"Good afternoon. Hope all is well with everyone. A lot of excitement being generated this week, obviously it's opening week. I know tonight kicks off the first game. Obviously, I'll have some interest just to watch the old crew and see what they can do, but excited about this weekend. Looking forward to watching our guys play. Before we can get that, and before I speak too soon, we got to make sure that we take care of business today. With that said, I'm all ears."
On how he approaches Week 1:
"I think you approach it the same way that you do each and every day. The only thing that you can do is control the things that you can control. Our jobs as coaches is to make sure that we're giving our guys the best opportunity to win. We want to make sure we're putting them in the right situations, on top of that, providing them all the necessary information so they can go out and play at their best. If we're doing it the right way, you should go into each and every game thinking, hey, we're going into this to win. Regardless of what the score is, the only thing that we're going to do, and you guys are going to hear me say this, as long as we're together, our job is to find a way to drag our ass collectively across the finish line together. That's the goal."
On how QB Sam Howell handles pressure:
"You know what, Sam is just, and I've heard some of the players say this over and over again, that he's just calm, he's cool, he's very collective. He doesn't get too high. Obviously, he doesn't get too down with anything. I love his demeanor. I think he does an outstanding job of just handling all the information that's being provided. He knows how to channel all the noise and put it in perspective. If there's something out of place, he knows how to auto correct and make it right the next time. I enjoy working with him. I also enjoy just watching his thought process and seeing him from behind and having those quiet times just talking through some of those moments because now you can really get a feel for what he was thinking and what his experience was as that play was happening. Loving his interaction with the players, loving his actions, also loving his professional demeanor, and just looking forward to him being the very best of him.
On how he will feel on Sunday:
"Well, the goal is to feel about as good as I can [laugh], but I was taught a long time ago, if you ain't nervous, you ain't ready. There's always that nervous feel, whether I was a player, when I played Pop Warner, high school, college, playing in the Super Bowl as a professional player, coaching in big games over the past 10 years, there's always a nervous energy. But you always got to have that quiet, calm demeanor about yourself that shows your confidence because your players will basically respond to what you're showing and what you're exuding. I know I'm going to have my own little nervous energy, but on top of that, I'm fired up and excited about watching these guys play. I got to make sure that I don't get too fired up and have them bouncing off walls as well. I just got to make sure that everything is good. We go out there and just handle our business one play at a time for 60 consecutive minutes."
On how he is able to have his players play at a high level:
"You just coach. That's why we do this in practice. This is why we practice. We make it harder in practice so our guys can go out and perform at their best on game day. The way you do it is in your preparation. It's our job and our responsibility to make sure that we're mentally testing them every single day, but on top of that, physically putting them to a test so they know how to respond in those certain situations. Then at some point in time their God-given ability, the collective group, everything that we've talked about has to rise to the top and give us the best opportunity so that can be shown. Everybody can basically vibrate off of that energy together."
On if it's weird watching Philadelphia Eagles tape again after preparing for them in the Super Bowl:
"This game, the first two games are actually weird because [Arizona Cardinals Head Coach] Jonathan [Gannon] was in Philly, and a good friend of mine, personal friend of mine, one of my close friends, [Denver Broncos Defensive Coordinator] Vance Joseph, was in Arizona. So you think about it, I'm watching Philly, and then next week I'll be watching Arizona. Right now, I have no idea sometimes who the hell we're playing because of the confusion. So [laugh] just trying to figure out and basically get a feel for what Jonathan has done in the preseason. Then you also want to take a look at what they did last year in Philly, but you don't want to lose sight of all the other places that he's been. He came from a background where they played in the different scheme when he was in Indy. He came out of Minnesota with, what's my man's name, [Former NFL Coach] [Mike] [Zimmer] Coach Zim. There's a background there. So you just want to make sure that you're getting the look at everything just in case something shows up that you wasn't quite ready for. At the end of the day, we want to make sure that we're providing all our guys all the necessary info that can potentially take place this weekend."
On if Gannon will be motivated by last year's Super Bowl:
"I've had a few conversations with Jonathan over the past few years. Jonathan is a good man. He's a hell of a coach. I don't think he's worried or concerned about what took place. I think he has a bunch of other stuff that he has to worry about in running an organization. I think at the end of the day, he just wants to make sure that he's giving his team the best opportunity to win. Knowing him, they are going to play very, very competitively. They are going to come out there and play their tails off. This is professional football. So we just got to make sure, regardless of what he's thinking and what he's doing and or what he's game planning, our job is to make sure that our guys are going to be on point and ready to play for 60 consecutive minutes."
On if he has an advantage with his offense and a new roster:
"I don't know if it's an advantage or not. I'll just say this. This is professional football. This is what we get paid to do. So regardless of whether you are a new coaching staff, a staff that's been together just briefly for a few months, at the end of the day, our job is to make sure that we are giving our players the best opportunity to go out there and be as productive as they can. Our job is also to make sure that we're studying, we're preparing, and making sure that our guys can go out and play up to the expectations that we we're expecting. When it's all said and done, I can care less about what staff is new. At the end of the day, you got to have rules meaning that you just want to make sure I've seen what they've done on tape. They might present something different. On top of that, how are we going to handle the what ifs. How are we going to handle the things that quite didn't show up. That's why we've had the camp the way we've had it throughout all training camp. Our guys will be mentally and physically prepared to play this game. Now it's just about going out there and executing and playing the game of chess at times when required to."
On what he thought of the University of Colorado Head Coach Deion Sanders debut:
"Can't say what I want to say, but I'm tapping the table. It was outstanding. It was good to watch. It was fun, watched with a couple of alumni that are out here. It was fun to watch. Very happy for them, very happy for that staff. The big thing is now they got Nebraska, so yeah, they beat TCU. We got the Cornhuskers, that's a good old-fashioned rivalry there. Very happy, very proud, and looking forward to watching all the things that I know they will accomplish this year."
On if he feels they are ahead of scheduling heading into Week 1 and what has stood out:
"I think we are right where we need to be. Our guys have worked their tails off. They've worked very hard, and the thing that I like is that they've seen all the hard work pay off because they're seeing it on tape. All right? With the blood, sweat and tears putting it out there on the field, but now you're seeing some of the stuff that we've actually talked about live up close and on tape. Now, it's giving them some confidence and belief and faith that they can go out and be whoever they choose to be. Right now, I think we're right where we need to be. We're a very humble, hardworking team and just want to show that, hey, you know what, if we go out and take care of business, we belong. Now what we belong to? We just got to define that throughout the course of the season. We're here for a reason. We belong in this league, but now we just got to go prove it this week."
On what he has learned about Terry McLaurin and what his presence or lack thereof could mean in Week 1:
"First of all, the ultimate professional, the ultimate warrior, huge fan of Terry. I watched Terry and Curtis, obviously, when they all were at Ohio State together. We spent a lot of time scouting him and doing all the paperwork on him as well, but loved the person, loved the competitor. Loved the leader, loved the captain. The thing that I love about him is that he's consistent in his behavior. He's consistent in everything that he does. He's also humble enough and vulnerable, he doesn't care about saying, hey, I don't know. Which, when you put yourself out there, it allows younger players to grow because now they're seeing someone who has this quote unquote name, basically saying, "hey coach, can you explain this to me?" He provides an example of what it takes to be a student of the game, but on top of that, when placed in a leadership role, he's showing these guys how to do it the right way as well. I love everything that he brings to the table. Obviously, it would be tough not having him, but one thing about Terry, Terry's going to make his presence felt. Whether he's physically out there or he's mentally out there, you're going to feel his presence because he's going to be very vocal with those guys. He's going to let everybody know how he feels. On top of that, don't get it wrong, Terry's going to be a great coach. When it's all said and done with, don't tell him I said that, because he's very smart and he's very intelligent, and he'll provide those guys a lot of wisdom going into the game."
On when he started preparing for the Arizona Cardinals:
"All that stuff takes place during the summer. It starts actually before then because as the process starts taking care of itself, coaches are getting hired. Now you know who you're playing. So now you just need to know moving forward, what coaches do you need to be prepared for. What systems do we need to have an idea of what we're about to face. Knowing that we were going to play Gannon in the first game, obviously, the Philadelphia stuff helps out, but also just doing the research on and where he came from, his background. All of that work, that grunt work, is done during the offseason. On top of that, you just add to it as you get closer and closer. Some of that work is done also too during training camp because you want to make sure that the players are getting the look. They may not even know that we put in certain plays versus these particular schemes, but they're put in to give us an opportunity and an advantage moving forward to making sure that our guys know what to do and know how to do it when facing this defensive structure."
On Howell's interactions with players that stands out:
"What you see is what you get. Sam actually has a personality. I don't think very many people understands that. He's a great kid. He's actually funny. I don't think he knew what school, well, I don't know if it was him or [QB] Jake [Fromm]. One of them didn't know what school [Washington Commanders Limited Partner] [Earvin] Magic Johnson went to, so we were just killing him about that and some of the rap songs that he don't know. He's a great kid and the beauty of it is he's wholesome and he's just who he is. That's what makes him special because what you see is what you get. You get a good-hearted individual who has a tremendous amount of talent, who has a quiet, calm, confident demeanor. But also he's very aware of who he is and where he fits within the grand scheme of things. He has a great personality that just attracts people. I'm enjoying working with him. I just want to see and I can already see it right now, how he's going to handle the highs and lows of the season. Because as we all know, there's no such thing as perfection. We want to chase it as much as we can. I'll say this, until whenever, the thing that I always have to remind myself of each and every day when I go home, if Sam made a mistake doing something, this is probably the first time that it's happened in his career. So I have to remind myself of that and then that way we can present it making sure that he's doing whatever he can to make whatever situation better for him moving forward."
On what may be missing with the offensive line:
"Well, I'll say this. I like where our offensive line is right now. I think those guys have developed a great chemistry. Those guys do a great job of over-communicating with one another. On top of that, they're close-knit group. People are always going to have opinions. I'll just compare what we had when I was in Kansas City a few years ago. We went to a Super Bowl with an offensive line that a lot of people didn't give credit to and that was okay. Those guys just found a way to drag their ass across the finish line and finish with a ring. These guys are very, very competitive. They can care less about what others think. The only thing that matters is what we think and what we believe moving forward. We got a unique, talented group. I love the personality, I love the character of us. We work very hard. One thing I will say, it's not going to always be perfect, but the thing that I appreciate about these guys is that they work hard together. They want to be the very best that they can be. And when people ask that, our O line will fall short, I say, sure, won't you come up here and see if you can get in the three-point stance and beat them [laugh] in the game of one-on-one. I'm excited about these guys. I'm looking forward to watching them play."