Q. The new defensive coordinator said today that one of the reasons that he’s out on the field instead of upstairs is because you requested it?
A. Who said that?
Q. He did.
A. It must have been very important then.
Q. Why is it a comfort level for you?
A. It’s a better communication that way. Better not to hear it from a third party. You look right into somebody’s eyes and hear it directly from them.
Q. Has this defense as a whole had enough snaps together in practice and in the preseason to be where you need to be?
A. Maybe not in the preseason games because obviously we had some guys nicked up and hurt. For practice, yeah, we have. From mini-camps and OTAs, just getting used to guys and getting used to one another, I would say we had to. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter now because we have a game to suit up for in three days.
Q. With all the success that you had against the Redskins last year, just 14 points in two games…when you do that against a team twice, do some of those tactics kind of carry over to this season as well?
A. No, that was last year. They have some new guys stepping up, new receivers that were hurt for them last year. Tight end, new offensive lineman or a guy they plugged in. A quarterback, I feel, who has a lot to prove so last year is last year. It’s irrelevant, this team is going to come in here the same way we are, focused on getting that first win in the division and the league. I think they are very excited about it. They have a very talented team, Clinton Portis, the defensive line, the defense overall, it’s going to be a good game.
Q. Week one, division rival in front of your fans, does it get any better than this?
A. Of course not, not at Giants Stadium. We are going to see that wave of blue going around, hopefully you’ll see blue flying around on defense and Brandon Jacobs and those guys on offense doing what they need to do. I think it will be very exciting for the city of New York.
Q. Your last home opener in the old stadium too?
A. It is, it’s a big year overall. Hopefully we are playing that last game in January as well.
Q. Did you approach this year any different in terms of conditioning?
A. That question is irrelevant.
Q. Different year but it’s still Clinton Portis and the Redskins, which means a heavy dose of running the ball, doesn’t it?
A. It starts with him. I think the games that he won he has had pretty good success running the ball against us. If we don’t stop him first and foremost, you are going to have a long day. Now that opens up the play action passes, the quarterback is a lot more comfortable. At the end of the day Clinton Portis…to me, it ends and stops with him. Last year when they were 6-2, they were running the ball. Clinton Portis was the number one leading rusher in the league. So you can’t let that happen this Sunday.
Q. What does Chase (Blackburn) give you on the weak side?
A. He’s a guy who is a middle linebacker so he knows how to make a lot of calls, a lot of adjustments. Sometimes I can kind of stay away from looking on that side of the field because I know he is going to take care of it. Plus I just love the way he comes in there and plays. He comes in going 100 miles per hour. Doesn’t matter how fast or big he is. Chase is going in there and knows exactly what he needs to do and he is going to help the defense win.
Q. When you play a team like Washington, which has a really good defense, does that get you even more fired up?
A. Of course, they finished last year ahead of us. I think we had three or four top tens (defense) in our division alone. It’s very tough playing defense in this league. You always want to be number one in the league. That’s our goal this year. I think the last two or maybe three years we have been in the top ten. Why not shoot for number one. What’s a better challenge than to go up against a team that’s shooting for the same goals that we are shooting for? Let the best team come up.
Q. What does it mean to be voted defensive captain by your teammates?
A. It’s an honor. That’s one thing where you are voted by your peers. It’s not the coaches, it’s not the front office, and it’s not the fans. It’s the guys in this locker room and those are probably the most important guys to me. They know the real Antonio Pierce. It’s just an honor. I think it is my third year in a row where I have been elected captain and to see it on the patch and you have to represent it well. I plan on doing that.
Q. I know you haven’t talked about the offseason. but because of this off season and the fact that you were elected captain, does this one mean more to you?
A. They all mean more. They are all very important, very true to heart. It’s an honor. Look throughout the league some teams do it and some teams don’t elect captains.