I looked up your yards per catch.
“What is it, negative something, right?”
Six, I think.
“I had a completion with some positive yards last year though. So, the career ones are alright.”
Do they go over with you that scenario, like what do you do if the ball is batted back to the quarterback?
“No. I think it’s more of just a reactionary thing. I thought I could make some yards obviously. Turned out to be a bad decision.”
What is the chemistry in the locker room right now?
“I think we have a very good locker room. I said this since the first day I got here; they were very open and accepting of me coming in mid-season like that. It makes everything a lot easier for myself when you have guys around you who are all in just like you are.”
You talked about after the game on Sunday, taking advantage of the type of blitzing and the holes that opened up. The Jaguars don’t blitz. How much different is that challenge going to be for you guys this week?
“I think every week is a different challenge in the NFL. Every team is a good team, no matter what their record is. These guys have a very talented defense. It’s just a different type of scheme. A lot of teams are adapting the scheme that these guys run and it’s becoming pretty popular in the NFL.”
You’ve studied schemes for four years now in the NFL. How does this rate or what really makes it unique?
“It’s not that unique. Like I said before, a lot of teams are adapting to this and so you see it all over the league now. Seattle started it and now teams are adapting it. I think the players that they have make it unique. They have very talented players on every level of the defense. It’s going to be a good challenge for us on Sunday.”
Does it remind you of studying the Seahawks before the 2014 Super Bowl that year?
“Yeah. Even this last Super Bowl, the Falcons. It’s a very similar style. It’s got its pluses, it’s got it’s minuses just like every other defense. It’s our job to do the best we can against it.”
Do you guys see an opening in the run game this week? That seems to be the one stat that they’re not quite as good at.
“Yeah, they’re pretty good at all the other ones. We like to get the run game started every week. I think the O-Line’s been doing a great job for those guys. [RB Carlos] ‘Los [Hyde], [RB] Matt [Breida], [FB Kyle Jusczcyk] Juice, all those guys have been doing a great job back there. It’s one of those things, you’ve got to keep working at it, have a good week of practice and it’ll turn out good on Sunday. “
Do you have a common theme at all on why you guys haven’t been able to finish drives in the red zone especially that you’ve seen? Is it a common theme or different things?
“Not one thing specific. I’ve said this before; it’s probably one of the toughest areas in football offensively to execute. Everything has to go perfect down there. If you have a negative play, a penalty, it’s tough to overcome those in general, but especially in the red zone like that. Your percentages just go way down when that happens. We just have to avoid those situations.”
What’s the key for you to get rid of the ball quickly, to feel confident in being able to get the ball out quickly when you face pressure?
“I think knowing what everyone’s doing helps with that, obviously. You get to have an idea of what you’re going to do and react to what the defense gives you. And so, it’s all about keeping the defense off balanced.”
Just as a competitor, how much do you like the chance to see how you fare against a defense that ranks so highly in so many categories?
“It’ll be good. It’s a great challenge for us on Sunday. Like I said though, every week, we just went against a great defense in Tennessee. Every week is another challenge and a different type of challenge. We have to change our mindset and thinking of how we attack this defense compared to that defense and go about our week like we did these last couple and have a good week of practice.”
What’s the thought process on the play where you threw the ball up towards the right sideline? Looked like it was going to be an interception until WR Marquise Goodwin comes down with it. When you let it go is it like--?
“Yeah, I was trying to throw it away and I got hit as I threw it, so the ball kind of fluttered out of my hands a little bit. But, ‘Quise, talk about an unbelievable play just helping your quarterback. I owe him one for that. That easily could’ve been intercepted, but he made a hell of a play on it and it turned out to be a big play.”
You’ll take that completion on the sideline in the box score.
“It’s people helping people I guess.”
From the time you get to the line of scrimmage to the time the center snaps the ball, what different things do you have to do typically?
“Mentally or physically?”
“Everything. In a matter of maybe five or six seconds the amount of things you think of are, it’s insane. I don’t even know how to describe it to people. My family ask me this all the time. ‘What are you thinking about?’ You’re literally looking at 11 guys and you have your 10 guys. It’s kind of like a chess game that happens in six seconds I guess.”
Do you have a checklist of things you need to check for?
“You have a basis that you go off of. Every play is different, situation’s different. Whether it’s the two-minute at the end of the game, or the first quarter, everything’s a little different. There’s so many variables that go into it.”
Are you a chess guy? Do you play chess?
“I know how to play. I wouldn’t say it’s one of my hobbies.”
How are you adjusting your game and style for this team?
“It’s a different type of offense. Obviously, you have to adapt to it. You have different teammates that you have to adapt to and they have to adapt to how you play. But, I think this last month or so we’ve done a good job at that, just taking it from the practice field to the game field is a huge part of it and just preparing week in and week out.”
Just a couple weeks ago we were talking about how you don’t have a lot of practice reps with Marquise or any of the other starters. All of a sudden he’s catching 10 of 12 balls. Is that chemistry only happening in practice or are you working on that chemistry in the locker room, on the sidelines, everywhere you can?
“It’s everything. We’re in here for so many hours out of the day that just naturally you’re around a guy for that often that you learn his body language, how he’s feeling that day. You just spend so much time with them it’s kind of eerie how well you know somebody. I think just the reps we’re putting in in practice, the extra stuff we’re doing, the extra meetings, talking what he sees, what I see. It’s all the skill position guys. They’ve really bought into it and I think we’re doing a good job with it.”
Head coach Kyle Shanahan said that he never likes to get too high or get too low. I think you’ve said in the last few weeks that you feel the same way about things and that if a couple kicks had gone differently in the last game the result would have been different. Does that strike you at all or is it one of those things you have to keep tunnel vision?
“You can really only control what’s going on when you’re out there, I guess, is the best way to put it. There’s three different phases. When the defense is out there, half the time I’m not even watching it to be honest. You’re going over what you’re doing for the next series. That’s part of the team game. All three phases complementing one another. I think we’ve been doing a good job of that the last couple weeks. Keeping points off the turnovers, and special teams helping us out getting good field position, converting kicks. It’s all tied together and I think we’re working in the right direction for that.”
How does that actually get tied together?
“It’s the magic of football.”
You’ve created a minor hysteria around here. I don’t even know if minor hysteria makes sense, but anyway. You’ve talked about you’re basically sleeping and doing football. Have you gotten a sense of the excitement? If so, in what way?
“Obviously, my family, they go to the games. They were there this last week and they were as excited as anybody, I can tell you that. I felt that excitement. But, other than hearing about it, I really haven’t been out and experiencing it, if that’s what you’re asking. It sounds like we got a good thing going. The fans are excited. Levi’s was, the stadium was on fire Sunday. Hopefully it’ll be like that this Sunday and we’ll give them another good performance.”
It’s that time of year we see offensive linemen posting and showing off what gifts they get from their quarterback. I realize it’s only been a few weeks, but are you participating in that?
What have you gotten them?
“Come on man. It’s a surprise for the big guys. They’re going to be upset with me if I ruined it right now. You guys will find out.”
When you got here we asked you do you see yourself here long-term and you said ‘I just got here, taking it week to week.’ Do you still feel that way or do you see yourself here long-term?
“If we handle the Jaguars well, that’ll be a good test for us, and finish out the season well, we’ll figure it out after that.”