Gus Bradley on Getting Pressure on Lamar Jackson

Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley speaks to the media about the Wild Card matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.

Opening statement:

“Good afternoon, everybody. You know, here, a like opponent, we just faced these Ravens a couple weeks ago, but [it’s still] very challenging. I think everybody understands that. This team has put together enough games now in the last six or seven games with [Ravens QB Lamar] Jackson at quarterback that I think everybody has an understanding of the style that they want to play. So with that, it's unique, challenging, and you know it will be a good week for us to get some prep done.”

On if it helps having played the Baltimore offense recently:

“I think it probably works both ways. I think that they understand us too. I think that was just a couple weeks ago. Some of the things, obviously, you look at changing game plans and doing some different things, but there are some new things that we have to do defensively. Just the style of the running backs, the style of the quarterbacks, the style of the receivers, the offensive line, you know, the style they want to play, that is pretty fresh in our guy's minds.”

On the depth at linebacker:

“I think each week what we do is we look at all of our players, and like [S] Jahleel [Addae] and [S] Derwin James, they're interchangeable. At linebacker we moved [S Adrian] AP [Phillips] there, but guys like [LB] Kyle Emanuel and [LB] Hayes Pullard, they have to step up. Last week they did. Hayes had to go in and play linebacker for us and he did a good job for us. We'll have to take a look. The next guy has to come up and play at a high level and I think it was a good experience for those guys last week. So I look to Hayes, and Kyle, and those guys getting more opportunities.”

On Ravens TE Mark Andrews:

“Yeah, he is. I think he's the one that when it was all said and done really jumped out at us. His athleticism. He's playing at a high level. Between him and [Lamar] Jackson, there is a consistency and a trust with those two. So they're just playing at a high level right now. I think they've got so many threats. Their tight end group is very good, very talented. They utilize all of them and we're going to have to have great awareness where those guys are.”

On Andrews’ touchdown in the last matchup:

“Yeah, we just didn't execute. We were a little bit late on recognition, and they had a big play.”

On CB Casey Hayward Jr.:

“I think stats-wise, probably interceptions and things like that, that's not showing up. I know we went through the personnel again this week with all of our players, and we feel like he's playing at a high level.”

On S Derwin James’ conditioning for a rookie playing in the postseason:

“He's pretty good. I've been impressed by all of our rookies. At times you see where the wall hits — but his spirit, his energy, it's unbelievable, and it continues. Now we're into the second season [and he has] great energy level.”

On if there is a higher level of excitement for the defense in the playoffs:

“Well, I think they've been pretty focused throughout the year, but there does seem a little bit more attention to detail and being on it. They've really been a group that communicates well together, even in practice. So those parts I'm seeing are pretty consistent.”

On preparing for a player that may not play:

“I think there are some unknowns. So you have to go back and look at when he did play and how they utilized him. Was the offense changed? You know, he's a different type of player, so I can only go off of another team that had that situation — we'd go back and watch film, and see how they utilized them, and see if there's anything different that shows up.”

On blitzing against the Baltimore offensive line:

“Yeah, I think the threat of blitzing with a team like this is because of the silent offense they have. Sometimes you have to bring pressure to make some big plays, but you see it on tape where teams bring pressure and next thing you know, there is a long run. So I think you've got to pick and choose your times, but yeah, you need to get pressure on them — push the pocket because if he can extend the play or if he gets out of the pocket and his yardage is up, that's a bad thing for us.”

On the importance of defenders staying in their rush lane:

“Yeah, that's showed up [for them] every week. I think whenever you're facing a quarterback like this, that's a big emphasis in the room.”

On if NT Brandon Mebane is practicing today:

“No, he's not.”

On the challenges of the weapons on Baltimore’s rushing attack:

“It's challenging because the running backs are very good and anytime you have the quarterback with the ability to keep it, it creates an extra gap. So it's like, okay, what do we do? Take the middle third safety out of the hole, take both safeties out of the hole? How do we combat this? That is the challenge with their offense and what we've seen since we've played them the past two weeks or so, the number of quarterback runs has gone up. There were some things like that to the tailback, but the numbers that he's carrying the ball has jumped up. So we anticipate a little bit more of that probably in the playoffs as well.”

On defenders breaking down when approaching Lamar Jackson in the pocket:

“You know what, I think there is such a thing as a good missed tackle, as long as you go fast with proper leverage. You know, sometimes there is a place for that, rather than breaking down, sitting in a chair, and letting them having a two-way go on you. So we try to play fast. We don't want missed tackles, but if they show up with the right leverage, and it's more of that mindset with him that we have to play fast with them and try to eat up the grass.”

On playoff teams not blitzing as much:

“It's an interesting stat. I did not know that. I think it really depends on what your front is. We feel pretty good about our front. [DE] Joey [Bosa], [DE] Melvin [III] and [NT Damion] D Square, and those guys, we feel like there are times we can get pressure with them if the quarterback allows us or the style of pass allows us. So I think based on that, there are times I think earlier in the season we brought more pressure in games. Ideally, if you can get pressure with four, that's ideal.”