I was absolutely blessed for the opportunity to talk to the GOAT Jacob Martin of the Houston Texans. Talking to Texans players was one thing that I never imagined, but talking to my favorite player was truly a dream come true. We talk about what he's looking to improve on, his thoughts on Anthony Weaver, his time at Temple and being an underdog. Also the BLM matter movement, review his sacks from last year and a lot more. This was super fun and I hope y'all enjoy! Here's the video form of the interview.
Jacob Martin Interview and Film Review | Houston Texans
TT: "Awesome man thank you so much for coming on, really appreciate it."
JM: "No worries, anytime man, I appreciate you man."
TT: "Alright so I always start off with this question, from your eyes, from your point of view, what are the strengths and weaknesses to your game?"
JM: "Well I think the obvious strength to my game is my pass rush ability and just the overall energy I play with. Things that I would work on, I would say, being more physical, getting off blocks. I think that's something I need to focus on, in terms of getting off blocks faster to make a tackle for loss, instead of a tackle for gain, you know what I mean. Just like those little aspects of the game, little details that I need to focus on."
TT: "Yeah, so specifically in the run game? Or both, pass rush wise as well."
JM: "You know I think there's always room to be improved, even within your strengths. So I think Im a good all around football player, there's some things I do better than others, and obviously just trying to pinpoint those little details in my game that Im trying to tweak and finetune over the course of the offseason and things like that.
TT: "So some people say that you know maybe you're a pass rush specialist, and they think that maybe he's not starting because he's not the best at run defense. And, that's not my words, but that's just like what people say. So is that something that you're working on in terms of your body because im pretty sure when the offseason started, one of your first statements was your trying to improve your body so are you looking to be more of a complete player in the run game.
JM: "You know, I don't really know where the idea came from that I don’t play the run or I don’t know how to play the run. My college tape speaks very highly of playing the run, setting the edges as a true defensive end with my hand in the dirt. I was a little bit heavier in college than I am now. So me trying to play all 4 downs and trying to sustain that in the NFL, obviously I need to gain some weight. Not too much where I'm taking away from my natural abilities, my quickness my get off. And that's something that me and the strength and conditioning staff have really been focusing on this offseason. Even with the Coronavirus going on and stuff like that. Trying to make sure we all have the correct nutrition and training at home and stuff like that."
TT: "Yeah that's awesome, I really think you deserve a greater opportunity. I believe you only played about 21% of the snaps last year, and like you said, I really think you can be that guy who's a 4 down defensive end/outside linebacker. And I've seen it on the tape, like the little times they played you on 1st and 2nd down against the run, like the Patriots game, that's a game where you played a lot more snaps. And you were setting the edge, like you can do it, I've seen it on tape. Like you said, you're able to do it, it's just about getting the opportunities.
So I know they're pushing you to put on more muscle, have they said, hey if you come back put on 10-15 pounds and still keep your athletic gifts, you'd be looking to start at edge?"
JM: "So we got new DC, new position coach in the OLB room and its really been the conversation is like well where do you feel comfotable the most playing. Im not trying to gain 20 pounds to get to 260. But more in the 5-8 range and being able to maintain it. I'm really lean, so I start to workout, I just cut weight like crazy so. Just trying to make sure that that weight is comfortable, around the 247-258 range and be as comfortable as possible. Be consistent with it. That's what I've really been focusing on, eating the right things and the right amounts of things."
TT: "For sure, yeah maintaining that's a big part because you've heard a lot of people im sure, they put on 15-20 pounds and its not sustainable, they get injured and its more of a burden than anything.
TT: "So kind of going off that last point, what are your thoughts on new defensive co-ordinator Anthony Weaver. I know you've only had one year with him but does the fact that he's younger than RAC and is a former player, does that help him be more relatable to you guys?"
JM: "Weave is a great coach man, he's just a great guy, a guy that you want to play for. A guy that played defensive line in the NFL and coached in the NFL. He has a different understanding and appreciation for the talents in the front seven, and im not saying he doesn't appreciate the secondary but I think it's exciting for the guys up front. Maybe we can do a little more moving around and games and stuff like that. I think its awesome for Weave to be calling the plays and im excited to see what this defense is about."
TT: "Yeah me too so you talked about lining up on different parts of the line. I think you're best on the edge, where you can really use your athletic gifts, but they also did line you up on the inside a little bit here and there. Can you talk a little about your versatility on the defensive line?"
JM: "I think the biggest lesson that ive learnt from the NFL, the more you can do the better. Whatever they ask me to do, whether its being the middle of the field player from the line of scrimmage, essentially be the safety, I’ll go do it. Whatever they come up with, whatever the call is, they're trying to put us in the best position possible. So I just try and do the best job I can. We play around and do different stuff and during practice and stuff. Sometimes things don’t look great, and you tweak it. You know, being able to learn from the guys who have been here longer than me, to learn from RAC last year it was awesome, it was dope. To be able to be that piece that could be moved around."
TT: "Yeah for sure, I definitely think you were a key part of the defense. So that kind of drives me to the next point. I feel like people forget but you're still really young, going into your third season now. Since you are one of those younger guys, has there been a vet in the locker room to kind of take you under their wing and really help teach you things, or is it like a collective effort from all the guys in the LB room?"
JM: "A lot of guys didn’t know I was a second year guy when I came in. A lot of guys thought iw as older than that. I would say that I tend to gravitate towards the leaders, and try and pick their minds. You know, you get the chance to play beside JJ and Mercilus and D4, Hop and to be able to talk to those guys , J Jo too. Guys who have some skin in the game, had success and are quality players. Being able to lean on them and ask them things, like where do they get treatment and massages and all the questions that you typically ask. And then obsiously just stuying how they study. And tat was the thing I appreciated the most, is I've been in two really great places. Seattle with Bobby Wagner and Russ, and KJ. And then coming down to Houston and being able to learn from JJ and Whitney and the guys on the defense so its been awesome.
TT: "So how has training camp been going, with meetings being online that must be a bit different. I know meetings are done (last) Thursday. Are you really just itching to get back out on the field?
JM: "Oh man, yeah. You know, I think this time of the year has been great, being able to take care of your body, lot of guys appreciate that. But also a lot of guys are itching to get back, im itching to get back, to be able to goof around with the team, to have some fun. And really just trynna get this whole football thing rolling. You know, this is the longest time any of us have really had "off", us not being in the facility. Crazy times man, but we're finishing up Thursday, and proceed as normal I guess."
TT: "Yeah, like you said it's crazy times, so I guess with quarantine going on, is there one thing other than football that's kind of taking up a lot of your time, like maybe a new hobby or something?"
JM: "Oh man, me and my girlfriend, we been building legos, I'll show you. Yeah we been building the Stranger Things set right here. But yeah that's pretty much what we've been doing, building Legos, working out, that's pretyt much been it, I don’t really leave the house."
TT: "Yeah man, I grew up on Legos, it's great to see them again. I always had so many, always asking my parents to by them for me. Alright next question, So another thing that I'm really interested to ask is, back in college at Temple, you wore a prestigious single digit jersey, specifically number 9. Can you talk to me about the honor that comes with that number?"
JM: "Man, so not too many people know the history behind the single digits. But the single digits are the toughest players on Temple's team, so 1-9. And it's voted on by the players and they can be taken away by the players too. So the coaches have no influence or input. And the reason why we do it that way is because coaches come and go, but the culture that we've built at Temple stays the same, and its been that way for the past 20 years. And it was a huge honour, to be thought of that way by your teammates, to be voted on by your peers and for them to call you one of the toughest on the team you know. So, it's just dope man, its awesome.
TT: "Yeah, for sure, that's awesome. Yeah and so since we're on the topic of college and all that, talk to me about how motivating it can be to be a sort of later round draft pick, and have people sleeping on you, but then once you get into the NFL you show the work ethic and you show the production on the field. Talk me through that whole process of just being an under dog really."
JM: "Man, I think me coming from Temple, and playing in that environment, and I'm not sure if you've been to Philadelphia, but when you think about Philadelphia you don’t think about football. Probably because there's no grass in Philadelphia, it's all concrete. We have astro turf you know, as our practice field. Just being in that environment, just being in North Philadelphia, that just builds you different. You know, the people who come out of Temple are different, and that is the truth, that is for sure. And the proof is in our numbers in the NFL and the consistency of guys being on the roster every year and signing new contracts. It really just prepares you to think and act like a pro. So with me being drafted late, there was just a thought in my mind, all I needed was an opportunity. And ill make whatever team picks me up better. And that was my mindset, regardless of where I got picked. SO just having that mindset coming out I just need this opportunity. So it was a once in a lifetime experience to hear my name called on draft day. I was just blessed to be able to hear my name called. And at that point, if I wasn’t going in the first round, I didn’t really care where I was going, you know what I mean."
TT: "Yeah for sure, definitely landed in two good situations now. Okay So getting a bit away from football now, I think it's really important to address this, because with everything going on in the world right now, the black lives matter movement is properly at the forefront. And for those people who say stick to football, don’t involve politics, whatever. It's not just politics at this point, we're talking about real human beings and the future of humanity. If you can't see that, and aren't open to educating yourself about whats going on, then just stop listening to this, stop following me, this isn't going to be something that we talk about for a couple days and then forget about. This has been going on for thousands of years, and its unacceptable. So anyways, um, I'm a minority but I can't speak to what it is like to be black. I will never fully understand what black people go through on a daily basis. But that doesn't mean I cant do anything to help and support. So I just want to give you a platform here to talk about the systemic issues that are becoming more and more revealed to the public. Life experiences, how its shaped who you are as a person, really anything you feel comfortable talking about or want to educate people about."
JM: "Well I would just say you know, the American experience is different for everybody. Perception is everything. My America is different than everyone else's America. And once you understand and realize that, then, okay, I'm an ally. Black Lives Matter movement now, what can I do to further my help. There's many lanes that need to be filled. Now that doesn’t mean that you need to be protesting on the front lines, it doesn’t mean that you have to be donating money if you have no money to donate, you don't have to be filling every lane. But collectively as a movement, we have to fill the lanes. So the best way to do that is to educate yourself, donate if you can donate, go protest if you can protest. Support black owned business, share tons of information to social media and have those difficult conversations because ultimately that is where the change is going to occur. The government isn't going to hear one group of people because the black people have been marginalized and unheard for the past 400 years. So we need as many allies as possible, to make them hear us because we want change, we need change, and we demand change. And no one's stopping this until we get change. This isn't dying off, like you said. Often times movements start and they die off once the media has changed their narrative. I think its important for us to continue to do good works and demand justice. And radical and instant change to the criminal justice system, because its set up for failure, it is. You know, nothing good comes from how things are set up and operate now. I think it's really important for us to reflect on what we want change for, and how we want it changed, and coming up with as many possible ideas to accommodate everyone. Because this movement isn't just about the Black Lives Matter movement African Americans or Black people in America, or the marginalized group in America, yes that’s a huge part of it. But this change will not only effect the marginalized group, but everyone as well. These changes are all good changes, so it baffles me, how anyone can argue opposite. And then I saw this meme earlier today that said, the fact that it took someone to draw a cartoon, of a fire, three houses on fire, and one other house on fire, for you to understand BLM, is absurd to me. So I think we're going in the right direction and athletes and famous people for too long we have collectively stayed in our bubble. Really only concerned about football, or whatever entertainment however you entertain, whatever that is that was your main focus. And I think it's really important for you to use your platform, because just because I'm in NFL player, doesn't mean that I'm not a black man in America, does not mean I haven't experienced racism in the NFL, when people knowingly know who you are. So I think its very important for us to use our platforms, to have those difficult conversations for people in our communities because we have the access to talk to the mayors the governors and call city council and they'll call us back. And they'll jump at the opportunity to talk to us because we are athletes. SO I think its important for us to use our platforms to hear what the public is saying and experiencing and what we have experienced and to take all that into account and have these difficult conversations. To get the correct people in front of people of power, to have these conversations, because that’s what its about. Creating and cultivating change."
TT: "For sure, yeah I love what you said, said it pretty perfectly. So you and some other Texans players went down to the protests and the George Floyd funeral as well, can you talk about what that was like. Because we can make statements and retweet things on Twitter, and that's certainly helpful, but going out and actually doing things, walking the talk, you know, that’s what's gonna really help spark change. So can you just talk about your experiences with that, was that kind of a planned thing for the players?
JM: "Nah it wasn't even a planned thing. I woke up that morning and got a call from Trey the Truth's manager Mike Prince, just seeing what I was doing later that day. And he said there was a George Floyd protest going on, and I asked him, however I can help I'll be there. I was there to support George Floyd and his family and to support the community. And Deshaun was there and PK and some other guys showed up as the day went on. I think it was a tremendous experience to be a part of something like that. It was such a peaceful day, it was beautiful. Obviously the circumstances of us all being there weren't that nice but being able to console with the family and talk and pray with them and just to send my love to the community, to make sure that was felt. Just to know that the Texans are behind you, they are a part of this city and we'll do anything for the community. Because Houston is probably one of the most diverse places I've ever lived in. I'm from Houston originally but I've lived in Colorado, Seattle and Philadelphia, but Houston, Houstons different, it’s a melting pot of people. Its amazing to see the community from all walks of life, to come together for one cause, I thought that was massive."
TT: "For sure, protests have been amazing to see, seeing them all throughout America all the different cities that's awesome. I'm from Canada, so they're not happening as much here but I'm trynna do my part and hopefully this is gonna help as well. And it's kind of like the mentality of, I don’t know, when I was growing up I was kind of thinking like what's the point in me voting. Im just like one person, it's not a big deal."
TT: "Yeah and it's kind of the same thing with this, like, oh I'm just one person, I cant actually inspire change. But if that's how everyone in the world is thinking, then of course nothing is gonna happen. So every single person needs to have the mindset, hey I have a voice, I have a platform, no matter how big, no matter if you're a professional athlete, or a nobody. You have a voice and you can inspire change, so I love that. And I love your point about the Texans being behind Houston and behind this movement, and so that kind of goes to my next point. BOB has been one of the most vocal coaches on this matter and I was happy and proud to see him make his statement because as a white head coach in the NFL, he's part of the demographic that needs to understand the issue and help spark change. You know he's at the forefront of this, with the position he has, he has a lot of power and influence and I was just proud to see that he used it in the right way. So as a player, when you see your head coach speak out in the way that he did, how does that impact you?
JM: "I think it's important to all of us, to see that someone who doesn't look like us, he empathizes with us. Through his course of work he's come in contact with many men of color. So he has a certain kind of appreciation, even though he may not fully understand what a black person or person of color goes through each day. It was nice to hear that he took the time, before making his statement, that he did his own research about the inequalities and the social issues, that have been going on. So I thought that was cool to see, really appreciate it."
TT: "Yeah for sure, I think even though he's not of your guys demographic, he's been around so many guys and probably heard so many stories. And the thing that stood out the most to me is he says "This is why Kenny Stills kneels, and Michael Thomas as well". So his ability to connect to the players and try to speak to that its huge, and great to see from the organization as a whole for sure.
Alright so I kind of just want to go through some of your best plays, your sacks and you can break them down for me. This one had to be one of the best feelings in the world, this sack here against the Bills. So just coming open on this stunt here, do you want to talk me through what's going through your mind.
JM: "So anytime I'm playing inside, how can I create space. Being an edge rusher you're used to having space. So rushing in tight quarters you may not be as active or disruptive. Everything happens quicker on the inside, instead of three steps its two steps, instead of four steps its one step. Different things happen at different paces. So I told Whit he was going to get chipped right there by the back so we should try and game it up to get free. And I end up coming free being the pick guy.
TT: "So was that a call you made at the line of scrimmage or was that part of the play?"
JM: "Yeah we'll call our games at the LOS or sometimes they'll be tagged onto the play, but this specific one was at the LOS."
TT: "Damn, okay that’s kind of great as a player to have the freedom to make calls at the LOS. You know most people know that a QB can make calls but I feel like it's not as common for defensive linemen."
JM: "Oh man I would say we're talking just as much as the quarterback. It may not happen as loud. We try and keep our code words and stuff secretive so they wont pick up on letters or things that we say. SO often times we may use hand signals or we may use verbage. Just depends who's in the game, who you're talking to. Because some guys like hand signs, some guys like words."
TT: "Yeah that makes sense. I guess talk to me about the emotion of the sack, it was such a meaningful and impactful sack. End of the game, the situation, 4th down, playoff game, was this your first ever playoff game?"
JM: "Nah, I played one wildcard game against Dallas my rookie year we lost against Dallas."
TT: "Ahh, but yeah do you kind of get caught up in the emotions of it, this must've been such a crazy moment for you."
JM: "Man for me this was a super dope moment. Just because it was the loudest id ever heard NRG, since I been there. And it was dope it was a big game, big moment, you know. It was awesome.
TT: "For sure for sure, alright let's get to your next one. This is kind of like your go to move here, with your chop dip rip, and with your speed on the edge, it's so dangerous. Want to talk me through this one."
JM: "Yeah man, so we call that a cross chop or chop swing. So essentially just chopping his outside arm with my inside arm, turning my shoulders to decrease the blocking surface. And as I step through I either change levels, I drop the inside shoulder, or I try and rip and clear my body from his arm. Often times you can win with just a straight chop. But you know this is a great move, essentially I call it a speed check. I try and get off as fast as I can and see his kick (step). If he's there then ill throw a move, if he's not there then it’s a sack. Try not to deviate from my path too much, just straight line try and keep the angles right. That's essentially my game man, try and run as fast as I can see if he can keep up, and then I'll throw my changeups."
TT: "For sure man, your speed its on another level, your athletic gifts, that's honestly what makes me fall in love with your game. You can't teach that kind of athleticism and so your potential is sky high with it. And just your ability to read what the OL is doing and what your next move should be. I guess that kind of goes into my question like how much of pass rushing is planned and how much is reactionary. Like are you going to the line saying, I'm gonna hit him with plan a, then if that's blocked up I'm going plan ,. Or is it everything is in the moment and you're reacting to what he does?"
JM: "I would say for me, coming into the league out of college. I was a good pass rusher coming out of college but I wasn't as good as I could've been. Because I was too busy trying to try and not really perfecting all these moves I would try and throw. Or I would look at this guys film and see, okay I could probably use this. I would go into games thinking of all these pass rush moves in a week. Instead of honing down on one or two of them and the counters. So when I got to Seattle that was like a big emphasis. Have a rush plan, what's your rush plan. And so my go to rush is the cross chop, you can do a lot off of it., because if I miss with my chop I can still bend under and I think I did that in… the Colts game."
TT: "Yeah this one right here!"
JM: "I missed his hand and I just dipped it. That's speed check, if he's there he's there, if not, I'm gone. That's how I think about it. That's my rush and I might throw a change up or a counter. I have three rushes, I'm not sure if you've seen Von Miller's Ghost. It's like a fake long arm and he ducks under the OL's arm. So I got a chance to work with Von at his pass rush summit and I stole that one from him. And then the cross chop and then the spin, try and counter, things like that. What I've realized, if you go back and watch some of the greatest pass rushers, the Strahans, the Kevin Greenys, or even Von, they use the same move. The same two three moves over and over again. That's why they're good because they've perfected them. You know obviously they can do some freaky stuff as well, but they stick to what they know."
TT: "Yeah like you said perfectly, they master those couple moves. Instead of okay at like 10 moves, they're a master at 3 or 4."
JM: "Or even AD (Aaron Donald), AD and Yannick (Ngakoue) have two of the nastiest cross chops ive ever seen."
TT: "Ohh Yannick's is nasty!"
JM: "You know what I mean, just fluid. That's their move, they've perfected it, they don’t throw nothing else. And that's what I was trying to get into the mindset last year. You know, I don’t need all those moves. We've worked on this and I know the angles, I know what I need to be successful and so there's no deviating off that."
TT: "Yeah and people say, oh he's a one trick pony or whatever, not saying for you but if they see people who just have a speed rush or just have one move, they’ll be like oh he's a one trick pony. But if it works, and you've got counters off of it, then who cares."
JM: "Exactly, why change it."
TT: "If it ain't broke don't fix it."
JM: "Exactly if its not broke don’t fix it."
TT: "So yeah, I guess we already kind of talked about this one but even if you miss your chop you have your counter if that doesn’t work. And what I love about your game is your bend. Its freakish bend once you dip your shoulder and get level with the QB. He tries to step up but he you're just too quick for him. And those athletic gifts, you're just gonna be ridiculous man."
JM: "I appreciate that man."
TT: "For sure for sure. Okay this next one, I'm pretty sure you just completely run by him. Speed check like you said. This is Marcus Cannon and he couldn't keep up, like you ate him up all day. His feet aren;'t quick enough to keep up with you."
JM: "This is in the 4th quarter too. So at this point in the game, everyone's tired if you gotta deal with me. That's one thing in my game man, I don’t stop."
TT: "For sure, your motor its something else."
JM: "If I'm on the field its 100 mph, you can get pulled out, there's other guys on the roster for that."
TT: "Yeah coaches have gotta love that, they gotta love that effort and energy that you play with for sure. Alright, I guess we'll move to this one. Two sacks in the Pats game, this one is really nice. Walk me through this one."
JM: "So this is actually my changeup here. So I throw a stab I like stab his chest with my hand. Because he had a good get off right there. Where he's right on top of me. So I knew right there I had to throw the change up. So I used my inside hand to throw the stab and then stab club. So I club his outside arm with my outside arm. And that's the changeup this is something I need to work on a little bit. Staying tighter to the OL so I'm not floating over the top. Because I beat him cleanly, but I was too wide at the end of the move, which made me take an extra step at the top of the rush, which gave Tom the ability to step up. And the tackle recovered a bit."
TT: "Yeah he was able to kind of push you out of it, and widen that angle like you said. But I think your ability to flip your hips and bend to the QB is pretty special. So just like you said keeping that window when you're right here just keeping that tighter. But then you show off that motor here. You're past the play but you don’t give up, you fight back into it, so that's awesome.
TT: "Ooh you know what I want to watch, this is one of my favourite rushes of yours. It's just stringing a lot of moves together. Yeah so you start off the rush you fake inside, go outside. You try and get your chop in right there, its mistimed but its fine, you add another move here with the spin, and you just barely lose your footing. But that's a crazy move to string all them together I love it."
JM: "Yeah so this is my fourth changeup. So I knew I was going to spin in my head. Because I had a level rush, you can see we had some pressure from the inside, so I'm a contain element. So my changeup was the hesi inside to go back outside, to make sure the RB doesn't chip me. Once I got to the top, he's not really a puncher, he's an older dude and so a vet move is to catch. So he knew I wasn't really gonna long arm him, I knew I wasn’t gonna long arm him. So like he's not really gonna try and punch my lights out. So he shielded me and I slipped right there but that was my thought process."
TT: "Yeah for sure man, 4th change up that's crazy. Alright that'll really do it for me, don't want to keep you too long. Appreciate you, great talking to you."
JM: "Yeah no worries. Hey man, Texans Thoughts, you a real one. Me and my girlfriend talk about you all the time."
TT: "No you don't. What?!"
JM: "Yeah bro I'm being dead serious bro."
TT: "WHAAT?! Haha."
JM: "Yeah so I appreciate you and your support. So thank you for everything you're doing bro."
TT: "Yeah man I gotta say I'm probably your number one fan."
JM: "Oh without a doubt."
TT: "I just really believe in your game. That's crazy man I had no idea. Because when you followed me it was like damn, that's one of the best days of my life."
JM: "Yeah I think my girlfriend she was telling me, she saw someone retweeted your account and she saw that my picture was the profile. And she was like wait who are these guys, she thought it was like multiple guys on the account. But I was like I don’t know but we're gonna follow them because they're putting out some good information."
TT: "Ayyy yeah putting out the truth about you man."
JM: "Appreciate it!"
TT: "I'm really rooting for you man, I really think you should be starting next year. We've seen what you can do with limited snaps so."
JM: "Thank you man, I really appreciate that."
TT: "Alright, thanks for taking time out of your day, good talking to you."
JM: "No worries, take it easy, be safe out there."