Q: What has impressed you about
BB: We thought a lot of Sebastian when we drafted him in the second round. Smart player, real smart; has good talent, good skill. He’s played both the left side and the right side for us. [He] works hard, very tough, dependable player that’s effective in the running game and in the passing game. He has a good skill set, he’s tough, he works hard, very smart, learns well. He improved tremendously his rookie year over the course of the year at a very rapid rate. He’s played well for us.
Q: How has
BB: Wendy has been here for awhile, going back to the practice squad then really as the backup and this year he earned the job and he’s had a solid year for us; played a lot of football. He’s virtually played just about every play as well as some plays on the kickoff return team and on the field goal team. He’s been a solid guy for us, a real smart player. He’s been in our system awhile so even though he hasn’t started, he’s gotten a lot of snaps. I think everybody has a lot of confidence in him. He’s a tough kid, has good balance, low center of gravity, plays on his feet, plays strong. He’s smart, he handles things like a good football player would. Just making good decisions, seeing the game, doing the right thing when there are two or three different things that could happen but just instantly doing what’s best for that play. He’s an instinctive player.
Q: You mention the level of excitement of the team. You’ve been a part of a lot of playoff games. Do you still get the same level of excitement for the playoffs?
BB: Yeah, sure. This is what we work all year for. We worked all year since the end of last season to get back to this point. This is really what it’s all for. All the team planning, the OTAs, the minicamps, the meetings, the walkthroughs, the preseason games, the practices, the regular season, it’s all for this. [We’ll] put everything we have into this game and try to have the result that we want. I think that’s where our team is. That’s where I am personally. I think that’s where everybody is. That’s where we should be.
Q: What is it about the process that you particularly embrace?
BB: All of it. I think it’s all important. Really, I enjoy all of it. This is what it’s all for. Once we get to this game, that’s what everything we’ve put into the season all comes down to. We all know we’re in a one-game season. If we all perform well on Sunday then our season can extend. If we don’t, it won’t. We have to be at our best on Sunday and that’s all of us – every player, every coach, all of us that are involved in the game.
Q: Why do you love it? Is it the higher competition level?
BB: This is our whole team coming together. I think our team has been through a lot this year, as every team has. The whole offseason program, the spring, bringing new people on to the team, thinning the roster down to 53-man cut down, going through all the things you go through during the season, guys coming on and off the roster, the ups and downs of your season, the big wins, the disappointing losses, all of the things you deal with. It all comes down to this. We fought all those battles. We’ve gone down a long road and now we’re one of the final eight teams in the National Football League this year. For us to continue, we’re going to have to play our best game. But that’s what we’ve worked for, is to be in this spot. We embrace it.
Q: When you go from preseason to the regular season, guys get excited for the first game. How would you explain it going from the regular season to the postseason?
BB: Similar but just another level higher. It’s a higher step but that same type of thing. It’s the same type of – you’re at one place and then it jumps and you’re at another place and then it jumps. This is a jump this week. We understand that.
Q: Do the nerves play into the excitement level?
BB: I think there’s an anxiousness whenever you play. You always have that unknown of going up against a new opponent. Who knows how the game will go – what they’ll do, how things will match up, what adjustments you’ll have to make and how the game will unfold. There will be different beaks or situations in the game that will make each game unique. That makes it exciting. There’s no way to predict how all that’s going to happen, you just take it as it comes. You never know how it’s going to go. You’re always, there’s always certain elements that [are] a guessing game or playing percentages, however you want to call it. This is what we’re going to do, what we think we’re going to get. This is how we think it’s going to work out. It never quite goes that way. As a coach, you want to try to put your team in the best position you can so they can be competitive. As players, it’s the same thing. It’s like when you talk to the Navy SEALs and those guys about when they go on a mission, how they talk about, ‘Alright, so we get there and we practiced going over a six-foot wall and the wall is 30-feet high.’ Well, that’s the way it is in the NFL. You practice for whatever – you think you’re going to swim across a 200-yard lake and the lake is 800 yards across. You have to get across it. You get in an NFL game and think you’re going to get this and then you get that. Or you think they’re going to play this guy and they play some other guy. You face new challenges. That’s part of gamesmanship and part of the competition. You figure out which team can do it better than the other one. There’s always that unknown in the game, but things happen that you just can’t predict or you can’t prepare for because they’re working on things; we don’t know what they’re doing. They’ll come up with something that will cause us to make an adjustment. I’m sure we’ll do the same thing to them somewhere along the line. Everybody has to figure it out and make the best of it. That’s what makes this a great game.
Q: What about the butterflies in the stomach?
BB: I think you have that anxiety going into the game and when the ball is kicked off then you’re just in game mode. All the things you think about of what could happen and what you want to call, what you want to do, what situations might come up, once that opening kickoff happens then you’re playing the game or coaching the game, whatever you’re doing, whatever your role is. In my case, I’m coaching and I’m trying to do the right thing for the team in each situation that comes up and try to anticipate things a play or two ahead of time. What we want to do or what situation decisions we have to make, that type of thing. Once it starts – but the leading up process, yeah sure, there are definitely butterflies in your stomach. But I get that in preseason games, regular season games. It’s different than practice because I can control everything that happens in practice. As a coach, you know what plays you’re going to run or even if you don’t, there’s more control in practice. When you play a game, a preseason game, a postseason game, whatever it is, there’s the element of unknown – that’s the competition. Sure, each of those is a little bit different.
Q: Do you think that having so many players and coaches that have been through byes helped your team the past two weeks managing the time you had?
BB: I don’t know. We do the best we can with whatever opportunities we have. It was what it was so we dealt with it. I don’t know.
Q: What challenges does J.J. Watt present on Sunday?
BB: He’s a force on every play. That guy can, no matter what play you have called, he can ruin it. He’s good at the point of attack. He makes a lot of plays on the backside, disrupts the ball, strip-sacks, fumbles, caused fumbles, batted balls. He’s an excellent pass rusher, he’s quick, he’s powerful, he’s very long, he has good technique, gets off on the ball well. He’s a tough matchup against really anybody. He runs games well. He has a lot of ability, he’s well coached and he has good technique. He plays hard. Like I said, he’s really a factor on every play.
Q: Is it pretty much a team effort to block him on every play? Do you have to use more than one guy?
BB: I don’t know how you can put more than one guy on him very often; you have to block the other guys too. You have to block [Antonio] Smith, you have to block [Shaun] Cody, you have to block [Brooks] Reed, you have to block [Connor] Barwin, you have to block [Bradie] James. Who is blocking them? Somebody has to block them. You can’t put three guys on Watt and cut everybody else loose. I don’t think that’s the answer. Whoever has to block him has to block him. But I think the way that they play, he’ll get matched up against everybody sooner or later: the right tackle, the right guard, the center, the left guard, the left tackle. We’ve watched a lot of their games. I’ve seen everybody have to block him – tight ends at times depending on what the play is or the protection. They stunt him a lot. He might line up on one side of the ball, but he’ll twist to the other side on certain calls, certain plays. I think everybody has to be ready for him. But that’s true of Smith, Cody, Brooks Reed, Barwin, [Whitney] Mercilus; you have to be ready for all those guys.