Head Coach Ben McAdoo
November 17, 2017
Q: Are you optimistic that defensive tackle Damon Harrison and linebacker Devon Kennard will be able to go on Sunday?
A: They were limited. Tomorrow will be a big day for them on launch day. It’s another day to get up to 80 percent anyways. They were both limited in practice on Thursday. It was encouraging to see them out there.
Q: How has the team responded since your meeting on Wednesday?
A: It was a typical game day correction day. We brought them in a little bit early, had a nice, brutal, honest meeting to get things cleaned up. We had a good day at practice on Wednesday and yesterday was a long one, as it typically is. Guys were competitive. We finished ahead of schedule tempo-wise, so it shows you the energy was good and I think we had a good, productive practice.
Q: What kind of feedback did you get on the brutal, honest part?
A: I had a chance to pull some guys aside, I had some one-on-one’s this week with some different players. They were positive.
Q: Left tackle Ereck Flowers hasn’t allowed a sack since Week Two. What has he improved?
A: First Ereck Flowers question I’ve had in a little while. Ereck is a young player who’s improving tremendously. He’s working at his craft. He seems to be taking a step each week. He still has a ways to go fundamentally, just like everybody else playing in this league, and he’s still a young player, so he has a lot of upside.
Q: Has Flowers made adjustments in the way he aligns?
A: He watches film like the other players do. They study themselves and they study the opponents.
Q: Do you think Flowers’ improvements in pass blocking have made his run blocking technique not as good?
A: I don’t think one is tied to the other. You only have so much time on the practice field, I get that part of it. But the left tackle’s number one job is to block the defensive end in pass protection. But he’s a very capable and willing run blocker.
Q: How impressed are you with the way Brett Jones has jumped in at center?
A: Yeah, Brett has always been prepared since the day he walked in the door. Smart player, works hard at his craft. He’s strong in the weight room, the weight room is important to him, and he’s performed at a high level for us. He’s really done a nice job. He’s a good player in the run game and he’s improving in pass protection.
Q: How ready is tackle Chad Wheeler if you need him to step in and play this week?
A: Chad, again, we didn’t have a chance to get him up last week, but he is a young player, played big time college football at a high level and he’s someone that we feel has a high ceiling.
Q: How big of a challenge is it for tackles like Chad Wheeler who have to move from the left side to the right?
A: Yeah, it’s a challenge for all these guys. A lot of times when you bring guys in, they only play tackle. A lot of them only play left tackle in college, just because of the athleticism that it takes to play there in college. A lot of times you like to scoop those guys up and bring them into your program. But, we feel that [Wheeler] has value at multiple positions, maybe inside as well.
Q: What is the hardest part of the transition from playing left tackle to playing right?
A: You’ve got to flip everything. You’ve got to flip all your fundamentals, you’ve got to flip everything mentally. So, there are a lot of challenges there, but it can be done.
Q: We saw you made tight end Evan Engram a game captain this week. What goes into that decision?
A: Evan has come in, he’s done everything that we’ve asked of him so far. He works hard, loves football and it shows.
Q: How do you make the determination who the three game captains will be each week?
A: We go through the roster each week and pull guys who we feel were working the way that we wanted to work, who were performing at a high level and are being good examples.
Q: What made cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie stand out last week to get the honor of game captain?
A: Yeah, DRC, we talked about it in the room that we don’t hold grudges. DRC came back from his time off, his suspension, and has responded in a great way, a great manner. He’s been a great example to the players, has been vocal, he’s been playing at a high level with energy and it was great to see.
Q: Do you think the ‘If’ players you mentioned a few weeks ago – tight end Evan Engram, wide receiver Sterling Shepard, defensive end Avery Moss and defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson – have responded to you calling on them to be more of leaders on the team?
A: I think they’ve played well, I think they’re young players working to improve their craft. They’re focused on leading by example. They may not be the most talkative guys, but you’ve seen them step up in their own way lately.
Q: What would be your message to fans who are on the fence about coming to this Sunday’s game?
A: We want your support. Come out, watch a great show, we plan on playing great football on Sunday and getting a win.
Q: What do you expect from the fans on Sunday?
A: The fans have been nothing but great. Our players want support, we need to give the fans something to cheer about.
Q: Linebacker J.T. Thomas is eligible to return from Injured Reserve next week, is he ready and working towards that?
A: That’s a question for medical that I’m not ready to have yet.
Q: So, that hasn’t even been discussed?
A: I’m not ready to have it right here, yet.