DE Alex Wright (1.5.24)

How exciting is this opportunity to maybe get more play time this week? 

“You got to take it all head-on like regular. The next game is the most important game. Don’t look at it as nothing different.”


How do you feel like you’ve grown this season?

“I feel like I’ve grown a lot compared to being around the guys dating back to last year. I feel like I learned a lot. I just credit everything to the coaches and whatnot. Just being more comfortable out there on the field. I don’t have to think as much. I don’t have to worry about technical stuff, just actually just trusting myself and just staying confident. Just doing that and the rest takes care of itself. When I thought about that, it was like, okay, got everything under control.”


I remember back at the Greenbrier how Myles (Garrett) would just pull you aside between reps and things like that. How did that come along?

“I mean with my especially my position, hands are probably the most important along with the feet. So just having Myles as that player coach. You can’t ask for a better player to be there for you. He still does that to this day. We can be in the film room and they tell us the same thing.”


What impact has Jim Schwartz had on you this season? 

“Jim made me a whole lot comfortable. Especially with his attack scheme, because it’s something that I’ve done back in college. So, I mean, he’s made it real plain, he made it simple. That’s the first thing, he sat down in conversation when he first got here. We’re going to attack. Not going to sit or wait on anything. When we sat down and talked about it, it kind of eased my worries a little bit about what we’re going to do as a defense. So, I mean, it benefited us well, especially the D line.”


(?) using your upper body more as you rush the quarterback. How do you feel like that part of your game has developed over the last few months?

“I feel like it’s developed a lot, but I still got a lot to work on. You can see it talking to Myles (Garrett) and Z (Za’Darius Smith) and coaches. When you are there on the field, even if I get to the quarterback, how can I get to the quarterback faster? How you can get to the quarterback in a much more cleaner way. It’s the fact that just trust the technique, just be repetitive. It’s just sharpening my tools. It’s just that simple.”


Is the room kind of steeper than you expected last year when you got here? I guess what was it like when you first got here last year compared to what was it like compared to where you are now?

“It was different. I didn’t even know how to take the approach just to the lifestyle of the NFL. It took me a while to figure out everything. But being in the NFL, you learn a lot of stuff that you think you would know.  So just the fact of learning certain things, certain new techniques, new terminology. New techniques and stuff like that. It took me a while to approach it. That goes off the field too. That was my main focus, especially going into the end of the season. Thinks I could work on and improve on. So, I took that into the offseason and I made that my main point of interest.”


Alex, I know this game doesn’t have implications for the playoffs. You guys are locked in, but how much do you guys feed off the momentum, of getting another win, keeping the streak alive, going into the playoffs with a win under your belt? How much does that matter to you guys? 

“I mean, it matters, like I said, it’s just the next game, but when you got the guys in this room, we trust each other. At the end of the day, we put together a great game plan to go into Sunday, just to go out there and play against Cinci. Just because it’s the next game or we’re not looking forward to the playoffs or whatnot. It’s also the next game. We don’t care that it’s the last game of the season. We just look for it as you know, we got to go 1-0 this week.”


The next man-up mentality. You guys have really embodied it. What is it about this group that has allowed you guys to turn maybe more of a cliche phrase into truly a (?)

“I mean, you guys see the words into existence, especially me personally. When Ogbo (Okoronkwo) and Mo (Hurst) went down, it was the fact that the matter is, once the opportunity presents itself, I got to treat myself as if the flow cannot be messed up on D line when I go out there. So, my thing is, when I took it upon myself, I had to take it very seriously. And that’s just the standard that we have. Not only the D line but as the defense in general. We all have a standard. You always have to be ready no matter when your time is called. You never know. That’s pretty much what we are led by. We try to not lead by words. We try to lead by example and whatnot. Speak it into existence. We live by that statement.”


When Mo (Hurst) and Ogbo (Okoronkwo) went down. What did they share with you about your opportunity and vice versa? What did you ask them?

“As soon as we heard that Ogbo went down, I automatically knew that I was going to be the next person up. Just talking to myself and just motivating myself day in and day out. Okay, the opportunity here you’ve been waiting for. This is what you have to do. This is what you need to do. And I just kept telling myself, the more practice went on throughout the week, the more confidence I got. So, when it started in Chicago when I started to make plays here and there, I just felt that confidence just shoot sky-high. So when it did that, it was just like, okay, now I got to figure out how to keep this going. Once I kept going. Now it’s on this train. Same mentality in practice, just trying to figure out how to keep it going.”


You stepped in for him, obviously, but now you established yourself. What’s it like to see Ogbo (Okoronkwo) come back from an injury that people thought was season ending at one point? Now he’s coming back to practice. 

“Ogbo is a true warrior. People outside looking at it really don’t know Ogbo They just see what goes on social media and whatnot. But Ogbo is a gentle person, he’s a kind person, he’s a brother. He’s a hard worker. So having him back in the room, not only more laughs in the room, again, not saying there weren’t laughs before, but just having him back in the room is just good to see him back.”


What is it about the way Jim (Schwartz) taught you guys and worked with you guys defensively that’s allowed for when somebody else is to step in, somebody who’s maybe not a starter or an everyday player, that it’s so flawless? What is it about his system that has worked for you guys?

“It’s simple. You don’t have to think so much in his defense. You don’t have to react so much in his defense, you don’t have to ask so many questions in his defense. It’s the fact that he makes it really short and sweet. So, I mean, once it’s short and sweet, it prevents a lot of problems. It prevents a lot of problems on the field and practice. You got your questions and stuff like that but as soon as we get on the field all the answers are solved. It allows us to move around more freely as a unit. Once you move around as a unit, you know this. Everybody can play. No one is thinking, it’s just real simple.”

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