OL Will Hernandez
September 18, 2020
Q: What would you say was the primary emotion in the offensive line room after Monday’s game? Was it anger, frustration? Andrew Thomas was telling us coach was pretty honest with you guys and that he called you out a little bit for the run game.
A: Yeah, of course. Anybody who put that on tape deserves to be called out. We definitely learned from it. We had an attitude of we’re going to practice hard and we’re going to show it the next opportunity we get, which is this Sunday.
Q: I had a question regarding the communication at the different levels of offensive line play. Obviously, you have three new guys. You’ve got a center to one side, a new tackle to your other side. Has the communication become any different when you are blocking at the point of attack versus at that second level? Do you think that might have been some of the reason why there were some issues between you guys?
A: We’ve got five guys on the offensive line that all are capable, all are willing to make the calls and have the calls down. Everybody has it down. It’s just a matter of coming out, going out and doing your job. Everybody doing it, not only doing your job but doing it at a high level. That’s something that we all need to step up for sure, including myself, starting with me. Go out there and just be in sync.
Q: What about in terms of you technique, I know you are very self-critical. You are always looking to get better. Did you feel that your technique was consistent throughout this game?
A: Any time you come out, there’s always going to be good and bad and good. I think that it can always get more consistent. I’m talking about for me and everybody on the team specifically. Everybody can get better at something. The perfect game doesn’t exist, so the answer to that is yes, it can definitely be more consistent.
Q: What are the challenges with working with a new center? Nick Gates really hasn’t played center much in his career at all. Are there ways that you can help him with calls and stuff like that? I’m just curious how that goes during the game.
A: Nick’s awesome, man. Talk about somebody that can do it all from tackle to guard to center. He’s definitely a guy that was put in there for a reason. He’s not there to see if he can do it, but because he can do it, he’s there. He definitely knows how to direct a huddle. Helps us out, helps the tackles out. He definitely takes charge. He handles the huddle and the play calling very well.
Q: Was there a lot of calls at the line of scrimmage that you had. I know the Steelers like to bring a lot of different looks and bring guys from different areas. What was that like during the game?
A: Every game you have a lot of calls and every play you’re making calls. Yes, there is a lot of calls that are made, they were made right. They were made properly when they needed to be. Now, it’s all a matter of executing them and executing them more consistently That’s exactly what we’re going to do this Sunday.
Q: Saquon has taken a lot of heat publicly this week. What do you make of that? The fact that he’s coming off that game and catching a lot of public heat.
A: Everybody is always going to have something to say. I’m not worried about Saquon because he’s mentally tough. He doesn’t let that kind of stuff get to him. This isn’t exactly the first time he’s gotten heat. I’m not worried about Saquon. He’s mentally focused, he’s mentally tough. All I know is he is going to use it as motivation and it’s just going to help him in his game. So bring it on.
Q: Coach talks a lot about making a big jump from week 1 to week 2. A lot of coaches talk about that, too. What have you seen this week that makes you optimistic that that’s actually going to happen?
A: Just the attitude in everybody’s eyes, the look in everybody’s eyes during practice every day. The past three practices that we’ve had since our last game, it differs in energy. Guys coming out there doing specifically what they need to do. Paying attention to the smallest details. Coming out with all this energy, coming out with all this purpose. All that’s going to happen is you practice how you play and what we’re going to do is we’re going to carry it over to Sunday, that’s it.
Q: Do you think those attitudes came from Monday Night’s performance? Was there a little embarrassment from what happened?
A: You’re always motivated by a loss, nobody likes to lose. Not only that, but we’re already motivated as it is. You get something like that that happens, of course we’re going to come out with even more of a chip on our shoulder. That’s not us, that’s not what we want to do, that’s not what we want to put out there. Of course, it motivated us and we’re more motivated than ever now.
Q: There is some degree of credit where credit is due. I don’t know if you will face a better front seven all year than the Steelers, Bears, and next week the 49ers. Do you like that? The idea that you face the very best from the start? Is it better for an offensive line that’s new to playing together to be eased into the situation?
A: Give us the best, give us the best. We want to play against the best, we want to be challenged. We didn’t come out here to pick and choose our teams. We want to play the best guys. Go out there, match up and kill it as an offensive line all together. We’re not ducking from anybody. We’re not watching who we’re playing this week and not next week. Bring it on, whoever it is, it doesn’t matter.