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Monday Transcript: Inside Linebacker Bobby Okereke

Eric from BBI : Admin : 10/9/2023 5:56 pm
Inside Linebacker Bobby Okereke

Q. (Tight end) Darren Waller said to us in the locker room yesterday that he spoke to some of the defensive players like the offense knows we need to do more to help you guys out, you guys are playing really well. What does it mean to you that a team leader and a guy on the offense is acknowledging that outwardly and publicly and how does that impact in a positive way, maybe the way you guys are approaching this as a team?

A: Yeah, I mean I think it just shows accountability and it shows the really just emphasis, everybody knows it's a team game, we've got to play complementary football. I know that's how we felt as a defense coming off that first half and them going down and scoring that touchdown on that big explosive play. Just felt bad for the offense because we felt like if we could have got them the ball back, it would've been a different game without that score. So, we all just take our own individual responsibility and know we've got to play collectively good football.

Q. You seem to be hitting your stride, personally, the way you are playing right now. What is it about how you are seeing the field and how you are kind of making plays on the ball now, why are you so playing well?

A: I think just getting a better understanding of (defensive coordinator) Wink's (Martindale) system, getting a better understanding of how my teammates play around me and just feeding myself with confidence and positivity. Just trying to do that for the guys in the group. You've got to have faith, you've got to believe in yourself, even when other people don't and that's how we are going to turn this thing around.

Q. Just curious, when you are in the state that you guys are right now as a team, how difficult is it to stay the course and trust that you are going to get out of this?

A: I mean I think it falls on our leadership most importantly. You can say it's early, but it's only early in the season for so long and we all look at reality. We are 1-4 and we are going into Week 6 of the season. Urgency is upon us, and we realize that if we want to be where we want to be at the end of the season, we've got to start playing really good football, got to be on the details and start turning this thing around quickly. Everybody has that urgency about us, we've had that from the start and now it's just making those plays on game day.

Q. How have you felt that (head coach) Brian Daboll has handled this and how would you describe how what his demeanor has been through this with you guys?

A: I think he's done a great job. I describe him as never too high, never too low. When we make good plays, we celebrate, we get excited, but he keeps us even-keel and even when we have a poor performance, you don't dwell on it, you don't shoot down anybody's confidence, I think he has a fine balance with that.

Q. You've spoken a couple of times about last years challenges for you individually in Indy. I'm just curious, going through what you guys went through collectively as a team last year, obviously not where you expected to be, are there any lessons that you can bring to this situation? Again, I am not saying the two situations are the same, but I'm sure you took a lot of things from last year and said you know what, if I've got to go through this again, maybe I'll approach it this way, or take this kind of advice, rather than follow maybe what you guys did last year?

A: I think everybody individually has to raise their own individual standard of themselves. And then when you think about the offense, defense, special teams, we've got to play a collective game, but each unit has to hold themselves to a high standard and I had a coach, a really good coach tell me in the past, you've got to point the thumb, not the finger. You are not sitting there saying the defense is playing bad, special teams is playing bad, whatever. You point the thumb and say okay, what can I do better? And when each individual man does that, that's how this thing gets turned around, there is no secret recipe. We all have to do a better job, individually.

Q: I'm going to start with some of the guys that your locker is kind of amidst, and that's the offensive line. A couple of those guys, one in particular, took the loss yesterday very hard and it clearly seemed to me that he was accepting responsibility without necessarily spelling that out for us. How do you as a team leader approach a player who I believe is younger than you and may need sort of a hand to steady him at this point?

A: I think you keep those guys focused on the process. Results aren't always going to come when you want them to. I had a coach tell me the last thing to show is profit. When you double down, you double down on your process, you double down on your routine throughout the week, you double down on the extra work you do after practice. Because when you get to game day, it's too late. It's too late to say I wish I would have done this extra rep, or I wish I would have studied a little bit more. Control the things you can control. Throughout the week, just make sure you double down on your process, do everything you can, so on game day, you have no regrets.

Q: The spring was like utopia. Everyone was there, everything was possible, everything else. How surprised are you that these are the questions we're asking you because this is how this season has started out?

A: Yeah, I mean, reality is setting quick. But I think that was the message going into this game last week that if anybody thought this was just going to be a perfect road, or it was going to be a golden-paved road of rainbows, they are mistaken. This is the NFL. We're playing against some of the most talented athletes in the world. It's competition. Guys get paid, too, on the other side of the ball. Everybody just needs to know that it's going to take a dog-fight mentality to get where we want to go. We're going to have to scratch and claw and we're going to have to earn everything. No one's going to give anything to us.

Q: We always think of defensive players and defensive players always think they're the tougher guys. How do you define a tough quarterback? Where does (quarterback) Daniel Jones fit into that from what you've seen so far?

A: I'd put him up at the top, especially with my experience playing the Giants last year. Just seeing how tough he is, obviously, running the ball, leading the offense, putting his body on the line. But really, from his mindset and his resilience. I mean, obviously, this season hasn't gone the way we wanted it to, to start. You look at any press conference he's done and all the messages to his teammates, he's the consummate pro in being able to take personal accountability and taking responsibility. I think that's the hallmark of toughness right there.

Q: How important is it for him to stay on the field? He's got some issues with his neck. There seems to be some optimism. For any team that have their starting quarterback out there, how important is that?

A: He's a leader. He's a captain. Everybody looks up to him to be a big part of our success on this team. So, very excited for him to come in and play good football for us.

Q: Is that the best non-interception you've had in your career?

A: Yeah, I mean, it resulted in a 102(-yard) Giants record interception return for what, a pick-six? That's definitely the best, for sure.

Q: If you got it, should you have caught it, do you think?

A: Yeah, it hit my hand, so I should have caught it, for sure. I think your follow-up question was would I have scored? I think definitely, yes (laughs).

Q: You think yes? 102 yards, you think you could have?

A: For sure. My rookie year I had a 99-yard pick, too. So, three more yards, I think I would've been able to get the job done.
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