Wednesday, November 16, 2011
After the last Tampa Bay game, you were pleased with how balanced the offense was with the passing and running game. That wasn't there with Atlanta. Is that something you are worried about in terms of consistency going forward?
"I am not worried about it because I know we can do it. We have shown at least in a few games this year that we have been as upwards as 180 and 190 yards plus rushing. I know we can do it. It's just a matter of being able to execute it on a consistent basis. I also understand where there are some games you get into and for whatever reason one phase of the offense is looking better than the other. Or, the defense that you are going up against is determined to stop one or the other and that opens up opportunities for the other.
"I think we got into a situation in the Atlanta game where we able to throw the ball pretty effectively and we stuck with that. That served us well. As we look long term for the second half of the season, the running game is definitely something we want to be able to hone in on and make sure we can execute on a consistent basis."
Did you get the feeling that the Falcons made it an emphasis to slow down RB Darren Sproles?
"I wouldn't' say that necessarily. For whatever reason, maybe some of the opportunities for Sproles weren't there that have been in previous games. It is not like we were trying to force the ball to him or anything like that. The times I did throw it to him there were a lot of guys around. I wouldn't say it was anything they were doing that was taking him away or they had a specific plan to take him away. I think it just happen to be one of those games where it worked out like that."
Are you surprised to be back in the conversation to potentially break Dan Marinos' record for most passing yards in a season like you were in 2008?
"I feel very different this year than I did back in 2008 in regards to this Marino thing. I think back in '08, maybe because it was the first time that any of us had really been close to that record in a long time. As I recall, Kurt Warner was on pace at one point. Back in '08, it seemed like every week it was a topic of discussion. That was the first time I had been a part of anything like that. For me, I tried not to make it stressful but it was hard not to think about it because people would always talk about it especially when we got down to the final two games where we had to average almost 380 (yards) a game in order to get to the record and we almost did it. Maybe because I have been through that before, I am really not thinking about it or letting it creep into my mind all that often.
"I am just so focused on winning games and doing whatever it takes to win the game. Even this game against Atlanta, when somebody said I had thrown for 322 yards I was shocked. I didn't feel like it was that kind of a game. It didn't feel to me like a game that we were throwing it a lot and weren't running it a lot but when you look at the stat book at the end of the game that is the way it turned out.
"For me, I haven't really thought about the 300 yards games or the necessary to do that or anything like that. I just think about doing whatever it takes to win. I think the way this season started, there were like six guys on pace to break Marino's record after the first four or five games. It seemed like this one of those crazy years where teams are throwing it a lot. I think as the year goes on situations changes. Some people stay on pace and others don't. I really haven't given it a lot of thought other doing whatever it takes to win."
At the start of this season, with your want for the offense to be balanced, would you have thought you could be successful throwing at that rate?
"After throwing for 5,069 yards back in '08, I never thought we would get close to that again. I remember how lopsided we were that year in throwing the football as compared to running. I just thought if we really want to play to our potential and be the type of offense that we really want to be then we definitely need to be more balanced. So, there just won't be opportunities to throw close to that many yards again because you think about all things that have to happen in order for that number to be where it is at.
"I think we have run the ball very effectively at times this season. I would argue that if you look at our yardage totals for this year, I don't how they compare to years past, but I think they are quite a bit more. It seems like we are putting up a lot of yards. Yards are great but you want points and there are other stats that are more important.
"Yards mean you are doing something right. You are possessing the ball, spreading it around and moving it down the field. You are probably getting a lot of scoring opportunities which we are. I know we lead the league in times in the redzone in redzone touchdowns. We are doing something right but we set the ball pretty high for ourselves so we look to try to be really good in every phase. Did I think that I would be on pace for that Marino record again? No, I didn't. Maybe that is another reason why I am not thinking about it because it was never really a focus of mine.
Is there a part of you that would love to have that record?
"Sure. Any competitive person, when you get close to things like that you think 'man, that would be cool' within the framework of us doing it the right way. It's not like we are going with the sole purpose to break records. I think we have broken a lot of records as a team and individually over the last six years. When you are winning and breaking those records, it makes it even sweeter. You can really enjoy them. Would I love to have that record? Yes, because it's more than just me. It's the team. It's every guy that caught a pass or blocked or played defense or special teams. It was part of this team. That was a record that we can all share in. That every coach can share in and everybody in the organization. It's more than just one specific player who might have their name on the record. It's everybody. I think that is pretty cool when everybody can share in that. Like I said before especially when you are winning. If you can go rolling into the playoffs and collect a few records on the way. It's fun to talk about and records are meant to be broken so why not."
Can you talk about where the team is heading into this six-game stretch?
"Nothing is easy. It's going to be a tremendous challenge. I think the bye week is coming at a perfect time especially when you look at two weeks ago when we were coming off that tough loss at St. Louis. We were 5-3 and the division race is tight. We have two divisional games in a row with Tampa at home and then at Atlanta. Just knowing what a huge challenge that was going to be. Then finding a way to win those games when maybe we weren't at our best and we were banged up in some areas yet we found a way to win. We put ourselves at the top of the division with six weeks left in the regular season. Now in the bye week you take a deep breath, get away from it a little bit, recharge the battery and get some guys healthy. Then, you come back focused and ready to make that late season push. This is still the time when we need to separate ourselves from the rest of the bunch."
Will you simulate a game this weekend like you have in years past?
"I think I have evolved with kids and responsibilities. I definitely think it's healthy to get away and give your mind a rest. You get away but not too far away. I am still playing parts of that Atlanta game over in my mind. I am anticipating what the Giants will be looking like. I will be watching games this Sunday. I can't help myself. I will be getting some workouts in. Staying in it but I definitely think physically, mentally, emotionally, physiologically you do need a little bit of an opportunity to relax, get away and recharge. It is a grind to stay at that level of focus for that amount of time. It is good to have that little break in the middle where you can recharge."
Do you still feel like your best football is ahead of you?
"I do feel that way. My goal and what I strive for and beat myself up over is I want to get a little better every year. The statistics might not show that but deep down in my heart there areas where I want to know that I got better. If I can look in the mirror and say that then I feel like I am making progress and I am on the right track. I feel like I have been able to do that every year. This year I feel like I am on my way to accomplishing those things that I set out to accomplish.
All that within the framework that every year you want an opportunity to make a run at it and know you got a chance to be one of the elite teams and I am excited for us as a team. I feel like we have that type of team. We still have a long way to go but I feel like we are on track.
What are your thoughts on the team being 0-11 on coin flips this season?
"It's kind of become a joke because it's kind of ridiculous at this point (laughter). If you really want to get down to the nitty and gritty of it - we have played six road games and four games. One of those road games went to overtime. So we have called seven coin tosses and the other team has called four. We miss all of ours and they got all of theirs. I don't know. It's pretty weird. You are always prepared for either. If we get the toss we are going to take the ball. Otherwise, defense goes out there and I kind of like getting the ball to start the third quarter. To be honest with you, since it's 50-50 and there is really nothing you can do. It's not like you have any control over what happens there."
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