Good afternoon. Normal wed practice today. We went inside. Pat Mannelly was out there in practice today. Shea got a few reps as well. And we're optimistic we'll get both of them out there tomorrow for more work. Isaiah didn't practice today, Stephen Paea didn't practice and Craig didn't practice as well. Steve was in a boot. Craig and Isaiah moved around but didn't practice.
Isaiah's got a fracture in his hand. He's got it casted up. It looks good. It looks like they'll be able to cast it up (Sunday). We'll know more tomorrow. We're really optimistic on his end.
HOW DOES THAT CHANGE THE MATH AT NICKEL?
There's some movement that has to go on. I'm optimistic that he'll be playing. I don't think it's necessary to go through all the different logistics if that doesn't happen. But it's certainly been discussed. But I feel optimistic that he'll be playing.
DEVIN PLAYED DB IN PRACTICE THOUGH
(Laughs). We try to keep Devin as busy as we can throughout the course of practice. But you never know. You never know. We certainly want to keep him doing what he's been doing. But he does have value, certainly, doing other things. and who knows. Nothing's out of the question. It's not something we've spent a lot of time talking about.
SPEAKING OF CASTS, JAY GOT HIS OFF, YES?
He was out. He had a brace on. He had a very small brace on. He's got the sprain, but there's stability there, enough stability that they could take it off. Again, it's day to day. Optimistic that it will stay that way. But we'll have to see.
He'll be very questionable for the game on this toe that he has. It's the same toe. So as I said, he was in a boot today. We'll see where he is in the next couple days. But I'm not optimistic about that one. It's day to day.
COMBO OF QUIN AND LONG — WHAT STANDS OUT?
Their speed. Their energy. They're alive. They have all the skill set of being quick, explosive, strong, powerful guys. they can both run. And they're all we can handle on the edges, as good as anybody we've faced. We've faced some very good fronts. They're certainly as good as any. They've got three no. 1s up there. They all play fast. They're physical. There's great energy to the quarterback. They don't spend a lot of time bringing more than 5, and 5 is something they don't do often. They can do it with four.
WITH JAY OUT OF CAST, WILL HE PLAY DEC. 1 VS. VIKINGS?
I'm going to stay on a just week-to-week because I've stayed pretty consistent with. I'm really not the doctor. They tell me it's week-to-week. I try not to put myself in a position where I get overly optimistic about these things. I just take them as they come, so I look at it as being week-to-week right now, and we'll see where he is on Monday.
OPTIMISTIC ABOUT SHEA?
Yes, I was. We've got to see how he feels tomorrow. He didn't get a lot of reps, but he got enough, and he moved around. I watched him move around on the sideline, again, to be optimistic, but it'll be a trainers' and doctors' decision, as well.
SHEA SAID HE COULD PLAY TODAY. IS THAT JUST ENTHUSIASM?
I hope it's more than that. We'll see. We want to be patient with it. We don't want to put him out there with the possibility of him reinjuring it, so we'll just listen to the trainers and doctors and keep working with them as they tell us to. It was encouraging today, I will say that.
He did. Ratliff got some work, as well. He'll be a week-to-week thing, but he got some reps in practice. It was good to see him out there moving around.
COULD RATLIFF PLAY SUNDAY?
I would not say that it would be this Sunday, and we'll re-evaluate it next week. That could change, but to be fair with the situation, I would say that we're still a little bit away.
HAS MCCOWN EXCEEDED EXPECTATIONS?
I didn't have any expectations. I just tried to go into it working with him every day to try to help him be as good as he could be with the things we had to get done on a daily basis. He's surrounded by a line that continues to grow and get better and a quality group of receivers, tight end and backs. So I didn't go into it with any preconceived expectations at all.
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH RAMS' SPEED?
Good question. You're right. This is at least as fast a team as we're going to play all year. And they're on the surface to do it. The focus for us has to be on fundamentals and techniques. You know, we have speed but technique is really the critical factor in everything you do. You have to step with the right foot, have your hands and eyes in the right place. When you're at the line of scrimmage or the perimeter, you've got to have a plan for how you're going to be bump and run and the technique that you're going to have to use to get it done. Because generally on the perimeter, technique can really overcome speed if there is a speed differential. And you see it all the time, receivers that don't have the same speed but they beat defenders with technique. So I think the general thing is you've got to play as fast as you can to try to match speed for speed. But also technique and knowing your assignements and being able to matser that specific route or that specific block in a manner that allows you to take an advantage. And then we know the snap count, they don't. So we've got to do everything we can to beat them to the punch with proper angles. Blocking angles, release angles.
He ran around. He's still going through the protocol. He looked good, He was extremely alive out there. But he did the walk throughs, helped on the walkthroughs and jogged around. We kept Isaiah out today. They jogged around the perimeter of the building. We'll know more as we continue. But he is working through the protocol. We're going to make sure he's safe and over this before he goes out.
I've seen too much of him. I watched him in his college days, evaluating him, and I've seen him on tape. Our emphasis today was certainly on covering, how to kick to him. Just flip it over and imagine it was Devin. Those are the things we are going through in our preparation for Tavon. He's a difference-making player, no doubt about it. If you give him space, he'll take advantage of it. So we have to do a great job in our kicking game and our directional kicking. We got started with that today. And our coverage teams making sure everybody is in exactly the right spot to minimize his ability to return the football. And certainly field position will be a big factor in how we kick to him and making sure he's not a difference maker in the game. So we got to be really good on offense to make sure that if we do have to give the ball back to their offense that we put the ball in the right place and back them up.
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