<span style=""> <span style="">Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas were both quoted this week as saying that this team could go undefeated. Do you like that kind of confidence in your teammates?</span>
"I think what they both said was we have the discipline to take it one game at a time, feeling like we can win each game one at a time, and if you do that enough times, maybe you go undefeated. We're not overlooking anybody; we're never looking farther ahead than the game that is the next one. There is no bigger game this season as of yet than Monday Night Football against the Atlanta Falcons at home, in the dome, our first divisional game – all of those things. The game couldn't be any bigger."
What does losing Heath Evans mean to the team?
"That's tough. Heath was not only a real productive player, but he's an awesome guy. An awesome locker room guy, great for that running backs room, which is really some pretty young players. I think Heath was just a real good influence on everybody; just a solid guy. So you miss him for a lot of reasons. He has told me that he wants to be around as much as possible, just like Billy Miller, now that he's out for the season. Hopefully he will be around and I know he will be."
When you say there's no bigger game as of yet, do you mean because it's this week's game or is everything that's on the line more than you have had so far?
"Both. We do have more on the line when you talk about a game on the line where if you win, you're up three; if you lose, you're only up one. That's a big swing."
Would losing this game feel like you're letting the Falcons back in the race?
"Sure. And it's a game at home and on Monday night. All those reasons are why you want to go out and play well and win the game."
What do you think winning this game would do for them?
"I don't want to talk about how they're going to feel if they win the game. I definitely know their mentality coming in is going to be…we're getting their best game, without a doubt. They're a very good football team. We traded shots with them last year, home and home, and the fact is I think they are a team that has really started to build something. They play with a lot of confidence; they have a great core group of players that they kind of fill around. They're playing good football. They're going to be a little salty coming off that loss at Dallas. They're a team that hasn't lost two games in a row since the new regime came in, so we'll have our work cut out for us."
They gave up a lot of plays in the passing game against the Cowboys. What did you see when you went back and looked at that tape?
"They got hit in a couple of pressures when they weren't able to get to the quarterback so they had receivers with a lot of time to work downfield and the Cowboys did a good job of taking advantage of some of those. They've been very good in the red zone of holding teams to field goals. They're in the top ten in the league in fewest points allowed, so they're doing a good job there. Regardless of the big plays that they've allowed, in the end it's about are you giving up points or are you not and they're not, so we have to find a way to score."
Why were the Dolphins having so much success in putting pressure on you on Sunday?
"I always look at it as, 'How could I have helped my guys or how could I have maybe prevented some of those?' But I think they just caught us a few times with a good pressure at a good time. I have to hand it to them; Jason Taylor is still one of the elite pass-rushers in this league – I don't think there's any doubt about that."
Did they do a better job of collapsing the pocket?
"I think it just happened to be where typically we might get beat on the outside and I'm able to step up and then we might get beat on the inside and I'm able to get out and around. It just happened to be on a few occasions we kind of missed inside and missed outside and all of a sudden there was nowhere to go. Like I said, I always try to find ways that I could've avoided some of those and it wouldn't have looked as bad."
Can the Falcons gain anything by getting a guy like Aaron Stecker this week? Does that affect any of the calls you'll make?
"Did they get him? I don't think so. "Steck" obviously was with us for three years, but everything changes so much from year to year both offensively and defensively. You can just take a look at our film and look at our concepts and the stuff that we're doing. But to go out and actually defend somebody just because you know the 50 plays that they run, well you don't know when they're running them. Obviously that's why you game plan. Just like we're looking at their defense trying to get tips, they're looking at our offense trying to get tips. We all recognize that; the good teams do and that's called self-scout. You're always scouting yourself, looking to see if you're telling anything like with a poker face. So I don't think that will make a big difference."
The takeaways category has been the most drastic improvement of your defense. Have you faced defenses in the past that just seem to take the ball away?
"Yeah. If you just look over the last 10 years, the Pittsburgh Steelers have been one of those defenses that are constantly taking it away. The Philadelphia Eagles have been one of those defenses taking it away. There are a few others out there; the Colts are typically really good about that as well. You just find that whether it's the fact that they preach it, they believe it, they buy into it, it's something that we've obviously been good at this year – we're number one in the league and the (Falcons) are top ten or top five as well. So we'll have two defenses going in this game that are used to making plays and taking the ball away."
Is it mostly teams that bring pressure that force takeaways?
"There are a couple of things that are involved with that. The Colts don't bring a lot of pressure but they have two hellacious pass-rushers outside that get sack-fumbles and make quarterbacks throw it before they want to and have kind of a shell defense that any ball that gets tipped is typically a pick. Whereas you look at Pittsburgh and Philly and there's probably more pressure involved there that's causing some of those turnovers. But having guys in the backfield that have ball skills – defensive backs that when the ball does get close to them, they're the ones catching them, they're the ones making a play on them."
Going back to the pressure from last week, is there cause for concern that the Dolphins exploited something?
"We've been pressured by Philadelphia and plenty of teams where that's kind of their M.O. We just need to recognize the mistakes that were made and where we can improve. Like I said, you're always scouting yourself, you're always looking to where you might feel like it's a weakness and where you might need to improve or fix it somehow."
Do you think that since no one has really been able to slow you guys down yet they'll figure they might as well gamble and take chances with pressures against you?
"That depends. You live by the pressure and you die by the pressure. You might make a few plays when you pressure, but you're leaving yourself open to giving up some big plays. That's the pros and cons on a pressure defense. Then again, there are teams that rely on their four-man pass rush and their ability to play zone and make you march the ball down the field and earn everything that you get and not give up any big plays and know that eventually they'll get a sack or a sack-fumble or hit a receiver or a back down the field and they'll cough it up – they just kind of have that mentality. It just depends what school of thought you're coming from. There are a lot of different philosophies and I figure with these guys, they've shown to pressure a lot at times and do some things that they haven't done in the past, but then again they also have the ability to play it straight up and feel like their pass rush can get after you too."
Do you feel like you kind of got your bad performance or lull out of the way last week in the first half?
"I hope that quarter-and-a-half of lull is all we see for a while. But realistically, you know that it only gets tougher as we go along here. We're going to get everybody's best game, especially if we can continue to win the games one at a time, you start to get a bit of a bull's eye on your chest. The fact is that you have to expect that you're going to be getting everybody's best week-in and week-out and it's not going to be easy by any means. We're going to have to fight tooth and nail and claw and scratch to get everything we can."
You said you expect Atlanta to be salty coming off of a loss. Can you guys have that same mentality after a win because you weren't as sharp through the whole game?
"Sure. The good teams look at it like that; take a win and take the negatives from that win and harp on that. Certainly you're building confidence each week with the 'W' – especially if you're winning in a lot of different ways and the way that we won on Sunday is not the way that you typically win. And I think that's just a tremendous confidence builder for a team, but then again you have to look at what put us in that position in the first half and how we can avoid that in the future."
What was your reaction to the airport scene Sunday night?
"That was nuts. That was crazy, absolutely crazy. Obviously there were a lot of fans; it was like a block party. It turned into Bourbon Street; we had a little mini-French Quarter right there at the airport. It was wild."
So it took you a while to get through?
"Oh, yeah. It took me an hour and a half."
Was that kind of like the Endymion parade?
"Exactly. Except we didn't have doubloons or beads to throw."
Are you going to put a jump-pass in the playbook after your dunk over the goalpost?
"No. There are some things that are just spur of the moment decisions and I can tell you that was never practice or rehearsed; that just happened."
Have you done that before?
"No. I know it's 10 feet high. There wasn't anything going through my mind other than that I was going to dunk it right over the goalpost and it's going to be no problem. I was going to need every ounce of hops that I have, but…"
Sean said he thought you must have jumped off an offensive lineman.
"I know; he was giving me a hard time. So I think an offseason bet is in order to see if I can truly dunk. He said that I can't dunk a mini-ball, which I will take that bet. Any of you guys that want to jump in on that, feel free."