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Jack Del Rio press conference | June 1, 2023

On what did you like about CB Emmanuel Forbes and was he your top DB heading into the draft:
"Really fired up about getting him, adding him to the squad. I think he's a tremendous football player. You know, he's fast. He's got great ball skills. He's very bright and he played against some of the best competition that you can being in the SEC and held up week in and week out was a playmaker. Very productive. So happy to get 'em."

On if it matters to him that DE Chase Young and DE Montez Sweat are not at OTAs:
"It's a voluntary time of year. I'm grateful for the guys that are here. I think we're getting a lot of good work in. Really establishing our culture and putting in a lot of good work and I'm just appreciative of the guys that are here."

On if he has talked to Young at all and what he can do to speed up the process when he gets back:
"Just be here and when he gets here, get to work."

On how Sweat can get better at finishing:
"That'll be the challenge. I think that was really the message for Daron Payne going into last year. He was very disruptive the year before and left a lot on the plate. I think Montez is in a similar situation. I think he's been very close, very disruptive, done a lot of really good things. I mean, he's a good football player and when he starts finishing at a higher rate, his numbers are gonna explode. I anticipate him having that kind of a year for us. He needs to have that for himself and we'd like to see it for our team."

On if there is anything specific that goes into finishing more:
"Just understanding, the difference really where you have these opportunities and to close the deal. You know, you work so hard as a pass rusher to get in position. Coverage has to help you there. Be enough coverage to give you time to get there and then when you're there, close the deal and it'll add zeros to your check."

On third down defense:
"I don't know. I'm focused on going forward. Being as good as we can be helping our football team win, so third down comes, that's the money down. We gotta be able to get the ball back for our offense and we did it at an excellent rate last year, and looking forward to getting after it and finding a way to do that well again this year."

On why the third down defense was so good last year:
"It's all competition. I mean, you try and dial into things your guys can do well. It's always a combination of rushing coverage and working together hand in hand and understanding how people are trying to attack you and utilizing the people you have to get 'em stopped. I feel like we've found a good rhythm with that last year and did a solid job in that area. We'll look to do the same this year."

On how you balance creating more turnovers while keeping guys disciplined in their drops:
"Well, it's not a matter of being undisciplined to create turnovers. We're working on the fundamentals of executing whether it be fortune fumbles or getting interceptions and some of the fundamentals that you can work on this time of year to emphasize that. The fact that we're gonna work it even more so than we have, it's an emphasis point. Two things really for me, starting this year is starting fast and create more turnovers. Those are two areas for us that I feel defensively for us to contribute to this football team. Give this team a chance to win a bunch of games. We've gotta be stronger in those two areas and still be good in the other areas. I mean, we did some good things, but those are two areas we gotta do better."

On his first impressions of working with Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy:
"He's been good. I wish he'd express himself a little bit, come out of the shell. He's great. He's got a lot of energy. He's bringing accountability to the unit and we're gonna get some good competitive work against them. There'll be some good back and forth, and I think, healthy for our football team."

On DB Quan Martin:
"He's a bright young man. He's gifted. He's learning a lot of positions right now and doing a real good job for us."

On CB Benjamin St-Juste and CB Emmanuel Forbes playing in the slot:
"Yeah, we're looking at a lot of different combinations right now. It's that time of year. Build depth, build understanding, and Benjamin's been excellent. Inside, outside, he's having a great off season and I think getting ready to have a real good year for us."

On if Forbes can carry over forcing turnovers to a new position:
"He's pretty natural at picking his spots, going for interception. So yeah, where we end up displaying or deploying our guys at the end of the day, we'll see, but we're building flexibility right now. Guys are learning different positions. We're trying to make guys uncomfortable right now, get familiar, learn more than one role and where we have some versatility, some flexibility will be to our advantage as we go forward."

On what he has seen from Head Coach Ron Rivera in the supervisor role:
"Ron's been great. Four years with me. It hasn't changed a great deal. We share whenever he's available and wants to dig into it, we'll share but basically, he lets us do our thing. We've got a good staff. I'm really pleased with the way we hired him within when we lost Chris Harris and Cristian Garcia and elevated Brett Vieselmeyer. I really like the way the defensive backfield is working. I think they're doing a great job. They're doing a lot of teaching and I think doing a great job with it. So, I'm excited about the way that's coming together."

On if it is unique to have autonomy to run a unit
"No, not really. I mean, I've done this a while, so I think maybe there's a little trust there knowing that.  Very transparent. We're gonna clearly show coach what we're wanting to do. If there's ever any question or ever anything he wants explained or ever anything he wants to understand better, you know, we knock it out. But, he really has been very trustworthy. Allows us to do our thing and I'm the same way with the defensive side. I believe in the power of the staff. I believe in us all contributing and whether it be Reggie Howard, our brand new quality control guy, or whether it be Brent Vieselmeyer the head of our defensive backfield, I'm counting on those guys all contributing."

On how you can build on the zone match playing in the second year
"Yeah, I mean, we mix our coverages. We do a little bit of everything and I like the way it's worked. I think the guys are more comfortable in what we're asking 'em to do, and the new guys are showing the ability to learn and kind of catch up quickly. So, yeah, it's been good."

On what he's seen in terms of progression from QB Sam Howell since last year:
"Yeah, I like Sam. I like the work that I see him putting in. Obviously, it's a new system, so it's going to be a little bit of growth, but I think he's got a chance to be a good player for us, and that'll be very important. He plays well and gives us a chance to do real well as a team. So obviously I'm pulling for him."

On next steps he expects LB Jamin Davis to take:
Yeah, that's it. Take the next step. We had more splash plays and less what the heck are you doing plays. And we need that trend to continue. Year three now, we should expect him to be at his best and he's going to be challenged. I'll be honest with you because our guys are attacking it. I mean, they're doing a great job. [LB] Cody Barton's come in and he's shown that he's going to be a valuable piece for us. And, guys like [LB] Khaleke Hudson have been really been playing outstanding. I think gained a little bit of confidence from that last outing against Dallas. He went out there and played really well, and so he's coming to the off season full of energy and getting a lot of reps because Jamin is not going. So when Jamin gets back, the key for him is going to be eliminate some of the what the heck is this plays from his game, and have some more of those splash plays where he does bring the ability to have some of those splash plays."

On what LB Cody Barton can bring to the defense:
"Cody's a bigger man, so I mean he's going to bring a little more thump in the middle of our defense. He runs well, you know, [Steelers LB] Cole [Holcomb] ran well. One thing about Cole was he was always in the building studying, you know, just a student of the game and Cody's really attacking it the same way. I mean, he's just, first minute he can be in here, he's in here and just devouring tape and really applying himself. We're happy we're able to get a guy like Cody and bring him in and add him to our room."

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