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Transcript - Postgame (Cardinals Preseason 1)

Saturday, August 11, 2018 | University of Phoenix Stadium | Glendale, Ariz.

**Transcriptions provided by Arizona Cardinals Media Relations**


Opening statement:

"You could tell that it was definitely preseason week one. It was too sloppy. You look at the time of possession and we had the ball ten minutes longer and we had twice as many yards. Penalties and turnovers will get you, beat you every time. It doesn't matter who's on the field. It was just sloppy football. We'll go back watch the tape and we'll learn from this. We'll figure out where we're at, where we need to go and that's what we'll work on and all the things in between."

On why QB Philip Rivers didn't play and the plan moving forward:

"I wanted to see those two backup quarterbacks, Geno [Smith] and Cardale [Jones]. At some point I want to know what we have in Cardale Jones. He came into this league and he's never really been given a legitimate opportunity in my opinion. I want to give him that opportunity. I had to see him play tonight. That's why he started and Geno came in second. We'll do something a little different next week."

On QB Cardale Jones' performance:

"I thought he missed some throws, but I also thought he made some plays. I have to go back and watch the tape before I make an evaluation on him and see how he played."

On how much preseason playing time QB Philip Rivers needs:

"I'm can tell you this, he's going to play next week and he's going to play some in Week 3. The guy has been in the league for a long time, so I don't think he needs a lot of preseason reps in my opinion."

On whether penalties or turnovers bothered him more:

"Both. That's something we improved on last year was the penalties and the turnovers. Like I just told the guys, it doesn't matter how much you dominate a team. If you lose in those two ways, it's going to be a long night. And it was long. Those penalties were spread through the locker room. It wasn't just one position, it was special teams, it was offense, it was defense. We had an opportunity to get some turnovers and we did not take advantage of those. I would probably say the penalties pissed me off the most."

On if it was more concerning that the penalties were on several players versus having different types of penalties:

"I put it on myself and my coaching staff. We just have to get better. These guys have to get used to playing in NFL games at full speed. We have to get them caught up and caught up quickly. I expect to see them improve right way."

On who stood out tonight:

"Sure. There were some guys that flashed. I thought Geno [Smith] played decent when he was in the game. I thought he moved around and made some plays and escaped. He kept us in the game. I thought [Detrez] Newsome ran well. He's been showing good vision and instincts the whole camp and I thought it showed up in this preseason game."

On RB Austin Ekeler's performance:

"Austin did his thing. He comes in the game and he makes plays. He made plays for us last year, so I kind of expect it out of Austin. He played well too."

On the play in which the defense stopped and P Drew Kaser celebrated:

"I'm sure he did because the whole defense thought he was down. We have to finish that play. That's a great lesson for a young player that just came into this league. There were a lot of teaching things on that tape today that we can learn from and get better."

On LB Uchenna Nwosu's development from camp until now:

"I can't say right now. He made some plays out there, but I also saw him give up some runs. We can watch the tape and evaluate him, but he's a young guy and he's practicing hard every day and he's learning. I like him. I think he's going to be a heck of a pro."

On how much they need to improve at tight end and if they're looking into TE Antonio Gates:

"We've talked to Antonio and we're still talking with him. I don't know where that's going to go. We need to make more plays at the tight end position. We dropped some balls today that should have been caught. I expected that to get better."


On his touchdown:

"The team did a really good job getting the safety off me. I had to make sure I sold my route, double-move, get the corner to bite. I think it was probably about 14 yards where the sticks were, so I had to really sell at the end of the bite. The o-line did a great job holding up."

On gaining confidence after his catch:

"Yeah, but obviously it wasn't enough. We didn't win, so I can't be too happy about it. I'm still beating myself up about that interception. I beat him to the ball, so I should have made that play. There's a lot I left on the field. I feel I could have done my part better, and obviously change the outcome of the game."

On how much confidence he has going into Monday's practice knowing he had a good game:

"I'm really strict on myself, so the only thing I want to see is the interception play. And see what I can do better in terms of that. Obviously, see the things I did well, but improve the things I did bad just to help with those."

On as a unit what you have to tighten up on as an offense:

"We have to eliminate penalties, big time. I thought [QB] Geno [Smith] — even then [QB] Nic [Shimonek] and [QB] Cardale [Jones] — did a good job moving the ball but then we got penalties that kept moving us back. Penalties hurt. I think [Head] Coach [Anthony] Lynn said we definitely led time of possession. But, the penalties hurt us. We have to play smarter ball, including myself, so just do better than that on offense and the offense will be good."


On what it felt like to put on an NFL jersey for the first time:

"It felt great [to] go out there and finally put that 33 on for real. Man, I was excited when I finally got in the game. It felt good."

On if he was surprised by anything:

"I was kind of surprised a little bit because it was a lot slower than I thought it would be. I just said that was good coaching coming from my coaches getting me prepared."

On if he and LB Kyzir White talked about how the game felt slow to them:

"Yeah we were on the field talking about that. It was much slower than what we expected. I guess it comes from our operation and our coaches getting us ready."

On if he played both free and strong safety:

"I played strong, which is extremely strong, but just rotating in and out."

On what he wants to continue working on over the next few weeks:

"Just working on the small things and really just working on the techniques. Getting my techniques right and being where I am supposed to be and making the plays I am supposed to make. That is really it."

On if he had any nerves or jitters waiting on the sideline to get in:

"I was just anxious. Anxious to get [in]. At the end of the day, it is football and I have been playing it my whole life. I just felt like it was another opportunity for me."

On if the preseason has meaning to him:

"To me, it counts because I come out [to play] whether it is a practice, whether it is a game, whether it is preseason. To me, it counted because I got another opportunity to come out, work on my craft and get better. I feel like I got a lot out of it, especially getting the reps that I got out there because I wasn't practicing at the beginning of training camp. So just getting out there and getting those live reps, I feel like it helped me and I feel like I got better today."

On what it felt like to go against an opponent after 10 days of training camp:

"It felt good getting out there and being able to tackle somebody else. We are always going against each other in practice and [Head] Coach [Anthony Lynn] always says protect the team. When you go against other guys, you kind of get to lay it all out."

On what he wants to work on going into Monday's practice:

"Just keep getting better. Whatever the coaches ask me to do, just continue to get better. I still have a long way to go and I have a lot of guys that are helping me."


On if he felt comfortable right away or if it took him a few carries to find his rhythm:

"I think it took me a few to find my rhythm. With it being my first year, I was nervous at first. Once I got into it, I was fine."

On what bothered him more, the penalties or the turnovers:

"Both. We can't have those things. Like you said, we had all those yards, but it doesn't mean anything if you don't come out with the victory."

On what it was like out there tonight in his first NFL action:

"It was pretty tough playing out here in this crowd. It is a different environment. Coming from college, there are more fans out here now and it was definitely louder. You really couldn't hear out there."

On adjusting to the speed of the game:

"It was definitely a notch faster, definitely a notch faster. It will make you think a lot. It will make you think faster, stay on your toes, and keep your head on a swivel."

On if his touchdown celebration was planned or spur of the moment:

"A little bit of both."

On if he is a gymnast:

"No, I am not. According to my mom, I've been doing it since I was an unborn baby"


On playing against Cardinals QB Josh Rosen again:

"It's cool when you get that Pac-12 action. Rosen is a great quarterback, salute to him. He made some great reads [out] there, but we were able to get after him."

On his NFL debut:

"It felt great. It was everything I imagined. The crowd, the emotion, the intensity, family was there. It was great."

On if the speed of the game was what he expected:

"It wasn't too bad. It was a lot slower than what I thought it was going to be. The speed wasn't too bad."

On if it was clear that the game was slower right away:

"Maybe after the first couple of plays I realized it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. It wasn't too bad."


On his NFL debut:

 "It wasn't what I thought it was going to be. I thought it was going to be a lot faster, a lot more going on, but I thought it was pretty slow."

On what they have to improve on as a linebacker unit:

"Reading our keys, finishing tackles and just staying locked in at all times. If we make a good play, just keep building on that — don't make a good play then mess up."

On what advice his brother [Bears WR Kevin White] gave him heading into his first game:

"He pretty much just said do your thing. I've pretty much been doing that my whole life. It's nothing different. Go out there, play hard, play fast. I'm prepared, just trust myself."

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