November 6, 2003
I know we talked about it a little bit. Their mind set coming up here, I think it is going to be similar to what it was last year; they were 1-3 last year and came up here and beat us and kind of got on a roll. We’re expecting them to come up here and play a good football game and come up here and play hard.
Q - Can you talk about how they have shuffled their secondary?
A - Well they obviously have had some injuries, they’ve sat a couple guys down but every week it is a challenge. You look at who they have got back there and they’ve got talented guys; Buchanan, I think has been one of the better corners that has played in the last few years. We don’t see it as ‘oh we’re just going to go out there and throw it all over the place,’ we have to go out and execute if we want to play well.
Q - How dangerous can they be when they are 1-7 and without Michael Vick?
A - We are certainly in no position to take anybody lightly right now. We’ve struggled to get wins and put ourselves in some difficult situations that cost us ball games. We’re kidding ourselves if we think that we can just go out there and kind of walk out there and beat anybody right now. But having said that, we do have a little bit more confidence after the way the last couple of weeks have gone but I don’t think we expect to go out there and just be able to beat anyone just with who we have in this locker room.
Q - Is this the week we see a full sixty minutes of play out of you guys?
A - We’re trying, you know? Rarely do you go through a football game where everything just goes your way and you play a full sixty minutes, there are always set backs in a ball game. But I feel like we are getting closer to playing more consistently and I think that is the most important thing for us right now; to try to be more consistent and try to play complete ball games. If we do that, we are going to be tough.
Q - Is it a conscious thought now to keep this streak going?
A - Yea. I think we’d all like to think that we have our momentum shifted the other way and that we’re at a spot right now where we can just continue to just keep it rolling and continue to play well and get wins, but like I said before, we have got to be careful of that because we’ve been close in some ball games that we gave away and it was close the other day too. That could have easily gone both ways, either way, so just to go out there and think that we are going to beat football teams just because we have won the past couple of weeks, I think we’re be kidding ourselves and I think that has been the theme this week.
Q - Is 4-4 a comfortable or acceptable place for you or is it hard to swallow?
A - Four and four is where we’re at; we could be 2-6 or we could be 6-2 - that is the way I look at it. Having said that, I like to stay in the moment and deal with reality and the reality is we’re four and four, we’re not out of it. Obviously we need to play better the second half of the season, but I would just like to see us continue to improve - if we do that we have a chance and that is kind of where we are at right now.
Q - How special is Amani’s combination of size and speed combined with his ability to control his body?
A - Amani has got some of the quickest hands I have ever seen. He is able to locate balls, get his hands on balls and make catches that surprise me a lot of times. He is tremendously gifted at picking up the ball and moving his body to get in position to make the catch. A lot of guys can’t do that but Amani seems to have that ability and I think that is part of what makes him a great receiver.
Q - Quarterback tends to be a headline making position with a lot of attention drawn to it - you don’t seem to desire that spot light -
A - I would completely agree with you. I really could care less if I get the attention or the notoriety or the spotlight; I try to stay out of the spotlight as much as possible. It just seems to be what fits my personality. It just seems to be what I am the most comfortable with. I think I have had to learn that over the years but that is the best way that I do my job; by just concentrating on football and worrying about football and not chasing headlines or chasing glory. Because in this town, the second you start chasing it is the second the you get the rug pulled from underneath you. I just think that is such a dangerous game to play - the media game; trying to get praised when you want it and not get praised when you don’t think you deserve it. I just think it is easier to handle it the way that I handle it.
Q - Is that something you had to learn how to do?
A - No question. Yea, when I first came here - you want to please everyone and you want to read the good stuff, you don’t want anybody to write anything bad about you but that is not reality, that is not part of the ball game, that is not part of what it means to play quarterback in the NFL. I would be lying if I said it doesn’t hurt when people write those things about you but I had to learn that they’re talking about the football player, they are not talking about me the person. Once I gained that perspective it made it a lot easier to handle.
Q - You lead the league in fourth quarter comebacks since 2001, is there something about you that thrives in that situation?
A - I just try and stay calm, just try and stay in the moment. I think that has helped me more than anything and on some level as a quarterback you have to be able to separate the emotion out of the game and I think have become good at doing that. Whether the ups and downs or the missed opportunities - just like the other day, that is a perfect example, things like that are going to happen and if you can separate the emotion out of it and concentrate on what you’re trying to do, I think you’re going to give yourself a chance.
Q - Can you talk about the mental toughness of this team?
A - We seem to be resilient, we seem to be able to handle the ups and downs which is a great sign because we’ve certainly had our share of them - a lot of them have been self inflicted. But like I said the other day, it is living dangerously; playing with fire. I’d rather have a team that has been through some things and handled some situations the way that we have than not have any adversity at all and not know what to expect from ourselves.
Q - You seem to be a team of survivors, why do you think you guys can hold it together when other teams seem to fall apart?
A - Because I think we have some vets who have been through a lot of this stuff before. We’ve got guys who know that it is a long season and that if you drop a couple of games or a couple games don’t go your way, if you keep your head about you there is going to be room for us to make some noise later on if we continue to improve. It seems like it takes us six or eight games to figure out where we’re going and then once we do we play with a lot more confidence. Through all of everything that has gone on this year I have never really seen any hit the panic button or lose focus on what we are trying to do.
Q - What are some of the things a coach can do to keep a team together?
A - Well, it is tough and I think Jim has a real knack for it in the sense that he is able to read our team really well. I think he knows us really well. He puts us in situations where he can lay it out for us, put things in perspective, but I think the main emphasis is continually getting better. Sometimes we can all get ahead of ourselves and say ‘this is how we want to finish up, this is the kind of record we want,’ but to use the most used cliché in sports - I am a firm believer in taking it one practice at a time, one day at a time, one meeting at a time and stacking those together and all of the sudden you’re giving yourself a chance to be good. That seems to be the way that we go around here and I think it has helped us in the past.