SAFETY PATRICK CHUNG
December 26, 2018
Q: Did you see that Justin Herbert is sticking around Oregon?
PC: Yes, he is. I actually just read that 10 minutes ago, so that's good. Good decision, Justin.
Q: You guys have been through a lot as a team, but it comes down to this game. Knowing the importance of this game, how important is it to go out and get one more point than the Jets this Sunday?
PC: Yep, you said it. I mean, for us, this is a playoff game, so we just worry about what we can control. In our game, if things happen, it could work out. If things don't happen, we know we did our job.
Q: What are some of the things that you've seen from Sam Darnold that have stood out to you?
PC: He's gotten better. He's gotten better. It seems like he's calmed down a little bit. He's making the right throws, he's making good decisions, he's doing it really fast and he's athletic enough to make plays. I mean, he's definitely come along. It seems like he's grown up a little bit – not saying grown up in like a bad way, but he's playing pro football, playing like a good quarterback.
Q: What makes Chris Herndon tough to cover for a rookie?
PC: He's good. He's a big guy, he's shifty, he's fast, so he's a very good receiving tight end. So, got to go out here and just see what we can do with him, whatever our plan might be, but he's definitely a good player. I mean, he has a lot of confidence in his team and his quarterback, so we've got to watch out for that guy.
Q: You guys are coming off of a pretty impressive defensive performance. Do you feel like at this time of year, you can string those together? Or is there no momentum from one game to the next?
PC: You've got to forget about that last game. We played good, that's great, but if we can't do it again – like I said, it's a playoff game. It's like us losing in the playoffs. I mean, yeah, it's good, but we've got to try to do that consistently and do it play by play, game by game and kind of go from there. Can't really ride the train, you know.
Q: How much do you enjoy that in a week like this, you only have to worry about yourselves and everything else kind of goes away?
PC: You've got to worry about yourself regardless, from preseason, game one to now. You can't worry about what you can't control. There's nothing we can do about it. So, we just have to go out here and do what we've been doing the whole season and try and get another win, and we'll see how it goes from there.
Q: Obviously, Sam Darnold playing is a big change from what you saw the last time you played the Jets. Are there any other major differences you've seen in the last few weeks from them?
PC: I mean, they have a lot of guys banged up, but their running backs are good, their receiving corps has been carrying the load a little bit. So, they have a lot of injuries, but those guys still play hard. Regardless, they're going to play hard 60 minutes and they're going to bring their A game. It's still going to be a good game regardless of injuries and whatever everyone might say. But, if we go out there and mess around, then they're going to whoop on us. So, we have to go out there ready to go.
Q: How have you seen J.C. Jackson grow over the course of the season?
PC: I'll answer that when the season's over. Hopefully we have a lot more games to go. So, I'll give you an answer on that later.
Q: When it comes to Darnold's release, has he been getting rid of it relatively quickly from what you've seen?
PC: Yeah, he's getting rid of the ball, he's making good decisions. He seems a lot more comfortable. So, he's definitely playing better.
Q: Obviously, Josh Allen was a scramble threat last week. Does Darnold try to do anything similar in terms of extending plays or creating yards with his legs?
PC: I mean, he's athletic enough to do it, and we've seen on film he scrambles to make plays. So, we've got to almost treat it the same way. You know, Josh ran a little more, more of a running back, but this guy is not like a slouch back there. He can run some plays, he has some quarterback runs, so just containing him, doing everything we do game-in and game-out, just taking care of our job.
Q: How about his ability to throw on the fly? Is he pretty accurate that way, too?
PC: Yeah, he's pretty good. He's one to extend plays and throw. But, we can't just guess, now. You know, cover guys cover, contain guys contain and we just do our job, but he can definitely throw on the run, for sure.
Q: Devin McCourty said earlier this year that he felt you guys were doing more from a schematic standpoint than any year before. As someone who has been here for nine seasons, do you feel the same that there are more packages you're using this year?
PC: No, I mean, we have certain things where it's different. I can definitely agree with that. We're just changing things up. We're just doing different things game by game and try to hide our tendencies, I guess. You know, whatever coach calls, we play it, regardless.
Q: Do you like changing things up?
PC: Yeah. Does it confuse you when you don't know what's going on? Bingo.
RUNNING BACK JAMES WHITE
December 26, 2018
Q: Do you approach this week's game with the mentality of a playoff game?
JW: Definitely. It's a one-game season. We've got to play our best football this week. It's always tough when we play these guys, home or away. They're going to come in ready to play no matter what their record is. We've just got to play our best football which we haven't done yet, which I've said a lot this year. I think we all know that we can play better in general and maybe that's enough motivation for us to go out there and play our best.
Q: Is that constant search to play the best 60-minute game you can still a motivating factor for this team?
JW: Yeah, it's still there. I think everybody's motivated. Everybody's still working hard, just trying to find those little things that we all can improve on. We all look ourselves in the mirror each and every week and see what we can do better. If we check ourselves, I think it'll make us better.
Q: Do you think this team has found its identity yet?
JW: I think we have our identity. I think we just haven't played our best. We know what we're capable of. We know what we need to do each and every week. Our coaches have us prepared. We've just got to go out there and do it. We've got to execute for four quarters. We've done it for a quarter here and there, just never for four quarters. I think having that motivation to do that, we should be able to go out and play our best football on Sunday.
Q: Do you guys ever discuss the possibility of securing a bye week in the playoffs if you're able to clinch that?
JW: No. We've got to go out there and play our best football this week and the rest will take care of itself. Like I said, we should only be focused on this week at this point.
Q: You had a career-best rushing performance back in November against the Jets. Do you have any special memories from that day? Any reason why you worked so well that day?
JW: That game, the offensive line did a great job blocking. We had a lot of success in the run game, but you can't expect for it to be like that coming in the second time. They're going to come in ready to stop the run, so you've got to go out there and find out who's tougher and kind of carve those yards out.
Q: What has led to the improvement in the run game over the past few weeks? What strength is the key factor in that improvement?
JW: I think it's a team effort. Good play-calling, the offensive line is doing a great job blocking, James Develin, the tight ends, Gronk [Rob Gronkowski], Dwayne [Allen], [Jacob] Hollister when he's in there, the receivers. Being able to run the football is a team effort. It's not just about the running backs. It takes everybody in order for us to have that success.
Q: How mentally tough is Sony Michel to be able to bounce back and have the season he's had this year following some missed time due to injury?
JW: He's very mentally tough. He works extremely hard. He's taking the coaching. It can be tough – your rookie year is a long season. It can be tough for you, but he's staying motivated, excited to be out there and he comes ready to work each and every day and he comes ready to play each and every Sunday. He's helped us out a lot and he's had a lot of success out there. He'll continue to get better.
Q: You've had a lot more touches this season than you have had in your career up to this point. How are you feeling physically?
JW: I feel good. I feel just like, pretty much, every other season. I'm just taking care of my body, doing whatever I need to do to make sure I feel my best on Sunday's so I can put my best foot forward, no matter whether it's one play, 60 plays. Just take care of my body so I make sure I feel good and I'm available.
Q: Can you feel more wear-and-tear this year? Have the added touches hindered you at all?
JW: No, not necessarily. The season is long. Everybody is feeling sore at this point whether you get touches or whether you play 10 plays, whether you play 60 plays a game. Everybody's kind of banged up at this point, so just kind of tough through it and you've just got to give your team your best shot if you want to go all the way to the end.
Q: After a game like last week, how much do you appreciate the toughness and the willingness of the receivers to block out on the edge in the run game?
JW: They give us their best effort each and every week. It's tough playing against some of these safeties that get involved in the run game a lot. They have to kind of navigate their ways trying to block these guys and they've been helping us out a lot. I mean, when they do it, it helps them out in the pass game too. We have some tough receivers. They can run the ball. They can block. They can catch, run routes. They help us out and they've been doing a great job all year.
Q: Do you see the importance of this game here and the playoff implications that it could have?
JW: I mean, we're just focused on this week right now, not focused on the playoffs. We treat this game like a playoff game because that's pretty much what it is. It's going to be a tough game, a tough division game. It's always tough when we play these guys, so they're going to come out and give their best shot and we've got to do the same.
Q: Is it much different in the second game when you meet a team in your division?
JW: I mean, it's always tough to beat a team twice. Like I said, we've got to dial up some good schemes and basically it comes down to who's going to out-tough who and you've got to be able to run, throw, block, catch. You've got to do everything for four quarters in order to win it.
Q: How much did you love last week where the running game was the focal point of the offense?
JW: When you can run the football in this league you can do a lot of things on offense. It opens everything else up. The offensive line did a great job of setting the tone. Sony's running hard, Rex [Burkhead] is running hard. I try and do my part if I get some carries. We all try and go out there and execute and if you're running, I think everything else is working too.
Q: Are you concerned at all about the state of the passing offense?
JW: We still have a good passing offense, have good receivers, tough guys. They block, catch. Every week is not going to be 400 yards passing. You've got to tough it out, slug it out. You've just got to find different ways to win.