Sam Darnold, 12.24
[please click photo for link to the video]
Rich Cimini, ESPN: What is it going to take to keep the momentum going that you guys started last week in LA?
Yeah, it starts in practice, starts in meetings. I think we have a really good plan right now, just got to tighten some things up, but yeah, another really good opponent. Cleveland’s been doing a really good job this year, their defense has been making plays, and you know we have our hands full, but we’re excited for the opportunity.
Brian Costello, New York Post: How much of a challenge does Myles Garrett present, Sam?
Yeah, he’s a really good player, not only in the pass rush but in the run game too. He’s a huge problem, he’s a really good player, but they got other really good players too that we got to account for as well.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Sam, I know you’re all about team, but was there any part of you that felt a little bit of redemption after everything you’ve been through this year, all the talk and everything like that for what happened Sunday?
No, I think for me it’s always just kind of been about one game at a time, kind of talked about it on Monday after the game. You know, it’s just one week at a time mentality for me and that’s how I’m going to continue to treat this thing and we’re just going to keep going about our business that way. And I think as a team, it’s easy to continue to be locked in and as focused as we have been every single week if we do that.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Is there any difference, Sam, in practice the last couple days, now that you guys have a win? The atmosphere a little bit better?
You’d think so, but for us I mean we’ve just continued to work. Obviously, it’s lively and you know guys are hyped out there and its fun man, practice is fun, but it has been all year. I know we haven’t been having the results that we have wanted over the first 13 weeks, but we’re just going to continue to come out to practice with great energy, because if you don’t, it makes for a really long year and we know that and we got really good guys in the locker room to be able to come out with great energy and have good practices.
Peter Botte, New York Post: Sam, you and (Baker) Mayfield were in the same draft class so you’ll always kind of be linked, but what do you think of the season that he’s had for them?
Baker’s been playing great. He’s been doing great. I honestly haven’t been watching a ton of him. Obviously, they’re winning games, so he must be doing a good job.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Sam you guys voted Marcus (Maye) as the team MVP, I know it’s the other side of the ball, but what has he meant to the team this year?
Marcus is great, like I said, everyone’s been very steady with the way they’ve worked all year, but Marcus especially. I mean, he’s come in every single day and guys have noticed the work that he’s put in and consistency in terms of his attitude that he’s had all year. And that’s the biggest thing with him, and with him is there’s never a bad day, and if he does have a bad day, he’s not going to let anyone know about it and his attitude won’t show it. Marcus is a great guy to have in the locker room, but also, he’s a really good player as well and we know that and I think him winning that award kind of shows how much we know about him as a person and as a player.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: Sam, just getting back to Baker for a second, he’s a guy who went through a really tough year last year, I mean he was taking a lot of criticism for the way he was playing and now all of a sudden, you know, he’s one of the higher ranked quarterbacks in the league. So, do you think that’s a good example of how fickle the sport is sometimes and especially for quarterbacks because it almost seems like you’re judged on a week-to-week basis on whether it’s up or down and you obviously have gone through a tough year, but I’m wondering if you look at Baker as an example of how you can come back strong?
I mean, I always say it, I’m going to say it again, quarterbacks and coaches in this league are always judged on wins and losses, that’s it. And Baker’s winning this year and we haven’t won as much this year as we would like to obviously. So, we’re going to continue to be judged on that, as we should be. We have a lot to do with how our team does in the game. So, Baker has been doing a really good job this year, and you know I think for me there’s obviously some things I got to continue to work on. But, he’s been doing a great job and they’ve been winning games.
Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Sam, when Adam (Gase) was hired you guys were kind of immediately kind of chained together in a way that you know, he was hired to help you, offensive genius, quarterback guru, that kind of thing, you guys are going to be linked together for a while. Why do you think you guys over the last two years just haven’t been able to find consistent success? I mean there’s been glimmers, there have been times where it looks like everything’s clicking, the Cowboy game, obviously this one against the Rams, but why hasn’t it been there consistently over the last two years?
Yeah, there’s a lot of things that go into that. I think there’s a lot to look at and I think for me personally, I don’t think I’ve played well enough, I think I can play a lot better. I think the back half of last year I played pretty decent and we won games and then I feel like last week, I played good enough to win, but again, I got to continue to strive to play better and that’s really all I’m focused on.
Rich Cimini, ESPN: Hey Sam, what does your Christmas look like? How do you get the holiday in around football practice and so forth, what do you got planned?
Yeah, so my family and my sister included, my mom, dad, my sister, were able to get tested through the Jets, which they do a great job here, I was just talking to someone about that actually. They just do a great job here with testing and making sure that family is able to see one another if they’re coming from anywhere. So, I’m able to see them this Christmas and it’s going to be awesome, just to be able to spend time with my family and kind of lay low for a day.