Jaguars' WR Chris Conley Quotes 8.16.20
COURTESY OF JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
(On his responsibility being a veteran leader on the offense and how it has been working with the new players so far) "I think it's a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to be a gatekeeper and to be watching out for those guys. Seeing what it is that they're doing on the field, things that they're doing well, and make sure that you voice those things. Things that they can work on and things that just come with experience. Really just helping them to learn the ebb and flow of this offense and how to get in and out of the huddle quickly, recognize the defense, so that they can go out there and play and attack. These guys are extremely talented, and you guys are going to get to see that very soon. It's been fun."
(On if the wide receivers are a fun group of players to be around) "They are. I think very quickly being around Dede [Westbrook] and [Keelan] Cole and DJ [Chark Jr.], those guys can bring a lot of energy out of anyone. Then you add the young group that we have right now, and they act like they've been here for years already. [There's] a lot of energy in the meetings, a lot of energy out in the field. Quite a few times having to reign the attention back in, but it's good to be light-hearted."
(On the potential for another great WR duo in the organization and if DJ Chark would be included as one of those players) "I think the sky is the limit for that guy. I also think we have a lot of guys in that room who have the potential to have those kinds of seasons back to back – a lot of guys who can have high catch and high yardage seasons who can really affect defenses and have to be accounted for. I think as of right now, the onus is on us to make sure we're on our P's and Q's so that when those opportunities come, we don't let them go. A big thing about Coach McCardell and when he was playing is every opportunity that he had, those guys capitalized on it. They were in the right spot at the right time. They were able to take something that was a 5-yard route and they were able to take it to the house. That explosiveness is something that this group has. The consistency is what we're looking for. We're working on being consistent so that week in and week out, guys can make those plays and they have to be accounted for."
(On if Coach McCardell or the players refer back to his former playing days) "All the time. It's a position coach's job to nitpick and to be hard on his players- to push and to really get the best out of them all the time. It's the players job to glean any information from that coach. I think it happens on both fronts. Not only does he bring up instances where he would have done it this way but also players will ask him, 'Hey, what would you think on this? What did you see?' Also, there's a lot of poking fun. If he coaches something and we say, "Hey, well I watched your film and you did it just like I did it." There's a lot of examples of that as well. Being able to talk to someone who was in your position, what seems like yesterday, is very valuable. There's a wealth of information there."
(On training camp this year compared to previous years) "I can only speak to my perspective. This is my sixth training camp and honestly for me this feels completely different than any other training camp that I've been in. There's a lot of guys in the locker room who haven't been through that many camps or who have been though different camps and they can't really spot that much of a difference. But for me, it does feel a lot different. The virus has changed a lot of things in a lot of our lives and it's had a big effect on how we do things in the building. I think there's even more necessity for players to push and to really spend a little bit more time working on their craft, working on their game mentally. Right now we're just limited in the amount of time we can spend together, limited in the amount of players you can have in one space. It really takes the level of communication- it has to elevate and effort has to elevate. It's different but I think it's a good opportunity for us as a team to really show that we want it."
(On things they have to make up for because of the different preseason and lack of preseason games) "Timing is a big one. The fact that you can't play an actual game before your season opener is huge. Preseason games are excellent opportunities for teams to realize what areas they need to speed up in, realize what areas they really need to finetune and sharpen before game day. I've said this many times to a lot of people in the building; the first game may be one of the fastest and sharpest games that we've seen in a long time because people are healthy or it might be one of the most sloppy game we've seen in a long time because guys haven't had the opportunity to go out there and make mistakes in the preseason. Right now, our job as a team and as an offense is to really nitpick on those things and hone in and fine tune our crafts so that when we go out on the first Sunday, we're ready."
(On his awareness of the sanitation during camp) "You definitely can smell the cleaning product. I just want to give a humongous shoutout to the people who have been in this building tirelessly day in and day out, early in the morning, hours before we get here, late at night when we leave, and just making sure this a safe place for us. It's not an easy job and there's a lot of hoops that people have to jump through right now and they're doing their best to make it so that we don't notice it. I want to thank those guys because without them, we wouldn't be able to play a season right now, it wouldn't be safe for us to be in the building. But yeah, you definitely notice it. You notice it in the building. You see all these arrow stickers on the ground, [that say] go this way, go this way, stay this far apart. It's definitely in your face and noticeable but the guys are handling it very well."
(On if he can smell the cleaning product in his helmet) "I can't in the helmet. Cleaning helmets has been a thing that they've done long before this year. It might not have been every day, but it is something that happens. Cleaning the helmet, the facemask, and getting the dirt out of there is fairly common. So, if that does bring an odor, I'm probably used to it by now because they've been doing that for a while. It's more so cleaning every other object that you do touch throughout the day. That is a big change."
(On the significance of the first day of practice in pads) "I think that the first day of pads always has a significance. Now the significance is different than when I came in the league. A lot of these teams are a little smarter on how they do things now, a little more health conscious. When I came in the league, first day in pads meant star drill, or as other people call it "Oklahoma." You're lining people up, turning them around, then they're running about ten yards at each other full speed cracking pads. A lot of teams don't do that anymore because it's not necessarily safe and there are a lot of injuries that came from that. But there is a lot that changes from shells to pads. A lot of your bigger skill players can really get into their type of game, their physicality. A lot of your finesse players have to move with a little more weight. You have to make sure that your linemen don't carry over any bad habits from when they're out of pads and pad level is good. There's a lot of stuff that goes into the first day of full pads. I'm always excited for it because I'm a bigger guy and when there's pads on I get to use them. I'm excited about this and we really need these padded practices because, like I said before, they aren't any preseason games so each of these are very valuable."
(On how the young guys are adapting to the league, especially given there was no offseason program) "I think they're handling it very well. They are playing fast which is always something that you want to see. Typically, young receivers can come in and they can go one of two ways. They can either run everything at one hundred miles per hour or they can tip toe through everything, kind of thinking about it. So far, right now, they're playing very fast and they're playing lights out, which is what I love to see. They're attacking the defense and they're going out there to make plays. I think one of the big things that's going to be important for them, being that there were no OTA's, that there are no preseason games, is that they're going to learn how to take care of their bodies. Because right now you're practicing, you're at home, the days are shorter, and it doesn't really give you a good idea of what a regular season game week is like. When you're at Week 8 and your hamstrings are a little tight, your back is hurting and your feet are hurting, you got to really take to time to invest in your body. That's one of the things that they're not really going to experience of until we're there in the season. I'm trying to harp on those guys and make sure they spend a little bit of extra time in the cold tub or going to get soft-tissue work. That stuff, teams that are healthy this year, is going to make a big difference in this landscape."
(On his offseason creative work) "I'm very passionate about it. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to tell stories and I wanted to find ways to move people. If you can illicit a gut feeling out of someone, I think that's one of the biggest compliments you can have as a creator. I constantly look for opportunities to tell those stories, personal stories, and things that I've seen in my life. I will hopefully, God willing, continue to do that and find opportunities to write unique situations that I feel like connect with people. This offseason I had a little more time to do it and I had some of the stuff in my house when we were stuck in the house and decided to make something happen."
(On the monologue in his video) "That was a Conley original. Nolan really only worked in Gotham, so I think maybe in the third movie there was mention of Metropolis somewhere. They really stayed away from that, but maybe Zack Snyder, maybe that's a Snyder moment."
(On if he would write the story) "Who knows? Comic books are my things so if I could work in something that had to do with superheroes that would be fantastic. Comic books have told a lot of stories that have connected with a lot of people over a lot of years and I'm no different."
(On Coach McCardell telling young players to look at him as an example) "No he hasn't told me that. You might have given him away. But that's the name of the game, that's football. There's always eyes on you. There's always evaluation and the older you get, the more reasons they look for to replace you. Once you get that, you rip that band aid off, it allows you to come in the building focused with your mind on your work. When you have a couple years under your belt, you know what works. You know what work ethics have produced guys who have consistently gotten better. Really my game and the way that I practice is just me emulating guys that had been on their eighth or tenth year in the league and how they practice and really the tempo and the intensity and the attention to detail they had."
(On which guys he's referring to) "When I came in the league, my vets were Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant. I had guys like them, [and] Travis Kelce. I really wanted to emulate those guys. Jeremy was on year eight, Jason Avant was on year 10 and they were the fast guys on the field everyday at that age. They knew exactly how to get open every time. They made the most of every opportunity."
(On what areas of his game he's looking to improve on) "I would really like to take some more of those short and intermediate balls to the house. I had a number of long runs last year, some that I scored on, some that I came really close to scoring on. I want to finish all of them. If you're limited in the number of touches you get in a year, each touch has to be an opportunity to score. You look at some of the greats in this game [and] they're able to take a 5-yard slant and they're able to turn it into an 86-yard touchdown. That is a level and a consistency and a threat that I really need to bring more out of my game. Three broken tackles is not enough. You have to break the fourth and score. Really just making sure I'm keeping my eyes up, downfield and kind of preparing more for that second move after the first and second contact."
(On his first memory of Superman and what put him on to his fascination with him) "I just remember reading some comics that my dad had from when my dad was a kid and seeing the interactions between Superman. I have this picture in my head right now of an interaction between Superman and Wonder Woman- these people who were just so above and beyond everything that we are as humans, but their only concern was us. I remember being baffled by that and realizing that that connection with humanity is the only thing that separated them from the villains. That resonated with me and as I read more and more comics, as a young kid growing up on the West Coast and reading those comics, I could see myself in those characters. As I got older, I read more and more and would start learning about the archetypes. These stories, they transcend time and they're not just in comic books- they're in novels, they're in movies. I was kind of interested in how just different mediums could connect different people with the same stories and comic books just happened to be my medium."
(On if he's seen clips of the original Superman TV show) "I feel like I have seen some. I'm not sure if what I'm thinking of is exactly what you're referring to. I'll look as soon as I get out of here, but I have seen early clips. It's interesting how things evolve over time as our notion of the perfect person evolves in this county- our notion of what a beautiful woman is, our notion of what a strong man is. It really can show the faults of the writers and the artists and what their image of perfect and good is. But as time has gone on, I really hope that other kids realize, just as I did, that if I don't look like their version of perfect or their version of courageous and strong, I can still be that. That's why representation does matter."
(On the improvement of QB Gardner Minshew II in year two) "I'm very impressed with the way that he shown up in this camp. I did some work with him in the offseason. He looked good in the offseason but when you're running on air and there's no one watching and all these things, things can be a little bit different. But since he's gone into the huddle with a defense, with coaches breathing down his neck, with a little bit more pressure, he's really performed well and seems very comfortable. Not only that, but he's taken some chances that I didn't see him take last year. If the read tells him to go here, this is the safe throw, but in the back of your mind you can throw this, it's more of a fifty-fifty situation, he's actually taken some of those. Not every time, but he's taken them when it's smart and that has really impressed me. I'm excited to see how he continues to progress. He's put in a lot of work and there's a lot of work yet to be done, but the mentality that he has right now is that he's not afraid to put in that work and I'm excited about that."