Head Coach Pat Shurmur -- October 30, 2019
Q: Your excitement about Leonard Williams coming here, what youíve seen from him in the past and how he can help this defense?
A: Yeah, Iím very excited. Weíve added an outstanding player to our defensive line. Iíve been very impressed by how hard he plays. I think he has an impact on the game in the run and the pass game. By all accounts, heís a great guy and a great teammate. Everything Iíve seen to this point, weíre really thrilled that heís with us.
Q: How quickly can he get (up to speed)?
A: Very quickly. Very quickly. A day like today is a good thing because we have an extra practice day, and so we can get him up and running and get him ready to go for Monday.
Q: Does the fact that he played in a 3-4 with Todd Bowles and the Jets, kind of similar concepts to what you guys do, does that kind of make it a little easier for him to move over?
A: I think so. Heís played on the center, heís played on the guard, heís played on the tackle, heís played on the tight end. Heís multiple from that standpoint. He has great length, he plays extremely hard, he uses his hands well. Again, because heís been in a kind of a five on the line system in the past, itíll help him get up to speed quicker.
Q: How confident are you that heíll be here beyond these next eight games?
A: Iím very confident. I donít see why he wouldnít be. We brought him in with the idea that he was going to get out there and play and be with us.
Q: I mean beyond these eight games.
A: Yeah, I canít speak to that. Iím confident he will be because I really liked him as a player before we brought him in. I think we added an outstanding player to our group. As a coach, I look at these deals one at a time, and itís a good deal for us, especially from my perspective.
Q: Have you had a chance to talk to him, let him know what youíre expecting and just getting the chance to meet him?
A: Oh yeah, sure. Yesterday, he came in and we had a good, long talk. Obviously, we did our research on him, and then spent some time again with him today out here at practice. Like I said, weíre going to try to get him up to speed as quickly as possible, and weíre thrilled that heís here.
Q: You mention his versatility. What are your early thoughts on how you guys might use him from a scheme standpoint?
A: Weíre going to use him where we see fit. Heíll definitely be in that rotation immediately, playing, as I mentioned, either on the center, on the guard, the tackle or the tight end. I think thatís where his versatility will help us.
Q: As a coach, do you notice a couple of days before the trade deadline and a couple of days after, thereís a little bit of a difference? Maybe guys were on edge or not on edge? Just maybe thereís a relief today that there wasnít last week?
A: No, I donít. I think a lot of this whole trade deadline is talked about outside our building. We sort of live in the real world, and guys just go about their business and come to work. There are times when you just have to wait to hear what happens. Year after year after year, everyone is talking about Jackrabbit (Janoris Jenkins), and heís still here. Again, we try to live in the real world when it comes to that kind of stuff. I think our players do a good job of that.
Q: When it comes to the Cowboys game, how different are you guys now than from the first time you played them?
A: I think weíre a better team than when we played them in the opener. Weíve made some improvements in a lot of areas. That first game, we gave up a lot of big plays. We canít do that and expect to win any games. Thatís where you start first and then take it from there.
Q: Back to Leonard Williams, do you see him as a true pass rusher? Because heís one of those guys that has a lot of pressures but zero sacks. So how do you guys help him?
A: Getting pressure is a good thing. Shoot, he had a sack last week against Jacksonville. I guess it came off the books (because of a penalty), but when you watch the tape, it was a sack. Heís a guy that can get pressure, and I think thatís an important thing.
Q: It seemed like Sterling (Shepard) was making some progress last week. Is there any update on whether heís still in the (concussion) protocol or how far away he is?
A: Yeah, heís still in the protocol, but heís making good progress. Weíll see what the week brings and see if heís available for Monday.
Q: Same with Corey (Ballentine)?
A: Same with Corey, yeah.
Q: What does (Shepard) have to do to get cleared?
A: Itís just a matter of time. But he had a contact practice, so thatís a good thing.
Q: When was that? Was that today?
A: Yeah, in theory, he had a contact practice today.
Q: Does that perhaps boost your optimism that maybe this is the week (he returns)?
A: Yeah, it does. It does. I think heís getting closer and closer. We have an extra day certainly because itís Monday night, so again, weíll just see what the week brings.
Q: When do you expect him to go see the doctors to see if he can get cleared?
A: Itíll be later in the week.
Q: Is that the weekend now since the week is a little altered?
A: I donít know. Possibly.
Q: How about (Sam) Beal?
A: Heís making good progress. We have until next Wednesday to make a final decision on him, and so weíll just see, again, what the next week brings.
Q: You donít expect anything before?
A: Well, I donít know that yet. We could be making some changes by the end of the week. Weíll just have to see.
Q: Do you have a roster exemption for him? Is that right?
A: No. If we brought him up, weíd have to release somebody. Thatís what weíd have to do. But the 21-day period ends next Wednesday. Does that help you?
Q: Is it more difficult to bring a guy in at this time than it is say during the offseason, during preseason, training camp or whatever? Bringing a guy in and expecting him to make an impact right away eight games into the season?
A: Yeah. Obviously, youíd like a guy sooner than later. But with the defensive line positions, you can get him in there and get him going probably a little quicker than say a quarterback. I donít want to minimize it, but there are certain positions where itís easier to get a guy going. Thatís a good thing in Leonardís case.
Q: Do you see him helping Dexter (Lawrence)?
A: Yeah. Listen, I donít know what the perception is, but when I watch tape, I see a guy that plays hard every day. From what we heard, he does that in practice. Heís a tough guy, a smart guy. Heís been very durable. I think a guy like that, heís an outstanding person and a great teammate, and he has an impact in the run and in the pass, regardless of what the numbers are. So yeah, a guy like that will have an impact on the whole room.
Q: I know what you said before about the real world, but for the guys whoÖ maybe you donít say anything, but do you think it sends any kind of message to your guys that you added a player and didnít send any players away, that this season is still what matters?
A: I donít know. I mean, I assume so. But again, like I said, things get reported all the time, that so and so may be traded. Who knows where that information comes from. When I say we live in the real world, we donít respond to all of that stuff because we donít put that stuff out there. So, we go about our business and deal with the things that actually happen. Weíre doing what we can to win this very next game and then every game beyond that. We added a good player on defense that will hopefully help us do that.