HEAD COACH JACK DEL RIO
Opening Statement:"OK, dress rehearsals are over. Next up, regular season. I thought we had a real productive camp and preseason. Played a lot of guys. Got a lot of tape to evaluate. I think we have a real solid group of men in there that gave a lot. Obviously, there are decisions coming up. We'll make those decisions in the next couple of days and get our roster set and be ready to go. Obviously, there's going to be a question asked about guys and how many and who and why and all of that. We did what we thought was best for us. We got the looks we needed to get to finish up our preparation for the year. Really looking forward to finish this weekend and getting started on Tennessee. Questions?"
Q: Realistically, could this game be the deciding factor on if some of these guys make the roster or not?
Coach Del Rio:"Yeah, I think there will be a couple of spots that will become apparent, a as you get some of the looks that we got. Also, decisions with developmental squad, the practice squad, which is an importance piece as you go throughout the year. You typically want to be able to, hopefully not too many, but you want to be able to dip down and pull guys up as you have some injuries or issues. It's important that you're strong throughout your 53 and that you have guys that can really develop."
Q: What about the backup quarterback position? Did either Connor Cook or EJ Manuel solidify that tonight?
Coach Del Rio:"I think EJ has been ahead. I think he was ahead most of the summer and I thought he played better tonight. We like both these young men. They worked hard for us. It's been a really good room. It's a very positive room. I think there's chemistry in the room. They get along well. They challenge each other and work well. But right now I'd say, yeah, EJ is ahead."
Q: What have you seen from Shalom Luani this preseason?
Coach Del Rio:"He's very instinctive. He's really has a nose for the football. He has developed special teams-wise with some of the things we're asking him to do. He's developed in learning our system and things. Yeah, I think he's been a real positive addition for us in the backend."
**Q: Has LaTroy Lewis' progression been something that came along in the preseason or did you see signs of it earlier?
Coach Del Rio:"I think he's taken full advantage of the reps he's had. He's been a guy that's been able to come in there and make some plays for us. Certainly, had some nice moments throughout the preseason. That'll be good tape to evaluate."
Q: Can you take us through the thought process of who stays and who gets cut?
Coach Del Rio:"Well, the coaches have a grade and a feel. Then the scouts have a grade and a feel. [General Manager] Reggie [McKenzie] and I talk and work through it. That's really how we do it. It's very inclusive and a lot of information. A lot of tape to look at. I think what we want to do is end up picking the right 53 for us and understand what's out there with the league and opportunities that become available. I think you're always open minded. But you do your best to get yourself a 53 that is going to be ready to go through the regular season the way we need to."
Q: How are you going to go about cuts while being efficient and fair?
Coach Del Rio:"You say fair, but it's always hard. You always try to be fair, but the reality is it's a hard day. It's really the hardest thing that we do is to have to tell young men that are really dedicated and giving us everything that they have and really have a great desire to be here and then tell them that that dream is over. They get an opportunity here, they get an opportunity in the rest of the league and they also get an opportunity on practice squad. Not only here, but the rest of the league. There are a lot of opportunities, and I hope as many of these young men can find squads as possible."
Q: What has Johnny Holton brought to special teams?
Coach Del Rio:"Johnny, what he brings is speed. He can really run. He showed us that last year. He was active last year and got a lot of experience last year. He's had a solid camp for us. Johnny has done a good job."