RG Wyatt Teller (11.20.23)
What did you, if anything, say to Dorian (Thompson-Robinson) in the game, and then maybe right after that final drive when he was able to get you guys down the field for that game-winning field goal?
“Yeah, no, after the game. I know he was emotional, and I was just proud of him. Probably something like, ‘Good job, man. Proud of you, man.’ At the end of the day, we all got to be able to execute. We all got to be able to do our jobs. And DTR did that.”
What does it say about him to be able to come off that first start, come in here and kind of hold that promise even though it wasn’t perfect all the time, that night and day difference?
“Yeah, no, he took care of the ball, obviously, that one turnover, which was off of a deflection and stuff like that, but he played on time. He operated the offense like he’d been there before. That’s what that experience does. And obviously, I wish his first start was a little bit easier on him, but he showed up and played really hard and he prepared the right way. He was a professional.”
Wyatt, can you talk about the fact that you guys have brought a veteran on board in Joe Flacco and what you think that might mean to your team and to Dorian?
“Yeah, no, I think that all the experience, the vet help is going to be exponential for him. I feel like that’s the hardest thing. When I was a young player, there were a lot of growing pains when it came to how to be a pro, all this different stuff. Now I will say DTR, he gets it. He got it a lot earlier than I did. I feel like if I did a little bit better job, probably wouldn’t have got traded, but maybe that was political. I don’t know. But I’m also thankful for that. It brought me here, but it’s just one of those things where you got to be able to do your job and do it at a high level and you have guys who’ve done it and Joe and stuff like that. So, I’m excited.”
You guys have overcome so much this year. All the injuries, starting three quarterbacks, et cetera. Can you just talk about kind of the leadership that Coach (Kevin) Stefanski has provided and how he’s kind of kept this whole thing together?
“Yeah, I know there’s been a lot of injuries. It’s kind of crazy when you think about it. Watching Nick (Chubb) come out of the tunnel yesterday, I kind of got a little emotional, too. But it’s just one of those things. The NFL is – one, the turnover year to year is crazy, but also the injuries you go through every year. And as much as I’ve had the same starting five for the past, obviously changing centers and stuff like that, but the four core and we’ve all had injuries, we’ve all been out, we’ve all had to be able to play with guys that we haven’t been able to spend years with. So we all have to be able to handle it. And it’s just one of those things.”
In terms of the kind of the unique tackle rotation yesterday, how different was that? And is that sustainable or do you think it’s just kind of a one off because of the injury situation with Dawand (Jones)?
“Yeah, no, I mean, it’s amazing to be able to go out there as a rookie and do that to one of the elite pass rushers in the league and in history, right? And especially right now to go out there and do that. But that’s why we brought him in. We brought him in to be able to be a physical monster out there to where you can even grab his arm and it’s so long that it’s going to take three tries to get around. But it’s a talented front and to be able to execute like that, even with the rotation and Geron (Christian) at left tackle, it’s special and it shows you how good coaches, but also how good the scheme is for us. And we’re in a very offensive line friendly. We did pass the ball a little bit, but like I said, Dorian was getting that ball out of his hand and that’s a blessing as an offense lineman because it’s not fun when you have to block for eight seconds. I’ll promise you that. Even if you guys say we’re really good, it’s still not fun.”
Hey, Wyatt, when you talk about that resilience, how much does Kevin’s kind of even-keel nature play into that? And I know he’s been preaching resilience all year long.
“Yeah, no, I think that we are a resilient team, but I also think we’re resilient because our defense is really good. I’ve been on teams that our defense fights, fights, but then it’s just you go with three and out a handful of times and they start getting tired. Even the best defense can get tired. And we got to be able to turn those three and outs to first down, just a couple of first downs, just to get them a little bit of breath. And even though we weren’t playing perfect yesterday, our defense came out and was playing lights out to hold the teams to what they’ve been doing, to be winning on third down. I mean, sometimes it feels like we’ll be like 19 play drives to go score and we’ll go out and our defense will three and out. And I’m like, ‘What? Oh, gosh, I’m already up.’ So it’s a good problem to have, but we play complementary football, and that’s because we have a really good defense, really good special teams, and an offense that does what it needs to do. As long as we hold onto that ball and we execute and we perform to the best of our ability, I think that the three core that we have is special.”
All right. I was going to ask about the right tackle, but I’m going to switch gears since you answered to the left tackle, what is going on with Geron Christian? Is he grading out as well as he looks to the rest of us?
“Yeah. No. I mean, I have no idea. Coach (Bill) Callahan would be a good request if you guys want to know grades because I’d like to know mine [laughing]. No, he tells us our grades, but usually, it’s like one-on-one. And that’s if you’re really worried about it, you can kind of tell how you played throughout meetings. Coach doesn’t sugarcoat much, but Geron’s been playing. He’s been playing hard. He’s been doing a lot of good things. At the end of the day, to be able to pick up where he did and what he’s been doing and learn the offense in that short amount of time, it just shows you how smart and talented Geron is. At the end of the day, it’s not easy learning new plays, but a lot of the league is the same stuff. There are only so many six-man pros and five-man pros. And you know what I mean, running the ball versus this front, even though it might be called something different, it’s basically along the same thing. So being able to pick all that up and it shows you that he’s a pro. And that’s why with rookies, it’s hard because you’re learning all that playbook, and for vets coming in, it’s usually a little bit easier because you’ve learned all those jargons. When I was a rookie, I didn’t even know what duo is. If you guys know what duo is, it’s literally just two double teams. It’s not crazy, mind-numbing stuff. It’s just two double teams and that was something I didn’t even know from college. So it’s just something that as you get into the league, you start learning a lot and it just shows you that he’s been able to pick it up and that’s awesome.”
All right. And I wanted to ask you about this fact that not only have you guys won games with three quarterbacks, each of them has conducted a final field goal drive in the clutch at the end of the game. And you were on the team when, I don’t remember, three of them in a single year for one quarterback. What’s going on there? Why do you think you guys are executing so well, no matter who’s that quarterback in the final minute?
“Yeah, no, I’m happy that we are, but I’d rather score 47 points and not have to worry about a two-minute drive at the end of the game to go win a field goal. But that toughness, that stick-to-itiveness that our team has and that our quarterbacks have – the route, schemes, the running of the ball, no fear in coaches, in play calling. And it could be third and three and we’re going to go for it depending on the – I think we had a fourth and one on our 35. And Coach (Kevin Stefanski) is not afraid because he trusts our guys. That’s an honor, one, but two, it’s special to be on a team that no matter what the score is saying in the fourth quarter, that we’re going to fight and we’re going to fight till the end, until they blow the whistle. It’s cool. Again, I would rather win by 40 points and not have to worry about all these close games that I’m about to have a heart attack on the sideline. I know you guys are, too. But when put in those situations, to be able to execute the way we have, it says something about the guys that we have on this team, that AB (Andrew Berry) has brought onto this team and that Coach has coached.”
Let me ask you more about Dawand Jones. He seemed so lost in that rookie minicamp. So what have you done to help him grow as much as he has since he had to take over from Jack (Conklin)?
“Yeah, no, I think that he’s always been talented. There’s no doubt. But Coach’s technique is not easy. If Coach’s technique was easy, then everybody would be doing it right. But along the league, you see a million different ways to do it because Coach is so meticulous on his techniques and what he watches and it’s always changing. So even what we’re doing, I think in preseason, some stuff has changed as we got throughout camp and stuff like that. But Dawand is working really hard. He’s working with John Decoster, he’s working with all the coaches that we have to be able to put the extra time in to learn the plays, learn the techniques, learn all that stuff because it’s not easy. Like I said, being a vet, you kind of get an idea. All right, are you a two-hand guy? One hand guy? What are you doing? Are you dropping your post? Are you kicking out? What kind of sets do you have? And when you’re a rookie, you’re learning all that. It’s a lot, but once you kind of get it, you start hammering the nail and practicing and practicing, and then it becomes natural. Juan Castillo, an old offensive line coach I had, he always talked about when it came to his footwork or his technique, it was just over and over and over again until it becomes natural. That’s the same thing with Coach (Bill) Callahan. He doesn’t say that, he practices it. But he’s one of those guys that we’re going to go to practice, and it doesn’t matter if it’s Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, sometimes even on Saturdays, we’re sweating out there, making sure that we know where to go and what to do.”
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