Defensive Lineman Leonard Williams
Q: Obviously, coming off a tough loss like that, aside from the injury factor, do you think it helps to have the short week and also to have an opponent like the one you're facing on national television, a big divisional game? Does it make it easier to bounce back quickly?
A: Mentally, I think it makes it easier because we have no choice but to quickly move on to the next opponent. Regardless of win or lose, every week we talk about flushing the last game and moving on to the next one. I think physically is where we have to be pros and take care of our body and focus more mentally than physically this week.
Q: What do you think when, obviously, you were busy not watching the Cowboys game yesterday. But when you see that score against a big team like that, what is your first thought?
A: I definitely respect the team we're about to play. I respect every team in this league, to be honest. On any given Sunday, if you sleep on any given opponent, they have a chance to beat you. I think that's why we focus so much on the process and the process will lead us to the results that we want. Last week, we didn't get the results we wanted, but we have a short week to fix it and clean it up and go into the game prepared.
Q: You guys always talk about when someone gets hurt, 'the next name up. The next guy's got to come in.' You kind of don't waiver with that. But all the rash of injuries certainly yesterday and that have been going on, at some point, does 'next man up' become almost the challenge in itself because the depth gets so depleted with all these injuries?
A: I mean, it's definitely a challenge, and having injuries is tough on any team. When you're losing starters to injuries, that's going to be tough on any team. We have confidence in the guys who are going to step up in those positions, and we're going to do our best to let them know that we're confident in them so that they're confident on game day.
Q: You see what's going on in the defensive backfield, right? Backups are going in for backups who are going in for backups. How tough of a situation is it back there?
A: Like I said, it's tough on any team to deal with injuries. Nobody is preparing for injuries, but it's obviously a part of the game. We know that in a way that even though we don't prepare to get injured, every team has to have that 'next man up' mentality because it is a part of the game, and it happens. Like I said, we just have to do our best to let the man next up know that we're confident in him.
Q: You talked about the process leading to the results that you want, but on a short week like this, we know what the coaches are going to do to try to get you guys prepared. As players, do you guys alter the process and kind of get together – whether it's putting in a little extra time in the film room because you're not out on the field? How do you guys adjust to that to make sure you're ready, and you stick to the process that you use to find success this year?
A: I think that's the most important part: just sticking to the process. We can't let one loss turn into multiple and get away from the process because of one loss. And this is the type of week where we have to put in more mentally, knowing that the coaches are going to take care of our body physically on the field, to get ready for a short week on Thursday. This is a type of week where we have to be even more of a pro and put in the extra time. I'm basically going to treat today like a double day, mentally. I'm going to go home and take a nap. When I wake up, I'm going to treat it like a new day and watch film and kind of just restudy my opponent like on the back end of today.
Q: Would you normally do that on a Monday, Tuesday? On a Tuesday, Wednesday? What part of the week is that for you to do that double day?
A: So, I would basically after I wake up from my nap, treat that like a Tuesday. Tuesday would be the day when I open up my iPad and I dial in on my opponent on that Tuesday, off day, after we watch our opponent on Monday and flush that away. Tuesday would be the start of my week and when I dial in on the next opponent. That's pretty much what I'm going to do after I wake up from my nap today.
Q: Most of the time when you play a team a second time in a year, you're pretty prepared for them. As a defense, do they change now that (Dallas Cowboys quarterback Cooper) Rush is out and (Dallas Cowboys quarterback) Dak (Prescott) is back?
A: That's what I still have to watch film on to make sure how much has changed. I'm sure there have been slight differences, and I think an important thing to watch is the game against us, to be honest. Wherever they found success against us last game is probably something that they're going to try to come back to this week. That's something I'm going to try to study and prepare for and watch a lot of what happened to us last game.
Q: It seems in the losses, you're not getting turnovers. How key is that to winning?
A: That's major. We talk about turnover battles a lot in this league, and if one team is going to get a lot more takeaways than the other team, that's going to be a huge impact on the game. That's something we're putting an emphasis on, we try to put an emphasis on each week as a defense. And we talk about not being satisfied with just getting a tackle or just getting a sack but trying to get the ball off of him in the process. It's a huge game changer, momentum shift, field position, it changes a lot in the game when turnovers happen.
Q: You and (defensive lineman) Dexter (Lawrence) have been getting good pressure in the pocket in the interior. What is your sense of what is going on, on the edges, it does not seem like that pressure is consistent from the edges at all. What can you do better maybe to help that and what do you see going on out there?
A: It's a young room, there's been a lot of injuries going on in that room as well. We haven't had (outside linebacker) Azeez (Ojulari) for the majority of the year. I know how it was being a young player, sometimes it takes a while to adapt and adjust to new NFL speed and schemes and all types of stuff like that. We're still confident in those guys and confident that they're going to come along. For the most part, I feel like we've been doing a good enough job with them.
Q: Did you sense that with (outside linebacker) Kayvon (Thibodeaux) specifically because he's the one constant who's been out there after missing a couple of games? Some of the things that maybe that worked in college are not quite working now, would you advise him on maybe changing up or doing things differently?
A: To be honest maybe I could do a better job of focusing on what's going on, on the edges. I have a lot I have to learn after each game as well and a lot of times after a game I'm focusing on the interior and what's going on in my position group and I don't really have too much time to focus on what's happening in those positions. But as a leader, as a vet, and someone who's been through the process, I probably could do a little bit better job of seeing what's going on and trying to help Kayvon where I can. I haven't really seen anything specific so I can't really point out anything specific. Overall, I think he's definitely a hard worker and I'm sure whatever he's having success at it is going to grow and whatever he's struggling with is going to get better.
Q: Maybe you have to make it a triple day, right? Two ? make it like a Tuesday, Wednesday. Just keep on working straight throughout, right?
A: That's how it is man, it's that time of year.