Linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong
August 21, 2018
Q: Where do you see yourself fitting into this defense now?
A: Iím going to do whatever the coaches ask me. For myself personally, I feel like I have a lot athleticism, a lot of versatility. I can play whatever they ask me. Right now, Iím just doing what the coaches ask.
Q: Last year you were the second-leading tackler on the 49ers and they cut you, what kind of effect did that have on you?
A: I wouldnít say it had an effect on me here. Like you said, I was the second leading tackler, I didnít understand why but it is what it is. They made their decision, Iím here now. Iím trying to make the best of my opportunities here.
Q: Did you ever reflect on that?
A: Itís something that will always be in the back of your mind. You thought you were doing well for someone, and then all of the sudden youíre not there anymore. When I came here I had to erase that and put it in the back of my head and keep moving forward.
Q: You came here after a season that was kind of lost, how was that compared to how it is now?
A: Itís a complete 180, everything is different. From top to bottom, the coaches they push everything to you and encourage you. They want you to play with enthusiasm and its contagious, it rubs off on everyone. When we come out here we play with a lot of energy and put the past in the past, we are moving forward trying to be good this year.
Q: Is it a process to go through during your career, when you go from trying to make a team, to finding a role, to eventually being in a position to play a lot of snaps?
A: Iíve always had confidence in myself from the get-go that I can compete at a high level in this league. It just that those were the cards I was dealt, but now being a veteran going into my sixth year, Iím trying to be comfortable with the position. I was coming from safety before I started at the linebacker position, Iím comfortable now. Just keep pushing forward and try to get better as a linebacker overall.
Q: You were a safety at Miami. Were you ever a safety in the NFL
A: No, I played safety in college, but as soon as I got to the league, I played linebacker.
Q: How does that help you in pass coverage?
A: Absolutely, it helps a lot. Playing safety, you have to cover a lot of skill guys, guys with speed who are great in space. Moving to linebacker, you are pretty much just on tight ends and running backs. There are not too many tight ends in the league like Evan Engram, heís pretty much like a glorified receiver, Heís real fast, can catch and do everything as a tight end. There are not many of those out there that can really hurt you.
Q: Now that you have had OTAs and training camp, do you feel this is a better situation for you even though itís a new defense?
A: Absolutely, this was a brand new defense for everyone. We came in here and picked it up at the same tempo. Just like you said, coming in and doing OTAs and getting comfortable with the position, different checks and small technique stuff that you need to perform at a high level, itís a lot better now.
Q: Do you feel comfortable speaking up in the defensive huddle, I know you have a guy in Alec Ogletree who makes the calls?
A: Yeah, no doubt. Just like you said, Ogletree is the leader of the defense, but he canít do it by himself. If I see something that needs to be corrected, Iím going to speak on it, and the same way with them. We all have to accountable and hold each other up to that standard.
Q: Can you walk us through the interception last game?
A: It was a tipped pass. I believe it was the rookie Grant that tipped it. We work on that drill all the time in practice, he tipped it up and if the ball is in the air, it belongs to the Giants. I was trying to make a play on it and try to get it down as far as possible so our offense could punch it in.
Q: Watching your teammate at Miami, Olivier Vernon, make the switch from defensive end to linebacker, have you been able to help him make that transition?
A: Itís been a smooth transition. The position they have him playing, heís not dropping back into coverage too often. He (coach) wants a guy like him going after the passer. The transition wasnít too difficult for him, he picked it up and ran with it. He looks smooth out there when he has to drop back.
Q: You mentioned coverage, thatís something you look comfortable with, do you attribute that to your safety days?
A: I would say me playing safety throughout the years, Iíve always been a skill position guy, Iíve always played safety. On offense in high school, I played quarterback and wide receiver. Growing up playing different positions has helped me out now.