Safety Xavier McKinney
Q: What did you take away yesterday with the Jets?
A: I thought it was a good practice. I thought we competed well, I thought we executed well. I don't know how the offense did, but defensively I thought we did well. We had some little hiccups here and there but overall, I thought it was a good day for us.
Q: How ready do you think you guys are for the season and what do you think you need to do to get there?
A: I think we're ready. I think we've done a great job of getting prepared, making sure that we're conditioned, tightening up the little things as far as plays and things like that. I think the coaches have done a great job with us, of helping us get prepared and be ready for the season. So now, obviously we've got another game, so play that game and then onto the regular season.
Q: You expect to play in that game?
A: Yeah, I expect to play every game. We all do. I approach it in that way, in that mindset, just how we have the last two preseason games.
Q: What do you and your film prep and everything else for Week 1, how much do you wait? How hard is it to wait? Or have you already began digging in?
A: Oh yeah, I already began before we got here. I was already preparing for that Week 1 game before we started OTA's and everything. I was just kind of looking up some small things, but definitely exciting. We've all been getting prepared and ready for that Week 1.
Q: Why start so early?
A: Just to get a head start. To see the little things, like who the (Offensive Coordinator) OC is, what his background is, things like that. Obviously, you don't have too much information that early, but I found out as much as I could, I found some good stuff. Some stuff we will see if it holds true or not, but I found some good things. That's the reason for starting early, just to kind of get a head start on it.
Q: What's it like having (Wide Receiver Sterling) Shepard back?
A: It feels great. When he got hurt and I talked to him, I told him how much I looked up to him, how much he meant to us as a team, how much he meant to me as a leader on this team. It was great to have him back. His energy is like no other. He brings a great energy, a great spirit every day. He's just one of those guys you just love to be around, so definitely good to see him back out there moving like himself.
Q: What have you seen from guys like (Safety) Trenton (Thompson) or (Safety Yusuf) Corker or (Cornerback) Nate (Meadors)?
A: Yeah, they work hard. Those guys have come in each and every day just trying to get better, just trying to learn and we're learning with them. I think that's the good thing about all of us being pretty young, we're still all learning. We can feed off each other, we can help each other in different areas. They've done a great job of just coming in and helping a lot. Obviously, they went through a little learning curve or whatever, but they've done a great job just going out there and playing. In the film room, helping us out, bringing in those rookie snacks and stuff like that (laughs). They've been doing great though.
Q: Regarding Shep, how much do you guys look at him as the 'old head'? He has been here longer than everybody but he's not really that old.
A: Like I said, he's a true leader and that's how we see it. He's one of those guys that gets our team going. He's one of those guys that gets our offense going. Like I said before, we know how much he means to us as a leader and as a player. We don't really look at him as an old head because like you said, he's not super old, but he's one of our leaders.
Q: What kind of expectations or goals do you have for yourself for this season?
A: Just to play well, execute, and be able to help my team in any way that I can. Whether that's coming in here with a great amount of energy, whether that's helping the young guys, wherever I can help the team and whatever I'm being asked, that's pretty much my goals for the season. My personal stuff, I don't like to get too much into it or let that be public, but that's how I feel just for my team stuff.
Q: You're a young guy but have a leadership role already, what is that like for you to be so young but also know you have a lot on your plate?
A: I don't consider it a lot on my plate, it's things that I'm used to. It's things that I've done before. So, I don't see it as a lot, I see it as just things that I've already done before that I have to do again. I don't see it as a lot, it's obviously an honor to be in this position that I'm in and I expect to seize the opportunity and take full advantage of it.
Q: You're not really used to losing in your football career, right?
Q: How have you mentally processed what happened last year and how impatient are you to kind of turn it?
A: Pretty impatient. I try not to think too much about it because it's a new year and obviously we've got to focus on what's here. We had to go through those rough times, and we went through all of that losing. For me, I'm ready to get back out there, I'm ready to win games but I think that starts with the stuff we do out here in practice, the stuff that you guys see. It starts with the things that we do in the film room, it starts with what we do in the weight room. All the little things matter. That's what I've noticed, that's what it's always been. That's the difference between winning and losing – the little things. I think we've done a great job of taking care of that and I think the rest will take care of itself.
Q: The way that you have the green dot and we see you breaking down the team, has that always been you or did you have to come out of shell to be that vocal?
A: I've always been that way. I was that way at (University of Alabama) 'Bama and this is just who I am. That's why I say, it's not like heavy on my shoulders or too much on my plate. It's not a big deal to me because I'm used to doing it.