Head Coach Sean McDermott
Opening Statement: Okay, good morning, we’ll go ahead and get started this morning.
Q: Where do things stand with Shady [LeSean McCoy] and Kelvin Benjamin as far as practice today?
A: Right, so Kelvin will not practice today, neither will LeSean. LeSean has a little bit of knee soreness.
Q: What are the chances of Shady missing Sunday’s game?
A: Does not look like he will miss it at this point; looks good that he’ll play.
Q: What about Kelvin?
A: He’s going to be out for the game this weekend.
Q: You always talk about 1/11th, but isn’t the quarterback position most important in this sport?
A: Oh, it certainly is. It’s a quarterback-driven league.
Q: So, could a quarterback be the greatest athlete of all-time?
A: A quarterback? I don’t see why he couldn’t be.
Q: Sometimes it’s always a decathlete or someone who runs and jumps high. The skills for a quarterback are very athletic, don’t you think?
A: Sure, and there’s a lot that goes into that too. Not only the physical part, but the mind part as well.
Q: This guy you’re playing against on Sunday is a pretty good athlete.
A: [Laughs] You’re trying to get me to smile this morning?
Q: I’m trying to see if you will praise him more than his own coach would.
A: Yeah, he’s a good player. I think it’s well documented how good he is.
Q: Where do things stand with the rest of the guys that have been injured this week?
A: John Miller, he’ll be out for the game; Cordy Glenn will continue to be out; Mike Tolbert will be out as well; Seantrel Henderson [has] a little bit of an illness right now, so we’re going to list him as questionable.
Q: Speaking of Seantrel, you’ve used him the last few weeks as a tackle, eligible there, what do you feel you’ve gotten out of him, in terms of helping the run game or the offense in general there?
A: Right, I think he’s done a good job. He’s obviously a big body that has some power and length to him, so he protects the quarterback well. He can fire off the ball and move the line of scrimmage for us. He’s done a good job so far.
Q: What about Patrick DiMarco for Sunday?
A: He’s going to get some time in practice today. We’ll list him as questionable for the game, but we think he’s going to end up being able to play.
Q: Eddie Yarbrough, as well?
A: Eddie, same, he’ll be listed as questionable for the game.
Q: And Nick O’Leary?
A: Nick O’Leary, he’ll be listed as questionable as well.
Q: You came up with – I mean there were a lot of reasons why you beat the Chiefs, and why your defense had the upper hand – but one of them seemed to be some really good moves on your part, your coaching staff part; you and Leslie [Frazier], positioning people, disguising things. To do that against the Chiefs is significant, but when you look at the Patriots and a quarterback who has seen everything under the sun, is it harder to fathom the idea that ‘hey, you can strategically find some things–’?
A: There’s probably not a scheme out there that’s been invented to this date that he hasn’t seen. It’s a challenge for a lot of reasons, to play this football team, one of which is exactly what you said.
Q: Safeties, he hasn’t seen this duo [Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde] that you have, this will be his first time. How important is that, what they mean to your defense? And when you’re facing a quarterback of that magnitude, how vital safety play is, not just to their own spot, but for the defense as a whole?
A: Yeah, and probably not only the safety spot, really, [but] the entire defense. It’s the game within the game. The positions that are like quarterback on defense, the middle backer position, the safety position, those are important positions in terms of how we run things, how things look, the game within the game, one down after another, what happens before the ball is snapped. I think that’s the cerebral part of the game, that’s important.
Q: You talked a lot about a chip a lot of these guys on the team play with, did you feel it may have got lost a little bit, during that three-game skid, because Tyrod [Taylor] told us after the game, he mentioned how everyone picked against you in that Kansas City game? Why did you feel that that was important to preparing the forefront?
A: Well, I think, again, mindset and the mindset of the football team is important at all stages of the season. As we continue to grow and build here, there has to be a mindset that we continue to develop as an organization. That is important in order to sustain success one week after another. That’s really, to me, an important part of our growth as we continue to grow, move forward and develop a good foundation for ourselves.
Q: Is it good to remind them though, that they’re still trying to prove people wrong?
A: I think there’s always a motivational part of coaching. There’s always a motivational part of leadership. Some people would say ‘well, it’s pro ball, players and people should be motivated. I’m more of the opinion that everyone needs motivation at some point; daily motivation, to get you in the right frame of mind, whether it’s self-motivation or someone sending a message of ‘hey, this is what is going on, this is what you need to do about it’. I think that’s part of making sure we’re prepared.
Q: Do they need to hear that this week because the doubts seem louder when you face the Patriots?
A: Number one, I have a lot of confidence in our guys, every week. As far as motivation goes, every week the message is a little bit different. I think that’s a key part of preparation.
Q: What do you use to motivate yourself every day?
A: I think, really, this staff, the people I have around myself do a good job of making me better on a daily basis, trying to learn from them. I think when you take that approach of iron sharpens iron – I learn a lot from everyone in this building; Derek and his staff [and so on]. I don’t lack for motivation because of the people around this building.
Q: This team has passed over 200 points just in the first half this year, a lot of teams don’t even have 200 points. Do you worry after what happened with the Saints of them being able to score early, get you behind and take your crowd out?
A: Yeah, I worry about that every week. I think that’s a natural concern. More so, we have to focus on what we have to do to play winning football; not just on Sunday, but the habits that lead to winning, and playing well so that we don’t get ourselves in that situation, like a lot of teams have against this team.
Q: You played nickel the entire game last week, five DB’s played every snap – but Preston also was on the field that entire time, he was used a lot in coverage – is he better than he gets credit for a far as how good of a cover guy [he is], maybe how athletic? I think there’s a stigma he’s not the most athletic linebacker, he’s more of a down-hill guy.
A: Well since day one I’ve loved the fact that he’s really embraced the leadership part of the job; as I eluded to earlier with the other question, the mental part of the game. He continues to grow and get better. There’s areas that we’re all working on to improve, and I’ve seen to your point, him improve in that area as well. I like what Preston has been able to do, I thought he played well last week; his command of the defense and the communication behind that command was a big part of our success.
Q: Just to be clear on Shady, is that questionable as well for him?
A: No, we’re not going to list him with any injury designation right now.