Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale
Martindale: Hey, awesome last night, (Yankee Outfielder) Aaron Judge. Awesome. I think the older you get, the more you really appreciate history and that was great. The coolest thing was watching he and his mom. I'm sure everybody saw that he gave his mom the ball. That was really cool, so congratulations to him. Briefly on Dallas, it was a tale of two halves. You come in at halftime only giving up six points and feeling pretty good about yourself. Then some things got away from us in the run game, as you all know and have noted. All 11 of us have to do better. It's simply put that way and we're going to have a great test this week because an elite running game is coming to town here at MetLife. We have to make sure we're on point every single play because they have two really good backs, and their quarterback is phenomenal with the ball in his hands as well. With that, I'll open it up to questions.
Q: What did go wrong with the run?
A: I wish I could just answer it with one answer, but there's little things here and there that one guy sees it different. The whole time we talk about having a growth mindset defensively. It's little things. Because it's still a new package and everybody's out there, there's different guys that have been playing in different spots that they're learning new things that somebody else who was playing it before already knew what was happening and what to look for. So, it's just one of those things that we know that we're going to appreciate and respect the process of building this defense and we're going to have some good results.
Q: What did you see from (Outside Linebacker) Kayvon (Thibodeaux) or (Outside Linebacker) Azeez (Ojulari) either individually or together? Did you see rust? Did you see any hesitation from their injuiries?
A: I think that for a rookie, there can't be rust. It's just new. He really hasn't practiced that much since the injury. He's done a lot of rehabbing and all that stuff, but he hasn't done a lot of 11 on 11 work, with Kayvon. As you know, and I think Brian (Daboll) noted, they were on a pitch count. Zeez drew two holding calls, so that tells me that he's doing things right. I think it's nowhere to go but up with those two and I'm excited to see it.
Q: How much did you see the explosion with Kayvon or is that something he kind of needs to work back up to as well?
A: I think it's going to continue to get better. I saw it in practice last week, but the week prior when we didn't play him, that's when I think he told you guys he was going to play that week, you didn't see it. I think it's just going to continue to build as he goes.
Q: When you're preparing for an offense like this when you look at the numbers, they make no secret about what they want to do, they want to run the ball. Then on the flip side you say you want to put pressure on them and hope for pass rush opportunities. How do you deal with that going into this weekend schematically for yourself?
A: I think that they're doing a nice job. One of the reasons why they're 2-1 is playing complementary football. They're running the football, trying to control the clock and playing good defense. The biggest thing is, I don't want to say you take away the runs, but you better limit the big runs, the explosive runs. So, that's what we're going to be focused on because there was a lot of runs Monday night where the guys were falling forward for four and five yards. We've got to get better knock back up front and play as a unit, all 11, and make sure we start moving piles backward that way. The passing game, like the Dallas game, I think the average was 2.3 seconds he held the ball. You're not going to get a whole lot of pass rushing when the quarterback's holding onto it. That's what they're doing right now because they know how we attack protections and everything else. I mean, a third and 12 toss, that was one of those plays I was telling you about. Just having some football awareness with the backs in the home position, which he never is on third and 12. We've got to see that and recognize that as a defense.
Q: Kayvon has a lot of swagger to him.
A: So do I.
Q: (Laughs) Did you find that he was at all humbled by his debut here?
A: I think Kayvon's Kayvon. I think that that's one of the reasons why I love him is because he's a confident young man, has some ambition to him and has goals and he's going to go after them. I'd take 11 of guys like that. You better stay humble in this game, period, win or lose because that's the way this league is. As soon as you lose your humility, it will come up and slap you right upside the head, the league will. So, I don't know. We didn't have that conversation, so I don't know. He doesn't seem like he's walking around with his lip out. I'm just expecting great things from him.
Q: What are you seeing from your inside linebackers and what do you need to see from that group?
A: We're still in the process of finding the right fits for who's going to play inside. I want guys who can run and hit and tackle. As a unit, as all 11, we need to tackle better. We had too many missed tackles. Like I said, going against this offense, it's going to be a great test for us to see how much we've improved from Monday to Sunday.
Q: Can a guy like (Linebacker) Jaylon Smith come in here and fit into what you're looking for at that spot?
A: Sure. We're going to play the best guy that we think is going to be available for us on Sunday.
Q: What can he give you? Jaylon Smith.
A: Just what I'm talking about. Run and hit, tackle. He's a little bit bigger than some of the guys we've had besides (Inside Linebacker) Tae (Crowder). So as long as they can run, because you know what I've already told you there, if you have a slow Mike, you have a slow defense. I think that we'll eventually at some time feed him in there.
Q: When you're facing a quarterback who's mobile, with legs like that. Does the aggression have to be tempered or controlled as far as blitzing? Or is it better to go after him and make him make quick decisions?
A: Yes. (Laughs) Really, it's one of those things that you've got to know where to attack and how to attack. I think that we'll work on that this week and try to give him some different looks, but he's big and strong and he can run. We've got our work cut out for us.
Q: The first week you were playing a guy who was like a (Fullback) Jim Brown. Second week you had an explosive guy, you had Dallas last week.
A: Yeah, and I didn't give you any names for Dallas. I need to make up a name. You're right because I'm not superstitious but I'm kind of 'stitious.'
Q: But this is like a no name group. Is this somebody you have to say to your team, 'wake up, we got these guys?'
A: I do not look at it that way. You want some names (Quarterback Justin). Fields could be, for the younger crowd, a (Quarterback) Cam Newton type or for us older guys, (Quarterback) Randall Cunningham type. And those backs are explosive backs who run hard, old school hard. That offensive line, they work well together, especially in the run game. They really work well together, so I don't think there's no names at all with that.
Q: You face a team that throws so little. How unique is it for a team to throw so little?
A: When we were back at Baltimore and (Quarterback) Lamar (Jackson) just first came into it, if y'all remember, it was similar type offense that challenges you in a different way. Like I said, it's just complementary football that they're believing in. That's their winning formula right now.