"We just have to bounce back"

Posted Sep 29, 2014

Manchester, England native T Menelik Watson spoke to the media after playing his first game of professional American football in his home country.

On mixed emotions after the game:

Watson: “Yeah, definitely. It’s not the result that we wanted. We had a great week of practice. Everyone was prepared. It’s just the game of football is like that. The biggest thing we could have did was I’m proud of and a lot of the guys in the locker room are proud of is we kept fighting until the end.”

On his feelings in the game:

Watson: “I try not to get caught in the moment a lot. It was a little emotional before the game. The cheers were started and I was coming in as the extra tackle package. I didn’t even notice the crowd or anything. I was just out there trying to be perfect on my assignments. And then unfortunately Khalif went down and I was in and I got a little second on the sideline and it felt like, ‘this is kind of a storybook isn’t it?’ Guy goes down and I have to step up. It’s just disappointing; it’s not where we want to be in the season, but we can’t [hang] our heads right now. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves; we just have to bounce back.”

On facing Cameron Wake:

Watson: “Yeah it was alright. I didn’t give up a sack. Just a couple of technical things I was sloppy at, which he capitalized on, bending the corner real well and I wasn’t getting out of my stance. I wasn’t using my length at first and once in awhile I looked to punch him and use my length and a couple times he got over my shoulder, just little things I was doing technically-wise that allowed him to have a little edge. But he’s a great football player. I met Cam when we came out here for the media day. We got to chop it up a little bit. I told him on the field, there was a little second where I kind of laughed at him and said, ‘yeah, I know what you’re doing, but guess what – adjustments.’ I just made some adjustments. But he’s a great player as you all know, so salute to him and his team.”

On the first scoring drive:

Watson: “It was, that’s Raider football that first drive. That’s Raider football and that’s what we see in practice every day and we just have to be more consistent with that, just running the football, protecting guys, guys getting open and we’re totally 100 percent capable of doing it.”

On pointing to the crowd:

Watson: “That was definitely for them. I think the best part was when the English anthem came on. That was touching. That got me a little emotional because usually it’s just the American anthem. I always blow a kiss when I’m in America because I always wish my daughter and my mom could see me play and they were there so I just let them know I found them in the crowd and let them know I was there and could see them.”

On speaking with his teammates about what the game meant:

Watson: “I think they understand more. They’ve been real excited being here. I’ve been trying to downplay it a lot and stay true to business. First night we got here I got to go home to Manchester. A lot of them wanted to come with me but time we just couldn’t do it. It’s important and they see how much the game is growing and a lot of them were thrown back by the stadium and the fans in there and stuff like that. I think it was a great experience. Obviously we’re upset about the result, but I think guys will remember this trip for a long time. “

On the NFL experience for a Brit:

Watson: “If you let it, it can be a lot. It’s something I dreamt of as a kid. I always dreamt about being in America. I always thought I’d be in the NBA, but it’s American football. Every once in awhile when I get a day off, I think about it. I’m like, ‘wow.’ I think this morning I was kind of thinking about it and I was like, ‘yeah, I am like one of the only Brits in the NFL.’ I just think about it once in awhile. It’s not everyday that I think about it. Just sometimes I’ll have a little moment and be like, ‘wow, it’s pretty crazy.’ But I’m not where I need to be. I want to get better. I want to be the best in this league, so that’s why I can never really stop and think about it. I just think about ways I want to get better and better.”

On the Manchester City game:

Watson: “I watched it on Match of the Day. I love Match of the Day. I swear to you, you think I’m lying. I went to my brother’s room and I was spending time with my brother because he was staying in the same hotel and he was like, ‘Match of the Day is coming on.” And I was like, ‘I’m gone.’ I went to my room, kicked my feet up, watched Match of the Day; I miss it.”

On how Manchester City looked:

Watson: “Yeah, they did. They’re a good football team, but things we’ve got to get cleaned up. I’m talking like I’m the manager here. But yeah, it’s interesting start to the league. Chelsea and everyone is looking strong, but the tough will prevail in the end and that’s Manchester City.”

On if London could have a team:

Watson: “I think they could. Some guys are kind of reserved about the thought. I think it’s just being homesick. I think a lot of Americans don’t leave the country so it’s a new experience. I think a lot of them do like it and obviously I think it could be. I think we’re maybe a couple years away. There’s a lot of logistics that have to go along with it like scheduling, but there’s no reason why not.”

On if he’d want to play for the London team:

Watson: “It would definitely be interesting, but just really trying to focus on every day. I can’t really think that far ahead if they do or don’t. Wherever the wind takes me, it takes me.”