New Orleans Saints Defensive Back C.J. Gardner-Johnson
Video Call with New Orleans Media
Saturday, September 19, 2020
Have you always been so comfortable playing like, up in the box defending the run like that? Is that something you had to kind of work on?
"Yeah. I can say, that's something we talk about on the back end. Like everybody's got to be comfortable being in the box at some point. Everybody got to be comfortable, you know, getting close to the ball, getting close to the line of scrimmage, because we take care of each other on this team. So we've got to be able to service each other and just get comfortable, do what you have to do and go play football."
Just curious what you make of the Raiders receiving corps, just kind of seems like they have a different style of skill sets from a bunch of different guys.
"They got a lot of speed, got a lot of size, with the tight end being able to run, with the guy running through the slot, real shifty guys that are live on third down. It's a lot of keys they got on offense, you know, you also have to account for the running back because he has good hands. You know, he also is accounted for. But, just going out there and focusing on our game, I know they got a pretty good group. So we have to go out there, with our focus at an all-time high, lock in together and just do what we did last week, just come together and play a good game."
Yeah, I asked you during training camp, how much you felt that you'd grown from year one to year two. And now that you have a game under your belt with a significant amount of snaps in it. Same question. How do you feel that you've grown now that you've got a game under your belt now?
"I feel like from 16 games to one game this year, or 17 to one this year, I just feel like I am taking a big step forward. I am just playing faster and more comfortable. When you first get to the league you do not know what to expect. It is moving so fast, ball, you learn every day, up and running with meetings. But then once you settle in and get to the offseason, you come back and see your mistakes and see what you're doing wrong. You fix it, because like I said, I got a year up under me. So, with that year, I felt like that offseason I took a lot of weaknesses and I went after them. And I feel like after this, right now, I feel like it's starting to come together. We had no preseason, so I got to continue to stack these days, stack the games up with my teammates and continue to get better every day."
How big a part is energy to your game and did the Saints kind of encourage you to play with that high energy and kind of get after it that way.
"The message was just to be me. I'm not really too worried about how somebody feels about me. I just want to go out there and play football. Because I love doing (this), I've been doing this since I was young. So when I go out and play football, I just think about everything possible. That makes me smile when I'm out there, because you have to think, when you go out there you can't take a play for granted. You can't take a second for granted because the ball is about to snap. So, when I go out, I just keep that energy up, because you have to be the same guy every day. And the more consistent I am with my personality and how I play, the team will want to gravitate towards you more as a person. And as a player, that goes for anyway. So I just feel like, me just being me, is something that they love and I just go out there and I continue to do it every Sunday and every day at practice."
I see you put out music and I'm just curious, how did you get into that? And you know why is that your form of expression?
"I mean right now, we aren't really focused on music, but music was something that (I) took part in (in) the offseason. You know, that was an offseason thing, but that's something that keeps my head level when I'm just by myself or when I'm just on the way to a game. Everybody listens to music in some way or form. So I figured out yeah, all this music can relate to it, but how can I just, you just be me. And that was offseason. Right now, I'm focused on the season. I listen to a lot of music now. So right now, I'm focused on winning against the Raiders and being 1-0 this weekend and that's it."