JONATHAN GANNON: Good to see everybody. Good win for us. Thought we played well for four quarters. Did some good things situationally. Obviously, the front affected the game. The back end had their part in that, too, as far as some of the coverage structures that we played, some of the rules we had up for the game.
Executed well. I think a lot of you saw a lot of players win their one on ones. Kudos to the offense because we got up in that game. When you’re playing with a lead like that, you can do some different things that makes it hard for an offense.
Thought the coaches and players did a good job executing. On to Jacksonville.
Q. DT Fletcher Cox admitted last year wasn’t his best season. How did you and the coaching staff know he was going to be able to bounce back and have the type of impact he’s having? (Dave Zangaro)
JONATHAN GANNON: Because he cares. He’s another guy, when I talk about [CB Darius] Slay, Fletch [DT Fletcher Cox] is the same way. That’s why he wears a C on his chest. He ultimately wants to do everything he can do to help our team win. He knows he’s an impact player for us. He wants to be put in positions that he can impact the game.
I think what you see from Fletch right now is he’s playing at a really high level in the run and pass game. He understands the value of how we align him and deploy him to train wreck the game, which is what he did.
Q. What have you thought about the last three weeks of the way CB Avonte Maddox has played in the slot and how has he impacted the defense? (Chris Franklin)
JONATHAN GANNON: Excellent. You guys heard me talk about that, I don’t know when, but if you have to protect the nickel, that spot a lot, it’s hard. We don’t have to protect [CB] Avonte [Maddox], he can play all the coverages we ask him to play. We put him in a lot of tough down situations with not a lot of help. He can win one on one.
What he does as far as with communication, with the back end, the coverage adjustments, being in the run game, blitzing, playing zone, playing man, it’s a luxury to have.
You need that spot in this defense to play at a high level. He’s playing at a high level.
Q. What do you see from LB Kyzir White and LB T.J. Edwards, not just their play making, but the way they communicate, complement each other and what they are doing out there? (Reuben Frank)
JONATHAN GANNON: I think [Linebackers coach] Nick [Rallis] has done a good job with those guys. That’s part of the reason we cross-train all those guys to play different spots with different people.
I think what you’re seeing right now is they fully understand where they need to be, why calls are called, where they fit into those calls, certain routes or certain runs they can be very aggressive, certain times they can’t.
What I’m really pleased about those guys is they’re tackling at a high level right now. They’re taking good angles, tackling, physical. When we need them to get downhill, they’re downhill. When they can’t be downhill, they’re not.
They have a lot to work on, just like everybody. Look forward to their progression as we keep going.
Q. S Marcus Epps and S C.J. Gardner-Johnson have played 100% of the snaps the last two weeks, what goes into determining how many snaps they play? Is that preordained going into a game or is that how the game evolves? (Ed Kracz)
JONATHAN GANNON: A little bit of both. Good question. That’s like all our guys. When we set it up, who is playing in these packages, who is coming out in certain calls.
I think those two are doing an excellent job. You saw [S] K’ Von [Wallace], he comes in a little bit in certain packages. He’s doing a good job.
They know their role. I know they want to keep improving, both of those guys. But those are two huge pieces to have with their skill set, both of those guys, what it allows you to do with some of the coverage structures.
Happy where they’re at. I think you’re going to continue to see those guy ascend.
Q. You spent this time last year rotating linebackers, presumably trying to find two that would stay on the field. What made you settle or decide that you had two this year that would stay on the field? (Zach Berman)
JONATHAN GANNON: A couple reasons for it. [LB] T.J. [Edwards], when he came in, he took over the green dot, and ended up starting whenever he did, middle of last year. Production goes into that. He makes a lot of plays, and he’s playing good football for us.
The same thing with [LB] Kyzir [White]. When he came here, he’s played different spots before, but just the fit of those two playing where they’re at right now, I think they complement each other.
I think they’re in their prime-time spots for what we ask those guys to do. Hopefully it accentuates their skill set a little bit because those two positions are similar, but they are different with some of the things they do.
I’m happy where they’re at, happy where the other guys that are behind them are at because we’re going to need those guys at some point and they’re ready to step in and play.
I like where T.J. and Kyzir are at.
Q. Has this been DT Jordan Davis’ best game so far? (Bo Wulf)
JONATHAN GANNON: I thought he played well. Man, I don’t think a lot of people see it, but there’s a weekly improvement from him. What [Defensive Line Coach] Tracy [Rocker] is asking him to do and improve, he’s improving. We see that. He’s going to continue to maximize his opportunities. That’s a good room. We have five guys up on game day, and they all play. You guys see that.
When you can do that, it keeps guys fresh, puts guys in their ideal spots where they’re most comfortable. You see some production from that.
It’s funny. We come off, we’re talking about the next series, here is what we’re going to do, and I have one guy telling me, ‘JG, get to this.’ Another guy, ‘JG, get to this.’ They see how they fit into the scheme and how they can really affect the game. Sometimes it’s the same, sometimes it’s a little bit different. You can’t make everybody happy.
That whole room, they know their role. That’s what we talk about with those guys, be a star within your role. When you get other opportunities that’s not your baby, maximize those opportunities. That’s what they’re doing.
Q. LB Nakobe Dean hasn’t played the last two games for obvious reasons. How much is watching LB Kyzir White and LB T.J. Edwards helping him? (Martin Frank)
JONATHAN GANNON: The guy is a sponge. You should go into their meeting room. I think [LB] Nakobe [Dean] talks more than [Linebackers Coach] Nick [Rallis], soaking up things.
It was funny. He asked Kyzir a question the other day. I happened to be in there. He says, ‘Kyzir, that was your gap, but how did you know to go that to that gap?’
Kyzir was like, ‘I just feel it.’
Nakobe was like, ‘Wow. That’s pretty cool.’
He’s learning from those two guys. Kyzir is a vet. T.J. has played a lot of ball for us. Kyzir has played a lot of ball. Nakobe we see every week, he continues to get better as well on the practice field. He’s going to get his chance and he’ll be ready to go.
Q. What is it about this Jacksonville offense that looks improved since Doug Pederson has become head coach? (Jeff McLane)
JONATHAN GANNON: This is a good offense. I have a very high opinion of Doug. He’s a very good play-caller. He doesn’t have a lot of tendencies. You can’t bank on certain things coming. He’s doing a good job with the quarterback playing extremely fast. He has weapons. They protect him. You have to be aware of their skill guys because their skill guys have very significant skill sets.
It’s just like everybody, you have to know your opponent because they do some things with those guys that he allows those guys to play free. He puts them in good spots. They make a lot of plays.
We have a big-time test ahead of us.
Q. You mentioned winning a lot of one on ones up front. Does that change things for you when you see that happening in game? (John McMullen)
JONATHAN GANNON: Yeah, it does. It kind of goes to your question last week. There are some things that we had up that we didn’t need. I’m not talking about just pressures or coverages. When the game’s going how it’s going, again, we have really smart players, and they can adapt as the game goes.
We had a couple things up that the players were like, we don’t need that right now, or let’s keep rolling with this because we’re doing a good job with it.
Perfect. I’m not out there playing, they are.
When the D-line is affecting the game the way they were, you can devote more into coverage. It makes it hard for the quarterback. Again, the players and coaches did a good job executing and winning at a high level.
Again, you guys saw the production stand out. I know everyone sees that stand out from the box score, but that’s why I wasn’t really sweating the production in the first couple games because I knew at some point, if they keep winning at a high level, doing what they’re coached to do, that will come.
Honestly, that didn’t surprise me how that game played out.
Q. You mentioned that Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson doesn’t really have tendencies. When you’re trying to game plan for someone like Doug, who doesn’t show his tendencies, can be very aggressive, you’d imagine is extra motivated for this game, what is the hardest part about trying to scheme to defend against that? (Taryn Hatcher)
JONATHAN GANNON: We play what we play. You have to be in the right spot and play with good technique and have your eyes disciplined versus this team.
It always comes down to out-executing your opponent and playing the way we want to play.
I always say to our defense, ‘Don’t get it twisted, the game is about hitting on defense.’ I’ve thought we’ve been a pretty good physical unit. We want to still keep working at that, but you don’t want leaky yardage, you want to affect the quarterback, hit people when you can hit them legally, have a lot of people at the ball. That’s what we’ll preach to our guys. Good question.
Q. You mentioned you were in the linebacker room when LB Nakobe Dean asked that question. How do you decide which rooms to pop into? Is there a schedule? (Bo Wulf)
JONATHAN GANNON: I feel it out a little bit. But I know where the hotspots for certain days are. That’s kind of where I bounce around.
That’s the one thing you miss being a coordinator, is the connection with your room of a position group, developing your guys. We have great coaches. We talk about player football character, but I talk about coach football character, too. Their number one job is to serve the players. Those guys have a very good rapport with their players because the players know they care about them and they know they can improve them.
Anything that comes out of those coaches’ mouths, those guys are listening to that and take it to heart because they know it comes from a good place and we’re trying to improve our players.
I like to bounce around different rooms to hear certain things going on, make sure things are clean. I fully trust the coaches. It’s more for me just to touch base with every room.
Q. What is standing out about Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence? What kind of maturation are you seeing on tape? (Tim McManus)
JONATHAN GANNON: He’s playing fast. We watched some games last year, he may not have played as fast. I don’t know really know why.
I think he’s processing at a high level. He’s very accurate, has a big arm, he’s athletic. He’s tall. He can see. That’s why I always see, when you watch the tape of him, certain quarterbacks play real fast. He’s one of those guys.
Like I said, we have to be on it.
Q. In the press conference before Week 1, you said you wanted to see the team take the ball away more this year and affect the quarterback more this year. Is what you have seen the past two weeks what you had in mind with this defense? (Zach Berman)
JONATHAN GANNON: Any good defense does those two things. You want to be able to do that. You want to be able to do that different ways depending on who you’re playing.
I think the players know that we don’t put up a lot of stats. We’re through and through what the head coach preaches because we know those are winning stats. How the defense fits into those things, we talk about ad nauseam.
I think they understand that. They go out and that’s on their mind. They know that they have to get that done for us to have a chance to win each game.
Happy where that’s at, but know that’s a week-to-week thing and we have to continually improve on those things.
Q. To clarify, those stats are turnovers and explosive plays? (Zach Berman)
JONATHAN GANNON: Correct, correct. Yeah, that’s the double positive the head coach talks about. You’re talking about taking the ball away and limiting explosives. There’s a whole formula that’s over my head. I know those are two winning stats.