S Kevin Byard

211223-final

(on the team's mentality at halftime)

I think going into this game, obviously I told you guys last week, we felt like it was defense. We kind of want to carry the torch. We want to bring the energy, you know, kind of set the tempo. Obviously, that first 15, (Kyle) Shanahan's a great coach. He ran some really good plays, kind of had us on our heels a little bit but Jackrabbit (Jenkins), honestly, he kind of quieted everything down, got the interception. After that we kind of settled down. The defense was flying around, making plays and obviously after halftime, just kind of the message in the locker room was that hey – even pregame – like, man, we've got to make this thing gritty. Take this thing to the fourth quarter. If we get to the fourth quarter, we can win the game. So that was kind of the message at halftime, like, 'Hey, we've got them right where we want them. Let's keep playing, keep fighting, keep wearing them down.'

(on the team always rising to the occasion when being counted out)

I mean, honestly, we don't really pay attention to the doubters. We understand. It's been like that since I've been here. We don't pay attention to that type of stuff. We just play our brand of football. We do what we do. Like I said, we want to play games gritty. We want to get games gritty. Make it close, get it to the fourth quarter and we'll wear guys out that way. That's how our offense is built, and our defense, I'm just so proud of the guys. Amani (Hooker) getting his first pick of the year. Jackrabbit (Jenkins) got his first pick. The guys were flying around. We were punching the ball out. We didn't recover any but turnovers on fourth down, just big-time effort from the defense.

(on getting the juice coming out in second the half)

A.J. (Brown) was giving us plenty of juice on the sideline. I mean, this guy, you obviously see how much he means to this team, means to the offense. This guy was bringing the energy. He was out there working those boys so I was proud of him. Understand that, no, he was rehabbing and he didn't really get to practice as much this week as far as having contact with the injury that he had, but he came out there and he showed what kind of player he is in this league.

(on the difference when finally getting everyone back on the offensive side)

Absolutely. It's one of those things where you know A.J. (Brown) is one of the most dynamic receivers in the league, regardless of how many years he's been in the league, what the numbers say. But when he's out there, he's playing bully ball. Like I said, he means so much to the offense, just how Derrick Henry was when he was playing as well. We want to have our best players, especially during this stretch when we're trying to clinch the AFC South or make it to the playoffs. We're going to need our best players to play great football down the stretch.

(on playing well in unfavorable conditions)

I mean, it's kind of cliché. We always say next man up and things like that, but honestly I'm proud of Dillon (Radunz). Obviously, the guy didn't play this much this year, probably got the news this morning that he was going to go out there and start against one of the best defensive ends in the league and I think he held his own. I'm sure Todd (Downing) did a great job of protecting him or protecting everybody. Just proud of his effort, proud of the guys. We don't really care about being underdogs. At the end of the day, like I said, when we feel like we are playing our best, we can beat anybody in the league and we played a great game tonight.

(on giving up third-and-longs)

Yeah, I mean those things are demoralizing. Trust me. We went through that a lot last year. We were giving up a lot of third-and-longs. Those things kind of snowball, guys are frustrated on the sideline. I'm not sure what's going on on their sideline, but I just know as a defense being out there on the field, it's definitely frustrating. Especially when you get guys – when you get a team in a favorable situation like that, you almost chalk that up as a win, but when you don't, you've got to keep playing.

(on regaining footing as a team with the win today)

Definitely don't want to lose, what, two games straight? It's so tight. This AFC is the tightest I've ever seen. I think its like 13, 14 teams that can potentially be in the playoffs. (Mike) Vrabel talks about it and he's talked about it for years and years. You've got to be playing your best ball late in the season. The beginning of the season you're trying to put yourself in a great position, but the teams that are improving and keeps playing their best ball at the end of the season are the teams that are going to the playoffs. It was a huge win tonight, for sure.

(on if he will watch the Colts game on Christmas night)

I'm going to spend it with the family, but I can't help myself. I'm going to watch ball even if the Colts weren't playing. I'm going to watch whatever game is going to be on the TV. I mean, I don't have like Sunday Ticket for all the games. Whatever games are going to come on TV, I'm going to watch it and obviously be checking the scores and things like that around the league

(on the interception by cornerback Jackrabbit Jenkins and what got better from there)

I'm just talking about as far as just the energy on the sideline. Obviously, the offense came and scored on the first drive. The offense started slow and they drove on us again. He got the interception. Just after that, you could see on the sideline the energy, the momentum kind of got going. Obviously, the offense still took a little time to get going but as a defense when you can get a big play like that, that's huge. They're the number one team in the red zone so we were able to stop them in the red zone that one time, so that was key.

(on if the Pro Bowl snubs will be motivation for his teammates)

I know for a fact it's a sort of motivation for Jeffery (Simmons). Just peeping his energy, just understanding that obviously he was definitely deserving to go, if anybody, and Harold Landry. But I also think that most guys don't understand, my first year when I went to the Pro Bowl, I was the second alternate. I led the NFL in interceptions. I was second alternate and I got in on a technicality. Devin McCourty ended up going to the Super Bowl and things like that. Usually the first time you have a breakout year, you usually don't get voted in. I don't know what it is about maybe the Titans, we're being underrated, only got one guy in the Pro Bowl. Obviously, I'm happy but at the end of the day it would be great if I had had my other guys voted in. Hopefully, we can get those guys in as well. Honestly, I'm trying to be in the Super Bowl so I don't want to play in that anyway.

(on the character and makeup of the team established by Head Coach Mike Vrabel during the week)

I mean, he does it every week. He does a great job of keeping us focused on the task at hand, the game at hand, not concerned about the next game here. Just trying to keep our minds focused. Obviously, he's relaying that to leaders on the team - myself, Tanney (Ryan Tannehill), Jeff (Jeffery Simmons), and all the other guys to make sure that we're keeping guys locked in on the present moment. I mean, maybe it's a Bill Belichick thing, whatever you call it, but honestly focus on that day, that meeting, that practice. I think that's the only way you can be successful in this league is if you focus on the right now.

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