DL Dexter Lawrence
September 17, 2020
Q: Were you pleased with the defense’s energy, effort and stamina? It did seem like towards the end of the game, maybe you guys weren’t as effective up front as you had been at the beginning? But it did seem like you created a lot of pressure early and gave Ben (Roethlisberger) some problems?
A: Obviously, we didn’t win the game. We all feel like we could have done more, but it was promising to see that we didn’t quit, we didn’t give up or anything like that. It obviously was tough, but the morale is still here. It’s one game. We just have to move on from there and get better from there.
Q: Long practice today? You looked gassed.
A: No, I just finished with a little lift.
Q: What’s more satisfying for you, to get a sack or to make a play on a screen pass like you did the other night?
A: They’re all big plays. I like making big plays. Honestly, probably the screen because I looked a little more athletic right there. But in the long run, I just try to do things to help the team win.
Q: Take me through what happened on the screen there in your head. Obivously, I think Leonard (Williams) was talking about this, there was probably a split second where you realized, ‘I got in, this is great, but it was too easy.’ What was going through your mind?
A: With screens, you’re rushing and no one’s touching you. I said ‘that’s not right,’ and I saw the running back trying to slip by my face, so I just redirected. I was trying to make a play on the ball, but I ended up grabbing his jersey.
Q: We were talking to Leonard yesterday. He said you’re like his fifth or sixth best friend on the team.
A: That far back?
Q: No, he said you were his best friend, I’m teasing. That’s nice, but does that translate to anything on the field when you guys are out there together?
A: It definitely does. Just the silent communication we can have, don’t give the offensive line any tips, little things like that. Just eye contact or just the feeling that if I overcommit to a move, he can make up for it or something like that. That’s kind of with everybody on the D-line, honestly. We’re all filling that gap. If somebody messes up, the next person is there to kind of make the play or help out in a sense.
Q: How did you and Leonard hit it off right away?
A: Funny story. I used to watch him when I was in high school and he was in college. I tell him that all the time. He doesn’t like when I say that. I kind of joke about that a little bit. But honestly, I respect him as a person, who he is, and the kind of energy he brings to the D-line room.
Q: You played like a little under 50 percent, maybe it was 46 or 48 percent of the snaps. How much more do you think you can handle? What did you feel like after the game? Do you think that’s going to go up as the season goes along and that’s because it was Week 1, or do you think that’s kind of going to be your role?
A: Honestly, the rotation, the coaches did a good job of keeping us fresh, moving us in and out. We were still able to get a feel for the game, make plays and be fresh at the same time. This week, I’m feeling good for Week 2. Everybody didn’t get as many reps as we did before, but we’re all fresh and feel ready to go and energized. Honestly, it was a good rotation.
Q: Do you feel like you could handle more if they ask you to?
A: Of course. Of course, I’m going to say I can handle more. That’s who I am. I’m a competitor and I like to compete.
Q: The defensive line has a lot of high draft picks, has a lot of high-paid guys, a lot of resources. Your secondary has had a lot of moving pieces, a lot of different guys, Logan (Ryan) is new, Ike Yiadom is new. Do you guys upfront feel a little like you have to carry the load here early in this season for those guys?
A: Our mindset since the end of the season is we were going to dictate the speed of the game, we were going to dictate… we were going to take charge of everything. We can’t make too many sacks or anything if they’re not covering. They can’t cover if we’re not getting pressure pretty much. It all coincides with each other. They obviously are coming to work every day, working hard, trying to get better, and we’re doing the same. But honestly, the D-line, we take on that responsibility to be those guys, to be the people to go get it. That’s just our role and our leadership.
Q: You mentioned you watched Leonard when you were in high school. I’m curious the other night when you guys reviewed the film, did he look like the guy that you remembered?
A: Oh Leonard? Yeah, his celebration was a little nice, but mine was a little better. No, but honestly, he was out there doing his thing, making plays. This year, I feel like he has a lot more confidence and he’s just taking on that role. He came back looking better and feeling better, so it’s all positive.
Q: So, your sack dance is much better than his?
A: Most definitely.