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Interview: Washington Football DT Daron Payne

ASHBURN, VA -- August 30, 2020 Washington Football defensive tackle Daron Payne meets with the media after the final training camp practice of the 2020-21 season.

On the defensive line in training camp so far:

“I feel like we’re just working hard, trying to use [Head Coach Ron Rivera]’s game plan, play fast, strong, be physical up front. We’re working. There’s still a lot of room for improvement, so we’ll keep working.”

On what he wants to see in his third year:

“The sky’s always the limit. I’m just going to keep pushing, pushing myself to be the best I can be and hopefully it’ll produce it.”

On DT Jonathan Allen:

“He’s good. I just went and checked on him to see if he was alright. He was alright. We’re going to get him back.”

On if anyone on the offensive line has been standing out:

“I really don’t pay attention too much to the O-line. I just try to work on my keys and my steps and just focus on myself.”

On the differences working between DTs Matt Ioannidis and Allen:

“It’s really no different. They’re both really powerful and strong. I feel like the only difference would be rushing-wise, you just play off one. They’re both really good players. I don’t see any difference, really, to be honest.”

On the biggest difference playing in the 4-3:

“Instead of just being more head up on a man and playing more two-gap, I’m taking more vertical steps up the field and being able to just be more explosive in the backfield and get to my pass rush more. “

On if he feels like this scheme fits him better:

“I just like playing football, to be honest. This is a new style of football for me. I’m embracing it and I’m just going with it.”

On Allen’s tenacity to keep playing:

“If he says he’s good to go, he’s good to go. I know Jonathan. I’ve seen him down and I’ve seen him up. He’s always going to try to get back out there and help the guys out and not leave us there to rot. I think he’s going to be alright.”

On Defensive Line Coach Sam Mills III:

“He’s helping us convert more. Our pass rush, we’re working a bunch of different things and just getting our hands active and being active on the front. There’s a lot of stuff that is going into it. Overall, I’m happy.”

On adjusting to Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio’s system:

“The only adjustment would be just breaking old habits. I’ve been having to take stuff that I’ve been doing for years and just stopping it all the way. But, I’m really happy with what we’ve got going right now. I’m trying to buy into it and play fast and hard in the manner that he wants me to.”

On DE Chase Young:

“I feel like he’s playing hard, playing fast and adjusting to the new defense like all of us. I’m ready to see him out on game day crushing people.”

On what he worked on improving this offseason:

“I just went into the offseason trying to maintain my strength. I worked on my conditioning a little bit more, just working on my hips and hands. Really just football.”

On if the offseason was difficult due to COVID-19:

“Not really. I usually train up here, and I couldn’t do it because of the virus and stuff. I got to spend a lot of time back home. I’ve got a trainer, a personal trainer, I use. He helped me out a bunch.”

On Del Rio:

“Coach J, he wants the best out of us. He’s going to push us hard; he’s going to love us hard. I like the style of this defense. Coming from Bama, coming from the style of defense we played last year and the year before that, it’s different. I can see the plays and where the plays can be made. I’m just excited to get started this year and put it all out there.”

On Del Rio as a communicator compared to Greg Manusky last season:

“I’m not really trying to talk down on anybody, but Coach Greg Manusky did things good. Coach Jack, he does things one way, too. Both great coaches. I just love them both.”

On working with a new coaching staff:

“To me, at Bama I had a new D-line coach every year I was there. It’s really nothing new. This is just my first time having to learn a new system right off the bat like this. It’s fun. It gives me a chance to just get in my playbook a little bit more. For me myself, getting the plays in and just focusing on my steps and just bettering myself as a football player.”

On coming from Alabama to the NFL:

“I mean, it’s definitely hard losing. I feel like we’ll just try to stay the course, finish and fight to the end.”

On where he wants his game to grow this year:

“Every time I step on the field, I just want to be better than I was yesterday. I really can’t look ahead. I just put my head down and focus on the next day and the task I’ve got ahead of myself right now. To answer the question, I really hold myself at a high level. I’ll push myself really hard this year and just give it all I got.”

On the differences between former defensive line coach Jim Tomsula and his other D-line coaches:

“They all are just different. They all are completely different people. Coach Jim Tom coaches things one way and others coach things another way. Personality-wise, they’re all different. I can talk about this all day.”

On looking ahead to the first game:

“That’s definitely on my mind. It’s on my mind to a point where it makes me focus in harder on the task we have today of getting better on the field with the players that we have—to do on the install that we have to do today. Just running to the ball today, just making plays today, just trying to focus in on what’s going on right now and not what’s ahead of us.”

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