Wide Receivers Coach Tyke Tolbert
Q: What does (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney) need to do this offseason to make sure year two is healthier and more productive than his year one?
A: Yeah, I think a lot goes into that, I think as a rookie sometimes these guys don't know, they really don't know how long the season is. Most guys in college at the end of the season was like half the season in the NFL. In college when they have 11 to 12 games, for us that's probably our eighth game or ninth game, something like that counting the preseason. I think for the long haul, it's knowing what to do and take care of your body because obviously, no one knows your body more than you. He has to take care of his body a little more, learn from other guys, what kind of routine they have and pray and stay healthy. It's a tough business, it's a physical business and it's collision on every snap. So, you have to do the best you can to be able to maintain your body whether it's nutrition, whether it's being with the trainers, whether it's massages, whatever. Just do whatever you can to make sure your body is in the best possible condition to go out there and play.
Q: What about with (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay)? Obviously, this season maybe didn't go as he expected. What needs to improve there – whether it's getting the ball more to him, doing something different or anything like that?
A: Yeah, I think with Kenny, working with Kenny has really been good this year first of all. He's really taken well to coaching. There are some things he can improve on, there are some things I can help him with, but the thing Kenny's been doing really is staying the course and hasn't really been concerned about who's doing what because he knows he has his job to do. That's the main thing with Kenny, just keep doing your job and doing it better. I can help him more with that, so he'll be much better next year than he was this year. Now, no one can control who gets the ball, when they get the ball, that kind of stuff. The only thing he can do is go out there and do his job to the best of his ability every snap and see what happens.
Q: He's never been a big separation guy, at least according to the analytics. Does that take time with the same quarterback over and over to realize, he might not look open, but you have to throw the ball to Kenny or you're never going to throw the ball to Kenny because he's never going to be wide open?
A: You know what, you raise a good point. There's probably some validity to that. It's having guys feel more comfortable and throwing it to a guy when he doesn't quote unquote see him open. Like I tell a lot of people all the time, Kenny is 6'4, so a lot of times he's open when he's not open because of his catch radius. If a quarterback or whoever is not used to throwing to guys like that, then that might take some time. So yeah, there's some validity to that.
Q: How do you make sense of (Wide Receiver) Dante Pettis being the last receiver to score a touchdown for you guys – which was before Halloween? How do you make sense of that long a stretch without a receiver getting a touchdown?
A: It's hard to make sense of that, but we can only control what we can control. When I go out there and try to coach my guys, I try to coach them to the best of my ability to do their responsibility on every play whether it's a run game play or a passing game play and be as productive as possible. We only have one job to do as a receiver. I say one job, but we only can control one person to do their job and that's what we try to do to the best of our ability. Whatever happens after that happens. Everybody has a job to do, we have to do it all on the same page at the same time and hopefully have the best results.
Q: Last week Kenny seemed to be the only veteran and experienced guy you had out there. Can he expect others this week with maybe (Wide Receiver) Darius (Slayton) and Toney coming back?
A: I certainly hope so. I think some other guys have been working with the trainers and they've been working with us in the walk-through yesterday – and there will be some guys that are working more individual today and maybe carry onto teams. Hopefully we get a couple of those guys back to help us out because we were a little short this past week, but nobody cares. We've got to attend to a job, and we'll go out there and do our job to the best of our abilities to who's available. We expect the same results. We expect to go out there and have great results and try to win this game, this last game.
Q: Did Chicago double him a lot?
A: I wouldn't say they doubled him a lot, no. I just think they played their defense. I think they pressured more than they have shown in recent past, and it was just unfortunate we couldn't do a lot of things we wanted to do on offense because they were doing a couple things that was different than they've shown on film. We have to go out there and adjust and make the plays when they come our way. Be it in the run game or pass game and see what happens.
Q: Why do you think from a big picture perspective that the last two years have been such a struggle offensively?
A: I don't know – I can't answer that question and be right because there are a lot of things that factor in. Health factors in, having guys healthy. Experience factors in. We've got some inexperienced guys mixed with some experienced guys. There are a lot of things that can factor in there, but I can't really pinpoint one thing. There are several things we need to improve on as a team and as an offense to be better next year. If I pinpointed one thing, that wouldn't be fair to the other things that could be wrong.
Q: I know like you said it's a lot of things, I'm just curious some of the first things that came to your mind. You mentioned injuries there, how big of an impact has that been for you guys?
A: That's the biggest thing. It's been huge, huge. The injury/COVID stuff, everybody deals with that, but it hit us pretty hard this year. When you have that many guys going in and out of the lineup, it's hard to get chemistry, whether it's the line, the quarterback, receivers, running backs. It's hard to get chemistry that way. I think health is the number one thing that gives you the best chance to have success. You look at the teams that are really good, they've probably been the team that's been the most healthy throughout the course of the year.
Q: Kind of similar question I guess, but kind of asked the opposite way. You've been in a lot of systems. You've been on offenses that have had a lot of success, I just asked (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator) Pat Graham what makes the best offense from a defensive perspective, like what gives him the hardest time. He actually said (Former NFL Head Coach) Gary Kubiak's offense, which I know you were in. I'm just curious, what makes the best offense? Do you have to have fast receivers? Do you have to get the ball out quick? If you were designing an offense, like what makes the best offense?
A: I think if I were designing an offense and I had a magic wand (laughs), I'd make sure all the guys are healthy first of all, because all of the NFL players are good players. That's why they're in the NFL. So, when you have healthy guys that are smart and tough and physical, you can have a good offense, a good defense, a good special teams, whatever. But it starts with the health of all your guys. I believe that.
Q: Does (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney) not know how to be a professional yet?
A: I think he's working on that. I think he's working on it, like all rookies are. You could ask that about any rookie in the NFL, and they'll say well they're working on that. He's no different than any other rookie. He's working on it. He's learning from some vets. He's learning from the coaches of how to do things, from the trainers – it's a work in progress. You can't come into the NFL as a rookie and say, 'Okay, I'm a pro.' You could say that, but it's a process you have to go through in order to, 'be a pro,' and I think he's working through that. I think he's going in the right direction. The needle is pointing up in that situation.