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Defensive End Dawuane Smoot - August 25th, 2020

(On his assessment of the defensive line and how they have been able to adjust to losing members of the group) "For us, we've just been working as much as we can. Our philosophy's always been, I'm pretty sure you guys have always heard this, 'next man up.' We have some dogs on the d-line even though we're thin and we're getting new people in every day. People are willing to buy into the system and we're reloading every day so I feel like we'll be fine going in to the season because we have some hard workers and some young, hungry guys on the d-line as well."

(On his martial arts and if he has any new activities this offseason) "I've definitely just elevated that. I work with a martial arts specialist three or four times a week. Also, my guy at Rise and Grind, Jason. I have a couple of other guys working with me too, so we've just been working hard this whole offseason. [We've] been doing whatever we can, been working since like January until the season, been working real hard. So, I'm just trying to continue it and just trying to take a new step up every single year so that's my goal."

(On if his martial arts training has shown in his play on the field) "Oh definitely. I would definitely say my strength and being able to shed blocks, that got way better, tremendously better. I'll give all that credit to Rise and Grind because I've been working a bunch on my strength there and lifting and doing whatever I can to be able to stop the run so that's my goal."

(On his individual goals for the 2020 season) "My goal is just to do whatever I can with the reps I have. I know I had like thirty-eight percent of the snaps last year and I'm hoping to get more going into my fourth year. But all I can really do is just not really focus on that. I know after this year I'm supposed to be up for a contract and stuff like that, but I don't want to get distracted by that right now. I'm just trying to focus on being able to just go out there and make plays. That's just kind of what I did last year, just trying to prove myself and make plays as much as I can so that's my goal this year and I'm still in the same mindset."

(On his emotions during the evolution of his role with the team) "I would definitely say it's been a lot of ups and downs. I mean I came in as a rush [end], then I got moved to big end and now I'm a big end or am I a rush? I don't really know, and I've played every position on the line at the point. But the great point about that is that I know every position, so people are able to come to me and ask me questions and stuff. Emotionally, now, I'm at a point where I'm just trying to lead as much as I can and help out any guys that comes in even if I'm starting or I'm second string or anything like that. If I know what to do, why not help the next guy up because I would want that if I was a rookie coming in. That's just what my focus is just helping out everybody. Just whatever role I have to play, play at full speed and go 100 percent."

(On leaning on fellow DL Taven Bryan during all the shuffle within the group) "Yeah definitely, that's my boy. I know he's probably going to see this and smile. But yeah, we really lean on each other. We actually play a game with each other a lot, play a little Call of Duty and stuff, just chat it up. [We] really lean on each other emotionally as well so it's been good."

(On why DL Taven Bryan deserves recognition in spite of not playing up to first-round draft pick expectations according to some sources) "I mean if you really pay attention to every single play, whenever Taven [Bryan]'s out there, he wrecks. He's freaking knocking people off blocks and knocking off pulls and everything like that. That's his role. That's what he does. He's a wrecking ball. He's going to get vertical and he's going to knock off blocks and do what he has to do to open up plays for our linebackers. Just because the stat sheet doesn't show it [that] doesn't mean he's not out here grinding. He's a valuable part of the team as well. He just stays in his role. He knows what he can do and that's what he's going to do."

(On how he feels about his career right now) "Right now, I definitely thought that I was going to be in a different place of course. I mean everybody coming in after college just thinks they're just going to keep rolling and getting 8.0, 9.0., 10.0 sacks and go crazy, be like a Josh Allen. I'm definitely comfortable I would say within my role like leadership wise and being able to help out all the guys but I'm definitely not comfortable with any of my stats or like what I'm able to do on the field. I'm trying to get more. I'm trying to go for more. I'm trying to get double digits and do whatever I can for the team and put some W's on the board. That's my goal at the end of the day."

(On not having a sack throughout the first two years of his career) "The first two years kind of just put me in a place of uncertainty. The stat sheet is not showing exactly what I'm doing. I know that whenever I got out there, I'll get a tackle for loss here and there, just making plans here and there, but I never really had that true sack until last year. I feel like my motivation really came, it didn't necessarily come from the team, it came from my family. Once I had my kid and everything like that, I feel like I had somebody who was leaning on me, somebody was depending on me. I had no other choice but to go get it last year. I just put my head down and worked. [I] just figured out what I had to do. [I] just lifting and grinded and did what I had to do and, hey, it all worked out so that's what I'm trying to do."

(On new teammate DT Timmy Jernigan and what he brings to the defensive group) "He's a dog. He's out there with all the energy and he brings it. Like today, I was down. We just came off a little vet day or whatever we just had, but like I was down, and he just came out there like, 'What? What?' He was out there singing and everything. He really got my hyped up and I ended up having a good practice right off his shoulders. Hey man, I love him. He's definitely somebody I want on the team for a long time."