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Transcripts: Tuesday Availability: Week 15 vs. Jets


QB Lamar Jackson

On if he sees himself as the epitome of a dual-threat quarterback and if he sees the league trending toward using more mobile quarterbacks:"I don't know. I just go out there and try to [win]. If I have to run, I have to run. But when I'm throwing it, I have to get it to my guys. You can say that, but there's a lot of us out here right now. So, I wouldn't say I'm the one who's doing this. It's a lot of us."

On how his quad is feeling: "I feel great. I feel good. I'm 100 [percent]. I'm going to be out there Thursday night."

On how prepared he feels to face a [New York Jets defensive coordinator] Gregg Williams' defense: "I feel we're going to be very prepared. We had a lot less days than usual to prepare for a game, but our Coach Greg [Roman], he's doing a great job of scheming stuff out. We have 'Urb' [quarterbacks coach James Urban] helping him [and] offensive line coach, Coach Joe [D'Alessandris]. We're going to be pretty good, so we're not really worried about it. We know it's a great defense we'll be coming up against, but we feel like our schemes will be pretty good for the game."

On when his quad injury occurred during the Bills game:"Throwing the ball, not running it. (laughter) I got hit. I got hit on the throw, but I'm pretty good. I'm good." (Reporter: "Was it on Hayden Hurst's touchdown?") "Hurst's touchdown, yes, on Hayden – the 61-yarder. He was flying, too, and I was just celebrating. But I was like, 'Ugh, I'm kind of sore.' But I'm good now." (Reporter: "So it was worth it?") "It was worth it, 100 percent worth it. It was."

On if he thinks teams have been trying to hit him low more in the last two games:"Yes. Yes, they have a lot more, and especially when I'm inside the pocket and stuff like that. When I'm out on the edge, I kind of avoid it all the time, but when I'm in the pocket trying to complete a throw, that's when nine times out of 10 they're going for my legs. I can't do anything about it. I'm trying to complete that pass. It is what it is."

On if he could tell the refs to watch for defenders hitting him low:"No, the refs just do their job. They make the call. If they see it, then alright. I have to move on to the next play."

On what he remembers about winning the Heisman Trophy three years ago:"[It was a] whirlwind. I was surprised I won it. I felt that Deshaun Watson was having a great year. Baker Mayfield had a great year. There were a lot of guys up there, and Jabrill Peppers [was] doing everything – special teams, offense and defense at the time. I really didn't know how the outcome was going to be. I was very excited that I won it, but I was shocked at the same time."

On who he will vote for to win the Heisman Trophy this year:"The guy who's playing lights out right now, the one who took down Alabama: Joe [Burrow]. Joe is doing his thing. I can't lie. He's doing a tremendous job right now. I feel like they're winning the National Championship, to me."

On how much he thinks he'll play on Thursday night:"I'm playing to win the game. I'm playing to win the game. If I have to be out there all four quarters, that's what it's going to be. I'm not going in there thinking, 'I should sit out a little bit.' I'm not out for an injury at all or the playoffs or anything like that. I'm trying to win the game, and that's what we're going into the Thursday night game looking at."

On if it's hard not looking forward to the extra rest he'll get this weekend following the Thursday night game:"It's not hard at all, because I'm focused on winning the game. That's what we're here for. That's our job, and that's what we want to do: win the game, keep our record going. We're trying to improve each and every week."

On if he noticed defenders trying to hit him in the legs more in college also:"No. No, I don't think so. It was just all types of things going on in college."

On if he's always fed off outside criticism and used it as motivation:"Yes, it's true. It's true. It's been like that all my life. That's why I don't complain about it. I just move on. Let people have their own opinions, but I know who I am. And I know what I want to do."

On if he thinks defenders are trying to injure him when they hit him low:"I don't know. We're playing football. It's an aggressive game. They're trying to make a tackle, and I'm trying to make them miss." 

On if wins and losses tell more about a quarterback than individual stats and accolades:"I wouldn't say ... You can't just put all the pressure on the quarterback. It's a team game. Quarterbacks get all the recognition and stuff, but it's those offensive linemen grinding throughout the game, our running backs blocking or making great runs and our receivers and tight ends catching passes and blocking and stuff like that. So, it's not about quarterbacks winning games. It's a team thing with me."(Reporter: "But for you it's about winning games?")"Yes, yes."

On if he has any prior experience with playing games so quickly back to back:"Yes, I do. It wasn't a good memory, so I don't want to talk about it. (laughter) We got whooped bad by Houston on our [quick] turnaround, so we don't talk about that. That's not what we're going to do this week. We're going in there to win, going in there to play a great game against a great team." (Reporter: "But physically, just making sure your body is right, anything from that experience?")"No. I thought my body was good going into that week, so I don't know."

On what he sees from the Jets' defense that makes it so tough in run defense: "All helmets at the ball. Jamal Adams is a great safety. They have the rookie, Quinnen Williams, [who is] a great D-tackle, young at that. He's going to be a problem. But we have great guys, and our guards and center, we'll do a great job at that. But we just have to play ball, get ready for a physical game." (Reporter: "Jamal might not play.")"Yes, but it's still going to be a physical game. James Burgess is playing well at linebacker. He used to play with me at Louisville, so I know what they're bringing."

On how he adjusts to bad weather this time of year and how it affects the offense:"We just have to do a better job playing in those conditions, because we can't control Mother Nature. Going to the game, when you have the wind blowing, you have to throw with the wind sometimes. We just have to do a better job at balancing it out."

On what stands out to him about the primetime atmosphere in Baltimore: "How lit up the stadium is. The fans will be going crazy. As soon as we get out there, it's like, we're warming up and they're just going crazy like the game just started. So, they're pretty pumped. Primetime games, I enjoy it."

On what the offense will do if T Ronnie Stanley is not be able to play:"Yes, but we have James Hurst. I know he'll fill in and do a great job. So, we want Ronnie [Stanley] back, but we have James. We're going to be good."

On if he pays attention to his stats: "No. We're winning. I don't care about the stats. I want them to be good, though, don't get me wrong. I want them to be good. (laughter) I don't want to go in there just doing anything. I want them to be good. But we're winning. That's all that matters."

On if coaches may start giving dual-threat quarterbacks more of a chance before switching them to other positions because of him: "They should. They should give them a try. You never know what'll happen. That's how I see it. That's what the Ravens did, and we're having a lot of success. So, probably in the long run, it would help players out."

S Earl Thomas III

On what it is like to be on such an aggressive defense that blitzes often: "It feels good. We're making the quarterback speed his timeclock up, and it just allows us to be aggressive in the secondary and also up front."

On what he learned from covering 49ers WR Deebo Samuel that will help him prepare to play against WR Vyncint Smith and the Jets: "Deebo [Samuel] is a good player. I don't think us facing him will help us in this game. We just do what we do, as is business as usual. I hope that helps." (laughter)

On if it is a real goal that the team has discussed to clinch homefield advantage in the next two games: "It's important, but we just want to win this game and just see what happens after that. 'Wink' [defensive coordinator Don Martindale] said something like this is a 'hat and t-shirt' game when we get our championship hats and shirts, so we're excited for that opportunity. But we're just going to let the chips fall where they may and just try to get this win."

On the keys, through his experience, to getting the win in primetime games at home, particularly on a short week:"We've been building for this moment. We've been playing really good football. The preparation is there. We're ready. And it's just like any other game, but it's primetime. Everybody is watching, so you want to put the best product on the football field. I have no doubt that we'll do that."

On QB Lamar Jackson's toughness and durability: "He's very durable. His toughness is … You can't question it. He's taken a lot of hits. He's sacrificing his body for the team. I respect that."

On if the team worries about opposing defenses going after QB Lamar Jackson's legs:"Yes, especially on the sideline. Every time somebody hits him, he doesn't need to be taking those hits. I think the refs need to pay close attention to that as well and protect him a little bit more, because teams are trying to do … I'm not saying they're trying to hurt Lamar [Jackson], but they're definitely going at his legs more than they were doing it at first." (Reporter: "Because they're trying to slow him up running?")"Yes."

On if he would do the same thing within the rules:"Yes, but we're talking about Lamar Jackson. (laughter)That's our quarterback, so I want to protect him. But [if] you get a shot, you try to keep it clean. You definitely don't want to lose any money out of your pockets anyway."

On how he feels about getting his first sack last week at Buffalo:"It felt good, but the penalty kind of threw me off. I thought it was clean. They said I pushed the guy's helmet in the ground, but 'Big Baby' [Brandon Williams] really just bumped into me from the back and the reaction from him made me kind of like make the move into the QB. But the refs thought it was a dirty play. But they saw it on replay, and they came back and said it was good."

On what he feels really clicked for this defense to elevate its play:"It has a little bit to do with 'Wink' [defensive coordinator Don Martindale]. It has a little bit to do with the communication. It's getting better. And we're starting to see the same concepts over and over now at this time in the season. That's been helping, as well."

On how important the addition of ILB Josh Bynes was to the defense:"[Josh] Bynes, he's been in big games. He's been on a Super Bowl team; he's a Super Bowl champion. And we need all of that, so that's a good pickup for us. He's been doing really good at the linebacker position."

On what sticks out to him about Jets QB Sam Darnold: "Sam [Darnold], I think he can extend some plays. I think he's solid. I think he's a solid quarterback. I don't have any other thing to say about him, but he's solid."