Defensive Lineman Leonard Williams
Q: What's been the mood of the team with the testing situation going on? I know there are a lot false positives. Do you guys kind of hold your breath every time you go into that trailer?
A: I think it's unfortunate that some people have tested positive or false positive or whatever the case may be, but I think we have some experience with the COVID stuff going on. All of last year, we had to get tested every day, we did virtual meetings at times, had no fans – so I think we've dealt with some of these things before. I think because we have experience, we know not to let that be a distraction throughout the week.
Q: Is this a week where you say, 'Man, I'm glad I got that vaccine,' not only to protect yourself, but because it's easier to come back from it if you're a close contact or something like that within the league rules?
A: I've heard you can still catch it with the vaccination obviously, but they say that the symptoms are not as bad. At the same time, everyone has their freedom to do whatever they want to do, whether they get it or not. I guess I am a little more excited that I got it.
Q: Can you take me back to the Panthers game a couple weeks ago and what it was like once you guys started playing well and the crowd got behind you, and they were cheering instead of booing, which they had been for the previous couple of games? Did that feel like a homefield advantage to you? How different is that emotion when that's the reaction from the fans versus what you were experiencing previously?
A: Honestly, I didn't think too much about the fan situation. I was more excited to see the way we started the game and the way we ended the game and everything in between. (Head) Coach (Joe) Judge talks about eyes a lot, and I think I'm pretty similar in that aspect where I'm observant – I'm observant of my teammates and my coaches and I had just seen how throughout that game it felt like we knew we were going to win it. Guys were playing that way, guys were making less mistakes, they were capitalizing on opportunities that were coming their way and we were celebrating together as a team. We just had a lot of infectious energy and contagious energy going on.
Q: Do you think it's coincidence that now if I talk to you about the Chiefs game or the Seahawks game last year that some of the better games for this team have been on the road? Does this team have a road warrior mindset or is it coincidence?
A: Honestly, I haven't looked into it too much to know if it's a road warrior type of mindset or if it's coincidence, but I think we do like stepping up to challenges, whether that's a challenge to us or not being in a road game or not. I think we're definitely the type of team that we want to step up to the plate and step up to a challenge.
Q: Obviously, you guys had a big play last week that was negated by an offsides penalty. Who is that on? Not (Linebacker) Oshane (Ximines) specifically, but is that a player responsibility? Is that a coach responsibility? Who's to blame for penalties like that?
A: I think as a player we always want to point at ourselves if we're going to point out someone to blame. If I jumped offsides, I'm obviously going to look at myself. It's no one else's fault for moving besides my own, but at the same time I think he's going to learn from that situation. We definitely work on situational football and knowing that there could possibly be a hard count in that situation. Obviously, those type of small mistakes get blown up even more as the game gets closer to the end. I even had an offsides earlier in the game that didn't get blown up as much because the defense was allowed to get off the field. His was blown up because it was possibly one of the last plays of the game and it's obviously a bigger situation. It just looks different, and I think as a team and as coaches and as players, we just need to learn and grow from these situations.
Q: If I can just ask sort of a big-picture question, we're about halfway through the schedule. What do you want to see from this team in the second half? What are you looking for?
A: The same thing kind of Coach Judge told us, I think it was against the Rams when we were down pretty bad at halftime, he wanted to see guys keep fighting, no quit. Obviously, I don't want to compare, but similar to last year, I think we had that same type of mindset of not quitting and keep fighting. We ended up being one game away from going to the playoffs. I think if we continue to fight knowing that this is a long season and our best football is ahead of us, this is the time to try to make a run.
Q: I don't know how to properly ask this question, but is it hard to be a football player? You talked about not being distracted by COVID, but you guys have that issue, the Raiders have the issue of (Former Raiders Wide Receiver) Henry Ruggs. Does society kind of get into football too much? How do you keep everything separate?
A: I think it's hard to take society out of football because at the end of the day, we're still humans. We still deal with every day human problems. People have mental disorders, mental health issues. People have family situations going on. They have friend situations going on, whatever you have, and the COVID situation now. Like every human is dealing with in the world, we deal with it as well. I think because we're in the spotlight you see it more. I'm sure there are a lot of situations that have happened to us that happen to everyday people and it's more heightened because we're in the spotlight.