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Transcripts: 10-15-2021 Press Conferences 


How did you prepare for when you had to step in last week? How did you feel?

"I felt good. Just taking the reps and stuff throughout the week. I still get some reps, and then just focusing on what I need to improve on personally. What I do during the scout reps, I felt pretty prepared going into the game."

Have you reached out to OL Laremy Tunsil for advice on how to take care of the left side of the offensive line?

"Since being here, me and L.T. (Laremy Tunsil) have built a pretty good relationship. At meetings and stuff, we sit together and just talk since we play the same position. We talk about whatever, regardless if it's me or him. Just whatever it can be, the plays, asking what he will do, how he will approach, if he's doing this or if he's doing that, whatever it is. We've got a good relationship, so we pretty much have had a wide conversation about everything since I got here."

How much of a challenge is this Colts defensive line?

"They're a real good D-Line. Just showing different fronts, they spike a lot, got a lot of movements and stuff. They kind of keep you on your toes. Just got to try to stay focused, stick to your technique and stuff and stay in front of them."

How much do you have to keep an eye on DL DeForest Bucker?

"He definitely can be a problem. You've got to get your hands on him and just bring it, be ready."

How much do you think you're going to be tested this week?

"Every week will be a good test. Just come in, working with Camp (James Campen), Tytus (Howard) and all of them, just everybody. Just staying prepared and going over what I need to focus on and being prepared for the opportunity."

Do you think they are going to try to bring extra pressure with OL Laremy Tunsil out?

"Probably, I'm sure they will with me being in and obviously, we got Charlie (Heck) who was just getting in last week, and a young quarterback. I'm sure they will, but we're pretty prepared. We've got a good game plan."

As someone stepping into start for the first time, do you need to be extra cognizant of not committing penalties as the line has previously struggled with that?

"Not really. I mean, it's something that we focus on and talk about a lot. It's really just staying focused and executing. It's not anything that I felt like I need to go out and just overly think. It's just paying attention to my assignment and what I need to do, and just get the job done."

Offensive Coordinator Tim Kelly and QB Davis Mills said that one of the reasons why the run game has been ineffective is because of communication. What have you all seen on film?

"Yeah, pretty much that. It can be whatever, regardless if it's a point or just footwork, or whatever. We've been focusing on the little stuff, taking extra time to take periods throughout practice to work with the running backs or the tight ends, quarterbacks. Making sure everybody's taking the steps, making sure everybody's kind of comfortable. I think a lot of it, too, is just us having a lot of new guys. So, it's kind of just getting the feel of each other and being comfortable with each other."


How do you feel adjusting to your new position and now having someone new next to you at left tackle?

"I think this week was a good week. Me and Geron (Christian Sr.) have taken a lot of reps together of the past couple of weeks. I think as this week went on, we took a lot of reps together, our comradery started getting better and better as the day went. He's put a lot of work in to prepare for the game this week. Our goal this week is to be a better group and I think that he can come in and play pretty good football for us to get better as a group."

Head Coach David Culley and Coach James Campen said if there were injuries at the tackle position you could move there. In a given week, how much time do you spend still practicing at tackle?

"I take tackle reps almost every week. Mostly every practice, I get some form of tackle reps in. I feel comfortable if they had to move me back out there, but this week I'm focused on left guard because that's what my team needs me to play. We got Geron (Christian Sr.) out there, so we believe he can get the job done this week. So, that's how we are going to go at it this week."

How far have you gotten with your foot work at guard and what have you noticed about yourself?

"I feel like I've gotten better as the weeks go on. I think last week was probably one of my best weeks. My goal for this season is to get better and better each game, just to build off that and to continue to be the best player I can be to help this team win. As I keep attacking my goals for this season and practicing my craft it will only get better every week."

Do you face off against DE DeForest Buckner for any reps when you guys played him last year?

"Yeah I think I had a couple reps when they were running TEs in games. Had a couple of double teams when I was blocking. He's a really good player and I had to prepared for this week. I think it's going to be a really good matchup."

Does facing him on the outside and those few reps you got, how much can you apply to that now?

"I really don't consider those reps to be anything, to be honest. I'm going as if I've never played him before, watched a lot of film on him. The reps I had on tackle against him were totally different than how it's going to be at guard, and that time I was on the right side too, now I'm on the left so it's totally different. I feel like it's going to be a good matchup and I'm prepared to play."

Offensive Coordinator Tim Kelly and QB Davis Mills said some of the reasons why the running game as been ineffective is because of the communication, how does that play going into a game?

"Everybody looks at the physical side of football, it's a big part. But I think communication and the mental part of the game are one of the most unseen things that people see because if you don't have communication right, guys can be going anywhere, you leave guys unblocked, one side of the line going one way the other going to this guy. It can create a lot of problems with the run game. So, for the run game you have to communicate to pick up the right guys, and I think this week we made a big emphasis on that. Communicating, doing a little extra communication after practice as a group, and we should do pretty good this week."

Do you feel like you're taking on a little more of a responsibility role with OL Laremy Tunsil out?

"I'm one of the guys who have probably played the most time on the offensive line right now with Laremy out. I take it upon myself to hold the guys to a higher standard just like I expect them to hold me to a higher standard. That's the best thing I like about this group is that we all hold each other to a higher standard, and we require the best out of each other to not only play good, but to practice hard. With those guys out we should continue to be a good group."


What has this season meant to you, being able to play for your hometown of Houston?

"It's definitely big for me. I finally got the first taste of it back in Week 1 when I had about maybe 25, 26 family members out here. For the first time, it was a good experience feeling all the family out, being able to make it to a game and not having it be a struggle, and then being able to hang around with them. Seeing them during the game, after the game, I went up in the stands and spent some time with them. It's a big thing for me, playing down here."

How much has NFL life changed being able to play in your hometown versus playing in New York?

"It's a good bit different. It's easier for the family and a lot of the friends back in Georgia can all make it down and everything. This will be the first year I ever got to have Thanksgiving with the family since maybe back in college, maybe since 2015 was the last time I had Thanksgiving at home with the whole family."

How did you stay patient when you weren't active on game days to now as you get a chance?

"It's a mindset I developed back in my third year with the Jets. I just said, 'I'm not going to waste the energy and waste the time worrying about things that are outside of my control. I just kept my head down and just did what I'm supposed to do. You never get too high, you never get too low, and you don't let outside circumstances change who you are and change your core. You just go out there and do what you're supposed to do and just stay the same man you were."

What has the coaching staff told you is the reason why you are getting the nod to play now as opposed to the first couple weeks?

"B.K. (Bobby King) just said, 'You're going to be active this week.' I knew I had to go out there and take advantage of every play I got and every opportunity that was presented to me, and just show the way I play out there. I just want to be hungry out there and just try and be as disruptive as I can be."

What are the differences you notice from outside linebacker to 3-4, now rushing as a defensive end?

"Something like you see a little bit less sometimes in your stance. You really have to be keyed in onto your read, because it happens a little bit faster and your field of vision is a little narrow. It's different, but it has its similarities. Sometimes you might bump down and play a little inside, or whatever. But you've got to be a little more physical and be a tad bit quicker, because you're already on the line and things happen that quick."

With the narrowed vision, how do you play off of that?

"You just really have to be dialed in on your film studies and know when which formations (appear), and see some of the tendencies, like if maybe in 12-personnel, you'll have a tight end that's flexed out as a No. 1 receiver. You've got to know there's a chance he might come in, so if the quarterback might ever make the check, you've got to make a quick nod and see if someone is coming in. Otherwise, you might get cracked in concussion protocol or just be on someone else's highlight film. You don't want to be that."

Is that something that other players are communicating and helping you with?

"Yeah, sometimes you'll get the call, normally. But sometimes, in the heat of the moment you might not get it. It might be a quick motion, and just motion in, 'Set-hut', so they might not be able to get it out. So, you've just got to be dialed in on your keys and your film study."

You've got to keep your head on a swivel a little bit.

"That's exactly it. Otherwise, you'll be on somebody's t-shirt."

Have you been on somebody's t-shirt before?

"Nah, but Shady (LeSean) McCoy shook the hell out of me my rookie year on an inside stunt. I thought I had him dead to rights, and he did a little move and was five yards downfield by the time I took one step. That was my 'welcome to the NFL' moment right there."

At what point do you feel like you're the one giving others their 'welcome to the NFL' moment?

"I've sort of felt like that in my third year. I finally was getting on the field more in third down, and then some of the stunt packages my first couple years, I wasn't really. I was just a big run-stopper, and then third and fourth year I sort of started being on the other side of things. It was a nice feeling not being the one getting welcomed."

Do you feel a sense of needing to prove something this year?

"That's sort of in the way I always try and prove, I love proving people wrong and I love just going out there and trying to make a statement for my case. I just want to be remembered in this game as somebody who's disruptive and someone who took no (crap) from nobody, and just went out there and tried to dominate every player who's out there. A lot of guys have that same mentality, so when a situation like that presents itself, you sort of already are trained to operate that way. It just helps everybody else out, knowing that everyone is keeping with each other. Everyone is working that you can't really slack off, but it makes you better as a player going through all those situations."

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