QB Jeff Driskel (1.4.24)


Welcome to Cleveland. 

“Yeah. Happy to be here.”


How surprising has these last couple of days been?
“I don’t know about surprising. I mean, that’s the NFL. Things happen. I’ve been around long enough to understand, like, don’t try to figure it out. Just handle the moment. And that’s what I’ve been doing the last five or six days and just happy to be here.”


Kevin (Stefanski) had mentioned to us the fact that you worked with Drew Petzing, who has been here, and the offense is real similar. So I guess in such a short amount of time here, has the transition been a little easier from a familiarity standpoint? 

“Yeah, I mean, as much as one offense to another, there’s probably not a much smoother transition, terminology wise. Obviously, like somebody else calling it, new guys around you. The bigger thing has been getting to know my teammates more than getting to know the system, which I think is a good thing.”


Jeff, changing teams this late in the season is one thing, but getting put in the game is another. Did you sign knowing you would probably play? 

“I didn’t know what was going to happen. When you get an opportunity to get on a 53 man roster, you take it. That’s typically the fastest path to the field, and that’s what my thought process was. So came here, had a chance to get on a 53 and looking forward to the opportunity on Sunday.”


What was the initial conversation with Kevin like as he was telling you where to start and working through this week? 

“Yeah, I mean, it was the same message that everybody got. Like, we’re going to go out and try to win this game. And that’s what we’ve been doing all week. We’ve been working hard, getting to know our opponent, getting to know the game plan. But that’s really been the message is go try to win a football game.”


So you said one of the best things is going to know your teammates. Did you ask Joe (Flacco) how he did that so quick? Common occurrence here, you get to know guys real quick.

“Yeah, I mean, I mentioned earlier, this is the NFL, like, things happen. My family thinks it’s crazier than my teammates. Teammates see people in buildings all the time. There’s new people in every building every week and that’s just the name of the game. But yeah, just trying to get to know these guys on offense and defense, and it’s a really good group of guys happy to be with.”


So in terms of just being with AVP (Alex Van Pelt) in Cincinnati and playing against the Browns. This has a lot of familiarity to it for you, doesn’t it? 

“Yeah, I mean, the level of familiarity is huge. Seeing a face that you recognize and that you’ve worked with is comforting. So it’s been good to get back with him and be in the room with him. So it’s been really good.”


Jeff, you’re on the inside now. As an outsider, what’s it like to see this team, go with four quarterbacks and now a fifth starter? 

“Yeah, like you said, from the outside, you don’t really know much. You see guys go down, you see a different guy in there throughout the season, and it’s difficult. You see teams where a key player goes down and it just derails the season. And it’s been the opposite here. And I think it’s the way that the culture is built here, the way that the roster was built here. It really is a full team, and that’s what it takes to be successful.”


How’s your first week when you’re not only trying to learn this system here, but you also got to prepare for the Bengals defense? 

“Yeah, I mean, all weeks are hard, right? There’s a lot thrown at you week in and week out. So, I mean, it’s a little bit of a challenge getting to meet people for the first time, shake their hand and then go play with them. That’s a little bit different, but, yeah, it’s a really good defense, and we’ve watched a lot of tape on them. The staff and the other guys here know them a little bit better than I do just from playing them the last few years. But, yeah, it’s a challenge. But that’s the NFL. It’s a challenge every week.”


You know, you’re the first quarterback in this series to start for both teams?

“Yeah, I heard that. That’s an interesting stat. I’m surprised that’s a thing, but, yeah, I heard that. Whatever that means.”


And your first touchdown was against this team, do you remember that?

“I do. I remember it well.”


Came in for Andy Dalton. 

“Came in. Yeah, something happened, I think his hand. I threw a touchdown on the scene to Tyler Boyd, and he proceeded to throw my first touchdown ball in the stands.”


And you never got it back?
“I looked around, I asked the ref, ‘I was like, where’s the ball?’ And he’s like, ‘I don’t know.”


You also scored your first touchdown in that game.

“Yeah, I think it was from about this far away.”


Did you keep that one?

“No, not that one.”


Did you know Joe Flacco well before you got here? 

“No, I hadn’t worked with him before, but he was in Denver the year before I was there. And Brett Rypien and Drew Locke said really good things about him.”


From the outside, not being on the inside. How impressive was it for him to come in and win four in a row and put up the numbers that he has when he hadn’t been on a team?

“Yeah, it’s huge. He was out of football the whole year, just living relatively civilian life, coming in here, getting back into the swing of NFL building, NFL season and getting dressed in pretty quickly. It’s been fun to watch from the outside, but being here and seeing it, I’m not surprised.”


You talked about just getting acclimated, getting to know the guys. There’s been a lot to say about this locker room, just how tight it is and the fact that they’ve gone 11-5 and they’re in the playoffs and all this. What’s your first impressions of some of the guys that you have been able to interact with and this locker room as a whole? 

“Yeah, I mean, there’s a reason that the record is what it is. Obviously it’s a talented group, but like you mentioned, really tight knit group, really good guys across the board and you need that over the course of the season.”


Do you feel this game is an audition? 

“I don’t think so. Every player in this league, their resume is what they put on the field. But we’re worried about winning this game and that’s all I’m worried about. If I start thinking about stuff down the line, whether this year or years to come, I would be doing this team a disservice.”


You were here with the (Arizona) Cardinals when they played here? 



Shutout. What are your observations about the Browns defense? 

“Yeah, tough. Tough defense. Right? Like good, schematically good physically and really deep unit. So the only reason they’re at top of the league in terms of team defense.”


Is there any thought that you might play in that game or did you know going in?

“I was up. That was the one year, this year that I was elevated from the practice squad.

I had the mindset that I’m one snap away and that’s reality. So I was prepared to play. I didn’t know what was going to happen. But anytime your the backup, you got to be ready to go.”


If you get to stick around and you’re here throughout the playoff, what do you think you can help Joe with? What do you think he can offer him? 

“Yeah, I don’t know. I mean, he’s been there, done that, Super Bowl winning quarterback, played 16, 17 years now. Obviously I’ll support him in whatever way I can. I don’t know what that is, but just like to every other teammate, I’ll do the same to him and just be a good teammate.”


Even during games. Identifying? 

“Yeah, I mean you got to feel it out, right. You got to just see what he likes, how the communication goes in the sideline. And sometimes guys like to talk it out, sometimes they just like to play. So going to do what I can to just be a good team mate.”



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