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Ron Rivera press conference | June 6, 2023

On his expectations of DE's Chase Young and Montez Sweat this week:
"Well, it was good to have 'em back, most certainly and did have an opportunity to see all three of the guys, the veterans that weren't around. Just expect 'em to come in and just fit right in, assimilate to what we're doing. Understand that we've changed some things. We've changed the way we do things, we changed our process and I'm excited to see them as they as they work."

On how losing a week of OTA's affect planning for mini-camp:
"Well it affected us most certainly with just the implementation, putting our offenses and defenses in and our installation is what it affected more than anything else. We had to speed it up. We had to add a few more things that we normally would probably have a couple more days to do. But that's okay. I mean it's actually one things that we've kind of seen is that we've put a lot on their plate. Coaches haven't held anything back, whether it be offense, defense, or special teams. And the guys are handling it very nicely. And what we're looking for now is really the retention part of it. Every now and then you have one of those days where there's just a lot of mistakes because of really the sheer volume and just hoping now an opportunity to see just how these guys are handling all that."

On the expectations of DE Chase Young's offseason:
"Well, I think the biggest thing as far as he's concerned more than anything else is just being healthy. You know, he started to get healthier by the end of the year and played for us in four games. And we just want to see him pick up where he left off. He was starting to play faster and faster and just love to see him get out there and really run around and kind of cut a loose and not be tentative. And that's probably the biggest thing for him."

On if DE Chase Young is back in the starting lineup:
"Absolutely. I mean, again, the big thing more than anything else is, this has been strictly voluntary and you don't reward guys and take things away for guys for not being around. These guys are going to get their reps. One thing we are gonna do is we're gonna be smart. We're not just gonna throw 'em out there right away just because we don't know what speed they've been working at. And that's the thing you have to be careful of because they're going to go from zero to 60 very quickly because they want to get in there. There's going to be a lot of energy and you really do have to be smart. So we're not gonna come out and, you know, if there's 60 reps expect him to take 50 or 40 of them. We got to get them and see where they are."

On his approach to educating players on the NFL Gambling policy:
"The first thing we did was when it first broke initially, we did have a player that was involved unfortunately, we reached out to the league and asked them if they had a PowerPoint deck that they could send and share with us. So Malcolm took charge of that. Malcolm Blacken our director of player development, he took charge of it. We got Mike Jacobs, our head of security here involved as well and then we presented it to the players. And it is presented to them every year, but what we did was we, we did an extra emphasis in it. And then, I believe it's tomorrow, the league will have a presentation as well. So we're going to continue that. It'll be a presentation that we will do during training camp as well. Again, just so we continue to hammer these things home that we've got to be very, very careful and understand it, the integrity of the league, integrity of each team. And then the players' own integrity and coaches' integrity for that matter as well are at stake. And we have to be very, very diligent about this."

On expectations of QB Sam Howell in mini-camp:
"We really won't get into where they are until next week. But for the most part, I check in with [Offensive Coordinator] Eric [Bieniemy] and get his feel for it. And then I check in with [QB Coach] Tavita [Pritchard] and the other coaches and really get a feel for them. I talk to the players as well and see what they're thinking. I mean, this is one of those things that we all got to feel very good and be very comfortable and confident in one another. So asking everybody, you know, what they're seeing, how they're feeling, what do they think, that's important and so we've tried to make sure we're getting a lot of perspectives on this."

On where DT Daron Payne has grown the most in this off-season program:
"I think he's doing just like he did last year and the year before. I mean, he's the same guy. He shows up the same way. He works hard the same way. And, you know, that's true of most of our guys. I mean, same thing for [DT] Jonathan [Allen] has been the same thing for [WR] Terry [McLaurin]. I mean, these guys, they haven't changed who they are and that's the best thing about it. And that's what we're excited about being able to take care of our own guys that come in and perform and do things the right way. We want to try and keep those guys around and do the best we can and we were able to do that. And so Daron is doing exactly what we believed he would be, and that is really just be the same guy and be who he is."

On if he feels he's able to make up for lost time in OTA's:
"Yeah, I mean, it's interesting because in all of the years of doing what we've done, and this goes back to my previous spot in Carolina, by the time we get to the 10th practice, we have everything installed. Now it's just a matter of going back for those last three minicamp practices and really seeing their retention, seeing how they handle it. Well by the time we finish with the mini camps, we should be done with the installation. So, what we really lost was just two days of review from my perspective, that's kind of how we see it. But we've gotten the work that we've wanted out of it and as I've said when I first started this press conference, was that guys for the most part been able to do the things that we've wanted to do. So losing a couple days, it might have effect, it might not. And I think if we continue to work hard the way we have, we shouldn't miss 'em."

On scraping the third day of mandatory minicamp:
"Oh, that's not happening. We need that 10th day, that'll be our 10th practice and then next week we get the one practice that one solo practice on Tuesday, which we will take advantage of as well. And then, we'll send him on their ways."

On what he has seen from DE KJ Henry:
"Oh, exactly that. I've had the great fortune of meeting Coach [Dabo] Sweeney and believe me, reading that and hearing things that he have said about him, and not just him, but all of his players. I mean, you feel very comfortable when you have a guy that played at Clemson. A lot like you feel with some of the teams like in Alabama, like a Georgia, I mean Clemson's right up there in that same category type of coaching." 

On if there are any lingering issues with Young's knee:
"Well, we'll find out today. I'm pretty confident though because he looked good. He really did. I know the doctors were all positive about everything he's done and again, I know part of the reasoning of him not being around is he wanted to really focus in on just that specifically and he wanted to do that. Again, it'll be one of those things that the proof will be in the pudding when we watch him out at practice."

On what he is looking to see out of both Young and Sweat:
"Just fitting back in, which I believe they will. I mean, they're guys that make an impact on our football team and guys know who they are."

On if he still considers there to be a quarterback competition between QBs Sam Howell and Jacoby Brissett:
"I do. Again, it's one of those things that just because I said he's gonna start off as QB1 doesn't mean he's gonna finish as QB1. I like to believe though that if he goes out and does the things he's capable of, he's got a very, very good chance of doing that. I think Jacoby has shown us some things that have really gotten people's attention. We talk about Jacoby almost as much as we talk about Sam. So I just think as we go through this process and until we play games, it'd be unfair to start making assessments. But again, there is a lot of confidence."

On if he anticipates Brissett taking any first team reps:
"Well, that'll be something that we'll sit down and talk about once we finish up. I know [assistant head coach/offensive coordinator] Eric [Bieniemy] likes what he's seeing right now from both guys and we'll just continue to work."

On what gives him confidence that this will be the year it all clicks for T/G Saahdiq Charles:
"Well, I think one thing is getting the first opportunity more so than anything else. I think that's important. I like the way he's been doing things. There's a lot of positives that are pointing in the direction that this is a great opportunity for him."

On what he needs to see from his team to be confident in closing out the offseason program:
"How we handled that last day? I mean, it is interesting because I know a couple years ago I made a big deal about maturity. I still think it's important that you see certain things that tell you that you're heading in the right direction because there's a certain point where the things that you have to do become a drag. Well, those things that you have to do should become things that you want to do. And once those things become what you want to do, I think then you've matured, you've understood that. So, we'll see how we handle next week. We have our last workout on Tuesday and we'll see how the players come out and what their focus is like and then to me the next big thing will be how they come back when we get into training camp in late July."

On how he measures that:
"It's not just getting the work in, but it's the way they work. The way they approach it, how they handle it, and then how they leave it. And then we'll see when they come back. I really do like this group of young guys. We've got a lot of young players in some key spots and one thing we can never ever feel is like we've made it. And that was always my concern in year two is that we were premature there. And I'm feeling really good about this. But again, to your question, I'll see how they handle things on Tuesday and we'll see how they come back when we're ready to go into July."

On how he has seen Howell and Brissett's relationship develop:
"It's really cool because you watch the cooperation between the quarterbacks and not just those two, but all of them. And Jacoby's -- one thing everybody says about him is this dude's a great teammate and when you watch him and you watch how he handles his communications with Sam after plays and after certain things happening you can tell that this is a legit team guy. I mean, he's trying to help Sam as much as possible. And then you watch Sam and Sam is encouraging and giving praise to Jacoby as well as the other guys, and that is what you want. You want a good room where you know that there is a lot of cooperation and everybody's pulling for one another, and there's not a split dynamic between them. That's really been probably the best thing I've seen."

On what he would like to see from RB Antonio Gibson these last couple days:
"Just continue to do what he's been doing. I mean, he really has come out and has really taken to what Coach Bieniemy is trying to get across to these guys on how to practice, how to prepare yourself, and what's expected. That's the other thing that's been really good and just watching him has been a treat this year because you see that growth and again, to me it's all trending in the right direction."

On T Charles Leno Jr. reporting to camp and on what that does for the chemistry on the offensive line:
"That's a good question because of the fact that the chemistry is important. You've got some young guards that gotta be able to work together. Saahdiq [Charles] is there as is Chris Paul. And their communication with Charles will be real important. Cornelius Lucas has done a really nice job working with those young guys and he's a guy that we know we can always count on as well. So communication will be important. It's been really kind of neat to watch it. I think Nick [Gates] has handled it very well as far as the center position has gone. You see those guys coming together and pulling in the right direction. The big thing we gotta continue to do is grow that depth because that obviously, is one of the things that hit us pretty hard last year. We just gotta be able to stay healthy and keep these guys healthy and keep them rolling."

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