S Landon Collins
August 1, 2017
Q: Youíre so happy to have the pads on today, you still have them on?
A: Yeah. It was kind of hot, but other than that, with the pads on, itís good. Itís fantastic to get the pads on and tackle a few people. I mean, not tackle, but wrap and release as we call it, but it felt fantastic. Now, we get into the nitty-gritty.
Q: Do the pads ramp up the whole process and get you guys going?
A: I wouldnít say keep going because there are a lot of guys, you have to get used to them first, but I would say, after today, I think itís going to be different. Itís going to be ramped up, and weíll see a different practice tomorrow.
Q: How tough are the first couple days a defensive player when you canít do anything?
A: Itís tough, but at that time, you want to work your feet. You want to work your technique, technique beats talent any day, so you do that, and youíll be on top.
Q: Were you telling receivers like, Ďthat mightíve been different if (pads were on)í?
A: I tell them that all the time. Especially our receivers, you canít tackle them, you canít touch them. You try to keep them up, you try to keep them safe, each and every player. At that time, when they run crossing routes or any type of things and Iím coming downhill on themÖ I tell whatever quarterback thatís throwing the ball to them, ďhe put you in a bad situation right there.Ē
Q: Is there a special message when itís WR Odell Beckham Jr. or is it just understood?
A: Itís understood. Odell just looks at me, gives me a head nod, and I give him a head nod back.
Q: Has it sunk in that you became a First-Team All-Pro in your second season? Is it something you think about daily during practice?
A: It sunk in, definitely, but no. Do I think about it during practice? No, I think about getting better and competing, and working on myself and my teammates, just getting better each and every day as a leader and as a competitor.
Q: In year three, do you have any different goals?
A: I just have to work on stuff each and every day, have to go each and every day, build myself as a character, as a leader, working on my technique, working on my reading skills and getting into great pedal just to stop those long balls and try to make more plays. Each and every day, I have a different goal.
Q: It seemed like CB Eli Apple broke that Odell rule today. He was physical with one pass on the sideline.
A: Yeah, you have to give Odell a little competition. Heís one of the best in the league, so each and every down, each and every cornerback is going to give him competition because we want him to be the best player he can be each and every down. Because heís going to be against the number one corner each team we play against, so weíre going to put our number one corner, heís going to get our three number one corners. Weíre going to put each one against him so heís going to have to be great each down every time.
Q: Have you seen a jump from Eli Apple?
A: Tremendously. Just the way he brings his knowledge to the game now that he understands and he sees it faster. Heís two steps before the play goes and heís understanding. Heís not having his hands up, and thatís the best part. Heís looking in and heís contributing.
Q: How does going up against Odell and WR Brandon Marshall help Eli Apple develop as a young player?
A: Because one is physical and one is agile. He has to play against both, and in this league, you never know what kind of receiver youíre going to get and each and every play is different. With Brandon, he gets a little physical Ė Brandonís a little swift at the same time. With Odell, he gets physical, but at the same time, heís more agile than anything.
Q: Is this or could it the best defense in the league?
A: Could it be? Yes. Itís not the best yet. Definitely could be, but we have to work to get better each and every day. We have a good offense we are working against, so each and every day, weíre trying to get better.
Q: With S Darian Thompson being back, does it feel the same as last year at this time?
A: This time last year, it was different, but now it feels much better because he already knows the defense so itís basically just stepping in and getting his feet wet. Itís getting there.
Q: Are you faster this year?
A: Faster? I donít know. I have to check the GPS. Iíve been fast. Check my records back in the day, Iíve been blazing. Iíll just say Iíve been fast.
Q: Is there a certain area that youíre trying to improve? How do you go about getting better?
A: I go back at the film and I look at key times I messed up or if I couldíve been better or a step faster. Just like yesterday, I broke up a route on Odell. That same concept is in the NFL that we have on teams going against us. And that step faster could be an interception. Things like that, I want to be able to recognize my route concepts. Thatís the biggest thing Iím working on.
Q: Do you think teams are going to start to game plan more on you?
A: I donít know what theyíre going to do. You have JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul), OV (Olivier Vernon), me, DRC (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie), Eli Apple , ďJackrabbitĒ (Janoris Jenkins), you have a couple guys you have to game plan against. Weíll see who they pick on.
Q: Do you think it will be different now that youíre not coming off the radar?
A: If they see me in the box, they are going to do more checks, and thatís where the game plan is going to be at from that point on. But other than that, if I play in the back, they have to play their offense. They canít really just count on me if Iím coming down and stuff like that.
Q: How do you and Darian Thompson complement each other?
A: We donít make any mistakes. Thatís the biggest thing; we complement each other in that area. If Iím calling something wrong, he corrects it. Everybody looks at me like Iím that guy, but heís my right-hand man. If I mess up, he got me. If he messes up, I got him. The only time we mess up is if we both mess up, if we make the wrong call. At the same time, weíre always on the same page. When weíre in the film room, weíre sitting right next to each other. If I have a question, he has an answer for me. If he has a question for me, and we have a different reason about how we should go about things, weíre always on the same page. Itís big, that bond right there.
Q: How surprised were you that they (the coaching staff) threw him right in there?
A: I wasnít surprised at all. I expected it. I expected him to be thrown right in like that, because that was his rightful place when he started, when we started the first game. It was his rightful place to be thrown in there because he had to get the experience and have to be with the first team because heís expected to play, so thatís big.
Q: How do you view his skill set?
A: Heís smart, very quick, and heís instinctive.