LB Blake Martinez
December 10, 2020
Q: How does your back feel? Do you feel like you can be ready for Sunday after whatever you were able to do today?
A: Don’t want to talk too much about injuries and things like that. Just working every day to keep getting better and better to keep getting ready for Sunday.
Q: Secondly, Kyler Murray, the Cardinals really force you to defend horizontally, like sideline to sideline. How critical, you’re an important player for your defense every week, but how important are you in that middle linebacker position against this type of offense? To be able to cover that ground and contain a player like him.
A: Any type of mobile player, especially him, he’s dynamic, he’s extremely fast, quick. Like you said, he can cover the whole width of the field extremely fast. I think at the end of the day, it all comes down to everybody on the field though. I don’t think you can kind of put it as one person being a key point for us. I think it’s going to come down to every single person covering their part of the field, doing their one eleventh and making sure we contain him as much as you can. Obviously, he’s going to make plays. But when you get that opportunity, you make those plays as well.
Q: What happened on Sunday? What was it like actually coming out of the game? Logan (Ryan) told us he has the headset when you go out, he’s sort of like the backup quarterback. How rare is that for a safety to be that guy, to be the backup guy?
A: I don’t know too much. I’ve always had the dot since I’ve been in the league, so I’ve never had a situation that I’ve had to think what other guy would take over the job. But just knowing him, I think that was an easy kind of understanding, knowing that he’d be the guy to kind of take over after that happened to me. There would be no other person I’d trust more than Logan out there obviously taking over that role.
Q: What was it like coming out of the game, having to leave that game? Was it a specific play or was it something that was bothering you all along?
A: It just kind of happened. It was a crappy situation. There haven’t really been many points in my career that I’ve been one, out of the game, and if I did go out, I wouldn’t be out too long. It was definitely different for me. I’m just working to get back and get ready to go for Sunday.
Q: This defense has been playing at a pretty high level, especially the last four weeks, the last four wins. You’ve been on defenses that have gone into the playoffs, deep into the playoffs. Does this feel like a defense that can carry a team to a championship?
A: I don’t really focus too much or worry about that as the main point. For us as a defense, we know what we’re capable of. I think we’ve gotten better each and every week, and I think we’re starting to show the type of team we can be and the type of consistency that we can have out there. I know when we can do that, we can go against any team, whether it’s a playoff team or a non-playoff team. That’s kind of the main focus, at least for me, moving forward. I think we’re moving in the right direction.
Q: Was Sunday’s performance a big statement in that regard?
A: Definitely. I think you go into those games, I think
every game in general but definitely that one going against a really great offense, a really great, dynamic quarterback, to be able to do what we did, it just shows that classic coach thing where it’s like ‘hey, you guys messed up because you showed you can do it, so now we need to go and do it every week.’ That’s kind of a thing that we hold ourselves to a high standard of, is getting to that consistency and that winning nature as a team and as a defense.
Q: You guys said that when you were 0-5 and 1-7, you believed. So, did you need a performance against a team like Seattle to really change the feeling at all after that game?
A: No, I think it just solidified the fact of what we knew about ourselves. It was that constant thing from the beginning of the season to know where any point of the season, you were like ‘we shot ourselves in the foot’ or ‘we messed up here, did this here’ that didn’t allow us to close out those games in those critical situations. Now you’re starting to see those situations go in our favor because we’re making those corrections, doing the things necessary to win those downs.
Q: With regard to Pat Graham, we talked to a lot of the players about how cerebral he is and how prepared he is and whatnot. What is he like behind closed doors? It’s a little bit different than the Ivy League vibe that we might get on these Zoom calls when we’re chatting with him. Can you talk a little bit about his passion and what you see behind closed doors?
A: He’s always that intelligent guy. I mess with him a lot because we go back and forth. He says Stanford is a safety school, which I beg to differ. I think Yale is the safety school. We go back and forth. He has that kind of humor to him. He uses that wittiness to always have some type of comeback to somebody. I think that’s that kind of other side to him where he takes a step back from the X’s and O’s, and kind of has fun with guys. Yeah, he’s just an awesome guy. He’s able to adapt. He’s young, young enough to be able to relate to us. It’s just been awesome to kind of see him not as my position coach, which I had him before, but also to flourish as a defensive coordinator around everybody.
Q: Can he kind of get after guys a little bit too sometimes? Have you been a part of that and seen that?
A: Oh yeah. He’s a guy that’s straight to the point, whether it’s, alright you know when it’s time to have fun, you know when it’s time to be serious, and you definitely know when you messed up. That’s something that he’s always been a big kind of advocate towards, that you’re going understand why you messed up, he’s going to make it known. But he’s also going to teach you how to not mess up the next time.
Q: You’re playing at a high level, Logan’s playing at a high level, (James) Bradberry is playing at a high level, Graham Gano is playing at a high level. All these free agents seem to have come in here and really hit for the Giants. You’ve been in the league a long time; you know that’s not always the case. Sometimes free agents struggle. Why do you think you guys have come in here and hit the mark right away as first year Giants? How responsible is that for where the team is?
A: I think there are a lot of components to that. I think to start with, just the guys in the locker room. Every single person, whether it’s myself, Logan, Bradberry, Gano, all guys that you can think of that are in the locker room right now playing great ball. They make you want to be better every day. If you have that person pushing you to be at a higher level than you were yesterday, you’re just going to keep getting better. Then the coaches on the same aspect. No matter what you’re doing, whether it’s during warmups or individual drills, team period, whatever it ends up being, they’re going to point things out that you’re doing well. But also point things out that you can improve on. They’re never going to let it slide no matter if you are playing at a high level or not. I think that’s also what has allowed each and every one of us to continue that consistency, and like you said, perform at that high playing level throughout the season.