(On how the offseason is going and how everyone is fitting into the defense) "I think as far as things have gone so far, it's an exciting time to be on defense here. The new schematics are fun, especially for the linebackers to play, a lot of following the ball, getting to the ball, seems like a lot less responsibilities in certain calls and certain aspects. Then the guys in front, the guys behind are flying to the ball making plays all over the field and it just makes for a fun environment and it's great learning so far in the spring. Now, we just can't wait to get pads on and start playing real football."
(On if he worried about how he would fit into the new defense) "No, I've played 3-4, 4-3 since college and [in] the NFL multiple different 4-3 schemes, multiple different 3-4 schemes, so I've always been in one of those defenses. Once you get to a certain point, all NFL defenses are the same, you just have to learn the verbiage and the language of the defense to be able to communicate effectively on the field. So that really wasn't a concern of mine. It's just learning the new language because this is the fifth new language I've had to learn in six years, so that's the only thing you get a little worried about. But it's been smooth, and that thought didn't really cross my mind."
(On learning his fifth defensive verbiage in six years) "It's just tough to learn the verbiage at first. You're always going to associate things you did in the past and there's always going to be a way that you thought you liked the best. But once you get through OTA's and mandatory mini-camp and training camp, that's three times we'll have installed the whole playbook and everything going forward. So, you'll get enough repetitions and enough learning classroom time in it that it starts to become second nature once you get towards the end of preseason going into the season. From there, once you get the new defense set, it's hard to remember anything about the old defenses until you look at a playbook. It's not too much of a concern, but every year it's kind of a grind because there's no coming back to being [like], 'Oh yeah, we have the same playbook again this year.' That would be nice, but I haven't had it happen really yet."
(On playing with consistency) "I think the biggest thing, as you get more comfortable in the NFL environment, how to play games, how to do your role, know your role in the defense and learn when you're going to have your opportunities. It doesn't just happen right away, at least it didn't for me. It took a couple of years to be able to start putting myself in those positions, then you have to take advantage of it when you get there. One of the biggest things is being on the field as much as possible, playing as many snaps as you can, staying healthy, and getting yourself into those positions. I think the last three, four years, I've been able to do that quite consistently. As a linebacker, I think the interceptions are the hardest thing to come by, just getting underneath routes, being able to take advantage of quarterbacks when they make mistakes because quarterbacks in the NFL don't. But forced fumbles and sacks are a little bit easier for linebackers to attain and those are a lot more effort, a lot more hustle plays usually for a linebacker. So, [it's] just being able to run to the ball, being able to pursue it with a lot of effort. You can push the quarterback one yard behind the line of scrimmage and that's a sack. Things like that, you're able to rack some of those up on a yearly basis, but interceptions you have to know what you're doing. You have to get into the passing lanes and take advantage of it when it comes."
(On the defense having a better practice than the offense today) "When you have a practice like we had today, you know the defense won the practice easily. Offensive guys get a little salty about it, but when you get three, four interceptions in a practice in only three or four periods, it's a pretty clear-cut defensive win. Even though Coach Meyer says there's no winners or losers right now, we're all staying on our feet, we're practicing smart, but deep down I know the offense is hurting a little after today. I can expect on Thursday they'll be coming back with their best shots, so we have to get ourselves ready."
(On who has stood out on the secondary) "I wouldn't say I've been surprised by anybody because I think I hold a lot of the guys to high expectations when they're coming in. I know Rayshawn [Jenkins]'s come in, he has some of the quickest, smoothest feet, acceleration, running around the field out there. Dewey [Andrew Wingard] keeps coming and making plays on the ball. Josh Jones has had three or four interceptions in the last week or so. A lot of guys are coming out and making a lot plays on the ball. We have a lot of guys that are new or coming back, like CJ [Henderson], who have practiced yet, a lot of proven play makers. I think it's just the competition you see back there, you have a first string, second string, third string guys getting interceptions day in day out. It's just going to create a great environment going through training camp, seeing how the chips fall. Going into the first game of the season, I know we're going to have a lot of playmakers, a lot of guys getting their hands on the ball."
(On the change in vibe of the team during this offseason) "When I came into the NFL, it was kind of a stigma, and you probably still hear it, 'You don't make a team in the training room.' When you're a rookie sometimes, especially in the past, it can come across as a threat that you don't want the coaches to see you in the training room, you don't want to be nicked up or injured or taken care of, like little things, because that will just be perceived as weakness or such. But when Urban [Meyer] and the new coaching staff came in, everything's about maximizing your value, using every single resource you have at hand available, using it as much as possible and taking advantage of the things you can take advantage of. Like if your calf got kicked in practice, you can go in and get some ice on it, you can get guys working soft tissue work. Don't be worried about being in the training room because the coaches are going to look down on it. They want you to take good care of your body. They want you to be better. Every moment that you're in here, take advantage of every moment of it, use every resource you have at their command. They're building new facilities; they're building new things to be able to do that even better. But it's been a great process getting to know the coaches and the coaching staff and their philosophies and being able to take advantage of stuff like that."
(On what he worked on this offseason) "I was lifting weights a little bit. I was here with [Head Strength and Conditioning Coach] Coach Schlegel. The energy's infectious in the weight room. Once you get in, it's pretty hard not to work hard, so just coming in, working, lifting, and following numbers. I think it's just been a successful offseason for pretty much anyone that's been in there. I'm sure a lot of guys who were away during the offseason came back in great shape too, but when you have a guy like Coach Schlegs in the weight room, it's hard not to get good work in."
(On peaking towards the middle to end of last season) "I think it was a little bit of a slow start just learning a new scheme and a new defense with everyone who's playing that scheme for quite a while. It kind of took a couple of weeks. With training camp, we didn't tackle live ever as starters last year. The first time we were tackling was the first game. We didn't get a lot of reps in training camp and there were no preseason games to kind of go through that. So, the first couple weeks of the season, that was kind of the vibe, trying to learn it, trying to get the experience in the defense. Once things kind of settled down and you knew your role and understood it completely, it was a little bit easier to be able to go out there and be more comfortable in what you're supposed to do and make plays. I think this year, everybody's on the same page. Training camp's going to be a little bit different than last year, but we're here in the offseason. We get to go through these reps. We get to go participate in OTA's and practice these calls and these schemes. So, I anticipate it being a little bit easier this year going into the season."
(On if there is an advantage having an in-person training camp this year) "For sure, especially for a first-year defense. Now, if we're talking next year and we have the same defense, I might want to be sipping a lemonade somewhere with sand, working out on my own. But this year, with the new defensive scheme, the new coaches, getting everybody out on the field, being able to experience these plays against the offense is pretty key."
(On how he has been learning the new defense) "I'm a big hard-copy play book guy, so I've been getting after the coaches to get me a hard-copy when I leave because I like to write notes in the playbook. I had an old coach that used to say just make a 'same as' sheet. You have calls where you have the same responsibilities on these calls. You kind of stack them all together and you can create this list and columns, so you know you have the same rules same as this, same as this, same as that. That's kind of how I go through it. There's obviously a lot of different ways to write stuff down, going through notes, writing notes down, and going through highlighting stuff that's important in your notebook. For me, hard copy play book and getting lists and categorizing them in terms of what your responsibility is is something that helps me a lot. "
(On LB Damien Wilson) "Damien's been great. He's another guy that's been around the league, I think this is his seventh year. He's experienced some winning at some other stops and he just brings a lot of energy and comradery to the room. You kind of felt like he was already one of the guys the first day he came in there. He's just a lot of jokes, a lot of laughter, having fun out there in spring football, which is really what you want. It's a good brotherhood that we're all developing and he's adding to that, and I can't wait to see how things progress through training camp and the season because I know we're going to have a lot of playmakers at the linebacking room, a lot of guys that have proven that they can do it. It's going to be fun."
(On LB Damien Wilson being a part of two Super Bowl winning teams) "Not necessarily like that yet, I think because he's coming in trying to learn the defense same as us, trying to get through things. But I'm sure once training camp goes through, Coach will have people who have been successful talk about things that they've done, thing that they've felt contributed to their success at past stops. He may be imparted some wisdom then, but for now, it's just enjoy, learning the playbook, and getting out on the field and having a good time."
(On the culture Head Coach Urban Meyer is creating in Jacksonville) "I think that if we're winning games in the fall, it will be a positive culture impact and if we're not winning any games, it won't be. But you have to respect a guy who lives what he preaches, and you can tell Urban [Meyer] and the coaching staff bought in and live what they preach. We take that to practice and the energy and the enthusiasm at practice has been one of the highest I've ever seen in spring. It's been a lot of fun to just get out there and compete and follow what these coaches are laying down. Once we get to Sundays in the fall, I expect us to be in a lot of games, winning a lot of games and being successful. I think culture is exactly what you think it is. You need a successful culture to be able to win any talent, to be able to win. If you don't have some of those key blocks, you're not going to [win]. If you have a lot of talent but you have a bad culture, you're not going to win. If you have bad talent and a great culture, you're not going to win a lot of games. If you can mesh the two right in the middle, you're going to win a lot of games, you're going to have a lot of success, and I think that's what they are preaching upstairs, and I think it's rubbing guys the right way."
(On increasing pressure on the quarterback this season) "I'd say like 50 percent of the plays in spring we've been running blitzes, so I think there's going to be a lot of pressure. [Defensive Coordinator] Coach Cullen's not afraid to get after it and put some guys in man coverage, get pressure on the quarterback, try to force him to make mistakes, so it's going to be fun to see what he has dialed up in games actually in the fall."