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Quotes (9/9): Shurmur, Manning, Beckham, Solder, Barkley

Head Coach Pat Shurmur

Opening Remarks: It’s disappointing when you lose. The one good thing is our team fought from the front to the back. They fought all the way through the game. Unfortunately as is the case in a lot of these games that are close, we just didn’t make enough plays in the end to win the game. It’s unfortunate we lost, we’re disappointed because we lost but we’ve got to move on and regroup and get ready to play Dallas. I’m sure you’ve got a lot of questions, I’ll try to answer them for you.

Q: How do you view the offensive line and them going against a really good defensive line?

A: We battled a really good defense. You’re looking at a top-10 defense and we battled them and I thought they fought throughout the game. We can probably all point to individual bad plays by everyone, me included, so I feel like they battled and we’ve just got to go back and correct the mistakes that maybe showed up and get ready to play Dallas.

Q: Evan Engram had a catch just before you went on fourth down with Saquon. It looked like the spot was not right. Was there any discussion around whether the spot was accurate before you ran that 4*th* down?

A: It was right in front of me, and from what I could tell – and there was really not much argument – they went hard on the fourth down spot and the guys upstairs, nobody said they felt like it was worthy of a challenge, so I can’t tell you what we saw beyond that. We were on top of it, though, certainly that’s a situation just like the ball that was a potential touchdown, we thought it was worth challenging because it could’ve been a game-changing play.   

Q: What happened coming out of halftime when you guys needed a timeout?

A: Eli’s helmet went bad, so that’s where the communication was and it was a play to start the series that was a little wordier than plays within the series. We checked his helmet beforehand. For whatever reason, when he got out there he could not hear anything and that was the reason for it.

Q: Can you talk about Saquon’s touchdown run?

A: It was a great run. That’s why we drafted that young man.

Q: Can you also talk about his fourth down leap, where he came up short?     

A: It was actually the same play call. He tried to leap to get it. That was another close play. We’re talking about some close plays here that if they go your way, it makes a big difference. Those are the if’s and but’s that you just don’t worry about.

Q: You have them pinned down and then (Blake Bortles) had that 41-yard run. Was that reminiscent of what New England did in the preseason game against you guys?

A: New England hit us on a play that they had run three times previous, actually, but that’s just your typical zone read that you see every once in a while. You got a big, strong quarterback like Blake who can run like that, we just got to do a little bit better on the edge. We were doing a good job of stopping the interior portion of the zone read, we’ve just got to be a little more disciplined.

Q: Your defense didn’t give up a point the second half. You’ve got some new guys in there, can you talk about the play of (Curtis Riley) and (B.W. Webb)?  

A: It was excellent team defense in the second half. To hold any team at any level pointless in a half is terrific. They battled and they fought hard, and they did what they needed to do on that side of the ball.

Q:  There were two plays that looked like opportunities you had for touchdowns you missed, one right before the half with the jailbreak blitz where Beckham was alone right to left, and then coming out of the half him going deep over Ramsey, why do you think those two didn’t work out?

A: The first one was a full blitz. We had a play call, Eli checked to it and then we had some leakage inside that put a little bit more pressure on Eli than the law allows, then the ball was still close to being completed. We missed on it. That’s it. That happens once in a while. Then after, assuming it was the post we threw to Odell – we threw a post and we missed .That’s it. We didn’t connect. There’s no hunt for Red October there.

Q: The pressure that Eli was under at times, how do you think he responded?  

A: I’m thrilled that Eli is our quarterback. He responded well throughout the game. He’s into it, he’s sharp, he’s well prepared and we’re very fortunate he’s our quarterback.

Q: Did you ever have any thoughts to put Odell back to return one of those later punts?

A: No.

Q: You talk about those plays that might’ve hit.

A: Yeah, that’s the margin we deal with unfortunately -- well, fortunately. It’s fun to go out there and compete and it’s fun to watch guys fight their tail off, and it’s not fun to feel the disappointment of losing.

Q: Did you use some, there were close plays there that if certain things happened, this game might’ve been different. Do you see possibilities there that moving forward if you hit those things, this thing would be what you want it to be?

A: I told the players that the important part of this game that we can work with is they hung together, they played hard from the first snap to the last, we just didn’t make enough plays in the end to win this game, especially a one-score game throughout. We’ll get that fixed and again, this is a new team, we’ve got new systems. I’m certainly hugely disappointed that we lost for our fans, and our ownership, and for those players in the locker room. I’m disappointed we lost, but there’s a lot of good in that locker room and they’re going to hang together, I really believe they will and will come out … against Dallas.

Q: Did you see your communication defensively start to pick up and guys start to get it toward the back end of the game?

A: No, I think throughout the game, early in the game, too – again it’s the first game, so you get a couple plays they’ve been working on all summer and all spring. Then once they settled in with what their play calls were going to be, I thought our guys settled in. They got them, it’s a terrific effort when you can hold a team scoreless in the second half.

Q: Obviously it was Odell’s first game since he broke his ankle, what did you think?

A: I thought he competed throughout, put him in a lot of different situations and I think it’s a good idea to throw him the ball. We threw to him a lot and he made a lot of plays.

QB Eli Manning

Q:  What was your take on the offense early on and did you feel as though the offense was starting to get some rhythm as the game went on?

A:  I thought the offense got some rhythm during the second half and during halftime. Early on, we had four drives in the first half and two of them were trying to overcome penalties right off the bat. We had first and 25 or first and 20, it was just tough. Tough on the opening drive to start that way and start going backwards. After that, had some nice drives and got down there close. Couldn’t quite convert on third downs when we got near the red zone. Close couple plays in the end zone. Just little things. We didn’t execute everything perfectly that we needed to on those plays. We have to get back to work on those and start hitting them.

Q: How was your timing with Odell as the game went on?

A: I thought our timing was good. I don’t know how many catches he ended up with but I would say we were pretty accurate when I was going to him. A couple of pass interferences that could’ve been touchdowns or big plays, so that was smart on their part trying to hold him on those. Obviously, close on a couple of others that could’ve been touchdowns as well. I think our timing is good and the work has paid off. We just have to keep at it.

Q:  Are you concerned about the blocking in front of you?

A: This might be the most talented defense and front four we go against all season. They’re good. Those guys coming out the first game, I thought things settled down in the second half and they did a good job. Picked up some of the blitzes and hit some nice plays, big plays. I am proud of the way those guys competed and played. We had a chance to win the game.

Q: Any early reflections on anything that happened today?

A: We will look at the film. There is obviously a few plays you wish you had back. Almost had Odell on the post route that just hit the tip of his hands. I could’ve put that in a better spot and gave him more of a shot. The last play, the route to Shep. I have to get that out there and have him run under that. There is always little things that are always almost there. Almost is not good enough. You have to make the plays and be perfect.

Q: Was your sight obscured on the interception?

A: Ball just got tipped. It got tipped at the line. It is unfortunate. You hate to let them get an easy one like that where it gets tipped at the line and it pops up. They had a pretty good fake blitz that put Ereck in a bind trying to block two guys. Tried to step up and get a shot to Saquon. It is just unfortunate when the ball gets tipped that high in the middle of the field. Bad things happen and sometimes you can’t control those things.

Q: First play of the half, you had some problems with your helmet?

A:  Yes, my helmet just died. It just cut out. It died on me. I have to get a play called. Unfortunately, we had to use a timeout there. Really, I had some problems in the first half. I got a new helmet the next play and it was much clearer with the communication.

Q: Did you see enough from today that gives you confidence that almost there means that you can get there?

A: Definitely. There were some good things and some big plays. Obviously they got some interferences on some plays. We just didn’t make a few plays that could’ve been there. We have to come back and do what we have been doing. It is not a lack of preparation. Me putting it in a better spot, guys making a tough catch, having everything work out. It is a combination, not one person or one thing. It is just everyone doing their job a little bit better. That is part of football. It is a game of inches. Couple times we had a third or fourth down and we were just inches away and didn’t get the first. Unfortunately, we were not on that side of the inches today.

Q:  Before the half, you had a third and goal and you decided to go for the field goal with seven seconds left. Was there any conversation of taking a shot one more time?

A: Tough right there whether you can get something up and down. You didn’t want to risk not getting points. You need to get points on a good drive. Had a chance on the second down. They went all out blitz. Should have had it protected but we didn’t pick that up right. Had to throw it away earlier than I wanted to. Tried to give Odell a shot to make a play but didn’t want to risk throwing a bad one there. Right there, coach was smart getting the points right there and not risking something bad happening. 

Q:  What Saquon can do, what does that mean to have that?

A: I think he played well and tough. He has that big play potential. You just have to learn to keep running hard, be patient and don’t expect it to happen every time. Teams know and the offensive line knows that when you give him a little daylight, he can make some special things happen.

Q: Does this game feel different for this team than it would have previously walking out of here with a tough loss? Why are you more encouraged about this team?

A: I’m encouraged just because I have seen the way we work and the men we have in this locker room. The talent that we have and guys taking care of each other. Just encouraged by the whole situation. We can get things going and we can play at a high level. We will make it work.

Wide Receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

Q: What was it like being out there, first game action where it counted?

A: I’m just thankful to be out there again. I know I told the story many times, I was in the basement night after night just praying to get back together mentally for the season and allow me to come out and put my best foot forward today.

Q: What did it mean going up against Jalen Ramsey out there?

A: That’s who we were playing. He’s like a brother to me, we kicked it over the offseason, we talked back and forth. He’s a competitor, I’m a competitor, I love the way he plays, I love everything about his game. It was fun to go out there and compete against, if not the, one of the best in the league, hands down.

Q: Did you feel as the game went on the offense got into a rhythm?

A: Yeah, we started off slow. The first drive we had two or three penalties, we put ourselves behind the chains and it was tough. That’s kind of when I tried to preach to the offense about not getting behind and putting ourselves in a bad situation. We are already going against a great defense, we don’t need to help them anymore. It was tough, it’s the first game, it’s not the end of the season. It’s a good starting point against one of the better defenses in this league.

Q: What are your emotions, having such a good game coming back, but getting this result?

A: I hate losing more than anything. Honestly, I was praying that there was something that happened earlier in the game where I had to dig deep and find out where I’m at on that scale. Things weren’t going my way early, so there was never an opportunity to see that moment. Like I said, I’m just in a different place. Once you see everything flash before you, and you don’t know if you ae going to be the same person again, you don’t know if football is going to be the same again, I got a different perspective. Just being out there and competing with the best, I wish we would have gotten a win, but at the same time it’s a good starting point for our team.

Q: Is there anything you can take away from this game despite the losing?

A: Yeah, we competed. We competed all the way up until the end, we had a lot of energy on the sideline. Like you said, there are a lot of positives we can take from it, you just want to come out with the W.

Q: You said you wanted to see if you are the same player, are you?

A: I don’t know, I’m hoping to be better, that’s obviously the goal. When I said that, I meant more from an emotional standpoint. In the past there have been a lot of things that have gone on and I haven’t had the best way of handling it. I was hoping there was a moment where I was tested, and I was going to able to see where I’ve grown and how much growth there has been. I don’t know if I need the moment, it’s just something inside that I have grown with.

Q: You have a lot of games in your career where you have had a good game, but you haven’t walked out with a win, can you compare the emotions from those games to your emotions today?

A: I get what you’re saying. There have been a lot of times where, okay, cool, you had a good game, but you still lost. This time there is so much positive to take from it, this is a brand-new team, it’s a great starting point for us, we have something to build off of. We are going to walk out of here with our heads up wishing we would have got the W. It is what it is, any given Sunday, any team can win.

Q: Why do you feel that optimism about the offense?

A: There was just a lot of moments and opportunities where we had chances and we didn’t connect. Whether it was the first game or whatever it is, we just missed those chances, but they are right there. Our plan is for them to be there all year, so instead of seven points it could have been three extra touchdowns. There’s twenty-eight, it’s just a matter of time before everything starts clicking. We came out and put our best foot forward and it’s a good place to start.

Q: Anything you can share about Saquon’s first touchdown?

A: I’ve told him this multiple times, I’ve had dreams of seeing Barkley running down the field, breaking for the end zone. I went to a school, LSU, where I watched Jeremy Hill come out the backfield multiple times. There is no better feeling than running the ball and somebody takes it 60, or however long it was, to the house. The only thing I ever told him was be you. You don’t have to do anything for anybody else, any outside pressure, anything anybody said, you don’t have to be that, just be you.

Q: It seemed like you were able to get separation and give Eli clean targets, to be able to do that against that defense and that corner in your first game back, does what for you?

A: I mean. it’s good. I feel like every day at practice Eli and I have been getting open and finding ways to separate. Now it’s about putting all the pieces together, he needs a little bit more time, we need to find a way to make those catches on third down. We need to find ways to keep drives alive, we went into the first game and unfortunately the ball didn’t roll our way. Like we said, it is a good starting point.

Q: When you look at two overthrows in the end zone, what is going through your mind, how close you are? Is there an adjustment you can make?

A: It’s close, it’s football, though. We had those, if he can sit back in there just a little bit longer, just set his feet and get rid of it. It’s a collective thing, I can run faster, the O-line can block better, it’s just something we all have to get on the same page with. First game, I’m proud of this team, I’m happy to be back. I’m happy to be a part of this team, I’m looking forward to the season.

CB Janoris Jenkins

Q: It can be difficult to come out with a loss. You guys gave your offense a lot of opportunities with some big stops. What changed for Jacksonville down the stretch? What were you able to do on some of those drives where you were able to get them off the field?

A: We played solid defense, everybody played together and moving in the mindset of just keep playing football.

Q: You happy with how the defense played today?

A: I’m okay. I think we could have played better. We’ll go and watch film together as a defense, and we’ll see what mistakes we made and what mistakes that we didn’t make and we’ll just fix them in practice.

Q: Did anything in particular stick out to you as something that didn’t go well for you?

A: No, we’ve just got to keep playing football. We’ve got to understand that it’s going to be 60 minutes of hard fight and just go, wait ‘til tomorrow and see what happens.

Q: When you’re forcing punt after punt after punt in the second half and the offense can’t get anything going—your offense can’t get anything going. Is that frustrating for the defense?

A: No, no it is, but at the end of the day, we’re a defense. So, we’ve got to keep going out, making three and outs, keep playing defense. We understand it’s a team game and we’ve just got to keep playing.

Q: Do you think the performance of, at least, obviously you want to win, but for this defense you guys can really build off of the way you played today.

A: I think we all can build off of it—defense, offense and special teams. Once we get in the film room, we’ll see what critiques we have to make and we’re just going to come out and keep hustling every day.

Q: What happened on that strange play? You almost had a pick and then they almost had a touchdown. Was the ball wet, slipped through your hands?

A: It just popped out of my hands, but you know I’ve got to come up with a play like that.

Q: Can you take us through the interception, what you saw on the play and how you got the football?

A: It was a three-by-one formation, I think. I was on the three, the trip side and basically he just ran a fade and I turned around and [saw] the ball and I just grabbed it.

Q: It seemed like earlier in the game they were running a lot of moving [Blake] Bortles, a lot of play action, but it seemed like in the second half you guys kind of figured out what they were trying to do and you really settled down defensively.

A: Yeah, we came in at halftime, made corrections, saw how they were trying to attack us and made adjustments.

Q: Obviously you want to come away with the win, but were you happy just in terms of how the defense progressed throughout the game and how you took some of the things from the preseason and brought it into the regular season?

A: Yeah, we’re making strides, as a defense, as a team, as special teams. We’re making strides, but we’ve got to come back tomorrow and just work and critique ourselves and make sure everybody stays up and just keep pushing.

Q: What are the most important things you guys think you need to correct heading into week two?

A: Just some basic things as a defense. We’ll look at it tomorrow, nothing specific, but we’re going to keep working.

Safety Landon Collins

Q: What did you think of the defense overall? Were you happy with how you guys played?

A: Yeah. A few communications things that we can go over that we’ve got to fix, that’s about it. Other than that, we played really tough on defense.

Q: Janoris was saying even though it’s tough to lose, there’s things to build off of, especially the way you guys played defensively your first game together in this system.

A: Like I said, as it was planned, we were playing a good offense and their run game is very hard to protect and we were playing good against it so we can definitely build on top of that and just make sure we get the communication right and on the same page as always.

Q: Was it at all frustrating that in the second half you’re getting stop after stop and offense just couldn’t get it?

A: Nah. We know they’re going to get it together. It’s our job to get them back the ball as many tries as they can. They’re going to get it together- they’ve got too many weapons over there. Once they figure it out, once they figure out what plays work, what keys work, they’re going to move the ball down the field.

Q: What adjustments did you make in the second half? It looks like you guys clamped down on them even more in the second half than in the first.

A: Really, no adjustments at all, honestly. Just playing our gaps the right way and defending and from that point on we stopped the run.

Q: First game- did you like the new system and how it operated?

A: Yeah, it was cool.

Q: What’d you like about it?

A: Everybody knew what they were doing

Q: Did you feel like at the end there- three-and-out, used two of the timeouts, did you feel like you were giving the offense a chance?

A: Yeah, we gave the offense a chance. Got the ball back as quickly as possible for them. They couldn’t run the clock as they wanted to, so in doing so, I think we made the best chance even though we didn’t practice a four-minute-drill, we made that work really good.

T Nate Solder

A: You got to stay ahead on the chains, especially on a team like that. Obviously there’s talented guys that made some plays regardless, but as an offensive lineman we want to stop hurting ourselves in that sense and keep a manageable down and distance.

Q: How difficult was that first series, obviously backed up from the start, kind of started going backward. How difficult was that…?

A: Yeah that was such a weird series. We would make a play then have a penalty, make a play, have a penalty. I guess that was a microcosm of kind of how the whole game went.

Q: Is it difficult to not let a series like that snowball for the rest of the game?

A: I don’t think that series affected the rest of it, I just think that whatever was causing that series, the penalties, the getting behind on down and distance was something that made us have a difficult day.

Q: How do you correct that moving forward other than just having more time together as a group?

A: You got to clean things up, what you got to look at – I don’t even know what those penalties were, I haven’t seen that yet. I know I had a penalty so obviously that comes down to fixing my holding and all that sort of thing on plays. That can’t happen.

Q: With Ereck (Flowers) on that series there getting some penalties. Is there time to pull him aside and kind of give him a (inaudible)?

A: You know in the heat of the game when you don’t really know what’s going on, it’s hard to say anything at all because I’m sure he had some good plays, some bad plays like I did too and we just keep going forward as a team and improve. That’s what we got to do.

Q: You knew this would be a tough challenge against this defensive front, you know, they are one of the best in the league, if not, the best. Was it what you expected or did you expect more from your group?

A: It was a tough battle. I think that, like I was saying before, if we would’ve kept it in manageable down and distances, we prevented ourselves from a lot of plays because we were getting the penalties and stupid things that we control like I had that holding. That was totally in my control and I need to clean that up.

Q: What did you see on the fourth down play, Saquon (Barkley) fourth and two, leaped and came up a yard short…?

A: Well that’s just an example of guys battling and playing hard. I think that’s going to happen when it’s a close game like that and people are trying their best.

RB Saquon Barkley

Q: How do you balance the excitement of your first game versus losing?

A: I was excited, obviously. It was fun to get out there and play in my first NFL game, it was a dream of mine, but I feel like that we left it out there. We could’ve done a little bit more as a team to finish the game and win the game, but you have to give credit to Jacksonville and that team over there. They’re a heck of a defense and a heck of a team and we have to continue to grow from this game and get better.

Q: Saquon, what made the difference when you were able to break free and find that seam and go for the touchdown?

A: Yea, that touchdown run was a great call, first of all, and it was blocked up perfect. The O-line did a great job on the front side creating movement, Evan [Ingram] did a great job on the backside with a cut block and I was able to get one-on-one with the guy and make him miss and use my speed on the sideline to get in the end zone.

Q: What was it like seeing that, especially against a defensive line like that, for your first NFL game?

A: Yeah, definitely, definitely. It definitely was a challenge and a challenge that I was excited for and excited to go against and it definitely was a test; not just the defensive line, but their defense as a whole. I think that you see the potential that we have on this offensive side of the ball as a team, and we just have to eliminate the mistakes and I have to eliminate my mistakes and find a way to get that two-point conversion and on those short downs, I didn’t get those downs, and we have to continue to get better and learn from it.

Q: On the touchdown, was that just simple execution and everything coming together? Were there any adjustments that you had to make that resulted in that?

A: It was simple execution. The coach made a great call; we felt that we had a great read there with the running game and like I said, the O-line did a tremendous job of blocking not only that play, but all day and Evan [Ingram] made a huge block. If you go back and watch the film, that kind of opened it up and that backside block was huge. It created space for me to make a move one-on-one with the guy and Shep [Sterling Shepard] also made a great block at the end of the play also to give me that space on the sideline to find a way to score.  

Q: How were you dealing with the speed of the linebackers of the Jaguars and also the defensive linemen and just mentally transitioning to not be able to break it the way you wanted to prior to the touchdown run?

A: Yeah, definitely watching on film, they were as advertised. They have like seven or eight Pro Bowlers over there and they’re heck of players and definitely fast. There was one play when I like made a guy miss, it was on a flag, I broke outside and 39 [Tashaun Gipson Sr.] came and tackled me and I was like ‘In college, that’s a touchdown’, but it was a great play by him and to the mental point of a running back, everything is not going to come on one play. You have to continue to work on it. The first carry in the preseason, I popped one for 40 [yards], but even when I played the rest of the game, you still have to work on it. Today, we didn’t pop one until like the fourth quarter or end of the third, so you just have to continue to stay with it. That’s what I kept saying, the offensive line and also to just stay with it, something is going to pop, and when they give us that chance, we have to make them pay for it. 

Q: How did your mindset and your thinking change as the game went on and you got to see more of that defense?

A: Your mindset changes just throughout the game because you get a feel for it; you get a feel for the O-line, you get a feel for what their defense is doing, how they’re attacking you and how they’re playing you and it’s kind of just repetition and play-by-play. I feel like, personally, as I continue to go out this season, it’s a long season and I continue to get reps, I’m only going to continue to get better.  

Q: It seemed like most of the game was two yards or three yards and then all of a sudden, it’s 65 yards. I mean, is that just something as a running back you expect at some point? 

A: Yeah, obviously you wish that they were all 75 [yard runs] and 80-yard runs, but it wasn’t like that in college and I didn’t expect it to be like that in the NFL. You have to take what they give you, it’s kind of like playing chess; when you get your opportunity, you have to execute.

Q: It seemed like Shep [Sterling Shepard] gave you a pretty good escort down that sideline, right?

A: Yeah, he made a heck of a block. We came back to the sideline and he said ‘I got you, two-six’, and he made a heck of a block. The O-Line made a heck of a block, the tight end made a heck of a block, and when you think about it, on those long runs, the only thing you really see on the highlights is the running back making a play or the wide receiver making a play, but it’s the little things, the little blocks. If Shep doesn’t make that block and if Evan [Ingram] doesn’t make that block, that’s not a touchdown. You have to give credit to those guys.

Q: What did your teammates say to you after the touchdown?

A: They said ‘Congratulations’, but right away, we had to go do a two-point conversion [attempt] and kind of sparked us back up. The next focus was to try and find a way to do it again; get into the end zone again because we were so close and we were making a lot of plays moving the ball. We kept hurting ourselves, but you still have to give credit to the Jacksonville defense and that is something that we have to continue to grow on and get better as an offense and as a team.

Q: What was your realistic expectation coming into today? I mean, a 68-yard run, over 100 yards, but in a loss.

A: My realistic expectation was that I expected to win. Every game you come into, you expect to win by any means. It didn’t matter if I had 100 in the air or 100 on the ground, or if I had 20 rushing yards; I’m not really a stats guy, I don’t really care about stats. I want to get the win and that was my expectation, but sometimes you fall short on your expectations and it means you have to continue to work and we have to go back to the drawing board and go back to practice and get treatment, recover and get our bodies right and continue to get better. 

Q: Saquon, after a little bit of a slow start and not having those big plays that you were looking for, can you talk a little bit about the confidence that it gives you when your teammates just keep feeding you the rock?

A: Yeah, definitely. It definitely gives you confidence when you have a team and an offense and offensive system and an offensive coach that believes in you, but that comes from being a running back. If you ask any of the great running backs or any running back in general, not every run is popping for 10 yards or 40 yards. If it is, you’re just having your night, but usually, especially against a team like that, every run is not going to be 40 yards, not every run is going to be 10 yards. Some are going to be five, some are going to be two, and some might even be negative-two. You have to continue to stay with it and stay on the offensive line and stay with the running game and when you get the running game going, it creates other things and we have to get better in that field and I believe that we have the talent and the coaching staff and just the team in general that we can get better and continue to develop in the running game and continue to develop the offense as a whole.

Q: What happened on the fourth-down play where you went diving over the pile and came up short? Why did that play kind of break down?

A: Fourth-and-one is always tough to get, especially when you have a defense like that. Fourth-and-one mentality is you have to get it no matter what by any-means-necessary. I jumped and I thought I had it, I thought I did enough to keep the sticks moving, but I didn’t and that is something where there’s no excuses that I’m a young player, and I have to realize how important that is. I have to continue to grow in that area and continue to get better and the only way you can get better is by taking reps at it and continue throughout the year and find a way; find a way to make that play happen.  

Q: What do you think you needed to do better on that play?

A: Get the first-down; it was just simple as that. If it’s jumping over, do it a smart way; you don’t want to stretch there also because that can cause a turnover. Lowering your shoulder, whatever it takes; find a way. You have to find a way.

Q: Do you think you would’ve done something differently on that play now?

A: In that certain situation, I would’ve jumped a little bit further, I guess that’s the only thing that I can really think of. The O-Line did a really good job of washing it back and I got kind of one-on-one with somebody. Maybe not dive, but maybe I would’ve lowered my shoulder there and fight for it. I would maybe do it a different way, but there’s so many things you could do in that scenario, I can go back and play that in my head so many times, but whatever the case may be, I have to find a way to make that happen. 

Q: What was that like for you emotionally in the end zone when you scored the touchdown?

A: It was amazing; it was a great feeling, but it was a feeling that came and went. One touchdown is not going to win the game, and that touchdown didn’t win the game this week, but to get in there, it was a dream come true to find the end zone. I did keep the ball, but it was just like ‘Move on, next play’, and find a way to get in there again.

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