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Quotes: DC Wink Martindale, OC Mike Kafka, STC Thomas McGaughey, RB Saquon Barkley, TE Darren Waller, LB/S Isaiah Simmons

Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale

We looked at the tape and have been working on things we need to fix. We're looking forward to this challenge here going out to Arizona.

With that, I'll open it up for questions.

Q: What is it that you looked at and you said, 'These are the areas it's time to focus on?'

A: Actually, just little things. You know what I mean? Just little things. I think we could have helped ourselves by alignment on the pick play, the big play that (Cowboys wide receiver) CeeDee (Lamb) caught, but just little things like that. I thought that for the most part of the game, we played well against the run. There's one that got away from us we'd like to have back. That's another one of the little things that you point out, and you need to fix it. It's an ongoing process. We're coming together. I told you last week, I think it's going to take a little bit for that first group to gel, and I really like that we had a really good practice yesterday. I'm looking forward to having another one today.

Q: What do you see from their quarterback (Joshua Dobbs)? He's only been there for a month-ish.

A: I've gone against him in the AFC a lot. I think he's a very smart quarterback that knows where he wants to go with the football. He's mobile enough too to still hurt you if you're taking his reads away from him. So, I think there's a reason why he's been on so many different teams is because everybody sees the same thing in him about how he can, I don't want to say he's a game manager because I think some quarterbacks look at that as a dig. He really does know how to take care of the football and try to keep the sticks moving.

Q: I think he had three fumbles last week. Were there common denominators there to those?

A: I think that sometimes they get rolling with those. If you look back at our Detroit game, all the sudden we started getting some interceptions, and they came in bunches there, that type of thing. So, I think that the biggest jump that teams make, including ourselves, is from Week 1 to Week 2. Like I said, it's going to be a great challenge. I think (Cardinals Head Coach) Jonathan (Gannon) has done a great job of bringing that team together, and their offense is playing to their defensive strengths as well.

Q: Were you satisfied with the amount of pressure you had and was some of that because the score dictates what they're doing?

A: Yeah, I think it's the pace of the game as far as the pressure. Because we saw during the game when, early in the second quarter, they weren't going to let (Cowboys quarterback) Dak (Prescott) get hit. They were getting rid of the ball fast.  I don't know the exact number on the opportunities of just straight drop-back passes. There's a lot of play action, a lot of boots, and he got rid of the ball quick. So, you have to adjust your game plan as well. I think that's the fewest amount of times we've blitzed them since through the third game that we've played them, because I saw that they were getting rid of the ball so quick, that they weren't going to let him get hit.

So, then you've got to try to take away their number one threat, which is CeeDee. I think, besides the one play where we got picked, and like I said, that was more our fault than anything else, you take that play out and he had what, four receptions? So, we did that, and I think Dak's completion percentage was 52 percent. So, there's a lot of things, a lot of positives that we can build on. That's what I told the defense.

Q: How would you assess the way (cornerback) Tre (Hawkins III) played in his first game?

A: I thought he played well. I think that the first time you're out there, underneath the lights on Sunday Night Football, I thought he played well. The thing I liked about both the rookie corners is how aggressive they are. They like to tackle, and they like to play physical. So, I like where we're headed with that group.

Q: A couple of guys in the locker room yesterday were talking about that they felt a little bit of an edge to practice, obviously, to try to put Sunday behind them. Did you sense that at all, A, and B, defensively, is that often a spot where you can really set a tone in a game particularly when you need to set a tone?

A: Okay, you asked me two different questions there. Was there an edge?

Q: I was just curious if you sensed it.

A: I think we practiced well before we played Dallas and I think it was the same type of practice that we had Wednesday. We've been practicing well. It's like one of those things that, I've told the defense before, Lou Holtz, I worked for him at Notre Dame. Everybody's got problems. Ninety percent of the people in this room don't care about your problems and the other 10 percent are glad you have them. So, what are you going to do to go fix it?

Q: When you're trying to come off a loss like that, can a defense really set a tone?

A: I think a whole team. I don't think you make it offense, defense or special teams; I think a whole team can. The biggest thing is, and Dabs (Head Coach Brian Daboll) hit on this right after the game, you can never let one game beat you twice. So, you've got a choice in life. Stand up, dust yourself off and go play. That's what our guys are going to do. I know how they are, and I know how they'll react to it.

Q: Do you have any issue with how your defense finished the game in the second half?

A: I just think it was one of those things, you just keep hammering the rock, hammering the rock. I didn't think that anybody gave up if that's where you're going. I don't think that at all. I do think that it was their first time, like I said, all of them together and playing for that long of a period of time. I just think that we've got to get better on doing a lot of little things. I wasn't happy with the first series coming out of the half. I was not happy with that. I told them that. But I think, like everything else, it's just, like I said, little things that we need to fix. And I think we will.

Q: What about that first series didn't you like?

A: That we let them go down the field. A lot of things happened, but we just need to get a stop there in that situation. Because at the end of the half, we got a two-minute stop, three-and-out on a two-minute stop, and I thought the momentum of that going into the start of the second half… But like I said, keep your composure. That's what I told them. I don't lose my composure. I'm going to be the same. I'm going to be the same up here as I am anywhere else. We've just got to move on. I still think we're a good defense.

Q: Isaiah Simmons didn't have a lot of numbers, like solo tackles or assists, but it looked like he was flying around. Do you think he was fitting in?

A: Yeah, he's fitting in. He's fitting in. He's just going to keep getting better and better.

Q: Do you keep giving him more, too?

A: Of course. Yeah.

Q: With (cornerback) Adoree' (Jackson), he obviously plays in the slot a lot when you're in the sub-packages. Is that something that could change week-to-week, or those are just your best three, or if the best receivers are on the outside, do you adjust?

A: I think it's something that could change from week-to-week, game-to-game, series-to-series because we can match. That's the beauty of this system, we can do a lot of different things with it.

Q: When you were asked about Simmons, you said of course. Why?

A: I think his role is going to expand, because he's that good of a player and he's just learning the package. What is this, the third week he's been here? It's just going to keep expanding. Like I said, he's a positionless player, which is a compliment to him. We can move him around and play him in different spots. Through attrition, there's going to be different spots that are open and each week, you put him in the best spot that you need him in to help us in.

Q: Can he help you Arizona-wise at all, or is that overrated?

A: I think that's all overrated. I really do. I know that his competitive juices will be flowing a little bit hotter than normal, because that's just the human nature of the sport, too. It's just like us with Baltimore last year, or Dabs when he goes to Buffalo. I mean, it's just one of those things.

Offensive Coordinator Mike Kafka

Q: What did you think about the pass protection in that game?

A: Those are things that are, for us, in the past a little bit so we're working to improve those things each and every week. This week's the start of it, kind of built on a couple of good day so looking forward to today as well.

Q: What are you looking to build on specifically?

A: It's working all our schemes, all our fundamentals and techniques then spending a really detailed time in the individual period to make sure everyone sees it the same way.

Q: How difficult does it make things when you don't know it (tackle) Andrew's (Thomas) is playing and exactly what your line configuration is going to be?

A: Those are just conversations that you have with (Head Coach Brian Daboll) Dabs and at the end of the day he'll make the final decision. I know our training staff Is working with all of the guys that are injured to make sure that they come back healthy.

Q: What's the balance between the individual work and the team work you referenced when you are looking for improvement?

A: So, you schedule – have the practice plan around those things and making sure you've got good individual work, whether that's full speed or in the walkthrough, you're working off the tape and teaching it in the classroom. Then you bring it into kind of a tempo, whether it's a walkthrough type tempo, it's a full speed in the team drills and then you're working combos together in separate individual drills, so there's a lot that works into the fundamental techniques of it but our coaches do a great job of planning that out and detailing it out for the players.

Q: How can you unlock some of your skill players that can break games?

A: You go through each week and you look at the opponent and see what they're doing. You try to get the best game plan that you possibly can and put your players in the best position to be successful so that's what we spent a lot of hours working through that and studying that and that's what we're working to do this week.

Q: Is it fair to say…

A: Every week there's always going to be something that you want to clean up and get better at, so I think this week we're working on focusing on ourselves and working on our individual fundamentals and techniques then carrying that over into practice.

Q: Even though the score was getting away from you do look at the film and say that maybe there was an opportunity to stick with the run since it worked so well on the first drive??

A: The things that we did last week, we're going to take all the good stuff that we did, learn from the things that we didn't do so well and then apply it to this week in practice. I think our guys have had that approach and they've taken that approach and I think they're having a good week. Today's no different, we have to have the right urgency and the right tempo and demeanor and practice that way.

Q: With (tackle) Evan (Neal), is it a matter of confidence at this point after some of the changes that he made in the offseason? How do you help him at this point?

A: Every player, we have to make sure as a coaching staff that we're giving them the best opportunity to be successful and we're going to work on all the things that we need to improve on with each individual player. It's never on offense – it's never really about one guy. It's always about how can we all, 11-man operation, work together to make this play go the right way. Whether it's one person or another, we're going to build on whatever positive we can find in that play and then work the schemes and work personnel groupings and work our tempo and practice to improve those things.

Q: I'm sure everybody's motivated after a game like that. As you come into this week do you expect to have a little more come down on you from the head coach? Have you already?

A: I think our urgency – I've been happy with our urgency so far this week in practice. I think our guys have taken that to the classroom. You can see it in the installs, you can see it in the classroom, you can see it on the field and how they're approaching it. Yesterday was a good day so we've got to have great focus on today to make sure we get those things right and correct it.

Q: Have you seen any changes in Dabs at all about that?

A: I'd say Dabs has been as consistent as he's always been and that's a great thing for us. He's pushing us, there's a standard in our building, so we're always going to continue to push through that and make sure we sustain that standard.

Q: You had to call timeout because you had 10-men on the field. What do you need to clean up there just operation-wise?

A: Just fixing up the communication. Whether it's guys running on, running off, it's kind of all an encompassing world where it starts with me up in the box getting that down to the guys on the field. Guys on the field communicating and getting that right but again, we're working through those lines of communication in practice too.

Q: How much did (Cardinals Head Coach Jonathan) Gannon bring from Philly to Arizona? Does it mean anything because the personnel is different?

A: Coach Gannon's a really good coach. He's smart, he'll get those guys rolling. You can see some familiarity there from Philadelphia, some of the scheme stuff. They've only had one game and some preseason games so you're trying to kind of work through all the tape on that, but they play fast. They're a tough team so we're looking forward to the challenge.

Q: He had active safeties in Philly and he's got some pretty good safeties again. Do you see him using (safety Jalen) Thompson and (safety) Budda (Baker) the same way?

A: Yeah, Budda Baker is just about everywhere on the field. He's an impressive player. You can tell he's one of those guys that kind of gets everyone lined up, he flies to the football. He plays hard, he plays fast so he's a guy that you've got to know where he's at on every snap.

Q: What about the way he's using Thompson?

A: They have some scheme flexibility and they've got athletic people on the perimeter with great speed so you can see how they used some of the safeties in Philadelphia last season to where you can see some of that same kind of concepts showing up for them.

Q: Does the prep that you did for the interview process with them during the offseason filter into how you're approaching this week, game planning and personnel?

A: No, that was so far in the past and again, that was a great opportunity that I'm thankful for with (Cardinals Owner Michael J. Bidwell) Mr. Bidwell and having an opportunity to do that. But those things are in the past. Now we're focused on the game, focusing on getting our guys better today at practice.

Q: Anything about that process leave a bad taste in your mouth? You were a finalist than all of a sudden Gannon got the job.

A: I think I addressed this in the offseason, way back in March or whatever but again, a great experience. I learned a lot about myself, I learned a lot about the NFL and how those things work so again, nothing but a great experience there.

Q: You always hear in this league that if you put something on film then another team can take advantage of it and the next team will do it if you don't fix it. Is there as much or even more work this week of correcting of the bad stuff you put on film?

A: Our urgency is going to always be the same, regardless. We're going to have the same approach, our same process and just really focus on that process. So, just improving on all the things we need to get better at and the things that we are doing really well, build on that. Whether it's scheme, whether that's with the people that we have in the building, we'll always try to work to attack that.

Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey

Q: Curious, just what happened with (cornerback) Amani (Oruwariye) yesterday?

A: Kind of one of those freak things in practice. You try and take care of each other as best you can, but, yeah, that was not fun. That's one of those things you don't want to happen in practice, but he's good. He's good.

Q: Is he here?

A: Yeah, he's here.

Q: He's in the building?

A: Yeah.

Q: Obviously you knew this question was coming, can you talk about what happened with the blocked field goal?

A: I mean, they made a play, and we are on to Arizona. I kind of turned the page on that, on Monday afternoon and yeah, I mean it's a lot of different things we'd like to have back, it's definitely one of them.

Q: Just from looking at it, it looked like maybe (offensive lineman) Josh (Ezeudu) blocked outside.

A: Yeah, I've turned the page on that. I'm done with it and it's over and we learn from it. We'll get better.

Q: As a rule of thumb though, do you want guys blocking closer to the ball?

A: Like I said, I'm done talking about it and we are moving on to Arizona.

Q: They said after the game, some of the players, that they had seen something on film that they felt they could exploit, so that's not just last week, that could be going forward. Do you have to change anything, does that concern you that they felt like they saw something?

A: Like I said, we watched it, we'll learn from it, and we will be better moving forward.

Q: After watching the film, what did you take away from this?

A: We watched it, we are going to learn from it, and we are going to move forward.

Q: Are you convinced (kicker) Graham (Gano) is okay? He basically said that what happened on that play affected the later kick. Are you convinced now that he's okay?

A: Graham's fine.

Q: What did you see from (running back) Eric (Gray) in his debut?

A: He did a good job of fielding the ball. Especially, I mean you look at the conditions, it was raining like crazy. He did a good job of fielding the ball. Got to do a better job of getting vertical, but he did his job, and he did a good job of fielding the ball, making good decisions.

Q: What's the sense of urgency for the coaching staff in particular, coming off of a clunker like that and then having to go out to Arizona?

A: Just got to get it fixed. The most important thing is just regrouping, going back, and trying to figure out what you did wrong, how you did it. Reevaluate everything that you are doing and just making sure it doesn't happen again. You've got to have a sense urgency about how you prepare and making sure that you are on a top of the little, small details of your job so that stuff doesn't happen.

Q: When you tried out the returners, what were you guys looking for?

A: It's something that we do every year. You've always got to stay ready just in case something happens. You always have a shortlist of guys that you are going to always pick from so you just got to make sure guys are in shape. You bring them in and kick tires on them and just make sure they are where they are supposed to be and if not, then you got to go to the next guy on the list. That's just part of the process.

Q: How much trickles down from (head coach) Brian (Daboll) on a week like this?

A: As far as, when you say trickle down?

Q: As far as being the head coach, is he more hands on, is he in more meetings, more or less of anything?

A: No, that's his job as head coach. Just to make sure that everything is clean, and everything is working in proper order. To me, that's just what it is. Especially after what we went through, I mean that's, you expect all that stuff. You expect the head coach to be doing those types of things to make sure that the ship is tight and that it's going in the right direction.

Q: What is your message to your guys become this week?

A: You know, it's a lot of football left. It's a lot of football left. The good thing about it is we get an opportunity to right the wrong. So, we get an opportunity to go out and play better, right? And we have an opportunity to figure out who we are as a group and as a unit because we are still in the process of that. I mean, this is a brand-new season. It's week one and we've got a lot of football left to play, so we just got to keep learning from the things that we did wrong and build on the things that we are doing right and just keep trying to get better every week. That's what it is, that's the National Football League.

Q: How do you sense the players responded to Sunday?

A: Obviously they were disappointed. Obviously, all of them were, but they came out on Wednesday ready to roll. Yesterday was a good practice as far as effort and attitude. They were fine. That's just one of those deals in the National Football League that happens every once in a while., but the players are fine. Everybody is in a good frame of mind. Now it's just on to the next.

Q: Anything about Arizona's special teams that stand out?

A: Arizona is very fast. They are well coached. (Cardinals assistant head coach/special teams coordinator) Jeff Rodgers does a great job over there, he's been there for a while, and they have a really, really good core. They've got a bunch of professional special teams players over there and they've got a young punter and a veteran kicker and a veteran snapper. So, they have some good pieces. The returner is a good solid player, he can fly, (wide receiver Greg) Dortch. He's really good straight line speed and really good short area quickness, so they've got some pieces to work with, for sure.

Running Back Saquon Barkley

Q: How do you feel after the tape and everything?

A: I'm assuming you're talking about Dallas.

Yeah, kind of the same feeling of how I feel after the game. Obviously disappointing. We didn't compete at the level we needed to. We didn't execute the way we needed to but can't harp on that too much. It's the NFL. It's a new week and we can't let what happened in Week 1 affect us in Week 2. Arizona is a really good team; they play really hard. Their defense ran to the ball really well against Washington, they tackle really well, and play really physical. So, we've got a tough challenge against them, and we've just got to come out and play football the way we know we can.

Q: You talked about how last year Week 1 kind of got you rolling, right? You guys obviously know what you have coming up ahead, a short week, San Francisco on the road, Monday night after that. Is it fair to say at this point, though, that this is a big game even though it's so early?

A: Yeah, it's a big game, just because it's the next game. That's always the mentality. You've got to try to win as many games as you can. You're only guaranteed 17, and right now, we lost one of them. We've got to go out there on the road against a really good team and try to find a way to come out with a win.

Q: What's the mentality been among you and your teammates in the wake of that loss?

A: We went back, and we watched the film as a team. Saw the little good we did in that game, recognized the bad where we didn't execute, and we moved on. Good teams recover, too. It's not going to be our only adversity throughout this year. So, we've got to see how we respond, and it's on us as players and on us as leaders to make sure that doesn't happen.

Q: Can you tell if there are tangible things from the last couple of days of practice that have proven to you guys in your own minds that you have moved on?

A: Yeah, I think, to be completely honest, the only time we really even reflect on that is when we've got to talk to you guys. I know you guys are doing your job and asking the right questions, but we're so far gone on that. Like I said, you can't let what happened in Week 1 affect you in Week 2. We can learn from it, but we've got to move on. It wasn't really anything different, not anything that I noticed. To be honest, we thought we had a great preparation week in practice the week before. Sometimes the games just don't go your way. Unfortunately, that was a lot of our mistakes. But we've got to prep even better, and I think we've been doing that so far. We've got to wrap it up tomorrow, Friday, and then on Saturday, obviously, the walkthroughs and traveling out there and trying to get the job done on Sunday.

Q: You mentioned some small positives. What were the good things that stood out to you?

A: In any game, win, lose, draw, you're going to be able to find good. You're going to find the good, the bad, and the ugly. I think it was important for the coaches to also show us the good that we did in that game. It wasn't a lot, especially in a game like that. But go back and watch the film, see what we can improve on, and make the adjustments, which we did. 

Now, how can we attack Arizona? They've got a really good team and, a great coach (Jonathan Gannon). Obviously, we're really familiar with him and his defensive scheme with him being in Philly and going against him twice or three times last year. But it's an exciting test. They're a fun defense, and we're going to be ready for them.

Q: How does that impact the preparation knowing) Gannon and the defense that he ran there?

A: I wouldn't say an impact, just there's a lot of familiarity there. He's a really good coach, and obviously, we know how the last three games went last year against him. It's a different team. It's a new team. But it's an important game, it's the next game, and we want to get back on track.

Q: When you guys are backs against the wall, do you look at this kind of game as an opportunity to put the team on your back when the team really desperately needs a good feeling and a win?

A: Are you talking, like, personally?

Q: Yeah.

A: I don't think that's the mindset. I kind of let myself get trapped in that before. A couple of years ago against Pittsburgh, on I think a Sunday or Monday night, I didn't have too well of a game, and the next week I came out with, 'Oh, I want to do this, and do that, and try to be a superhero, and make all these plays.' I ended up tearing my ACL. So, I won't allow myself to ever really get caught up in that. I want to be the guy for my team every single week no matter what happened before the week before. I want to go out there and make plays, and on plays that call for me, go out there and make them for my team. 

Q: Do you really think that's what happened in that game where you tore your ACL, that you were trying to do too much?

A: I think everything in that week kind of led up to it but that was so long ago. I just won't allow myself to get caught up in that again. So, came in like my usual self, got my body worked on, came in here and got my workout in, and went to film and practiced hard to try to be the player I can for my team and the leader I can for my team.

Q: Do you find it at all confusing that for the first series, you looked like a well-oiled machine and then after that, it never came back?

A: That's it. That's on us. We've got to stop the bleeding, and we didn't do that. That's how games like that get out of hand, especially against a really good team. That's any team in the NFL, to be honest. So, like I said, you can't let the mistakes that happened in Week 1 or the way we feel because of how we lost in Week 1 carry to Week 2, but you definitely learn from it, too. So, there's going to be times in this game where we've got to stop the bleeding. And that's on us, the players, to make those plays, and hopefully we're able to do that this week.

Q: Do you have to be someone who conveys that message to teammates who haven't been here or are young enough that they weren't around for some of what you're talking about now?

A: No, I wouldn't say that. But we do have a lot of young guys on the team and a lot of rookies playing and for your first game to go like that, it's not how you expect your NFL career to start. I do believe that being a leader, being voted one of the captains, not only myself but all the guys, we're people who guys look to. It all depends on how we come in, what's our demeanor, how we're going to approach it. So, that's important. I think not only myself, but I think all the guys did a really good job, and I think we responded. Just like last week, we had a great week of practice, and now we've got to wrap it up with Friday and walkthroughs on Saturday.

Q: I think it's interesting to think about you knowing the rookies are watching. Is that a responsibility that you have?

A: I wouldn't say it's a responsibility, I guess you kind of just—I know when I was a rookie, I would look up to those guys and see how (former Giants quarterback) Eli (Manning) would move and all those guys. That was probably one of the biggest things I respected about Eli the most, especially in this market being a quarterback in New York, and at the time, we weren't having a lot of success. Dealing with the media, how he would come in every single week, how he would come in every single day. 

So yeah, I feel like not only myself but there's a lot of guys – we have like, eight, I mean, I don't know how many captains we have – voted for captain which is a good thing. Got a lot of leadership on the team. A lot of guys who don't have Cs on their chest are leaders, too. So, I think they did a really good job. I think we did a really good job of responding, and hopefully can go out and make up for what happened last weekend, so you guys can get off our tail about the Week 1 loss.

Q: Is there a little bit of a heightened sense of urgency this week in practice after what happened Sunday night?

A: No. To be completely honest, no. And I think that's important. You can't act like the sky is falling. That's for everyone else to do that. But we've got to stay solid, the core's got to stay solid within this locker room within this building. I think we did that, and like I said, hopefully, on Sunday we can go out there and show you guys.

Q: Do you recall a time when the team struggled similar to the Dallas game and you were able to really fix mistakes, change things, and bounce back? Is there something you could point out to recall to some of those young guys as an example?

A: Nothing really comes off the top of my head. But that's not going to be the only time that happens. Hopefully, we don't get beat 40-0, but there are going to be times when you're down two touchdowns, you turn the ball over and the momentum is going their way. So, we've got to find a way to stop the bleeding, control the tempo, get the momentum back on our side. Hopefully, what happened in Week 1, we can learn from that, and when that does happen again, the adversity does happen, whatever the adversity is going to be for this team throughout the season, we're able to respond.

Tight End Darren Waller

Q: Anything coming out of that game or needed to do anything special, anything different, anything out of the ordinary because obviously you had the hamstring earlier in the week?

A: No, just normal daily routine that I've been on. Back to feeling good in practice, felt better this week at practice than I did last week so that's all you can ask for.

Q: Just want to clarify what you mentioned after the game. You said it's a nerve issue in your hamstring, right?

A: Yeah.

Q: Is that what it was also last year, the nerve issue in your hamstring?

A: No, I pulled my hamstring, and you know sometimes it's in that area. Like maybe some scarring can get built up and that area can become just kind of like a lot going on in that area, it can compress the nerve a little bit, so you can feel a pinch a little bit, so it's just a matter of getting that stuff out of there.

Q: So now it's a nerve issue from the previous muscular damage?

A: Yeah.

Q: But when people hear nerve issues, it's like 'oh jeez' but it sounds like from what you are saying this is something that can be kinked out, or for lack of a better term, work out the kinks in this?

A: Yeah, certain things like nerve gliding, getting your pelvis a little bit more mobile. It's not anything severe.

Q: So, you tweaked it?

A: I mean I feel like it's more so like a compression in that area. So, it's just opening up the areas around it, but yeah, not really like a hamstring strain you think of normally.

Q: What do you think of the plan, (head coach Brian) Daboll said that the plan is going to be, kind of basically give you off once a week. I guess it's generally on Wednesdays as sort of like a vet day.

A: I just trust whatever the coaches have in mind because I want to be out there and work and sometimes to my own determinate, I'll run myself into the ground. It's good to have a plan and I feel like I am always going to trust what coaches and people above me have to say and their opinions, so I am just going to follow what they got, what they want me to do.

Q: What have you learned about this team in the last couple of days after Sunday night?

A: I feel like this is a team with a short memory. Sometimes you've got to have in this league because things aren't always going to go the way you want them to. This past game was very unfortunate as far as the results are concerned, but at the end of the day, it's not the start we would've imagined but we still have plenty of more opportunities and I feel like guys took that into account and practiced with a lot of energy this week.

Q: There was a lot of anticipation for your debut. Obviously, it didn't go well on the scoreboard. Aside from that, what did it feel like on Sunday?

A: I feel like there is good things to take away. I feel like there were opportunities to be had in the passing game. I feel like I was creating separation on a lot of different occasions, so just to try and carry that over to this week in practice and into the next week because at the end of the day, making yourself available to the quarterback is what I can do and what I can control, and I want to keep controlling that.

Q: Guys have talked, like you have here just now, about how encouraged they've been by practices and tempo and energy this week. What are you envisioning from the response for this team on Sunday, in terms of how you guys will come out?

A: Just the overall details and the small things and the consistency on the offensive side because like you said, we had a good start, good first drive, there were some good plays in there, but as far as the consistency, that lacked last Sunday and that's where I feel like we will step up the most.

Q: What do you think about this, kind of road trip a little bit? I know you are not looking ahead to the game, but the idea that when you leave here on Saturday, you are essentially not returning back to Jersey until after Week 3. What's that like for just a player going into it, how are you preparing yourself?

A: Yeah, it's uncomfortable. This is my third time doing it, I did it once my rookie year, going from east coast to the west coast. Did it last year going from the west coast, played in New Orleans, and then stayed in Florida and played the Jaguars. It's a little bit uncomfortable, you still just got to find ways to keep your routine going, despite being in a hotel or being on the road a little bit more. Yeah, it's not the trip you'd imagine, you want to just go play and then come back home, but that's not the cards we've been dealt, and you got to handle it because that's just reality.  

Q: Is it hard not to lump two games together because of that?

A: Yeah, you can, but it just takes being present and knowing like, okay, there is no point, there is no advantage to me looking forward to a game when I have an opponent right in front of me that is talented and could very well beat me if I am not completely focused.

Q: How much do you think you can individually help this team get on track?

A: I feel like for me, I can control it starting with leadership, starting with encouraging guys, empowering guys to move on and be excited about the opportunity this week. Also like I said, just continuing to get open, create separation, make myself available to DJ (quarterback Daniel Jones) whenever opportunities present themselves and just go from there.

Q: Just to be clear, you don't think you will be inhibited at all with any hamstring this week, right?

A: No, I'm playing.

Q: Do you have any long-term concerns at all about this hammy thing, at all?

A: No, not really just because as far as the severity of last year and the time it forced me to miss, it's nowhere near that because last year there were times, where it was like, I legit can't run because my hamstrings pulled, but I can run at practice, I can run routes and do it for two hours, so I'm like yeah, I feel great.

Q: You just had to stay on top of the stretching stuff, right? To loosen it up.

A: Got to stay on it, coming in early, staying a little bit later.

Q: Are there any concerns at all about a hangover from Sunday night for this team?

A: Not from where I stand, not with the way guys are flying around, practicing on both sides of the ball. I feel like guys are excited for a new challenge. Nobody wants to carry that forward because that's not who we are, and we feel like we are going to have the opportunity to show who we are on Sunday.

Linebacker/Safety Isaiah Simmons

Q: Any animosity or feeling about the team you're playing on Sunday?

A: No, not really. Like I was telling him, the main goal is just to win the game and beat whoever's across from us and this week it just so happens to be Arizona. I'm not letting any external factors come in the way of what my responsibility is going to be out there on Sunday because ultimately, I feel like that's going to do nothing but just limit my production and how I play out there. Like I said, not letting any external factors of like revenge or anything like that come in the way of the game.

Q: Are you able to estimate at this point this point how much of the playbook that they have spoon fed you after only being here such a short time?

A: I think they taught me everything.

Q: Everything? That's pretty quick!

A: Yeah, I know.

Q. How comfortable do you feel about that?

A: I feel really comfortable. I feel like I can go execute everything.

Q. Do you expect your role to increase this week?

A: Yeah, I mean, I expect it to. Is it though? I'm not sure. I just control what I can control. I mean, I would assume that it is going to increase some.

Q. But you're comfortable with the playbook, you got it down?

A: Sure.

Q. You said that you feel like you fit here, and you fit into the defense. What is it about the defense that you feel like fits your skillset or vice versa?

A: I think just the way that (Defensive Coordinator) Wink (Martindale) runs his system. It's kind of different than any other system that I've been in. When he says positionless defense, he truly means that. Learning things conceptionally knowing that where you are some weeks you may not be there next week. I think that was kind of something that stuck with me, and it goes a long way because it's kind of how I think of things. Just because you align on the edge like outside linebacker, you're still maybe dropping curl flat. Curl flat drops curl flat drop, regardless if you're doing it from the line of scrimmage or if you're doing it from a linebacker spot, coming down spinning like a safety. It all could be the same it's just all alignment and what not. I think my skillset that I have personally – an example like that, I can do that from any spot on the field effectively. I'd probably say that's kind of what I was getting at saying that this is probably a really good fit for me.

Q: When you hear that term positionless, do you take that as a compliment that you can move around the field?

A: Yeah, I think so because why would you ever – I feel like that just increases your value and that's how you stay in the NFL anyways, is holding your value. I don't take it as anything bad.

Q. Do you call yourself a linebacker or do you just call yourself a defensive player?

A: Yeah, when people ask me what position you play, I say linebacker.

Q. But anything that puts you in a position to make a play, that's what you want?

A: Yeah, that's all.

Q. You said that there was no animosity with the Cardinals, but do you have a little extra juice going back there so soon after just leaving there?

A: I'm not an emotionless person so I'm sure there will be some emotions flowing through me but nothing that's going to affect me and make me do anything crazy. I'm not a person to go out there and be like, 'rah, rah, rah,' so I'm not going to go out there doing that or try to make an extra play because then that's when you end up hurting yourself in the long run.

Q. You're not going to go out there and jump up and down on the logo?

A: No (laughs). No old school (Hall of Fame wide receiver Terrell Owens) T.O.

View photos of the Giants on the practice field ahead of the Week 2 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals.


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