JTO holding no grudges as Lions come to town

In separate conversations with media that covers the 49ers and Detroit Lions, J.T. O'Sullivan talks about his time in Detroit and how he's approaching starting at quarterback a year later against his former team. Covering a wide spectrum of topics, JTO also discusses his football relationships in Detroit, Mike Martz, the issue of durability after taking eight sacks last week along much, much more.

Q: Can you talk about some of the leadership qualities you saw in Lions quarterback Jon Kitna during your time in Detroit?
O'Sullivan:
Obviously, he's probably the toughest guy I've been around, just as far as standing in there, making throws, coming back in there week in and week out. I took a lot from that. He's got a lot of respect from me for that. He's a good thrower too. This offense is about standing in there and making some tough throws, and he does it. So, the list was long as far as things I tried to take from Jon.

Q: Is that something you try to do at each of your stops is try to take something from the guy ahead of you?
O'Sullivan:
Absolutely. I think you're missing out if you don't do that. You try to understand what they do well and see what, how exactly it's working in the offense, but then try to learn from it and get better from watching him play.

Q: You said he was a tough guy, he was obviously able to withstand a lot of sacks. Do you know anything about your own durability?
O'Sullivan:
It was more than just taking sacks with Jon. It was how he approached it every week, the way he took care of his body, what's important to him. All those things go into when I say he's a tough guy. I think time will tell with me. I think everybody hopes that they are, but it doesn't matter what I hope. It's how things work out.

Q: How important was the win over the Seahawks not only to show how capable the offense is, but how capable it is with you at the helm?
O'Sullivan:
I think any win is important in this league. So, I'm not sure of all that, exactly. But, I think it gives us on the offense, an idea of where we want to go. We're a long way from it, there's a lot of things we need to do better and do consistently to improve in this league. The win, it was a big-time win on the road. A tough place to play, but it's done now. There's things we need to learn from it really immediately, this afternoon we need to improve on, and we can in practice. So, that's the attitude and direction we're trying to go from here.

Q: J.T., for 64 full minutes on Sunday, was that the most affirmation you've had in your career that you can succeed in this league?
O'Sullivan:
I have no idea. It's really something that I'm excited about the win and things like that. I'd like to go out there and win every week. So, obviously it's the first win. Hopefully we get on a little roll here. It's something – thinking about things like that is not going to help me play this week.

Q: What does it tell you when you do succeed when you haven't had success before?
O'Sullivan:
It doesn't tell me much. It tells me that we're going out there trying to win games. That's what I'm trying to do. We're moving in the right direction. We're far from where we want to be.

Q: When you get that winning feeling, how much of that inspires you to continue to win and continue to improve?
O'Sullivan:
I don't know if it increases it at all. You always want to win. It's something that, winning a little bit, I think we're – there's something to be said about learning to win, but it's not going to increase my want of it. I'm still going to go out there and do everything I can to win week in and week out.

Q: When you look at the film and the eight sacks, is that a problem that's correctable in your mind?
O'Sullivan:
Yeah, I think they're all correctable. A lot of it falls on me. Obviously, you don't need to be a football guru to know that I took some unnecessary sacks. Things like that I need to clean up, and we need to realize what the problem is and for me, do the things that I need to not take those sacks.

Q: Is that getting the ball out quicker?
O'Sullivan:
Yeah, and throwing the ball away. It was a combination of things.

Q: How do you balance that because late in the game you spun away and made a pass to Frank Gore?
O'Sullivan:
It's a fine line, but you have got to make the right decision all the time. That's the way that I'm approaching it. You take a sack, it's bad. You make a good play. That's what we want. I don't have a direct, clean answer. There's not one. The thing that I'm working towards is not taking unnecessary sacks.

Q: J.T., does having played with the Lions last year give you an insights into their defense? How they do things? How they might approach playing against the 49ers?
O'Sullivan:
What it does is give me…I have an extremely high level of respect for the way that they go to work every day. I know how they practice. I know how they compete. So things like that. But as far as personnel – a lot of that's a new secondary. From that aspect, it's not people that I know that well. So, not really. But I know how they're going to come in and play – the emotion that they're going to have. The kind of relentlessness of their defensive line and their front. All those things I have a high respect for, so I'm not going to be surprised by their motor. They keep their ‘want to' – and they keep going.

Q: I don't know if they made much of an effort to bring you back. I'm just wondering if there's any special incentive on your part to do well against one of your former teams?
O'Sullivan:
I think that time has come and passed for me. That list [of former teams] is pretty long. So, no, not really. It's more of just trying to take what I can from my time there. But in reality, it's a different team for them this year and just kind of go from there.

Q: What do you remember most from that game last year – the one that you had the most action in? I guess it was against Minnesota – you got quite a few passes. What do you remember about that game? What was it like?
O'Sullivan:
I just remember it being kind of my first experience in the regular season. I remember the mistakes pretty vividly. But it was fun. It was great to compete. I remember Jon [Kitna] having a heck of a day coming back and leading us to a victory. So those are all things…it was a special day.

Q: How about the touchdown pass you threw?
O'Sullivan:
Yeah, it was Calvin [Johnson] just making a great play. It was more him than anything else.

Q: Can you describe Calvin and [Mike] Furrey and what kind of players they are?
O'Sullivan:
They're both special, special wide receivers. Obviously just looking at them, they look the part. But it's more than that. They're both big guys that get down the field and snatch the ball, want the ball all the time. It's just about everything you want from a wide receiver. It's a special group they have there, and it doesn't end with those two guys. It's a deep group all the way – one through five. It's a fine line with how dangerous they are, so we're going have to play well to have a chance.

Q: Just doing what you did last week, how much is that to open up for Frank [Gore] now that opposing defenses respect you more now that you did some things? Do you see that opening up the game more and helping out Frank?
O'Sullivan:
I have no idea. We're going to find out together. I don't know how they're going to approach it. I just know they're going to do what they do and we're going to do what we do and see what happens. As far as opening up for something else, we're going to find out together. I have no idea.

Q: Are you starting to feel more comfortable with Isaac [Bruce] and Bryant [Johnson], who you didn't play with before? You threw some perfect passes to these guys. Are you kind of getting a feel for their speed and their separation?
O'Sullivan:
Yeah, it's more those guys being really good at what they do. Obviously, Isaac Bruce has been doing this a long time and he's going to be in the right spot all the time. Those things are just…it's a comfort level for me knowing that that's all the time consistent with really all those guys. So hopefully it just gets better and better.

Q: How do you see the offensive line coming along in front of you there? Just because there are some new faces in new places this year. How is that coming along from your viewpoint?
O'Sullivan:
Just like the entire offense – I think we're all trying to work together to see exactly how Coach Martz wants everything done. I don't know. The answer is: I don't know. I haven't studied the offensive line. I'm just trying to do my part to help their job.

Q: Can you talk aobut your development during your first couple weeks as the starting quarterback?
O'Sullivan:
Well, just trying to improve, just trying to move this offense in the right direction, and try to go out there and execute the offense exactly how Coach Martz is teaching us. I don't know if I felt a big leap from Week 1 to Week 2. It's just a matter of us getting better and understanding exactly what he's asking us to do and being able to go out and do it.

Q: What did the Lions say to you when they released you earlier this year?
O'Sullivan:
They didn't release me.

Q: What did they say when they didn't re-sign you?
O'Sullivan:
I didn't have any personal conversations with them, no.

Q: Did you have a feeling you would land in San Francisco with Mike Martz because you grasped his system so easily last year?
O'Sullivan:
No. It was just like every other kind of opportunity. You look for the best opportunity to first make a team, and then have a chance to compete. That's the way it was expressed to me, so this was the best opportunity for that.

Q: What other opportunities were out there for you besides the 49ers?
O'Sullivan:
I'm not going to go into each specific opportunity but the way that they explained it, being an open competition, there was no other situation like that.

Q: Does your ability to learn a system so quickly give you an advantage?
O'Sullivan:
Does it give me an advantage? As far as what?

Q: An advantage because you picked up a very difficult system so quickly?
O'Sullivan:
Wow, I think people are being nice about that. But, it was more just, Coach (Mike) Martz and Coach (Adam) Gase kind of teaching and me trying to be as coachable as possible where really those guys were kind of immersing themselves into trying to get me ready to go if I needed to. So, I just tried to, obviously I have been in enough systems and around enough places to realize how to learn an offense. Whether it be high volume or whatever, it's just a matter of the way I approach it. If it's important to you, you're going to learn it. So it was pretty important to me, so, I tried to learn it as well as I could. But, it was really the way that they taught it and the way that I just had an opportunity, I guess.

Q: Did you ever feel that you just were never going to get your shot?
O'Sullivan:
I never wondered about it. The way that I approached it was, I just tried to make the most out of each situation, whether it be a good situation, or a place where you're not getting a lot of opportunities. And really just my mindset was just try to just do things right. And if I do things right, and I know that's pretty vague, but just do the things you're being asked to do, try to be coachable and play well when you get an opportunity. Eventually, if it's important to you and you stick it out, you're going to get an opportunity.

Q: What was your mindset this summer when you finally started to receive consistent snaps?
O'Sullivan:
My mindset is: try to play the position exactly as they ask me to play it. It's been a long enough process for me. I've gone through good ways to do it and bad ways to do it, and I just think the best way to do it to try and play the position exactly as you're being coached, not try to do too much. But, at the same time, make good throws that they're asking you to make. Make the reads that they're asking you to make, just make good decisions, manage the game, all the things you hear the clichés about quarterbacks doing. It's just a matter of getting an opportunity to do it.

Q: Do you think you tried to do too much in the past?
O'Sullivan:
I think the way that I have approached it has evolved. But, the last couple years I think it has been that.

Q: Is there an extra sense of motivation for you on Sunday, playing your former team?
O'Sullivan:
When you say you got an extra sense of motivation, I think you're doing a disservice to the rest of the game. This is the NFL, they're all important. It doesn't take on any more or less each week whether you know the personnel or you've been there or not. Those things, I'm giving the same effort I gave last week and the week before.

Q: How important is it to jump on the reeling Lions defense early and keep the doubts in their heads?
O'Sullivan:
It's important for us to play well. I think that's the way we're approaching it. We didn't, we haven't played them the last couple weeks, I expect them to come out and play a very good game. I know how they travel, I know that they've, just from being there last year, how they're being coached, and how relentless and the effort that they give. So we're going to have to play well, to have a chance to win. We understand that, what's happened in the past and what happens the rest of the season, all that matters for us is playing well this weekend.

Q: What were your lasting memories of last year's season with the Lions?
O'Sullivan:
Probably the relationships that I have with the guys in the room, as far the quarterbacks. Just what I learned from Kit (Kitna) and seeing how Dan (Orlovsky) approached and knew the offense and the kind of work ethics that all three of those guys have.

Q: Did you see the firing of Martz coming?
O'Sullivan:
I don't know. I don't really know how to answer the question. I didn't see it coming, I didn't think about it before it happened. It was something that, I think, as a professional, and playing the season that's what I was concerned with at the time. So, I've learned to kind of let the decision-makers make the decisions, as far as things like that, and worry about my performances. I know it sounds simple, but, for me it's an ongoing process just worrying about myself, just making sure I'm ready to go if I have to go.

Q: Did you feel you had the full support from coaches in Detroit besides Martz last season?
O'Sullivan:
I thought the relationship with the rest of the coaches was good. I have no reason to think otherwise.

Q: So is the impression that you weren't wanted in Detroit by all the coaches the wrong impression?
O'Sullivan:
It wasn't the impression that I had.



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