Second-year DE Jack Crawford spoke to the media after Sunday's training camp practice and discussed his impressive performance against the New Orleans Saints.
Q: Big game Friday, how'd you feel it went?
Crawford: Good, good, good. Watching the tape I see a lot of corrections I could have made, especially in that first half. I thought we started off kind of slow, our first group. A lot of stuff. We kind of beat ourselves in that first half, offensive and defensively, we could have done a lot better. We picked up the momentum in the second half. We finished strong as a team. We can just build off that, every single player.
Q: There was one stretch Jack, you were involved in every play from the kickoff return coverage to a sack, you affected every play in one particular series. How did that come about?
Crawford: It just comes from hustling really and just kind of knowing your assignments and just trying to make a play. Any play it could be any one of us 11 on the field so you have to be able to rely on your teammates, especially in the defensive game and just do your job. That's how it happened; I happened to get in every play on the series.
Q: You've been working inside and outside on the line. Do you have experience working inside?
Crawford: Well yeah, since the end of last year and OTAs, I've kind of been taking reps inside a lot. Especially on passing downs, we're moving smaller linebackers sometimes in a pass rush trying to get a different look inside. I've just been working on that. Really trying to make a place on this team, trying to get better every day and do my job.
Q: Did you ever see yourself, before this, moving inside? You've always been a defensive end.
Crawford: I've played defensive end my whole career. Defensive live – it's similar. It's not that hard making the adjustment. It's just a lot quicker on the inside. I didn't see it but coach asked me. I had no problem trying to make that adjustment and trying to adjust my game and my habits going inside.
Q: Have they asked you to put on any weight or anything like that to make the change?
Crawford: No, not really. My weight was kind of steadily going up, not for any reason, it just kind of worked out and stuff like that. Kind of around 280 is kind of where I stay around that area right now.
Q: You said it's quicker inside, quicker with your hands, quicker getting off the ball?
Crawford: Everything is quicker. Getting off the ball, quicker with your hands. Everything happens a lot quicker inside. In some instances it makes it easier, some instances it makes it harder. As a defensive end it takes about three steps to get into any action. Right now it's about one, maximum two. It's habits really, and practice habits, you just have to come out here and work and try and perfect your craft.
Q: Coaches tell you to think less out there?
Crawford: That's football really. You can't think. That's something I did way too much of last year. I still do it. When you're in the game you have to take all the thinking out of it. You really have to react and play your game. If you make a mistake, you just let it go and go to the next play.
Q: Would you say that's the primary difference for you is the thinking aspect?
Crawford: Definitely one of the biggest differences. I know the defense well now and I know the coaches and their philosophy. That kind of helps being able to go out there with less thinking and go and try and play football and make a play. That's really it, definitely a big difference from last year.
Q: How critical is it going to be for you to come out Friday night and put another good game on top of what you just did?
Crawford: It's very critical especially going into this game because this game the starters are going to be in for a long time. This is another opportunity for me to go in and get more experience especially against the starting Chicago Bears offense and just get better.
Q: From the outside, seems like the game Friday was a breakthrough for you. You think it was a breakthrough for you or were you making strides?
Crawford: I think I was definitely making strides, and that just comes within practice, in the D-line meeting room. It's confidence. Friday just happened to be a game where I made back-to-back plays and certain things were just going my way. I think experience-wise and just making plays, it was a big stride for me. I know I can go out there Friday and still make plays. Once getting that feeling off your chest, because I really hadn't made a lot of plays back-to-back like that before, that's a good feeling. Now I have to concentrate on getting better at what I do.
Q: That series came right at the start of the second half, but the first half, you made a couple of plays. Were you frustrated at how you played in the first half compared to how you came out the second half? Crawford: Definitely. To be honest, I think the whole defense is frustrated. Couldn't get to Drew Brees, especially trying to be a pass rusher on the inside, didn't get much pressure on Drew Brees at all. It was frustrating. I think coming into the second half I really wanted to make a difference.