What is the vibe like now in comparison to what it was near the end of 2009?
“I can’t really remember back to [what] the vibe exactly was like, but I know that [we] got a lot of people who want to win. [We are] trying to work hard and do everything we can to put us in a position on Sunday to get that done.”
For you personally, how different has this year been for you than last year?
“It is never an easy thing when you are losing football games, especially this many in a row. It has been a struggle. Actually Coach Logan had some good words of wisdom. He talks about when things aren’t going your way there are one or two ways you can go with it, but one is some people just turn it down and don’t want anything to do with it and then other people might tend to press a little too hard when things aren’t going your way. I think that’s a little bit where I was this year in terms of decision-making at times. Trying to press [and] trying to make things happen [and] get things done. It was unfortunate, but at the end of the day you have to step back and look at where you are [and] continue to try to get better every day. Continue to try to work on what it is that makes you a good player and some of those things that might limit you as a player. Continue to improve. Continue to study and work hard and take that attitude into this last game and also into the off season.”
Do you think turnovers are the result of players trying to do too much at times?
“Yes, I think so. I think when we lost a couple games guys kind of got a little up tight. When we are out and we are playing relaxed football [and] playing football the way we know we can, turnovers are in the back of your mind. Obviously you are going to be ball secure. Nobody tries to turn the ball over, but for some reason this year turnovers have been a major issue."
Is that a hard habit to break in regards to what you said of trying to hard?
“No, for sure. Especially because I know I want to win. I know a number of other guys on the team they just want to win extremely badly. I mean that’s why we are in the game. We want to go out and we want to play well and we want to win the games. When things aren’t going good when you are losing games like this, yes you want to press. Really you think about everything else in life when you are struggling or something is not going your way I mean you put extra effort into it and it usually rights the ship. Football is kind of delicate in that sense where too much might be a little too over the top. It gets you out of character and starts causing problems.”
Is that the biggest lesson you learned this year?
“Yes, I would say that is one of the big ones.”
You watch Drew Brees on Monday and when you watch him play and do you kind of look at him and think I want to get to that point at some point?
“I actually missed the game on Monday, but Drew (Brees) is a guy that definitely as a young quarterback that you look up to. I know we have been watching a lot of the tape from (preparing for this week) of the Monday night game and also their previous matchup. Drew Brees is one of the top in the league. He is one of the best quarterbacks out there – just the tempo [and] the pace he works with. I know we have all the tapes of him miked up. Also, his post game speech in the locker room talking to his teammates really giving thanks [and] just how humble he was. Having the opportunity to break Dan Marino’s record it is a tremendous accomplishment, but yet he handled it with such grace and humility. It is an awesome thing. Drew (Brees) is really a guy for a young quarterback or any quarterback at all to really aspire to.”
Can’t imagine you were surprised about Davin Joseph being selected to the Pro Bowl?
“Davin (Joseoh) has been a major bright spot [with] the effort that guy gives [and] his intensity. I hear guys all the time talk about just you got to keep that number 75 and watch out for him. Tell him to cut out the cheap shots which are not cheap shots they are hustle plays. I have had a—I remember Ndamukong Suh before the first game [and] he was like man you got to keep 75 from cheap shots. I am like, are you really telling me this? You of all people. Guys throughout the year have said the same thing. Brian Cushing comes to mind. These guys they know about Davin (Joseph) and they know what kind of player he is. It is great to have him on our team.”
Raheem Morris suggested that some players are maybe playing outside the box in attempt for him to save his job and would you agree?
“I think that that’s kind of what I just went over as far as things aren’t going well so guys want to kind of change what they do to get better [and] to do whatever. They start pressing and yes like you said they start going outside the box. I mean that is rarely a good thing.”
Do you think it is for him? You personally is it for him? Do you want to save his job?
“You know I love playing for Coach Raheem (Morris). I love really I love the coaches we have. I love working with them. Yes, of course if winning keeps him around — you always want to win. I would love to have Raheem (Morris) as my coach next year.”
Have you guys talked as a team about this nine game losing streak and how this is your last chance to strap it before going into the off season and how important is it to get that streak out of the way?
“Yes, we have definitely talked. A lot of locker room talk about what we need to do and how when things go wrong in the game you can’t let it steamroll. You can’t let it take major effect when for instance early on in the game we had that fumble right off the bat [and] responded with our next two drives being scoring drives. I felt like offensively we had the opportunity to have a really big game. We were just right on the cusp never really broke free, but when you are playing a team like the Panthers you know they have a very powerful offense and they are going to score points. Really any team in this division and the Falcons are no different. We are going to have to prepare. We are going to have to go out and really forget everything else that is going on in your life [and] what’s going on outside of football. Whether it is issues with coach [or] whether its issues with whatever I mean you just have to focus on what is going on in between the lines. What is going on with your job and try to do that to the best of your ability because in all honesty that’s all you can control [and] really all that matters.”
Have you looked at the tape of the Atlanta game where you guys played very well and won and if so what comes to mind when you watched that game?
“You know I did watch it. I watched it all the way through offense [and] defense. Our defense did is really getting after it the first half and really the entire game. They had a couple drives where they hit a couple big plays, but other than that we were getting after it. Offensively that really wasn’t one of my better games to be honest. We were running the ball well. On third downs finding ways to make plays and I know we converted a fourth down. I know it is just kind of a different momentum. I will use the word confidence. You just had a lot of guys out there with a lot of confidence with a lot of steam going their way. The momentum kind of carried us to that victory. We got out I think 16-3 at one point, but yes we got a nice lead and were able to hold on. It really wasn’t when you look at it it really wasn’t that great of a game for us. It wasn’t that pretty. It wasn’t the prettiest game, but in the NFL if you can just keep it close and you can keep it tight and not allow the breakouts to happen you are going to have an opportunity to win. I think it’s one of the main things that this year we haven’t been able to do. Over the course of the game just keeping it close. Just keeping it manageable you are going to have your opportunities. This year just seems like everything that went wrong [and] the other team capitalized on it. Turnovers [or] penalties whatever it was, but we just [got] to keep fighting [and] got to keep playing.”
To be tied to the ’76 team that lost ten straight how hurtful would that be to the guys in the locker room and to yourself?
“You know you never want to lose that many games and don’t really want to be compared with teams with losing seasons. The reality is we dug this trench. We are here and doing everything we possibly can to get out of it. Not letting it be ten.”