CB Greg Newsome II (1.3.24)

What’s it like going into the last week where it doesn’t really matter and also kind of thinking about the playoffs at the same time?

I don’t know how it’s like because it does matter and we’re trying to go 1-0 this week. It’s a division rival. You know, I love playing against the (Cincinnati) Bengals. That’s probably my favorite team to go against in the NFL. So for us, it does matter. We’re still playing for pride out there, although we clinched already, so this week definitely matters for us.”


Do you want to play Sunday? 

“Oh, for sure.”


Have you been told if you will? 

“No, not yet. But the plan is that I’m going to treat this week like I’m playing and hopefully I’m out there.”


How important is it, Greg, then, to finish strong this season, even though you might not know who’s playing and you guys already clinched, but it’s still important to finish the season on a high note? 

“Yeah, super important. Like Coach (Jim) Schwartz said, no matter whoever is out there, they’re setting the standard for us. I think preseason, you’ve seen that the starters weren’t playing right away, but those guys set the tone in preseason. The defense looks exactly how it looked in preseason right now. So whoever’s out there, we’re going to keep that same tone going into the playoffs.”


Are you a believer in momentum? 

“Oh, for sure. We’re hot right now and we got to continue that. They always say, man, you want to be hot at the right time, and I think we’re doing a great job right now. So we’re just trying to keep that momentum up.”


Regardless of how much the starters play, how can this team be good for younger guys if they get an opportunity to kind of get that momentum heading into the playoffs? 

“Oh, it’s huge. Just getting out there, getting some reps, some guys who normally don’t play certain positions, guys who don’t have the opportunity to go out there and play on defense a lot because they’re playing a lot of special teams. So I think it’s just great for those younger guys, especially, like some corners in our room getting a chance to be able to get out there and play. We’re super excited. They’ve been practicing their tails off all year, so for them to get a chance to play, we’re super excited.”


Can you expand on why you like playing the Bengals?

“Oh, man, I’m a competitor. I think they arguably got one of the best receiving cores in the league. So just always a super competitive game for us out there.”


Joe (Flacco) just said something kind of funny. He said that if I had messed some in high school, I could be some of these guys dads. Does he give off any kind of a dad vibe and do you guys look up to him in some of kind of way that somebody has been around? What’s sort of the feeling been?

“Yeah, I mean, just how he dresses, got the dad look. We definitely get that vibe from a guy who’s been in the league for a long, long time, and knows a lot. So he’s very smart, and we just try to use him in any way we can just to help our growth as individuals, as men, and as players.”


Greg, he was saying that he felt welcomed right away. Because of the experience you just talked about him being in the league for so long. Did that kind of take away that awkwardness, that there was maybe some kind of like, kind of reverence, necessarily, but a respect that he had earned just by walking in the door? 

“Oh, for sure. A guy who’s been in the league that long, who’s won at the highest level, you automatically respect someone like that. Although some guys, right away, you do have to earn respect. That’s how the league works. You come in, no matter what name you are, you still always got to earn respect. But a guy like that who’s done it at the highest level, he had our respect from the jump, and he just proved us right. We knew exactly what he can do. We knew he was a veteran. We knew he was proven, and he’s showing that right now.”


How well do you think you played the last month? 

“How well have I played? I think I’ve played pretty well. I think other than the Denver game, I think since that game, I’ve been playing at a very high level.”


What do you think changed after that game? 

“Nothing. Just a mindset, knowing that each snap means something. My team needs me out there, especially when one of our best corners, one of the best corners in the league is out. I knew the team needed me to patrol out there to outside a little bit more and play to my ability. So that was pretty much the biggest difference.”


There’s been an aggressive, along those lines, there’s been an aggressiveness about you for the last kind of point of attack, whatever. Is that just having the freedom to play or just the confidence to play as well as you’re playing that allows you to make those kinds of plays? 

“Yeah. First is just confidence. I’m definitely playing at a very confident level right now and just laying it all out there on the line for my teammates. That’s the biggest thing. Realizing some of those run fits, things like that. I could be a little bit more aggressive. So it’s just laying my body out there for my team. No matter what happens, I know they got my back, so I’m just trying to do whatever I can to help the team win.”


How much time do you spend on your celebration? 

“Like, practicing it? Actually, I really honestly don’t practice it too much. Whatever I feel at the time is just kind of what I do.”


Have you gotten a bunch of feedback, like, from fans and stuff? 

“Yeah. I mean, some fans hate it. Some fans say I celebrate too much, but it’s whatever. That’s what Schwartz loves. He loves celebrating our brother’s successes, and I feel like that’s one of the things about me. I love seeing my guys succeed, so I’m always going to be over there celebrating.”


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