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Ron Rivera press conference | June 8, 2023

On WR Curtis Samuel:
"No, nothing necessarily to be majorly concerned with. He worked through a couple of the tweaks and stuff he had and just feeling that we're feeling pretty good about what he's done. So, we've kind of tried to be a little more maintenance than anything else. He'll do a lot of the warmup stuff and then we'll just settle him down."

On the takeaways from QB Sam Howell's last couple of weeks:
"Well, I think a big part of it right now is improving on some of the little things that we were concerned with coming out of last season. Now again, footwork probably one of the things that you always want these young guys to understand how important it is, especially coming from one program to another. You've gotta understand that it's a little bit different. speed's a little bit different, so we just gotta make sure those things are corrected. Second thing, I really appreciate his work ethic, the way he's really diving into this, the extra work he's putting in. Some of the decisions he makes out there are really good. Some of the other ones, he's still learning, still growing and he's shown improvement and that's probably the biggest thing that we're excited about."

On QB Antonio Gibson as a weapon in space:
"Most certainly. I think it's one of the things that when you look at some of the options that Eric [Bieniemy] has as far as the offensive personnel are concerned. That's one of the things that he's looking for is guys that are gonna create those kinds of matchups and are gonna be matchup nightmares for the opponent. He is a guy that we mostly want to continue to work with and Eric wants to make sure this guy gets as many opportunities right now to show us what he's capable of because I think that'll be a big part of the game planning."
* On the offense using screen passes:*
"Yes, I think that's again a big part of it. It'll be about the matchups and it'll be about things that you want to create. Just knowing, I don't disagree with what you saw on tape because same thing that kind of pointed me in that direction towards Eric from the stuff that I was at the end of January and February. It's just looking at the things that they did and looking into creative ways. They got the ball into the hands of their playmakers and that's one of the things that we feel we need to be able to take advantage of is get the ball quickly into their hands and give them some space to make moves and make things happen."

*On G/T Saahdiq Charles: *"Well, first and foremost, we always know Saahdiq had the skillset to do it. He's gotta stay healthy. That's probably the biggest thing right now for him. I mean that always seemed to be the issue. If you go back and look at the times he's played, um, something has come up whether it's been the calf, it's been the ankle, the shoulder. You just hope that he stays healthy because he has the skillset. He's got the physical makeup and again, it's just a matter of being able to stay healthy, I believe."

On what he has seen from TE Cole Turner:
"Well and not just him, but I think one of the units that that I think is vastly improved, it's that one. The tight end unit and a lot has to do with the development of the young guys more so than anything else. I mean, you look at John [Bates] and you say, wow, this, that guy's really grown. I mean, you know, his role for us is gonna be a little bit different than it's been traditionally then you look at what you're getting from Cole. You look at some of the dynamic things he's doing. Showing that's pretty much same thing we saw last year until, like you said, he got dinged up a little bit. Curtis Hodges is a guy that's really stepped up. We were able to put him on injured reserve and then never got a chance to get him off of it. At the end we designated him for return and we obviously ran out of time with him, but we got to see some of the things that we wanted to and we're seeing it again. And, and, and that's caused for optimism. And then the guy that's back and you're real happy to see him back obviously is Logan [Thomas]. He's really showing us that some of the things that they did in Kansas City we're gonna be able to do with him and the other guys."

On if QB Sam Howell has shown enough in minicamp to keep his QB1 spot:
"He's pretty much shown us what we want to see. I mean, again, he's young, we know he is young. He's a second-year player who, you know, got an opportunity to start last year. But there was a lot of room for growth, and we know that, but he's got a good skillset. He's mobile, he's got good foot movement, he's got quick twitch to him, good decision maker. He is still learning to make those decisions, but he's also got the arm talent and that's the thing that that excites us."

On what he expects from the defense this year:
"I think that they can continue to grow within the scheme of things of what we do. It's been a lot of fun to watch those guys. You see the growth and development, especially out of guys like [S Darrick Forrest] and [CB] Benjamin [St-Juste] and those guys in the secondary, they have that much potential for growth. You see [S] Percy [Butler] out there and see him running around and that's good to see. And then you've got some crafty veterans that are really solid. We didn't get a chance to watch [S] Kam [Curl] this off season obviously because of him coming off of his rehab there. But he's been around and moving around. It's good to see him moving around the way he has been and then again, like I said, when you've got some crafty veterans that are going to help you, it's pretty good. And then you see the development of that young group of DB's we drafted and both Emmanuel [Forbes] and Quan [Martin] showed us a lot that we were looking for."

On what happens after the team breaks next week:
"Well, it won't be six weeks. It'll be probably wait and see what's happening, what's going on. We're gonna finish up as coaches and be done with all of our preparation for training camp next week. Then, we'll take a little downtime, get out, but obviously keeping an eye out for what's going on. Obviously with the sale and that's probably the biggest thing that we're waiting for. We'll see how it happens and until then, we'll try to enjoy our time off and just refresh."

On the new special teams rules:
"Well, it'll be decision making. You have to decide whether you want to try and hang it up and have them fair catch it or you wanna kick it in the end zone, or are you gonna drive it? I mean, it's funny you asked the question cause that was one of the questions that I was, I was talking with Nate today during warmups and we were talking about some of our options going forward. So, obviously it's gonna depend on on who makes your football team in terms of who's gonna be on your kickoff coverage units. That'll dictate a lot to what we want to do."

On the blowback to the rule:
"Safety. I mean, we have to be honest about that. That's one of the things that, a lot of things that we do, a lot of rule changes we make are involved around player safety. We're only doing it for a year to see how it goes. We're also looking at some of the other options that are out there. So, you know, by no means has this 100 percent solidified going forward after this year. But again, we've gotta do these things cuz we've gotta be able to find a way to make that play safe and at the same time be able to keep it because it is one of the more exciting plays in the league."

On moving into the bubble:
"It was more of a medical decision. What we did was, we've been monitoring the AQI scores to kind of gauge how it was gonna be at the time of practice. And what we saw that was steadily climbing from the 160 all the way up. And we saw a couple that were gonna be in, these were projections that there were gonna be somewhere around 300 by the time we were out on the field and we didn't want to put the players in that kind of a situation. We were monitoring it and then called Dr. Casolaro. We talked to the doc and listened to him basically tell us what each range was. Once we get beyond 180, we're more than likely gonna go inside no matter what. Once we saw that it was projected to be somewhere in the high 200s to the even low 300s, we decided it was safer to go inside for the players."

On why today was shorter:
"Yes. Well, a big part of it too was, I don't know if you know, and I know you guys noticed that several of our veteran guys, we didn't practice. Because of that then we cut some of those reps out, that would've probably gone directly to them. We didn't want to keep those guys out there longer than they needed to be."

On having the sale done by training camp:
"I think it'll help a lot. I mean, there's still some things that we've gotta be able to move on from and have decided on. That's just the biggest part of, it, just being able to get all those other little details taken care of that we need to have taken care of. That's a big part of it for us."

On if they have been able to talk to other agents about contracts with a pending sale:
"Well what we've tried to do more so than anything else is just kind of let everybody know exactly what you said. We're kind of on hold and just being able to let those people know that hey, yes, just a matter of time. We've gotta go through this. We've gotta be able to present the plan to the ownership and they gotta be in agreement with it too. I mean, we can't go on until we get a chance to explain to them exactly what our thoughts and ideas are and whether they agree or disagree. I mean, that's gonna be very important to be able to get those kind of answers going forward to help this organization more than anything else. This really is about making sure we're in the right position going forward more than anything else."

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