Dirk Koetter on Cairo Santos' First Day of Practice, Chris Godwin's Development

Head Coach Dirk Koetter spoke to the media on Thursday during Week 11.

(On defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul having a club in his hand)

“He told me he had a sore finger.”

(On the progression of the young players in the secondary)

“I think really of those young guys that are playing – of the three rookies – really none of them, they’ve all been in and out of the lineup a little bit. Carlton [Davis] has missed a little bit [Jordan] Whitehead has missed a little bit, M.J. [Stewart] has now missed some. I don’t feel like they’re hitting any wall or anything like that, but at the same time I don’t think they’re even close to where they can be.”

(On the performance of safety Justin Evans this year)

“It’s not just one guy’s fault that we’re not getting turnovers. I think Justin has a huge upside. We’ve got to remember he’s a second-year player. He’s playing once – Chris Conte got hurt, he’s basically playing with inexperienced guys next to him. He’s had to take on a much larger role from a communication standpoint. As our linebackers, when Kwon [Alexander] got hurt, that takes another piece of the communication out of the middle. I think Justin is somewhat like the rookie DBs. He’s still getting experience and I think his best football is still ahead of him.”

(On if any of the secondary has taken a step back)

“I don’t know.”

(On the strengths of offensive tackle Donovan Smith this season)

“I think he’s been more consistent this year. Maybe in years past Donovan’s bad plays were glaring and I think he’s had quite a bit fewer of those than he has, so more consistent. Donovan is so athletically gifted for a man his size that sometimes he can look bad, but when you think about this guy is 6’5 335 pound doing some of the things he does athletically, it has to kind of bring him back down to earth. He’s not a 220 athlete. He’s not JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul) playing left tackle. I mean, he’s a 335-pound guy.”

(On if wide receiver DeSean Jackson will return punts)

“DeSean’s always got a green light to be the punt return guy. He kind of picks his spots on that and he’s got a green light. Doesn’t matter what building we’re in. If he wants to be out there doing it, he’ll be out there.”

(On if Jackson returning punts depends on how fresh he feels)

“That and some of it is the punter we’re facing that week. Nate [Kaczor] goes over with them what their hang-time is and what kind of returns we have up that week. All that goes into it, yes.”

(On if there is something the secondary has to do differently against Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.)

“They have really four really good weapons. Not only do they have Beckham, [Sterling] Shephard’s having a good year, [Evan] Engram that tight end can fly down the middle of the field – I mean, he can really run. Then of course [Saquon] Barkley, the running back out of the backfield. I don’t think you can do a whole lot to just try to take one guy because they do spread the ball even though he’s their leading receiver. All three of those – Engram has the least of those from a touches standpoint, targets standpoint – those other three guys can all hurt you. I don’t think you can really just focus on him, even though he is a good player.”

(On the development of Chris Godwin)

“Outstanding. Really, really good football player, dependable, can play every position, does a lot of the dirty work, can make plays when he’s asked to. He doesn’t have to be our number one right now, but I think Chris Godwin can be a number one receiver in this league.”

(On if Godwin was a receiver that immediately stood out to him in the 2017 NFL Draft)

“Me personally, I had to watch him a little bit more, but Jason [Licht] was on Chris Godwin early. He mentioned him to me way before I even started looking at players – he had mentioned Chris to me. I didn’t even really know who Chris was at that point. You compare them to different players – you mentioned Curtis Samuel coming out was kind of a slash wide receiver/running back and when we had him in for a visit he wasn’t even sure what he was in the NFL. There was plenty of team that were thinking of him as a third down back type of guy in the league. Now in his second year, he looked a lot better as receiver than he did the first year – having a good year. I think on Chris that USC game and then his performance at the combine – like the USC game I just kept going, ‘How did he get behind the defense that many times?’ Then he goes and runs that time at the combine. Then when you really start going back and looking at all his tape, you go, ‘Oh this guy can get behind the defense.’

(On if he thinks coaches in the league are going to start wanting offensive skill players that don’t have a specific position)

“That’s hard to say. I just think coaches in general try to use the guys they have the best they can – try to take advantage of their talent. When we played Carolina – which we don’t this week by the way – I think the biggest difference in Carolina’s team this year is their speed on the outside [Curtis] Samuel being one of those guys. Their receiving corps is much more dangerous. Their offense really still runs through Cam Newton and [Christian] McCaffrey the most. As far as the league, I think there are special players that people try to take advantage of their talents. We have some guys like that, but we don’t really have guys that we look at as part running back, part receiver. I think our roles are little bit more defined for whatever it’s worth.”

(On if there were any kicking periods in practice and how kicker Cairo Santos did)

“Yep, we did yesterday. He did a good job. He made all of his kicks yesterday and then they went over to the stadium and kicked some. I think he kicked 35 field goals yesterday – it was something like 32-out-of-35. That’s a good start.”

(On if kicker Santos is a kickoff player)

“He has to be. He is now. Remember yesterday when I said what I liked about him that he was our kicker. You know what I like about him as our kickoff guy? He’s our kickoff guy.”

(On if Santos can kick the ball out of the end of the end zone on a kickoff)

“Depend of if it’s windy like today or not. Go one direction for sure. I don’t know. He’s known as probably an NFL average-type kickoff guy.”

(On how much impact he thinks last season’s game against the Giants will impact this week’s game)

“I don’t know because they have a different coaching staff, different scheme on offense, defense. I don’t think last year’s game really has much of an influence on this year’s game. I don’t think so. I don’t think It has anything to do with it. It might be a very dramatic game, but not because of that.”

(On if they have made a decision on who is calling the plays against the Giants)

“So listen, every Thursday night we put the game plan to bed after dinner. After we get done with the players we put the game plan to bed and we wrap up the game plan. We make out final adjustments. After we do that tonight, we’ll decide, and we’ll move on from there. That’s just how we do it, and I believe in our process a lot."

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