QB P.J. Walker (10.13.23)
So what do you think of your opportunity this weekend?
“It’s another one. You know, for me, it’s just to go out there and take care of business. Handle business. Go out there and play with the guys around me.”
When the Browns signed you to the practice squad. What went through your mind?
“Just to come here, try to get the room better. For me, it was to come here and help the room as best as I can, and to bring some experience. So for me, just try to do as best as I can to develop and learn. Learn offense and get plugged in when I needed to, just try to figure things out from there. I wasn’t expecting this situation to happen right now, but it’s happening. So for me, it’s just to go out there and be ready for Sunday.”
When did you find out that you were going to be the backup to Deshaun (Watson)?
“During the week this week. Found out. For me, I prepare each week like I am the backup. That’s how I’ve always been. That’s how I always approached going into these games on Sundays, whether I’m one, two, or three. For me, it’s just always go out there prepared like I’m going to play on Sunday. Because you just never know what happens. Somebody can wake up sick on Sunday morning, and they can’t go. So for me, it’s just always be ready.”
How did your starts last year help prepare you and give you confidence for a game like this?
“Oh, yeah. Last year was huge. Just me getting the opportunity to go out there and play five games and get those games under my belt. It felt good just to see guys rally around me and just to feel the energy and excitement of the guys around me. I go out there and pray for myself. I go out there and pray for every one of these guys in his room, in this building. That’s all that matters at the end of the day, taking care of business on Sunday and going out there and playing as a team.”
And can you describe the difference between start one and start eight in terms of what you feel out there, how the game slows down?
“Start one was first Detroit a couple of years ago, 2020. I didn’t know I was going to start the game until that day. So for me, it was by game time decisions, kind of a situation like last week with DTR (Dorian Thompson-Robinson). But I was prepared, though. So just being prepared, going out there expecting to play, that’s the only way to approach these situations. You can’t go out there on Sundays and try to go out there and think you’re going to go out there and just wing it, you got to out there prepared. This is a business where you got to go out there and perform on Sundays and play. So for me, just to go out there, take care of business and go handle my job.”
PJ, can you talk about what it’s going to be like to go against Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead, Javon Hargrave and these guys in your first start for the Browns?
“Yeah, it’s going to be good. It’s going to be good. I think the guys around me, though, do a great job of being there for me, everybody’s out there to do their job. I’m not even going to make it about them because it ain’t about them. It’s about us in the building right here. That’s all that matters.”
Do you like that the Browns are big underdogs in this game? Do you like that kind of role?
“It is what it is. I’ve been there before. We’ve been there before. It’s going to be what it’s going to be. So for me, it’s nothing that we can control. That’s what the outside noise is. So for us, we’re gonna go out there and prove them wrong on Sunday.”
Can you hang your hat on the fact that people don’t necessarily have you as a household name? You can look the last year and see that you beat the Bucs and Tom Brady 21-3. Is that something that you pride yourself on?
“Household name. No household name. Honestly, it’s going to be what it’s going to be at the end of the day. For me, it ain’t about that. It’s going out there. It’s a new day, new game. I can’t go out there thinking about what I did last year, whole different team. So I’m with these guys right now. And that’s all that matters.”
What are the conversations you’ve had with Kevin Stefanski?
“It’s been great. I’ve had five weeks to just sit in a meeting room with the guys and just to see how they work, see how they operate as a group. And so for me, just filling in this week and just knowing the situation, knowing I might be up. So just preparing–AVP (Alex Van Pelt), Kev, just getting me prepared, having those deep conversations with me of what I like on offense and what I think about certain plays, that right there helps me a lot.”
What is the biggest adjustment from going from one team to another team as a quarterback?
“That’s tough, but this is the job. So for me, if it calls for late nights and early mornings, that’s what it calls us for. For me, it’s about putting the work in and going out there being prepared on Sundays. You only got a short period of time to go handle business. This is what, seven, six months thing? You can not sleep for six months and get some rest when it’s over.”
You played a little bit late that game last year, but, preparing for this defense two years in a row, how much did that experience last year help you prepare this year for their defense?
“Yeah, last year was just like you said, I got in and finished the game but it was a different situation. So for me, it’s just out there and play fast. Knowing what they like to do, and just being sharp, being intentional with my drops. Everything that I do got to have some intention to it. Going out there, being prepared and going out there and performing at a high level.”
Do you carry a bit of a chip on your shoulder for just what happened before you got here? Just the way that you were let go and replaced?
“Yeah, it happens. It is what it is. I ain’t going to cry over spoiled milk. I’m here now. And I’m in a better situation. So that’s all that matters”
When did you start to feel comfortable in this offense? Did it almost take until this week to get a bunch of reps?
“Yeah, it just took this week, to be honest, just going out there and getting the reps and being able to just hear myself talk about the cadence and call the plays and all those different things, it was easy for me.”
We know that Joe Bitonio was ruled out for this game. How do you feel about that? The fact that you guys have to be without Joel.
“It’s going to be tough not to be out there with him, but this is the next man of business. We just got to go out there and be ready. Do what we got to do to find ways to make things right on the offensive end to replace Joel. We got to go out there and handle our business regardless. Go out there and find ways to help (Michael) Dunn and just go out there and play the game. Play the game at high level and we’ll be fine.”
Saw you throwing passes to David (Njoku) today. Obviously he returned to practice, thinks he’s going to play. What does it say about him to go through what he did? It means so much to be out the the field?
“Yeah, it’s big man. Just to get him to come out there. We all know what went down, but it’s just to go out there and continue to play week after week with that. That shows a lot of toughness by him. We appreciate it as a team.”
What was your advice to DTR (Dorian Thompson-Robinson)?
“I told him I’ve been in this situation before. 2021, they signed Cam (Newton) in week eleven, we played Arizona. I started the game. He played in some of the game as well. And they just signed me that Friday, you know what I’m saying? And he played then he started the week after that for the rest of the season. So, I mean, things happen, but when your opportunity comes, you got to be ready for it and go out there and attack it.”
What about Steve Wilks knows you kind knows you as well as anybody in the league. So just what about going up against Steve knowing that he has a little bit of a book on you and what he’s going to have in store for you?
“I’m going to look forward to it. I’m looking forward to it. Just knowing who’s on the other side of that ball, calling the plays for this defense. It’s going to be fun. I’ve known him as a great guy, great coach, great person. I’m looking forward to it.”
You’re looking forward to shaking hands with him before the game, too? Probably catching up.
How much did that XFL opportunity help you to get out there and put film out there?
Yeah, that was big, man. Just to get the opportunity to go out there and get those live reps in game. Seeing different defenses, it’s not the NFL, but it’s probably the closest thing to it and for me just to get those reps and go out there and have fun. And I was able to find a love for football again, back and during that time, just going through a tough time in 2019 of not being able to go out there to perform and play, have an opportunity in 2020. The XFL definitely prepared me for these situations now, especially like the last couple of years that I’ve been in league.”
How great is it to have an Amari Cooper when you’re heading into a big game?
“That’s great, man. Just to know he’s a guy that’s going to go out there and get open. I think we got a great group of receivers, to be honest. We got a great group of guys. They all gonna go get open and they all gonna make plays.”
He talked a lot about you in terms of communication. How has that been?
“It’s been great, just talking to him, seeing what he likes. Just trying to figure out how he wants the ball thrown to him. Not just with him, every receiver. And just overcommunicating because, you know, I haven’t really got these reps with these guys. So for me, it’s going to be fun just to go out there and continue to talk to them, build with them on the sideline and just go out there and play fast.”
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