HENDERSON, Nev.--The Las Vegas Raiders' Johnathan Abram has at times played well, and at times struggled, but not once have you ever been able to question his work ethic.
So when the Raiders declined to pick up his fifth-year contract option, the young player never batted an eye. He kept coming to work and putting in the effort.
After practice, he discussed his contract, his teammates, and new DC Patrick Graham, along with a myriad of other topics. You can watch the video below, or read the transcript.
Safety Johnathan Abram
Q: Johnathan, this is your third defensive coordinator in four years in the NFL. Does it get any easier learning a new system, absorbing it, digesting it?
Abram: “I mean, it's a lot of carry over once you learn the concepts of, you know, four under three-deep or five under three-deep. Just things like that. But, you know, got to learn the terminology all over again. So, you know, just taking it day by day.”
Q: What do you see your role in the system being?
Abram: “Honestly, whatever coach asks me to do. I'm just here to get better every single day and do what they ask of me.”
Q: Does it feel much different than what you were doing, like play-by-play, from last year?
Abram: “Not really. Coaches just move me around a couple spots. Just, honestly, playing the coverages. Pretty much some of the same stuff that we did last year. So, it's all a little bit of carryover from there.
Q: Last week you had a camp back home in Mississippi. Why was it important for you to do that?
Abram: “I want to give the kids who are from…I'm from a small town. Not many people. Not many pros. So, just giving them some inspiration and hope that pretty much whatever you set your mind to, that you can achieve.”
Q: What jumped out watching your offense last couple of days?
Abram: “Just watching these guys come together, the cohesiveness of everything. Just watching them get to learn each other and build a relationship. So, it's unique.”
Q: How different is this defense than what you've seen since you got here?
Abram: “Oh, not much. Honestly, like I said, coach is doing some different things up front and in the back end. But pretty much all the same. We've seen pretty much some of everything here.”
Q: How much motivation does it give when an option isn’t picked up, for you to come in, prove yourself. Do you feel you have to prove yourself either for them or the future?
Abram: “No, I don't think about any of that. I just show up to work every single day just to get better. That’s about it.”
Q: Even though it’s a young DB room, a lot of you guys have a lot of snaps together. How does that cohesion really play out now that you guys are, you know, going into, your third, fourth season and (Nate) Hobbs and (Tre’von) Moehrig going into their second season? And how does that cohesion play out?
Abram: “I don't think it's about age or youth or any of that. It’s just about getting the snaps and the reps together. Just building the bond, spending time with each other, no matter old or young. You can have a bunch of old guys in one room and if those guys don't come together and build a bond, it really won't work. So, age doesn't really matter.”
Q: Last year, there was so much happening and there was a different thing to deal with every week. Now that you've had a little bit of time to distance yourself and have a summer to think about it a little bit, how difficult was last year?
Abram: “Honestly, I don't even think about last year. We're on to a new season. That's all I can focus on.”
Q: Jonathan, when Perryman came in, he was asked about Patrick Graham. He said he's a “different guy.” Likes him, but he's a different dude. Last year, you had a different guy in Gus Bradley, and he seemed to be just as loud during OTAs and minicamp and brought that motivation. (What is) Your take on Patrick Graham of what he brings to the defense?
Abram: “He's the glue. He brings us all together. Say loud, quiet, at the end of day, his one job is to make sure he puts us all in the best position and to get us going every single day, even when we don't have the juice. So far, he's done that. And I look forward to seeing him to continue to do that throughout the season.”
Q: You said you don't really feel the pressure, you don't really think about it, in terms of the contract situation. But, you know, two different years, it's different moving around a little bit. Does he instill a bit of confidence in you that whatever role he asked of you, that you're prepared to do, and that you feel confident in yourself for the season?
Abram: “I mean, why wouldn’t I? I put the work in just like everybody else. The confidence comes from getting out there, getting the reps and constantly just building things, not what the media says.”
Q: What did you see last year in terms of the growth of Moehrig and what's the next step in your eyes?
Abram: “Honestly just watching him get better every day. You know, I can't really define what he needs to work on. He's his own player. I'm my own player. So, my biggest thing is just building a relationship with him so we're all on the same page always and just, making sure we go out there and make plays.”
Q: You’re still a fairly young player entering year four. Where do you see your development? Do you think you're ahead of schedule? Do you think you're where you want to be? Where do you think you are, kind of developing as a player?
Abram: “Right on time.”
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