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Transcript: Inside Linebacker Bobby Okereke

Eric from BBI : Admin : 12/4/2023 4:21 pm
Inside Linebacker Bobby Okereke

Q. Is this the latest you've ever had a bye week?

A: I believe so.

Q. What has it been like and knowing sometimes you take a bye week with 10 games left, or 12 games left, or eight games left, there are only five games left. You can kind of see the light at the end of the tunnel. Somebody might ask what is there to play for with the teams record the way it is, what would you say to that?

A: I mean when you look at obviously the parity in this league, we are two games out of the playoff hunt, but even still just with this, the leadership we have with the front office and Dabs, (Head Coach Brian Daboll) obviously this is year two. Opportunity to leave just a good building block into next season and obviously just pride to play for at the end of the day.

Q. What has this been like for you to have, it's so late. Was it good, was it frustrating, was it helpful?

A: I think it's good when you look at it with this last five game stretch, you know this bye week was kind of an opportunity to reenergize and rejuvenate and really just get your mind right for a five-game stretch. Obviously, one game at a time, but where we are, where the playoff picture is looking like and just how close all these games and teams are in the NFL. There is a lot of opportunity ahead of us.

Q. Did you watch a lot of football or did you kind of put it away?

A: No, I watched football on Sunday. It was fun.

Q. Do you observe anything, I mean you observe plenty, but as a fan, who doesn't have a game? Do you look at it and say that's interesting? Anything you can take about what winning and losing means that you can maybe help this week and weeks to come?

A: It just bodes to the parity in this league, how tough games are. I mean the Packers going on and beating the Chiefs, that was crazy. I'm just rooting for some of my good buddies who are playing and watching other linebackers in the league.

Q. If you're watching those games, especially the 49ers and the Eagles, what did you make of the Philly guy (Eagles Senior Advisor to the General Manager/Chief Security Officer Dom DiSandro) getting involved from the sideline, I had never seen anything like this, I don't know what you've seen in terms of that stuff before…

A: Yeah, I had never seen anything like it either. It's a tough scenario, obviously as a player you wouldn't want anybody who is not a player or really not anybody who isn't supposed to be on

the field touching you and putting his hands on you, but also as a player you want to have that discipline not to hurt your team, so it's a tough situation. It was the first experience like that I've seen.

Q. What's it like playing in your role in (defensive coordinator) Wink's (Martindale) defense?

A: It's a lot of fun. I think Wink does a good job of kind of handing me the keys and letting me lead through my leadership, letting me lead through my play. I kind of work hand and hand, or side by side with him, whether it's during the week or even in game, just kind of what calls we're seeing, what scheme the offense is running, what are our checks and balances that can be, so it's been a lot of fun and I think Wink's done a really good job of promoting my growth.

Q. You obviously had a choice in coming here. Did Wink essentially recruit you? Were you already more on board than not on board? Could you go back to that for me?

A: Yeah, I mean I think I was already on board, just because of the opportunity here. Talking to Dabs, my agent talking to (Senior Vice President and General Manager) Joe Schoen, just the opportunity here, the need that they had for me. But then really when I got here, I remember one of my first meetings I sat down in the defensive meeting room with Wink and the staff, and I just felt comfortable immediately. Like, we just kind of sat around, had a fireside chat like we always do and just talked ball. I knew I was going to have a lot of fun playing for him.

Q. How about the idea though, I'm assuming that you had greater expectations for this season in signing obviously, do you think back like on a bye week of where things kind of went wrong or how they went wrong?

A: Not too much. I mean obviously with the five games ahead and you know me being a leader on this team, with such a young team, just trying to keep my focus forward and keep it narrow, keep a narrow focus. I'm just focused on these last five games, we have this opportunity ahead of us and like I said, the playoff picture is closer and closer. If we do what we need to do in these next couple games, I think we'll be happy with where we end.

Q. You mentioned the Packer-Chiefs game, what did you see from the Packers and what have you seen from their offense the last couple of weeks?

A: I think (Packers quarterback) Jordan Love just looks really poised and they have a dynamic offense, obviously it was tough to see (Packers wide receiver Christian) Watson get hurt, but I think the combination of their dynamic running backs, the receivers and their tight ends, obviously (tight end Luke) Musgrave is hurt as well, but I think they just do a really good job of spreading the ball around. Jordan does a good job of getting the ball down the field and just the efficiency they have from that offense. I mean obviously, (Packers Head Coach Matt) LaFleur and (Jets quarterback) Aaron Rodgers, like that whole rapport that they have and fundamentals of running that offense, I think Jordan has done a good job of picking that up.

Q. A couple weeks ago I think we talked to you, you said you had been on the field I think every play, is that streak still going and with five games left and the rib injury, are you still there?

A: Yeah, I still believe I haven't missed a snap. Ribs feeling better. I mean I just love this team, I love this defense. I want to do everything I can to be out there for the guys and really just help put this team in the best position to win. I spend a lot of time in the training getting my body prepped throughout the week so hopefully on gameday I can be out there every play.

Q. Can you imagine yourself not being on the field?

A: It would be tough. I know our linebacker room has done an incredible job stepping up, (safety/inside linebacker) Isaiah Simmons is playing very good ball, (inside linebacker) Micah McFadden is playing very good ball. I mean, we saw (inside linebacker) Carter Coughlin and (inside linebacker) Cam Brown come in and make explosive plays on special teams, so in the event I wasn't able to play, I know those guys would step up and do a phenomenal job. The opportunities in practice where I'm in the training room or doing other stuff because I'm healing and I'm not out there, I miss it wholeheartedly. Every opportunity that I can to be out there with my guys, I'm going to take advantage of it.
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