Center John Michael Schmitz Jr.
Q: How are you feeling after getting out there for the first time in a little bit yesterday?
A: Obviously, it was a tough loss for everyone. Just everyone's effort out there, I mean, everyone played their tails off. So, you do everything you can, and just got to be a little bit better in execution, a little here and there, a little detail. But yeah, it's a tough loss. That's all I would say. The mindset this week is just we've got to move on. We've got to learn from what we learned from last week and go 1-0 against the Raiders.
Q: Physically, how are you doing coming back?
A: Doing good. Obviously, every NFL game is tough on your body, so just getting the right treatment and rehab in and getting ready to go next week.
Q: (Quarterback) Tommy (DeVito) said he was really turning to you, obviously, and your center relationship. What did you see from him yesterday?
A: I saw growth. I saw a quarterback that has developed, and I just saw the leadership he had coming up to us after that big score that we needed to come out of the half. I just saw him kind of take control. So, yeah, I was proud of him.
Q: At halftime, (Head Coach) Brian Daboll made it clear to us that the ball was going to go through (running back) Saquon (Barkley) pretty much every play. As an offensive lineman and a center, what did you think of that when you heard that after halftime, you were going to run the ball virtually every play?
A: You've got the best back in the National Football League. That's an offensive lineman's dream, to go run the ball. I'd say we were ready for it, we were ready for the opportunity, and whatever it took at the end of the day. Obviously, fell a little bit short.
Q: What is the challenge of going against a defensive front like that? I mean, they knew you were running the ball. Let's face it, it was obvious. What is that challenge? You guys like to run the ball, but they know it's coming. What was that challenge like?
A: They're a really good defense. They're really good. They've got a really good D-line. Linebackers were very instinctive and very fast making us get off the double teams. I would just say I wasn't really worried about them. I was worried about us. The main focus was on us. No matter if they knew we were running the ball or we were going to pass the ball, we needed to do it, and we needed an accomplishment.
Q: For you, coming back and being healthy, what's the difference in this offensive line that you've kind of rejoined, because obviously, some of the parts have changed?
A: Honestly, I just saw the growth. Especially the couple of weeks I've been out, I saw the growth of the O-line and kind of just the camaraderie coming together, guys being way more focused and locked in. I would just say the intent to detail each and every week, coming in with the mindset that we can do it.
Q: Some of us in the media remember Justin Pugh because we were there when he was drafted. You were not, of course. What impact or what first impression have you had about him in particular?
A: Yeah, I mean, he's been a tremendous addition to the room. Not only with just helping us out with being in the league for so long, just the way he goes through the week, his routines. If it's kind of just a little advice, it doesn't even have to be on the field, but off the field. I think he's been a tremendous addition to the room. That's all I have to say.
Q: When you guys are whole again with the starters – that's not to just disrespect anyone playing now – are you kind of excited to see what this line can do?
A: I said it from the start: I believe we can have one of the best lines in the National Football League. At the end of the day, it's just a mindset. We've just got to be confident. We've got to believe. Like I've said before, I'm excited. So, we'll see, but this addition to the room, they've been tremendous for us. Just the effort.