?
A: Well there’s two parts to that question: The first is I think Jerry is having a heck of a camp, he’s playing our style of football; He’s coming off the football upfront, he’s playing relentless in his approach to the game every practice – he buckles it up and I love that. The other part of it is, we were talking and discussing an off the field issue, I appreciate the communication from Jerry – it’s been handled, the rest of it, out of respect for the player and our conversations, I’ll just leave it between he and I at this point.
Q: Jerry [Hughes] is a guy who’s had problems with his control on the field in the past, in terms of personal fouls – we’ve seen him have discussions similar to the one he had with you yesterday with other head coaches here – are you concerned at all about keeping him focused on the task at hand, and avoiding those personal foul penalties that have hurt him in the past?
A: At this point, what I’ve seen from Jerry is he’s playing the type of football that I want to see, that we want to see. Penalties, I don’t tolerate; As you’ve heard me say before, the post-whistle penalties, those are non-negotiable in my mind, they hurt the team. Whether it’s Jerry or anyone else, disciplined football teams don’t do that.
Q: Were you disappointed then to see as many skirmishes as you saw yesterday – would that indicate a lack of discipline in your mind?
A: Not at this point, no. We’re at practice 12, 13 yesterday, and I thought the guys have done a phenomenal job. If you go back and look at training camps over the course of time, like some of us do, you look at it and say skirmishes sometimes show up around practice eight, it was practice 12, 13 yesterday; It’s a long training camp. I asked those guys to pick up the intensity and they responded.
Q: Yesterday, it seemed like that was what you wanted to see?
A: That’s what I wanted to see, that was exactly what I wanted to see, it absolutely was. Those guys, they went toe-to-toe and it showed that it meant something to them; They were asking for more, quite honestly, at the end. That’s the level that we have to take ourselves to every day, to get to the point where we need to get to as a football team; To earn the right to win. You saw that yesterday at the end of practice, that’s what we need to do to compete and win football games.
Q: When it comes to Cordy [Glenn], do you wish both Cordy and the team had addressed this earlier? Given the fact that it’s escalated to this point.
A: You never want to see anything linger. We’ve addressed it right from the start, in terms of the treatment end of things. We’re hopeful at this point that this is something that can finalize it and knock it out and Cordy [Glenn] can return on a full time basis.
Q: It looks like Zay [Jones] was mostly outside yesterday, Anquan [Boldin] in the slot and I think Jordan [Matthews] was outside when he was here, then Andre [Holmes] moved back here. Is that the plan to keep Zay outside right now?
A: He’ll work inside as well still at this point. Primarily, you’ll see him outside. He’s comfortable outside and I think he did a nice job yesterday.
Q: What about Jordan Matthews? Just your stance on his health status, how long do you think this is going to take based on what other people are telling you?
A: We think at this point, it’s week-to-week. He’s going to have a couple sore days here based on the diagnosis. That said, speaking with Jordan [Matthews] the other night, he’s very positive. He’s a bright-eyed young man with a great smile and we discussed that that helps the healing process. The great part about Jordan is that he’s been through something like – not something like this, but he had an issue in training camp last year and I think early in the season, maybe the first game, came out and had over a 100-yard game. He’s very conscientious about the way he prepares. He’s been spending time with Phil McGeoghan, our receivers coach, and Tyrod [Taylor], as well as Anquan [Boldin] and Zay [Jones]. I expect him to continue to do that and only get better.
Q: How does this potentially set [Jordan Matthews] back, considering he’s not on the field working with guys like Tyrod [Taylor] and the other receivers.
A: It is a little bit of a blip on the radar right now. That said, there’s a lot of players that are lost for the year out there and we’re grateful that that’s not the case with Jordan [Matthews]. I’m hopeful that he gets back sooner rather than later and I look forward to having him on the field.
Q: I know it’s a preseason game, but you are going home this week, as a head coach in the NFL. Any particular meaning to have family and friends there in a place you grew up and coach your first NFL game in [Philadelphia] as a head coach?
A: I guess if it were the first time that I was going back to Philadelphia as a coach, it would be a little bit different. You guys are getting to know me well enough now that I’m more focused on our team. I want us to go out and perform the way I expect us to perform. Maybe after the game I’ll have a chance to catch up with some family and friends and that will be nice too.
Q: How many people will you have at the game?
A: You know, I don’t even know at this point. I’ll find out when I get home today and I get the list of who’s going to be there, but I believe my parents and my brother and sister-in-law and their family will be there. Other than that, I’m not sure at this point.
Q: Big picture – wide receivers post Sammy [Watkins], how do you see it? You sound optimistic about Jordan Matthews, so factoring him, Anquan [Boldin], Zay [Jones], what do you think you have? And is there a lot of hand ringing over this because Sammy is no longer here? How should people feel about this receiving core as a whole?
A: If you go back, I’ve been fortunate to be around some pretty good teams over the course of my career in the NFL, right around 20 years. There were some receivers out there that played in a lot of important football games that maybe weren’t household names and we won a lot of football games. I think the thing we have to keep in mind here is that we are a building a team and I keep saying that. We’re building a team. We’re not accumulating talent, we’re building a team and that comes down to roles, it comes down to chemistry, it comes down to camaraderie, and it comes also down to unselfishness – that’s the qualities we are looking for in our football players. Those two guys, Sammy [Watkins] and Ronald [Darby] that left here, are good football players. This is nothing about them, it’s more about where we are going as an organization, where we are going as a football team.
Q: Are there enough playmakers in that group to give you dynamic plays when you want them?
A: Absolutely, there are. When you look at the numbers with Jordan [Matthews], when you look at the numbers with Anquan [Boldin], and then a young player with Zay [Jones] and let’s not forget Andre [Holmes]. There are three phases to the game – offense, defense and special teams. It needs to be a balanced roster. When you get out of balance is when things get out of control. We have enough weapons on this offense to win games and defensively and special teams and I look forward to watching us do that.
Q: With respect to Thursday, is there anything on the top of your to-do list in terms of what you want to get accomplished, maybe even playing off of the first performance last week?
A: Improve. That’s what I’m looking for. I’m looking for us to improve in every area of our game – sideline communication, fundamentals, throwing and catching the football, discipline with the penalties that showed up last week. I’m looking for us to improve.
Q: We’ve seen over the weekend, players electing to sit for the national anthem in sort of a continuation of the protest that started last year with Colin Kaepernick. Have you had any discussions with your team about that situation, if you may arise, or how you would handle it? Has that been a talking point at all with her team?
A: It really hasn’t to this point in time. I respect, obviously, everyone’s beliefs and we need to respect everyone’s beliefs as a football team. At this point in time, it hasn’t been an issue for our football team.