Browns at Bengals Postgame Quotes

CLEVELAND AT CINCINNATI
NOV. 6, 2014

BENGALS POSTGAME QUOTES

MARVIN LEWIS
Head coach
Initial comments ...
    "Obviously to not convert on third downs on offense tonight, to turn the ball over on offense and then to allow the third down conversions on defense — we got our tails beat. We didn't get off the field when we needed to. We had the turnovers on offense right away, and don't stop them there. We've got a chance on defense, and they go in and score. We get the ball back the next time and have an opportunity there, and don't get it done.
    "That's the disappointing thing — just being inconsistent where we are right now, with turnovers on offense and third down on defense. When we go wrong with them, we go wrong."

Does this team's inability to play well in prime-time situations confound you?
    "It does confound me. It does. This was not ... this was different than New England, the last time we were this way. For whatever reason, the two times this year, we haven't played very well. The one thing that comes out of both of those is turning the ball over. You can't do those things."

How was this one different?
    "Because it was at home, there was a certain energy and excitement, rather than the steely-eyed focus maybe you've got to have."

Andy Dalton has had some interceptions the last couple of weeks and had a tough night tonight. Are you concerned with where he's at right now?
    "Again, I'm concerned about the turnovers on offense. He will break out of this night tonight. Tonight, he had a bad day. He'll come out of this and be fine. We will get him out of this. But it was not a good night. We had some balls (thrown) high early in the game. So we did not play our best football today."

When things were going bad for Dalton, were you thinking of bringing in Jason Campbell?
    "No, sir."

Did you sense early on that the energy and focus you needed wasn't there right away?
    "Well the energy was there and the focus was there, but we've got to make sure we direct it in the right directions. That's all. We've got to make sure we direct it in our execution and direct it in what we're doing on offense and defense and special teams. It's got to be directed — it just can't be running around crazy. We get the penalty, we make a long run and lose a ball up in the air — those kinds of things. We aren't together — the quarterback and receiver on the route, on the first interception. We can't have those things. Defensively, we have the foul on third down that keeps the drive alive. It's those kinds of things that beat you."

Do you feel like this team needs some sort of shake-up or attention-grabber after a loss like this?
    "No. The attention-grabber is just that we'll get back to work. We do things the way we're supposed to do it most of the time, but tonight every time we didn't do it right, (and) it was taken advantage of."

The Browns ran the ball better than they have for a while. Did they do anything in particular?
    "They had the lead and the ability to keep running it. And there were the third down plays we weren't able to get off the field on."

ANDY DALTON
Quarterback
How do you explain what happened tonight?
    "We didn't execute, and we got beat. It's what it comes down to. We didn't start fast. That's on me. I have to obviously play better. When you take turns missing assignments, missing a throw, whatever it might be, it's not going to turn out well for you, and that's what happened tonight."

Did the wind affect your confidence throwing the ball?
    "No."

Do you feel off mechanically?
    "No. I missed a couple early. We could never get in a rhythm."

Did they do anything different from the past?
    "It's what we expected. It wasn't a whole lot different. It just comes down to execution. We have to do better. We have to be sound in our assignments and when you do that, that's when you can be good and score points. We weren't that way tonight."

The team has struggled in prime-time games. How surprised are you that it happened again tonight?
    "I am surprised. I didn't think that we were going to come out and play like we did. But, the good thing is that it only counts as one. We have to move on from it next week and be ready to go."

Who do you think should get the blame for this one?
    "I should, and I deserve it. It all starts with me. It all goes through the quarterback. I've got to play better to put our team in a position to win."

Is that frustrating for you since it was a prime-time game?
    "It's frustrating because we lost. Regardless of when you play, it doesn't matter. We lost this one. Like I said, it's a good thing that it only counts as one."

What does it say about this team when you are up and down from week to week?
    "We've got to find a way to be consistent. We haven't been in the losses. I think that's what it comes down to. Every week we have to come to play. We have to find a way to do that."

Did you think you guys were flat like you were in Indianapolis?
    "Obviously, we didn't have the start we wanted to. I don't think it was because guys weren't ready to come out and play. We have to find a way to start fasted, and that starts with me."

Why don't you think you were able to execute?
    "We just didn't get into a rhythm. For me, I missed a couple early and then we couldn't get anything going."

DEVON STILL
Defensive tackle
(the following is from the locker room)
You must have a lot of different emotions racing through your body and mind right now to have your daughter here and to experience what you did out there. Sum it up ...
    "It was like a roller coaster of emotions. Every time I was able to see my daughter — in pre-game, or to see her come down on the field when they presented the check — it was good emotions. But we definitely wanted to go out there and win that game. That would have been the cherry on top of everything. All we can do is look at the tape and try and get better from our mistakes. We've got seven games left, so there's a long season left ahead of us."

How much time were you able to spend with your daughter before the game?
    "She came in Wednesday night and I spent all night with her, and spent all day with her. She was able to go to the hotel to do the walk-through with the team. I spent a lot of time with her, and I'm going to be spending a lot of time with her these next couple of days before she goes into her radiation."

Is she going to stay in Cincinnati during this mini-bye you have here?
    "She's going to say until Saturday and then we're all going to fly back to Philadelphia because she starts her radiation on Tuesday. I want to see her before she can't have contact with everybody."

It seemed like you had other family members here in the suite with your daughter tonight ...
    "I had my mom, my fiancé and my sister up there with her."

Are you anxious to see her after the football game?
    "I can't wait to see the smile on her face. It's a lot of emotions losing that game. It's a bad emotion right now. But seeing my daughter somehow always seems to turn it around. I'm looking forward to seeing her."

(DEVON STILL, continued)
(the following is from the news conference room)
Do you have mixed emotions about the night?
    "I would describe it as being an emotional roller coaster. Being out there for pregame, and to be able to see my daughter and the excitement going through the game ... Obviously, the game didn't turn out the way we wanted it to, but seeing my daughter on the field as they presented the check, it definitely was joy. The strength that she has shown, and the perseverance that she's shown, is the reason that we have been able to raise so much money."

Brian Hoyer came up to you at the break. What did he say to you?
    "He said that he respects me for how I have been dealing with everything and what I've been doing for pediatric cancer and for being able to juggle dealing with my daughter's health and trying to play football."

How do you keep your emotions in check on a night like tonight?
    "It was very hard. Just going out before the game and being able to see my daughter in the press box, seeing the different pictures that they were putting up online of her, it definitely made me emotional. Somehow I was able to control it during the game. Then seeing them present the check with her on the field; I think the most emotional part for me was when I looked up and saw her next to Lauren Hill — they had a chance to meet."

Will you talk to her after about her time at the game?
    "Oh, yeah. I could tell by how much she was smiling on the Jumbotron that she had a lot of fun. I'm sure she's going to tell me about her day, with meeting the cheerleaders and being able to be in the press box. Saturday we fly back to Philadelphia to get ready for her radiation that she starts on Tuesday."

How proud of her are you?
    "I'm extremely proud. I didn't know she had this in her. You never think that your child would face a battle like this. The strength that my daughter has shown me, the courage that she has shown me, is nothing short of inspirational. She's allowed me to go out and meet a lot of kids that are dealing with the same thing. Being surrounded by those kids, you just get a different outlook on life. Like I said, I am very proud of my daughter and the amount of awareness that she has raised for pediatric cancer, and the funds that she's raised for pediatric cancer."

How has she been able to handle all of the attention? It has to be overwhelming?
    "No. She loves it. She loves the camera. She thinks she's a movie star. She's handled this whole ordeal tremendously. I never expect a four-year old to be able to go through this and be able to understand what she's going through and be able to put a smile on her face."

When do you go back to Philadelphia?
    "We fly back Saturday. We have to take a class on Monday for her radiation that starts on Tuesday. Hopefully, everything goes well because after that we get test results back to see how much of the cancer is gone after he last round of chemo and her radiation that she's going to have next week."

Do you know how much is gone now?
    "When she first got diagnosed she was stage four. It was in her legs, her hips, her arms, her chest and her skull. After the four rounds of chemo, it's in her chest and her lower extremities, so a lot was removed after the first rounds of chemo, so hopefully, this fifth round and the radiation will knock the rest of it out."

RYAN HEWITT
H-back
Did Cleveland do anything that you didn't expect or was it a lack of execution?
    "Absolutely it was a lack of execution. It was one of those days where we kind of came out and it seemed like we were repeatedly shooting ourselves in the foot with simple mistakes. It's just one of those days where if you do that, it's hard to beat anybody."

It seemed that every time you took a step forward, you took a couple steps back with penalties and turnovers. It's hard to play uphill like that, isn't it?
    "It is pretty much impossible. Hopefully we get it fixed over this weekend and going into next week."

You go on the road for two straight games after going 14 games before tonight without a loss at home. You want to come home in December and start another one, right?
    "It's all we can do at this point."

During the course of the mini-bye here, do you have the weekend off?
    "We'll have the weekend off. I think it will help us out a little bit at this point, you know, a lot of guys getting their mind off what's happened. As soon as Monday rolls around, we're going to be back at it full bore."

A.J. GREEN
Wide receiver
What happened out there?
    "We just didn't play good. We didn't play good again on national TV. I don't know what it is, but it's hard. It's just hard to play like that after we worked our butts off. We all had a hand in it, but you can't play like that on national TV."

Is the prime-time thing a coincidence or is there something to it?
    "I don't believe in all that. We didn't play good and that's the bottom line. Everyone had a hand in it."

What has been the biggest difference this year in losing some of these big games?
    "I don't know. We're just not playing good in any of the phases. It's hard to win when you turn the ball over."

What's wrong with the passing game?
    "Nothing. I don't know."

Did you feel like one big play could change the feel of the game?
    "Yes, every time we went out on the field. We just couldn't make the play. We couldn't get going on offense."

Can you put a loss like this into words?
    "This one has me speechless."

EMMANUEL LAMUR
Linebacker
What has been the issue with stopping the run over the last few weeks?
    "They've been executing their plan and we're not. We have to learn from it and keep getting better. It's frustrating."

GREG LITTLE
Wide receiver
How much talking was there between you and your old team?
    "None, really. I have great respect for them and they fought hard."

Is this loss especially disappointing for you?
    "Obviously. It's disappointing because we lost so bad on national television, not necessarily because it's my old team. The primary objective is to win the game, no matter what day or who it's against."

What happened on the penalty?
    "Just chattering. It is what it is. It's football."

Andy seemed to be throwing a lot of high balls ...
    "Yeah, the winds were high. You have to adjust and progress."

JEREMY HILL
Halfback
What has been the difference in the team's three losses this year?
    "I think turnovers and being able to convert on third down. You can't turn the ball over and you have to convert on third down and help our defense. It's as simple as that."

How do you put this into words?
    "We're embarrassed. It's pathetic. I had a fumble and you can't do that. It is what it is. They didn't do anything special, we just couldn't get it done."


BROWNS POSTGAME QUOTES

MIKE PETTINE
Head coach
Initial comments ...
    "Obviously, a huge win and as complete a game as we've played all year. I thought all three phases complimented each other very well, but it all fed off the defense. I thought the early turnover set the tone, and to get a touchdown out of that instead of a field goal was huge. I thought the guys grew more and more confident as the game went on, and it was a tremendous effort. I compliment the staff and the players on how we handled the short week. It was a very different schedule, practicing at night, walking through and not doing any live reps with limited game plan stuff. It was just a matter of going out and executing, and our guys responded and went out and played our best game of the year."

The Browns are probably better now than they have been since they've been back. What does that mean to you?
    "I don't get into looking back at that now, it's just we are in the business of compartmentalizing. From week to week we want to get better. We know the history, but we can't let that affect us one way or the other. To me, we are playing well and the players have bought into what we are selling as a staff, and it shows. This is a tight team, and they care about each other, and it shows on the field. It is a tight group."

What was the difference today with the defense? It seemed like they were clicking on all cylinders ...
    "I thought the play was good, and Jim O'Neil called an outstanding game. I think he had a really good feel and it took a lot of work. I know we worked ahead on Cincinnati a little bit, but I thought we had a real good sense of what they were trying to accomplish.
    "It started with Joe (Haden) matching up on A.J. (Green), and I don't know what the statistics ended up, but it was big for us to have Joe tracking him most of the way and have the success that he had. I thought our secondary covered as well as they have, and they missed some throws. He (Andy Dalton) had some guys open early and I think the wind might have been a factor; it was swirling pretty good down on the field. But I thought it started with us stopping the run. We talked all week that that is a technique deal; pad level and the desire on top of it. And I think when you can stop the run and get a team behind the sticks, you can cut it loose."

After you got a turnover on the 18, how important was it to run the ball all the way in (for a touchdown)?
    "It was critical in the fact that we were able to pound it in without attempting a pass. It was a statement. The biggest part there was converting it into a touchdown to jump out and take advantage of that turnover, I thought that got them back on their heels a little bit."

How do you explain the running game getting back on track and all three backs scoring a touchdown?
    "It starts up front. I have to see the film, but I thought the backs ran hard and there were holes. I thought what we were doing schematically was helpful as well. I thought Kyle (Shanahan) called a good game and kept them off-balance, but I think we had a pretty good feel for what we liked in the run game even though it was a short week. We felt much better about the run game this week than we have in recent weeks."

Can you talk about your defense, particularly the secondary, and how uncomfortable they made Andy Dalton?
    "I thought it started with the safeties, who did a good job of disguising coverages. There were times when even I was like, 'Are you sure we called that, are we even in it?' and then at the snap of the ball, they rotated and did their jobs. I thought they did a good job with the disguises and they just went out and executed.
    "That is a group that has been getting better. We do a lot of things in the secondary and it does take some time. It's just a credit to that room. I think I mentioned it earlier this week or last week, just how tight that room is and the great leadership it has with Joe (Haden) and Donte (Whitner). And then you throw in the three coaches, I can't say enough about them; Bobby Babich and Jeff Hafley and Aaron Glenn. They have a great feel for the room and have a great sense of what they can do and what they can't do."

You said this game was a measuring stick. When you look at it, what did you learn?
    "It was a huge confidence boost for our guys; just look at the streaks we ended. We talked about it during the week, not many people were giving us a chance. They had won 13 or 14 in a row at home; the Browns had lost 17 division road games in a row. We kind of took an 'it's an us against the world' mentality. Nobody really thought we could come down here and do this. The big thing for us was be confident early. We didn't want to have it like some other road games, where we kind of ease our way into it. That's where I thought the turnover was huge, it got our guys pumped up early and we were able to convert that into a touchdown and roll from there."

During this week, people were wondering if this team was ready to play in prime time and step up. Did you have any doubts?
    "We felt good about the plans, but with Thursday night it's such a rushed week and you don't get much time to sit and say, 'How do we feel about it?' You compress it into four days, and it's a lot more difficult. I know we felt good about the plans. I felt good about our players being mentally fresh and physically fresh by the way we handled the week and that certainly showed."

What did you like most about Brian Hoyer's performance tonight?
    "That he didn't try to do too much. It looked to me like he just went out and did his job and made some big throws. I don't think he threw for 200 yards, but he did an excellent job in the second half when we needed to work the clock a little bit. We talked about it all week, this is a do your job and good things will happen game. It's national TV, but we don't want guys coming out of structure trying to make plays. Just go out there, you are 1/11th, you do your job and you are on to the next one."

Why do think the wind didn't affect any of Hoyer's throws?
    "He does throw a tight ball. I didn't see too many flutter. I think people underestimate his arm a little bit; it's a tight spiral and he can throw it."

What about Phil Taylor? We didn't expect him back, and he seemed to give you a lift out there ...
    "He did. I think that a real positive for us. We thought it was going to be close on whether he could go or not. Knowing the weather forecast and how successful they have been running the ball recently and having (Jeremy) Hill, a bigger back, we thought we would see a pretty decent amount of run. That did seem to be their plan until we got up a couple of scores. But I think that helped that helped us with (Johnson) Bademosi, having Phil up was a luxury."

Did the running back rotation vary some this week because of the short week?
    "It did, and also the way we kept it was essentially by personnel grouping. When we had two tight ends and two wideouts on the field, it was (Isaiah) Crowell. When we had the fullback on the field with the tight end, it was (Terrance) West and then when we went to our three-wide personnel, it was (Ben) Tate. It was important for us to have fresh backs in there, and it showed."

Andrew Hawkins just wasn't ready to go?
    "He wanted to go, and I made that decision that it just wasn't worth it. I know it was a big game for him, but we are going to play Cincinnati again. He could have gutted it out and gone, but we felt that to be close to 100 percent against Houston, it was important that he didn't go tonight."

Is that one of the perils of Thursday night that given a couple more days, he might have been able to go?
    "He would definitely have gone if this was a Sunday game."

BRIAN HOYER
Quarterback
Can you put into words how great it was to win this game in the way that you did?
    "Yeah, it's awesome. I don't think many people gave us a chance, but the people in that (locker) room believed, and I think the greatest thing about our team is we play as a team. In the NFL, that's where you have a lot of guys who are out for their selves, and this team plays for each other. As long as we do that, we can do special things."

In the past few weeks, it's been the special teams helping to win the game or the defense; tonight, it was everybody ...
    "Yeah, that's what I said — we play as a team, and the best thing is no one cares who gets the credit, you know? We just go out and try to win games, and it's special in this league when you play like that and not have individuals pouting that they didn't play well. It doesn't matter. It's about the team and that's what we've got to do. I think that's what makes us unique. You know, maybe we're not good enough to go out and beat people in one-on-one matchups, but when we play as a team, I think we're a hard team to beat."

What was the difference in the running game tonight vs. the last three weeks?
    "The mentality, I think. Our guys are sick of hearing we can't run the ball. We led the league in rushing or were second in rushing the first five games (this season), so it's our mentality and also, like I said, it's our third week in a row with the same (offensive) line. That means something — that's five guys that have to work as one, and the running backs have to make those guys right. So it's a combination of a bunch of things and obviously, they did a great job. When we run the ball, it opens up a ton of other things in our game."

When you found out former Bengals wide receiver Andrew Hawkins wasn't going to play in the game, what thoughts went through your head?
    "You know, I just felt for him. I know how much he wanted to play this game. And I told him, 'You know, I know how much you want to play this game and we all respect the hell out of you. We know how tough you are, but realize there's eight more games to play.' And I could see when they told him he wasn't playing, there was a tear in his eye, and how much it means to him, and that's why you love the guy. But I did tell him we get to play Cincinnati one more time, so he'll get his chance to play his old team."

Do you think a prime-time win like this solidifies you as a playoff contender?
    "We're not concerned about that; we're concerned about going one week at a time, so now we're 6-3 and we're looking to be 7-3. That's the mentality you have to take because as soon as you start to feel good about yourself and those types of things, that's when you fall. We're a mature team, we have a great coaching staff — they're not going to let us do that, so we're onto Houston now."

What changed to give you guys that winning mindset?
    "You know what? I don't know — you can just feel it. You can feel it in the locker room, you can feel it when you're eating the pre-game meal. You can just tell there's a confidence about our team. Our players are close. We stick together. Maybe because we've had some close games and pulled them out, when you do things like that, you believe in yourself and you believe in the guy next to you.
    "It goes back to OTAs and training camp. Everyone knew we had the talent to win in this league; we just had to put it all together and buy in to Coach (Mike) Pettine's system. The biggest thing is we preach our toughness — not just physical, but mental — and when you can live up to that, you give yourself a chance in every game."

You're in first place in the AFC North — how good does that feel?
    "It doesn't matter. It's such a long season. There's seven more games to go. I know speaking for myself, the meaningful games come at the end of November and in December. That's something this organization hasn't had in a long time; I'm used to it from my time in New England. You've got to keep pressing on and know that with each game that you win, the more meaningful they become after that. Being first in the division on Nov. 6 doesn't mean anything. We have to keep pressing on and get to mid-December, end of December and that's when you put yourself in a good position."

What do you have to keep doing to be successful?
    "Be ourselves. Keep doing what we do and realize that everything that we do out there as a team is going to give us a chance to win. We have a defense that plays lights out. On offense, we've got to be smart and take our shots when they're there and go from there. But you can see as the game goes on, what kind of game it's going to be and you just have to be smart about that and play on as a team."

Could you tell us what you said to Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still tonight?
    " I followed that being a father myself. I can't imagine what's he's gone through. Reading the stories, it gets you choked up because you put yourself in that situation and with especially how demanding this job is, I just went over and told him I respect the hell out of him, I pray for him and his daughter (Leah). It sounds like things are going well. She gets to come to the game tonight — what a special moment for him. From one father to another, I just (wanted) to show him how much I respect him and hope everything works out for the best."

At the end of the first half, you guys were attacking — did you notice?
    "I think that's always our mentality — to attack — and as long as we do that, we can keep that defense on their heels a little bit, especially with our no huddle stuff and go from run-pass, play action, those types of things."

What can you say about your defense having 12 takeaways in the last four games and they had four more today?
    "They're playing lights out. I think people wanted to question them early in the year but like with anything, it takes time to gel as a unit and it's a new system. As we've progressed, offense, defense, special teams we're going to continue to get better because we have a feel for our schemes and the players around us.
    "You look at those guys when you're sitting on the bench, and you see an interception here, a fumble recovery there, that gets your team going, that gets the momentum and you hope you never look back."

The wind didn't seem to affect you — was that a result of the play calling?
    "No. I'm more worried about rain. Wind doesn't even really enter my mind unless it's 60 mile-an-hour gusts. I think as long as you throw a spiral — there was one that got away from me, but Gary (Barnidge) got up and made a great catch on it — I think I don't threw many balls that weren't spirals. And when you throw a spiral, that ball is meant to cut through the wind. It might move a little bit here or there, but for the most part, that doesn't cross my mind."

Did it phase you at all going into a game without Jordan Cameron, Alex Mack or Andrew Hawkins as you did tonight?
    "We were without three Pro Bowl players from last year, and I think we talk about that all the time — it's just next man stepping up, especially with Hawk. I mean, three Pro Bowl players plus our top wide receiver, you've just got to find a way to get it done and I think I've told you guys all along, I trust all of my receivers .They give everything they have and they know what to do and when you have that, you just go through the progressions and try to take what the defenses gives you and good things can happen."

How important was it for you guys to set the tone from running the ball in after the interception on the Bengals' first drive?
    "From the beginning of the game? It's crazy because the headset was out and for whatever reason, that's a problem you have usually in the middle of the game, so I had to run over and get the play calls so it was a little hectic. But to fight through that and finish with a touchdown and really set the tone for the game was huge."

Before the game, CBS analyst Phil Simms said he had never seen a team so excited to play a Thursday night game. Did you see that, too? Were you worried you might be a bit too hyped up to play?
    "No, I don't think it was too hyped; it was just kind of a quiet confidence knowing what the opportunity was. As I said before, as a team, when you play together it breeds confidence whether it's offense, defense or special teams, you can just feel it. It's not one guy saying something, it's not one guy doing something, it's the entire locker room. You just feel like you can go into every game and win.
I can't speak for other players, but I don't think it's been like that here for a long time."

Where did that maturity come from this week?
    "The maturity for that? I think you get some veteran guys, you get some guys who have been in meaningful games and know what's at stake, and you hope that rubs off on the other guys — rookies, guys who haven't experienced that before, (etc.). I think it's working and we've just got to continue to stay at it."

All the Hoyer chants that were going on during the game and the whole scene after the game, what was that like to experience?
    "That's great. That's great to see our fans come down and support us here and we gave them something to cheer about, so it's definitely something special and I'll remember that for a long time."

CRAIG ROBERTSON
Linebacker
You got an interception on the Bengals first drive. What did that mean for the rest of the game?
    "We were just out there flying around, guys cutting loose. Everything and everybody was out there having fun playing."

How good can this defense be?
    "The sky's the limit."

Take us through your interception ...
    "We were just in coverage and I saw him eyeing down the tight end. I saw his throwing motion started and I just jumped it. I had to keep those hands going, I've got those hands (laughs). But I just jumped it, I caught it. Coach said I should've scored, which he's probably right."

DONTE WHITNER
Defensive back
What does this win mean for this team?
    "That we're not the old Cleveland Browns. We understand everybody wants to put that label on us, but we work too hard and have too much character and talent on this football team to believe what outside people think of us. Right now we're No. 1 in our division, we've got a couple days and we're come back in and get ready for next week."

How good can this defense be?
    "We're starting to gel. Early in the season, we weren't used to really playing with each other and a new scheme. We understand now what teams are going to do against certain defenses and certain looks, what we can show the quarterback, how to stop the run. That's why we're starting to pick it up."

BUSTER SKRINE
Defensive back
Talk about your two interceptions ...
    "On the first interception, I read the route. I knew by the formation there was a possibility of a slant. He ran the slant and I got a good jump on it, made the play. On the second one, they guy they put in the game, he's a speed receiver, so I thought deep automatically and I just made a good play."

JOE HADEN
Defensive back
The Browns have arrived. What do you think?
    "It was a great, great team effort; everybody stepped up. We're having so much fun out there, everybody playing with the dudes, working to get to one goal."

It seems like the defense has come into its own now ...
    "Everybody now, we're playing full games. At first we would give you a half, and then we'd slack off. Or we would start slow and give a second half. Now we're coming out starting fast and finishing strong. Everybody's keeping each other accountable. Everybody's locked in. Every time we go out there, our goal is to record a three-and-out, and we're making it known before we step out onto the field. Everybody being in tune, our coaches giving us good notes on the sidelines — everybody's just into the game. We're just playing hard and just playing very, very well."

What's it like to totally frustrate the other team's offense?
    "It's a great feeling; just to know all the work and preparation that you put in film study (is paying off). You see them getting frustrated. We're jamming up receivers and our defensive line is getting to the quarterback. We're doing our job. People are locked in. Coach always says do your one/11 — everybody was doing that. We just kept the pedal down, we never want it to feel comfortable; we always want to get three-and-outs."

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