Cornerbacks Coach Brandon Lynch (9.22.23)

How would you assess the past two games where it seems like your group has been one of the better groups on the field? How have they graded out  when you guys have sat down, watched the film? 

“Sure. I think that we’re led by the engine of our team, which is our D line. And the reason why I start with them…we’re just a product of those guys, like, doing a really good job for us, affecting throws, and it helps us get in really good position. So I think that with the group, our toughness, our effort, our passion has really been on display. Those are things that we emphasize on defense, and the guys have been doing a really good job executing it.”


Martin (Emerson Jr.), I think I saw that he’s only allowed like, one catch this year. So how has he kind of stepped forward this year? 

“Sure, he’s a START (Smart, Tough, Accountable, Resilient, Team) player. For us, we like to say that we always start at start, and we like to make sure that our smarts are before our toughness. He’s obviously a tough player, but he’s really taking it upon himself daily with his habits in the classroom, his daily work habits on the field. And even though he’s a young player, he really does a really good job, like utilizing everybody around the building from Joe’s (Sheehan) staff to Larry (Jackson) and our guys that are on the strength performance side. He does a really good job bringing that to his game.”


How is Greg (Newsome II) coming along with the elbow, and what are the chances of him playing?

“That’s a really good question. I think know our system that we have here, they do a really good job getting our guys back on the field, ready to perform the play, and he utilizes every opportunity to do it.”


I know you had to go kind of deep in the second half against the Steelers. You had Cam (Mitchell) out there, and I think Mike (Ford Jr.) was out there, too. What did you see in those guys, especially if they have to be called upon for a bigger role if Greg can’t play?

“Resilience, it’s a group that we keep using the word start, but resilience is very important to us. So having very smart players that are resilient in their roles, that really want to do it at a high level is very very important. I know that the other guys in our know when you look at Mike Ford, when you look at AJ Green, when you look at Cameron, when you look at Khalef (Hailassie), these are guys that have extreme versatility, and guys really want to do those things at a high level for us.”


How is DHop (DeAndre Hopkins) playing and what do you guys have to worry about with him?

“You know, we have to play great team defense. Whenever you have a great veteran receiver like that obviously can stretch the field. He’s a contested catch guy. It’s a really fun matchup for our guys and we’re really looking forward to it.”


How does (Treylon) Burks complement him? 

“Absolutely. He’s a guy. He gets down in the run fit. He’s a guy that makes contested catches. He’s a guy that also can stretch the field. So it’s going to be a big challenge for our defense to play as a group to make sure that we’re gang tackling, to make sure that we’re eliminating explosives and really doing a really good job for the engine in the nerve center for our defense.”


Communication wise, how do you guys feel like you’re operating in that room through the first two games? 

“Sure. It’s a point of emphasis for us. We talk a lot about executing. We talk a lot about communicating so that all of our roles so that we can – we talk about one plus one equals three. So the sum of our parts have to be greater. So all of our guys buying into that concept and working on those habits daily is going to keep helping us.”


You guys haven’t given up many plays like the one (George) Pickens had on that long touchdown catch and run. So I guess what’s the teaching point off of a play like that? 

“You got to be resilient. You have to be resilient. It’s the NFL, those type of plays are going to happen. But also with the smart guys that we have in the room, our mental and physical toughness, how we’re accountable to not just defense, but how we’re accountable to our offense and our special teams. Guys are going to resiliently bounce back because we keep the team first.”


The fact that you guys played as much man as you did against that Bengals trio of wideouts, what do you think that did for your guys, the fact you were able to shut them down like you did? 

“We like to keep the focus on the know and our guys have really good work habits as students. So keeping the focus on our daily fundamentals and technique, I think that really helps us as a teacher and it helps us as students to keep buying into the team concepts.”


Looks like Denzel (Ward) is even more locked in if that’s possible. But he just looks like really ready to take his game to the next level. Do you see that?

“Absolutely. He’s a really good leader for us. He does all of the little things right. He’s a come early, stay late guy. He’s also a young student that all of the other students in the room they really look up to. So when one of your best players is the hardest worker in the room and he really embodies START, that really helps our defensive culture.”


What has Mike Ford, a guy that has sort of had to come up as a special teamer and kind of earn playing time in the secondary, what does he mean to that room? And just as a veteran in there with a lot of young guys. 

“Toughness and I say that with an extreme amount of passion with it, he’s a tough guy. He has really, really good effort. He plays with really good passion. And because of his work habits, all of the students in the room really, really respect what he brings.”




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