Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham
Q: When you guys play a first half like you did the other day but the result is what it is in the end, what do you say to your unit? Do you say, 'we're there'?
A: No. The whole goal is to win the game. You could play great defense for a whole half, you could play great defense for a quarter, you could play great defense for 59 minutes. The thing is, we've got to finish better, whether it's me as a coach, the players in terms of technique and stuff. I'm not big into consolation prizes or stuff like that, pats on the back. It was frustrating, but we've got to find a way to win the game. We've got to find a way to finish better. The thing is, again, we've got two more opportunities, the first one being this week against Chicago and hopefully it's a better result. That's really what we've been preaching, really about the finish, to be honest with you.
Q: How do you sell the guys on how they have to win the game if the offense isn't scoring? You guys essentially had three points until late.
A: It goes back from when we first started coaching or playing. I think it's been instilled in me since Coach (Bob) Arciero when I was at Crosby High School, Coach (Jack) Siedlecki, Coach (Duane) Brooks at Yale. The thing is, you've got to worry about what you can worry about, so that's what we talk to the guys about. In terms of defense, our job is to keep them from scoring more points than the offense, period, point blank. That's our job. Unfortunately for 11 or 12 games we haven't been able to do that. There's no selling it, I don't think. It's just that's the job description and everyone knows what we signed up for. If you're a defensive player, your goal is to keep them from scoring more points than the offense and that's as simply put as we can put it. Our guys do a great job. It's next snap, go out there and play regardless of what's going on. We've just got to keep minimizing the points, but I don't have to sell too much to these guys because these guys love playing football. They value being out here on this field, they value being out there in that stadium. The thing about football – it's the beautiful thing and it's also the sad thing – it's limited. At some point, somebody is going to take away your cleats and you're not going to be able to play. You can't go play pickup football. That's why we always talk to these guys about valuing their time playing ball and anytime you get an opportunity out there on that field. I've been fortunate. Every time I've been a coordinator or when I've been coaching, I've got guys that love the game and understand how to value it, so I don't have to sell them. Anytime they put that helmet on and get out there on that field, they know it's competitive and they're fighting their butts off.
Q: Do you like how (Linebacker) Jaylon Smith has fit in here?
A: Absolutely. I think the thing I talked about last week, the thing that you see right away is the pace and how he plays in terms of how fast he's playing. I think leadership is showing definitely, leadership in terms of I'm not afraid to ask the question in front of the group. We've got a relatively young group and there are some guys that aren't used to playing as much, but he's not afraid to ask those questions, 'Pat, go back over that.' I think that's a positive. I think that's a positive. I think his energy, he has great energy. One thing about leaders and that's one thing I appreciate about (Head Coach) Joe (Judge), that's one thing I appreciate about Flo (Dolphins Head Coach Brian Flores), I appreciated it about (Patriots Head Coach) Bill (Belichick) – consistency. He might have a whole bunch of stuff going on in his life. It's holiday season, got COVID going on, he's had to move three different places, but when he's come in the building, he's consistent. Consistent energy, good pace about him in terms of his attitude the whole day all the way through. I could probably learn something from him because I'm about as moody as they come (laughs). I'm working on it though, I'm working on it. It's been infectious. It's similar to Leo (Defensive Lineman Leonard Williams). I don't know how many speeches Leo is going to do, but I know his energy when he comes in the building is always consistent and he probably has stuff going on in his life. I don't know exactly everything, but that's what good leaders do, they come in, they're consistent, they keep preaching the message, whatever their message may be as a player. A lot of times it's, 'Okay, just follow me. I'm doing the right thing, just follow me.' That's one thing I appreciate about Jaylon so far that I've seen.
Q: With the numbers you have with (Defensive Lineman) Dexter (Lawrence II) and (Defensive Lineman) Danny (Shelton), does Leo have to move inside?
A: He's played enough inside. We'll move him around. The thing about Leo, he's one of those guys that's a matchup guy, so sometimes on third down we put him outside, we put him inside. Leo will move around, he's embraced that. I think that's part of the success he's had aside from the hard work he put in in the offseason, during the season to improve, the fact that we're able to move him up and down the line. When I talk to guys throughout the league, they're like, 'You guys move him up and down the line.' I'm like, 'Yeah, we don't want you all to know where he's going to be all the time,' so that's one of the benefits of having him. He's a smart player and he's embraced the role. Some guys are like, 'Let me just play on the left side.' No, he doesn't mind doing that.
Q: How much is he limited, if at all, with the arm?
A: You've got to think, when you're superhuman like he is his limited might be normal for everybody else. To me, he had some great plays out there last week. We'll practice today. Yesterday was more of a walkthrough tempo. If he's limited – I don't know how much it showed in the game, whether it was the pressure he had on the one where (Eagles Quarterback) Jalen (Hurts) threw the ball into the ground. He beat that guy pretty clean. He had some good knockback in terms of the run game. I'll take his limited, let's put it that way. Whatever the percentage is, I'll take it.
Q: How did (Cornerback) Adoree' (Jackson) look coming back?
A: Adoree' looked good. He's bouncing around, energy, talkative – you know, he likes to talk – so that's a good thing. I missed his juice in the room. You could tell. Just from the first time I talked about him to you guys during training camp, his energy you can feel when he's out on the field and it's because everything he does, he does fast. He does it fast, so I appreciate that, especially as a defensive coach. And then the fact that he spends time talking to the younger players, going through scenarios. I love hearing him talk about football. That's one of the things as a coach you spend all this time on especially at this time of the year. We're going through situations and you hope over the weeks it's accumulated to where they understand when it comes up. The other week he came in and he said, 'Pat, did you see this blah, blah, blah, situation at the end of the game. They were backed up in the end zone and they were wrong there.' As a coach, I don't get happy about too much stuff, but I was smiling. That's a good thing from him, that's a good thing.
Q: That was some other game you mean?
A: Yeah, he was watching a game on TV. He came up to me. You've got to understand, when we talk about situations as much as we do and we try to get the situational awareness and stuff, and they come up and they say, 'I was watching the Minnesota game, they were in blah, blah, blah, call and the situation didn't play out right for them,' and he understood exactly what the situation was and where the miscue was – as a teacher, it's no different than if all of a sudden somebody gets whatever, the laws of thermodynamics or something, and they figure it out or they understand that E = mc2. It makes you feel good, you know?
Q: Look at you with those analogies there…
A: Well, I was chem e (chemical engineering) for two years. Not very good, but other than that— (laughs).
Q: At the same time at corner, has (Cornerback) Jarren (Williams) done anything to warrant taking him off the field?
A: I think Jarren has done exactly what we asked him to do. His physicality showed up. Even the penalty that he drew against Philly last week, it was because he shed the block. He was shedding the block and the guy was grabbing him, that's why they called the penalty. If he wasn't physical, if he wasn't using his hands there, we don't get that call and it's a touchdown. I think that's what I wanted to see from him, and I think it has improved from week to week. In terms of, again, he's doing what we asked him to do, he's tackling, he's covering. He has room for improvement too and Adoree', if he's available this week, it's going to be great to see him, too. Again, I can't stress enough, especially with the skill group that they have, whether it's the tight ends, the receivers there with Chicago, the more the merrier I am in terms of having players available.
Q: How has (Linebacker) Elerson (Smith) developed?
A: It's funny, we talked about it as a group. I like that early, that rookie year get him some work inside in terms of the pass rush to develop some toughness. The thing that ends up happening I think – again, I have experience with it with (Cardinals Outside Linebacker) Chandler Jones. I coached him as a rookie, and you learn how to use your length in there. That's one thing, he's a guy that's getting better at in terms of once you learn how to use your length as a pass rusher. Because you're a little bit of a lighter build right there, if you don't use your length, they're thinking about grabbing you. I think as he's gotten more and more reps – and I think there were a few clips from last week where he actually used his length, he's getting used to using his arms. What happens with these pass rushers coming from college to the pros, they're so much better than everybody and they don't understand how important the extension is. Just the blocking style it is in the league, they're clamping you. It's not going to get called, so you've got to be able to play with extensions. I like the fact that he's developing that toughness inside, developing the understanding that if you don't use your hand inside it's going to be really bad. You can get away with it some on the edge, but I like that development process in terms of getting him better for the future.
Q: Two-part question: how do you replace (Safety) Julian (Love)? And the other part is, there was a play last week where it was a deep pass down the middle and when it left Jalen's hand, they said it was going to be picked. Did the official distract him?
A: You have to ask Love on that one in terms of that one. I don't know. It might have been a distraction. You have to ask Julian on that one. But you can't replace Julian. You can't replace Julian. Julian brings so much to our team. He's really a jack of all trades in terms of he can play corner, he can play safety, he can play 'backer, so to me there's no replacing him. Again, we've always got to talk about next man up whatever the circumstances are – COVID, injury whatever. Guys have got to be able to come in and fill in roles no different than if we're missing a coach. Guys have got to be able to step up. It's all part of the training process.
Q: Is it multiple guys though replacing him?
A: A lot of times when you lose a critical piece like that, it's going to have to be multiple people – one takes this role, the other takes this role, because maybe you don't want to overload somebody. But we take all that into consideration.
Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey
Q: (Head Coach) Joe (Judge) had said that (Punter) Riley (Dixon) didn't have his best day of punting last week. Was there anything specific that may have caused that?
A: There's a bunch of different things you can put your finger on, but to me, at the end of the day, it really doesn't matter. Just got to execute, you know. I'll say that until the cows come home, if he was standing right here next to me. He understands that. When you get out on the field, you cross the white lines, you've got a job to do, you've got to do your job. He just has to get out of his own way. Sometimes Riley is, he's a perfectionist and he wants to do really, really well. We all want him to do well, but he puts a lot of pressure on himself, and he just has to understand when you go out on the field, you're not out there by yourself. You've got 10 other guys that are out there with you, and he just needs to do his job and stop putting so much pressure on himself.
Q: It sounds like there's a mental aspect to it, right? How do you as coach – how do you go about handling that, approaching that, trying to help him fix it?
A: My job as his coach is just to encourage him and to find solutions to the issues. Every day we're always trying to find a way to get better as coaches and players. When we go out on the field, he punts well in practice, he's punting well in pregame. It's just there's something that he has to work through from the time he walks out on the field to the time he takes a snap. He's just got to execute. He's got to focus on one little thing and execute that one little thing. So, whether it's a line or whether it's a target or whatever it is, he knows he has to do that, and we've just got to do a better job of doing it.
Q: What's the challenge when he does have a good punt like the one early last week and it bounces into the end zone? I know it wasn't his fault he went out of bounds but –
A: It's frustrating. Yeah, it's frustrating. Again, sometimes you just have those kinds of years. You guys have been here, you saw in '18, '19, he had freakin' 28 punts. He was in the top-five, top-10 or whatever it is in punts inside the 20. You have these years where it's just not going your way, and that's the way the ball bounces. You know what I mean? That's football. Sometimes you're going to get exactly what you want and then sometimes it's just the ball's going to bounce differently. You've just got to focus on the next snap. You can't worry about what just happened and you just try to execute better on the next play.
Q: What do you want to be done differently on the one where he punts it down there and (Cornerback) Darqueze (Dennard) is out of bounds and doesn't want to touch it and everyone's sitting there looking at him? What do you teach differently to the gunner there? Is he supposed to avoid going out of bounds?
A: He just can't go out of bounds. Yeah, it's a single, it's a single block, you can't go out of bounds. That's the cardinal rule of plus-area play for gunners. When you've got a single block, you can't go out of bounds. You can't get pushed out of bounds and you can't run out of bounds. Dennard, to his defense, he hadn't played gunner in a long time and got pushed out of bounds, but again, that's football. It's not an excuse, it's just it happened. We've got to do a better job of coaching up the poison aspect of it and what I mean by that is letting the gunners know, 'hey, look, I stepped out of bounds. I can't touch it,' so maybe (Linebacker) Cam (Brown) can react quicker to it. But anytime you have change, when you're changing positions constantly and you miss a guy like (Cornerback) Keion Crossen who's big for us obviously in that part of the game, as coaches we've got to do a better job of coaching it up, talking to them about it and just give them reminders as they go out on the field and making sure they understand exactly what they're supposed to do. When you have a seven-year vet, sometimes you take for granted that they know exactly what they have to do. It's been a while since he's done it and, again, that's on us as coaches and we've just got to do a better job.
Q: Did you give Keion a big hug when he came back?
A: I don't know about that big hug stuff, but I was happy to see him back, that's for sure. I gave him a punch upside his head (laughs). No, I love Keion. He's a good kid. Now, it's always good to have when you have a kid like that, that kind of speed.
Q: How is Riley's kicking?
Q: Like when (Kicker) Graham's (Gano) not here, does he kick?
A: Oh, yeah. Well, he does some kicking. Really, it's a skill he's been just trying to learn over the last, probably the last couple months. Just working on kicking off and it's something that he wants to learn how to do. He's been working at it, but Riley's a talented guy. He'd shock you with some of the stuff.
Q: Are you comfortable enough if he has to kick extra points at least at this point?
A: We'd have no choice. He's the backup.
Q: I said would you feel comfortable enough.
A: Yeah. I mean, to kick an extra point, yeah, it is what it is. It's an extra point. You know what I mean? So, you've got no choice. But if you get a situation where can he lift the ball off the ground and it looks like an NFL kicker? Yes, he can do that.
Q: Where is Graham? Is he back today?
A: Yeah, he had a little stomach bug or something.
Senior Offensive Assistant Freddie Kitchens
Q: What would you say has been your emphasis since you've taken over the play calling? What are you most trying to accomplish?
A: Trying to run the ball more efficiently and effectively. I think that's where it all starts with any offense. I think we made a concerted effort to try to do that. Sometimes you have more success than others and your goal every week is to be able to run the ball.
Q: How much do you view this time as an opportunity to show everyone around the league that you can be a play caller, this is a position you've done before and you've done well?
A: I don't really think of it at all, to be honest with you. I truly go out here every day and try to get better as a coach and do what I can to help the players succeed and put them in position to have the opportunity to be successful. That's where my main focus is rather than what I'm going to be doing in my career.
Q: Does it mean you want to be the full-time OC next season?
A: I always want to advance my career. I think if you're in this business to not do that, what are you in it for? We coach at the highest level of football and so you try to do the best job you can every day and wherever it takes you, it takes you.
Q: For five games with you calling the plays, how would you assess the performance of the offense?
A: Oh, we just try to get better each and every day. I don't think this is the time to assess what we do better, what we do worse. We're going out there today to try to get better today and I think just maintaining focus on that on a day-to-day basis is where it's at.
Q: How challenging is it to find a pass play that works right now?
A: Well again, we try to put guys in position to make plays. Their job is to make the plays, our job is to put them in a position to make the plays. Everybody involved can do a better job of that.
Q: Is part of the problem in the play calling for the offense at this point is that the line is struggling? I assume you'd call different things if you had the Eagles run game?
A: You know I think those guys are continuing to work better. They've played well at times. Everybody's kind of played well at times. We've got to try to fit it together and all play well at the same time.
Q: Do you feel there's pressure on you and you guys as a staff right now to have a more competent offense these last two weeks to just reinforce what you guys are building here?
A: I think to simply answer your question, I think there's pressure to do the best job you can each and every time you go on the field. You try to go out and play and coach to the best of your ability and whatever the results are is the results. You can't be impacted by the scoreboard. You can't be impacted by the other team. You kind of just try to make it about yourself, do the best job you can, play the best you can and let the results fall where they lay.
Q: One of the guys who seems to be a bright spot is (Tackle) Andrew (Thomas). He seems to be playing pretty well, what have you seen from him last year when you watched him to where he is now?
A: I think consistency. I think Andrew played well at times last year. I think the expectation level for Andrew has gone up for himself and I know we had high expectations for him, but if the player doesn't have high expectations for themselves, it really doesn't matter. I think his expectation level went up, which caused his playing ability to go up. Everybody knows he's a talented player, but there's a lot of talent out there that doesn't really get there. Andrew's done a good job on a consistent basis. To simply answer your question, I'd say consistency. You know what you're going to get when you put Andrew out there.
Q: When you guys went to Chicago last year, it was his second game, and he was kind of swimming a little bit. They're going to see a very different player than they saw last time, I would imagine.
A: Hopefully, but I think that's part of growing. That's part of being a rookie and that's part of all those things he went through last year that helped him this year. You can't have one without the other sometimes. Andrew's in a different place than he was last year. Their team is at a different place than they were last year. Everybody's either evolving or going backwards and it's good to see that Andrew is evolving on the positive trend.
Q: When (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney) is on the field, he brings that element of one step, and he could be gone. Is that something you try to take advantage of?
A: Yeah, you do. Anytime you have a special player like Kadarius on the field, you try to get him the ball as much as you can. Everybody in the stadium knows you're trying to get him the ball the most that you can, so any way you cut it, you try to get the ball to guys that make the plays. Yeah, of course.
Q: You've been the play caller for a good chunk here, why do you think it's been such a hard season for (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay) to get going? Why is it such a struggle for him to get the ball?
A: Well, I think Kenny's continuing to try to work and refine his craft every time he goes on the field. Everybody wants more opportunities. Everybody wants to be successful in those opportunities. We're going to continue to try to do the same thing. We want to try to get the ball to Kenny. We want to try to get the ball to (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley). We want to try to get the ball to all these guys that have the ability to make plays. Kenny's not unlike any of the others.
Q: Is he getting open enough or do you guys just need to get him the ball more? Is there a fine line there?
A: I think that's a week-to-week thing. I'd say probably looking at the tape and see, and I know that's what we do every week. We try to make improvements every week as we go through it. He tries to make improvements, everybody's trying to improve, and I think Kenny's done a good job of kind of just staying the course and trying to make the plays that are there to be made.
Q: Does he fight for the ball enough for you?
A: Kenny's a good player and, like I said, everybody's trying to get better and compete. Kenny competes every day on the field, whether it's the practice field or the game field. He tries to do the best he can and we're going to continue to ask that of him and he's going to continue to give us the best that he can.
Q: What do you think are the best signs that what (Head Coach) Joe Judge and you guys are building here is heading in the right direction despite not getting the results?
A: Well, I think these guys are continuing to play hard. We don't worry about them playing hard. It's the fact that these guys go out to work every day on the practice field and every day on the game field. They try to put their best foot forward and be successful. Sometimes you don't get the results that you want, but it doesn't mean that's a lack of effort or a lack of opportunity or a lack of trying from a player standpoint. Football is a game about the players. The players are trying to do the best they can to their ability to be successful.
Defensive Lineman Leonard Williams
Q: You're obviously still dealing with the injury, how have you been able to function with it and the brace and everything like that?
A: I think the coaches just know that I've been dinged up and struggling with it. They know I want to finish the season, though. I want to finish the season with my team. So, I've obviously been limited throughout the week. I come in for treatment in the morning, stay for treatment after practice and stuff like that. During practice, I'm getting a lot more rotation. Coach is putting me in for things that might be new install or things that I might need to know for the week. If it's something that we've been going over all season, they'll kind of let some of the younger guys fill in the role while I'm trying to rest my arm a little bit. During the game, I just make sure I tape it up, take some Tylenol and stuff like that. Just try to fight through it.
Q: Are you going to need surgery after the season?
A: I don't think so. I think I'm going to be able to just work the small muscles around it, keep getting treatment. Personally, I would like to avoid surgery at all costs, regardless of the injury. That's from personal experience and also from what I've heard around the league from vets when I came in as a younger guy – 'if you can avoid surgery, do it.' It's because I had two shoulder labrum tears in college. One I got surgery on and one I didn't, and I still feel the effects of the one I got surgery on. It feels like every once in a while, it clicks or like the screws that are in there just kind of bother me and stuff like that. Whereas the other one that I tore, I kind of just did a lot of treatment and rehab on it and worked the small muscles that make it stronger and this one feels a lot better now.
Q: One of the things that I've noticed this year is you tend to move around more. Are you doing it more than last year?
A: I'm not sure. I think for a while now I've been a type of D-lineman that moves around a lot because I'm tall and long and rangy. I can play defensive end moved out a little bit and then I can also play on the inside. I think (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator) Pat (Graham), with so many multiples in his defense, he likes to use me that way. It helps him change up his defense a lot and be comfortable knowing that he can put me anywhere. I've obviously embraced it and I actually like to move around. It helps me play better I think instead of being trapped to one type of play style.
Q: Does it give you an advantage in the sense that you're lining up against different guys and they may not be as well-prepared as if you're going against the same guy all the time?
A: Yeah, I think so. I think it's also harder for offenses to scheme against us if I'm always at the right side of the defense, right 3 technique just all the time – it's like teams are going to know that and possibly have advantages on scheming against me or something like that. The fact that I can play left side, right side, inside, outside, plays a big difference.
Q: You've been at this awhile, this time a year between Christmas and New Year's a lot of teams are gearing up for playoff pushes and things like that. Your teams unfortunately have not been. First off, do you ever get jealous of some of your guys you know around the league who are getting ready for the playoffs and things like that? Do you see a light at the end of the tunnel here, where you can be one of those players in the near future?
A: I would definitely be lying if I said I wasn't jealous of guys knowing that they're going to the playoffs and stuff like that. Especially, I'm finishing up year seven now, so I've obviously been doing this for a quite a while now. With my last team and this team, I haven't been to the playoffs once yet in my career. That's obviously something I'm looking forward to and building towards and striving for. I obviously see hope always, I wouldn't be playing this game still. I'm not doing this game for the money anymore. I want to be great, and I want to win. I definitely see light at the end of the tunnel.
Q: You saw (Former Giants Defensive End) Michael Strahan earlier this year come in and get his number retired and things. His last game was the Super Bowl victory, obviously. Does a player like you kind of let that mull around his mind a little bit, 'man, I wonder if that's ever going to be me some day?' You watch these games when you're done, that's the pinnacle, right? Do you see it out there for you at some point?
A: Yeah, definitely. Especially guys like Strahan, coming to an organization like this being a defensive lineman, there have been so many great defensive linemen that have been through here. Part of their legacy is winning as well. Not only were they great players, but you could look back on the years that they had, and they were also a part of great teams, winning teams, that make their legacy that much better. It helps a guy become more of a legend when he's a part of Super Bowl teams, playoff teams and things like that. I obviously want those guys to look back at their alma mater and know that they have confidence in the guys taking the next step and stuff like that. I definitely want to live up to something like that.
Q: One of your coaches today was talking about you and I was asking about the injury, and he said, 'well, you really can't tell because he's like Superman.' Do you feel like you're showing any of the injury because he was saying he can't see it?
A: I think during the game I have so much adrenaline, especially in the first half. I have so much fight in me that I'm not going to be the type to rollover and like be limping and doing stuff like that. Especially if I'm going to say I'm going to go and I'm going to be out there, I'm going to be out there 100 percent. Even though it's banged up during the week and it's bothering me at nighttime when I'm at home and there are small things where I'm just reaching for something and I feel it and stuff like that. During the game, I know that especially this time of year, it would be rare if there was one player on the field that's not dealing with something like that. It's rare for a player this late in the year, this late in my career at that too, to not be mending or dealing with something throughout the game. I've been trained to fight through pain and adversity, and I want to be out there with my guys.
Offensive Tackle Andrew Thomas
Q: Obviously, you've had a really good year in pass protection this season. How do you feel your run game has been? Do you feel you have to improve in that or are you good with it?
A: I think there's always room for improvement regardless of if it's run or pass. There are things that I want to work in both aspects.
Q: I know you don't make excuses, but has your ankle kind of limited you in this run-blocking game getting to that second level or is your ankle good with it?
A: I wouldn't say that. It's the NFL, everyone's playing banged up this late in the season. I've just got to find a way to be better with it.
Q: What do you remember about the second game of your career last year when you went to Chicago and faced (Bears Linebacker Robert) Quinn and (Bears Linebacker) Khalil Mack?
A: Yeah, I remember that game. First off, up front – very stout up front in the run game. Obviously, the pass rushers. Khalil is obviously not playing, but my first time seeing some of the best rushers in the league and introducing me to what it's going to be like week-in and week-out.
Q: What's it like going back there now? You're obviously a much more mature, seasoned player.
A: I'm just looking to continue to play as good as I can for my team and come out with a win.
Q: Did you feel like you were swimming a little bit in that first game last year?
A: I wouldn't say swimming. Obviously, that was only my second game playing as a rookie, but definitely learned a lot from it, obviously, and I'm going to continue to get better.
Q: There's always this thought the last couple games of a season when you're not in the playoffs, they're meaningless games, they don't matter. For you who has to line up every play and block someone every single play for 60-70 plays, how much does it matter? Can having some success in these last two weeks help you and the team for next year? Is there anything to that?
A: I think it's three parts to that. First, you're playing with the team. I'm out there and I'm going to do my best to help my brother out. We all work hard to do that. Then, there's myself. I've got pride. I'm going to step on the field, I'm going to play well. And lastly, you're always being evaluated by the coaches, so you want to put the best out that you can.
Q: In your short career, you've had a lot of people in your ear as far as offensive line coaches and assistants and things like that. Has that maybe lack of continuity been difficult for you? Do you think it's important to get one good, solid voice in your ear really helping here?
A: I wouldn't say that. I think having so many guys and for me personally I just try to be a sponge and take different pieces from each. Not try to do everything each coach is saying, but just taking what works for me and then trying to use that in a game.
Q: Have you ever had so many different voices in your career, like in college? There's usually one guy. Is this kind of unusual to have a lot of different guys there on the offensive line?
A: I'm used to having a head guy and assistant guy, but never this many. It's definitely something I think can help me and I think we've seen that this season.
Q: Is there anything that you kind of think about this season and you look back – it seems like almost everyone on the line has gotten hurt in some way, shape or form. Even this week, (Tackle) Matt (Peart) goes down with the injury, (Offensive Lineman) Korey (Cunningham) gets COVID, (Tackle) Nate (Solder) is coming back, (Center) Billy (Price) has got a personal issue. Has it just been crazy?
A: It's tough, definitely. With the offensive line, you want to have continuity playing each week, but with the injuries that we had and then obviously with COVID you've just have to try to be flexible, preach a next man up mentality and try to do the best that we can.
Q: With all these injuries, is it possible to really be a solid offensive line?
A: It's possible. I mean, a lot of other teams are dealing with injuries and COVID and playing good ball. We just have to make sure we're doing our technique and playing together.
Q: You've obviously made gains and strides this year. I'm sure Matt Peart was hoping to do the same. It hasn't really worked out for him and now he has the knee injury. What did you say to him as someone who came in together with him and was sort of on the same trajectory entering this year?
A: Matt is a great player, great teammate, has all the physical and mental tools to play this game for a long time. I'm sorry for him, hurt his ACL. That's not ideal, but he's going to work hard, and I think he's going to be a good player in this league.
Q: You've known (Offensive Lineman) Isaiah (Wilson) from Georgia, as well. What have you seen from him? Have you seen anything different or anything change from him?
A: I think Isaiah is definitely learning the playbook. It took him a little bit to try to catch on. I've been helping him, and he's been working with the assistant offensive line coaches, as well. Excited to see him get an opportunity.
Cornerback Adoree' Jackson
Q: How are you feeling and how excited were you to get back and see the protocols change a little bit?
A: I'm feeling great. Really don't know too much about the protocol changes, but I'm just happy to be back, you know, in the building, seeing everybody, being able to talk, work out and do different things with the team and try to finish out strong. Just excited to be back and happy.
Q: How much of an issue is your leg injury still after COVID?
A: I'm feeling great. I was taking everything day by day, step by step, you know the COVID thing was a tragic setback. At the end of the day, another opportunity to get right and get healed. It's probably a blessing in disguise from the Lord, so yeah, just excited to be back and get ready to work.
Q: One guy who jumped in for you the last few games has been (Cornerback) Jarren Williams. What have you seen from him?
A: Baller. One of the things that we always talk about, whoever goes in you don't want to see the change of play go down. You've seen when (Cornerback Aaron Robinson) A-Rob went in and did his thing, Jarren, so we hold each other accountable out there, not just on the practice field, but in the meeting rooms, making sure we're all tapped in. So, it wasn't like we were shocked and surprised. It was one of those things where he handled business and we knew that he would, so I'm excited for him. I told him yesterday or two days ago when I saw him, 'I'm really proud of you. The way you handled yourself, composed, being hurt earlier in the year, coming back and sticking through it and grinding, it's all paying off.' So, I'm excited and proud of him.
Q: Any doubt in your mind that you're able to play physically this week? Whether it's the leg/knee injury or coming back from COVID?
A: You go out there and compete. It's one of those things where if you say you can play, you've got to play this way. It doesn't matter. You don't go out there thinking bad, you go out there positive, confident and go out there. If you think about other things, other factors, that's when bad things, injuries or mistakes happen. So, you just go out there and play fast, play free and with the conscious of just trying to do your job.
Q: I was talking about whether you're actually capable of doing it. Whether they put you out there, I don't know. Some guys when they come back from COVID, it takes them a while to ramp up. You feel good out there in practice already where you feel like back to your old self?
A: Yeah, I feel good being out there in practice.
Wide Receiver Kenny Golladay
Q: Have you ever had a season in your life where you haven't scored a touchdown?
A: No, I haven't.
Q: What has this been like for you? I know the touches and the catches aren't there, but you're here to score points and score touchdowns. What's this year been like for that?
A: Of course it's been kind of frustrating just with the ups and downs, not being able to be available for the entire season. It's frustrating, but I'm just going to continue to come to work each and every week.
Q: What does this offense have to do? They've obviously made a bit of an effort to get the ball to you more here in the second half of the season. What needs to improve to make that successful?
A: To be honest, with it being two games left I think as of right now – I even said to some of the guys, 'Let's just go out there and put good stuff on tape.' I think that's all you can really ask for right now. I know that's what I try to do at least, go out there with my best foot forward every time and just try to put good stuff on tape.
Q: Do you think you've been doing that?
A: Yeah, I do.
Q: Two quick things: is this the healthiest you've felt all season? Do you get frustrated during the course of the game where you feel like maybe you're not getting some looks that you should be getting?
A: My body does feel pretty good right now. Frustrated? Yeah, of course. I think anybody would get a little frustrated, but it's a lot that goes on with trying to get receptions and everything. Everybody plays a role in it.
Q: Are you the type of guy that goes back to the huddle and says to (Quarterback Daniel) Jones obviously before, now (Quarterback Jake) Fromm of (Quarterback Mike) Glennon, 'Hey, you've got to look for me here or there'? Are you that type of guy? Do you voice a lot during the game?
A: I don't really go to the quarterback at all and say, 'Look for me here.' When we do go to the sideline, I'll probably look at the little iPad deal with my coaches, with (Senior Offensive Assistant) Freddie (Kitchens), with the QBs. We sit right there next to them and I just let them know what I'm seeing and what I'm getting out there, but a far as me going to the huddle or going to the sideline and saying, 'Hey, throw me the ball,' that's not who I am.
Q: How much of the lack of protection do you kind of chalk up to the fact that you were injured early and you haven't been healthy for long stretches this season?
A: To be honest, I really don't even know how many games I missed, three, I guess four if you want to count Dallas. All of that plays a factor in it, even with me not doing any of the training camp and not really healthy the first couple games. All of it plays a role, but I would say when I'm out there all of that is behind me. If I'm not 100 percent healthy, this is the National Football League, no one is really 100 percent healthy, especially this late in the season.
Q: How would you describe this whole experience for you this year?
A: I guess I'm just embracing it, to be honest.
Q: What do you mean by that?
A: I can't go and change anything. It has been a lot of ups and downs. Like I said, the only thing I can do is just keep coming in to work.
Q: It's obviously not just you in the passing game that's not working. You guys could have a whole season without a 50-catch player here. How strange is that to be on an NFL team that just can't seem to find its passing footing?
A: I mean, it's very strange. I don't even know how many catches I have this year. I feel like I probably had a couple more my rookie year.
Q: Yeah, you did. I think you're up to 35 or 36 now.
Q: A couple of years ago you had a game against the Bears where you had like four catches for 158 yards. What was happening that day? Why were you getting the big numbers?
A: I want to say, (Lions Quarterback) David Blough was the quarterback and I think I hit them early on probably the first couple drives for like a 70-yarder for a touchdown. You know, everything was just working. But at the same time that just kind of goes back to what I always say, when my number is called, just make the play. Four catches, that's not a lot to have and you're putting up 100 and something odd numbers.
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