(On the keys to stopping Texans QB Deshaun Watson as a linebacker) "You just have to try to keep him confined in space. When he gets outside the pocket, he gets dangerous and when he does, you have to be able to take good angles to get him down because he's elusive. He's a good athlete and he makes a lot of people miss tackles. So, taking good [a] angle and trusting [that] the other people on the defense are going to be right behind you. When you get there, you can't take your time. You have to shoot your shot. If he makes you miss, at least you hope to make him stop his feet and somebody else is going to be right there."
(On if playing assignment football is more important when playing someone like Texans QB Deshaun Watson) "Yeah, I mean that's always important, but it gets exploited, like you said, when you're going against somebody who's as talented as Deshaun. So, you just really have to dot your I's and cross your T's when you're facing an athlete of his caliber because there's not a lot of guys in the game of football who can single-handedly change the game. Quarterback is one of the positions where [if] you have a guy of his caliber, they can affect the game, so, as a defense, you really have to be on your P's and Q's."
(On what he can attribute to points and total yards being up across the league this year) "First off, I think it's because that's what the NFL wants. The rules keep changing and make it a more offensive-minded league and then obviously training camp. Training camp affects everybody in specific ways, but I think on defense, not getting live reps as much against other teams [hurts]. You see your own offense every day obviously but not getting those live reps against other teams and getting those looks I think has been detrimental. On offense, you can run offense against air. You can't really run defense against air. You need the offense to be able to read and react and play against. So, that might be a key but other than that I don't really know."
(On if the defense will be able to catch up to the offense as the season goes on) "Yeah, you would think so, hopefully. With also the shortened training camp, I think injuries are up in the NFL this year a lot and it just seems offensive guys can kind of plug guys in easier and not miss as many beats as defense. So, if people on defense keep going down across the NFL, I think it might stay the same. But if you can keep a healthy defense and keep building, get these first couple games out of your system, then as the season goes on just get stronger, I think you'll definitely see some top defenses rise into the top ranks of the NFL."
(On what he attributes the decline of the run defense in the second half against the Bengals) "Yeah, I mean obviously injuries don't help but in the NFL, as every coach will ever tell you, is a next man up mentality and that breeds true in every sense of the word. So, you can't really use that as an excuse and then I think everybody on defense will take it on the second half. There's plays where people are out of position. It's nothing they specifically did. I think [Defensive Coordinator Todd] Wash came in on Tuesday I guess [and said] they had four runs for 90 yards I think in the second half. We faced all four of those runs in the first half and they had a combined 7 yards. So, it's just misalignments or misfits on a couple of plays that really hurt and obviously Joe Mixon's a great running back and was able to take advantage."
(On Defensive Coordinator Todd Wash's attitude the past few weeks) "I don't know how to class him. I'm going to say he likes to have fun. He's not loose in terms of like 'loosey goosey' or anything like that, but he knows how to have fun. He knows how to get serious when you need to be serious and he knows how to push players properly to get the best out of them in practice and in games. Obviously, he's with the d-line a lot because he's formerly a d-line coach, but he stops into different meeting rooms along the day and chops it up. So, he's present in, I think, every room and he's present vocally, and I think he does things the right way."
(Of if Coach Wash points out the small victories to keep the defense motivated) "I think a sign of a good coach is obviously to correct the things that need to be corrected, but also to point out things that are being done well, and there has been a lot of things that have been done well. Like we were talking about earlier, the whole first half of [the] Cincinnati game was pretty much a very well-played first half on a defensive perspective. So, you have to take those good things and build upon it and take that over a full 60 minutes and then you have to identify the things you haven't done well and eliminate those from your game. I think he does a good job of playing out both of those and stressing the importance of both of those aspects."
(On if he's nervous about COVID affecting the season with the influx of positive tests recently) "It always gives you pause when you see something like this happen. Obviously, we've luckily been out of that crisis [that] I suppose Tennessee's dealing with right now and a couple other teams that had some cases pop up. But I mean it's just the status of the world right now. We spent the whole offseason not knowing what we were going to be doing if we were even going to be having a season. For me, right now, it's always on the forefront of your mind because whenever you go and check your phone, you see a news flash of a new guy in Tennessee testing positive or their next week game potentially being postponed or forfeited or whatever the NFL decides to come up with if things keep happening. So, it gives you pause because NFL is our business and getting on the field and playing football is what we do for our living. Obviously, it gives you a moment's pause, but I think, as professionals and in our environment here in Jacksonville, we just have to keep doing things the way we've been doing then. We've been good so far. Sometimes you catch it just because, I'm not a doctor, but you can catch it getting take-out. Some things are unavoidable, but you have to limit your exposure as much as possible and I think the guys on the team understand that, so it doesn't give me too much worry."
(On if forfeiting games would be the worst case scenario this season) "Forfeiting games or just cancelling the season would obviously not be great because then you don't get paid for any of those forfeits or [if] the season's cancelled you're not going to get paid anymore for the season. So, you don't want it to get to that point because, like I said, it is our job. Obviously, we get paid very well in the entertainment industry as football players. There's a lot of people out in the world who have normal every day, regular jobs who are being affected and have been affected by this as well. The forfeiture of games and potentially cancelling the season is something that's on your mind just from a financial standpoint and your family's standpoint."