Q: Can you give us your overall thoughts on where you are as a team?
A: Obviously, more so for the defense, I was able to look at the tape this morning and we’ve got a long way to go. There were a lot of mistakes. Physically, a lot of times we can accomplish what we need to do, but we’re not accomplishing what we need to do. I think it’s a situation where in all phases we need to play better if we want to have a chance at accomplishing any of the goals we set out for ourselves at the beginning of the season.
Q: Coach Coughlin’s demeanor seems different than it was after the San Diego loss. Do you agree?
A: Absolutely. The San Diego game was a hard-fought one-point loss as opposed to yesterday where we really just didn’t show up. We didn’t play well enough to even have a chance to win yesterday and Coach Coughlin let us know that, and, obviously, he’s not going to accept that. Those are two different types of losses, and you can’t even compare them. He definitely wasn’t happy and no one in that locker room was.
Q: With the 10 days between this and your next game, do you guys look at this as kind of a second bye week, where you can get a chance to reset and reevaluate?
A: That’s the way you have to look at it. You play on a short week so you have to look at the advantage of doing that and it means you get a couple of extra days off. We get more time to prepare. More time to assess what happened yesterday. After coming off of a performance like that you have to reset. You have to hit the reset button and come out and decide whether you are going to be a team that can compete, a team that is respected around the league or a team that is going to show up like we did yesterday. It’s really up to us.
Q: Was a big part of it that you were plain out-physicaled, and if so why do you think that happened?
A: I can’t necessarily say that. You have a team like Denver that runs a zone package and runs a lot on the edges. A lot of it is reacting and a lot of it is quickness and a lot of it is fitting up properly with their blocking schemes. They are always going to have a lead blocker and things like that. I don’t know if it was strictly physical but it was a situation where we didn’t do what we needed to do. We didn’t execute the plan that our coaching staff set out there for us and Denver seemed to me like they did execute their plan, so it showed up on the score board.
Q: During the broadcast of the game, one of the commentators said Coach Sheridan said to him that the defense hadn’t been playing like a physical group. Is that a feeling that Coach Sheridan had conveyed to the defense and do you agree with it?
A: Everyone is entitled to their opinions. If you are not stopping the run and you are not playing well defensively, you usually are not playing that physically. I can’t say we are out there smashing people’s faces in and giving up a ton of points. That doesn’t make sense. Obviously, there are steps to be made and we can play better. We can play more physical. We can play smarter and we can play faster. There are a lot of things we need to do better in order to do that and be a good defense in this league.
Q: Are the changes that need to be made more schematic or individual accountability?
A: I’m a guy who always leans towards individual accountability. Guys just have to make plays. Guys have to be in their gaps. There were instances last night where guys weren’t where they were supposed to be. Guys weren’t necessarily making the plays on the ball that they should have. Guys weren’t beating their guys upfront. It’s too easy…As a player you have to look yourself in the mirror and that’s the type of unit that I think we have and I guess that’s what we are going to find out. With this type of game, you can either go up or down. This can be the closing statement to our season or this can be the break right here that can rejuvenate our team. I think we have the leadership and the coaches to get it done, so it’s just going to be a choice.
Q: Are guys accepting bad football and not taking their jobs seriously? Is that a problem?
A: I hesitate to say guys aren’t taking their jobs seriously. Anyone who says that, I’m assuming they have some concrete evidence and have had some real experience as to why they would say something like that. I can’t say that guys aren’t taking their jobs seriously. We are obviously not playing well enough, but that’s not necessarily a reflection of how well we prepare. We just have to be better on Sunday, or Thursday in this example. It doesn’t matter how you feel going into the game. It’s all a matter of what you do because the result is win or lose. I’m not going to sit here and say guys are not paying attention in meetings or not practicing hard. I don’t see that at all. I think that guys are preparing to go out there and win games. It’s just not happening.
Q: Is emotion lacking and, if so, does that surprise you?
A: It doesn’t seem like emotion is lacking in the locker room. Guys seem upset. There’s a lot of shouting and that kind of stuff going on pregame, post game and at halftime but sometimes on the field it just seems like the other team has more. That’s kind of how it goes when you are losing. There is always going to be a lot more excitement and seem like there is a lot more energy from the team that’s winning. We’ve experienced that when we were on the winning side of games. I don’t feel like guys are careless and unemotional, but sometimes you need that emotion to show up at the right time and I don’t think that’s happening right now.
Q: How are you feeling physically?
A: We’ve got time to recoup. We played a very, very physical game against an Atlanta team that ran the ball a lot and then to come back and play a Denver team, it was definitely a physical challenge, but I think Coach Coughlin set out the right plan and a great schedule for us to get back and be ready to go yesterday, so I have no complaints at all. No one should have any excuses as to not being ready to go when Dallas comes to town.
Q: Do you consider yourself fully back from your knee surgery in the offseason?
A: Obviously, a serious knee surgery takes time to come back and I expected to get stronger but I wouldn’t use that as an excuse at all. I feel strong out there, I feel like I’m running around. I don’t have any complaints physically that would affect my play. I feel like I’ve been playing at a high level. I’ve been playing hard and I feel like I have been playing a pretty good game of football, so I wouldn’t use it as an excuse at all.
Q: The TV showed Osi pretty upset on the sidelines. Do you sense that there may be some pointing fingers or some divide with the team not playing well?
A: That’s why we have leaders and guys like Osi. Those guys are supposed to keep us together and prevent that type of thing from going on. I think we have the quality of character up top of guys in our locker room that won’t resort to pointing fingers. This is definitely the type of situation, especially when you had expectations like we have, that can fester. Hopefully guys still have their head on straight and with our coaching and leadership, I don’t think that will happen with this group.
Q: Do you think a team can rely too much on the fact that you’ve been though tough times before so you will automatically find a way out of them?
A: I think that can be a factor but I hope by now guys have gotten over that. That was definitely something that you would hear a lot but we are just a completely different team. Every year is different and every year you have different competition around the league. We’ve won a lot of games over that past couple of years and won a championship so teams are going to give us their best shot. So I think to completely lean back on past experiences is not the way to go. You can have that in the back of your mind. You can know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel but even when we were in those situations, we fought hard to climb out of those adverse situations. If we don’t use those experiences in the right way, they can be detrimental. I hope guys aren’t resting too much on what’s been done in the past because this is a completely different team and we’ve got a completely different set of challenges. We can either address them and excel or we can continue to go down hill.
Q: With three NFC East teams coming up and this being a critical stretch, is controlling your own destiny the ultimate rally cry?
A: It’s good to know that you have control over what happens. I have a good feeling that if we go out and play well and play hard and win these next three games, then we will be in a great spot in the division. We have all the opportunities. We have the schedule set up the way you would want. You get to control what happens in the division. You get that challenge and it’s obviously a stretch of games that can make or break you. We have to look at it as a plus and look at it as opportunity. If we take advantage of it, I think we will be in a good spot despite all the ups and downs we’ve already had this year, so that’s the mindset we have to have that this is a great opportunity to position ourselves in our division.
Q: Coach Spags was a much more emotional leader than Coach Sheridan is. Has that been a big adjustment and factor?
A: Spags was here for two years and guys have been playing football for much longer than that, so I’m assuming guys have dealt with coaches that have had different temperaments. We have different players on the team where some are more emotional than others. I don’t think that should be an excuse. We have guys that even when Spags was here, there were emotional leaders and they are still emotional leaders so you shouldn’t have to look for a coach to drive you. This is your job, this is the way you make a living, and this is what you are supposed to love to do. If you have to look for a coach who doesn’t suit up and stands on the sidelines to emotionally get you going, then you are probably in the wrong business.