Q: Can you talk about your playing status this week?
A: I'm going to do whatever I'm told. We're all planning to play. Obviously the mindset is to try to put our best game together and win this game.
Q: Would you be okay if it was like 2006 where you played for one drive, scored a touchdown and called it a day?
A: Obviously once you get the competitive juices flowing you want to be out there and stay out there. I'm just preparing to go the distance and do whatever it takes to help us win.
Q: Is this more intriguing since you guys are trying to regain some momentum as opposed to coming off of a three game win streak?
Q: I think we need to play well. That's something, looking at the last two weeks, we haven't played out best football by any means, so really I think the objective is to have a great week of practice and then to go out and play very well on Sunday, as well as we can play, to execute just to look sharp and do our best to win the game, but obviously with the mindset of we have a week off and we're playing the divisional playoff game here and obviously we want all our weapons and to be as healthy as possible.
Q: Is there going to be something you will personally be pushing for?
A: No. I'm obviously, you're talking to a guy who wants to take every rep at practice and every rep all of the time. I understand what we're trying to accomplish as a team as well.
Q: Surrendering a 17 point lead is atypical of you guys to say the least. Do you feel the team's confidence is shaken at all as a result of it?
A: No, I don't. I don't feel our confidence is shaken. I think we're all disappointed and we were looking for answers after that game. How did it happen? That's not us. That's not the team we are. But after looking at the film there are some things, some areas where we have to be better where we need to improve. That's why the last two days, you've seen a lot of guys in here hitting the film hard, meeting with their coaches, finding those things and dissecting those ways to get back on track, not only that, but to get better. Today's practice was as spirited a practice as I've ever seen here, especially for the situation we're all in. I think that was encouraging.
Q: How important is momentum and if it is, how do you get it back?
A: You kind of get back to the processes, really focusing on what it's taken to get us to this point and I'd say a majority of that is what you do throughout the week, making sure you're doing all the right things in regards to your work in the weight room, on the practice field, in the film room, taking care of your body, getting treatment on things in your body that need to be treated, because I find that when you focus on that and take it at one day at a time in one area at a time, by the time Sunday rolls around, you'll know you've done everything you can to put yourself in the best position to succeed today. That's what gives you confidence, really getting back to the simple details and the process.
Q: How important was it to get two guys you block for in the Pro Bowl?
A: I was so happy for those guys. I can't even tell you. I called them immediately when I found out, because I feel like those guys, our offensive line has not gotten the credit they've deserved over the last four years. Jammal Brown has kind of represented the group in the Pro Bowl. Other than that, we definitely had some guys we felt were deserving, for whatever reason, they didn't it, obviously this year with Stinch (Jon Stinchcomb) and Jahri (Evans) getting the nod, Goody (Jonathan Goodwin) and (Carl) Nicks on the list as alternates as well. I can't be happier for those guys. They're deserving.
Q: How did you experience the Chicago-Minnesota game Monday?
A: I honestly did not want to watch it, despite what it meant for us with a win or loss, because I was just so focused on fixing the things I knew I needed to fix and we needed to fix as an offense and as a team going into this week. To be quite honest with you, I was just telling myself the entire time Minnesota's going to win this game and we're going to have to win this Carolina game to play in the one seed. This is the way we want it. This is the way we like it. That's the way it's going to be. You get the news Chicago won and you got the one seed. It's still the same mindset of needing to fix things and get better. The fact that we've already claimed the one seed now, you start taking into account that guys need to get healthy.
Q: Do you have some disappointment that you can't treat this as a must win game in the back of your mind?
A: Yes. I think everybody loves a good challenge. Obviously that would have been a big challenge for us to go on the road and beat a Carolina team that's playing so well right now. It's going to be a challenge anyway. It kind of goes from being a must win for the one seed to we have the one seed and we want to go out there and play well and in our minds, we're still treating this as the most important game of the season, because it's the next game, but also keeping in mind obviously that some guys need to get healthy.
Q: Can you elaborate on getting the one seed after missing the playoffs the last two seasons?
A: We earned that. You can say all you want. We haven't played the way we've wanted to the last two weeks and they've been losses, but we won enough games before that to get that one seed. We didn't back into anything. We're proud of that, but then again, once you're in the playoffs, your record don't mean squat. All it does is seed you and maybe give you the opportunity to play at home, but other than that, it doesn't promise you anything. Yes, we're happy to be playing at home in our city in front of our fans, but it doesn't promise us anything. We still have to prepare well and play well.
Q: You said you'll do whatever you're told in terms of playing time. Are you okay in not playing this game or having two weeks off?
A: No. I'm not worried about that. I feel like my preparation doesn't change regardless. Obviously I'm preparing to play the whole game, go the distance, just like I always have and always will. Whatever decision is made, I'm fine with because I know it's in the best interest of the team.
Q: Do you see any irony for it in the fact that the Bears have really hurt the Saints in a playoff game or in playoff situations the last three years and then they helped you out in this instance?
A: I guess a little bit. I'd rather not drum up those old heartbreaks.
Q: Has Carolina been your toughest opponent since coming here?
A: Anybody in the division, just because there's the familiarity factor of whatever it might be. I think if you added up all the wins of all the teams in our division the last four years, I don't know what it is, but I'd think Carolina would be one or two. I think we're probably one or two and their one or two, so when you start talking about that, yes, consistently, year in and year out they're a team that's very good, plays at a high level, they have a great coach that prepares them well and they have some very talented playmakers. Obviously when you look at our record against them, they've had the upper hand, but hey it is what it is. I think we just know the type of game it is every time we go into it. We know we have to really buckle it up this week.
Q: Is it a personnel thing or style of play thing?
A: No. they're a team that knows how to win. Typically they don't make the stupid mistakes. Typically they're a team that takes very good care of the ball and they do a good job defensively of taking it away and they run the ball very effective offensively and they have some big playmakers on offense. Defensively, they tackle pretty well. They take the ball away. Look at the sacks. They rush the passer well. There really aren't a lot of weaknesses they have. They're a solid team all the way around.
Q: Each week you would say you were playing for something whether it's the undefeated record, division tile, first round bye or home field advantage. Is it pride you're playing for this week?
A: I'd say it's pride. It's being a professional. It doesn't matter. You could say you win this game, great it, it doesn't change anything for the playoff picture. You lose this game, great, it doesn't change anything for the playoff picture. They fact is, you're a pro. It's your job and you want to go out and play well and you want to win and you never want to take the mindset that it's okay to go out and drop one or lose. It's not why we play the game.
Q: Stealing a line from Herm Edwards about playing the game, is that a priority here?
A: Absolutely. This game is going to be intense. It's going to be as focused as we've been on an opponent all year.
Q: What was the feeling of having something positive in terms of winning the one seed after the feelings of two losses?
A: That was a good feeling. Especially when you walked out of the Dome the other day, there were about five things that went wrong and had we just had one of those things back, we win the game. I'll be honest. When I heard Chicago win, I was like man, one seed. It just marked me in my mind too, because I was preparing obviously for this Carolina game, like a must win to get the one seed mentality that we've been going through the last couple of weeks. Yes, I think anytime you can have something positive, just because like I said earlier, it's not like we backed into it. We won 13 games in a row to earn that and that's hard to do.
Q: How frustrating and puzzling are your struggles to score touchdowns the last two games and what can you point to?
A: We were really bad on third down in the Dallas game and that's probably the biggest thing I can point to because when you're bad on third down and not sustaining drives, unless you're making a lot of big plays, which we weren't doing either, you're not going to score much. Some of the big plays. We haven't made some of the big plays that we were used to making here over the last three weeks. Other than that, I think it's just kind of a play here, a play there. We're averaging 33 points a game. That's first in the NFL. We pride ourselves in being able to move the football, convert on third downs, big plays, those sorts of things. We're in the tops in all those. I think it's just a matter of getting back to some of the details and execution.
Q: What can you learn from the statistic where home field advantage teams have lost a lot of games recently?
A: I think what you find is that typically the team you end up facing is one that's faced a tough road at the end of the season, where maybe they've had to win five or six in a row in order to get in the playoffs and they have this type of streak going here, playing well. We faced that in 2006 when Philadelphia came to town. I don't know exactly, but they had won six of seven or something like that to finish off the season and ended up winning their division and beating the Giants in the first round and they end up coming to our place and it's like they're rolling and we had pulled our starters in the Carolina game and they had had the week off. Our situation, now in having that first round by and not having played in a week or two, where they've been rolling there for six straight weeks and I felt like we played one of our better games as a team, preparation and attention to detail throughout the bye week and building up to that game, so I can't speak for other teams and what they've done or haven't done, but I know the way we prepare and the type of team we're going to face is going to be a team that has earned that position by rattling off a few. They're going to be battle-tested. They're going to be ready. We're going to need our best game to win that one.
Q: Scott Fujita was named the club's man of the year. In your eyes, what does he bring to the team on and off the field?
A: He's a great teammate. He's a very productive player, a voice in the locker room. He's a guy who obviously when he talks, everybody listens, because he's been around a while. He's just a true professional. Everybody knows what he has invested and how hard he works. He's the first guy here and one of the last two leave and he's very involved in the player's association. He's a great family man and does a lot of good things in the community. I think everybody just has a lot of respect for him, because he's a guy who does things the right way.
Q: How do you go in to Sunday with an attitude of injury prevention?
A: No, not at all. You can't do that. You always go in with the mentality that you can't worry about that. It's not even the thought. I'm going 100 miles an hour until if or when they potentially take me out or not. I'm planning on going the distance just like I am for every game. It doesn't change my mentality at all.
Q: In the Dallas game when Anthony Spencer got loose and fans could sense he had a clear shot of you, did you sense how worried people were?
A: No, it's funny you mention that because I obviously know the play. You could sense something didn't sound or feel right. No, everytime you step on the field you have that chance. It doesn't matter what game, what's at stake or whatever. I would tell people not to worry. I've had some of those injuries before. They're no fun, but it's part of the game unfortunately. Don't worry. We're good. We'll play our best.
Q: Trent Dilfer said early you guys were scoring big plays quickly and that now teams are letting you dink and dunk. Is that true or fair to say?
A: I think obviously no defense wants to give up big plays. Some might be more susceptible to that because they pressure a lot or put their corners out on one on over on an island. They're basing it on the fact that they'll get to you before you get it to them. Live by the sword, die by the sword. It's going to get you at times. I think over the last three weeks for whatever reasons, we've played defenses that have played us pretty conservatively. We still called our fair share of shots. Just for the right reason, they dialed up the coverage at the wrong time for us that didn't give us the opportunity to push the ball down the field. It's kind of that chess match of guessing right. We got the right play called at the right time or they got the right play called at the right time. We just haven't had as many of those opportunities for whatever reason.