Q: What do they say they like and what do they say that you like?
A: Pass rushes well. There’s some things that I could have done better as far as moving my hips and recognizing quarterback depth. The other thing is playing against the run. But then again, things that were playing against the run. You got to be more stout when I get the double teams. Read and react and realize what the offense is trying to scheme against me and be able to play off of that. Pass rush… I mean for me personally, what I saw is that I can add a little bit to my arsenal. A lot of people think that I’m small and so we’re just going to hit him with the speed rush, but I was able to use some power so hopefully I’ll be able to use a combination of power and speed and be able to capitalize on passing situations.
Q: How much does it help to work with the guys that you’re working with? You have a veteran defensive end when it comes to adding to that arsenal?
A: It helps a lot, and I think the biggest thing is that they have the experience and they’ve been to the top of the mountain. I’m always in Osi’s and Tuck’s ear asking them questions about run and pass plays and seeing what I can do better in both of those areas.
Q: You’re really not much different, size wise, than Osi are you?
A: Not too much. Pretty much the same height and same build.
Q: Who’s faster?
A: I plead the fifth.
Q: So you think you might have a chance against him?
A: If he wants to race, we can race. I’m not pressuring him to do anything he doesn’t want to do.
Q: How difficult was it coming here? When they drafted you, they said you’re were going to play defensive end. You’re this kind of a linebacker. You knew you had to make that transition. How tough was it, now that you look at that short period?
A: The mental aspect was leaps and bounds above what I was doing in, before in college, in the defensive end. That was the biggest thing – trying to get a grasp of this defense. At linebacker, you’re pretty much the quarterback of the defense. You know, making the checks, seeing the reads and then adjusting when the quarterback adjusts. For the first time, at this highest level, it was pretty hard for me to adjust. I wouldn’t take anything that happened to me, these first two years, as anything bad. It was all necessary for me to build and mature and grow and hopefully I’ll use that as a stepping stone, this year, to be a part of this team and be a stable on the defense.
Q: When you’re playing linebacker, was your instinct still to be that pass rusher?
A: It was. See ball, get ball was what I was used to when I was in college. At linebacker, you’re responsible for a lot more than just that. You have your pass responsibilities as well as running responsibilities. It was a combination of both that kind of had me at first, a little off base. I think one game that I had against the Steelers; I was just able to put things behind me and able to go out there and play. Just use that as a stepping-stone. And everything that happens, happens for a reason. With that in mind, I’m hoping to build off of this year.
Q: Was this the first time in a couple of years that you’ve felt in control on the field?
A: Yea. I did. It felt good. I knew my assignment. I knew my alignment in what I was supposed to do and what was required of me. Sometimes it may not have happened as I had hoped or the coaches had hoped, but I think that’s the biggest thing; was knowing what you’re doing and getting in line and just going to play ball.