A: I think it’s definitely very important. No question about it, but I think from a team standpoint everybody just needs to elevate their level of play and I think it wasn’t just the pass rush that did it. I think the DBs were covering. We were rushing. The offense was putting up points. Everything just fell into place the way we were supposed to and so far that really hasn’t happened. But if there’s any time to do it, it has to be now.
Q: Can you guys be the spark?
A: Yeah. We can definitely try, but a lot of times it just doesn’t work. We can’t just be like this is what’s going to happen. The pass rush is going to kick up and everything is going to fall into place, but we definitely have to do our part. No question.
Q: Can you win this Sunday?
A: I hope so. We’ve been here entirely too many times, but that’s the way things have played out for us and I don’t know why it keeps on happening. But those past years are in the past. This year is a brand new year. I can’t say that it’s going to happen for us the same way it did in previous years, but hopefully it will.
Q: Does the team really embrace the backs to the wall mentality?
A: I think so, but to be honest with you, I really felt like our backs were against the wall last week. I really did and we went out there and performed the way we performed, so we can’t use that excuse. I think as a team we just have to play a whole lot better.
Q: What do you expect?
A: I expect us to come out and play a lot better than we did last week, that’s for sure. Everybody knows what’s at stake. We just have to perform like it.
Q: Coach Harbaugh said that he doesn’t fear your pass rush. There was a time when you guys made opponents fear the pass rush. Does that bother you?
A: No. I’m not bothered by it. He’s a coach and even if he did look on tape and he was scared, he’s not going to be like ‘Yes, we’re scared’ because he has to put confidence in his team. So I understand exactly what he was saying even if he really feels that way. That’s cool. We just have to go out there and try to put fear in whoever we play next.
Q: Do you think teams should be wary of you guys?
A: Well, we can’t rest on our laurels. I think what we’ve put on tape so far has been good. It hasn’t been as bad as people like to make it out, but when things were good, honestly, it wasn’t as good as people tried to make it out to be. It was somewhere in the middle. Should teams fear us? They’re in the NFL. They’re getting paid also. They shouldn’t be afraid. We haven’t been afraid of anybody. Even teams who’ve beat us by 40 points we weren’t afraid going in and so they shouldn’t be afraid, but respect is always good.
Q: Do each one of you guys have to win your one on one battles more than anything else?
A: Yeah we do, but it’s an excuse and it comes out every week that we’re not getting this; we’re not getting that. But the one on one matchups are not quite as frequent as they would be if we were ahead or we were stopping the run. Things that we have to do to put ourselves in position to be able to rush the passer; we’re just not doing that and everything falls down to that. We have to be able to stop people on first down. It shouldn’t be second and three. It should be second and eight. It shouldn’t be third and one. It should be third and ten, so we can really pin our ears back and rush and we haven’t done a good job of that and I think that’s what our real shortcoming is.
Q: What have teams been doing to stop JPP this year?
A: They’ve been doing the same thing to JPP as they’ve been doing to me and as they’ve been doing to Tuck. They haven’t been paying any special attention to one person, so please don’t get that confused. Everybody is seeing the same things. If we stop the run early, we put them in long distance situations and one guy is really, really coming on strong and that takes the focus off of him and they allow another guy to be in a one on one situation. I think that’s what it’s going to be, but everybody is getting the same treatment out there.
Q: Are you guys performing a little bit better than what the numbers would indicate?
A: There’s no question, we are. But we’re not winning games the way we’re accustomed to, so everything just looks so much worse than it actually is. So once we start winning and things start going back in our favor then people won’t really focus too much on that. We’ve won games where we didn’t get any sacks before.
Q: Is a stationary target like Joe Flacco that relies on the long pass something that you need right now?
A: Matt Ryan was a stationary target. We’ve played against them before. It’s all situations that we get ourselves into. If we’re able to get him in third and long situations, if we’re able to stop the run, I think it’ll be better for us. But if we don’t do that, then it doesn’t matter if it’s Drew Bledsoe out there. We’re not going to get there.