Q: Antrel, I have to imagine there’s a bit of optimism with the news with Terrell Thomas. That it may not be as severe as we first thought?
A: Yeah. I don’t really know what’s going on at this point. Right now, like you said, we’re just being optimistic and hoping and praying for the best for Terrell Thomas.
Q: In the meantime, it looks like at least a temporary solution, is pushing you back to the nickel corner spot, which you didn’t like at first last year, but grew to like a little bit towards the end. What are your thoughts on possibly having to do that again?
A: You know, in this league, you have to have an open mind. A ballplayer is a ballplayer. It doesn’t matter what position you’re at. If I have to go down there and do it again, then so be it. Like I said, right now, my only focus is hearing the feedback from Terrell and hoping that everything is okay. Hopefully, we’ll be able to move forward.
Q: You sounded the other day, like you were kind of looking forward to being a true safety again, not having to worry about dual roles. Was that an accurate read on you?
A: Yeah, that’s an accurate read. Like I said, we’re going to get some changes. We’re going to have to play with the cards that are dealt to us, and it’s something I’ve done before. I’m not a stranger to the nickel position. So, like I said, if I have to play it, then so be it.
Q: Antrel, is one of the goals for this team, to make things a little bit easier this time around this season? Play like Super Bowl champs? Not a team that’s going to win some games at the end to get in?
A: We’re trying to make this season, the best one possible. Try to be a more consistent team. Like you said, being a team that doesn’t have to fight in a battle for the, for a last playoff spot. That’s just the way we’re going to approach it now. We’re going to try and have it carry over from last year, and hopefully, it takes us off to a good lead.
Q: As a guy whose life is made easier by a good pass rush, how nice is it that all those guys are back?
A: I think we complement each other. I think we complement each other on the back end, as well as at linebacker. We’re one group, and there’s no group above the other. It’s a good thing to have. I think we have the best front in the NFL, hands down. Just having them on our side makes it that much easier for us, in the secondary.
Q: Can you talk about what you see out of Rueben Randle? You know, a young guy who is trying to make his mar and get playing time? When you see him out there, what do you see in him?
A: You know, a young guy. With that, comes along a little bit of frustration because he doesn’t understand the system as well as Hakeem and Victor Cruz. He’s a very talented guy. He’s a very talented guy. We can see that, and once he gets comfortable with the scheme, how things work out, then you’ll see his routes becoming more crisp, the indecision will be gone, and everything will be a lot more focused.
Q: You not only played the nickel corner position last year, you played well, especially when the team went on the big run. Does it help, if you have to do it again? You had success doing it, and you know that you can be successful at it?
A: I think it definitely helps. You know, just throwing me in for the couple of days I’ve been there, there’s a lot of carry-over from last year. So, it’s a comfort zone, definitely a comfort zone. I think there’s going to be other guys competing for that spot. Hopefully, we can have some other guys we can throw in there, I can get back at safety. It doesn’t matter if I’m at nickel, it doesn’t matter if I’m at safety. Whatever the team needs me to play, that’s what I’ll play to the best of my…
Q: Antrel, what do you see out of a guy like Will Hill?
A: Will Hill, he’s a great athlete for one. He’s very versatile, he can play multiple positions, and right now, they’re all eager. They all want to go out there and compete, they all want to learn. Most of all, they want to be on the same page with the older guys. You see a lot of that from the young guys. They’re young, but they’re very gifted in their mentalities.
Q: Is the strain more if you do have to play nickel. Is the strain more physical, just having to deal with covering the receivers from the slot? Or is it more mental, having to work on this technique and that technique at the same time?
A: It’s a part of finding a groove. You have to find a grove down in the nickel and you’re going to be faced with a lot of different things down there. As far as the run and the pass, the more shifty guys, and just understanding your position. Sometimes, I’ll have to go back and play safety, sometimes I have to play nickel. The mental part of it, I think I pretty much have down pat. So, it’s just knowing all of the different techniques and what’s going to be thrown your way.