Safety Julian Love
Q: What have you seen from (Outside Linebacker) Kayvon Thibodeaux in the way he's played and handled himself as an individual?
A: I think Kayvon has done a great job of just getting acclimated to the guys off rip. Everybody has a close relationship with him now because he's so forward with how is as a person. It's made it easier to be complementary with him on the football field. He's done a great job. Him being a fifth overall pick is a lot of pressure, but he's handled it very well.
Q: How good do you see him getting as he starts figuring all this stuff out a little bit more?
A: Just like anybody, as long as you keep doing the right things, the sky is the limit and he's one of those guys that has a tremendous base under him. As long as he continues to grow, he'll be a good player in this league.
Q: What are you and (Kicker) Graham (Gano) doing with the 'Inside the Huddle' initiative?
A: Graham and I are teaming up with the New York City Police Foundation and MetLife to provide resources for people who need it, for families who need it in Harlem and Far Rockaway. We have some cool stuff lined up. There's an auction going on, you can bid on a bunch of memorabilia, but you can also bid on a game night with me here. We can play ping pong, corn hole – I call it 'bags,' a Chicago thing, I don't know – I'm undefeated regardless of what it is (laughs). I think Graham is doing a kicking lesson, that's kind of fun. It's all going to a good cause, going to families in Harlem and Far Rockaway. MetLife is matching the money. It's a cool opportunity.
Q: Are there prizes for beating you in this game night?
A: We could put some prizes up, but I can't see anybody beating me, whoever gets it. It's going to be a fun experience for everybody involved. I'm excited about it.
Q: Larger donations might give them an extra opportunity to beat you?
A: I might play lefty if the donation is large enough. That's my handicap that I'll giveaway, whatever it is. But yeah, it's fun – to have a chance to play with an NFL player, I feel like when I was a kid I would jump at the opportunity. Whoever can provide some funds for this good cause, I encourage them to do so.
Q: From a football standpoint, the Lions score a lot of points. How tricky does that make it? You're not blind to the fact that your offense doesn't score a lot of points. Does that put a lot of pressure on you guys to keep it down and not allow your team to fall behind early?
A: I think as a team, we all try to play complementary football in the best way we can. I know the offense is going to do their thing. On special teams, the Lions present a lot of stuff as well. I know on (special) teams, we're going to be on our stuff. Defensively, yeah, this offense puts up a lot of points. We've played some good offenses this year, so we have to really be dialed in like we have been in the past to match up to what they have going on. Right now, they're playing at a high level honestly. We can't take anything for granted, we can't look at the record or anything like that because this is a solid offense.
Q: When a team is aggressive like they are, does that also leave room for mistakes? Obviously aggressive can be touchdowns, or aggressive can be interceptions.
A: They're aggressive across the board in play calling, going for fourth down a lot, them getting after the ball – they have a coach over there trying to make up their identity of the team. I like the aggression, honestly. I think it's something that if I was a coach, I would do the same thing for my team. That's how they're going to play, so we have to account for that and be in tune with whatever situation it is because we know they're going for the win, regardless. They're not going for easy points, they're going to be aggressive and put us on our heels.
Q: How much of your defense's success stems from how good (Defensive Lineman) Leonard Williams and (Defensive Lineman) Dexter (Lawrence) are playing in the middle right there?
A: We have a huge luxury right now of having two guys like Leo Williams and Dexter Lawrence up front for us. Those are two of the best guys in the league, in my opinion, at that position. They've just been working. For years they've been working, perfecting their craft and now their names are starting to be acknowledged more but they've always been those type of guys, those type of players. It's a huge benefit to us. Especially on the backend, you know that inside run or the middle is locked up, especially with those big guys getting after it. We're lucky to have them and I know they're going to keep grinding.
Q: Have you guys peaked at the standings in your division and knowing how strong of the start you've had – are you aware of how confident that you guys can take advantage of the opportunity in front of you with so many NFC East games coming up here?
A: Yeah, I think for the whole division – it's all really close right now. Top to bottom, it's extremely close right now and this next however many weeks will make up the difference of how things go for each team. I know there's that stat of this division having the best record or something like that.
Q: Through 10 weeks…
A: Through 10 weeks, exactly right. It is what it is. We know that this next stretch for us, we've played one division game. We have these next five coming up soon. We can't overlook the Lions by any means but of course, that's in the back of your head that you know you need to play your best football going forward.
Q: How exciting is it this time of year to be ramping up to those meaningful games?
A: It's exciting. The weather is changing. Some good football is about to be played across the league. This is what people remember, what you do this next month or so. We've got to be locked in for that.