Antonio Pierce, 10.02.09

Q. Larry Johnson has always been known as the power, workhorse back in the league until Brandon Jacobs got drafted by the Giants. What is the challenge in knocking down Larry Johnson?

A. He still has a lot of missed tackles going on with him. The guy still has downhill speed and power. Regardless of what the stats look like right now, I think they are a little misleading. Philadelphia, he didn’t have a good game, but he had a very good game in the first one against Baltimore. I thought he had some good runs. We still have our hands full, obviously, a very explosive and powerful back.

Q. This is the second team in a row that you are facing that is implementing a new defense. Having gone through that before, can you talk about how hard that is?

A. It is difficult. We went through it three years ago with Spags and we were 0-2 and struggling. You just try to find a way to keep plugging away, make a play. Eventually, it will click in to those guys and figure it out. Hopefully, it is not this weekend against the Giants. It is one of those things where, the other guys, the veterans on the team, they grab guys and put all the pieces together. It is not just going to happen by itself. You have to actually work for it.

Q. Can you talk about the job the secondary has done, especially given all the injuries?

A. I think they’re good. The one thing about our secondary, we talk about the depth on the d-line and everywhere else, we are deep there. Those guys compete every day in practice. They have their own little battles within themselves. You appreciate it. They are young, a lot of energy. All of them are looking to make a name for themself. Kenny Phillips went down, another guy, C.C. Brown, steps up, and we just picked up Aaron (Rouse) from Green Bay. All those guys are going to contribute for us.

Q. Shutouts are not a dime a dozen in this league. You are just coming off of one. What needs to be better?

A. Yeah, better in the two-minute drill. The other quarterback came in and changed the pace of the game. For us it’s just about fixing the little things. Obviously, the Buccaneers didn’t make all the plays they should have made, there were plays out there for them to make, so we got some things to clean up. It wasn’t a perfect game by far. It looked like it on the scoreboard. You can always learn from a game like that.

Q. It looked like Philadelphia really was effective with the blitz last week against Kansas City. Is it encouraging to see that?

A. It is, and I know people want to make that comparison, but our coordinator doesn’t really think like that. He didn’t come from Philly, he has always been in New York. You look at what Philly did, they brought pressure probably every play. They did it to frustrate their quarterback, made it rough for the running game. They got after em, they got after em. You have to expect the Kansas City offensive line coach has probably been getting on those guys pretty good and they are going to be excited about playing the New York Giants.

Q. Two straight games with no sacks, does that mean anything?

A. No, but both quarterbacks have been dirty though. They have been dirty and they don’t look too happy when they are getting off the ground every play. Sometimes you want to get a sack because it looks good on the stat board and everybody is happy about it. Osi and Tuck and those guys are ripping and raving, but at the same time, look at how many hits were on the quarterbacks, it’s up there. At the end of the day you want to hit the quarterback. Of course, you want him to have the ball in his hand but if you hit that quarterback, it’s going to have a toll at the end of the game.

Q. Are you concerned about a letdown playing another winless team this week?

A. Yeah, we want to keep our zero too. So, we are worrying about that letdown. We don’t want to have another digit in that other column. We want to be 4-0. We could care less about them wanting to win the game. It is about us being 4-0. We don’t want our zero to disappear either.

Q. You have been close to getting a lot of sacks, is it the timing or what is it?

A. The quarterbacks are getting rid of the ball. The quarterbacks are obviously getting rid of the ball. Our corners, our linebackers are doing a great job in coverage as far as trying to give those guys a little bit more time to get to the quarterback. At the end of the day, you see the quarterback throwing the ball away, throwing it in the dirt. It doesn’t count as a sack, but that is.

Q. But they are still getting to him and hitting him?

A. We are happy about that. Like I said, last week’s quarterback did not finish the game. Our guys are pretty excited about that. They have to do a better job containing that faster wildcat type quarterback.

Q. One of the many reasons your run defense has been better is Fred Robbins. Not a lot of people expected that because of the surgery he had this past February. Are you surprised at all with what he has been able to do this season?

A. I am not surprised what Fred or Barry (Cofield) has done. Obviously, there was a lot of talk about the guys we brought in with Canty and Bernard. But those guys are rock solid, for years. Ever since I have been here. You always talk about our bookends and how many sacks they put up, but the heart and grind of our defense is in the middle. Those guys play great ball. Fred has always done it. He has always been the most underrated defensive tackle in the league. It is sad to say, but we know what he is capable of doing.

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