• Joey Jarzynka

Chargers' GM Tom Telesco Quotes 4.17.20

COURTESY OF LOS ANGELES CHARGERS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT


Opening statement:

"I'm used to using Zoom, but I'm used to seeing coaches and scouts faces on here, so this is a lot different. It's good to see everybody here. This is about, I'd say maybe day 30 for us working from home. Honestly, it almost feels like normal at this point. I think the first couple of days, it was a challenge to get used to. We've adjusted and adapted pretty well. In terms of the draft, I think we have a good plan together that we'll still be working on this weekend and then work on Monday as far as how it's going to run. We feel pretty good about where we are. I do love the idea of having the draft/telethon next weekend. It's going to give a chance for every NFL team in the league to raise a lot of money for the relief efforts. 


"Each team was allowed to choose a couple of different main non-profit organizations to donate to. I think ours is the Red Cross and Feeding America. I think that's good. Obviously, with the Red Cross, I think blood drives and the Chargers are pretty much synonymous with those two names and our history. With the amount of schools that are closed and the amount of people that have had their jobs disrupted — I think food banks, obviously, the stress that they've had, has been enormous. I think the money would be well served for those two organizations coming from us and, really, the whole league. With that, at least we can sit here and have some fun for a little bit, talk some football and talk some draft. I haven't had a chance to sit down with any of you probably since the combine. A lot of things have gone on since then. I'll open it up to the floor for anything you'd like to ask."


On how the draft process is affected by the pandemic:

"It was pretty much normal all the way up until the combine. Thank God we got the whole combine in. Really, this all started right after that. In terms of our March and April, yes, it's been different. I think we got one week of pro days in. We do have a lot of incomplete workout information on players. Anybody who didn't do anything at the combine or didn't finish their workout at the combine, we usually would get those numbers at their pro day. We don't have that this year. That's different. We try to put a full puzzle together on these players. Part of it is workout numbers in some situations. You like to compare apples to apples. Not only in this year's draft, but other drafts. We may not have that on everybody. Our meeting structure has been different, but we've gone through the same process as far as meeting with the scouts, meeting with the coaches. We've done that remotely by video conference. It's actually gone very smoothly. That's been fine. The end result is, we feel like — I think everybody does — that we have enough information to make the picks that we need to make. I think that we'll be okay."


On the positive test for COVID-19:

"Our business is like everybody else's business. We're not immune to the pandemic that's going on. It's affecting everyone. I can tell you, not specifically about who, but everyone here is doing well. That's good to know. It's due in large part to our partners at Hoag Hospital. The care that everybody's had, has been tremendous. Everybody is doing well. Everybody is healthy, thank God. It really hasn't affected our preparation at all, but that's secondary to the health [of everyone], obviously. Right now, everybody is feeling good and hopefully, we have no more incidents moving forward."


On evaluating prospects with injuries:

"I'm not going to get into specifics about individual player's injuries, but there were over 330 players at the combine. We got our hands on every single one of them and did a physical on all of them. We feel like we have enough medical information on every player going into the draft. You do have to make some projections moving forward as far as medical risk and as far as injuries are concerned. We do that with every single player. Football is a collision sport. When you get to this level, it gets even faster, bigger and there are more collisions. It's part of the process of putting that whole puzzle together on every single player. The good thing is I don't feel like we're missing medical information on anybody, at this point."


On history informing his draft process:

"In 1998, for that draft, I was with the Carolina Panthers. I wasn't with the Colts in their draft room for that draft. I came about a month after that draft from the Panthers. I was not in there for that decision [to draft QB Peyton Manning]. I can really tell you that anything we did in 1998, decision-wise, is not really on my mind for this draft. I wasn't with the Colts for that draft."


On making trades during the draft:

"It's hard to know at this point. We're going to go through an NFL-sponsored mock draft on Monday that everybody participates in so that we can go through our infrastructure, how everything is going to work and test some things out. My sense is that, if you're working with one team on a trade, I really don't see it being any different than working from the draft room — at least the way that we're going to handle it. What's a little unknown factor for me — and this happens a good amount — is where you may be on the phone with a couple of different teams and looking at different deals. That one, we have to work through and see how that's going to work. It's a bit of an unknown. We've never done a draft this way, ever. We'll get a little bit of practice on Monday. We'll probably see on our end what we think works well and what doesn't. We'll probably make some adjustments on Tuesday and Wednesday so that we're as good as we can be into Thursday. Quite honestly, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, we may need to make some adjustments for how we're going things. 

"The whole draft is so much more. This is not a solo endeavor by me. There are almost 50 people involved in the draft. Obviously, some voices are bigger than others and some you talk to more than others, but there are 50 people that, at some point during the draft, I may have to ask a question. I need to keep all of those people involved, in the loop as we normally do. That's the plan. That's how we normally do it. Everything that we do on draft day are things that we've practiced and done year after year. In my first year with the Chargers, we went through our own mock draft of how we were going to execute a pick or execute a trade just because everybody that I was working with in that first year with the Chargers I had never worked with before. The team that I had come from, we had the same group of people for a long time, so it worked like a well-oiled machine. When you change teams and change personnel, it's different. We may have to do some of that this weekend and even into next week, and see how that's all going to work out. I just don't know how the trade process will go. We'll see."


On logistical preparations for the draft:

"I give a lot of credit to [Executive Vice President — Chief Operating Officer/Chief Financial Officer] Jeanne [M.] Bonk, she's our COO. We moved out of our building on March 17, and even then she was talking about, 'We need to make plans just in case we have to do a draft remotely.' She's been on top of this and going through different plans. I have a couple of extra landlines that were put in, so we have some phone lines. I have some beefed up internet lines. I have some computers that are wired in rather than on WiFi. We've gone through to try and have some backup plans because it's unique, it's different. We're going to have to be connected with not only all of our staff remotely, but with the league office and other teams all at once. That's the plan that we've been working on. It's different, just the communication with everybody. The Zoom conferences, they've been good. I do like to see faces when I ask questions to see how they answer. It's not a substitute for being in the same room, but it's the best that we can get. I'm just big on face-to-face communication. I know one thing just from when I do work at home, when I get an email or text message from somebody at work, I feel like I have to get back to that person as soon as possible because they may not be able to move on with what they're working on until they get an answer from me. It breaks up your day a little bit. The more that we've done this the last month or so, I know I've gotten more comfortable with it and it's been easier to work with it. I think everybody has."


On running backs:

"I don't know if I see a trend. I do think it's a good group. Like you just mentioned, it's a group that's pretty well-rounded. I just think every draft year-to-year, if there are good running backs, they'll be taken high. I do believe that. There have been running backs that have been taken high. Is there a guy in this group that is going to go extraordinarily high in the top 10 or top 15? I'm not sure about that. Obviously, I don't know where everybody else's draft boards are, but I don't know if one will go that high. I think, overall, that group — I know for us — is really strong throughout the draft, which is nice. Overall, this draft is very strong. We've known that probably since back in October, November that we think this draft position-by-position is as strong as it's been in a long time.


"I don't know how [value] factors into the draft. I think it's a team-by-team scope of how they look at it. It's also just based on where your team is at that time, obviously, [Falcons RB] Todd Gurley [II] got a big contract with the Rams. [Panthers RB] Christian McCaffrey just got a big contract. Other guys have, too. A lot of it may be just dependent on where your team is and how you're going to build your team. We all have the same resources under the salary cap — that kind of dictates how your team is built. I know, for us, we're trying to build a team that's not just putting a portfolio of players together. You're trying to build a team where everything fits together. A lot of that comes from the finances of what you can afford and where you're going to put your money. I think it's different for every team. Running backs in this league — running backs that can run the football, catch out of the backfield and pass protect, they're still assets to have."


On quarterbacks:

"Overall, it's like some other positions — actually, a lot of positions in this draft. It's pretty strong. I think people tend to only look at the top of the draft at these different positions. For a lot of them, there are players as you move onto the second, third and fourth rounds that you think are going to be very good players in this league. I think, the last couple of years — the last four or five years — a lot of quarterbacks have come in and played early, which is good to see. It's good to see for our league how many good, young quarterbacks there are right now. Unfortunately, even in our division. It's a good class of quarterbacks. I'm not going to go through each guy individually, but it's pretty good."


On gathering information via virtual communication rather than in-person during the draft process:

"I'll tell you what, I give our coaches credit. They have really jumped into the Zoom and been able to do video calls with players, whiteboard work, almost everything that we would do normally if it was face-to-face. I don't think we've lost that much with it. There are some time constraints with our teleconferencing — video conferencing — there are some time constraints there that the league will allow. A player that comes in for a visit, you essentially have them all day in your building. A little bit of time [difference] there, but honestly, I think we've gotten enough from everybody. I know our coaches and scouts, when they've sat down with players and talked to them just the way we are right now — but we're also able to do it with some video involved where we can both watch the video, put up a whiteboard and draw up x's and o's and go through it that way. Obviously, with players nowadays, they're very used to this. They're very used to working on laptops, FaceTime and everything. We had some coaches that had to get used to it and they all have. They've all been able to use it very well."


On drafting every position in the first or second round since he has been with the Chargers:

"I hadn't really given it much thought. You have to build an overall team. I guess that's just the way it worked out. Every year is different. You have a full team you have to build."


On contingency plans to present the draft selections to the fans following the draft:

"That's a side of it that I never get a chance to see. Like the draft event last year that was at Santa Monica pier, I guess was unbelievable — we never got a chance to see it from our end because we're stuck in a draft room. No windows, no video of what's going on other than the draft. I'm pretty sure that [Vice President, Communications] Josh [Rupprecht] would know and [Team Reporter] Chris Hayre would know. I'm pretty sure they're going to roll some things out that at least get the fans, and obviously the media, involved with the pick, whoever we take. I'm just not aware of what those are right now, but once we take that player, they're all yours. There's not a lot we can do with them right now. Our [Organized Team Activities] have not started yet. We can't bring them in yet, so between the media and the fans you guys can have at them." 


On balancing between moving down or trading the pick with the virtual draft:

"You're thinking like a good personnel man. It is a strong draft. I think it's particularly strong in the first round — very deep. Those are discussions that we have — we've already had this week. We go through every scenario that could possibly happen, and even ones that you think could never happen, but we talk them out beforehand and discuss as a group what would we do. Those discussions take a while. We try and go through all those early. I keep track of all those discussions that we have so on draft day — certainly, we're going to have some questions, have some discussions still, but it won't be a lot. We've already talked about this. Now, as we get into the third day of the draft where the picks are coming from everywhere, that's where sometimes you need to include a lot more people — a lot more scouts, a lot more coaches — just to get a little extra information. It's hard for me to know every single thing about every single player in this draft. We have a lot of really detailed scouts, coaches, doctors, trainers — they're all part of this — security with all this information. Now, the first round, we've discussed these things out already. There's not a lot of discussion on the clock in the first round and probably not in the second round either. We pick so high in the second round that we'll be able to talk overnight about what our plan is. Very rarely are you actually on the clock and you're like, 'Hey, let's talk about what you want to do.' We've had these discussions already. We've already set the board of how we like them. Not only in that position, but how one position could relate to another. How this running back in the fifth round compares to this corner in the fifth round and where we kind of see them. We do all that beforehand." 


On SoFi Stadium:

"I haven't had a chance to give it a lot of thought yet. I just know on the sequence list you have the draft first, and we'll get through the draft. Then we have our OTAs which we have to get fixed — not fixed, we have to get that figured out — and that will start Monday, virtually. So we'll start that Monday with the players just meeting virtually with OTAs and see where that is. I haven't even gotten as far as training camp or regular season yet. I just know the draft is going to come first, OTAs comes next and then we'll figure out training camp after that."


On signing CB Chris Harris Jr.:

"I don't think we've solidified anything with anybody yet. The good thing about Chris is, he's played at a high level outside and he's played at a high level inside. He's really played at a high level everywhere they've used him. We'll get that figured out once we get on the field. In [DB] Desmond's [King II] case — in my opinion, Desmond can play outside, inside, he can play either safety spot if he wanted to. He could play nickel and dime. To me, he could play every spot in our secondary, which is why he's so valuable to us. There are a lot of different ways to get things done, but pass rush and coverage are the two big ones, obviously. We like having enough pieces on defense that we can do some different things and not line up and be predictable. Not that we were predictable last year, but having enough pieces that [Defensive Coordinator] Gus [Bradley] can use in different ways to keep people off balance." 


On T Bryan Bulaga:

"Same answer. I don't think anything is solidified yet, but I think we would probably trend towards Bryan [Bulaga] staying on the right side. Then on the left side, you have [T] Sam Tevi, who has very good left tackle feet, you've got [T] Trey Pipkins [III], obviously, who had some good time for us last year — some good play time. Honestly, you even have [G] Forrest Lamp, who was a four-year starter left tackle in college. We have some options in-house, there, and we'll go from there."


On having enough tape on the smaller school guys:

"First of all, on Dale Lindsay and what he's done at [the University of San Diego] has been amazing. I mean, think about the number of NFL players who have come out of there and essentially it's a non-scholarship school. They do a tremendous job at that program. When you talk about fifth, sixth, seventh round and certainly in college free agency, you're relying on your scouts heavily. Our guys do a great job finding some players — obviously, if you're a sixth, seventh round player or a college free agent, you may not have every single trait that a team is looking for because if you did you'd be drafted a lot higher. You're trying to look for one or two things that you feel like could fit with us that are NFL quality, NFL-level traits that can make our team. When it comes to small school players — and this is different than it was when I first started — we have tape on everybody. It doesn't matter if you're Division-I, II or III or NAIA. If there's a prospect at that school, more than likely we have every game that they played. The way video is now, it's all digital. It can all be sent over the internet to everybody. It's amazing. We have video on everybody across the country. That gives our scouts, at least that part of it and then if we think that player is worth the visit, then the scout will go into that school and make a school visit in the fall. If we still feel like that player is a potential draft player, then he will go back in the spring for the pro day. 

"Now, the one issue this year with the small school players, those are the players that we really would like workout numbers on because I've seen a lot Division-II and Division-III running backs that ran for 2,000 yards but they run a 4.8, 4.9 40-yard dash. That just doesn't translate very well to the NFL. So sometimes it's hard to gauge how fast a Division-II or a Division-III player is when they're playing against other players that are like me, that are slow — the whole game is slower — so it's sometimes hard to gauge the speed. So it is good to get a 40 time. We drafted a receiver with the Colts names Pierre Garçon from Division-III Mount Union and his pro day helped because he ran like 4.48 — he ran a 4.45 or a 4.48 at his pro day. He actually got a chance to play in an all-star game — it was a lower level all-star game, but it was an all-star game with Division-I players — so it helped up make that projection to this level and we ended up drafting him I think in the sixth round. He turned out to be an excellent player for the Colts and then moved on to San Francisco. Yeah, the workout numbers are important for small school players to help us make that move, but you know what we have to rely on our eyes, too. Our scouts are out there for a reason watching tape, watching video, watching practice and evaluating what we see."


On replicating the draft board under these conditions

"The board you saw, that had where every pick went to what team. That, I don't quite need during the draft. Once the player is taken, at that point, it doesn't matter to me that if he goes to San Francisco, Chicago or Pittsburgh. I won't need that draft day. What that board is — you see it with the names — that board has every pick number on there across the league and that's incredibly important to have and that's changing throughout the draft. As every trade is made, we have to update that trade board so we know who has what picks at all times in real-time. That board, I'm going to have on a screen in front of me that's going to be updated all the time that I'll have. That's essential to the whole draft. So that's one of the screens I'll have. It will just have that pick board on there so we know where the picks are to make a trade."


On paying attention to what other teams are doing:

"When you get close to the draft, it's hard to know or believe anything that you hear. Sometimes what you hear in January or February has a little more substance to it. At this point, I've heard everything about everybody. A huge part of the draft is trying to determine and predict where players may go and how other teams may see them. Do certain players fit their style, fit their scheme, fit their needs? Our pro scouting department goes through and does a really nice job putting together every team and what they've done in the offseason, what they think their potential needs are, what their scheme is on offense and defense, who their coordinators are and what players may fit what they do because we are trying to — it's called draft management — we're trying to put players in positions where we think we can get them in the right spots. That includes having to trade up or trade back. It's a big part of the process and it's one that we started that, in earnest, maybe a week ago and it goes on through today and into next week. Although, it won't go until Thursday. At a certain point, you just get burned out about thinking about it too much, and you just have to let it rip and draft."


On how the lack of field accessibility will impact 2020 rookie class:

"It definitely will impact it every position, I think. It's hard for rookies in a normal year to get up to speed and contribute. Obviously, many do, but it's very difficult. If we have shortened OTAs or even shortened training camp — I have no idea — but all the time that they miss is going to affect them going into the season. It is what it is. We'll do as much virtual work as we can. The flip side to that is all these players, both our veterans and the rookies, still have to find places to work out. That's not really easy right now, depending what on state you are in, about what you may have, where you can lift weights, where you can run, where you can maybe throw with a quarterback and receivers. You know, it's just not that easy. This is what they do for a living. Whenever we start, we're starting and going, so I know all these players want to make sure they're in good physical condition when they come back. We know how difficult it is right now for everybody — pro players, college players, high school players. I have two boys here that play sports, and I told them, 'Hey, when these restrictions loosen up, you have to be ready to go.' You can't just, all of a sudden, say, 'Alright now I'm going to get into shape and get ready to go.' No one is going to care anymore that you missed a month or two of conditioning. You have to be ready. So you have to be creative, as far as how you get your workouts in. I think our players have had to do that. Depending on where you live, it may be different, but I know they're all working on that individually."


On his comfort with players back at the facility and on the field:

"I'll tell you what will make me comfortable is when medical professionals tell us what to do. That's what we'll lean on. We're like a lot of other industries that want to get back to work but we're not able to yet. When the proper people, more than likely doctors, tell us it is safe to go back and we have the right protocols in place, then we'll be ready to go."


On if he knows when player operations will begin:

"I'm so much into draft prep right now. I'll probably open myself up to the real world in about a week and a half. That all has to be discussed. Look, we're going to get back to work at some point, we just don't know when it is."


On playing his hand close to the vest:

"I don't think any [general manager] really tells anybody anything. Do I tell anybody in my household? No. You can ask them, they're sitting right over here. They've been in here for all the coach meetings, all the scout meetings — everything. I don't think they know what's going on. They better not. We kind of keep things close. We don't do our business in public. As of right now, I guess I don't do it in private either."


On working from his living room:

"You know what? It's kind of nice, actually. I have a big dining room table, I'm all spread out. It hasn't been too bad. I wish I had a door to shut from time to time. There are some negatives to being at home, but there are some positives, too. I mean, all of us who work in football — they are long-hour jobs and seven-day-a-week jobs usually for most of the year. So to be home with your family for breakfast, lunch and dinner is different and new, but we don't take it for granted. It's been kind of cool sometimes. The flip side of that is that it blurs the line between work and family. Especially during draft time when there is always work to do and it's right here. There are no other sports to watch on TV, and there's nowhere to go, so I've been working really 24/7."


On college right tackles playing on the left side in the NFL:

"At this point, left tackles and right tackles both have to be able to pass protect and pass protect against big-time pass rushers in our league. Almost everybody, it seems like, has rushers on both sides — left and right. Plus, there is no rule on defense [that states] you're only allowed to line up a pass rusher in one place. They can line up anywhere they want — any gap they want, any edge they want. Both tackles, in the end, really have to be able to have left tackle feet because this is a passing league and you have to be able to pass protect. I think the differences between left and right tackle over the last 10-20 years has probably morphed into really just being an offensive tackle."


On how this offseason situation differs from the lockout in 2011:

"Well, we'll be able to do playbook work, board work and installation just the way we're doing it here. [There will be] a little more video, a little more whiteboard, but [coaches] will be able to do it with the players like this right now. For us, starting on Monday. The one thing that concerns me as far as the difference between the lockout and right now is, during the lockout, those players had places to go workout. They could work out in groups, all in one group if they wanted to, or at least in small groups. They had workout facilities to go train at, fields, everything. That is what they don't have right now, and that's a large part of their job. That, to me, is the biggest difference between the lockout in 2011 and the pandemic right now in 2020."


On the importance of durability when assessing potential draft picks:

"Very, very high. I can't even estimate the amount of hours we put into the medical portion of it. Our team doctors, both orthopedic and general medicine, do a ton of work for us. Our trainers, [Head Athletic Trainer] Damon Mitchell and [Associate Athletic Trainer] Marco Zucconi, do a lot of work, so we have the information not just on what injuries a player has had, but how they've healed. Then really trying to predict out what the risk may be down the road. That's a big part of the whole process. No matter how good a player is, if he's not available to you, he doesn't help the team. That's a big part of the process. I don't think anybody wants to have a team where you can't rely on players. So yeah, it's a big part of the draft process that isn't probably talked about as much, but yeah, it's a major part."


On the linebackers:

"Well, you're right. [LB] Drue Tranquill is an excellent football player. He can play MIKE or play WILL. We signed [LB] Nick Vigil from the Bengals. He can play MIKE and play WILL. He played WILL with the Bengals and was a two-year starter there. We like him a lot. The scouts are very excited about signing him. He's tough, he's smart, he's very athletic, he's long and he's played a good amount of football. We have those guys. Then [LB] Malik Jefferson is a player who, when we came out in the draft, we had very high grades on. We thought he fit our defense very well. So we were able to acquire him on the practice squad this past year. He'll have a really good opportunity this year to probably work more at MIKE than at WILL. We like our SAM linebackers as well. So I think we're okay there, depth-wise. We're always looking for more and more competition, but overall I like the group."


On LB Kyzir White:

"Two years ago, he had some knee issues. I thought he came through last year pretty well. It's very rare for a college safety to transition to that SAM linebacker spot, but he has done it really well. I do think that he has versatility. He played WILL linebacker for us his rookie year before he got hurt. I know he can go over there and play. It's very helpful for us to have some linebackers that are very interchangeable that can play different spots in our defense, including [LB] Uchenna [Nwosu]. Uchenna can play SAM linebacker as well as a defensive end and rush the passer. To have a lot of guys that can play different spots really helps us. Kyzir is definitely one of those guys."


On wide receivers:

"I don't get too hung up on where the ball went and exactly what position. You named the two receivers, but you didn't name [TE] Hunter Henry, [RB] Austin Ekeler and [former RB] Melvin Gordon [III]. There are different ways to get the ball down the field passing. It does not have to be through a wide receiver. We only have so many balls to go around. We want to make sure we get Hunter enough catches. We know how good Austin is out of the backfield. Obviously, last year and through his career how good Melvin Gordon is out of the backfield, the matchups that those guys get. Sure, we'd like to add another receiver at some point, but like I said, we have a lot of skill on offense to spread the ball around. The fact that we didn't have a third receiver get as many catches or as many touchdowns really doesn't concern me too much."


On the experience drafting former Colts QB Andrew Luck affecting the process this year:

"As you go into a draft, you never know what you're going to take before the draft. It's not like your preparation changes because there's a certain position that you say you're definitely going to take or not going to take. It's the same process every year. We scouted quarterbacks every year with the Colts and every year with the Chargers the same way — like we could be taking one that year. Just like every other position, it doesn't matter who we have. We scout them out, discuss, talk and put them on the draft board like we have an empty roster of no players and then we go from there. The process and preparation doesn't change at all.

"Do I specifically lean back on when we took Andrew Luck and that group? I don't know about specifically, but every year you go through this process, you always gain some knowledge of some situations that you went through. You always lean on them, whether you actually remember them specifically or not. This has been the same process for us as every single other year. It doesn't matter who you have. We scouted quarterbacks in Indianapolis when we had Peyton Manning in his prime the same way we did toward the end of his career. It was no different."


On if the team has close to drafting a quarterback in the top four rounds as Chargers GM:

"Yeah, we have."


On the quarterbacks on the roster:

"I don't quite understand a photo would actually play into anything. We're really happy with [QB] Tyrod [Taylor] right now. He's an experienced quarterback. He's taken the team to the playoffs before. He knows our offense. He knows our coaches. Our coaches know him. His teammates believe in him. We believe in him. We're very happy with him. We have a developmental quarterback in Easton Stick that we think have some traits to get better. Right now, all of our resources are strictly on draft preparations. Not only with the draft, but actually preparing to do it the way we're going to do it. We'll look and see what's available after the draft free agent-wise like we always do. Right now, we're comfortable where we are."


On how the pandemic affects the approach to the prospects:

"I think we have to keep it the same. Just keep it normal. We're going to play football again. It could be on the same time frame for all we know. We just don't know. I don't think we know what's going to happen three or four weeks from now, what the atmosphere is going to be like in this country. It would be hard to make those big decisions based on guessing what could happen down the road as far as when we actually start. We'll stay with the same plan that we always have. Hopefully, sooner than later, things settle down and we can get back to workouts and OTAs, and move on as usual. I'm not going to let that potential affect how we draft. We're drafting right now like we're starting training camp in late July like we always do."


On how the pandemic affects the expectations of second-year players:

"Yeah, it does. It's going to require the individual players, really putting it on them for their player development. Physically, we just can't get with them. As you improve your team through the offseason, there are a lot of ways to do it. Obviously, there is the draft, there are making trades and signing free agents, but the fourth one is just as important or more important — developing the players that you have on your own roster. We draft young players or sign young players, we want to develop them. They don't all come in as starters on opening day. They may come in, have a role, be a backup, move into a role-starter and then turn into a real starter down the road for us. That takes time. That takes development. That's how you get better. It's not just going out and getting new players. Obviously, this year it's going to change when we can actually work with them. Thankfully, when we're drafting players and signing players, too, we're looking for players that have drive, work ethic and are self-motivated. Those three things you're going to have to have at this time because a lot of your workouts will be by yourself, literally, whether it's lifting weights in a garage or running a grass hill, finding a practice field somewhere to work. A lot of player improvement is going to come individually from them. Like I said, I'm proud that we have some guys that fit that category, that will be able to do that and don't need us behind them pushing them the whole time. It would be nice if you were there for some instruction, especially football-wise and technique-wise for whatever position it is. We'll do some of it this way, do it virtually, and take it from there."


On C Mike Pouncey:

"He's trending in the right direction. Obviously, we haven't had the chance to see him in a long time. All indications are very good. We'll see whenever we get back on the field, whenever the players can come back to the building or even travel again. Right now, really, no one can travel. All indications look really good right now. I know he's excited to play. Everything looks pretty good right now."


On speed on offense:

"We're always looking for speed everywhere. We're an athletic, speed-based team. If that's not the No. 1 criteria with almost every player we take, it's pretty high. Every position, speed and athletic ability is paramount for us."


On TE Hunter Henry:

"Oh yeah, I think we just got the signed tag in yesterday. [An extension] is something that we'll look at after the draft. Right now, all of our resources are based on the draft. We'll get to that again right after the draft."

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