HEAD COACH BRUCE ARIANS
(On managing QB Tom Brady's days off and if they are predetermined)
"It's pretty predetermined. It's the same protocol we pretty much used with Carson Palmer and some other veteran guys. You try to do back-to-back days. About three or four guys we took down today so they get a double day [off] and should be fresh as daisies on Sunday."
(On how QB Blaine Gabbert performed and if it was a 'hard sell' giving Brady the day off)
"I thought Blaine looked really good. Very good command – he knows where the ball is going. Guys dropped some balls on him today, boy. He threw a couple dimes they dropped. I've got all the confidence in the world in him. And, no – it was an easy sell for Tom. I think maybe he was shocked that I approached him about it – same with Gronk, JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul) and Lavonte [David] today."
(On if there is an update on the health status of WR John Franklin III)
"Not yet. His MRI will be this afternoon, but it's not looking very good."
(On the performance of kickers Matt Gay and Elliott Fry in training camp)
"It's an ongoing competition and we'll add them up at the end. They both hit the game-winners in pressure situations today. It's a shame we don't have preseason games to throw them out there and find out, but Elliott's kicking the ball extremely well."
(On which side has performed better between the offensive and defensive lines)
"I don't think there's been a winner [on] either side – they've been competing extremely hard. It's a tough run defense, but we've run the ball [well] at times. I was not pleased with it a couple days ago. But again, our pass rush is good. It's been a great ebb and flow. Like I told the guys, in a real world we would've already played Pittsburgh, practiced against Tennessee and we'd be practicing against Jacksonville this [coming] week. But, we're still hitting each other and that gets really old, fast. Each guy knows each guys' moves and sometimes it gets to be counterproductive."
(On the importance of the kickers performing at Raymond James Stadium in the scrimmages)
"They've been over there a couple of times and Chris Boniol charts all that stuff. It's going to be important for them when we go over there and scrimmage and have the live kicking stuff. We're trying to put as much pressure on them as we can in all our kicking drills, which we haven't done in the past."
(On how QB Tom Brady has made the defense better and how he feels about the national media attention focusing on the offense so heavily)
"I think Tom has made them better in the way that he's making them cover every zone and be very, very honest. You can't cheat or he'll find it and he gets the ball out of his hand quick. It's the same thing we're going to see with Drew [Brees] and Teddy [Bridgewater] – the ball is coming out and they know where it's going, so it's been real good for them to see it. I think the National Football League 20 years ago started turning towards being an offensive league. Each year, there's more and more emphasis on not allowing contact on receivers, so it is what it is. Fans want to see points."
(On how CB Parnell Motley has performed in his first week in full pads)
"Like I said yesterday, he's had a great camp as a DB. For him to get in that lineup, it's going to have to be on special teams. He's working his tail off – if we can find a spot for him on special teams. But, he's shown a lot of promise as a corner. He's got good hands and he doesn't drop any interceptions, that's for sure."
(On how QB Blaine Gabbert has developed in Arians' offensive system)
"He was having a great camp last year when he got injured. He played really well for us in Arizona. When we called on him, he beat two playoff teams that year. It's really his third year [in our offensive system] because I haven't gone anywhere, but he's a very, very solid guy that can make every single throw. Early in his career I think he had four head coaches and seven offensive coordinators in seven years. That's not a good recipe for success for a quarterback. He knows where the ball is going every time and why it's going there."
(On Gabbert's best attribute as a quarterback at this point in his career)
"He's got a great arm and he's very athletic."
(On whether RB Ke'Shawn Vaughn will be ready to contribute Week 1 against New Orleans)
"Maybe as a kick returner. We've got some guys that are capable kick returners. Antoine Winfield (Jr.) was a heck of a punt returner in college, so he'll get a look. We were going to look at [John] Franklin – he was a heck of a kickoff returner until he got injured today. Ray Calais has a good résumé as a kickoff returner. Punt returner is so much more important because they're going to kick those [kickoffs] out of bounds – there are very few kickoffs returned anymore. But when they do, it's going to be a high pooch kick and you've got to get it out to the 25 [yard line]. That job is not as important as the punt return job."
(On if he plans on attempting to get WR Mike Evans more touches inside of 10 yards from the line of scrimmage)
"Well, he's not the best screen runner. He's a long strider [then] he gets rolling. He does his most damage down there, so no sense pounding a square peg in a round hole and try making him a run-and-catch guy from the line of scrimmage. We have many better guys than that. Mike does his thing and it's pretty damn good. There aren't many like him."
(On if he plans on putting veteran players or a quarantined quarterback on the practice squad)
"I think when you look at the roster – the way it is right now – there's possibly a couple veterans that would be on the practice squad. [It's] mostly going to be young players – keep all the veterans active until those young guys are ready to play. You never know who's going to be available to put on the practice squad, so you wait and see. If door number two is a better option, you go to door number two. I think it's a great rule, so we'll wait and see how that plays out."
DEFENSIVE LINE COACH KACY RODGERS
(On how he keeps the defensive line motivated to improve after its strong 2019 season)
"We just have to remember every year is a new year. Last year is gone and we're starting all over from fundamentals. It's a different year – last year you had OTAs, you had a mini camp, you had four preseason games to work out the kinks. We don't have that this year – we've got a new normal right now. We're starting over. Just forget last year – we've got to start all over."
(On the next level for DL Vita Vea and if he's becoming more of a technician in the defense)
"I think you just hit the nail on the head when you say technician. You described all the physical attributes, now he has to just continue to become the ultimate professional and become an expert at his craft. [The] physical tools we have there, continue to work on his technique and take the challenge of being one of the biggest guys to play [on] third down in the NFL. Not many guys in the NFL over 340 pounds play on third down, so he's constantly perfecting his technique."
(On DL Ndamukong Suh's impact on the interior of the defensive line)
"He would tell you he's very disappointed because, like everyone else, he wants the big sack numbers and everything. But, last year he had a lot of quarterback hits and you had a couple of dynamic people on the edges. What he was able to do on the inside was force some things. He still gets a lot of attention inside, so his presence helps open it up for everybody. Right now, we're preaching unselfish. We just want the sack – we don't care who gets it or who makes the plays. We just want to make plays. From that standpoint he's been really good and valuable. The guy – throughout his career – gets some shots here and there, but he's a very unselfish player."
(On DL Rakeem Nuñez-Roches' performance through the first portion of training camp)
"As we stand today, I would probably say he was most improved so far [from] what I've seen coming back and the brief amount of work we've had together. The way we're going to use Nacho (Nuñez -Roches) this year, he had to bulk up some. We had some changes in our line and where he fits with the pieces we got, he's going to have to really take some of the load [and] share some of the load with Vita [Vea] on the inside. He needed to bulk up and he took the challenge. So far, he's making some pretty good strides at practice."
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN WILLIAM GHOLSTON
(On what we he worked on over the offseason)
"Actually, I did work on some stuff specifically. I took everything out of my exit meeting and I tried to implement it into my workouts. I tried to put on enough weight to stay consistently above 300 pounds. I tried to work on my lateral movement. I tried to work on my pass rush. That's really what I focused on is making my body right, my pass rush and my lateral movement.
(On his early impressions of QB Tom Brady)
"He's definitely a professional. You can see it in the way he carries himself on and off the field, even in the locker room. I've had a couple conversations with him. He's a cool guy to be a Michigan guy. I like seeing him toss the ball around."
(On what DL Ndamukong Suh brings to the team with his continued production at his age)
"It's fascinating. It's amazing the stuff that he does, not just with his game play, but with his knowledge of the game that he has, playing with a tremendous amount of violence and being able to show us exactly how to do it. There are certain situations where I come to lean on him when I need to work on my techniques to see if he would do the same thing. I see the younger guys do the same thing. I think that's why they're so sped up to be rookies because they're not playing rookies right now in practice. The mental aspect, the physical aspect – he's an all-around good player and a good leader in the room."
(On playing next to OLB Shaquil Barrett)
"From a defensive perspective, it was beautiful. It was art. If you watched the way he rushed, it was beautiful. What did he have – nine sacks in the first four games? That's like video game stats. To be able to watch him and know the type of guy that he is, know the work ethic and how hard he worked on his rush moves to get there and be able to contribute – it was just an amazing thing to see."
(On DL Vita Vea's progression)
"It was like a night and day performance to see his first game – the first game he played was in Chicago – to see that rep and compare it to the first game we played last year, it was definitely night and day. This year I think he's going to be a complete and total monster and wreak havoc and total devastation when he's ready to go."
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN NDAMUKONG SUH
(On his interactions with QB Tom Brady)
"My interactions with Tom have been great. We spoke right when I signed back and exchanged some messages. Then obviously, I've gotten the chance to catch up quite a bit [with him about] our rivalries. It seems like every single year I've been in this league, whether it was the Super Bowl in 2018 or in years previous, I've always played against him. We've had a lot of interactions, not always on the positive side because I'm usually chasing him down or hitting him, so we get to laugh about that. Truthfully, I'm interested to continue to learn from a guy like that understanding his particular pedigree. I think even though I'm in my 11th year – I've always had a mindset of wanting to learn from others. I think he's one great guy, as well as Gronk (Rob Gronkowski) and some other guys around our particular building. [We've had] good interactions."
(On the expectations for this season compared to last year)
"We had high expectations last year to make it to the playoffs. I think they're at the same level in my particular opinion. You have to make it to the playoffs first and foremost. We have the same mindset of obviously taking care of our division first, and then our conference and then being able to go from there. The expectations of seeing that on paper you have some great talent means absolutely nothing – you've got to put in the work [and] you've got to understand what it's going to take. I think guys got to see a good taste of that, especially the young guys, of how close we were. It's a matter of now putting those final finishing touches to the piece of the puzzle, so you can give yourselves an opportunity to get into the playoffs. When you have been to the playoffs – at least for myself – it's any man's game."
(On what he feels is the strength of the defense and how he feels about the defense overall heading into the season)
"I think our strength will continue to be stopping the run, but we have to prove that each and every play. That starts up front with myself, Vita [Vea and] Will Gholston, as well as the linebackers, Lavonte [David] and Devin [White]. We have to set the tempo each and every day in practice and have that translate into particular games. Obviously, our young guys in the secondary – we've got some guys returning going on their second and third years and a little bit more – we expect for them to continue to play at a high level. They're also going to come into the run game, as well, because we saw how we were attacked. We're going to understand how to adjust to those particular pieces and how we can all help each other. The more they help us, the more we can help them, especially when it gets to the passing game. We know that Coach Bowles is obviously a guy that's not going to hold back by any means. We're going to pressure people, so we've got to be prepared [and] be on point. [We've got to] understand the way that the way to execute is knowing exactly what you need to do – as well as the man next to you – and being able to communicate and understand when you have changes so everyone is on the same page."
(On NFL players presenting a united front toward social justice)
"I think we've always had a united front. I think it's been voiced a lot louder in this particular day and age just because of social media and all of the different particular outlets that we have. You definitely take great pride in being part of this association and the guys have handled themselves and have been doing a lot of positive things when it comes to the George Floyd situation, the Breonna Taylor situation, so forth and so on. For me personally, I took part in marches and different things. I'm not always the person to be in the forefront, but I understand the weight that I can particularly carry. One of the marches I went in was with one of my training partners, who was a guy named Brennan Scarlett, who plays for the Texans. I went to support him, and his particular cause, and I know I can have a positive effect on it. I'm more of a person that wants to be behind the scenes and actually create live change as opposed to just bringing awareness all the time. There's different ways that people have been able to find success and ways to bring awareness and to each their own as long as it's being done in a positive way."