LB Markus Golden
October 15, 2020
Q: Obviously we saw you play a lot last week and you’re going to play a lot going forward here with Lorenzo and X-man out. What were your emotions a couple weeks ago when we weren’t talking to you? You’re playing seven, ten, twelve snaps a game after being a guy who has had 10-sack seasons in this league. Were you frustrated?
A: No, not frustrated at all. I’ve been in the league for awhile, so I know some weeks you can get a lot of plays, other weeks you can’t get lot of plays. My focus every week is the same no matter what. Whether I’m starting, whether I’m backing up. It’s go hard in practice, learn the game plan and prepare like I’m starting. I don’t allow that stuff to get me frustrated. I just try to focus and take it one day at a time and be ready when my name is called.
Q: Why do you think it wasn’t getting called? Was it because as a free agent you weren’t in the zoom meetings in the spring? Did you have a harder time playing catch up in the summer than we realized? Why do you think it wasn’t getting called earlier?
A: Football is football. You have to be able to prepare and learn the plays and everything. That’s what I focused on, making sure I learned everything and stayed focus. Like I said, it just goes back to the same thing I said. Some weeks, you get your number called a lot and some weeks you don’t get called up that much. That’s really what was going on. I just make sure I do my part and work hard no matter what, not matter what’s going on. Just work hard, grind and be ready when my name is called.
Q: I’m curious what you would have thought if I said to you in mid-March if I had said that you would be back here. You would be starting again, it would be a totally different defense, but you would be playing 90 percent of the snaps again.
A: I probably wouldn’t have believed you. That’s just how I am anyway. You have to understand, I have been through free agency. I have been playing this game my whole life. It usually never works out how you think it’s going to work out in your head, that’s just me being honest. I keep my head ready for whatever, anything can happen. I honestly know that anything can happen when you’re playing football. That’s the mindset. I try not to take anything personal and be about business. Making sure I’m preparing and doing my job. At the end of the day, the only thing I want for the team is really to win. That’s all I want. Whether I get one play or whether I get 100 plays, I want to get a win at the end of the day. That’s truly what I’m about, and I’m always going to be like that no matter what.
Q: This is obviously a way different scheme, right? They ask something different from their linebackers in general here than probably they did the past couple of years. Have they asked you to do a lot different? I know you were in a pass rush role originally, but do you expect to be asked to do different things than maybe you have ever done?
A: No, I have really been playing linebacker my whole life. I have been playing linebacker since I have been in this league. I have dropped, I have rushed the passer, I have done it all. I try to make sure I stay prepared and work on everything. Like I said, whatever the coaches ask me to do, I will be prepared and ready to do it. I’m going to always work my best to be able to prepare and be able to do whatever the coaches ask me to do. On top of that, like I said, whatever I have to do to win, to win the game, to help my team win.
Q: Every week obviously it’s a different opponent, the opponent presents different challenges. I know you say football is football. Are you finding more so this year, you have to kind of change up what you were doing as opposed to what you were doing last year? To the naked eye, it seemed like you were in that hunter role and did it so well.
A: I understand that part. You have different schemes, you have teams that do different things. Each week you’re asked to do different stuff. That’s how it’s been for me since I have been in the league. You might see me rushing a lot since I am able to get after the passer. That might make people think that’s all I do is rush the passer. I’ve played Sam linebacker since I have been in the league. I did a lot of dropping, a lot of different things in the NFL. That’s what I go by. Like you said, there’s a lot of different roles that you have to play. It goes back to what I said, football is still football to me, no matter what. It might be a little different with coverage and everything. Once you lock in and understand what you have to do, football is still football at the end of the day.
Q: Are there different techniques that you’re asked to play? I know you say football is football, you’ve been playing linebacker all your life. Do different coaches ask you to maybe tweak the techniques you are using to be more effective in the schemes that they’re calling?
A: Of course. Maybe in one defense you have to get off the edge real quick and get down the line if the tackle blocks down. In another defense, you might have to get across the line and be a little more patient and wait for the guy to come to you instead of trying to run through him. It switches up the tempo as far as being more patient and relaxing a little bit instead of running with your hair on fire, see ball-get ball type of defensive scheme. Yeah, it’s different. Like I always say, once you put it in your head and learn what you have to do, it takes you back to football is football. I feel like as long as you know what to do and you know your job, you can go ahead with the mindset of football is football. That’s how I’m going to keep it forever. I’m going to always learn what I have to do and go back to football is football.
Q: You are coming off a 10-sack season, and in only 124 snaps this year, you have 10 pressures, which is leading the team. What makes you such a good pass rusher?
A: Rushing the passer is a team role. The guys in the middle are working real hard this year. They got way better. You have (Kyler) Fack(rell) working hard, you have Zo (Carter), when Zo was in there, he was working hard. It’s a team role. Then after that, in my mind, I’m going to always want to go get after the quarterback and make some plays for my team and try to get a sack or two. Just try to make plays in general to help the team win. I would really say just my mindset of wanting to compete, wanting to get out there and get after the quarterback. Of course, studying film during the week and knowing what I have to do. Coaches putting together a good game plan and making sure I learn and have everything down pat as far as the game plan. After that, it’s that hunt mentality. You have to be able to hunt. At the end of the day, you have to be able to put your ears back and hunt. Just getting out there, using technique and getting after it with my teammates.
Q: Coach (Patrick) Graham was talking about the look you have when you’re going to play. He said you kind of look through a person’s soul. Do you feel a change in your own attitude when you know you’re going to be on the field as opposed to previous weeks when maybe you were just kind of hoping for it?
A: Like I said, I prepare every week no matter what because you never know what could happen in this league. You have to be prepared. I never want to be somebody that goes to a game, ‘Oh, I might not play this week.’ Then all of a sudden, I have to play and I’m not ready, I don’t know what’s going on out there. I’ve been the same I’ve been since I got here last year. Just locking in and being overly focused on my job I have to do, because at the end of the day, yeah this is a game and everything, but this is my job. I’m expected to know what I have to do on the field, and like I said, I have to be able to do my job to help this team win. I would say my mindset is the same whether I feel like I’m not playing or I feel like I’m going to get a lot of plays. I’m going to come out ready and prepared. I know my family is watching, so I have to be ready to play at a high level for my family.
Q: Was it hard not to feel like the team was jerking you around a little bit with the contract stuff, and then they go through all of those machinations to kind of bring you in and then they’re not using you right away? Was it hard to get past that?
A: No. No, it wasn’t hard because like I said, I try not to take stuff personally. I’ve been like that for a long time, a long time. Don’t take it personally. Come in, work hard every day no matter what. Make sure that I’m being the same person no matter what, and that’s what I focus on the most. Make sure I’m being myself. If I’m worried about other stuff and not working as hard as I can because of other stuff that’s going on, then I’m not being myself. At the end of the day, I want to be able to come here and be as best of a teammate as I can be for my teammates and do whatever I can do to help this team win. That’s just how I am and that’s just how I’ll always be.