Q&A: Defensive Tackle Cornelius Griffin

Interview Conducted by BigBlueInteractive.com Reporter WalterB

BBI: When you rush the passer, and when you are rushing the passer against teams in the NFC east for example, what kind of offensive line technique are you usually coming up against, and what is being used  most against  you?

Cornelius Griffin:  Well, mostly they bank hard inside.  Most times when I see guys coming hard inside I’ll hit the B gap and then come underneath.

BBI:  And that one is the most used and countered move?

Cornelius Griffin: Or, I get the hard set outside and the center is sitting there waiting when I come back.

BBI: Who are the best players/teams in the NFC east in terms of countering that move. 

Cornelius Griffin: I guess Dallas. They can take the hole away to the inside.

BBI: In your first league in the year they had you shadowing the quarterback on plays.

Cornelius Griffin: Spy technique !

BBI:  Where you doing any spying last year? And what’s different?

Cornelius Griffin:  I did not spy last year. The linebacker spied.

BBI:  Was the reason for that because of your ankle?

Cornelius Griffin: No, it was because of the defense they had linebackers spying, and I rushed. It doesn’t really matter since I can do either one. But they mostly ran 30, and the linebacker spied.  When they ran a four man front they would keep the linebacker in sometimes.

BBI: How much was fatigue a factor last year considering the lack of depth?

Cornelius Griffin: Well we really felt it in the San Francisco game, and we had no one to come in because we had a lot of injuries last year. -Due to depth- Yet you gotta keep pulling. When you are playing you can’t be concerned about being fatigued or tired. You have to keep going. There is nobody going to come in for you, so you have to keep playing.

BBI: And what are you working on the most this year both in terms of your technique or the way you are playing?

Cornelius Griffin:  Being more aggressive and more dominant at the point of attack.

BBI: And what does that actually mean?

Cornelius Griffin: Being more explosive, more physical when the double team comes you want to attack it. 

BBI: How much of that involves the use of your hands?

Cornelius Griffin: Well anytime you come up against a lineman you have to use your hands. Either In the pass rush or on the run,  you gotta knock the guy off center and bust through there and be aggressive, everything involves your hands.

BBI: And how important is it to have real quick hands and beat somebody to a spot?

Cornelius Griffin: Well, if you have quick hands you can get into the guy before he gets you, then most of the time you got it, and then you are going to make the play.

 BBI: So what you are trying to do is get leverage on him, get him off balance, or trying to…..????

Cornelius Griffin: Basically you are trying to get him before he gets you. You want to get into him and attack him before he gets his run fit. So he is going to outweigh you by about 20 or 30 pounds, so he is going  to come out and beat you down.

BBI:  And when you try to beat him with a move or your hands, what reads or signals are you generally looking for? Are you looking for him to be doing a certain thing and then and you will react a certain way?

Cornelius Griffin: You take what they give you. Sometime you read, sometime you can’t read. If he comes at you in a certain position you may come inside, if he’s bailing back you bully him back to the quarterback. You have to take what they give you.

BBI: You play some one gap defensive line schemes if I’m not mistaken?

Cornelius Griffin: We don’t play one gap.

BBI: You play one and a half gap

Cornelius Griffin: Right. You have to lock the man out the take that gap and the inside  gap. A gap and a half what we call it. But one gap is fine but we don’t play that here.

BBI: So you may not be that aggressive at that gap .You’re  more controlled.

Cornelius Griffin: Right, right. You just can’t get up field. With one gap you just hit it and get up field. We don’t do that.

BBI: Do you think it is easier  to play a one gap in order to get a better pass rush?

Cornelius Griffin: Well, if we get a key from an offensive linemen that there is a pass yeah well throw a one gap  and you rush the quarterback.

BBI: In terms of keeping the quarterback in the pocket:  since a lot of teams have great running quarterbacks, and the good ones seem to be able to find ways through defenses, how do you prepare yourself during the week for them?

Cornelius Griffin: You rush and collapse the pocket, you collapse things around him. If you collapse things around him he has nowhere to go. There is no gap to run it in.

BBI: I have a BBI fan who wants to know about screen recognition. What is import for you to know to recognize in a screen pass?

Cornelius Griffin: Well you’ll see a quarterback who keeps on dropping, and the offensive lineman he’ll let you go. So sometime you’ll feel that and sometime you don’t.