Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

DeMeco Ryans, Chris Foerster, Brock Purdy preview 49ers-Seahawks Wild Card Round matchup

Jan 11, 2023 at 6:06 PM--

San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, offensive line/run game coordinator Chris Foerster, and quarterback Brock Purdy spoke with reporters after Wednesday's practice. The team is preparing for its Wild Card Round matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. Here is everything they had to say.

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

Defensive Coordinator DeMeco Ryans

What were the conditions out there during practice and were they a good warmup for what you expect to see on Saturday?

"Yeah, out there today it was wet, windy, really tough conditions, but I really loved the mindset of our guys and how they practiced today. It was really cool to see, everybody was still locked in and focused. They didn't let the elements of the weather dictate how they were feeling and how they worked today, so it's a really good sign when your guys are made of the right stuff and they practice the right way."

DL Nick Bosa talked about how in the postseason, guys kind of get this second wind. Have you noticed that, felt that amongst your players?

"We're happy to be here now. It's weird when you clinch so early. It's a little weird. You still have to push through these games, try to advance your seeding as best as possible, but I think everybody is thinking okay, we're here now, now it's time to go. We've been waiting on this moment for a long time. Our guys have worked really hard to put themselves in position to have a chance and we're here now and our guys are excited about the opportunity and they're working the right way, so I'm excited for our guys. I'm excited to see them go play."

You had a nice rebound from the Raiders game to how they performed in the last game?

"Our guys responded really well. Versus the Raiders, we knew that was not representative of who we were defensively, so I was very proud of how our guys responded versus Arizona. Guys were locked in, guys did their job, they were playing with great technique, great effort. Guys were swarming, playing our style of football and it was nice to see. Sometimes you get punched in the face and you have to rebound. And our guys, they responded, they came out and they showed who they were. That's the character of the guys that we have, again, just made of the right stuff and I'm just so proud to coach these guys. So proud to coach them."

Before this matchup, the last one between Seattle Seahawks WR DK Metcalf and CB Charvarius Ward on the field was extremely physical. Do you expect to see the same type of matchup with them again on Saturday?

"This will be a very physical matchup with DK and Mooney and just across the board with their o-line, our defensive line, our linebackers, it's going to be a physical game. It's playoff football and that's what it comes down to. Typically, the most physical team, the team who attacks the ball and takes the ball the most is the team that's going to win this game, so it I'm excited to see the matchup again, no matter who lines up across from DK or [Seattle Seahawks WR Tyler] Lockett. Whoever it may be, guys are responsible, guys have to do their job and go play to the best of their ability and just try to make plays versus those guys."

From your perspective, what are the pros and cons of facing a team three times in the same season?

"For me, I look at it as this is this game this week. I don't look at it as the third time or I can't look at as the third time. It's all new. They've done different things, different tendencies from the last time we played them, so all of that really doesn't matter about three times, it's about this time and how are we going to go play this time? It's playoff football, how are we going to go out and play our style of football? What happened before the previous two games, it really doesn't affect when we kick the ball off on Saturday. It has no meaning on what happens on the field. We have to be the best team on Saturday for three and a half hours."

You guys have done a really good job against Seattle Seahawks QB Geno Smith, but he's having a really good season too. What makes him dangerous?

"Yeah, Geno has done a really great job all year. I think for him it's being consistent, the accuracy, he's really putting the ball where it should be. He has a very high completion percentage, he's making smart decisions with the football, so I think Geno is having an outstanding season. It's good to see a guy rebound this late in his career and really showcase his talent. Geno has always been a really good quarterback, so it was good to see him be the guy again and lead this team and lead him to the playoffs. He has to be pretty proud of his accomplishment and what he's done this year."

You've gotten significant boosts from the in-season acquisitions at defensive tackle with DL T.Y. McGill, DL Michael Dwumfour, I think he recovered the fumble the other day. Do you have any communication with the personnel department during the season as far as these are the characteristics I'm looking for, this is what we need to kind of bridge the gap when there are injuries at a spot like that?

"With our personnel department, I think we've done a really good job of just collaboration with our coaches and personnel, scouting not only in season, but it's during the draft process, during free agency, so everybody is tied together and understand the type of players that we're looking for, so when something comes up in season, those guys already know it's the same type of guys you look for in free agency, in the draft, it doesn't change. In season, if we can find a guy who fits our brand of football, then we would love to have him."

Obviously, your concentration is on this game, but early in the week when you start getting requests from other teams to interview, how do you process that?

"It's very humbling to be able to get requests for head coaching interviews. It's humbling when you think about a lot of guys who've coached before me and a lot of guys put in a lot of years, a guy like Bobby Turner comes to mind and all of the years he put in, so I think about guys like that and them not being able to get the opportunity and me, truly being able to go represent for them. And that's what it means, it means a lot for the other guys that been before me. And it's special to be able to be in a select group, to have head coaching interviews and people requesting, it's a special moment, it's a proud moment and I'm very thankful and grateful just to be spoken of in that light. I'm very humble, very grateful for those opportunities."

I recall a year ago you had an opportunity to go get multiple interviews and you said, no, I want to come back, I have more to learn. I would imagine a year later, how do you feel about that decision one year ago?

"I still feel strong about the decision I made and I feel like it was the correct decision for me and my family at the time."

How much did going through it last year in terms of kind of balancing your time maybe help having to do it again this year?

"During this time, I'm thankful and happy to be in the playoffs at this time and the interviews and those things, they'll take care of themselves at the right time. The focus is all about Seattle for me, it's all about what can we do? How can I help our guys be in position to go win this game on Saturday? That's the focus, the interviews, all those things? They'll take care of themselves."

What was your individual focus this last year on how you wanted to get better at your job and perhaps prepare yourself better for a head coaching job down the line?

"For me, it was just overall. There's a lot of scenarios, a lot of situations that come up throughout the year. Not just looking at it from a defensive perspective, but looking at it from a total team perspective and just being able to sit in and listen to conversations and just really enhance my knowledge, not just on defense, but on the overall team. That's the biggest thing for me and I feel really good about where I am right now."

Did you take notes from head coach Kyle Shanahan and those types of things?

"Yeah, always learning. It's been awesome to be here and learn from Kyle. He's been an outstanding head coach, successful, he's coached in his league for a very long time. Very knowledgeable guy and I've gained so much knowledge from just sitting, listening, studying, seeing how he operates, how he runs a team. There's not a better guy for me to be able to sit under and learn from. For the time that I've been here, he's been outstanding."

Nick said last week that one of the things he likes most about you is you push hard, but you know when to back off or you just have a really good touch with that. Does your approach change at all as the stakes get higher in the season as far as how you manage the personalities and how you drive them?

"Managing our guys, we have a standard and the standard is what our guys set. I didn't set the standard for our defense, our team, our guys set that standard. I'm just there to push them to make sure we're still upholding that standard and their standard was to be the best in the league. And for me, when it's not looking that way and it's not correct, it is up to me to make sure that, hey, who did we say we wanted to be? Who are we and are we playing that way? Is it representative of being the best in the league? It's upholding that standard. There's always finding that fine line to push guys, to encourage them, to uplift guys. That's all about leadership. It's not just pushing guys all the time. It's about encouragement. It's a fine line, it's a fine balance of mixing that out and that just comes with having the proper leadership style and really understanding the people that you're working with. That's what it's all about. When you're connected to the people and you understand who they are, that's how you can push the proper buttons. You can push guys too hard and push them the wrong way and they go in the tank, but it's all about finding that right mix and knowing the guys who you're working with."

Have you developed a slightly softer touch? Some guys have said just that, not that you've gotten soft, but you've eased up some way, in a good way.

"With playing, I can be very intense when the time comes for it and I think it goes back to learning and understanding the players you're working with and what can they handle, what can't they handle. How I talk to one guy is not how I can talk to others, so it's finding that fine balance of when to let up a bit and when to press guys, so there is a balance that I've learned and I've grown and become better at doing that and communicating with players."

Is that one of the hardest parts of being a coach?

"It is. The hardest part of being a coach is how do you motivate all these different personalities, different guys, different learning styles in your room? How do you motivate each one? Each one is not motivated by the same thing, so it takes time talking to these guys, learning them off the field to understand what buttons can you push to help guys and everything I do is about helping these guys be their absolute best right on the field and off the field, so you have to know them to be able to push them in the right way."

Nick Bosa has been so great all year, he gets so much attention and press, it seems like DL Jordan Willis has been stepping up recently and made a big impact. What's he doing well?

"Jordan has done an outstanding job of really embracing his role and really flourishing in it. When his number is called, he's gone out there and he's put pressure on the quarterback. He's played the run very well. He plays with great effort and he's able to make game-changing plays for us, so Jordan is just being Jordan, he's himself, he goes out, he plays the right way, he's a physical player and it shows on Sunday."

How does he take playing special teams like he did on Sunday?

"That's again, Jordan, he's a guy who he's going to do whatever it takes to win and that's the cool part about Jordan. He's going to do whatever it takes to win and it's nothing cooler than seeing Jordan make a play and everybody on the sideline being fired up for Jordan that he has the same cool, quiet demeanor about himself. And it's always fun to see him make plays."

Offensive Line Coach/Run Game Coordinator Chris Foerster

Three young fathers in your group, three new kids in your group. How has it changed your younger guys, having their first children?

"I don't know, right now. Obviously, this week [OL] Jake [Brendel] and his wife had a baby, and a great story with that, but it's, I don't know, I don't notice anything. I really don't see it and do they mature more? I don't see it. All these guys are all pretty hardworking, good guys, so I don't see much change in the guys. And obviously, we all know that it's a huge change, a huge life change to have a baby and all that goes with it and their commitment to things they need to do, but I think these guys have been good all along with it."

How was Jake throughout the game?

"Well, I didn't even know until after the game. I'm sure you guys heard the story, but seriously, we found out he and his wife went early in the morning, went into labor, they went to the hospital, had the baby and he was back over here dressing for the game and nobody knew that they'd had a baby and pretty soon somebody said, Hey, 'Brendel and his wife, they had a baby.' And we're like, well, what are we going to do for a center today?' And he was like, 'well, no, he's in the locker room changing and so, he went, they did it and luckily everything went smoothly and she was able to deliver. He stayed there for about an hour or so, came over, suited up and played the game. I didn't know the whole game. I would've never noticed and then after the game I heard the story and I'm like, 'wow, this is pretty crazy,' and he did a great job."

How much do you have to consider the fact that it's probably going to pour when you're game planning?

"Yeah, the fortunate thing is we've had some rain here, obviously in Northern California lately, so we've practiced in it a lot. We had some rain games early, the first Seattle game had some rain, obviously not to the extent that we're going to probably get this weekend. And then obviously the Chicago game, the first game was great until the end. It was fine, you could manage and everything was going along pretty smoothly until the end and then it just became an absolute, there was no way you could play in it. I think you just have to practice in it, which we're doing, which is really fortunate and you just get used to dealing with a wet ball. I was noticing the quarterback-center exchanges today were good, knock on wood, and the guys, they do a good job with it. It's really good to be able to practice in it. You get to deal with the weather and deal with the elements, the wind, things like that, so it was a good practice today that way."

It doesn't seem like the elements shake QB Brock Purdy either, does it seem like he's just still even keeled throughout everything?

"Yeah, what they are called mudders? They're good in the mud. You have running backs like [Miami Dolphins RB] Raheem Mostert was much more of the fast track, where [Miami Dolphins RB] Jeff Wilson [Jr.] was more of a guy that could sludge it out in the mud. I think Brock Purdy having played at Iowa State, we have to assume he played in bad weather there and so he has probably gotten used to it through the years. And it is an adjustment when you play in that weather. Having coached in Tampa and having coached in Miami, you go up into those cold weather games, no matter how hard you try, it's hard to acclimate in that short period of time. Rain is the same thing, but fortunately we've had enough of it that I think our guys have had a chance."

Four sacks allowed in this game, it seemed like uncharacteristically a struggle of a game for the offensive line. What'd you see from the breakdowns there?

"Yeah, the breakdown was, this is not pointing fingers, we didn't execute our plan well enough. [Arizona Cardinals DL] J.J. [Watt]'s two sacks, we actually had the chance to double team them and we missed the opportunities. We didn't quite do what we should do on it and he's a good player and he made plays and his last game, if you're going to say he got us on two, we still won the game. He got two sacks for his last game, good for him. We tried not to give it to him, but he still got us and it wasn't the one-on-one matchups that he won. It was chances that we had to kind of neutralize him and we didn't take advantage of them and he was still able to get to the quarterback. The other two sacks, one was just they ran a good stunt on it and then the other one, Brock scrambled backwards and probably could have thrown the ball away on that one where it didn't need to. There were a bunch of games this year where I'll bet you [QB] Jimmy [Garoppolo], Brock or even [QB] Trey [Lance], the first game, avoided some and then this one you think you've got it locked down and the next thing you give up four sacks and it's the ebb and flow of the whole thing, so obviously it's a big point of emphasis this week. You don't want that to start being a factor because those sacks, they take you out of drives, especially first and second down sacks, so you have to be sure you can you can tighten up and make sure it was good. It was a good lesson for us to say, let's get this detailed up. When we say this, it means this and we weren't quite on the details and we missed those ops."

Obviously, you don't want your quarterback to take a 17-yard sack. Kyle said he probably knew exactly what happened when Brock hit the ground and head coach Kyle Shanahan was in his ear. What is Kyle like in the headset when he is talking to Brock after a play like that?

"This is PG here, right? This is a PG-13 audience. Yeah, Kyle, obviously we all get animated on game day. No, he's great. He always will tell the guy what he should have done and he's just very straightforward with guys. One thing about Kyle, he's very honest with the players and straightforward and on game days there's always a little bit of emotion behind it, but man, 'you have to get rid of the ball.' 'Dude, we can't take that kind of sack.' That's a lot of field position that we're giving away that we possibly could back them up inside the five or 10-yard line and we lose those 17 yards on a third down sack, that's really hard to overcome."

How does Brock respond to that?

"I think he's pretty good. You guys see Brock's demeanor. He's a pretty serious-minded guy, so sometimes you can't really tell what he's thinking. You can't tell if he's mad or if he's happy or what he is, so he seems to take it well. I think he's a pretty tough-minded kid and can handle tough coaching, but there's a lot and no matter how tough you are, you're going through a lot every single day at that position, you're learning a lot, a lot falls on your shoulders, so sometimes it's hard, but these are lessons he has to learn. And we've talked about it before, these are invaluable lessons when you go out on gameday and you get to experience these things."

You've gameplanned a lot for Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll's defense. What's challenging or unique about game planning against him in particular?

"They're just very sound and they're well coached, so they're going to be where they're supposed to be and even when you know where they are and you go block them and you have a good play, you still have to block them. You still have to break a tackle or you have to finish them so they don't come off and make a play. They're well-coached, not just in the scheme itself, but in then playing their techniques and fundamentals and they're very good at doing it. Through the years, Pete has always been, his defenses, I remember back when he was in New England, it's always been sound. He and [former NFL head coach] Monte Kiffin, how they put the defense together has changed through the years as to what they're running, but the base fundamentals of how you stop the run and the gap control and the fits and how they do things has been so consistent through the years. And it's a challenge. It's a real challenge. You have to be on point with how you block them. It's not just enough to say, okay, we got a guy for him, it's not just having a guy for him. It's how you're going to get him blocked, because they have some challenging guys with [Seattle Seahawks DL] Al Woods back. He wasn't there the first game, they lost 90 [Seattle Seahawks DL Bryan Mone] in our game, but 97 [Seattle Seahawks DL Poona Ford] is back and playing well. 93 [Seattle Seahawks DL Shelby Harris], the inside linebacker [Seattle Seahawks LB Jordyn Brooks], they lost their leading tackler. Those other two guys are really good special teams players, they're two inside linebackers now and they are good in space. They're hard to block. They're special teams, right? They're in opens areas, they're used to dealing with things and so you have to get on them and you have to finish or it might look like, oh, there's a play that's going to break out and it's five yards, it's four yards. And then when you get through it, the whole thing is 6 [Seattle Seahawks S Qaundre Diggs] at free safety. That guy makes sure that nothing gets through. The big run at the end of our last game 6 was blitzing and so they had a different guy in the middle of the field, so when our runner broke through [RB Jordan Mason] Mace, he was able to make that guy miss, where if it was 6, I don't know if he would've or not. I hope he would've and we would've had a big run to ice to game, either way it was a first down, but it is, that's what that defense is and so you can imagine, even though the style of defense has changed, imagine back when it was the legion of boom. Yeah, then you have all these great players at every single position. And so, they've gone through a little bit of transition, but these guys still play very sound. The fundamentals are there. Long answer, but I'm telling you, I have a ton of respect for Pete and the defenses that they've run through the years and it just really makes you lock down and say, guys, I'm telling you it's not just a normal this block or that block. You better be on your details."

Was Arizona the best so far at kind of attacking Brock up the middle to chase him because he is a shorter quarterback and you want to take away that cleanness in the front of the pocket?

"They really didn't. That's what happened, but it was more that there were normal rushes. It wasn't like they had a scheme to attack Brock a certain way because they weren't doing a lot. It was just what came free, what we didn't pick up, who got beat. It happened to be in that area, it wasn't around the corner, it was up the middle, but it wasn't like by design they were pouring three up the middle or all that. There wasn't a lot of pressure actually. There were single backer dogs and a couple little things that they did in there that created some of it, but I don't think it was trying to force him to do one way or the other. The pressures came every different ways."

Have you seen much of that this season?

"No, because I think there's a lot more right now with, I don't know, I'm not on the other side of the ball with the defense, but I think there's a lot more with who you have to cover. There's not as much of that right now. I think they're more concerned about, they run their five-man rushes. They do what they do to come free. When they pressure, it's well thought out, hoping to get a guy free, but they have issues with covering our guys as well, so I think that's a little bit harder to say, we're going to sell out to make sure Purdy can't step up in the pocket or do you think because he's shorter he can't see or whatever that might be. I think there's more to it with the coverage of our players and making sure that it won't matter what you're doing up the middle if you can't cover, the ball's going to come out and a play's going to be made, but it could be that we might see some of that at some point."

So, he gets rid of the ball fast enough?

"Oh, he's outstanding. He goes through his progressions really fast. He gets the ball out outstandingly and does a good job and like everybody, he could be a little better on some and some of these it's amazing how he gets to ball out. That play he made against Miami to [TE George] Kittle in his first game when he came in for Jimmy, the hot throw was unbelievable. It really turned the game for us. It was one of the better throws of the season that we've had this year from any quarterback and he has that in him, but he's still has to go through it. It's still the same thing, maybe a little late to this one, little early. This one he didn't see this, scrambles when he shouldn't, all those things.

I don't think RB Elijah Mitchell has played Seahawks yet this season, how nice is it to have him back for this game?

"Oh, I love Elijah. Elijah's just such a physical runner. The touchdown run he had where he ran the guy over at the goal line or whatever it was, he just does a great job with running the football. He's nice to have. He and [RB] Christian [McCaffrey], as we've talked about it here before, it's always nice to have two backs. And then you have 24 as well to get in there. 32 [RB Ty Davis-Price] gets in there a little bit, so now there's a rotation. You don't have to wear a guy out. A guy doesn't have to have 28 carries, now he might because he's got the hot hand that day, but it's nice to have guys to roll through there and it's a different style. You're gearing up to tackle Elijah then the next time it's Christian through the hole and he is not going to attack you the same way as Elijah doe and they all have a different skillset, so it's nice for us to be able to utilize them in different ways and also just in certain parts of the field, there's a lot that goes into it, but it's nice to have those two guys, really nice to have them back."

How do those guys work together to sort of counteract the old saying of a running back needs a certain number of carries to kind of get in a rhythm, it seems like you're able to put guys in and they are sharp right from the initial carry that they get, they're not having to feel their way through the game?

"That's pretty accurate. Yeah, I think that with our system, and again, Kyle has done such a great job through the years of how we coach the runners. Yes, there's a little bit of a feel, but it is not a one game's different than another game. Our run game is our run game and how we read it, how we key it and what we do, yeah, there might be a feel of how a defense is playing it that day a little bit, but for the most part they've seen that at some point during the year because everybody, even though the defensive structure may change, the techniques, how they play it, how they fit the runs, it's kind of consistent or they've seen it somewhere. Miami does it like, Chicago does it like this team and then there's another group of teams that kind of fit it the same way, so once you've seen it a few times, yeah, the backs may tell you that, I'm not a runner, hey, I need a rhythm. I need this and that, but at the end of the day, the way we coach them, I think the guy can kind of rotate through and kind of pick right up where they left off."

QB Brock Purdy

Welcome to the playoffs. How have these past six games prepared you for what you're about to face?

"Yeah. I'm not trying to make it bigger than what it is. Obviously, there's more on the line and everything, but I think having six games under my belt in terms of just playing in an NFL game and trying to win for four quarters has helped me get to this point. And all the guys in the locker room have my back. We've all grown together, so we're ready for what's ahead."

You said the other day that the weight of the world's not on your shoulders because of all the playmakers that you have around you. Is that something that's been kind of instilled in you since you took over this starting role?

"Yeah, I feel like that's sort of been my mindset. Right when [QB] Jimmy [Garoppolo] went down all I had to do was go in, do what coach asked of me and get [WR] Deebo [Samuel], BA [WR Brandon Aiyuk], [TE] George [Kittle], [RB] Christian [McCaffrey], all those guys the ball. It hasn't changed for all the games that I've played in so far. That's still going to be the mindset going into playoffs."

You're about to play a team twice for the first time in your career in the NFL. How does that change your preparation, if at all?

"We played them what seems like yesterday, so for myself it's come back in, what have they done different the last couple games? What did we do to attack them the first time? And go from there, but again, not try to overthink things or do anything crazy, just stick to what coach has dialed up. I'm just going to try to play my game and go from there. Just keep it simple."

Would you describe your role as a point guard in this offense, spreading the ball around to that many weapons? Did you ever play basketball competitively?

"No, I didn't. It was just football and baseball, so that answers your question."

The locker room was very lively today. Have you sensed that energy from everybody since this week started?

"Yeah. [LB] Fred [Warner] said it really well at practice yesterday. He's like, 'man, you should feel this feeling in your gut.' Man, we're in playoffs. It matters obviously every single day, every meeting, every minute matters, so there's a good vibe right now going on at practice and in the locker room. It feels good; it's good energy. We just have to translate it onto the field and be detailed with everything because everything matters, but all the guys are really juiced up."

The Seattle defense has been playing pretty well the last few weeks. What have you seen from them on film?

"Yeah, I feel like they're sound. They're, I think, more disciplined as the season has gone on. They lost a couple of the guys, but still overall I think they play well together. They still have play makers and they're athletic. They have a veteran in [Seattle Seahawks S Quandre] Diggs at safety, I think overall they're just a team that you respect, a defense that you respect and they're going to make you drive and the whole bend, but don't break mentality, so we have to be on point with what we're doing to be successful. Definitely a defense that we respect."

How healthy are you compared the last time you played the Seahawks?

"That's another thing. I feel really good going into this game, especially since we had a quick turnaround last time, played on Sunday and then we had to be ready to roll for Thursday night and obviously, I had the whole rib thing going on, so I feel a lot better. I'm excited about that, but yeah, I was definitely hurting for that game."

How has McCaffrey just in his role as a decoy made your job easier? I'm sure you can remember those big plays where you make a pitch to him or look at him and like the defense all sways over to that side of the field. I guess just how has his presence opened things up?

"He is a guy that can obviously run the ball, get the ball out of the backfield with pitches and things and then obviously split him out and run a route, so he does all these things that the defense has to scheme up and try to stop. And so, when you put all that attention on one guy, it opens up guys like George and Deebo and BA, so I love it as a quarterback to have a guy that is so well-rounded like Christian and then even guys like Deebo. Deebo can do the same thing, so I'm definitely lucky and thankful to have them on my team and I just have to do my job and get them the ball."

Is off-schedule rapport something that you had with George Kittle on day one or is that something you've sensed grow with reps with him?

"I feel like it's taken some time. When I first got in I sort of had to tell the guys, in the Miami game, like, Hey, if it breaks down, I could make something happen off schedule, so that has happened over time. We've talked about it at practice and in meetings, what to do if the play's not there in rhythm or on time, so that's something that George does a great job with if it's not there. He has a great sense to find space. I like that a lot."

Does it help that receivers like George, obviously a big tall guy, but is he good at from your vision as a quarterback at making himself be able to be seen down the field?

"Yeah, I think he does a great job of creating separation for one, and then his frame that he has obviously as a tight end, he's a great mismatch man and he's explosive in how he runs routes. He does a great job of just creating space and I know where he is going to be. Like I said, I'm thankful to have George. He's a freak of nature and we just have to continue to have that connection moving forward for this playoff run."

Understanding that this game, you're not trying to make it too big, but as far as lifelong goal, as you get drafted, you make the team, you're here in this moment, what does this feel like a couple days away from your first playoff start as far as like a lifelong dream as you try to move forward and get to the championship?

"I feel like I'll do a lot of reflecting after the season. Right now, I'm looking at it like, man, we got the Seahawks. Yes, it's playoffs, but for myself it's, I have to do my job. I'm not trying to think about this storybook ending or anything like that. It's, man, I have a great defense I have to play on Sunday, I have to do my job in terms of getting the guys the ball and all that will fall into place, but definitely thankful for everything that has happened. We still have a ways to go."

How do you take being in the conversation for a rookie of the year after six games?

"Same thing. I don't try to get wrapped up in any of that kind of stuff. For me, it's I have to win for as good as the team that we have, I have to just come in, do my job and let everything else fall in place. Almost like how I answered that other question, it's sort of the same thing. I don't want to get wrapped up in all that kind of stuff. It'll happen if it happens. Whoever wins it, wins it, great, but I'm just trying to be where I'm at, be where my feet are at."

Did you have the same kind of rapport with your tight end at Iowa State? Same kind of way?

"Are you talking about the off-schedule plays?"

I'm not saying that it's the same as George, I'm just saying the relationship you have.

"Yeah. [Baltimore Ravens TE] Charlie Kolar and I for sure, we made a lot of plays together. He did a great job of creating separation and I always knew I have a big tight end matched up against a linebacker or safety and I can give him a shot, so Charlie did a great job with the off-schedule plays too, the scrambling, he always had his eyes down field, he saw the game like a quarterback sees it. I think George does the same thing, so definitely similar in a way."

How many different ways have people tried to attack you so far? Like Miami came out and they just blitzed you, they figured they'd testing a quarterback. It seems like Arizona came physically at you up the middle of the line. How much have you seen so far and how much do you think is still to come?

"I feel like I see something new almost every week, so obviously there's six games of film out there on me. There's still things that I'm sure coordinators are going to try to dial up and everything and try to get me to do some something different, but for myself, I just try to stay grounded in what the progression is, what the read is. I don't know what coordinators are thinking or how they're going to stop me or what. I feel like I do see different things every single week, so we'll see."

You seem really comfortable rolling left, which is unusual for a right-handed quarterback. Why do you think that is?

"I'm not really sure. I've asked myself that. I've watched film, I'm like, okay, why have I done that? For myself, it's like, man, I feel pressure and I just try to get out however I can if the play's not there. I feel like the last couple games, it's just been to the left by chance, but it's not something that I go into the play like if this isn't there, I'm going to escape here or there. It's just what's happened so far in the games. That's really been about it."


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