Wide Receiver Darius Slayton
Q: The stat in the last two games when you've given up points on defense – eight scores, four touchdowns and four field goals – six of the eight times the offense has come right back and scored. What is to that? That's complementary football at its finest. Why is that? Why is it when you guys give up defensive points, you have your best offensive drives?
A: I don't know. It's kind of funny I've got a running joke going with (Quarterback) Tyrod (Taylor) that is the same kind of thing. They score and then we go and get it right back. I don't really quite know what the reason for that is, but it's like you said, it's great complementary football. Our defense does a great job of keeping people out of the endzone which obviously holds them to three or nothing which makes your job a lot easier on offense. That's kind of the goal, though. Any time the opposing offense scores, go down there and get an answer quick.
Q: If you look at the box scores, they don't jump out as a 5-1 team. You got outgained yesterday. The first downs are even. You don't have a ton of takeaways on defense. Does it feel like something else is going on? Almost like something magic is going on where you guys are better than the numbers actually say?
A: We kind of do a breakdown every week of major categories like turnovers, third-down percentage, explosive plays, the first half and special teams. We ended up winning three out of the five. We only got two takeaways, but we only turned it over once, so we won that. Our offensive third-down percentage was better than theirs, they had more explosives than us and they won the first half. With (Running Back) Gary's (Brightwell) return out to the 50, that obviously led to our first touchdown, and we did a good job of mitigating their returns on special teams. Even though it might not be the flashy, (Running back) Saquon (Barkley) ran for 200, (Quarterback Daniel Jones) DJ ran for 400 and threw four and I had 10 for 150 – we've been effective in the areas the areas that you need to be effective to win football games.
Q: How much talk is there in the locker room about 5-1, where you are in the division, where you are in the conference and things like that?
A: Not much to be honest with you. We are all on the same page of just taking it one week at a time and focusing on the opponent we have ahead of us. Obviously, this week is Jacksonville and just trying to go 1-0 every week.
Q: At some point, will that become more of a focus or a discussion when positioning and things are more appropriate?
A: No, I don't think it will mostly because we have experience of ignoring our record for bad reasons (laughs). That experience is probably going to pay off if we continue this trend and later on in the season of just ignoring and keep playing ball, keep playing good ball and the results take care of itself.
Q: Is it better to ignore a bad record or a good record?
A: Much better to ignore a good one, I can attest (laughs).
Q: When did that joke start with Tyrod?
A: Like a couple of weeks ago. We've had a couple of these games now. I can't remember which game specifically but a couple of weeks ago. Even Sunday, I said something to him about it. I was like, 'Man they went and scored and look we came right back and scored.' It's just kind of how it's been going for whatever reason.
Q: You guys have gotten so much credit for what you've done in the second half and the fourth quarters, but the first halves haven't always been great. Can you put your finger on anything about why you guys have gotten off to some slow starts and what you can do to fix that?
A: It's hard to say specifically, but I can say that there are plays that have been there and we've been a guy away here, a guy away there and it just comes down to all 11 guys executing at a high level. Obviously, that will help us get faster starts. Although we have closed games well, you can always improve in the areas you are doing well in. That just comes down to (inaudible) doing our jobs better.
Q: When you talk about the creativity of this offense, I'm curious when you see plays every week when you wonder where they came from, at least from the outside. Obviously, you guys have been practicing these plays and it's not something you put in on Fridays. When (Head Coach Brian Daboll) Dabs and (Offensive Coordinator Mike) Kafka and the coaching staff started putting in these offensive plays, I assume going all the way back to the spring or even in training camp, what was your reaction? Are you surprised that, as much as you practiced it, you're actually using these plays that maybe back then seemed so creative that there's no way we're going to get to that in a key moment of the game?
A: Yeah, I mean definitely. There's so much install and so much of the game is played within your base install, so to speak. It's always exciting. They're always coming up with fresh ideas, new ideas and I think it just shows the guts they have to call those types of plays in those situations that can win the game or not win the game as opposed to a lot of people sometimes get cold feet and maybe go with the safe call. I think they've done a great job of going for it and being aggressive and trying to win the football game. Obviously, at the end of the day it doesn't really matter what they call, we've got to go out there and execute it regardless. I think it's just exciting, it keeps things fresh and new. It's a lot of fun to be an offensive player.
Q: You talk to any coach and they say the last thing you want to be is in third and long. At least in the last two weeks, why have you guys been able to convert so many of those?
A: I don't know. You're right, though – we dang sure don't want to be in them. I think when it comes down to it kind of like I said earlier, as long as you execute and to a manner everybody does their job – no matter if it's first and five or third and 25 – you always have a chance. It might be a big chance if it's third and 25 but you have a chance to pick it up. I think that's just, all it's been, is us executing when we needed to.
Q: It seems like you guys have been keeping more max-protect on those plays. What is it like when you are a receiver and you're running a route and there's three of you and six or seven of them – how much harder is it to get open in those situations?
A: I don't really think of it that way. I think of it more as you've got more time. If you've got six, seven guys blocking that just gives me – I'm going to find a way. I'm going to find a hole; somebody is going to slip or trip or do something. As a receiver, you'll figure it out if you want the ball. That's kind of my approach to it.
Q: Or you can make them fall like (Wide Receiver) Wan'Dale (Robinson), right?
A: Man, or that. That works too.