Defensive Coordinator: Wink Martindale
Obviously, disappointed with the outcome, but I think that our effort and execution, the communication, we did a lot of good things Sunday night against Buffalo and hope to build on that as we keep going forward. I like where we are going right now. We've got a great challenge ahead of us with this group from Washington. We'll see what happens, we'll tee it up.
Q: What did you see in your defense as a whole last week that was different than you'd seen? What kind of step did they take? I mean, obviously that was a pretty big challenge.
A: I think that it was the execution itself, the communication, the one play at a time mentality was there all night and when you have that in this league, you've got a shot. We had a different plan, we hit them with a different counter punch, this is the fourth time we have gone against (Bills quarterback) Josh (Allen) and we had a different style of plan and he's a tremendous quarterback with some great players out there and it was a great challenge that I think that our guys took that challenge and went with it.
Q: What's the secret challenge of bringing that back on Sunday?
A: Well, I mean I think that you just got to keep building and you just got to have the mindset, which we've had all year, of getting better every day. You just take it one day at a time. Everything hits just right, and it ended up that I think we surprised them with some things, but I think we surprised Miami with some things, too. It was we just gave up too many explosive plays. I think to take something away, you've got to give something up. I know that they had some runs there towards the end of the game, but we were taking away the passing game. We limited Josh to 11 yards scrambling, I think that's – I haven't checked, but I think that's obviously low for him. He usually scrambles for more yardage than that. His quarterback rating was down, all those different things that you choose from because of the things that we did. So, to take all that away, you are playing with a light box, so there is a couple runs that we need to play better, but we also knew there was a chance that could happen as well.
Q: How much of the improvement of your defense is because of (inside linebacker) Bobby (Okereke) and his acclimation now to everything that you want to do?
A: That's a great question. I think that it all fits into it. Like Bobby, (safety) X(avier McKinney), (defensive lineman) Leo(nard Williams), (defensive lineman) Dex(ter Lawrence II), all those guys, they are starting to gel as a unit. (Outside linebacker) Kayvon (Thibodeaux), you know you just keep going down the list, they are starting to gel as a unit, and they are getting used to playing together and Bobby is a big part of that, too. I think you are just going to continue to see him keep striding out the way we all expected him too.
Q: What are your observations of (Commanders quarterback) Sam Howell?
A: I think he's a good quarterback. I think that each week he improves. You can see that he's getting used to (Commanders offensive coordinator) Eric's (Bieniemy) system and he has some Josh Allen type qualities. I'm not saying he's that yet, but he has those type qualities. He's got great awareness in the pocket, and he can throw the football. So, it's going to be a challenge for us.
Q: We've seen some big seasons as a pass rusher from Leonard Williams, but he only has three sacks in 18 games in your system. Is that because of what your system requires him to do, do you still think that he has that elite pass rusher in him that he once had?
A: I think Leo is a selfless player. I don't think it has anything to do with the systems. I think it has to do with different types of games that we've been in and it's a little bit different as far as he's probably facing more runs than he's faced, but he's going to be fine.
Q: What do you think when you see, back to Howell for a second, when you see that he's been sacked 34 times?
A: Yeah, I mean he's had some issues getting sacked. What did you say, what do I think?
Q: As a defensive coordinator, is that exciting, like hey this is an opportunity for us to go out and get after this guy? What's your mindset when you see that?
A: Well, a lot of the sacks come off playing coverage, some different types of coverages to him. Like I said, I think there was a lot early because the game was sped up for him, but you can see each week he's getting better, getting rid of the football, and seeing where he wants to go with it. Like I said, it's going to be a great challenge. I think Eric's done a great job with him, and (Commanders wide receivers coach) Bobby (Engram), a good friend of mine that I coached with before, he's done a great job with those wide receivers.
Q: Were you aware that Rex Ryan went on the air on Sunday and said "Wink, stop blitzing, it's not working." Were you aware of that and what's your reaction to it?
A: Well, that's Rex's opinion. We all know Rex has opinions. You know the old saying that follows that, too.
Q: Pressure breaks pipes. Defensively, are you getting enough pressure on quarterbacks through the first part of the season?
A: I think that in the right situation we are. Yeah, I do. I think that just coming out on the field, the first third down we had against Buffalo, they came out in max protection, and we played coverage to it. I mean, you can ask Josh Allen, I think we hit him. You know, Zay (safety/inside linebacker Isaiah Simmons), we made him an edge rusher and sometimes spied him with Zay, and I thought he did a tremendous job and he was a big part of us holding him to just 11 yards rushing.
Q: I wanted to ask you a question about quarterbacks who get the ball out really quickly and how that stresses a defense. You guys played Miami earlier, (Dolphins quarterback) Tua (Tagovailoa) is leading the league, he's getting it out in 2.28 seconds, the slowest quarterback is a little over three seconds, how much does that 0.7 seconds matter as a defense?
A: It matters a lot because you have to come to a press conference, does this guy get enough pressures? Does this guy get enough sacks? So, it matters that way, but they are getting rid of the ball faster and that Miami offense, I mean it's off the charts. Some of those, when they go in that jet motion, you know what I'm talking about, with (Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek) Hill or whoever and he catches the snap and just goes like that (pitches it forward), that's considered a pass, so that goes into that figure, that number. And we've already talked about Miami, he's playing at a high level, Tua is.