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Alex Anzalone, Detroit Lions Linebacker

Zach Gleb Show / Zach Gleb
The Truth Network Radio
December 16, 2022 6:23 pm

Alex Anzalone, Detroit Lions Linebacker

Zach Gleb Show / Zach Gleb

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December 16, 2022 6:23 pm

Alex Anzalone joined Zach to discuss how the Lions were able to turn their season around after starting 1-6 and if their preparations for the Jets change with Zach Wilson starting on Sunday. 

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There's a lot to listen to, so get started and download the free Odyssey app today. The Detroit Lions have won five out of their last six games, and they have a nice little showdown up against the Jets in New Jersey coming up Sunday at one o'clock. And now joining us is a captain of the Detroit Lions, and that is a linebacker, an Alex Anzalone on the Zach Geld show on CBS Sports Radio. Alex, always do appreciate when you join us.

Thanks for the time. How are you? Good, good.

Just settling here at home after a good Friday at work, so I'm doing well. When you guys were one and six, and now you sit there at six and seven, have a chance to get to 500 up against the Jets, why did this team not break and not really collapse and fold when you guys were one and six? Yeah, I mean, I feel like you guys probably saw through hard knocks, but we definitely have taken the identity of our head coach and Dan, and just that gritty mentality and that one-week-at-a-time mentality has gotten through the adversity early in the season.

Really, every team is probably going to hit some adversity, just a matter of when, and we hit ours early. It also seems like a really fun group to be a part of, and I don't think anything defined that more than what we saw last weekend in that victory up against Minnesota. A fake punt at your own 28-yard line, tackle eligible to ice a victory and seal a victory, up with Penacul and a tackle eligible.

That stuff was just wild of what I saw last weekend. On defense, you're getting ready to go out for the punt. I didn't even know it was a fake punt. I just saw CJ Moore just take off around the edge. It's fun to watch and fun to be a part of because in the NFL, you can get those non-explosive plays that aren't as fun as how we make them. Did it feel like for you guys that your postseason, just because of the poor start that you got off to, started a few weeks ago?

Yeah, for sure. We were starting to fade after the Bell game. We have a five-week mentality that we have to win out, and that's what we want to do. Talking to Alex Anzalone right now, at six and seven, the fact that you guys now have a chance to realistically make the playoffs, is there any doubt in that locker room if this team has what it takes this year to go make a postseason run?

No, I don't think so. I don't think anyone doubts the pieces that we have going forward as far as going on a run. Even in the playoffs, I feel like we're a competent group. We play the team well, and we complement each other, offense, defense, and special teams. Alex Anzalone here with us from the Detroit Lions.

They have the Jets coming up one o'clock on Sunday. Take a look at your quarterback in Jared Goff. When he got traded from the Rams and the Lions, people thought he was going to be a stopgap quarterback for you guys, and eventually you find someone else. But he's playing some really good football this season. What are you seeing not only on the field, but also inside the locker room with your quarterback in Jared Goff?

I feel like you see a confident quarterback. Last year was a transition year for him. He's in a new place at a different offense.

Maybe not all the pieces that he needs around him. Going into this year with the new offensive coordinator, Ben Johnson, he's really stepped up to the plate and taken it to heart. He's the leader of our team. We really go where he goes, and he's done a hell of a job this year. We saw Jamison Williams, the first-round pick, go get his first career catch last weekend, and that was for a 42-yard touchdown. What can he bring to this team down the stretch as he plays his first few games of his career? He can take the top off any defense, I can tell you that.

I really haven't seen any speed like that in my whole career, even college, NFL, all of it. I feel like that aspect, a downfield threat that really can take the top off at any point, it's just going to open things up. We'll get to your defense in just a second, Alex Anzalone, but you look at all the pieces you guys have on offense. Now Jamison, Amah Raasain Brown is a heck of a wide receiver. The two running backs in Swift and Williams.

We talk about Jared throwing the football. I just can't wait to see how this matchup goes down, because this is one high-octane offense in the Lions. It's been that way for most of the season, and you could probably appreciate how good this Jets defense is, you playing defense in this league.

Yeah, for sure. I feel like it's a good matchup for our team. We'll see who comes out on top. I feel like, honestly, the best defense is going to win on Sunday. I know our guys on offense are up for the challenge, and they're ready to go. How would you describe your defense? Because a lot of people, when they talk about the Lions, the first things they talk about is the offense.

They talk about Dan Campbell as well. Describe to me this Detroit Lions defense. Yeah, we had a slow start, obviously, in the beginning of the year. We were working out some kinks and getting the right guys on the field, figuring that out. Since then, we've really just stepped up to the plate. Really, our mindset is we don't want to be a sideshow to the offense. We want to be known for our defense when you think of the Lions. The past six, seven weeks, we've stepped up to the plate. We're just excited going forward. How big of a turning point for you guys when you look back at it was that Green Bay game? You found the way to pick off Aaron Rodgers three times. That kind of spoke to what direction your defense was starting to go to.

Yeah, for sure. That was a tough week going into that. We made some coaching changes. We traded T.J. and we were 1-6 right before that game. We just took it upon ourselves to step up to the plate because there's jobs on the line.

There's people's livelihoods on the line. Guys really stepped up. They capitalized on their opportunities when they came in that game. Since then, we've been rolling. Alex Anzalone here with us.

The Lions are going to be going up against the Jets. Zach Wilson now inserted back into the starting lineup as the quarterback for the Jets with the Mike White rib injury. What's your view when you start to take a look at Zach Wilson on film? I feel like he was the number 2 or 3 overall for a reason.

He has all the arm talent in the world. He was in a tough situation. He's playing in a tough city. I'm sure he's going to be motivated to come out and perform well. He has that scrambling ability, the off-scheduled throws, and a ton of talent.

We've just got to be on our Ps and Qs, contain him, and do our best. It wasn't until today on Friday that you found out he was starting. Have you guys been preparing for both quarterbacks?

Or does this now throw a little curveball at you? I think we had an idea earlier in the week what we were going to get this week. As far as the quarterback goes, you watch the film and see the hits Mike White took, it would have been a hell of a recovery for him to come back from that. We're prepared. We were prepared for either one.

We're definitely prepared for number 2. How do you guys try to slow down the rookie wide receiver for the Jets, Garrett Wilson, who's really taken this league by storm early on in his career? I was just watching the film today. He has a mean, dead leg. He's an explosive athlete. I know they're trying to get the ball in his hands because he can make those big plays. He has that home run ability. He's fast.

He can take the top off. Also, his route running is really good. Hopefully, I'm not matched up on him too much, but I know our TV is up for the challenge. Aidan Hutchinson and Malcolm Rodriguez on the defensive side of the ball, the two rookies. We all know Hutchinson, the second overall pick in the draft, but Malcolm Rodriguez went later on in the draft. Both of those guys have got off to some great starts. What has impressed you about both Aidan and then also Malcolm to start off their career? I feel like their mentality has been really good, especially for a rookie as far as not getting ahead of themselves. I know they've had some early on success individually. They're still trying to get better, trying to be the best player that they can. I've seen rookies in my career have that early on success.

You can't tell them anything. In that regard, they've done a really good job. You've been with Dan Campbell for a long time. Back to your time in New Orleans and now with his career as the head coach of the Detroit Lions. What's your favorite Dan Campbell story, Alex Anzaloni? Man, there's a ton. I feel like you all got a good peak on hard knocks of what he's really like in the team meeting room. There are a million different things that he does. Even today, we were talking about penalties and the penalties that we can't have in this game. I think we had three penalties, I think two-one sportsmen-like penalties last week that were not good. One was a late hit, but he had our assistant, I think the coaching assistants dress up in pads as the players. They video recorded it in the indoor. He showed it to the team in the team meeting room. There are just a million different stories like that that Dan brings to the table.

Well, Alex Anzaloni, good luck against the Jets. Always appreciate when you join us. Thanks so much.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-17 17:49:10 / 2022-12-17 17:54:10 / 5

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