“It was good. It was awesome. Great morning. The boys were up early, ready to roll.”
Can you remember a season with so many crazy games coming down to the wire?
“There’s been quite a few, especially as you look over the last four weeks. Then the fact that I know that a few years ago they started making the schedule changes to where you’re playing divisional or NFC opponents right there at the end so that those games become even more meaningful. The swings that can kind of occur in regards to a change in seeding and all of that stuff. Look at the NFC picture here going into the last week. It’s crazy how many things and scenarios can take place.”
What are your thoughts on the playoff seeding where you can be a wild card team with a better record and have to travel to play a division winner on the road regardless of theirs?
“Listen, we can be a two seed, a five seed, a six seed, or out of the playoffs. There’s so many things that can happen, but none of the good stuff happens unless we win this weekend.”
Do you think it’s fair to a wild card with a better record to have to travel?
“It is what it is. We had to do that back in 2010 when we were 11-5. Sometimes it works out in your favor and sometimes it doesn’t. It just depends on the records of the teams that year.”
“I think he’s coming along great. I’m excited for his opportunity. I think people are going to look into it how they want as far as last game goes. I thought he played extremely well. I thought he played against a very tough pass rush, some really good pass rushers and – listen, some of those sacks were on me just getting the ball out. But I think all-in-all I loved the look in his eyes throughout the week, his preparation in the game day, just kind of the even flow of the game where you’re going to get beat from time to time but the next play he’s 20 yards down the field pancaking a guy. I thought he bode up and played very well. He’s still young, still raw, still learning, and is only going to get better with experience. This is how it goes. I think everybody who’s been here in the past: Jermon Bushrod, (Zach) Strief, and others, they grow they develop with reps, with live action.”
“I would say that probably more so this year than others. I’ve tried to maybe hang on and have the opportunity for the big play and avoid the ball coming out late, throwing into coverage, whatever it might be. I certainly have tried to make an emphasis of maximizing the opportunities for big plays, and yet avoiding the bad plays.”
Have teams done a better job of taking the deep ball away from you?
“No. I don’t feel that way necessarily. There’s times when you call a shot play and you’re hoping to get that coverage and you don’t get that coverage, or they just don’t react like you thought they would and it just didn’t work. Sometimes it does. I feel like we haven’t had maybe enough of those lately. They come and go in spurts at times, but certainly it’s stuff we’re always looking for.”
Looking at your sack numbers, is it fair to say that the offensive line is struggling this season?
“No. That’s unfair. Throw in all the factors of me hanging in there trying to get some balls down with field taking more sacks. That’s on me not throwing the ball away maybe. But then there have been those times where you hang onto it and you do get the big play. It’s give and take. I think our guys up front have played great. I think they’ve done a great job of allowing us to be balanced. Our run game numbers, I think this year especially at times when we might have abandoned it, I think we’ve really stuck with it. I think those guys have done a great job, I think the backs have done a great job. I just think because of me maybe hanging onto it a little longer than usual have caused those numbers to be up a little bit.”
How does Darrelle Revis look 15 weeks later?
“He’s still one of the best. He’s obviously extremely intelligent. Very athletic. Just plays with a lot of poise, real smooth. He’s seen a lot and played against a lot of great ones. Definitely a guy that you’ve got to know where he is and what he’s up to.”
What do you think of Peyton Manning’s 51 touchdowns?
“It’s phenomenal. What that guy has overcome with his injury from two years ago and what they’ve been able to build and create there in Denver is phenomenal. You watch the efficiency at which they operate, and they’re a machine and he’s a machine. (I have) So much respect for what they’ve been able to accomplish what they’re doing, and obviously his individual numbers are unprecedented.”
Tampa had the look of a team in complete disarray for a few weeks in the middle of the season. Probably not anymore though. They seemed to have hit their stride?
“Yeah. I believe they’ve won four of their last seven (games). Defensively, I feel like they’ve always been a very aggressive, a lot of movement, guys flying around, pressure packages, that kind of stuff. They’ve got some really good players on defense at all positions: their front four, their linebackers, and obviously their secondary. Offensively it seems like they’ve hit their stride. (Mike) Glennon is playing pretty well. They are running the ball well. Obviously they’ve got some big play threats. I think they’re a team that’s kind of found their own as they’ve gotten towards the end of the season here, and they’re playing well.”