Q: Do you feel like you're more amped up and physical in a division game?
A: Yeah. No question. Our coach always says that these are the games that we're most judged on - the division games - and more importantly, we were 1-2 coming into that game, so we knew that - we had to win out down the stretch anyway, but we definitely had to beat our divisional opponents and the Redskins were first on the list, so we did what we had to do.
Q: Are you happy with the NFL schedule this year with the divisional games at the end of the season?
A: Yeah. These will all be cold weather games, which we enjoy - big linemen, so that and you have in two weeks - not that we're looking past Minnesota, but you asked about division opponents and Philadelphia is a very big matchup with a lot on the line, so I definitely think they made the right decision in moving most of the divisional games towards the end of the season.
Q: Are you surprised at how well you've been able to play with so many pieces missing?
A: To be honest with you, no. We have a lot of depth on this team and on the offensive line that you're talking about. We obviously have two very important pieces missing in Shaun and Dave and certainly, like I said, we hope that we get them back, but good teams have depth and we're fortunate enough to have guys like Kevin and William and Shawn Andrews when he was in there and Adam Koets at the beginning of the year and then we had other guys step up - the wide receivers - Derek Hagan had a great game for us yesterday and that's just the expectation that we have around here now. My first year, even my second year, guys got hurt and we didn't have guys that could step in and play at the level that the starters did, so we're very fortunate and that's a credit to the front office for bringing those guys in.
Q: What are the veteran guys doing to make sure the backups are ready?
A: I think that we're constantly making ourselves available to them. A guy like Kevin Boothe knows the offense, where a guy like William is still trying to feel his way in there and still has a lot to learn - those are the guys that you pull them aside and you make sure that if they have any questions, you get that ironed out before the game on Sunday because if you're trying to make an adjustment on Sunday, it's too late. He's been watching film with us. We've been having some good film sessions together as a unit. Just little things like that to make sure that we're all on the same page.
Q: Do you feel like you must win every week?
A: No question. No question. We're just trying to keep up with everyone else. You look at the score and you think New Orleans is going to lose and fall one back, but they come back and win and Green Bay had a huge second half and they win, Chicago wins, so just trying to keep up and not to mention most importantly, Philadelphia won, so the goal is always to make the playoffs, but we want to win the division, too, so the only way to do that is to win out.
Q: Is it draining to know that you have no margin for error?
A: No. It's exciting actually. You get down to the games that are crucial, you're challenged to play your best and that's where the true competitors step forward and I feel that we're loaded with those on this team, so I am really looking forward to what we can do down the stretch.
Q: Brandon says he's having the most fun this year. How do you feel and do you see that in him?
A: Brandon has always had fun. He's got a tremendous passion for this game and we've been documented saying how much we appreciate that and he shows that in the way he plays. As far as me personally, yeah, I have enjoyed this team. I thought that we had a very special team going into camp and we had some bumps, we had a couple rough patches, but who doesn't? Yeah, I do like this team, I enjoy going to work and I'm excited, I'm excited for December and hopefully a January run.
Q: Is it a big difference that three of your last four games are away?
A: It depends if you're afraid of playing on the road, which we're not. I would love to play three out of four at home, no question, but it's the hand that we were given and we're certainly not afraid to go out on the road and try to quiet someone else's crowd and they're going to be tough places to play. We know that. But we are certainly not afraid of that challenge by any means.
Q: What went on on the field yesterday when London Fletcher kicked the ball?
A: Yeah, we were at the line of scrimmage. I saw him come in, I saw his foot hit the ball - whether it was an intentional move or not, I don't know. It's just a strange coincidence maybe that they were trying to throw a challenge flag on that same play - I'm not going to get caught up in that, but I saw him kick the ball and the umpire was right there, he saw it too, but most of us were around the ball and we were trying to get a snap off.
Q: Will going to Minnesota this weekend bring back bad memories?
A: Let's just say we haven't forgotten what happened there. I'll just leave it at that. We know what the final score was and we know what happened in there. It's already been talked about. Let's leave it at that.
Q: What do you mean it has already been talked about?
A: I'll leave it at that. We've already said what happened last year. That's all I can say about that.
Q: How cognizant are you of not having allowed a sack in five games and the streak that you have going?
A: I certainly wish you guys would stop talking about that. It's a lot of things. It's, like I said, guys stepping up and filling big shoes, it's a lot of help from tight ends and running backs, it's the quarterback getting rid of the ball, the receivers getting open, so that's a full team effort, but certainly we are proud of that. We don't want Eli taking any hits. That's always a goal of ours going into the games, to minimize those. Certainly the last thing we want is for anything to happen to him, so we're just trying to do our job.
Q: Anything the Vikings did last year that you want to take revenge on?
A: It's all about us. All we're concerned about is the way that we played and what we showed on that field is not indicative of the team that we are and the reputation that we have had over the years as a team that is going to play you for four quarters - we didn't do that and most guys were embarrassed by that performance, me included, and I never want to have that feeling again.