Jaguars' TE Coach Ron Middleton Quotes 8.18.20
COURTESY OF JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
(On working with new Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden and the role his tight ends will play in the offense) "For the guys and for the team, I feel real good about it. You know I worked with his brother. He and I worked together at Tampa for a while. I kind of figured the tight end was going to play a more important role, a more vital role in his offense which is a good thing, like I said. For the players, and I think for the team, I'm excited. We're going to prepare like we always have but I think it's going to be a good a thing, like I said, for the guys and for the team."
(On working during the pandemic i.e. having to wear a mask and conducting virtual meetings) "It's definitely an adjustment. I look like at like this; it could always be worse. [I] could be like a couple of my friends out looking for a job during this pandemic. You can take it on, it's a challenge. Like I said, it's different. Everything's different in this whole pandemic thing and we all have to make adjustments and just roll with the punches. I've learned that the more you do anything, the better you get at it, the more comfortable you become at it. I think my virtual meetings today are one hundred times better than they were at the beginning. I'm more comfortable and I think the guys have adjusted to it also. As far as the mask deal goes, again, that's part of it. I'm just glad we're taking all the precautionary steps available to make this thing go."
(On what he's seen from TE Tyler Davis and what he sees as his role with the injury to TE Josh Oliver) "I've been very pleased with Tyler's performance thus far. He's very smart. He's one of the best interviews I've ever had with a kid [when we were] deciding on the preliminary stuff whether we were going to take him or not. [He's] one of the smartest guys football-wise that I've ever interviewed. Then, his work ethic proved it wasn't a fluke. He's a hard worker. He's very talented. He's big. He's bigger than you think he is. You get up next to him and he's thick. He can run. He's got some athleticism. The thing I wanted to see is when the pads got on, was he going to shy away from contact? Was he one of these cerebral guys [that] just wanted to do it on the board and read about it? He hasn't backed down from contact yet. We still have to work on his techniques. There's a lot of stuff he's got to learn but so far I'm really pleased with his progress thus far."
(On his thoughts on TE Tyler Eifert) "[He's] just what I thought. I went back and I looked at my write-up on him and I was like, "Man, this guy can run every route in the book." He is an accomplished route runner and he hasn't disappointed. He's shown some physicality. We've got to be smart, as coaches, to put him in the position where's he going to best serve or best give us the most that he's got to give. We didn't bring him here to put him in the backfield and lead up on linebackers. We expect him to be split out, running those routes that we know he can run and doing those other things that make him such a valuable part of the offense. I've been very impressed with him. He's a great a guy. We've gotten along extremely well. He's stepped in and I look forward to working with him. I look forward to working with him this year, I really am."
(On working with five different offensive coordinators during his time with the team) "I don't think it's been tough at all. Energizing? I wouldn't say energizing, but it keeps it fun. It's fun, I'll say. All the coordinators have had a positive approach to football. I think the tight ends' role, of course I'm biased, is super important and I've been fortunate enough to have all the coordinators in that have given my guys [that role.] It hadn't panned out this way most of the time, but we have a big role in the offense. We have to know all the shifts, we have to know all the motions, multiple tight end sets. Because of injuries and otherwise, we haven't been able to, I think, be utilized the way I would like to be utilized but that's no fault of the coordinators. Hopefully, this year everything falls into place and the tight end position can be afforded the opportunity to do a lot of the things that I think we're more than capable of doing."
(On if he could name the five coordinators he has worked with in order) "If you gave me a minute, yes I could. Yeah, Fisch. Yeah, Jedd, it was Jedd. I'm sorry, it's too much work, man."
(On the injury to TE Josh Oliver) "You really, really feel bad for the kid. You're talking about just an outstanding person. First and foremost, [he's] just an outstanding person. [He's] tried to do things the right way. [He] comes to work, doesn't say a lot. He not flamboyant or anything like that. [He's] just a great a spirit. The kid has a great spirit. He has a lot of talent and I feel so bad for him that he hasn't been able to showcase that talent. The few practices that we had before he got hurt this year, you really saw some things. If you go and look at some of the tape, some of the things he was doing. I was so excited for the kid. I'm just as disappointed. I talked with him the other day after it happened and I said, 'Hey man, you know you can only control the things you can control.' I said, 'You never know what tomorrow's going to bring. You just have to deal with every day.' One thing I do know [is] that cream rises to the top, although turds do float. But this kid is going to be okay. He's got talent and he's a good person and usually good things happen to good people."