Q: Do you have to explain to the young guys what’s expected and what to expect?
A: The only thing that I tell the younger guys is make football football. Don’t make this game bigger than it has to be. Everybody around you is going to make it bigger, but we have to concentrate on why we’re going out there. There’s going to be a lot of parties. There’s going to be a lot of people pulling at your coat tail. Listen, if you go out there and you handle your business and you win this game, you can party all you want to after that. For me personally, the first time I went to a Super Bowl I approached it as such, as a once in a lifetime thing. I’m blessed to have an opportunity to go to a second and hopefully will get the opportunity to go more. You have to approach it that way because you never know. I know a lot of guys that have played a lot of great football for a long time and have never gotten the opportunity to be in this position. I’m definitely trying my best to take advantage of it.
Q: Was it a hard transition for Coach Coughlin to become more flexible?
A: No. I don’t even remember. I think, honestly, regardless of if he’s hard or not, looser or whatever, we just take it in stride. I don’t think it was an adjustment period for us. I think he did a great job as far as realizing how he was going to be effective as a football coach. For us, we just took it in stride. It didn’t take us long to adjust.
Q: Players in the locker room called him "loving" and "caring." Do you agree?
A: In certain situations. What I’ve learned from him for being around him for seven years is when he’s all about football, he’s all about football, but there’s more than that side to him. I think you have to pay attention to or realize that and maybe go through some things in life to realize that. Me going through the stuff that I went through this year, I realized that again. But he’s more than a football coach. He’s a mentor. He’s more of a father-figure at times - my hats off to him for that.
Q: Is it too simple to boil this game down to if you guys can get to Brady you’ll win?
A: I don’t think so. Look at ’07. That was pretty much the reason why we were in the game, because we kept him off-rhythm. Obviously he is the main reason why [the Patriots] are successful. The way to kill the snake is to take off his head. The way to kill an offense as potent as that one is making sure you take care of Brady. Our defensive front will put a lot of pressure on itself to make sure that we do our best to get after him.
Q: What did the Patriots do in the game earlier this year that made it hard to get to Brady? Did they make it difficult to get to him?
A: I think Brady makes it difficult to get to him. We feel as though we can play with just about any line in the country given the time. He’s did a great job of getting the ball out of his hand the first time we played him. When he didn’t, we hit him. I think that’s going to be paramount in this football game and re-route their receivers and battle and try to confuse him a little bit. That goes back to that game of chess I talked about earlier, but we’re ready to give our rush a little bit more time to get after him.
Q: What do you think of the guys deep on the roster?
A: I look at them as starters also. We’ve had a lot of injuries this year – a lot of guys missing time. That roster has had guys step up and play just like we expect them to play. We prepare our entire roster to go out and play a football game. Our backups are tremendously prepared and have gained a lot of experience throughout this year. We feel very confident in any of those guys being in the ballgame.
Q: New England’s run game?
A: They do some neat things to get their running game started. They mask a few things in their personnels and how they set things up. Running or passing, it’s better to have a compliment. But they still can be effective running the football.
Q: What percentage of stunts will this defense run to stop the Patriots?
A: We run our fair share. I think we do a good job of when we’re not running stunts to disguise them as stunts. Obviously we can get after the quarterback with straight rushes. I don’t think it’s necessarily the percentage of stunts. I think it’s timing, knowing when you have tendencies as far as formation stuff, down and distance stuff on teams. I think Coach Nunn did a great job of schooling us up. He gave a lot of freedom to call our own stunts sometimes. It’s all about timing because if they know you’re stunting it doesn’t matter what you run, they’re going to block it.