The good news: Jimmy Graham will play! No word on how much action he will see, but he will be suited and and he will get playing time. That’s a great sign for our offense moving forward. Christine Michael will get the start at RB, but Thomas Rawls will be the backup. As long as he feels good, he should get a fair amount of touches. The offensive line will be questionable despite Coach Carroll’s optimism. They have been shuffled and re-shuffled, so we will be depending heavily on the miracle work of Coach Cable to hold it all together.
There will be some form of demonstration by the team during the national anthem. Coach is aware of this and gives the guys his full support, trusting that their demonstration will be respectful.
Ok. We made it. The day before the day before. Things have gone well, it’s been a really good week. We’ve been zeroed in, we’ve worked on this game plan for some time throughout camp to make sure that we’ve done the work we need to do, and [I’m] really looking forward to seeing our guys play. Couldn’t be more excited about coming home in the opener and playing in front of our fans and all that’s going on, it’s a really big day. We’re really looking forward to it. I’m really fired up for our players, they put in a great deal of work. They’ve done it with great heart and they’re really ready to go.
Has Thomas Rawls shown he’s ready for week one? [question based on answer]
Thomas’ work ethic has been so extraordinary, and he’s been so impressive. He’s just diligent, and he’s taken all the steps along the way to show he’s ready and prepared. He’s really practiced well, he’s practiced an an extraordinary level tempo wise to show himself and everybody else that he’s ready to go and we have no question that he’s going to do a good job and play.
Can you tell us about Germain Ifedi’s status moving forward?
He twisted his ankle and he’s questionable right now.
What is the severity of the twist? [question based on answer]
We don’t know. We have to give it a couple of days.
If he can’t go, can you tell us who will replace him?
We’ll wait and see.
How’s Jimmy Graham doing? How’d he make it through the week?
He had a great last few weeks. He’s done everything we’ve asked of him and he couldn’t be more excited about playing. [laughs]
Do you expect him to play on Sunday?
I do. I do expect him to play.
With Thomas [Rawls], on Wednesday you said you were going to ease him in. Is that still the plan?
Christine [Michael] is going to start. Thomas [Rawls] will come off the bench for us.
What’s the status of Tharold Simon? [question based on answer]
He practiced fine today and he’s ready to go.
What has J’Marcus Webb shown you at guard compared to tackle just in practice?
It’s not a tough move for him, he played I think 11 games of guard last year, at right guard, so he’s been in there and if that’s the way it goes. He has background, he’s been at this spot. He’s a versatile player, and he’s played on both sides this was not a difficult move for him at all. I think he is ready to be the starter if we need him.
Where is Joey Hunt in his progress from you got him in the spring, to where he is now?
Well, Joey’s a really smart football player. About as smart as a rookie lineman can be. He’s brought a great background at the position in terms of identifying defenses and recognizing and communicating. He’s really at the top of his game for a rookie. We couldn’t have more confidence in a young guy than we do in him. That’s the first thing. He really understands the position. He’s got a stature to him, he’s got a way of playing, he has a real knack. If Joey gets in the game, we’re not going to change anything, we’re going to play football and away we go.
It looks like Jarran [Reed] is good to go for you. How do you fit him in?
He’s playing. No hesitation on him. He had a really good week.
With Tiny McDaniel coming in late like he did, are surprised by how quickly he jumped in?
Yes. Without question, I would not have thought Tony could come in in that kind of shape. He’s in the best shape I’ve ever seen him. He’s quicker, stronger, more fit than we ever saw him in the past. Whatever he’s been doing, he did the right stuff. It’s great to see him out here, he’s a real favorite on our team and always was so it’s great to get him back and what he adds. It also gives us a big stud of a guy in there who plays a terrific three technique, a style that we know how to celebrate and it’s been a big part of our makeup how we played up front. So he gives us flexibility and allows us to move our guys. Ahtyba [Rubin] can play both spots too, we can move Jarran [Reed] when we need to, so it was really a fortunate pick up for us.
How much does [Ahtyba] Rubin’s flexibility help?
It helps us. We can do it by match-ups, we can do it by style of play from our opponent. It’s a really good deal for us, we’re really excited about it.
You said Nick Vannett might be ready next week, is that still likely?
We’re hoping. It’ll be a day-to-day thing and he’s going to have to put a good week in. He is running now. He’s out running so that’s a good sign. How far he can bring it, we’ll have to wait and see. We’re really looking forward to Nick coming back. He had a really great camp, and it would be great to get him back out there.
[couldn’t hear question]
He played big. He’s a huge guy, he’s got great length and he played good aggressive ball. They moved him out to tackle for four games, so he mostly played guard for them. He’s played left tackle, right tackle, and he’s played guard so he’s come in with that flexibility and as a really big guy. He’s a real good pass protector because he’s so long. How can you lose a guy that’s 6-6 and have long arms and be 330lbs, and pick up another guy that’s the same? We’re very fortunate that if that’s the case and he jumps in for Germain we’re going to be solid there.
Rees Odhiambo is a guy we haven’t asked you about in a while. How’s he progressing?
He’s backing up at right guard. He’s done a really nice job, he looks like a well-equipped athlete, he can play the spot, he’s big enough. He also looks good at left tackle, which is his natural position from school. He’s come along. He’s doing a good job and I think his best will be ahead, I think we would like to bring him along a little slower than some other guys because this is a position move that he has had to adapt to. But he’s done a very good job and we’re pleased with his progress.
There’s been talk about what the players will do during the anthem on Sunday. What do you expect to see and what do you know about it?
I’m so proud of the process our players have gone through, as they’re working to make the choices and make the decisions to do what they’re going to do. They’re going to be very thoughtful, very respectful, honoring that which needs to be recognized. I’m just proud of how they’ve gone through it. They have a conscious of what they are doing and they really want to do the right thing. These are young men that are growing, and they are trying to figure out the world for themselves. They want to make sense of how they can have impact and how they can affect others. I couldn’t be more proud of how they’ve gone through it and what has happened through the process. We’ll see on the weekend that they’re going to do a very good thing.
Who all took the lead on that?
There’s a bunch of guys, we have so many guys that have a voice on this team. You guys know that. What has been remarkable is the interaction and the care they have extended to one another with different opinions and as they’ve gone through the conversation. This has been a tremendous process, and I think it will be ongoing. They will continue to grow and they want to do very meaningful things. Our guys are so active in the community already if you guys take note of that at all. Our guys have a big conscious and they do all kinds of great work reaching out. They will continue to do that. But I think it’s been a meaningful process and I think you’re going to see that.
Were you involved?
This is a personal deal. I have been involved wherever I can be to mentor or answer questions and to give insights. We have a wide open conversation with our players, and it’s customary to be in those circles with a whole bunch of different guys. That’s how it’s gone throughout. Really, I’m thrilled about how this has worked out.
Why is this the team to do this? [question based on answer]
It’s just this collection of guys. I also think it’s the fact that they have been recognized as individuals that can stand up for themselves and make choices and do the right thing and be very effective in their areas where they want to work. They have a big conscious, and they care. Other than that, I don’t know what is going on anywhere else, I only know what our guys are like. And we’ve been together for a long time, and we have exceptional leadership and very bright kids.
How sensitive is this with Sunday being 9/11?
I think it’s all connected, and understanding that is really important, and they have taken all that into account.
What’s it like having the NYPD and NYFD out here?
We talked about it, I mean here we are talking to first responders on this week heading into this weekend. We were very fortunate just to have that connection again so we can give back to them, and just interact. There’s never enough that you can do, so we did some, but you feel like you should do more. We certainly recognize and respect and honor everything they stand for.
Michael Bennett said you’ll sometimes start meetings with current events, things that are happening around the world. How long have you done that and where did that idea come from?
I don’t know. We’ve been doing it for a really long time. When you work together for so long, and you keep teams together, keep guys together, you are living life together. So I don’t ever want our guys to be under informed or in the background not knowing what’s going on so I do my part and they do their part and we go through a process of taking it day by day and making sure we are up on what’s happening. These guys have visited with some really exciting minds to try to figure out what they can pick up as they go along the way. So it’s just a process of bringing people together. How long it goes back? I don’t know, I can’t remember, as long as I can remember. Why we do it? Because we need to go together, we need to move together, so that we can make decisions and choices. We’re living together so we might as well know what the heck is going on.
The NYPD and NYFD, are they just here for practice?
I think they are going to the game too.