Head Coach Bill O’Brien
Defensive Coordinator Mike Vrabel
HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN
Is it encouraging to see CB Kevin Johnson out at practice and is he still in the concussion protocol?
“Yeah, but it’s encouraging, no doubt.”
Is ILB Dylan Cole on track to play on Monday?
“Yeah, trending that way. Yeah.”
Is it impressive what WR DeAndre Hopkins has been able to do over his first four years of his career despite the way that the passing game has maybe struggled in the past couple of years and now this year you’ve kind of seen him put it all together?
“Two years ago I think he made the Pro Bowl with a bunch of catches and a bunch of yards. Look, like I’ve always said, he’s a great player, he’s got great hands, great route-running ability, can make the contested catch. He does a lot of things well. Last year, people said he had an off year. He didn’t have an off year. He made some huge catches for us last year to help us get to the playoffs. This year he’s having another great year. In 2015 he had an All-Pro year. So, I think he’s doing a good job.”
Do you have any more information about whether WR Will Fuller V can play Monday?
What have you thought about the job that NT D.J. Reader has done for you?
“He does a great job. He’s very tough to move on the inside. Great teammate. He’s one of the leaders of the team. He’s been a captain, been a game captain for us. Gives us some juice on the inside in pass rush. He does a lot of things well. He’s one of the better defensive tackles in the league.”
How tough is it to go against Ravens RB Alex Collins?
“Very tough, very tough. He’s doing a good job for them. He’s got good speed, good size, good vision. Catches the ball out of the backfield. He’s a kick returner. He does a lot of different things for them and he’s having a real good year.”
The players say that it’s special for them to play on Monday night. What about for you and the coaches, to coach on Monday night?
“Yeah, no question. Monday night’s a big deal. It’s been a big deal since we were all kids. It’s the only game in town, so it’s big. You’ve got a lot of guys in that locker room that take a lot of pride in playing and Monday night they get to showcase it. It’s big for all of us.”
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR MIKE VRABEL
Head Coach Bill O’Brien said that OLB/DE Jadeveon Clowney really plays on instincts well. How have you seen that develop this season?
“I thought his instincts were good last year. Since we’ve had him I think that he’s an instinctive player that kind of understands what’s going on and how maybe he gets a look that, you know, a blocking scheme or something like that and he’s able to make plays just off of that. One thing it’s hard to coach is instincts. You can try to coach instincts and awareness, but it’s difficult. You can coach technique and fundamentals, but it’s hard to coach instincts and awareness.”
Ravens QB Joe Flacco is a Super Bowl winning quarterback, he had an injury earlier in the year. How do you think he’s playing now and how big of a challenge is it to play him?
“I think he’s very efficient. I think he knows what he wants to do. They want to run the football, use play action. They’re taking some shots. He’s not afraid to get it in the right spots and then reserve the right to punt with a great defense. Then, he’s got a great field goal kicker. A lot of his interceptions, I think if you look, are a lot of tipped balls. He’s smart with the ball. I don’t think you can say that he’s just throwing in bad spots because there’s a bunch of tipped balls that get picked and guys that made some plays on the field. So, I think he understands exactly where he wants to go with the ball and does a good job and he’s not afraid to check it down.”
How have you seen OLB/DE Jadeveon Clowney’s intelligence show up in the meeting room or on the field?
“Specifically, I think you look at different situations, whether we’re bringing him in different spots, he’s able to handle a lot of different things, basically week to week. How teams are trying to run the ball against him, maybe, and where he goes and fits. But, specifically, I think we’re going to need JD’s best effort every week and he understands that and he gives it to us.”
What do you think of the way NT D.J. Reader has been playing?
“I talk about D.J. every week. He’s physical in there. He’s stout. He’s good against the run. He plays tough and that’s what you need. I think if you’re going to play good run defense, you got to be strong up the middle and you got to set the edges. That’s what we talk about every week, and D.J. does that. I like his toughness and I like the way he plays. It’s an unsung position but it’s an important one.”
Where have you seen OLB/DE Jadeveon Clowney improve the most this season?
“I think he’s able to play a bunch of snaps for us. So, I think he’s trying to take care of his body. The way he plays puts a lot of stress on the body because he plays hard, he plays fast and violent. So, for him to be available is huge for us. So, I think that he understands that, that he’s got to come in there and be there week in and week out. He’s been a disruptive run player for us and he continues to work on his pass rush every week.”