Safety Xavier McKinney
Q: What do you make individually – I know teamwise it wasn't what you wanted – but individually of your second year do you feel like you've solidified yourself as a rising star in this league?
A: No, I don't. I think I've got a lot more that I want to get accomplished. There was some stuff that was going on earlier in the season, but I've still got a lot more to prove and I know that. Going into next year, it'll be good to work on those things and get back to it.
Q: There were some things going on early in the season? Do you want to share on what you mean by that?
A: I wasn't getting as many reps and stuff, so just being out there more on the field and getting that chemistry with the guys. Earlier in the season I wasn't getting as much, so I feel like it kind of hindered it slightly. When I got out there, I made the plays, I still missed a lot that I could have made, and I know that. Just go back to work and when opportunities present themselves next time that I get them done.
Q: In a player's shoes this weekend, does it feel like you're playing to save your coaches job like your head coach, your assistant coaches? Does that come into a players' mind as extra motivation, we have to play to help out our coaches, because you know that there's a lot of speculation about what is going on here after the season?
A: We're trying to win games. I think that's the main goal. Nobody is trying to get anybody fired, nobody is trying to help anybody keep a job. We're all just trying to win games at the end of the day. I think as players and as coaches, we know that, the coaches, they know that. We just try to go out there and do our jobs and be able to come out victorious at the end of it.
Q: What has (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator) Patrick Graham meant to your development as a player this year? We know that he had interviewed for some head coaching jobs last year. Do you see him maybe someday becoming a head coach?
A: I do, I do. I'm hopeful that he comes back. Obviously, this is my second year having him as the DC and I like what he's building with us as a defensive unit. I like what he preaches and like I said, I hope he comes back, we want him to come back so we can keep building. Obviously, the year didn't go how we wanted it to go this year or last year, but I think small steps and it takes time, but I think we'll get there to that dominant defense that we want to have.
Q: As far as you having a breakout year, what has he meant to your career so far in the NFL?
A: Yeah, he's been a big help for me. We make sure I do the little things from just having any side meetings, just trying to help me more as far as my development. Just seeing different things, asking him what he sees, he's telling me what he sees and what he thinks I can do in certain situations. I definitely think that he's been a big help to my development as a player this year.