Interim Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo
December 15, 2017
Opening Statement: We were inside again today. We were hoping to get out. I thought the grounds crew did a great job yesterday getting that snow off of there. The attempt was to get outside, but the field was a little bit too hard. I didnít want to take a chance of somebody getting hurt. So we were inside, we slowed it down just a little bit. Just want to make sure we are fresh enough to play on Sunday. I thought we had a pretty good practice. Guys will get their bodies and minds right now and weíll move forward and play the Eagles on Sunday. So with that, Iíll open it up.
Q: Itís not looking good for Landon (Collins)?
A: He didnít go today, but we got a little work out of him yesterday. Heís a tough guy, so you know him. He wants to play. Weíll see what happens when we get to Sunday because tomorrow is just a jog through.
Q: How short are you at that position with Nat (Berhe) ruled out?
A: Yeah, we may have to do something. Weíll get it figured out, weíll get it figured out.
Q: What are some of the most important avenues to take with athletes in this day and age in regard to a ďme versus teamĒ mentality?
A: I think what youíre asking is the makeup of the younger individuals today?
Q: Yeah, without using the term millennials.
A: It is all about buying in. In this business, I think what youíre talking about really helps when you have veterans on your team that can talk about how itís done and preferably somebody thatís a veteran that has been on a championship team or somewhere where they had a lot of success and they can feed to the young guys that this is how you do or donít do things. I think more than anything when a young player can get it from another player, thatís valuable.
Q: Is that out of the hands of the coach?
A: Well, I think coaches are mentors and good examples. Iím going back to when I was 22 and 23 years old, a long time ago. But I think a peer that I thought went through the same thing, nobody would ever listen to their mom or dad, right? I was bad that way, too. I do remember older guys that were either in the same or the next class up, respecting them and looking up to them, and certainly if they said something, it would mean a lot. So I think thereís a lot of that, I think itís helpful.
Q: Is there more motivation to let the young guys play more and sit JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul) and OV (Olivier Vernon)?
A: Yeah, we are going to try to do that. We are going to try to get that done.
Q: How do you think the guys are responding to the second consecutive Friday practice?
A: Good. Itís a little different for them, but the feedback has been good. Iíd like the result on Sunday to say, hey, itís because of that, but that doesnít always happen. I think the guys have prepared well. Today, the execution was good, the work was good. Iím always looking for little things like dropped balls. I think we only had one. Guys didnít have pre-snap penalties, I think thatís important on a Friday. And then tomorrow we will just polish it up a little bit and hopefully weíll be ready to go.
Q: Have you made a decision on Romeo (Okwara)?
A: We probably wonít do anything transaction-wise this week, but obviously next week weíll have to decide.
Q: Why not? Whereís he at? Is he not ready?
A: Right now if we did it, doing my numbers in my head now, he might be deactivated because heís not up and ready, so the other guys right now have been getting all of the reps underneath their belt. Itís been a long time since Romeo has been out there. Weíll see where we go next week.
Q: Eli Apple and Landon Collins
A: Everybody was waiting to see who was going to ask me that question.
Q: Do you feel the need to get involved at all?
A: No, I really donít. We are a family. There are going to be disagreements in families and grown men. Iím banking on it will all get worked out.
Q: Have you seen Landon grow as a leader?
A: Yeah, I have truly. It might have been back in training camp I saw signs of that and I went over and told him. I think itís really good when a young guy grows in whatever area that we give him feedback so they understand. Every time that Iíve done that, Iíve found that they then make another leap. Landon is not a rah-rah, vocal guy. I think more than anything, Landon leads with how hard he works, how much he loves the game of football. He truly does. He loves the game of football and wants to be around it, wants to do anything involved with it and I respect that. I think the other players recognize that and a lot of respect comes with that.
Q: Do you see Landon Collins emerging to be a captain some day for this franchise?
A: Sure, down the road. I think we got a pretty good defensive captain right now in Snacks (Damon Harrison), but oh yeah, Iím with you. He has that kind of makeup. If your best leaders are also your hardest workers in this game of football, that tends to permeate throughout the whole team and makes everybodyís level go up and heís one of those.
Q: Are you able to say if Eli Apple will be active?
A: Weíll see where the roster goes right now. You asked about Romeo, Iím kind of doing the numbers of the 46 and itís flowing, but weíll figure it out by Sunday. And I certainly would not want to say anything now anyway to the opposition.
Q: If you have to talk to Collins on Sunday and tell him that he canít play medically, how much of a dilemma is that for you knowing it hurts him when he doesnít play.
A: Because we want him to play and we know what heís like, and yeah, I get it. I think first, you have to be concerned about the health of the player and Iíll talk to Landon about that when I know more from Ronnie and exactly what his status is. I donít want him to re-injure himself, I donít want to put him in a situation where it might be harmful going forward. So if we have to, if we get to that point, Iíll explain it to him that way.