On Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy:
"Oh, I love it. Been good spirited practices. Good competition, and guys are improving. Guys are growing on both sides of the ball and I love it. It's been great."
On what he has seen from the defense in camp and his expectations for the year:
"A lot of attention to detail. Guys have been working hard. Taking care of their bodies so they can work hard the next day. It's a process. You come into camp, there's a lot of work to do if you want to be great, there's no shortcut. You gotta put in the work and our guys have bought into that. We're all accountable. We're working hard together and improving."
On the focus of the defense going into this year:
"Big focus, two things, start fast. We wanna make sure we're doing that. Start the season fast, start series fast, start the games fast, so that's the number one emphasis. The other is force more turnovers. So really, we've been, you know, since I've been here, we've been mostly in the top five or so in the league as far as stopping people from gaining yards. Third down, last year was really good. Those are important things that continue to do well, but we need to generate more turnovers for the health of the team. Another turnover here or there in several of the ball games could make the difference between four or five wins or not. And add four wins to what we had last year, we'd be in pretty good shape."
On what has prevented the defense from starting fast in previous seasons:
"You gotta be sharp. You gotta be on top of it. No mental mistakes. Physically have yourself trained and ready to go. It's all the details that we're working on. It's like when you're talking about athletes preparing for a season, there's just a certain level of focus that we have kind of kicked in after experiencing some things early and then growing. Well, we've done that, now it's time to start fast and that's gonna be a rallying cry for us for this season."
On if the continuity going into the season can help starting fast:
"Absolutely. That's a big part of it. We've got a good nucleus. Young, talented players that are working hard. That part's excellent and then we sprinkle in a couple guys. We got two DBs early. We got a couple ends late. Those guys are mixing into the nucleus of players that are returning. We added a couple free agents and so, we'll put it all together, but this is the time where you come together and build your library for what you can do all year and all those things. But again, for us, two things start fast, force more turnovers."
On if he is eager to see the defensive line rotation behind DE Montez Sweat and DE Chase Young in Friday's game:
"Yeah, it'll be a good time to let players that we don't know as much about, to learn more about them, to look at some of the development of the guys that, that are here returning, coming back, and roles are being created. You know, one thing we want to do is want to have a lot of usage roles, packages, things, and we're building towards that right now with what we're doing. So, it'll be great to see them in live action."
On if players coming to him as a coach was something he learned or came natural over his career:
"Yeah, I'm not sure what you're referring to, but my coaching style has always been to be very demanding, make sure I'm communicating clarity. Any kind of gray, I think we have to eliminate the gray, so guys have a chance to play fast. Help them understand. Share some of the wisdom. Help them understand situations that are gonna come up, that present themselves. How we want to be able to respond to handle those situations? And then really this time of year, you're building, you know, that cohesiveness where it's a unit, it's about team. And you have a bunch of individuals, that's great, but unless we come together and work as a team, it's not gonna be what we want. So that's the big push this time of year. [Former Ravens LB] Ray Lewis said to me many years ago, he said, coach, what I love about you is you keep it real. And he said, always do that. I said, I promise I will. I will always keep it real with guys. I believe in that. I believe in communication. I listen, I listen but at the end of the day, once we settle on what we're gonna be, that is the Commander way. That is what we're gonna do and there's no backing away from that."
On how he gauges the defensive's performance on an offensive that is still learning:
"I'm not really worried about like thoughts like that. We're implementing, we're installing, we're competing. We come out every day and put in the work. We're about the work and preparing for a season. They have to handle their business. I think where we are pushing each other and competing. We're also trying to be respectful, understanding of each other, things like that. But I love the way we're working as a team. I love it and I look forward to the season."
On where he has seen the defense improve in zone coverage:
"Yeah, I'm not getting into specifics of our defense. The bottom line is I think [Defensive Backs Coach Brent Vieselmeyer] Vies and the defensive staff, the secondary, [Senior Defensive Assistant/ Safeties Richard Rodgers] Rock and [Assistant Defensive Backs/Nickels] Cristian [Garcia], those guys are doing a great job teaching, helping our guys understand what we need to get done. We're playing fast. We're working on communication and the things that need to happen so that we can make sure we're not allowing balls to go over our head. Not allowing big chunk plays to get out on us and I think they've done a great job with that. The detail, the teaching, the encouragement, the development. That's all part of the process and we've had a co good, co good camp to start thus far."
On what is like for an organization when they are always looking for a quarterback versus when they have one:
"Well, yeah, I mean, you gotta have one. It was a big difference when we added a guy like [Former Denver Broncos QB] Peyton Manning and I was in Denver. Changed the whole building. I know what that can be. You also have the ability to take a young player like [QB] Sam [Howell] and give him an opportunity to grow and see his talent and see what he's capable of. And you got [QB] Jacoby [Brissett] here who's had a good camp and those guys are working hard. So, I feel confident that we're gonna come out of this thing with a quarterback that can help operate and lead. But the most important thing is that we're really good around him and that we're not putting it on our quarterback right now. Now, he may become that player that can put us on his shoulders, but right now, we've got to be a team that comes around and rallies around who we have and who we're playing with and it's up to us to take care of business defensively. It's up to us on special teams to do our role. It's the offensive line. It's the backs, the receivers, the tight ends. Everybody being on the same page. And I love the way that Eric is working that group and demanding of that group. It's been very healthy for us, for our football team, and I'm excited about it. I'm looking forward to it."
On what he has noticed from CB Emmanuel Forbes Jr. studying that sets him apart from other young players:
"Well, he's very twitchy, very fast but he's very smart. So, I like the way he is working at it. Got a long way to go yet, but the combination of speed, quickness, intelligence, it's a great combination for us. He's gonna be a good player for us right now. He's just growing in our system and learning and understanding and going up against good people. You know, when you go up against [WR] Terry [McLaurin], he's an explosive receiver, so gives him some good work."