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Coaches Press Conferences

The Coordinators talk with media before practice

Dave Toub


**Q: The decision is made and you're going with Cairo Santos as the kicker. What are your thoughts on that?

TOUB: "Yeah, I'm excited about seeing him. He's excited; he's had a really good week of practice so far and can't wait to see how he does."

Q: Is it like looking in the mirror seeing Ryan Succop handling the kicking duties and Dexter McCluster punt returning?

TOUB: "It's going to be a weird pregame, let's put it that way. We've talked about that now we'll be crossing paths and talking. And Ryan's a great guy. And I knew, I said before that both of these guys are NFL kickers. It didn't surprise me that he got picked up so quickly."

Q: Do you approach the positon any different when it's a rookie than when it's a veteran?

TOUB: "A little bit, a little bit. You're going to manage him a little bit differently. You kind of got to get his feet wet and get him going and hopefully you have a couple short field goals first and then you go. It doesn't always work out that way but you hope that that's the case. It's definitely in your mind for sure."

Q: When did you come to the decision that you were going to go with Cairo Santos?

TOUB: "We took it all the way up to the last day. We were hoping to actually get more field goals in the last game and we didn't get a lot of field goals there so we had to go back and look and really evaluate the body of work that we got through training camp and then we made our decision."

Q: What do you think about the injury to De'Anthony Thomas? It probably doesn't make you all that happy?

TOUB: "No, no, he went down late yesterday. If he doesn't go, it's really next man up for us. We've got a lot of guys waiting in the wings that can do it and I'm happy with those guys, and if he doesn't go, it's next man up."

Q: Who is the next man up?

TOUB: "Well, that's the thing. It could be Frankie (Hammond Jr.), it could be Albert (Wilson), it could be Joe McKnight. We've got three guys that can do it and if that's the case, I think we'll be fine."

Q: How discouraging is it that he got hurt during the first week of practice after limiting his touches in the preseason?

TOUB: "Injuries can happen, somebody can step off the curve and move their ankle. It's happened. Crazy things happen. The good thing is that it's not a severe deal; he's going to be back one way or the other. Whether he's back this week or not, he's going to be back."

Doug Pederson


**Q: What does De'Anthony Thomas' injury do for the lineup this late?

PEDERSON: "Well, you still practice as usual. The next guy steps up and takes it or assumes that role, but you don't make any decisions on a Wednesday or a Thursday as far as your play time or your guys that are going to be up. We just get the next guy ready to go if he can't go."

Q: Who is the next man up?

PEDERSON: "You've got plenty of guys really. You've got A.J. Jenkins. He's a potential guy. Albert (Wilson) has had some reps at that position all through training camp. Junior Hemingway is in that role. There's several guys, Joe McKnight. You heard Coach Toub talk about it. The next guy, we'll get him ready and hopefully all is good and he's back out here."

Q: How long does it take for an offensive line to gel together against pass protection?

PEDERSON: "It takes a little while. It's not an overnight thing. It's not an overnight fix by any means. It starts with Rodney (Hudson); it starts with Alex (Smith) in the middle. The biggest thing with protection is communication and making sure the guys are IDing the right guys and then listening to the calls and just executing your job. You do that and the protection is solid."

Q: What kind of statement do you want your offense to make on Sunday?

PEDERSON: "I want them to come out and be aggressive. I want them to play hard, play fast, be an aggressive, physical group and limit some of the mistakes, but mistakes are going to happen in this game and keeping five guys in a cohesive group is a tough thing to do. But Rodney's a great leader, Alex is a great leader, and they'll do a great job."

Q:  What does it take for someone to be a good leader?

PEDERSON: "You can be a silent leader by your actions on the field. You can also be a vocal leader. A guy that can inspire vocally either on the sideline or out on the field. Most guys are going to feed off the guy that gives it 110% out there on the field at practice every day and then obviously in the game. We've got the guys on the field that can do that, and (we're) looking for some good things from them."

Q: How important is it to have a guy on the offensive side of the ball that is willing his team to win?

PEDERSON: "I think it's very important because when you get into crunch time of the game, you get late in the fourth quarter and you want those guys to rise to the occasion and sort of inspire your football team. Again, the situation dictates itself. You shouldn't need a leader at that time, but if you need it it's a good time to have it."

Q: Everything's a go since preseason is over. How much more fun is that?

PEDERSON: "You still have to game plan because you don't necessarily know what the Titans are going to present because there's a new staff over there. You know Coach Whisenhunt, you know Horton on defense and you kind of have a history with those guys, but again, there's a little bit of uncertainty and you just have to go off of past experiences and lean on that. From an offensive standpoint, you can design a little bit, get a little creative at times. Still, it's the first game of the season. You want to keep your game plan nice and tight and have the ability for your guys to go out, limit the mistakes and play fast."

Q: With Horton, will you see all the zone blitz and crazy blitzes?

PEDERSON: "Well that's been his history and he has got great personnel over there in Tennessee. Obviously we played them last year, different coordinator. They've got great guys on defense, great guys that can rush the passer, got some great man players on the secondary. It's going to be a great challenge for these guys. Again, he's a guy that likes to sort of mix things up and coverages. So, our quarterback has to be sharp and then of course our guys up front have to ID the right linemen, backers or ID the right protection checks and execute your offense."

Q: How do you make sure your receivers are not too aggressive on Sunday when Dwayne Bowe is not in the lineup?

PEDERSON: "You just have got to go play. You've got to be yourself. You can't go be Dwayne Bowe. You can't go be a Jamaal Charles. You just go do your job. If you're Frankie Hammond, go do your job. If you're Donnie, go be Donnie. Don't be somebody you're not."

Q: Looking back last year with the tight ends, did you ever feel like you were limited on what you could do at least in the pass game?

PEDERSON: "The great thing about our situation last year is that we've had all three of these tight ends back to OTAs and really all through training camp with the emergence of Travis Kelce and that group. They've gelled, they became cohesive throughout camp and you saw some of the explosiveness from that group. It's something that we have to continue to build upon. I think tight ends are a great match in this league and we have to continue to find ways to get not only two, but all three of those guys on the field."

Q: Can I take that as a yes that you felt pretty limited? Nothing against those guys.

PEDERSON: "Nothing against them all. You use them differently. You try to use their skillset differently, and you've seen it through preseason. With a guy like Travis Kelce can run, Demetrius Harris can run. These guys can get down the field and stretch the defense. Fasano is a great short to medium run guy, physical at the line of scrimmage. We would like to be able to use all three if we can."

Bob Sutton

Q: Got to be looking forward to seeing Eric Berry finally getting back on the field, what kind of impact will he have? And they were preseason games, but they really showed vulnerability.

SUTTON: "I think anytime you get a player like Eric back, his talent level and the way he's played over the years, it's a great help. He's an experienced player, which has a lot to do with it, that's one of the things. You can never make up for missed practice time, but at least he's played enough football in real situations that hopefully he can walk back in there and do a pretty good job. Got to adapt, I think the biggest thing you still adapt to is the speed of the game. You haven't been out there and even speed in practice is different than speed in the game. I think having EB back is a real settling thing back there. Obviously, gives us a guy that can make big plays, the other part is prevent big plays because he has great range and speed."

Q: Does he look 100%?

SUTTON: "Oh yeah, he looks fine to me and you can ask him, but I haven't noticed anything since he's been back fulltime."

Q: I asked you last week how you can tell when a team was making progress or ready for regular season. Now you've got a couple practices left, but what are your expectations for Sunday for this group based on what you've seen?

SUTTON: "Well, we have a real good group, and I think they are looking forward to playing. One of the things we try to do is have an attack mentality. Not just in the sense of bringing pressure but just in the way we play. A little bit in this game because we don't really have a set body of work that we can look at for Tennessee, and say, 'hey, this is what they really are.' We have our experience with Ken Whisenhunt at San Diego; we have what was seen in preseason. But they are probably finding themselves, their strengths, what they are and how these guys melt in and blend in their system. One of the important things for us is going to be playing the way we want to play and being able to adjust to things as things happen in the game. We tell our players that all the time anyways. One thing about when you're on defense, the enemy has a vote too. They can be doing this all the time, and then in our game they decide not to. You just have to be able to flow and adjust. Try to hopefully build your system so it can do that."

Q: Do you have a sense that your guys are ready to play, more like they did the first half of last season as opposed to the final half?

SUTTON: "Yeah, and I'm really speaking from the mental part and the emotional part, I think they are really looking forward to getting out and playing. The great thing about the opening game is you really never know about your team until this team takes that field and plays. And I've always felt that you really won't even know that until something goes bad. Then you're going to find out what kind of team you have, and in our case what kind of defense you are going to have. That's a big part of this thing. You guys have watched enough NFL football to know there's swings in this game that happen. The teams that can handle them and come right back and not lose a step and not be back on their heels -  to me, they are the ones ultimately that over the course of 16 games are going to be successful.

Q: Josh Mauga says that he's starting this week, what is he going to give you for the short term while (Joe) Mays is out?

SUTTON: "Josh is a guy that has been in the system, been a veteran player, is very versatile, can play at any position, sub or base. So he gives us that. He's a very intense guy; he plays with a lot of passion. He's quiet, but he loves to play the game. I think he's going to bring that and we are fortunate to have a guy like that who can step in when a guy like Joe goes down."

Q: You mentioned your defense playing aggressive. The NFL said they are still going to be calling a lot of tight defensive pass interference. Have you had to adjust how you coach the defensive backs or defense when it comes to how aggressive they can be and trying to play man on some guys?

SUTTON: "Well, no. I think it's really what we've said forever, in every game whether it is before they started enforcing this rule different or emphasizing this rule different, you always tell the players, 'look you have to adjust to how the game is being called.' And that's always been true. If you don't understand the game and these officials and how they are doing this, it can be a tough game for you. So you have to adjust a little bit. The rule really hasn't changed, they've just enforced the rule tighter – and that's fine. So we have to adjust, we haven't changed how we are playing, our techniques aren't going to change. They just have to know down the field five yards is five yards and you've got to play it out. Even before, you might have a disagreement with what you thought was five and what they thought was five, but it is what it is. The players have to adjust and at the same time, you can't get consumed by this. You've got to play and they'll be been under these rules forever. They didn't change one thing about the rules. All we've got to do is say, 'hey, let's do what you've been taught to do the way you're supposed to do it and you're going to be fine.'"

Q: A week ago tonight Phillip Gaines had a night most defensive backs have at some point in their career, the bricks all kind of fell on him. How is he reacting to that?

SUTTON: "I think good, as good as he can. Nobody likes to go through that. That was a tough night for him and that's kind of what I'm talking about in general. When things happen to you out there, you've got to have the ability to bounce back whether that's an individual player, or our unit, or our team. Whatever it is, that's mandatory to me that you have to sustain yourself because we are going to have – all of us, unit, team, individuals – throughout 16 games we are going to have moments like that. Maybe not as many as he had but moments, and you can't lose confidence in yourself or lose confidence in the system, the whole thing. We talk about that all the time. There are a lot of times on a particular defense, somebody's got a real hard job to do. And we always tell them, 'hey, this guy's got the hard job here, fellas.' That's important for people to understand because if that guy gets beat or they run a play that takes advantage of the weaknesses of that defense, don't lose confidence in the defense, and don't lose confidence in the player. And you go forward like that. There's no perfect defense, no perfect offense and you've got to play through a lot of things in this game."

Q: When a team is watching your tape later on down the road from Sunday, what kind of impression do you hope that they get?

SUTTON: "Well, we want to be an all-out aggressive team. Again, I want to put the emphasis, I'm not talking about number of people rushing the quarterback, I'm just saying the way we play the game. We want to play like that and we want to play with a passion you can feel on film.  When we watch film sometimes you can feel that and you're watching somebody else play. I'll say, 'that team plays it the way we'd like to play the game.' That's how the game is supposed to be played. To me that's playing like a Chief, the way we want it done."

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