Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale
Martindale: I'm just so proud to be up here representing an organization and a defense with a group of guys that just are resilient and stand up for 60 minutes. Their competitive endurance is just amazing to me. We had a lot of situations and a lot of situational football during that game. I told our coaching staff, and I told the defense that we've never used that many situational calls in a game, just one game by itself. Now we've used them throughout the years, but you might not see us in those types of situations again for another two years. Our guys were fantastic at executing the defense and I was really proud and then happy for all of them. With that, I'll open it up to questions.
Q: I'm paraphrasing but a couple weeks ago you said something to the effect of, 'you owe it to the players to always remain composed'. That last minute and four (seconds), is that a big test on you remaining composed in that situation?
A: Yeah, I think it's composure and experience, (for) the reason why you can be composed. Thursdays as a staff we have our, 'win the game Thursday meetings' and we talk about all these different situations and what defense we want to play. You saw one that we did at the end of the half there with (outside linebacker) Tomon (Fox) making the hit. We look at things and just because some people say, 'this is the standard way to play it', we want to find out what the best way to play it is and put our guys in those situations and they executed. On Saturday we work these special situations and line up in them and I'll even tell them, 'Hey, we might not ever use this, but in this situation, this is what we're going to play'. Like I said, I give all the credit to the players. They executed it and it worked out for us.
Q: Can you think of another quarterback who has had a career like (Seahawks quarterback) Geno (Smith) where they've kind of been on the shelf for so long there, in the back of people's minds then all of the sudden has a breakout year like this?
A: I'll give you the first name, Kurt Warner. I don't know if they'll make a movie with Geno, but as a football fan and respect for the game, I really respect what he's done with his game. Besides playing against him, it's fun to watch the success that he's had.
Q: What's different about this version of him, maybe than the previous ones?
A: I just think it's a good combination of having a defensive head coach and he's worked well with (Seahawks offensive coordinator) Shane (Waldron) and talking about how to manage the game, how they're going to attack each game, and you can see the differences of it from week to week of how they're going to attack the game. So, I think he's worked hard. I think he's a really good person, and I just love to see the success that he's having. I just don't want him to have any on Sunday.
Q: For all the good things you saw on Sunday, you guys gave up more yards than you have all season. How much is that a concern going forward?
A: Well, you have to attack each game to win the game. Do we want that many yards? No. But sometimes it builds character in your defense. Like I said, they're a resilient group and we know the things we need to work on and we're working on them. It's going to be fun to see this Sunday where we're at with them.
Q: You talk about building character, coming out of this win what did you see from your defense?
A: I'm so proud to see how they react on the sideline; they take it one play at a time. There's never any complaining or anything else. It's like, 'here's what we need to do, here's how we need to fix it.' They just go and attack it. That's the biggest thing. The most exciting thing is we're 6-1 and we're learning a lot of lessons along the way, and we know we've got to keep getting better and that's how they attack each week.
Q: Why do you think scoring is down across the league this season? What are teams doing to make scoring go down?
A: I'm just worried about Seattle. I haven't even thought about that, with the scoring going down. I'm glad to hear it as a defensive coach.
Q: (Cornerback) Fabian (Moreau) almost sealed the game there with the interception that wasn't. What have you seen from him?
A: So, you asked about Fabian, I'll throw (safety Landon) L.C. (Collins) in there too. We have spectacular organizational alignment. From the ownership, from the Maras, the Tisches, to (general manager) Joe (Schoen), to (head coach Brian) Dabs (Daboll). We tell them the type of player that we're looking for. Joe and his group have done a great job of finding those guys and we've been putting them in the mix. I love Fab. I love the way he prepares for the game, that's the thing that stands out and that's what I keep telling the young rookies is how he prepares for a game. I'm glad he's having the success that he's having.
Q: We mentioned the yards per play and yards allowed, you're 25*th* in yards per play allowed but sixth in points allowed, kind of the other end of the spectrum. What do you attribute to that? What do you think of when I say that? How sustainable is that?
A: I don't know anything about how sustainable it is. I just know that we're sixth in points and we play real well in the redzone. That's the name of the game defensively is to try to keep them out of the endzone. We've done a good job doing that. I think each game, you look at it differently, so I'm not really worried about where we're at statistically with that. I just want to know how many wins we have and how many losses we have.
Q: That's kind of what I was getting at, that red zone part of it. Can you be mediocre throughout the rest of the game but dominant in the red zone? Is that something you've seen before?
A: Of course. I think if you're really good in the red zone, you're really good on third down, and points allowed, I think you'll have a lot of success.
Q: What's the key to stopping a run game when they attack your edges?
A: Well, it all depends on where that edge is at. That edge can go out to the corner, it could go out to the end, it could go to a three-technique, or it could go to a shade. The bottom line to stop a run game and a run game like this, you've got to set the edge, okay? You've got to set the edge and you got to knock people back but also understand that when you do that and you have an explosive back like Seattle has, they're going to come down and they're going to crack your defenders, your bigger defenders. Whether it's an outside backer or a safety and they're going to try and get him one-on-one with a corner and your corners have to tackle well. It's an 11-man job. It's not just certain things that we all want to point out that it is. It's an 11-man job and that's what we're working on.
Q: When I watch video of (outside linebacker) Kayvon (Thibodeaux), I've been surprised that he hasn't drawn as many flags as it looks like when he's on the field. I don't expect you to go after officiating but when you have a young player like that, do you have to be conscious of guys not getting frustrated on the field when they're getting a lot of attention from offensive linemen, and they don't seem to be generating the kind of attention from the officials?
A: It's like I said before, we don't make the rules, we just try to play by them. Rookies usually don't get a whole lot of calls and I think he knows that. The thing that impresses me about Kayvon is he is playing up, he knows the standard. The play that he made against the back from Jacksonville – I think he ran, the GPS was over 20 miles an hour to chase him down. If you have a guy that's going to be a leader – he's going to be a leader, he's already established as a leader – but puts that kind of thing on tape. It's hard not to listen and say here's how you do it. He understands the standard and he's been playing up to it.
Q: Have you ever had a defense that has had contributions from so many different places? The fourth and one play comes to mind. The play before, (outside linebacker) Quincy (Roche) comes up with a big stop that really doesn't get noticed. It seems like you try to get all of those guys into the game at some point.
A: Sometimes it's just necessary that you have to play all those guys and then the guys that make plays, they find their way on the field. To answer the first part of the question, I really can't remember or have thought of all the different guys making plays as far as different people playing the same spot and all that. I can't remember that happening. If you get 11 guys to run to the football and, like I said, have the competitive endurance or stamina that they have, it's just a lot of fun to watch.
Offensive Coordinator Mike Kafka
Q: In the fourth quarter there, four-minute offense, you ran the same play eight times. A variation of it going left and right. What does that say about the confidence you have in your run offense?
A: I think, first off, credit goes to our run-game contingent – (offensive line coach) Bobby (Johnson), (tight ends coach) Andy Bischoff, (running backs coach) DeAndre (Smith) – for the conviction to add those plays at the end of the game and definitely the players for going out and executing it. It's not easy to do that in the National Football League and they did a nice job of handling it, picking up yards when we needed it.
Q: Have you ever run the same play, at least some variation of it, that many times in a row? How rare is that?
A: I don't know what the numbers are on it, but that would be the first for me.
Q: What does it do for an offense when you have a left tackle playing at the level that (tackle) Andrew (Thomas) is playing at?
A: It definitely helps out everyone else. I think he's doing a great job with communication, with the execution. I think he's bringing young guys along as well from a leadership standpoint – obviously being a captain in the locker room, he's a great teammate. I think all of that combined is what helps out not only in the offense but throughout the team as well.
Q: How big is the (tight end Daniel) Bellinger loss for you guys?
A: We'll certainly miss him and hope he gets back soon. We've had a next man up mentality this whole season and the guys that will be stepping into those roles, we'll expect them jump right in and execute at a high level. Coach Bischoff does a great job of getting those guys ready. The rest of those guys will be ready to go.
Q: I ask this knowing that everybody always wants more but with scoring down around the league, are you happy with where you guys are in terms of that?
A: Yeah, we evaluate the red zone each week. We continue to find ways to get better at it. It's hard to score in the National Football League but you got to find ways. However we can find ways to score points – field goals, honestly you want touchdowns but we evaluate that every single week. We are looking for ways to improve.
Q: On most of those eight plays we talked about, I think (offensive lineman) Josh (Ezeudu) pulled – I think except for one. Is that one of his strengths and how did you feel like he played there?
A: He did a great job. Again, that next man up mentality. He jumped right in there, handled the cadence and some of our silent count stuff. He did a really good job with that communication. There's a lot of things that he had to juggle and he jumped right in and executed it when he needed to. When everyone knew we were going to run the ball, he was one of those guys out in front with great fundamentals and all of the things that we talk about each day. He did a nice job with that.
Q: What did you think when you heard Saquon after the game say basically that he thought he played soft and ran soft in the first half?
A: Saquon is very critical of himself. That's what makes him the player he is. I think, was there some more left out there for him? Maybe, I think so. That's the kind of competitor he is and I think he's never satisfied.
Q: Why do you think you guys are having so much more success? Not just that game but just in general? The numbers bare that in the second half of games this year compared to the first.
A: I think it's a combination. I kind of talked about this last week, it's a combination of putting players in the right positions and the execution. We're all in this together, we got to continue to find ways to start fast. I thought we did a better job of that in Jacksonville. First drive, went down and scored. I think we need to continue to find ways and we need to find a similar way this week.
Q: So you don't consider much the idea of wearing down defenses? Do you think it's more schematic and being able to take advantage of what you see?
A: I think each week you go into it trying to score points and trying to start fast, try and score every time you touch the football. That's the goal. I think over time, how that fits with who we want to be as an offense; whether it's running it, whether it's throwing it based on what the defense presents – you just got to be flexible.
Q: You guys have obviously faced unique circumstances on the road this year going to London that was pro-Green Bay crowd. Last week was really a pro-Giants crowd for most of it. Going to Seattle where the reputation of the 12s kind of precedes them, how do you guys handle that circumstance? Is there even more emphasis this week for you guys to go silent and try to figure out how to deal with that?
A: You definitely know you're going into a loud environment. You prepare the best you can like we have been all week with crowd noise and that kind of stuff at practice. (Head coach Brian Daboll) Coach Dabs does a good job of getting our guys ready for that.
Q: Why is scoring down across the league? What trends are defenses doing that makes scoring more difficult this season?
A: That's a good question. I haven't really studied the whole league. We're really focused on ourselves right now and how we can get better. That's what we're really focused on right now.
Q: On Daniel (Jones) touchdown run, did he audible or take it upon himself because he saw something to make that play happen or was that just the play call?
A: Daniel did a nice job there. We had a run called and those guys took it upon themselves to sneak in down there on the inch line. That was a good job by them being football players.
Q: How do you decide when to roll Daniel (Jones) out? Or when you need to encourage him and that the defense is susceptible to that?
A: There's certain looks that we look for on tape, in the game that we look for. We make adjustments based off how they are lining up for which run schemes, which keep schemes. There's a little bit of flexibility, there's a little bit of in-game feel. That's something that Dabs brought along and that's been a big part for us and Daniel has handled it really well. It's complicated but those guys have done a good job with the looks they have been presented.
Q: With Daniel (Jones), you mentioned he audibled there. How much more do you see him changing stuff up now compared to earlier in the year and now that he becomes more familiar with what you guys are looking for, with what you guys are looking for in this offense?
A: I think in the offense, it's kind of built into the offense. Run and pass option. Pass and run options. There's a lot of flexibility. The quarterback has the keys to the car from that aspect. He does a good job handling it. (Quarterbacks coach) Shea Tierney does an awesome job of getting those guys prepared. The whole quarterback room is sharp and on top of it.
Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey
Q: The illegal formation penalty you guys got last week – what was that for?
A: Just on the wrong side. You can't have more than six guys lined up on one side. And that was just a miscommunication between those guys, got lined up on the wrong side.
Q: What happened with the blocked PAT (point after touchdown)? (Cornerback Nick) McCloud make a good play?
A: He just made a play. I mean, the guy's 6'6''. (He has) 34-inch arms. And he can jump. We just got to get the ball up.
Q: I'm talking about the one you guys blocked.
A: Yeah. He made a play. Nick, he has really good length. And he had a great get off. Had a really good get off. He keyed the ball, and he did exactly what we were talking about all week, just taking a really good angle and flattening it out towards the block spot. And he got it. He's been playing really well for us.
Q: He's done a real good job as a gunner for you as well. Did you know what kind of special teams player he was when he got here?
A: He's kind of evolving into that. He did a good job at Buffalo before he got here, but he's really kind of taking his next step as a player. I'm sure he'll be doing some other things for our football team moving forward, too. So, he's just a really good player. He's a good young player, and he's taking advantage of his opportunities.
Q: On the field goal blocks, I remember back in Week 1, you talked about when they missed the field goal, you still had your 'got to have it' play on the field. And you think you would've had a block had he just kicked it regularly. And now, this week, you block a PAT. Does that give the other team a little bit something to think about when you start coming through in those situations with your unit?
A: Exactly. When you already have Dex (defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence) on the inside who everybody has to contend with. And then when you start, that kind of helps because what happens a lot of times (is) they condense the formation because they're trying to stop Dex. And all of a sudden, you shorten the corner a little bit, and now we have a tighter angle to the ball. So, having Dex on it, it all starts on the inside. And he's the one who makes it all move inside. Having those big guys – him and Haddy (outside linebacker Jihad Ward) and Jelly (defensive lineman Justin Ellis) – just being able to push from the inside, and that's a concern. Now you start to tighten down a little bit, take away those gaps. And it shortens the edge.
Q: On the one that you wanted to talk about, the one that you got tipped...
A: Not really (laughs).
Q: How much does losing two starting offensive linemen affect that group because those are the guys that are normally there?
A: I'll say this – the guys did a good job of adjusting during the course of the game. Like we lost three guys off of our field goal team during the course of the game, and the guys just, they stepped right in. They kept on going, next man up. Nobody blinked; nobody flinched. And they did a good job, they really did, against a really good rush team.
Q: That was an interesting kick on the last kickoff. What was the thought process going into that one?
A: You mean the one that was screwing around and looked like it was about to go out of bounds and it went in the end zone? We wasn't trying to do that. That was just kind of one of those things that happens from time to time – just a mis-hit ball. (We) got lucky.
Q: I guess it worked out okay then.
Q: It looked like he (kicker Graham Gano) meant to do it.
A: No. I promise you.
Q: My heart stopped a little bit.
A: Yeah. The guy who kicked it, his heart stopped, too. Luck favors the well prepared, I guess.
Q: It wasn't a squib (kick), right?
A: No, not squib (kick). We were trying to kick the ball out the back of the end zone.
Running Back Saquon Barkley
Q: How are you feeling?
A: I feel good, body feels good. I think we've had another great week of practice so far. Obviously Seattle's a great team, they're playing well too. So, I look forward to going up there in a hostile environment and come together as a group again.
Q: You said last week that your shoulder, 'wakes up.' What actually happens with that? It seems like you're down, you're in a lot of pain, and then you're right back in.
A: Just pain management I guess you could say. But every week it'll continue to get better. Just got to keep sticking with it, keep doing the rehab and keep trusting the trainers.
Q: What does that actually look like for you on a regular basis? What is that pain management?
A: Yeah, I do kind of all the same techniques that I do for my whole body. Whether it's massage, acupuncture, stretching, cold tub, hot tub, red light therapy – all the stuff I do. I try to have all that stuff to my recovery process, and I've been having a pretty good feeling within my body, so I've got to keep sticking to that schedule.
Q: It seems you've taken your pass protection to another level this year. Is that something you worked on a lot during the week? Training camp? How did you improve in that area so much?
A: I feel like that it's something that you've got to credit to the coaches. The coaches have been doing a really good job, especially in the offseason. That's something that I came in, focused on. But I really don't get too caught up into that. I feel like I've had some situations where I've lost before in pass blocking and to be completely honest, hopefully not, but it's the NFL, sometimes you're going to get got. I really don't look too much into it. Just keep working, keep trying to improve even though I'm quote unquote, 'doing well,' I feel like there's still room for improvement for me. I'm going to keep trying to take those strides.
Q: I'm going to be honest, I was a little surprised, you basically said you played 'soft' in the first half the other day. You usually don't hear guys say that about themselves. What made you say that and how much of that is connected to you kind of thinking about your shoulder?
A: What made me say that is because it's me. It's my body. Sometimes you've got to be your biggest critic and just being honest with myself. I think maybe I jumped a little to a conclusion when I talked to you guys after the game.
Q: Was it as bad as you thought?
A: No, it wasn't. It's never really as good as you think and it's never really as bad as you think. It was more just having a slow start. I've got to be better for the team in the beginning of the game. Obviously was able to pick it up, but just got to be better. That's it. Just go back to trusting the alignments, trusting the reads, getting downhill, being instinctive and making plays.
Q: How much did you think you were thinking about the shoulder a little bit? Sort of protecting it when you could.
A: Yeah, that's just the nature of it. Anytime you're dealing with something, but you're never really out there thinking about it when you go back and look back on film. Similar to, for instance when I had my knee. I never last year, especially in the first couple of games, I never was out there like, 'dang my knee doesn't feel good.' It was never like that. I would go back and look at film and see myself make a jump or a cut, but I wouldn't stick that right leg out there like I used to. So, it's more of that, but like I said I think I kind of jumped to conclusion a little bit. The whole thought process of that was just got to start faster for the team. Obviously, we started fast as a team. I think we had probably one of our better first half, especially offensively scoring 13 points, but as a player I could start a little faster for us.
Q: What was your reaction to the (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney) trade?
A: It's the NFL. Anytime there's a trade you're going to be shocked. KT's a talented player, I wish him nothing but the best of luck in KC.
Q: For a team that's lost a few receivers already, is it difficult to lose a guy that talented at receiver?
A: I never want to take anything away from KT like I said he's a talented player, but for us right now it's just continue to have the same 1-0 mindset, fall in love with the process and go to Seattle and try to come out with a win.
Q: It obviously didn't work for him here, what advice would you give him moving forward?
A: I feel like that's something that I'd rather talk to him personally about. I feel like that's not needed to be said in the media. Like I said I just wish him nothing but the best of luck in KC.
Q: In the heat of the moment last week, you were upset about not getting out of bounds. When you think back about running the ball eight straight times, they know you're running, you know you're running, and you still cover the distance to put the game away. How impressive is that from the offensive unit that you can play that kind of bully football?
A: It's really impressive, and it starts up front with the guys, the offensive line and the tight ends. Establishing the line of scrimmage. That's how you win or lose football games by establishing the line of scrimmage. We've been doing a really good job of that so far this season but especially in that moment when everybody knows you're running the ball and to be able to go down, pretty much run the same play a couple times in a row. It's pretty impressive. But going back to the getting out of bounds thing, just got to be more aware and slide a little earlier. Never put our team in the situation where there's a minute and four seconds on the clock and they have a chance to go down and score.
Q: You said you were going to close your eyes and get rid of it.
A: Oh no, it's gone. It's gone to be completely honest. I already know the type of player I am, the type of person I am. I honestly can't wait for that next opportunity. You kind of want that. It's four minutes, five minutes, whatever time was left on the clock. But as a player and as a running back everyone knows that you're running the ball. You want to take that responsibility and put the game away. Like I said, I've got to do a better job than I did last week, and I know I'll do a better job.
Q: With another long trip going to Seattle knowing that it's this game and then the bye week. Is there any big picture exhale for this team knowing that if you kind of spill it out you get a little break here that you've earned? Or is it just focusing on Sunday and then whatever comes out after that?
A: Yeah, it's just focusing on Sunday. You can't get too caught up in the bigger picture. Like I said, Seattle's a really good team. They're playing extremely well right now too, just as we are, so it's going to be a great game. We know we'll get their best effort. Going into a hostile environment and the only mindset that we can have and that we're going to have is that going out there and trying to go out 1-0.
Wide Receiver Kenny Golladay
Q: What's your reaction to today's events with (Wide Receiver) Kadarius (Toney)?
A: Of course it kind of came out of nowhere. I haven't really gotten the chance to talk to him yet. I'm going to reach out to him.
Q: How are you feeling physically?
A: Getting there. Just steady trying to stack good days on one another. I feel a lot better, though.
Q: How close do you feel like you are to possibly getting back on the field?
A: To be honest, I'm just worried about day by day. Bye week is next week, I'm just trying to continue to improve each day.
Q: In your mind, is there a hope that after the bye week that you can get out there and test it out or are you doing that all the time?
A: It all depends on how I feel tomorrow and how I feel next week.
Q: When you see a player traded like this, does anything go through your mind like, 'Oh that could be me'?
A: I've been in this league long enough. Anything is possible.
Q: Is it hard to see Kadarius leave?
A: Definitely when you build a relationship with a guy. Like I said, I'm going to reach to him. I really didn't get a chance to talk to him and everything, I was doing my own little thing trying to get ready. I'm definitely going to reach out to him. We definitely built some type of relationship to the point where I do feel for him, definitely.
Q: What would your advice be to him going forward?
A: Just stay the course. Things happen for a reason, and just stay the course.
Q: Obviously, you guys are off to a 6-1 start. How much do you want to be a part of this?
A: Oh man, I want to be a part of it big time. I'm trying everything to get back out there. I've never even been a part of a team that's gone 6-1. I'm trying to do everything to get back out there.
Q: What's it like to watch that 6-1 start from the position you're in not being able to play?
A: I get jealous of the guys. In a good way, though. It motivates me even more to get out there with them just so I can put my little stamp on the game. However that comes – if it's in the blocking area, if it's in the pass catching – that's the part I get jealous about. Just seeing the guys out there having fun with it.
Q: How impressed are you with how (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) has played?
A: First off, I'm not surprised – I'll say that. I know the type of work he put in. I've been saying it this entire time. I'm happy to see it all unfold.
Q: Do you feel like you can be a difference maker at the wide receiver position for a team that kind of needs somebody to be a big-play guy?
A: Definitely. As long as I can stay on the field and put the little injuries behind me, I definitely feel like I can do good things for this team.
Q: How optimistic are you post bye?
A: Like I said, I'm going to see how the bye goes, but I will say the past couple days have been pretty good. Praying for no setbacks and everything. Hope everything goes to plan.
Q: Do you expect to stay around here next week during the bye week?
A: Yeah, definitely.
Q: We're at the trade deadline. Have you wondered at all if you were on the block?
A: No. I'm worried about getting back on the field.
Q: What did you see from Kadarius in regard to him getting back? He says he's healthy. Did you see a guy who's getting close as well? I know you guys were working on that back field together.
A: Definitely. He was definitely, I would say, probably a little bit ahead of me since he was out before me. If he said he was healthy, then he was healthy. I can't really judge how his body is.