HEAD COACH BILL O’BRIEN
Can you talk about your defense, how they played against the Titans and what it needs to do against the Vikings?
“I think in the second half of the Tennessee game we played well. Obviously we came up big at the end of the game after Tennessee stopped us on fourth down. That was really good, how our defense stepped up. I think overall, probably need to do a better job against the run. Obviously Minnesota is going to run the football. That’s part of what they do. I think we’ve practiced really well this week, have had a couple good practices here. So, looking forward to the challenge of going to Minnesota and trying to do that.”
What are your thoughts on how TE Ryan Griffin has progressed over the last couple of games?
“I think he’s played well. In the Tennessee game, he had a few catches. He had some catches in the Patriot game. I think he’s blocking well. He works very hard in practice. He’s a fun guy to coach. Big tall guy. Physical player that can go up and get the ball. I think he’s improving.”
What do you see in Vikings WR Stefon Diggs?
“He’s a good player. He’s got really good playing strength. Good obviously speed. Good hands. He’s a go-to guy for them. Definitely a guy that they’re trying to get the ball to in a lot of different ways. He’s a difficult guy to locate and definitely a difficult guy to defend.”
Could the game against the Vikings be a ‘statement game’ for your team?
“I don’t know about those type of labels. Those are kind of for you guys to label games. I think every game is important. It’s not like baseball where you play 162 games or basketball where you play 82 games, whatever it is. You play one game a week. You practice four or five times for one game, for one three, three and a half hour game. I think every game is important. I don’t really look at it that way. It’s 16 one-game seasons and this is going to be a tough game in a difficult environment. It’ll be a big challenge for us.”
How confident are you to be able to pull off a win on the road after the last road game was so difficult?
“I think anytime you win on the road, it’s a good accomplishment for your team. That’s something that good teams do in this league. They win on the road. If you want to be at the end of the year where you think you’re supposed to be then you need to win some road games.”
Considering Vikings QB Sam Bradford had no offseason with the team, what does that say about the ability of their coaching staff to get quarterbacks ready early?
“Their offensive coordinator is Norv Turner. He’s probably one of the best coordinators in the history of the league when you think about it. He was the coordinator of the great Dallas Cowboy teams. I think he knows a little bit about getting quarterbacks ready to play whether they’re veterans, rookies, in between, just got there a week ago, been there for two, whatever it is. He’s got a history of coaching quarterbacks and doing a great job with them. I’m sure it has a lot to do with that and then obviously the intelligence of the player. The player, to be able to come in and pick the system up like Sam has says a lot about Sam.”
You mentioned that two keys are turnovers and dealing with the crowd. How disciplined do you have to be in your communication to make sure that everyone is on the same page?
“That’s big. That’s big. It’s a very loud environment. Whether it’s this new stadium or whether it was the dome, the Metrodome, back in the day. This is a very loud crowd. Fans love their team. NFC North team. This is a very difficult environment and communication on both sides of the ball, but especially on offense is going to be very, very important. That’s why you have to play with all that crowd noise during practice. You have to practice that way to be able to deal with it on gameday. You can’t just show up there and think you’re going to deal with it all of the sudden. But that’s a big part of what we have to do to be able to have a good game.”
How is TE Stephen Anderson doing?
“He’s doing okay. He’s doing okay.”
The Vikings defense is one of the best in the league, but all defenses are different. What would differentiate a defense like Minnesota from a defense like Denver?
“Two different schemes. What Romeo (Crennel) does, what Wade (Phillips) does, what (Bill) Belichick does, totally different than what Mike Zimmer does. Each scheme is very unique, very different. It’s a very challenging scheme. Each one of them is very challenging. This one, obviously the one that we’re focused on is a very difficult scheme. They do a lot of different things. They do it out of similar personnel groupings, but they have multiple packages they use within the personnel groupings that they have whether it’s base or nickel. It’s very difficult and it takes a lot of meeting time, a lot of preparation. Go over it and over it and over it again and again until you think you have it right and then you have to be ready for the unexpected when you get there because you’re going to see something that you haven’t seen. It’s going to be a big challenge for us.”
RB Lamar Miller is on pace for more than 1,400 yards rushing, which would make third-most in franchise history. What are he and the line doing well and what do they need to do more of?
“I think the big thing that Lamar is doing well is he’s very - he’s a patient, tough runner. He understands that not every run in this league is a homerun. He’s very patient. He stays with the blocking scheme. Up front, those guys I think have blocked, they’ve blocked well. I see where we’ve had some TFL’s. Some of that is the play call by me. Last week, we had a two or three-yard loss on a play early in the game there and that could have been a better play call. I think the line, just like every player, every coach can be more consistent. We’re working for that consistency, but I think Lamar has done a good job.”
At tight end, C.J. Fiedorowicz had one of his best games against Tennessee, but he has been nursing a knee all week. Is he going to be ready to go?
“He’s good to go. Yeah. He’s practiced all week.”
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR ROMEO CRENNEL
What have you seen from Vikings WR Stefon Diggs as a weapon for the offense?
“Speed. Guys really fast. He can catch. He can make plays. He runs by people and he’s dangerous.”
In terms of the Vikings defense, what have you seen from them?
“Well it looks like they’ve got a pretty good scheme that causes some offenses some problems and you got to be really on top of your game when you play them. That’s what it looks like. I peeked the Monday night game a little bit and saw a couple things and that was the impression I got.”
In your experience, have you seen it work when teams have a great defense to make up for not as great of an offense?
“Sure. When you do have that great defense, it can make up for some things. But still overall I think it’s a team sport and if you got all three phases clicking, then I think that you’re better off all the way around. But when you have a good defense that turns the ball over and wins the field position battle, I think that helps a lot.”
What do you do on defense when you have a guy like WR Will Fuller V or anybody else that can crack a 4.3, but can still run routes and make catches and what do defensive coaches do to combat pure speed?
“Well, hopefully you have speed that can line up against it and combat it. Now along with speed, you got to be able to have nice footwork, transition and some instincts and all of those things. Generally, you take your best guy and you try to put him on that guy and hopefully it can be a situation where it’s an even deal. What you try to do is not to give up the big plays to the speed because you know the guy has speed and if you don’t have any speed to cover it, then you better get back.”
Vikings QB Sam Bradford was saying how impressed he was with your defense, especially the pass defense. What are you impressed with in Bradford?
“With his accuracy, first of all. He throws and he completes the balls. He’s got some targets that he throws to, but he spreads the ball around and it’s always in the vicinity of the guy and the guys make the plays. Got a big tight end, got a couple guys that can run and they have different ways to get them the ball. So that’s what I’ve been impressed about him.”
What have you seen from CB Kevin Johnson regarding his development in his second NFL season?
“Kevin is coming along. He was set back a little bit because of that injury in the offseason, but now he’s back to where he needs to be, has good transition. You see it on the film when you’re watching and I’m glad he’s back.”
Are there a lot of corners that have the speed to turn and run with an extremely fast receiver or do they have to play off and get a head start?
“Well, if you can get your hands on him, now you got a chance to run with him. But if you get up on him and you don’t get your hands on him, then they run by you. Even the fast ones get run by. So whether you can get your hands on him and getting your hands on him involves having great footwork as well as hands. You have to look at what you have and what your guys can do and then figure out what you need to do to defend that kind of speed.”
How is CB Kareem Jackson doing because it seems like sometimes people have gotten behind him?
“Kareem is a crafty veteran and he knows how to play the game and he knows how to use his talents and his abilities and sometimes there are situations when a quarterback is able to hold the ball that speed, 4.3, can potentially get behind him. But he fits very well into our scheme and our defense and I’m pleased with him.”
What have the Vikings been doing to make up for the loss of RB Adrian Peterson and QB Teddy Bridgewater?
“Well I think the quarterback is getting acclimated to the guys on the team and to the system and they’re beginning to do a little bit more with him since he’s been there and he’s operating very efficiently in the system. We talked about the speed at wide receiver. They got a big tight end that catches the ball. Now, even though they don’t have Adrian Peterson, they got two different type runners that you have to defend and both of those guys are running well and they got a big offensive line that can get on guys and get some movement, so they’re able to run the ball a little bit. That’s the thing that’s kind of impressive about them is probably right now they’re running the ball better than when Adrian was there. No disrespect to Adrian because Adrian is a hellacious back, but teams loaded up on Adrian. Now some teams are not loading up as much on these other guys and these other guys are making plays and they’re getting yards in the running game.”
What makes Vikings Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner so successful for all the time that he has been in the NFL?
“He’s smart. He’s got experience. He’s seen a lot and he knows how to use the personnel that he has.”
The greatest receives didn’t necessarily have incredible speed. Are the extremely fast guys so rare that you don’t see them up at the top of the all-time stats?
“It’s more than just speed when you talk about the receiver position. You can have straight line speed, but sometimes you have to be able to put the foot in the ground and make a cut. You got to come out it. You got to run a comeback. You got to run an in-cut. You got to run a curl. If the receiver is not able to do those things, he can get defended straight line just going up top all the time. If you got that combination of footwork and ability to plan and comeback and run in and run overs and things like that, I think that that combination makes a guy pretty good if he’s got speed.”
DE JADEVEON CLOWNEY
How are you liking lining up at left defensive end?
“I’m just doing what I’m told, it doesn’t matter. I play the same on both sides.”
There’s a hurricane sweeping up the East Coast by South Carolina. Are you concerned at all?
“I hope a lot of people got out of there before. Everything, I hope, will be okay after it’s done. I’m worried about the people, but I hope everybody gets out and is okay.”
Have you talked with anybody down there?
“I talked to a couple people but they say everything is okay right now. They’re moving down towards the Charlotte area.”
How much is your comfort level growing as you get back to the three-point stance?
“It’s a different three-point stance I’m playing. It’s a very different three-point stance. But I’m getting used to it. I’m adapting to it and just playing football.”
How hard is it to adjust to the new position?
“It’s very difficult. But you have to do what you have to do. Whatever you can do to help the team. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
How much do you have to change your mindset to adapt?
“You have to be patient. Everything is a little different down there. Guys are pulling faster, but you have to read the lineman a lot better than you do on the edge.”
You spent the offseason getting leaner. Have you started to put more weight on now to adjust to playing defensive line?
“I haven’t gained any weight. I’m still right there, just playing.”
Is the angle you take different when pressuring the quarterback?
“It’s just a little different than playing on the edge. Everything happens faster down there. On the edge, you know who you’re keying on. Down there, you have to key this guy, then he moves and another comes in. There’s a lot going on down there and it’s a lot different.”
Are there also more bodies around when you play defensive line?
“Yeah, a lot of traffic. It’s different. I have to adapt.”
What’s great about playing on the road in the NFL?
“One thing somebody always told me about going on the road, ‘You have to pack your defense.’ We have to be ready to play. We weren’t ready last time we were on the road. We have to start fast as a whole team. We have to start fast, come out there and make plays. Force some three-and-outs and put our offense in good situations to pick up points. Hopefully, we can get that done.”
Could this be a statement game for the Texans?
“I hope so. We’re 3-1 now. This would be a big one if we can beat an undefeated team, which we hope we can do. Go out there and play hard and hope everything comes out all right.”
What do you think you’ve improved upon?
“Pretty much everywhere, if you ask me. I’m moving around. I’m playing on the inside and outside, helping the team whichever way I can. Just moving around has helped me improve my game. I’m playing against bigger guys. It helps me on the edge against smaller guys and playing on the inside has helped my speed. It’s all coming together.”
How much are you enjoying this season so far, being healthy and contributing?
“I love it. I love being here with my teammates and playing. That’s what keeps me happy, being on the field on Sundays. I love playing on Sundays. It’s hard to get there during the week, but once you get there, it’s fun to play on Sunday so that’s the biggest part.”
Do you feel like you’re playing more instinctively?
“I kind of just play. Let the game come and just play. Learn what to do during the week. During the game, it’s just like ‘okay, we’ve seen some of this stuff’ and you just play off what you’ve seen.”
ILB BRIAN CUSHING
Can you tell us a little more about the event you’re having?
“Second one, yeah. Second annual one. Texans and T-Bones event. Having it for my foundation, Brian Cushing Foundation, benefitting local military in the area. Like I said, this is the second year and something we plan to build upon more and more. It will be October 17th, Monday.”
Why is this a particularly passionate cause for you?
“It’s something that has kind of been in my family for a while. My grandfather was in the military, my uncle was in the military, my father served in Vietnam. It’s something that I’ve been very familiar and close to growing up, and when it was time for me to decide on a foundation it was kind of a no-brainer for me.”
What kind of response do you get when you do these events and how does that make you feel?
“Obviously, a really good one. They’re all very happy to come to the event, and obviously for bigger picture, the cause. That’s really what all the money is going toward, and the purpose. They’re really happy to come to the event, but on a bigger scale, what we’re getting done in the community, visiting the VAs and the other things we’ve been doing, obviously they really appreciate it.”
Have you gotten any feedback from people who have received support about how that has changed their lives?
“Yeah. I think the biggest that we’ve really done is this year we’re really opening up a corner in the VA. I know a lot of people that I’ve talked to have been there for 10-plus years. Any kind of support and care and better care that they can get, they really appreciate everything. The two times I’ve gone there, just talking to them, they’re just thrilled any time an athlete comes by – or anyone really – looking to support them.”
Do you enjoy talking to them as well as the bonding you get to do with them?
“Yeah. It’s a special time. This offseason I was able to serve on the USO Tour and go overseas. I was in Kuwait and Germany. To talk to the active military was incredible. To see their kind of mind, their perspective right now and where they’re at mentally, just knowing that, really, they’re the next guys called up if they have to go anywhere, into Iraq, Syria, anywhere like that. Just to be there kind of in their camps when they’re one step away from the front line, just talk to them mentally and see how strong and tough they are, it’s obviously a blessing and something cool for me.”
What do you think of 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick’s demonstration and how he later clarified that he was separating a stance on racial issues from any kind of comment on the military?
“Yeah, like you said, when it first came out it kind of was very abrupt and no one really understood what the whole cause was about it and why Colin was doing what he was doing. I’m not really going to get into the whole thing, but I think he has clarified himself and separated really what his main cause was, and it wasn’t anything against the flag or the military or anything like that. That’s been pretty cleared up. As far as the other stuff, I think there’s a lot of things still being discussed and separated and really trying to understand the frustrations of everyone right now.”
People often say playing a football game is going to war. Do you talk with those guys and tell them it’s just a game?
“Right. I still wouldn’t say it’s just a game. If it was just a game, no one would get hurt and we would all be hugging at the end of it. It’s a little bit more than that, but it’s definitely not a battle or a war. There’s definitely a main difference between the two of them. I think it’s important to keep that separation and understand what they’re doing is obviously a lot more important than what we do.”
Did your family ties to the military make you want to do the USO Tour?
“Yeah. Amy (Palcic) and I talked in the offseason. It was kind of an offer that was presented to me. Something that I’ve wanted to do for a couple years now, and then once I was finally officially asked, I mean, I think I got back right to her and was like, ‘Absolutely.’ The dates didn’t matter, where we went didn’t matter. It was something that I felt really passionately about and wanted to get out there and just express how I felt about it.”
How do you think DE Jadeveon Clowney has matured and progressed since he switched to defensive end?
“J.D.’s a good player. J.D.’s a good player and he’s been asked to do something a little differently this year, and I think he’s done a good job. I think he’s been very accepting toward the role, kind of stepped in right within like three days of practice and was able to play in the game. He has done a great job. He has done a great job, he’s stayed healthy and obviously he’s been very disruptive. The more we can get out of him, the better we’re going to be as a football team.”
What do you see out of Vikings QB Sam Bradford that impresses you?
“Obviously, a ton of potential and a guy that can make any throw on the field. He has an incredible arm. He sits back there and you give him the time, it’s going to be trouble for you. We’re going to try to get after him as best we can and get him uncomfortable, get him off of his spot, get him moving out of the pocket. I think what we’ve seen so far in the first four games is him sitting back there, and like I said, he’s capable of making any throw on the field.”
What do you make of the way the Vikings offense has been able to operate without QB Teddy Bridgewater and RB Adrian Peterson?
“They’ve done a good job. I think just collectively as a whole team, too – special teams, defense, offense. Offense, they protect the ball, and defense, they’ve gotten it. Their turnover ratio is great. That’s really the one stat that has a direct correlation to winning and losing. I think, obviously, they’ve done a real good job and have put a lot of emphasis on protecting the football. I think they’ve become a lot more balanced. When you have someone like Adrian, you obviously try to get him the ball as much as you possibly can. But with him out, they’re spreading it around a bunch, they’re getting it to a lot of different guys, which is obviously making it tougher for a lot of teams.”
How much control do you actually have over forcing a turnover?
“There’s a good amount. Obviously sometimes you just get your hat on a ball and knock it out or tipped ball and it’s an interception, but a lot of them you have a lot of control over, for sure.”
That seems like something you’ve been working on a lot this year.
“We try to. There’s obviously a lot of drills and a lot of different things we do toward it. There’s a ton of emphasis on trying to get it out. Any time we get the ball back for offense it just a better chance for us to win.”
A road win over the Vikings would be a huge thing to pull off. A statement game, possibly.
“Yeah, it would be. I mean, obviously it’s the next game. It’s the most important game on our schedule because of that. We’re playing a playoff football team on the road. Yeah, it would be a statement. I don’t know if I would call it ‘pulling off.’ It’s just one of those things that it’s going to be a big game for us. It’s the next big game and obviously our intention is to win.”
It would be huge uplift for this team, like Cincinnati last year.
“Right, right. But at the same time, that’s why you play the game. This is two good football teams going at it at their place, which will be difficult, but, you know, a challenge we’re willing to accept. Obviously, like I said, the intention is to win the game.”
TE C.J. FIEDOROWICZ
Do you expect to see more balls headed your way after the game against the Titans?
“I’m not calling the plays, so I don’t know what exactly is going to be called. A play is called for us, it’s our job to execute.”
What do you think of the Vikings defense?
“They obviously have a well-rounded team. They have a good defensive line, fast linebackers, play physical, good in the backend. Overall, a good defense. In a game like this, you just have to be detailed and do your job a little bit better.”
Was it a sigh of relief for you to be able to practice all week after the injury you sustained during the Titans game?
“Yeah, it feels good to still be out there. I’m just glad it wasn’t something worse. I’ve never had a serious injury like that, knock on wood. I’m just grateful to be able to be back out there.”
It was scary, right?
“Yeah, your knee isn’t supposed to bend like that. I just remember yelling in pain and the doctors being out there. I was able to walk back and once it started calming down a little bit, I went back out there and finished the game.”
Do you feel like yourself now?
“Yeah, I have a brace on there, but that’s to just be aware and be safe, but I can still move in the brace so it’s a good deal.”
How have you been able to get separation from your defender?
“Yeah, just working on my flexibility and staying on top of it. I think that’s huge. During the season, you get nicks, you get banged up, you get stiff, tight. If you just stay on top of it - my body feels good right now going into Week 5. I think that’s the biggest thing.”
When you are one-on-one with a defender, what is your thought?
“Just win and beat the guy across from me – that’s the game of football. Your job is to beat the guy. If you beat him more than they beat you, then you have a good chance of winning the game. Football is simple.”
CB JOHNATHON JOSEPH
What impresses you most about Vikings QB Sam Bradford?
“Just him being poised and calm in the pocket. Obviously, he is a big arm talent. He is able to make all the throws. What impresses me more than anything is him not turning the ball over. On short notice like that, being traded at the last minute, having to go in there and fill in there for a team with high hopes, and he hasn’t dropped off a beat.”
Vikings WR Stefon Diggs is a really good receiver. What sets him apart from other receivers you have gone up against in the league?
“I think his competitive edge. You watch him on film, he’s very competitive, fights for the ball, not the tallest guy in nature, but plays with an aggression and attitude that goes in his favor most of the time.”
How important is it for the team to seize the opportunities of getting a turnover since they do not turnover the ball a lot?
“It’s big facing a tough team like that. A turnover here or there can kind of decide the outcome of the game. Anytime you’re able to lead in that category, I think it increases your chance of winning the ball game.”
RB LAMAR MILLER
You have the University of Miami t-shirt on. How concerned are you about the hurricanes?
“I’m just wearing this shirt because of the Miami and Florida State game. I talked to my family. They are okay. It’s nothing to be concerned about right now.”
It’s just part of life in Florida, right?
“Yes, pretty much. I spoke to my mom this morning and she said it’s just a whole bunch of rain and stuff right now. I think it’s supposed to come, be more in effect later tonight. I’m not really sure, but she doesn’t seem scared or anything.”
When you are away, you have different thoughts, don’t you?
“Yes, I tell my mom to keep her phone on the charger until the power and stuff goes off, so I can keep in contact with her. Just not being there with my family, I’m going to be concerned, but I think they will be okay.”
What do you think about the Minnesota Vikings defense?
“They have a good defense. They throw a whole bunch of things at you. Everybody has to be on the same page, communicate and we should be good.”
How tough is that on the road and in that kind of environment which is notoriously loud? How important is it to over communicate?
“I think it will be very important for everybody on the offensive side of the ball to communicate. It’s going to be a loud environment. We just have to be on the same page and I feel like if we are on the same page, we should be okay.”
Can you talk about how you’re a patient runner and you’re mindset in games?
“I take the same approach as every game, just getting them tough yards and the big one will come. I think the offensive line, they have been doing a great job so far. Giving me the lanes to run through and sometimes I try to be patient and once I see the crease, I just try to hit it.”
What are some key adjustments that you are making to work within this offensive system?
“I’m just going off of the offensive linemen pretty much. I’m getting more comfortable every week with those guys. I think we should be good.”
What are the challenges that the Vikings defense offers?
“They have a good defense. They throw a whole bunch of things at you on third down. We as an offense, we will have to communicate and just be on the same page to protect Brock (Osweiler), give him time to throw the ball.”
Where is the loudest place you have played before?
“I don’t know. I’ve been to some loud places, but there’s not really one that stands out.”
What are some of the keys to being successful in loud environments?
“Just communicate. From the offensive line, make sure all five guys are on the same page. The tight ends communicate with each other and me and Brock (Osweiler), we communicate with the receivers.”
What do you see from the Vikings linebackers?
“They are fast. They are some fast linebackers. They flow to the ball pretty good. I’m going to have to do a better job to try to set guys up to create some creases.”
Blitz pickups seem like they will be big.
“I feel like those guys are big strong guys who are coming down hill, so I just have to be like the Hulk pretty much to protect my guys.”
How do you set them up to create creases?
“Just being patient, make it seem like I’m going one way and cut the other way. Something that you have to watch film to understand.”
DE ANTONIO SMITH
Are you getting back to where you want to be?
“It’s coming along. It’s getting better and better each day. I’m doing my extra conditioning and different things on my own after practice. I can just feel my hips, everything opening up. Kind of what you do in training camp. You have to break your body in.”
How did your body feel on Monday and Tuesday?
“You know, you’re going to be sore after you play a game. But it was good. I liked it. It was good to feel that pain again.”
One of the things Head Coach Bill O’Brien said is people can’t do more than their own job despite DE J.J. Watt being out. How do you feel this group is doing with that challenge?
“I think this group is doing good. I think J.J. would be proud of this group. I think this group isn’t going to do anything but improve throughout the year because everybody is bought in to doing just that. They’re doing just that, do your job. It’s the NFL. All of us are trying to be stars at some point in your career. If you’re just here just to be a fly-by guy, then this isn’t the league you should be in. I think it’s nothing but opportunity for every other player that’s out there to showcase their talents. It’s how a lot of us got our first try at the game. That’s how I got my first try at the game. A couple of my friends, it was like a plague of injuries, and then, boom, Antonio Smith emerged.”
How are you picking up the system and getting used to the terminology?
“It’s ups and downs. The systems I’ve been in my whole career basically use the same names for things. This is like a whole different terminology for a lot of things. Some of the things they use for terminology, I used for 12 years and it meant something totally different. So, I have to kind of break my mind from that because when you get tired, your mind just runs on autopilot and you’re thinking one thing meant this because that’s what it’s meant your whole career, but it doesn’t. I don’t want to be the one to put a hole in the defense.”
NT VINCE WILFORK
What’s the best part about going on the road to a hostile environment?
“You see where your team is at. Facing an undefeated team on the road, it’s always tough especially early. We understand what it’s going to take to win, it starts in practice and making sure we have some good practices up under our belt. We have to understand what they do well and being able to execute. There’s nothing fun about going on the road, I’ll tell you that. But this is football. You have these games where you’re going to have some tough games on the road and at home. You have to find a way to win. That’s what good teams do. If we want to be a good football team, we have to be able to go on the road and win some. It starts this week in Minnesota.”
Can you sense how much this team wants to win?
“Yeah. Guys come to work every day ready to work. Nobody complains. We work our tails off from OTAs all the way through training camp. Guys put in the work. We understand what it takes to win. To be good, there’s certain things you have to do. You have to be very detailed. You have to be able to do things a lot of teams don’t do. You have to dig underneath the surface a little bit. I think that’s what this team does. Billy O (Bill O’Brien) gives us good opportunities in practice, watching film and being able to go on the field and put it together. Each week, we feel like we have a good gameplan. It always comes down to executing. When you don’t execute, bad things happen. We’ve been a victim of that this year. You try to learn from your mistakes and move on. Going on the road this week is going to be a big challenge for us, but in order to be a good football team, you’re going to have to be able to go into some of these stadiums and be able to perform well to come out with a W.”
Head Coach Bill O’Brien told us he thinks you’re playing at a very high level. Is there anything you can point to that’s allowed you to play at this level?
“It’s confidence. That’s with everybody. I try to give my teammates everything that I have. When my number is called, I try to be there. I expect the same thing from them. It’s nothing different that I changed in my game. Just sometimes the ball rolls that way. I’m going to continue to work. This week you can’t dwell over what you’ve done in the past or what you did last week. It’s all about now. Each week we have to continue to put them together. It’s not about me. Hands down, it’s not about me. There’s a lot of guys on this football team that have been playing well. It starts in practice. I think the more we can practice well, the better we’ll play on Sundays. I think the team got that concept. That’s what we’re trying to do. A lot of guys lead different ways. I’m more of a ‘show you’ type of guy. I don’t talk much. It’s never been in my repertoire to talk. Sometimes talking is good, sometimes talk is not good. I think sometimes leaders come all different shapes and forms. I’m one of the guys that likes to play. I play the game a certain way. That’s how I play. That’s how I lead. I lead by example. Some guys lead by talking and motivating guys and stuff like that. Not saying I can’t do that, but in my career, I’ve been around guys who have done that so I didn’t have to do that. I learned from those guys but there’s times where I do have to speak and I speak. But we have a lot of great guys on this team, a lot of leadership on this team, young and old. That’s the beauty of this team. Everybody respects one another and they listen. That’s the key, being able to listen. I think this team does a really good job of that.”