Q: You had some new competition in practice yesterday?
A: You read the tweet I see. I’m glad to have Osi back. Just to have that pass rusher to go against and to know the competition that we’re facing this year. It makes me feel a lot better knowing that I have not only JPP but Osi to go against.
Q: Could you talk about the different styles with Osi and JPP?
A: Osi’s a premier pass rusher. He makes money having guys beaten off the edge. So just knowing that I’m going against him in practice, that I can try different techniques, make sure that even though I’ve gained weight, it’s good weight and I still have the speed and the footwork I can use it against him. Since my rookie year I’ve been testing myself against him knowing that he’s the guy that if I can withstand my own against, I can withstand my own against anyone else. Having JPP just progressing during this season and from last year and having two sacks in a game makes me feel good that I practice against him. Yeah we’ve been working each other out. I had no hits on the QB and he had two sacks, so it lets us know that we’re doing something in games.
Q: Do the d-lineman really test you physically and mentally in practice?
A: You have the one-on-one competitions where you know where you have to block and he knows it’s a pass rush. He’s not trying to – I’m not trying to cut legs or do anything dirty or anything like that but it is a serious competition that it’s who ever wins. Now I know he can’t touch Eli so there’s this gray area that you can’t even let him get close to him to make sure that you won. So it’s just that, yesterday being Osi’s first day back at practice, I had a little advantage on him; two weeks to prepare myself for him. I know that today he’s going to come out, he’s going to say something about my tweet at we’re just going to get at it but it’s all in love and fun.
Q: Did he say anything to you yesterday?
A: I had a lot of people misquote me but I was glad to have him back. I’m not saying that I’m better than him or I’m disrespecting him. Just to have him out there and being able to practice against him was a good thing.
Q: Did you tell him that?
A: No, I let him know after practice, you didn’t get this close, and like he knows today I know he’s going to have something else against me. So we’re going to compete again today and see how I do.
Q: That’s a side of you that we didn’t often see early in your career.
A: If you talk to him, since my rookie year he was like yeah you got drafted as a left tackle and I knew that for him being that pass rusher, if you get bigger yeah you’re going to have the guys bull rushing you just anchor in but to have that speed off the edge, not many guys can do that. So to be able to practice against him I knew that that would be a challenge that if I could overcome, if I can figure out how to compete with him, I would be as good as anybody in the league. He’s been training me, teaching me, so I’m going to get it one day and be like yeah I’m there but I’m still working on it. He has a lot of moves. He keeps saying he has some he’s not using on me yet. It’s just fun for me. I know I’m going out to practice and I get the best that the NFL has to offer. That’s a good feeling for me.
Q: Was he rusty at all?
A: He wasn’t rusty. To me, he looked good. He had me thinking about my footwork. Like I’m getting in my stance like yo, I’ve got to set on this, but I mean it was his first practice so I know he has a lot more. He has to feel out his body and everything like that. You don’t want to go out there and just injure yourself the first time your out there. I know he has a lot to offer this team and I’m just glad we have him.
Q: How much weight did you add this year?
A: Right now I’m around 320 so from playing last season around 300-310, it’s about 10-20 of good weight that I kept on during camp and not just gained it to drop it.
Q: And you haven’t lost any speed or anything?
A: The footwork and all that I haven’t lost. I think my 40 might have slowed down a bit but since I don’t have to run it, we’ll never know.
Q: Do you talk to JPP a lot on the field?
A: We talk on the field. We just know that we’re competing. We’re going against each other and JPP is more of a physical bull, slap-around type of guy so with him I know we’re starting the fight early with me and him going at it. Before with Osi, if I try to start the fight early and he beats me around the edge then it makes me look bad so with both of them you have to use different techniques to try to keep your ground. Having both of them back and forth yesterday, I got to really feel out how I’m going and we’re still early in camp so you know preparing for the game that I’ve seen this. I haven’t seen this guy yet but I’ve seen this move. I’ve seen this technique, this type of skills so it gives you a confidence going into the games.
Q: Were you much of a talker in college?
A: I was much of a talker. I like to pick my guys. I like to pick on Osi just because it’s fun and I know that we’ll get riled up in practice but it’s no badmouthing or anything like that it’s just fun and games. We’re going at it, let’s have a good practice, let’s see who comes out on top this practice.
Q: What about
A: We’re still communicating. Our defense knows us very well so if we communicate too much they’re like oh I know the play; I know what’s going on. We try not too talk too much against our team, not to give our defense an advantage but when we’re out there on the game yeah we’re communicating making sure we know what’s going on. If I have a question, I’m not afraid to ask him or think if he’s going to give me the wrong answer or stuff like that. We’re still on the same page. As an o-line unit, we have those five guys that have to work as one. We’re still trying to be as cohesive as we can.
Q: Your coaches have sad that they want to see some aggression or a mean streak out of you. Have these serious practices brought that out in you?
A: It’s an aggression. I wouldn’t call it a mean streak. I’m not out there trying to hurt anybody or injure anybody’s career during a practice but it is that competition that you’re not just slacking off and taking it easy or coasting through practice. They don’t want to see that. You know if you tell the defense you’re going against that I’m coming at you I’m not going to let you get at the QB, they’re not going to let you slack off because they’re gong to take that as a challenge and oh I’m going to do it or I’m going to make you look bad. So in that way you make sure that your practice goes well just because you’re getting a friendly competition going on.
Q: How do you feel you did in the preseason opener?
A: As a whole I think we left a lot out there on the field. We showed how we have grown, just our communication with the o-line as in new guys and new positions, but there are still some things we have to work on. That was our first preseason game. This game will really show how much we’ve improved that we can take our falls from last preseason game and make sure to not show them again basically.
Q: How do you feel you did personally?
A: I thought I did pretty good. Knowing that Eli came out clean, that right off the bat is like, you did a good job. You would like to score on offense. Defense outscored us. As an offensive unit you don’t really want that. You want your defense to score but you don’t want them to outscore you. Our job blocking, there could’ve been more we could’ve done. So you just watch the tape like, if I would’ve blocked a little longer, if I would’ve done this, like the should’ve, could’ve, would’ve. Overall we had a good game. Just the season opener and it had been a long offseason. I think that we have a lot to show still. We still have a mountain to climb.