Wide Receivers Coach Tyke Tolbert -- September 20, 2019
Q: With so many injuries, what is it like trying to balance getting different guys ready each week?
A: As I told you guys before since I have been here, whenever guys come in, we teach the whole concept of plays, not just the position. Thatís been very beneficial to us as an organization, to have guys that if a guy goes down we can plug a guy in no matter the position X, F or Z. Being that we teach it that way, it makes it easier if guys get nicked up or miss time, whatever the case may be, to go in there and play any position we have out there.
Q: Is it impressive that TJ Jones can be released and then when you bring him back you can throw him in there and he can do what he did for you?
A: Impressive to some yes, but not surprising. TJ is a smart guy. When he first got here during training camp he picked up the offense very well and he made a lot of plays for us. Iím excited to get TJ and get him back into the fold and make some plays, it doesnít surprise me. Iím glad heís here now and hopefully he can help us win ball games.
Q: Not just anybody can do that?
A: Itís tough, but again having TJ here before and teaching him the whole concept when he first got here was a credit to him. He studied his stuff, and he was able to learn and be able to soak it all in if you will. Heís one of the guys Iím talking about, you can plug TJ in any position on the field and he wonít blink, he will go out there and perform.
Q: He earned himself more playing time after last week?
A: He earned himself an opportunity when he was here and more or less it just depends on how the game is going, how the flow is going. Whoever is dressing is going to play and you are going to play a lot of plays. To say he got himself more opportunities, I could say yes but it just depends on how the flow of the game is going, what personnel we have in the game. We can go fullback, 21 personnel, we can go 12, 11, it just depends on the flow of the game.
Q: Whatís the challenge going against that defense and that secondary? It seems to be much improved over the last year?
A: Weíre all professionals and everybody has good players on every team. Iím not so concerned about who weíre playing against. Iím more concerned about our guys, getting them lined up, seeing whoís out there healthy and going out there and making plays. It doesnít matter whoís out there covering. Iím just concerned about us lining up right, executing the play thatís called and when we do that, weíll have success on offense.
Q: How big is it to get (Sterling Shepard) Shep back?
A: Itís great. Anytime you can add another playmaker, a dynamic playmaker like Shep, to get back out there for us, itís going to help us. Weíre excited to have him back.
Q: Darius Slayton has obviously missed a lot of time here. When you do get him back, how confident are you that he will step right in and contribute?
A: Iím confident because heís in every meeting, heís in every practice and he hears all of the corrections from other receivers. I ask him more questions in our meetings than probably anybody just to make sure heís on top of everything so heís on it mentally. Heís out there running around pretty well right now. Weíre excited to get him back and see if heís ready to go on Sunday. He has a dimension in our room, on our team, that really no one else has and thatís that speed. If you line up our entire team on the goal line and tell them to run a race, Slayton will probably win 10 out of 10 times. He has that speed, that dimension, that weíve been missing. Hopefully we can get him back as quickly as possible and get him in the game so he can make some big plays for us.
Q: How much are you looking forward to seeing how that translates on the field when he actually gets on the field?
A: Iím always excited when you have speed on the field and to see it translate to big plays. Iím always excited about that.
Q: How much do you feel, for health purposes, that you need to sort of ease him in? Or are you at the point now where you can just go with him?
A: I have full confidence in our training staff, so when they tell me a guy is ready to go full speed, Iím putting him out there. Iíve been working well with (Head Athletic Trainer) Ronnie (Barnes) and those guys. Theyíve been keeping me up to breast on how heís doing, how heís rehabbing and as far as percentages or plays in practices (that he can run) throughout the week. Weíre excited to have him back out there. Once he gets out there, heíll be 100%. Iíll have full confidence in him to go out there and do that. Iím not concerned about him doing anything else, because if it happens, it happens. Weíll put somebody else in there like weíve been doing.
Q: Itís an interesting dynamic with the receivers with Daniel (Jones) taking this weekís start at quarterback. You have some guys that played a lot with him in the summer and developed chemistry. Then you have guys like Shep and I know itís not your position but Evan (Engram), guys who didnít play with him in the summer. Do you guys, as coaches, kind of focus in and do you like what youíve seen from them and try to build the chemistry, whether itís guys that know him or guys who really are getting used to him for the first time?
A: Yeah, thatís why they call it a practice. We go out there and we practice. We practice all different situations, whether itís seven-on-seven, individual, team or team pads. We get those reps during that point of time. Again, these guys, theyíve been around him a little bit. Theyíve been around Daniel enough where they have some pretty good chemistry with him. Daniel is a true pro. Heíll get out there and heíll throw it to the open guy, and the open guy will catch it and make plays for us. Iím not concerned about how many reps Daniel is getting with anybody because of the fact that theyíre all out there every day anyway. So, Iím not too concerned about that.