Washington Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio addressed the media before practice on Nov. 16. Here is a full transcript of the press conference.
On the coaching points for CB Benjamin St. Juste this year:
"Keep working at it, trust your technique and continue to be aggressive. I didn't like the call the other day, but it was made. But we're going to compete and ask our guys to compete, use the technique. Focus on the technique is the main thing but compete."
On how he would evaluate DT Jonathan Allen and DT Daron Payne:
"I don't like to sit up here and grade for you guys. They're two really good players and they're playing well."
On where they are making an impact despite the pressure rate and other numbers being down from last year:
"I'll watch tape with you if you'd like. They're pretty good players and they're having a good strong year for us."
On how the younger guys are playing following the trade:
"Well, I think we're going to find out. It's how it works in this league. The [New York] Giants are on their third quarterback, it happens. We all have to adjust, and nobody really cares. You've got to go out and try and find a way to perform. Our guys are getting an opportunity to play and they're here for a reason and they're being called on now, and they're getting a great opportunity. So, what you do with that opportunity is up to you."
On what DE Andre Jones Jr.'s ability to break up passes shows him:
"I mean the awareness on quick game, get your hands in the throwing lanes, that's a staple of what we do. He's been very aware and has done a nice job with it. I'm looking forward to watching these guys play, and [DE] KJ [Henry] was so close to getting his first sack two weeks ago. As they get opportunities to play, they're going to make plays and it's not all going to be good. But we ask them to go out and apply their technique, play hard, compete their butts off, and help us get the ball back for the offense."
On what growth he has seen from Jones Jr:
"I mean, like most rookies, it's a lot. I just think he's worked hard all year. That's the one thing I would say about him. He's been very consistent in how he's approached things. His role had been become primarily a lot on special teams and a little on D and that equation's going to change a little bit. He is going to get a little more on D and probably a little less on special teams, but I like the way he's working at it. He's done a good job being conscientious, coming in and putting in the work every day."
On his thoughts about the penalty and ejection of CB Emmanuel Forbes Jr.:
"The penalty I understood. It was deserving of a penalty. But the ejection, [laughs] for a first-time offense, on play six or whatever it was of the game, that was shocking. The fact that he wasn't ejected by the officials on the field, he was ejected by somebody sitting in an air-conditioned room in New York, that's troubling. I think that's troubling for the league, but they're going to have to work that out. But that's not a good look. I don't think that's healthy for the league to have those types of things happen. Emmanuel, young player, good player, he's not a guy that's like notoriously known for like headhunting people or stuff like that. I did not think it was warranted, wasn't my call, obviously."
On if he has conversations with people at the NFL League Office:
"No. I leave that to [Head Coach] Ron [Rivera]."
On if he has ever had a player be ejected from a call coming from New York:
On what he sees from Giants QB Tommy DeVito:
"Athletic guy. They're running their offense. He's got the ability to throw it, run [it]. It looks like they're not really handcuffing him, looks like they're trying to run their offense."
On if quarterbacks changing teams frequently presents a challenge to defensive coordinators:
"Not like historically, like looking at it like that. I'm not trying to write a story on that or care about that. I'm just trying to prepare for the next guy that we think we're going to see. And it's obvious that they're going to play him. We also have to be prepared for [QB] [Matt] Barkley as a backup. So that's just kind of how we do it, know about our preparation, but it's not surprising. It's next man up."
On if itis his call or the DB's in what their separation scheme is:
"I think it's a mixture. I think there's a mixture, yeah. There are times when we absolutely want them up. There are times when we absolutely don't want them up. There are times when they have the option, so it's a mixture."
On if it's even more important to stop the run with the Giants QB situation:
"When you're playing [RB] Saquon Barkley, it's always imperative that you find a way to stop the run, so it starts there. I think he's a great player, really gifted. Their [offensive] line is healthier than it's been in a long time. [New York Giants Offensive Line Coach] Bobby Johnson, I worked with Bobby in Oakland, I think he's a terrific coach. I think we'll have our challenges right in front of us."
On how DT John Ridgeway III has looked:
"Ridge played very well the last few weeks in particular."
On if teams are challenging St. Juste more than they have previously:
"Well, you have to go somewhere. [CB] Kendall's [Fuller] a pretty wily veteran, so quarterbacks kind of learn to be careful around him. Benjamin's going to get opportunities, and we just want him to continue to compete and work his butt off. He does a lot for us inside, outside. The week last week, his preparation was altered because Emmanuel got ejected and a lot of things changed. But that's life in the NFL. That's life in a big city. Gotta go to work, man. He was called on to do a little more, and it was a little bit awkward. But I think he's a really good, solid football player that is capable of playing even better. We just want him to continue to compete and stay strong and keep working."
On what improvements he has seen from Forbes Jr.:
"Every day, the way he's practicing, the way he's working, the way he's focusing. I just think he's taken a step forward in that direction and I think he's prepared to start playing at a higher level."
On S Percy Butler and the other safeties that have stepped up in S Darrick Forrest's absence:
"We missed DFo. He was tremendous with his energy, and he was really a guy that came out of the backend and secured a lot of tackles, capped a lot of plays that we've had a couple get away that the D would normally cap. And so, we missed that element. But we've got to improve with the guys we have at getting that part done and we're working at it. But we do miss DFo, he's got great energy."
On what stands out about QB Sam Howell:
"Unflappable, certainly tough and I think he's got great arm talent. I think he can layer the ball. I think he can throw the deep ball. I think he can throw a touch. He's a good player. He's doing a nice job. I'm excited about the way he's trending for us right now. And certainly, for him and his future."
On why he didn't like the pass interference call on St. Juste:
"Oh, he was all over him, you should be right? It's fourth-and-five and they're trying to convert, and everything he did was within the five, so."