LB Kareem Martin
Media Availability, April 25, 2018
Q: How helpful is it that you will be playing in the same defense, even though it is a new team?
A: Itís been really helpful, especially in the transition. Coming from the West Coast to East, it can be really tough. Especially trading teams, not really knowing anyone. But having Coach Betch [Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher] here and having this defense, it takes a lot of pressure off myself, to having to learn people and learning a defense. So, I think itís been really helpful for myself and I think itíll be beneficial for the defense, me being a guy that they can lean on when they have questions about the defense or any of the schemes, Iím comfortable with answering any questions.
Q: Did you not know anyone when you got here?
A: No, I know a couple of guys. You got [defensive end Josh] Mauro, who I played with in Arizona. Iím meeting the guys here in the locker room, a couple guys trained back in Arizona, I trained at the same facility. But for the majority, I didnít know much other guys.
Q: Give me a description of James Bettcherís defense.
A: Itís a fun defense. Weíre an attacking, heavy pressure team. We keep teams guessing. Make a lot of checks and we keep a lot of teams on their toes, we disguise a lot of things. It gets guys energized. You never know whoís coming, whoís dropping. I think that adds to it, to the success that weíve had the past couple of years in Arizona. And we look to bring that here.†
Q: Is it the same defense you played in Arizona, or is it tailored to the players you have here?
A: No, its pretty much the same defense for the most part, yes.
Q: How much were you asked to cover as an outside linebacker last year?
A: It would depend on game-to-game, game plan. If we felt like it was a game where we needed more coverage guys, we would do that. But for the most part, itís just a piece of the title. Like I said, this is an attacking defense, so he wants us attacking as outside linebackers. So, itís part of the job title, but itís not necessarily the main part.
Q: So, you rushed the passer more than you covered?
A: Correct, yes.
Q: Did defensive end Olivier Vernon reach out to you at all during the offseason, or pick your brain about what the job entails?
A: Weíve talked once we got into phase one a couple weeks ago. And since weíve been on the field, Iíve been talking with him if he had questions, or things like that. But heís a fast learner, heís been picking things up. Kind of trying to learn a little bit of everything from both positions. But Iím here to lean on, for all the guys.
Q: Do you see the personnel here meeting with what Bettcher wants to do on defense, or do you think there is more work to do in the draft to add pieces?
A: No, I think what we have here will work great with this defense. Weíve got guys like Snacks [defensive tackle Damon Harrison] and like you said, [safety] Landon [Collins]. Those guys are phenomenal players and they can fit this scheme. Like I said, weíre attacking, and those two guys have the ability to do that. So, I think theyíll be really successful in this scheme.
Q: James Bettcher said he has never seen a player improve as much as you. What has that taken and do you still have a way to climb?
A: Sure, you always can get better. The moment you stop getting better, thatís when itís over for you. But for me, itís just been a lot of focusing and I realized that the more you can learn something, as far as the defense goes, the faster you can play and worry about technique. A lot of guys get slowed down when they canít learn a playbook. So for me, coming in, it was like, alright, letís get this playbook down like itís the back of my hand so that I can focus on my techniques and to do different things. So, I think thatís probably the biggest piece of my improvement.
Q: How did you pick your number 96?
A: Well, I was hand in the dirt in college and my first year in Arizona, I had my hand in the dirt. And once I had it in my rookie year, it was like, why change it now just because Iím standing up? Pretty much a glorified defensive end anyway. Just a few drops in there.