Initial comments ...
"We're excited for practice today. On the injury front, Dre (CB Dre Kirkpatrick) and William Jackson, right now, will be week-to-week. I wouldn't expect them to play in this game, so we'll take it week-to-week with those guys. Will with a shoulder (injury), and Dre with a knee (injury). It'll be the next guys up at those positions, which is exciting to see how some guys respond. Some guys will get some opportunities, and I'm excited for those guys to step up and show us what they're made of. Carl (DE Carl Lawson) and Carlos (DE Carlos Dunlap) will be day-to-day this week. We'll see how they progress through the week. Andre (OT Andre Smith) will be day-to-day as well. We'll see how he does. We put Kerry Wynn on IR with a concussion, and Cordy Glenn is cleared to return to practice today, so we will get him to practice and see how that goes before he's cleared to play in a game. That's all the news I have on that front. We'll get A.J. (WR A.J. Green) going through the week again; I don't want to make any predictions for Sunday. He's progressing, and we'll get a chance to see how he responds this week before we make any decisions on him."
CB Darqueze Dennard was cleared to practice today, after spending the first six weeks on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list. You guys can call him up to the active roster at any point over the next 21 days. But given the injuries at his position, do you anticipate him returning to the lineup sooner rather than later?
"We'll start the 21-day window today. We'll practice him this week and see how he responds. I don't want to make any predictions until I get the chance to see him practice. The hope would be that he responds well and that he will play in the games. He certainly has a lot of experience that he would bring to the table. If he can (play Sunday), we would have until Saturday (to activate him). We get the chance to see him practice this week, and that's encouraging. He feels good. He feels as good as he's felt in a long time, so it'll be good to get Darqueze up and running. This will be the first time I've gotten to see him practice, so that'll be good."
Do you expect Green to be a full participant in practice this week?
"I don't expect A.J. to go full today (in practice). We'll see. We'll progress him day-to-day and see where it goes. I don't want to make any predictions."
With both of your starting CBs going down due to injuries, how do you fight through that adversity while seeking your first win?
"It's an awesome opportunity for guys that, a couple weeks ago, weren't getting any reps – they were, maybe, on the scout team. We get a chance to see how the whole unit and the whole team responds. We're going to find the positive in this thing. It happens around the league. I see lots of guys going down. Lots of teams deal with injuries. We're going to take a great approach to this. I'm really excited to see how some guys step up and respond to that unit and help us there. That'll be a good opportunity for those guys."
What is your evaluation of OT/G Fred Johnson, who was acquired on waivers from Pittsburgh yesterday?
"There are a lot of moving pieces right now (on the offensive line). It'll be good to get another big body up there. We'll see what he's made of. It'll be a good opportunity for him. He's a rookie. He's been eager to learn. He's been good to meet with today. I'm excited to see what he can do at practice."
What did you think of Jaguars QB Gardner Minshew as you were going through the draft process? Did you expect he'd have success like this?
"I don't know what my expectations of him were, quite honestly. He was a winner at Washington State. That's important. He's certainly brought some juice to that team right now, and brought some juice to that fan base. You hear about it all the time, whether you want to or not. It's all over the place. You need to be weary of those guys. They make plays and they keep things alive. You watch that Carolina game – he really drives them down there and they had three shots at the end zone somehow. All sorts of crazy stuff happened. You think he's going to make it work at some point. He's played well. He's a backup that's gotten an opportunity, and he's played well."
What are your thoughts on the prevalence of backup quarterbacks starting games in the NFL this season?
"Truthfully, you'd have to remind me who the backups are that are playing. (Panthers QB) Kyle Allen shows up on our tape a lot, because we've had some crossover with Carolina. He's the only one that comes to my mind. Pittsburgh has been dealing with some (injuries), obviously. I think these guys are ready to come in. A lot of these teams are playing in the (shotgun formation) now. Historically, 10 years ago, college teams were in the (shotgun), and quarterbacks came into the NFL and they were immediately put under center. That took some time to get used to. Now, that's not really the case. Teams run a lot more out of the 'gun. These college guys are comfortable going in right away. A lot of NFL teams are stealing (the run-pass option scheme) from college. These guys come in and they feel like they're in a good rhythm right away. I really can't speak to what other teams do to get them ready, but that probably has a little bit to do with it."
How do you plan for Minshew's rushing capabilities?
"Do you remember what it was like to be 22 (laughs)? You could run around a little bit. It was fun. I think that's part of it. His 40 (-yard dash time) probably wasn't what (Ravens QB) Lamar Jackson's was, but there's an element to it where he finds a way to keep plays alive, and you see that. He does a nice job of that."
Is the concussion protocol completely out of your hands? Do the doctors tell you when someone can play?
"Yes. It's in their hands."
Is it frustrating having a player complete the concussion protocol in two days, like WR Alex Erickson, while another, like Glenn, takes two months?
"Frustrated? No. It is what it is. You need to make the best of the situation. There are plenty of other guys that are trying to get ready, and we just see what everyone's made of."
What do you get out of CB B.W. Webb?
"He competes every day. His attitude is outstanding. His leadership is outstanding. He leads by example. He gives you all he has. He's one of those guys you want to go to battle with."
Dennard has played primarily as a slot CB throughout his career. Given all of this team's injuries at CB, would you be willing to give him reps on the outside rather than in the slot?
"We'll have to see. Everything is on the table right now. You are right. Historically, he's played a lot out of the slot, so we'll see where he's most comfortable over these next two days and make determinations from there. We'll see. Right now at DB, we have a lot of moving pieces, so we'll sort them out over these next two days and figure out what the best options are for us."
How could Dennard's physicality help you on the perimeter?
"We'll find out today. For me, I get the chance to see him live and in person. His experience – that's significant, bringing that to the table. It's not like he's just coming off an injury, he's just now eligible to come back. He's felt good. He's been running around and moving, so now we get the chance to see him with pads on against an offense, and see how quickly he picks up the schemes. He's a smart guy. He's excited. He has a little pep in his step. He knows this is the first day he gets the chance to show what he's made of. We're excited for him."
Does S Brandon Wilson have enough versatility to play cornerback?
"Right now, we need him at safety. Shawn (S Shawn Williams) keeps battling through (injuries). Right now, (Wilson) has done a nice job back there for us."
What is your reaction to Jacksonville trading away CB Jalen Ramsey?
"We won't play him this week (laughs)."
Does this team's proximity to the bye week factor into Green's return?
"The good news is we don't have to make a roster move to get him (onto the active roster). He's up. The important thing is that we want him for more of our games than not. 'Careful' is not the right word, but we just want to make sure he's fully ready. We'll make the decision that's in the best interest of keeping him healthy and getting him to play a lot of snaps for us this year. If it's this weekend, great. If it's next weekend, great. If it's after the bye week, great. Truthfully, we just need to see him in practice to know where he's at."
Do you anticipate Green's practices being progressively more strenuous as this week unfolds?
"It'll be a progression. Again, let's just take it today and see where he's at today, and then we'll address it tonight and figure out what we want to do tomorrow. Truthfully, that's where we're at. We're just going to take it day by day and see what tomorrow brings once we finish up this practice."
What conversations have you had with defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo regarding fixing the run defense?
"On the big runs you see, we do need to play with better leverage. We have guys assigned to turn plays back, and we just need to be in the right spot. We try to address that in every way we can. At some point, the guys need to step up, and they need to do it. We need to play with physicality on the edge, they need to set the edge and turn plays back inside. It's everybody doing their job. Sometimes 10 guys do their job. With some of the quarterbacks we've played, if one guy is one step to hesitant, it's a tough play. That's not to make excuses. We need to improve. We need to get better there so we don't give up as many yards in the run game as we've been giving up."
Has it been frustrating that opposing teams have consistently exploited the edges?
"There are a lot of things that we have to improve on. You can categorize a lot of them as 'frustrating' when you're 0-6. You can throw a lot of stats at us. You can throw a lot of history lessons at us. The bottom line is that we have to win a game, and we have to play better. We know that. We have to win a game. It's a motivated group right now, it really is. I'm excited. I can't wait to see how we respond, because every week is a new opportunity to show what we're made of, and we're really being tested right now. We have a really good group in there, and I'm excited to see how they respond this week."
How tough is it to put a roster together due to the seemingly longer injury recovery periods in recent years?
"You take it day by day. 'Who's ready to go today? Who's ready to go tomorrow? Who's going to play on Sunday?' We keep challenging guys that didn't think they were going to have an opportunity. 'You've been waiting for an opportunity. Take advantage of it. Show us what you've got.' Like Auden Tate. Injuries happen. Auden plays about every single snap. What does he do? He takes advantage of it. Stanley Morgan. Damion Willis. Guys got hurt. They took advantage of it, and they're on the roster. Defensively, there's going to be a lot of cases of that right now with where we're at. You see these guys work hard all offseason, and now they get an opportunity. I can't wait to see what they do on Sunday, to be quite honest with you."
Is it realistic to expect OT Cordy Glenn to play on Sunday against Jacksonville?
"We need to see where he's at today. It's his first day with his pads on. Again, he's been cleared to practice. We'll take him through practice these next few days and see if he's ready to be cleared for a game. That's where we'll take it. It's hard to predict right now."
Is Dennard closer to a return than Glenn?
"We had to make the decision on Darqueze to put him on PUP. He would have been healthy quicker. We just didn't get the chance to see him during training camp. I think he's healthy. We just need to see him in action."
Could OT Jonah Williams return this year?
"That one I really don't want to predict. It's a significant rehab that's going to take him into December. We'll see where he's at in a couple weeks. Right now, I wouldn't make a determination on that. He's doing all the things that he's supposed to be doing. He's awesome in the meetings. I see him in there working out. He's eating the right way. He's doing everything he can to (prepare for) his opportunity when it does come, whether it's the end of this season, whether it's next year, or whatever it is. He's doing all the right things right now. I'm very encouraged by the things he can control."
Would you consider putting Jackson or Kirkpatrick on Reserve/Injured?
"Not at this moment. We'll see where it goes. They're week-to-week right now.
Do you feel there are players outside of this locker room that you could bring in to improve your team?
"That's not really a thing for me to talk about right now. We've got these guys in the locker room that we believe in, and are working their tails off. I've seen a lot of these guys work since April that didn't think they were going to get many opportunities, and now they're getting them. I'm really motivated and excited to see these guys get a chance to prove themselves."
Is it encouraging that G Alex Redmond came back and provided physicality right away?
"He brought really good energy. Not just in his style of play in the game, but on the sidelines. The guy loves playing football. He loves talking about football, and he loves beating people up a little bit (laughs). That's a lot of fun to be around right now. I'm really encouraged by what he showed in the game and on the sidelines as we've gone through the week. He's done a nice job for us."
It's good to still see a smile on your face…
"Yeah (laughs). Still living."
How tough has the recent stretch of football been?
"It's been tough. It's one of those things where we didn't expect it to look like this coming into the year, but it's where we are. For us, each game is important, and each game matters. We're trying to do everything we can to get our first win, and we understand that. Our preparation is not changing. Everybody is doing every little thing they can do to make it as successful as we can on Sunday. You still go to work, and you still love this game. It has been tough, though."
What kind of stabilizing force has C Trey Hopkins been?
"Trey has been great. He's one of those guys that has earned everything he's gotten. For him to be where he is in his career, he's a guy that understands exactly what we're doing. Obviously with the quarterback and center, you have to have a good working relationship, and we definitely have that. Trey has been great for us, and like you said, he's been that solid guy up front."
Have you had a conversation with him aside from football? Is he a unique guy?
"He is. He's got some things outside of here that he's into, and that's a good thing. He's definitely unique."
How would you describe the Jacksonville Jaguars' front seven?
"It's a good front with the guys they have – Calais Campbell, and a couple of the (defensive) ends that they have. They're good, so we have to be stout up front."
How different can the offense look when WR A.J. Green returns?
"I mean, you're getting the best player on our team back. Not only on our team, but one of the best players in this league. He can definitely change some things. We'll accept him with open arms whenever that time comes."
Do you remember the last time you completed a pass to him?
"It's been a long time. It's getting close to a year."
Does this team need some outside help?
"That's one thing that the organization has to figure out. For us, we worry about the guys that are here. Everybody is going to go to war with each other, and go to battle with each other. That's one really good thing about this locker room. Everybody is really sticking together."
How would you assess the Jaguars talent on the defensive line? Do they have a lot of good players?
"They do, and we touched on it. Their front is really good, and they have a lot of talent up there. We understand that, and we know that. We have to be ready for it."
Is it surprising that their defense has generated only two turnovers so far this season?
"Yeah. If you look at them based on who they have, you wouldn't expect them to only have two turnovers. But, that's just how it's happened for them."