Head Coach Bill O’Brien
OLB Whitney Mercilus
RB Lamar Miller
HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN
How hard is it to play against a team that has a strong push in the middle of the defensive line, led by Jaguars DL Calais Campbell?
“It’s a big challenge for us. They’ve got a very good defense front. Those guys you just mentioned, (Calais) Campbell, Malik (Jackson), (Yannick) Ngakoue, Telvin Smith, Poz (Paul Posluszny) in the middle, Myles Jack. They’ve got a good front and it’s going to be a big challenge. Our guys have had a good week, but we have to make sure that we show up to play on Sunday because that’s going to be, like I said, a very challenging front to go against.”
How important is it to form an identity early in the season?
“It is important. I mean, it is. I think you have to figure out what that is pretty quickly. I have a pretty good idea what it is based on training camp. That’s one of the reasons why I really believe in joint practices. You can find out some of that in joint practices, and I’ve seen some of that in our preseason games. Not the last one but the first two. So, I think I have a pretty good idea of what that is with our offensive staff. But again, we’ll have to see how it plays out on gameday.”
Can you talk about adding CB Kevin Johnson back into the mix and what he provides?
“Yeah, it’s important. He’s an important part of the defense. He’s got a lot of energy. Really good young player. Very smart guy, very hard worker, great teammate. Everything you look for in a DB. Really can do so many different things. Helps us on special teams, does a lot for us as far as scout team. Still jumps in there on the scout team. Just a great kid and we’re really happy to have him back.”
Can you talk about the challenge Defensive Coordinator Mike Vrabel has of taking football IQ and translating it into executing a gameplan?
“Look, any time you’re doing something for the first time, there’s a little bit of unknown for you yourself. I can remember the first time I ever called plays in this league or the first time I ever called plays in a game in college. There’s always that. You just have to stay laser focused and try to get a good feel for how the game’s going. Look, he’s been playing and coaching for a long time. I mean, obviously playing more relative to his years, but he’s a very, very intelligent guy. Very sharp guy. Really understands his players. His players really understand him and he’s going to do a great job.”
Obviously we have this situation with the hurricane that was here and now Jacksonville’s in a mandatory evacuation zone. Can you just talk about – there’s a human element to this game that a team is evacuating to a city that just had a hurricane. Can you talk a little bit about that?
“Yeah, it’s just an amazing thing where you have two storms like this within three weeks of each other. Personally, I’ve never even seen this before. Obviously our thoughts and prayers go out to all of Florida. I obviously have a lot of friends there. I haven’t been following it too much, but just hearing about it briefly last night, things like that, it sounds like it’s going to be tough to deal with. I believe totally in the fact that there is a human element to this, but for three hours on Sunday, we all have to – Jacksonville, Doug (Marrone) will do a great job with his team, I’m trying to do as good a job as I can with our team to make sure that they’re focused on the game. On a side note, I got in touch with Doug (Marrone) and just told him if there’s anything we can do, if they end up having to stay here, they can certainly use our facility. We’ll make do with that just like Dallas did for us. That’s part of that human element you’re talking about. Not much we can do about it but hopefully everyone stays safe there.”
OLB WHITNEY MERCILUS
When is your event?
“It’s today from 2 to 6 at Atherton Elementary. Haircuts, backpacks, school supplies. We have great sponsors who back this and everything on this one.”
Did you check in with RB Tyler Ervin to see if he wanted to help since he cuts hair?
“Probably not. No, definitely not. But, other than that, it’s going to be a cool event. I’ll have some of my teammates and some celebrity guests up there, so it’s going to be good.”
You have so much going on around you, how do you find time to take time?
“You just have to plan it out, honestly. That’s how it is. You have to prioritize your time, pretty much. You learn that through playing. It starts in college, honestly. Splitting your time between your studies and football. That’s it.”
You guys had a great defense last year. What are your expectations now going into Week 1, one year later?
“We understand (that) nobody wants to take the potential lightly. We don’t want to say potential or anything like that but, we understand what we have here and what kind of players we have as far as what we can do. So, we just have to be able to do that and we’ve been practicing that way, each and every single day. So, we’re ready to come out Sunday, blazing.”
RB LAMAR MILLER
You ready to go for real on Sunday?
“Yes, I’m ready to go. We’re looking forward to this upcoming Sunday and we’re ready to put on a show.”
How important is it to put on a show given everything that has gone on around here?
“It’s very important for all the guys in this room. We have one goal in mind, and that’s to win every game, but take it one game at a time. Everybody just has to come out, do their assignment, play fast and just do what the coaches have been telling us throughout the whole week and we should be good.”
What do you think about this offense now?
“I think the offense, I think we’re clicking. This whole week, I think we’ve been doing a great job. Everybody’s doing their assignment, playing fast. If we made mistakes, we made some corrections, got back at it the next day and we’ve been doing good.”
How much more comfortable do you feel in year two here?
“I feel comfortable. Last year, I was just getting my feet wet, I would say, in this new offense. Now heading into my second year, I’m pretty familiar with the offensive line, how they block. I’m just ready to go on Sunday.”
Do you think that the Jaguars defense is going to be a bit different than last year after their free agent additions?
“Yes, I think they made some big moves this offseason, picking up A.J. (Bouye) and Calais (Campbell). But for us, we just got to go out there and do what we do. We can’t control what they did, we just have to go out there and just play ball.”