DE Porter Gustin (9.21.20)

DE Porter Gustin:

On how his 2020 season is different from last year: 

“It is different in a lot of ways. For one, I got to spend camp with this team and this group so that is different. Last year, coming in halfway, there were guys injured and I was learning a completely new defense and there were six games left. It was a different feel. It was a completely different feel. Starting out fresh, starting off throughout camp, being able to earn the trust of my teammates or the coaches and be able to work my way into the rotation and kind of show these coaches what I have and what I have to offer so in that way, it is different.”

 

On his relationship with DE Adrian Clayborn and Clayborn helping him after practices:

“Yeah, anytime I can especially take the time to be one on one with a guy like that, a vet that has been in the league forever and been there done that and had the sacks and he has a lot of knowledge, anytime I can do that, I take that opportunity and be able to take it in, ask questions and learn from him. He stays after practice to get some work in so I take that opportunity and I try to learn. He has definitely helped me with some things technique-wise and just sharing some knowledge so that has been great.”

 

On his emotions playing Thursday night and playing a significant number of snaps with DE Olivier Vernon inactive and DE Adrian Clayborn leaving the game with an injury:

“Going in as a backup not really knowing how many plays you are going to get –the game before I got 10 or 11 snaps – so going in as a backup, it is definitely a different feel. The preparation is different and you get a lot less reps in practice, things like that. You can take that two ways. You can kind of see it as I am not going to play and not really prepare like a starter or you can see it how I have been seeing it where I know I may only get a few reps during the game, and if that is the case, then I have no room for error because if I go in and mess it up, the coaches are going to be reluctant to put me in again. In that sense, it has kind of changed my perspective, and if anything, probably helped motivate me to prepare more just knowing that I am on a short leash, and if I go in, there is absolutely no room for error. Coming into the game, I was still very prepared. I kind of had that mindset. I knew OV was down. Anything can happen in this league. Somebody could get hurt and go down just like what happened on Thursday and you are the next man up. Anything can happen. You have to be prepared and be ready to take on anything.”

 

On if he believes he could have caused the fumble if DE Myles Garrett had not gotten there first:

“I would like to think so (laughter).”

 

On the confidence built through his performance during training camp and the opportunity to learn from Garrett and Vernon:

“Yeah, it certainly gave me confidence going against the ones coming out there and knowing that it is a new coaching staff and they have not really seen what you can do or been able to evaluate you in a practice setting. Going out there, you give it your all, and when you get an opportunity to go with the ones, you have to make plays. You just have to. It is what you have to do in this league to stay here and to earn a spot. It was good to get out there, make a few plays and show my teammates and coaches that I can go out there and compete with the ones and make plays out there. It was good.”

 

On how he prepared during the offseason:

“First off, it was a different offseason, obviously. The thing is everybody did not have the same training routine and access to what we usually have. It kind of evens out the playing field coming in. Nobody really got the same preparation and the same routine in offseason. I kind of took that and decided to see it as a positive to where I know that everybody is working alone and everybody has limited resources so it is really going to come down to effort, what you are willing to do and how much you are willing to go out and find a way to make it happen. That is kind of what I did. Luckily, Utah, where I live, did not shut down everything as much as a lot of states did. The local gym stayed open, and I was able to train at the high school and do some of those things. I had pretty good access to what I needed. I just stayed the course and just worked – worked my drills, worked on what I needed to work on, my weaknesses and just put my head down and worked throughout the offseason. Got proper rest and did what I needed to. That is how I prepared for it, and that is really all you can do.”

 

On if he took satisfaction with playing a role in Garrett’s strip-sack of Bengals QB Joe Burrow:

“It definitely brought some satisfaction. What it really did is it gave our team the momentum and it gave us energy. And as far as that play went, it does not work one without the other. If Myles did not do what he did in the game that we ran, then I do not come free. If I did not do what I did and entertain the tackle like I did and occupy him, then maybe Myles does not come free. Working together on that is what made that happened. We ran it well. We executed. We have done it in practice so it was nice to be able to get out there and do it in game setting and be able to hit the quarterback. I have not been able to do that since last season. We do not get to do that in practice so it is good to do that. It is definitely satisfying. [Burrow] came back out firing, stayed strong and was able to make plays. He did not seem too rattled up, but I like to think it got him thinking a little bit, a little worried.”

 

On how he kept his spirits up after being undrafted and spending time with the Saints’ and Browns’ practice squads before joining the Browns’ active roster:

“It was tough. Going to the draft and you look at your stats and your numbers and you are pretty confident you are going to be drafted and then going undrafted and then going to the Saints and switching positions and getting kind of mixed around a little bit into a different position, things do not go very smoothly, and then you are out for a while. I just kept working. That is really what I know and what I go to. I was pretty confident that a team would come around, although, it took quite a while. I had a couple of workouts with teams so that kind of helped reassure that teams were looking at me and evaluating me. Just kept working and made the necessary changes that I needed to because I moved from an outside linebacker to a defensive end. I know I needed to put on weight, and I did not have the time to do it in New Orleans because they changed my position last second so I was really light. I knew I needed to change that so I did, and I worked on the things that I saw I needed to work on throughout camp. I learned a lot from camp in New Orleans and really focused on that while I was out. That is kind of how I stayed occupied, just knowing that I would have another opportunity when I needed to and I needed to be ready. I needed to practice my weaknesses and mistakes that I have made.”

 

On T Jedrick Wills Jr.’s performance in his first two games, given he competed against Wills in training camp, as well as Garrett and Vernon:

“He has done great. I have not had time to sit down and evaluate and watch the offense, but I have during gameday, and I have heard the stats a little bit on how well he has doing. It is great. He has done great, and I think he has come a long way from the beginning of camp until the end. He is out there going against a lot of good pass rushers, and sometimes it does not go his way, but that is how it always is, especially for a rookie coming out here. It is tough. I think he has gotten better from it, learned from it and been able to step it up and come out and do really well on gameday, so it is great.”

 

On if the coaching and personnel departments’ focus on Wills helped shed light on his performance, as well:

“Yeah, I think so. As a competitor, you always want to go against somebody else that, like you said, has the spotlight or is proven to be a really good player just so you can be able to show what you have against a proven player. You go out and do it against a player that does not have the spotlight or is not as skilled, then it is easy to kind of blow off and be like ‘Well, the competition you were going against was not very good.’ When you can go against somebody that is similar to Wills’ position, anytime you can do that, it is definitely a positive.”

 

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