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5/28/20: DC Jack Del Rio

Skins Quotes: 5/28/20: DC Jack Del Rio


May 28, 2020


Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio


On what he’s seen out of DE Chase Young in the virtual meetings:
“Well, it’s obviously a difficult time to kind of approach this. You’re excited to get your hands on your rookie class and really for us, as a first-time staff, get in and get working with all of our players. So we’ve not been able to do that in person, but we’ve done a great job, I think, of going through the meetings and going through the install and Chase has been doing what he’s supposed to be doing. He’s been paying attention; he’s been learning the system. For me, I just can’t wait to get going with him, but he’s doing all that he can right now as a member of our defensive line, a member of our Washington Redskins team. I think the sky's the limit for him in terms of what he’ll be able to bring to us. We obviously have big designs, we think he’s a really good player, and we’re looking forward to getting him involved.”

On if Young can fit the mold of being a premier pass rusher:
“No, we haven’t seen him yet but I’ve watched enough tape. He’s going to be a real good player for us. And yeah, I’ve been very fortunate. My first year as a defensive coordinator at Carolina [Panthers], we had [Former DE] Julius Peppers. Obviously I go to Denver [Broncos] and we have [OLB] Von Miller. And then I’m in Oakland [Raiders] and we have [OLB] Khalil Mack. So when you have special players like that, very impactful players. In particular, if they’re about doing it the right way and everything that we’ve gathered in terms of trying to make the decision to take him where we did indicates that he’s a guy that loves football, that’s going to be a great teammate for us.”

On how the game planning aspect can change if Young becomes an elite player:
“Well I think the biggest thing is that he’s still just one player. But he’s one player that offenses have to deal with. It has an opportunity to create not only disruption and a problem in terms of how the offense feels with him, but also creates opportunities for others. It can in effect kind of raise the level of play throughout the defense. Obviously rush and coverage has to go together, and so you’ll hear me talk about that throughout the year. It’s not about just rush, it’s about rush and coverage and them going hand-in-hand. You’re going to need coverage to hold up so that when our defensive line does win, they can get there. You can have the best rush in the world but if you don’t have some coverage and make the quarterback hold it, it’s not going to be positive for you. They go hand-in-hand, but I do believe he can be impactful for us.”

On DE Ryan Anderson:
"We’re excited about him getting more opportunities. Looking at the film, he did some nice things. So yeah, we’re looking forward to getting Ryan involved. I agree with coach, we kind of look at it the same way. We think we have some depth in that group, and we’re going to try and get everyone involved. Obviously there will be some fierce competition for playing time and roles once we get started in camp.”

On LB Reuben Foster:
“I think he’s done a good job of trying to be involved in the meetings and we’ve approached it as though he’ll be there. Then we’ll see whether we get the clearance or not for him to actually go. In terms of the mental approach and in terms of his participation in the meetings, being up to date with the install, getting the coaching and all of that, he’s been on point with that. The part we can’t impact right now, is where he’s at with his rehab and whether he gets the clearance to go. But he’s working hard, doing all the things that he can with us in the virtual meetings and absorbing all of the information about what we’re going to expect out of him as a linebacker.”

On what he has stressed to the team in virtual meetings about improving communication:
“I mean a lot of little things. Part of it is really understanding the principles of the defense so that you can react as the offense deploys. The communication is huge. I think the understanding of what we’re going to do is huge. Then you have time when you’re merging and your alignment as the offense deploys, you're able to recognize and get clues and share information pre-snap in terms of how you want to adjust and things. I think all of those factors are the things that we work on, that allow us to then be a defensive that does combine rush and coverage and is effective in getting quarterbacks off the field in 3rd down, and getting them into 3rd and long and then getting them off the field. That’s exactly what we’re talking about, being on the same page, making sure communication is sharp.”

On how he views the linebacking room and the traits he looks for in a linebacker:
“I think what we have is an interesting mix. I am excited to get them on the field and let them compete. We have a blend. We have some older guys. Obviously adding TD [LB] Thomas Davis and you mash that up with a guy like [LB] Cole [Holcomb] who played last year, was thrust into the lineup and got some valuable experience and showed some real speed and linebacking ability. Obviously, we added KPL [LB Kevin Pierre-Louis] as a free agent and he is flying under the radar, no one really talks about him. We are excited about letting him go and seeing what he can do. We know he is a dominant special teams player. When he was able to play, he played very well last year in Chicago. We are excited to see them all compete. Obviously, having [LB Jon] Bostic back and [LB] Shaun Dion Hamilton and those guys competing in the middle. There is a lot of competition throughout the roster. [LB] Khaleke [Hudson] we added in the draft. We have a group that is going to be very competitive fighting for playing time and fighting for roles. We will let that play out. I like the way they have been working with Linebackers Coach Steve Russ. He has done a great job in the meetings. Guys are very attentive and are working hard in understanding exactly how they are going to do things. They are going to be a key part of us when we talk about tying rushing coverage, the ability to fit the run, the linebackers are essential to that. We are going to count on them playing well for us.”

On the changes in the secondary and what his philosophy is going to be with the back end of the defense:
“First of all, I think [Vice President of Player Personnel] Kyle [Smith] and Coach Rivera have done a great job of giving us a chance. We looked at a lot of needs when we got here and talked about the wish list of approaching and filling holes on defense, giving us a chance to be competitive. I think we have done a really good job and they have done a really good job of giving us some pieces to compete with that will help us be successful in the fall. A large part of that happened on the defensive side and in the back seven. I talked about some of the linebackers just now in the back end. We were able to add corners in [Ronald] Darby and [Kendall] Fuller. Jimmy Moreland coming back and [Fabian] Moreau coming back. We have some guys that will be competing there as well. It will be a very competitive situation with guys in a competitive role. We added a safety in Sean Davis and we added to a group of safeties that were pretty productive players. Obviously you have Landon [Collins], [Deshazor] Everett and [Troy] Apke. We feel like we have a good group that is going to be very competitive. Right now, we are just trying to make sure we get everyone on the same page so we can play fast.”

On the best way to use CB Kendall Fuller:
“I think really, it just depends on how it fits and how it works when we get out there on the field. We have designs, obviously, to be flexible on how we approach it whether it is man-zones or what type of zones, true zones, we will determine that with the guys when we start playing and we start competing. Obviously, right now we are building the library and having guys understand our system. When we get a chance to actually work with them and compete against the offense to go through training camp and what not, then we will be able to see how far we can take it. For a guy like Fuller, he is obviously very versatile. He has played inside, outside, he has played all over the field. He was a versatile and valuable get for us and we are excited to have him.”

On how he has addressed the struggles with communication last year:
“We talked about that and there are a few things I would like to say, one being we want to spend a lot less time looking back and a lot more time looking forward. A big part of playing good defense is the ability to communicate and the ability to gather information pre snap and make any adjustments that you need to. That is all part of playing fast and being sound and solid. We are working hard at that. That was one of the issues that is apparent when you look at tape. I also believe this – in 2020, everyone here on defense, all the players and all the coaches, we all put our signature on what you see and how we perform. We are all responsible. I don’t think you could put it on any one person, I think it is a collective effort and I do believe it is very, very important and we will be stressing that from day one.”

On being able to coach with his son Luke:
“We are on opposite sides of the ball for sure. It is awesome that he is getting this opportunity. Obviously, he is excited for it. He has been around football his entire life. He loves ball and he has competed at the highest levels in college. It is awesome to have your son get a shot at something that he is passionate about. I am looking forward to that part. He is on the offensive side, so we are going to be doing some competing.”

On if there is one quality or trait that stands out to him that a defense must have:
“I think you have to be tough. The toughness part is not just physical. A large part of that is mental and that is where we are going to see a lot of growth. Defenses that play fast and are able to bounce back when they are discouraged or if they don’t get discouraged or a big play that you recognize. These are talented people in the NFL. They are going to make some plays from time to time. You have to be able to keep going and go to the next play. We will work hard at that in terms of mentally being tough and physically being able to tackle people. Typically, for me, when you look at defenses around the league when you are giving up explosive plays and getting hit with big chunk plays and giving up a lot of those, then you are typically not going to have a good unit. How do you minimize that? It really comes down to leverage and tackling. Those are some fundamentals that I believe in that we will be getting into. Then in terms of approach and scheme, there are a lot of different ways to do it. Where I have tried to do it wherever I have gone is take a look at what they have been exposed to and what experiences does the staff have. Then, we come up with what we are. It has been no different putting this defense together. I have done it everywhere I have been. You kind of grow that way and it is not like I come in throw a playbook down and say let’s go. It is a lot more involved and collaborative.”

On the transition to the 4-3 defense:
“Yeah it will be good. First of all, you have to understand we're talking about how we deploy in base defense and we're talking about base defense in today's NFL, which is about a third of the game. Really you're in sub packages, some form of sub packages where you're playing against three wide [receivers] or more and you're playing against that roughly 65-70 percent of that time. So we're talking about a small percentage of the plays, but our overall approach is going to be more where they've been doing a lot of two-gapping and a lot of playing both sides of a blocker – we're going to ask our guys to be more penetrating and disruptive. Our linebackers and secondary will understand how to fit off of that, so they're going to have a lot more freedom in terms of being able to generate the beginning of a pass rush while we're playing the run. It is kind of an aggressive approach to playing the run on the way to the quarterback and I think our guys are going to really like it.”

On Coach Rivera wanting a former head coach on his staff and if he has talked with Coach Rivera extensively about the defense and their shared vision:
“First of all, the head coach is involved in a lot of work. I think for him to surround himself with really capable people and guys that have been there, I did the same. I think it is wise to do so. I think it gives you an opportunity to delegate more and then he has asked for shared conversations for us to be able to bounce ideas and so I am doing that and I will continue to do that. Wherever I can help him and in any way that I can help him, I will do so. I think it is going to be a great working relationship. I have a lot of respect for Ron. We really have come along similar paths. We come off the West Coast, he was at Cal and I was at USC and we go in and have a long career and we both have careers as head coaches and defense and all that. Our roots go way back and I look forward to helping him in any way.”

On DE Ryan Kerrigan and balancing all the talent on the defensive line:
“You're getting right to the part that is not so comfortable. You're fired up for having all of these guys, but then they can't all go on the field at the same time. So that is part of it, like being able to deal with that aspect of it, having guys understand, 'Hey, you're not going to play all the time.' Or, 'You're not the starter.' Those are things to me, that always get settled best with competition and once guys earn what they've earned I think everybody in the room pretty much understands that. But, that is definitely one of the things that I'm going to have to navigate. It is kind of like a basketball team not having enough balls to go around and you have a bunch of stars. But, it is good to have good players and we have good players in our front, guys that were well thought of coming out of the Draft and they were taken high and we should expect them to be really good players for us and be a really solid foundation for us to build around and that's how we're going to approach it.”

On if the competition at each position is emphasized in year one with a new staff or if that is a theme that needs to be carried over to sustain a successful program:
“I think the newness gives you a chance to give everybody a fresh start for sure and so that definitely comes in to play. I think the other part is that both Ron and I have been in this league for over 30 years, playing and coaching and I think we both understand the importance of competition. I know in my time as a head coach there were several times where we had a young player come into camp who was not highly thought of who all of a sudden everyday just competed his tail off and ended up making the team and created a role for himself. So, to me when you've seen enough examples of that you understand that what it comes down to is competition and ultimately we're going to put a squad together and go compete on Sunday's. So it is all about competition and that is really what the league is all about, you have to perform, it is a performance based business, you have to perform and those who perform the best play the most.”

On the players feeling refreshed working with the new staff:
“It is not surprising. There is a freshness to it, there is a newness to it, there is an opportunity, there is excitement and to me it is just about going out and taking advantage of your opportunities. The biggest thing we want to do is make sure we give an opportunity for each guy that is invited to our camp to come in and show us what he's got and show us how he can help us and then if somebody is capable of doing something then we have to take advantage of that as coaches and make sure we put him in the right place where they can be productive. The other part about coaching is kind of keep guys out of positions that they're not good at. It is like accentuate the positives and try and keep your guys out of situations that they are not good in and put them in more of the situations that they are good at. It has been a basic approach, but a fruitful one over the years.”

On his Twitter account and his approach to social media:
“I have fun. I'm not on all the time. I'll come on, I'll get off, I'll pop in sometimes and lay something out there. I don't really have an approach. I'm just enjoying and I like to follow and read people and gather information and just participate. My kids try and keep me in check. Don't get their dad in trouble, so they don't want me to go too far. But, I just try and have fun with it and when it gets uncomfortable or when it goes places I don't want to go, I just get off.”

On how the players have stood out to him during the virtual meetings so far:
"There are just certain things that stand out, and you’re not really looking for it. Like I popped in here right at the buzzer, right? I went right in at 10 eastern time. A guy like [DT] Jonathan Allen, he’s on there 15 minutes before every meeting. He’s always early. Everybody has their own approach, and you kind of see personalities even through virtual meetings. I think I’ve been aware of some of those things. But in terms of really making your impression, I think it’s going to really come down to getting in pads and getting out on the grass and going to work.”

On if he views the game any differently after working at ESPN:
“One thing I was able to do was study the whole league and just kind of watch ball. And then having an informed opinion about it. That was beneficial, I think. The other thing, I have a real clear understanding of the work you all do and a greater appreciation for the media side of it, bringing the news and bringing truth to the fans. Not that I won’t get irritated if, let’s say you, write an article ripping me (laughs). I’m still going to be irritated by it. The reality is that there’s a business, you’re a conduit to it, to the public. I have a greater appreciation for that and the work that goes into being good at it. I spent a lot of time making sure my opinions were legit. That I had put film study behind it. That I talked to other people in the business so that I understood what I was talking about. So I have a greater appreciation for those who do it well.”

On his take on the all white uniforms for Week 1:
“No. Again, I wouldn’t read too much into it. It just sounded good. I thought I’d say ‘yes, sounds good Week 1.’ I’ll tell you what, if Coach Rivera or Mr. Snyder, if they want to know my opinion, they already know I’m in favor of white Week 1. But other than that, I’m going to leave it up to them (laughs).”

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