Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale
Martindale: What a great opportunity it was for us to fly across the pond and represent this iconic organization to go play in that game against a great team and a great quarterback, which I told you the week prior. Really happy with our resiliency as a defense, our effort. There were a lot of guys who made a lot of big plays in the game, and I was just really happy for them and love the result at the end. With that, I'll open it up to questions.
Q: This is a game obviously against your former team. Is this a game you've had circled for a long time or feel any different than normal?
A: It's different just for this reason, I have a lot of friends on that other sideline. A lot of people that have meant a lot to me in my life. But whenever someone asks me about the Ravens, I always think about (Ravens Defensive Line Coach) Clarence Brooks, my dear friend. He's the one, and I've used it ever since, who said this game always has been and always will be about the players. That's the truth. So, in that essence, it's game six, but like I said I have a deep love for a lot of people over there. (Ravens Owner) Steve Bisciotti took care of my family for 10 years. Obviously, (Head Coach) John (Harbaugh) and I have coached together. I've coached with his dad, and I've known the family forever, he's like a brother. (Ravens General Manager) Ozzie Newsome was a mentor for me for 10 years over there and we helped build something that they're on their fifteenth year of doing right now. The exciting part about coming here is it's year one. We've just got to stay with the process, where we're going, and how we're going to get there.
Q: With all of those great things you talked about, why aren't you there? It's never been fully explained what happened at the end of last year.
A: I think that it's just one of those things. I always believe that wherever you're at is where you're supposed to be. John and I had conversations way back before they made the announcement of about where we wanted to be and what we wanted to do. I knew there was going to be a lot of movement in the NFL, and it has reenergized me to go someplace new and try to build it again. It was like I said, we're family, John and I are. It was nothing negative, it was just time. When I say it was just time, it was just time for both of us.
Q: You dealt with a lot of secondary injuries there and finished last in pass defense. You've dealt with a lot of injuries here this year in your secondary and I think you're number eight in the NFL right now. Why have you been able to be successful against the pass?
A: I think there's a lot of things that you have to handle with just the different things that happen in a game, first of all, but I give credit to (Defensive Backs Coach) Jerome Henderson and (Assistant Defense Backs Coach) Mike Treier. Jerome's in charge of the secondary and they've just had guys stepping up and just being ready to play. I think that we've handled the series of events well as a defense. Knock on wood, we haven't given up the big pass yet, the long one. That's what we're trying to do is keep that number low, but we've got a great challenge this week.
Q: Your defense plays with a lot of emotion and a lot of energy. This week, do you try to tone down the emotion because it's the Ravens or do you feed into that?
A: I want this game to be about them. I think Dabs alluded to this earlier. In coaching, we're gypsies anyway. Now I happened to be there for 10 years, which is a long time. I was also in Oakland, and I was also in Denver. For coaches, that's just the way our profession is. Is there a little competitive spirit in you when you go play a team you used to work for? Sure, there is. I'm not going to deny that. Everybody knows that. But as far as circling the game and everything else, this is just the next game. We've had success approaching it that way. We empty the tank on Sunday and we fill it up the rest of the week. I just think that's how you have to approach it. What I tell the players all the time is, 'what I owe you during the game is my composure. That's where I show you my athleticism is keeping my composure, so you're always thinking about the next play'. There's some people telling me that I need to be more animated on the sidelines and you're not going to be animated if you're thinking about the next play, what you're going to call next. It's like when you watch two people playing chess, if a guy makes a great move, he doesn't stand up out of the chair and chest bump somebody because he did it.
Q: When the decision was finally you would be leaving the Ravens knowing that you were probably going to have an opportunity somewhere else, what were your emotions? Were you sad, or were you excited?
A: Happy. Happy and excited. When I left the Ravens?
A: Yeah, I was happy and excited about the next chapter.
Q: There was no sadness for you?
A: No, I mean you're going to miss people. You miss people, you grow close to people. It's like my wife and I are originally from Ohio, our kids were born there, but Maryland's their home because we were there for 10 years. My granddaughter Gigi is still back there. I get FaceTimes now. Got called 'Pop-Pop' for the first time, that's a big thing, guys, in case you don't know.
Q: Was part of it leaving to go somewhere new and help build something? It's no secret you'd want to be a head coach, was part of it allowing your defense, your scheme, and the difference you make to get highlighted more somewhere, where maybe people would notice it?
A: No, I just like to see players have success. I didn't think that deep into it, no. That's a good question. I believe in the scheme that we run; how flexible it is. I've told you it's a positionless defense and it's the players that make it go. It's just been a fun new challenge and it's reenergized me.
Q: What was your relationship like with (Quarterback) Lamar (Jackson)? What have you told your players about that challenge this weekend?
A: Shoutout to Lamar. He gave me a shoutout, so I had to give a shoutout back to him. My relationship with Lamar, I love the guy. I think that it's another great challenge. We went from (Quarterback) Aaron Rodgers, league MVP, to now we're going to Lamar Jackson, league MVP back in '19. I was with him when he did that, and he is an unbelievable player. For anybody that wants to say anything, that he's not, ok. Because he's unbelievable and he's playing at an MVP caliber right now like he was back in '19. It's different sitting in the chair now instead of at practice when you're watching it. It's like I told (Outside Linebacker Coach) Drew Wilkins, all those times we were going against him, and a guy said, 'oh, I got him', because you've got to stay away from the quarterback, 'oh I had him'. We're going to find that out on Sunday, whether or not they got him or not. I know it's different guys, but it's the truth with him because not only could he beat you with his arm, which he's throwing the ball really well, but he can beat you with his legs, his mind, and everything else. He's playing at a high level.
Q: What have you told your guys about the way 'roughing the passer' is being officiated now? How do you teach your guys about not doing full body weight?
A: We don't make the rules, we just play by them. Once again, it gets into one of those situations when there's a call, it doesn't matter what I think about the calls. I don't allow my ego to get that big that I think that this is that and this is that. It just doesn't matter. Like I said, (NFL Commissioner) Roger Goodell's not going to call and say, 'stop the game. Wink's pissed because of this roughing-the-passer deal'. So, you've just got to try to tackle the way the rule states. Everybody makes mistakes now; those things happen fast. I'm talking about for the officials. You've just got to move on because if you sit there and go nuts for the next three plays, once again, that's three plays you're giving away.
Offensive Coordinator Mike Kafka
Q: When you look at Baltimore's defense, how similar is it to the one you faced in camp? I know their defensive coordinator (Greg Roman) was with (defensive coordinator) Wink (Martindale). I don't know how much of a spin he's put on it. I was just curious on that.
A: There's definitely some similarities in the scheme and how they line up, for sure.
Q: As intense with the exotic blitzes?
A: Yeah, you know on tape, there's some. Maybe in the stats there's not as many as what Wink's doing, but we know it's in their DNA so we got to prepare for that.
Q: Why have they been so good at turning the ball over?
A: They have really good players in the backend, really good players in the front seven as well. They generate pressure, they create pressure up front, and they have ball hawks in the back end that do a good job of tackling the football, stripping and punching at the ball. Those are points of emphasis for us this week.
Q: You worked in Kansas City with one of the top tight ends (Travis Kelce). You have (tight end Daniel) Bellinger here now. He's not at that level yet but what do you see from him and how can you use him and continue to use him in different ways like you did on Sunday?
A: I think Belly is doing a great job with his role. Every single day he comes to work, he gets better. I think you're seeing that week in and week out as his role continues to expand and he continues to do different things within the offense just like we ask everyone to do. He's done a great job with that. (Tight ends) Coach (Andy) Bishoff has done a great job with him, meeting with him early and making sure he's detailed. Daniel is putting in all the work. I'm really happy for him.
Q: Is that inherently a fun position to tinker with and be creative with?
A: Yeah. You use your players to their strengths and use them to the best of their ability. Daniel has done a great job with all of the positions we put him at – in-line, spread out, in the backfield like the play you saw there last week. He's got flexibility and he's an athletic kid and he's smart and he's dependable and he's a guy that we trust in those situations.
Q: You mentioned they have good players in the backend. They also stats-wise have given up the most passing yards in the NFL, a lot of big plays. Can you guys capitalize on that or is that just not your strength? Your receivers aren't big downfield receivers right now. I'm wondering can you capitalize on that or do you have to be you?
A: I was with (Baltimore cornerback) Marcus Peters in Kansas City and know how talented he is. Obviously, being there, playing against Baltimore and Wink and those guys and there's a lot of familiar faces. I know maybe the stats don't show it or whatever, but we've got to be prepared for a physical game and a game that these guys really come to play every single week. We got to put our best foot forward as far as being fundamentally sound and doing the things we want to do on offense. It's a big-time challenge at all levels, all three levels, really, of the defense.
Q: I don't know how many teams have a practice-squad call up lead them in receiver snaps like you did with (wide receiver) Marcus Johnson. What did he show you that he got the call up and through the course of the game that you kept going back to him?
A: (Wide receiver) Coach (Mike) Groh has done a good job with him of working him into the offense and getting him kind of caught up with where we're at. He didn't have a whole lot of time in the spring and in training camp, so he had to catch up pretty quick. He's done a great job. Each week, he's just continued to kind of absorb a little more of the offense. I felt like he was in a good spot to come up and he did a great job, he did a really good job. I'm proud of him. He did a nice job for us, and every day we'll continue to evaluate that room and really everyone on offense to declare what that role is going to be. If everyone continues to have good weeks of practice, we'll be able to piece together a gameplan and find a role for him.
Q: Did you wait until the second half intentionally to run Daniel Jones to make the Packers think that he couldn't do it?
A: That wasn't, I wouldn't say intentional. It was part of the gameplan. I think there was just a timing of when the play call, when we used it. I think it showed up there, I thought after those first couple of drives, I thought the guys settled in. I thought as an offense we settled in and put together a few good drives there before getting to the second half.
Q: In the red zone, you guys obviously have been very creative throughout the season. Do you feel like now you're in a position where you've given the defense now when they try to look at you on tape, that you're coming at them in so many different directions that it's made your job a little more, I don't want to say easier but gives you a good plan to give you options as to what you want to do down there versus where you were Week 1 and how teams would attack you?
A: Yeah, I think when we evaluate the red zone we look at – obviously the closer you get down to the goal line, the more condensed everything becomes so you got to find a way to displace a defender or create an extra gap. Do certain things that can give the offense an advantage because the defense gets a little bit more, the space condenses on the offense a little bit, so you can't really go as vertical if you want to, so you got to think in different ways. I think our staff has done a good job of putting together plans like that which are creative and use the strengths of our players whether it's on the perimeter or in the core. I really credit those guys, the staff and the players, for executing and then the staff for putting it together.
Q: How do you feel (quarterback) Daniel (Jones) has played so far with his ball security and decision making?
A: Daniel has done a good job with the ball. He's doing all the right things that we're asking him to do, putting his eyes in the right spot. I think he's making quick decisions and I know (quarterback) coach (Shea) Tierney is really, he's really doing a great job with him since really the spring of emphasizing that with not just Daniel but all the quarterbacks. I think those guys have bought into it and he's doing a really good job of managing that aspect of it.
Q: Can you take us through the last offensive possession and the thought behind it and what was going through your head?
A: We have a couple of guys on staff, (offensive assistant/game manager) Cade (Knox) and (director of football data/innovation) Ty (Siam), that help us out with the clock management along with (head coach Brian Daboll) Dabs. From that standpoint, I let those guys direct me on how we want to go. Whether it's taking a knee, taking a safety. That was a well thought out process between those guys. I don't want to speak for them or for Dabs, but that was the plan and the guys went out there and executed it.
Q: If you were playing Kansas City this weekend, would you stand up here and tell us it's just another game for you?
A: We're not playing Kanas City this weekend. I don't have to answer that. I mean, I don't have to go there with that. I think the opponent we have is the Baltimore Ravens and that's the challenge we have to get ready for and make sure our guys are prepared for that.
Q: You got so accustomed playing, coaching to seeing the game on the field. How do you like the bird's eye view as a play-caller of an NFL team?
A: It's certainly been an adjustment. I had some experience when I was in Kanas City being up in the booth in my role there. It wasn't completely foreign, but it's definitely a lot quieter, it's a little bit easier to see the field and you kind of get a little different perspective. I've enjoyed it.
Q: How much are you itching to get to the (wide receiver) Wan'Dale Robinson pages of the playbook?
A: Wan'Dale is doing everything he can to get healthy and get ready to go. Our training staff, he's working his butt off in the training room to get him ready. Whenever he's ready, we'll integrate him in and find a role for him. When that time is present, we'll do that.
Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey
Q: So, has (punter) Jamie (Gillian) been freed?
A: He's free. Jamie's free. He got back last night probably around ten o'clock, whatever it was. But he's good. He's ready to rock.
Q: I don't want to get too deep into the week, but did you have to start making any contingency plans just in case?
A: Oh yeah. You always do. When you deal with that kind of stuff – embassies, and policies and NATO visas and – you never know what'll happen. We had a contingency plan. We had a plan prior to. So, we were ready.
Q: Would you have had (kicker) Graham (Gano) punt?
Q: With the way you guys made a decision to let him (Jamie Gillan) run out for the safety in the endzone, did that play out as you guys would've liked? Or are there things you would've done differently in terms of too much time, not enough time taken off (the clock)?
A: You always want to take as much time as you can, run around and bleed as much of the clock as you can before you get out of bounds. But it happened the way we thought it would.
Q: Was there any thought in that situation to put (wide receiver) Richie James or (running back) Saquon (Barkley) back there as opposed to the punter?
A: You can. The Rams did it with (wide receiver) Brandon Powell. He ran around for a little bit. But again, it's however you view it. We've practiced it with Jamie. We did it during training camp. We did it about two weeks ago. And the situation came up, and we were ready for it.
Q: Has (inside linebacker) Carter Coughlin been impressive to you this season in kick coverage?
A: He's done a good job. Obviously with the caused fumble, and he had another tackle last week. Carter is doing what Carter does. He's a really good teams player. He's really good in kickoff coverage. And he makes plays when they come to him. That's all we can ask of the guys. They keep working to get better, and when they get a chance to make a play, they're a free runner, go make a play. And he's done that.
Q: What do you want to see different on the short punt that (safety Jason) Pinnock hit?
A: That was kind of a fluke deal, I think. If you go watch (Packers punter Pat) O'Donnell's punts, it was probably one of the worst games I've seen him have. Two of those punts were less than 30 yards, which is extremely unusual for him. Most of the time it's 50 or 60 (yards). So, those balls are kind of mishit balls. And we were trying to play guys back so that we could have an extra blocker just in case we lose a guy at the line of scrimmage. I thought that was just kind of a fluke deal that happened.
Q: Is there a general rule that you don't want any kickoff hitting the ground?
A: Kickoffs or punts?
Q: There was a kickoff that bounced?
A: Yeah. He kicked it short.
Q: Do you want the short guy to get it? Are you okay with it bouncing there?
A: We always want our guys to field the ball in the air if we can. The deep guy always has a right of way to the ball. But they kicked the ball against the wind, and it was a little short. They were struggling going to that one end towards our tunnel – both kickers were, kicking the ball out. Well, their kicker more so than ours. You always want to catch the ball in the air. You don't ever want it to hit the ground.
Q: On that punt, is it the returner's responsibility to tell Pinnock the ball's coming to him?
A: Yeah. And if you watch the tape, he did. Like he's screaming and yelling and pointing. But it's unusual. Normally in our game in this country, you don't have a lot of cheering and yelling – crowd noise – during the play. And it was really, really loud in between each kick, which is a little different. So, that's being in London; they're used to the ball. They cheer anytime you punt or kick (Laughs).
Q: Pinnock turns around and he goes –.
A: He didn't hear him.
Q: He didn't hear him?
A: He didn't hear him at all. It was loud during the play. That's playing football in Europe.
Q: In the end, though, do you give Pinnock some credit for how he reacted?
A: Yeah, he did a good of trying to swat it out of bounds and making an effort to get the ball out of bounds once he realized what he did.
Q: This is a big picture kind of question. It's been a while; how nice is it coming in with a winning team here?
A: You try and not focus on that, as crazy as it sounds. But it's great being able to walk in the building and there's a different feeling. You don't feel like there's a dark cloud over your head every time you walk in. But it's onto the next one. Just try and go get the next win. Go 1-0 this week, and just do our part as a special teams unit to help get a victory.
Q: As a special teams coordinator, what do you think when you see what (Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin) Tucker has done over his career?
A: Justin Tucker is amazing. He was a three-way guy in college at Texas, and he did everything. And just the transformation that he made from being a punter and a kicker in college and just seeing him grow throughout his career, the guy's amazing. The stuff that he can do, the stuff that he does is just like unlike any other kicker that we've seen in our era. He's a different animal that way. Very special talent.
Q: Do you know (Baltimore Ravens head coach John) Harbaugh at all from –? Because he's the special teams coordinator to head coach who's the gold standard for, I assume, where you want to get to.
A: I've known Harbs (John Harbaugh) for years. He was in Philly (Philadelphia Eagles) when I was here the first time. I met him when I was at Kansas City (with the Chiefs) – my first job in the league. And we've always kept in touch over the years. But he's definitely a guy you look up to as a special teams coordinator in this league because he's done it the right way, coming from a coaching family. But Harbs is a good man. Good man. Excellent football coach.
Running Back Saquon Barkley
Q: How are you doing? How is the shoulder?
A: Shoulder feels pretty good. Obviously, I was able to go back out there and finish the game. I've just been rehabbing it, being smart. But I'm excited for us to get a chance to go against a really good football team.
Q: Do you have any expectations that it's going to limit you or hamper you on Sunday?
Q: Do you think the guys who haven't been here for the last few years maybe don't appreciate the winning as much as the guys who've been through all the losing?
A: No, I wouldn't say that. Like I said after the game, it's hard to win in this league. To be 4-1 after five games is a pretty good start. At the end of the day, we've just got to continue to fall in love with the process. There's a reason why we've been so successful early in the season. We've just got to keep working and keep pushing each other so that can continue throughout the year.
Q: When did you come up with the 'Jumpman' celebration? Why did you start doing that?
A: I don't know. The first time I did it in a game was my second year against Miami. I think I did it my rookie year in camp. I'm just having fun, I'm just enjoying ball out there. Just trying to be competitive, play the game that I love with some competitive guys. That's really all it is. I'm just having fun out there.
Q: When you watch Baltimore on tape, do you see any similarities to the defense that you've been going against for months now?
A: Yeah, yeah. You can see, obviously it's a little bit different. It's going to be a challenging test this week. They're really good. They're physical. They run to the ball well. At all levels, they have guys that can make plays. Obviously, we know how great they are at creating turnovers – I think they lead the league. It's going to be a tough battle for us. At the end of the day, we've just got to go out and do what we do, take it one play at a time and hopefully put ourselves in the best position to come out with a win.
Q: Before these couple of weeks, how much have your run the wildcat and what's different or any challenges in doing that?
A: I ran it in college, I ran it last year a little bit. I just listen to the rules that I'm told and follow it. That's really all I do. The guy I got to read, read him. If he does this, do one thing. If he does that, do another. That's really it. When the ball is in my hand, try to make a play and whether it's running with it or making the right decision and handing it off.
Q: Or throw it?
A: Or throw it, you're right. That's a good point. Or throw it.
Q: Does it mean anything to you at this point in the season to lead the league in scrimmage yards? Does it mean anything inside to you that you're doing that?
A: Not really. As a competitor, I'm not going to sit and lie, you want to do this, you want to accomplish this, you want to accomplish that, but at the end of the day the ultimate goal is to go out there and win games. Me being up in that category, I feel like helps the team. That's more of the motivation. Whatever I can do to help the team be successful to help us win games, put ourselves in positions to win games is what I'm willing to do. I'm all about finding ways to win games. I really don't care about the individual stats. At the end of the day, like I said, I'm a big believer in that's all going to take care of itself. If I continue to have the right mindset and the right work ethic and continue to do the things that I've been able to do – that's going to take care of itself. Whatever I can do to help the team win games.
Q: You guys have had a lot of success in the red zone, especially last week. The creativity is noticeable, you're attacking teams a lot differently in the red zone than you have the last couple of years. Do you guys notice that, and do you almost feel like you have a lot of different options to go to when you guys are down in there when it's seemingly the most challenging?
A: The coaches do a great job of putting us in position to be successful. It's a player's league, it's our job to go out there and execute it. We've been doing it in creative ways, we've been doing it in ways where sometimes the play might not be perfect, but we find a way to get in there and make a play. That's what we've got to continue to do. We work on it every week obviously, like every other team in the league, but continue to have a sense of urgency when you're down there and find a way to put it in the box.
Punter Jamie Gillan
Gillan: To clear things up for you guys, there was no 'stuck in London' or anything like that. This is something that we knew we had to do for a while. I just had to get my passport, P1 Visa, extended to get back into the country. So, we did. Humongous thanks to the Giants' organization and Laurie Tisch for allowing that to happen, talking to the right people and the people at the U.S. Embassy. Fantastic people there. They were really helpful because those people were quite involved. We had a goal to get me back in two days and we did. We did it, so I'm back here.
Q: Did you know going in that it would take two days? It wasn't something you could take care of beforehand.
A: Unless I went back to the country myself.
Q: So, you had to be there to take care of it?
A: Yeah, that was kind of it. So, if we weren't going to London this year, I wouldn't have done that until after the season. But hey, it's what happened so it was fine.
Q: Did you spend any extra time with your family since you were there an extra couple of days?
A: I did yeah, it was great. I was able to use a gym there, I had my iPad with me to watch film and stuff of the game and our opponents. Then I was back on Wednesday.
Q: So, you got a mini two-day vacation basically?
A: Hmm. (Laughs)
Q: So, you just don't want to tell anybody else?
Q: You said Laurie Tisch, what did she do? What was her role?
A: That's a question for someone else higher up than me.
Q: Did you stay in London? Or did you go back home?
A: I stayed in London. I stayed in an Airbnb with my family. So, we got some food and hung out. Then we got on a plane at six o'clock last night.
Q: Was it awkward that you didn't get to fly home with the team?
A: I wish I would've been on the plane with my teammates but it's just how the cookie crumbles.
Q: Was there any concern that it actually might take longer?
Q: You kind of knew?
A: Yeah, we had all the right paperwork.
Q: So probably jetlagged right now, right?
A: I'll figure it out. Got some caffeine and stuff.
Q: What I mean is by Sunday you think you'll be totally feeling fine?
A: I will be totally fine.
Q: Were you aiming at the roof today? (Laughs)
A: Yeah (Laughs). No, it was great to be back.
Q: Did you do a pint count from the moment you left the stadium on Sunday until now?
A: I did not. Nope.