OLB Kyler Fackrell
August 26, 2020
Q: What was it like being in the stadium there? Kind of an empty stadium, that’s something you’re going to have to get used to I guess for most of this season.
A: We’ve done some walkthroughs out there. I think it’s going to be a really good experience on Friday to do the scrimmage in the stadium and just kind of get the feel for that. But yeah, it’s exciting. It’s exciting to get back into the stadium and I’m looking forward to getting the first game going.
Q: When you’re playing in an empty stadium as a defender, can you hear the calls and the plays and things like that from the offense? Do you envision that once the regular season comes and you’re playing in these empty stadiums, that could be an advantage?
A: Yeah, I think it’ll go both ways because sometimes the defense gives calls that may tip things off as well. But yeah, I think that’s definitely something that we’re going to have to adjust to, the whole league is going to have to adjust to, as far as doing more hand signals or just doing whatever you can in the huddle beforehand to kind of communicate it so that you don’t give anything away.
Q: I know you were with Patrick Graham in Green Bay. Was he actually your position coach or was he more with the inside guys there?
A: He was the inside (linebacker) position coach.
Q: Ok, so what you’re doing here, is there much carryover from what you did there or is it kind of different?
A: It’s similar in a lot of ways, especially they’re both 3-4 schemes. But I think it’s kind of similar to the Patriots scheme, which is a little bit of what Pat has done before. On third downs and in those rush situations, there’s a little bit more creativity I would say with Pat’s defense.
Q: You obviously come in here with Blake Martinez. Do you see him kind of already stepping into a little bit of a leadership role with this defense?
A: Yeah, definitely. Especially because the whole team really, but definitely the defense, is very, very young. He’s done a great job of kind of stepping up and filling that role. That’s kind of the role of the Mike linebacker anyways. Yeah, he’s done well with that.
Q: This is a pass rush group with a lot of young guys. What have you seen out of guys like Oshane (Ximines) and Lorenzo Carter and Carter Coughlin? What have you seen out of those guys since you got here?
A: A lot of talent, honestly. A lot of raw ability. I think we’ve been working, we’ve been getting a lot better in the one on ones and everything. That work has been great. We were watching some clips from last year with pressures and stuff. As a rookie, X produced. I think he had four, four and a half sacks, which is awesome for a rookie. The same kind of thing with Zo. He’s going into his third year. I think it’ll be… It’s a fun room, it’s a fun group to be a part of. The mixture of us as outside linebackers as well as all the talent in the interior d-line. I think third down is going to be a fun down.
Q: Because you guys don’t have a preseason, you’re really not going to be able to sack a quarterback until the regular season. How much are you itching to have that chance to tackle a quarterback to the ground?
A: It’s always annoying in practice and stuff, you’re not able to totally finish your rushes. The offense always plays that game of ‘Would you have been there?’ whatever. But we’re excited. We’re excited to be able to actually play, as much as we’ve been getting a lot better going against each other. It is weird to not have preseason games. It’s weird to not be able to get that really full speed feel before we’re going to be playing the games that count. But I think, again, this scrimmage is going to be a huge thing. It’s going to be as live as we’re going to get before Pittsburgh. Yeah, we’re itching to get after the quarterback for sure.
Q: To kind of piggy back on that last question, in the scrimmage last Friday, it really didn’t look like there was a whole lot of pass rush. Is it really hard to judge what the pass rush really is when you have to pull up?
A: Yeah. I think sometimes it’s clear that you would have been there. But definitely, especially when you’re kind of bending that edge and you’re trying to stay outside of three yards of the quarterback. You’re not able to finish that rush. Yeah, it’s hard. It’s obviously what we have to do. We’re not complaining. We want to keep the quarterbacks safe for sure. We do other drills to kind of simulate it, strip sacks and stuff like that, reaching the arm out and all those things, to try to simulate that as well.
Q: Sometimes it looks like some of the pass rushes are based on you guys timing them, timing them off the snap and you’re going full speed. You can’t go full speed because if you do, you run the risk of colliding with the quarterbacks. I’m just kind of wondering how you’ve been adjusting to that so you’re not getting into those penalty situations?
A: Especially when we run games, it’s definitely timing, steps, a lot of eye control, and being able to get to the back of the tackle if you’re running a pit game or whatever it might be. I think that’s where it’s hardest, is when we’re kind of running those games to where we really need to finish hard and we kind of have to pull off because we don’t want to run straight through the pocket and there’s not a lot of room to move when we run those kinds of games. But again, we’re able to do that. We’re able to go full go in one on ones, which is good. We do two on twos as well, so we’re able to work the games where there’s not an actual quarterback. We just have another offensive lineman back there as a reference point. I think the one on ones is really I guess the only place where we can really finish the rushes the way we want to.