CB Greg Newsome II (11.20.23)
Hey, Greg, I know after the game you said that AWalk (Anthony Walker) and Rodney (McLeod) are the two greatest leaders on the team. So, being without Rodney for the rest of the year and AWalk for a while now, how do you guys deal with that and find that leadership on the field?
“Yeah, it’s a great question. It really starts with the young guys like myself in the room just observing and seeing how Rodney leads. And it’s not going to just be one person to feel his role. It’ll be impossible for somebody to feel his role. But as a collective group, everybody has to find a way to chip in and become even more vocal leaders and everything like that. So, it’s not going to be an easy task for sure, but I think we got the right guys in the building to be able to fulfill.”
And then after the game, I think Kenny Pickett said you guys played more zone than you’d shown earlier this season, and it kind of surprised him. Why do you think you did that? And could you tell that they were confused by the game plan for sure?
“Yeah, honestly, I just think were able to get them in a bunch of third and longer situations. I think the D line and the linebackers are doing a great job of getting us in those third and long situations. And then obviously, Coach (Jim) Schwartz is so good at showing stuff and then getting out of it. So, our goal was just to try to disguise as much as we can and get him off his first read.”
Greg, back to the injuries again. Obviously, the offense has sustained a lot of injuries. They’ve dealt with this kind of thing throughout the season. Is that something that you guys, as a defense can maybe take lessons from to see how that side of the ball was able to rally around those kinds of big losses like Nick Chubb, Jack Conklin, Deshaun (Watson).
“Yeah, for sure, it shows the resiliency, not just from the offense, but the team. I think when you’re all together as one, we kind of don’t separate ourselves as offense and defense. We just find a way. And we’ve seen we lost a lot of great players this season, but I think it just is a credit to what we built in the offseason and it’s just that brotherhood.”
And after the game, some of the guys said it wasn’t a great game defensively, there were some explosive plays you guys wish you had back, but to be able to get them to punt in four plays and then the next drive go three and out and really help set the team up for that game winning field goal. What does that say about you guys as a defense that you can bounce back so quickly in a game like that?
“Yeah, it just proves everything that we’re just trying to show, and that’s that we’re the best defense in the league. And you earn those stripes not in the first quarter, not in the second quarter, third quarter. You earn that in the fourth quarter in big moments. So, I think it just shows the resiliency that we play with.”
Greg, you had the tweet last week just about jump off the bandwagon if you want and you’ll regret it to sort of the fan base there. And I’m just curious, like, you guys obviously play with this resounding sense of belief, and no matter what, it’s been on display all season. You lose Nick Chubb, you lose to Deshaun (Watson), you lose Jack Conklin and all these guys, and you just keep finding ways to win. How do we quantify something like when we’re talking about what that means going into a game where it seems like you guys are overmatched in this area or that area, how does that just factor into you guys being able to keep winning and how do we quantify it?
“Yeah, I just think it’s just that next man up mentality. Obviously, losing Deshaun and Chubb, they’re irreplaceable. Like Jack, the guys that we’ve been losing are irreplaceable, but it never comes from just one person. It’s a collective. And I think when you lose those key guys, you know it’s going to be a collective of people that has to step in and replace that. Like losing Chubb. You know, it’s not just one running back that’s just going to go out there and do what Chubb was doing. You see that we have a bunch of people who are stepping in and making plays when they need to. So, yeah, it’s definitely tough, but we never just put it on the shoulders of whoever’s coming in to replace them. We kind of try to help them out, and it’s a team effort.”
You guys have a road trip coming up. How do you enter that kind of West Coast out there, time difference, and then how do you maybe take some of the energy that you were able to feel from the dog pound playing at home as you go on to that little stretch?
“Yeah, they always say it’s so tough to win on the road for sure in the NFL, but I know definitely a lot of the dog pound will still be there. They always find their way there, but it’s just really sticking together. Whoever you go out there and travel with those that are people that you’re going to rely on. So, it’s definitely harder to play on the road just because you don’t have that energy from the crowd on your side. So, it’s just going to be guys out there on the field like me trying to bring out some energy and just keeping the guys up the whole time. So, it’s definitely going to be more challenging for sure on the road.”
Yeah, Greg, just wondering, can you maybe describe something that Rodney (McLeod) helped you guys with because he knew Jim Schwartz’s defense so well? How was he instrumental in helping sort of implement the Jim Schwartz way? And then I have another question after that if you don’t mind.
“Yeah, I really can’t even just pick one thing. What this defense is about and how we are on the field, how resilient we are, it starts with Rod. I mean, just coming in, telling us if we want to make it, we have to do these certain things. We got so many things like in the DB room itself, we’re putting up fines and stuff, like if we’re late to meetings or we drop a pick at practice. So just everything that we’re about on this defense is Rodney McLeod. So, it’s definitely not just one thing. I feel like it’s the whole entire defense. He’s put his stamp on this team and on this defense for sure.”
Thank you. And then the second question I had is you guys are bringing Joe Flacco in and I know Deshaun’s (Watson)going to be leaving you guys for a while to go have his surgery and rehab. So, what impact will have on you guys to have another veteran presence, not just in the quarterback room, but on the team?
“It’s amazing. It’s only going to help us get closer to our goals. I mean, a guy that has been to Super Bowls, won the Super Bowl, it’s always great to have those guys in the building, especially where our aspirations are for the end of the season is going to be. Good to just get his feedback on certain things. And like I said, it’s perfect that he’s coming. He’s coming at the right time, especially in this stretch that we’re about to go into. So, we’re definitely going to use him for sure to help us get there.”
Without Rodney (McLeod) and then coach said he didn’t know if Juan (Thornhill) will be able to get back this week. How do you feel about the depth of safety? What have you seen out of Ronnie (Hickman) and Ronnie, especially this year?
“Yeah, we’re deep everywhere. That’s the thing. I feel like we got not just the best defense but the best secondary in the NFL. And I’ve said it before, I was more so speaking on the corners just because we are the ones going down a lot, but that room’s deep. You guys saw what you’ve seen in preseason. None of that is just – it’s still NFL football. So, we got guys like Ronnie, we got guys that’s on private squad like Tanner (McCalister). We got guys like D’Anthony Bell who are ready. They’re young, they’re hungry. So, we definitely trust them out there all the, you know, we won’t lose a step there at all.”
And then do you feel, I guess as a whole unit, do you feel the pressure every week of living up to that number one ranking that you guys have?
“Not really. I feel like it’s more so pressure we put pressure on ourselves just because we know what we’re capable of, but we’re not even putting pressure just because we’re the number one unit. Obviously, if we just continue to do what we do and put those high goals for ourselves as players, we’re going to keep that number one ranking. So, we’re not really too worried about the number one ranking. We just kind of put the pressure on ourselves just to go out there and perform because if we perform at a high level, we’ll win football games.”
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