Q: Defensively, you’ll see the Eagles again this year. What was the defense’s first experience like with that Chip Kelly offense? A: First experience offhand was it was a pretty quick tempo. We still felt like we had a grasp of what they were doing, some of the schemes they were running. Myself coming from Oregon, I studied all week to see if I could pick up any tips from my Oregon days. For the most part, the defense was, even though we lost, we gave up a couple of points, we’re happy with our performance.
Q: What is the mood around there today? A: Everything is still upbeat. You’re coming off of a very tough loss against the Eagles, but luckily we’re taking the road of the baseball and basketball teams, where we can play two games in a 4-5 day span. Right now we turn our attention to Chicago and the Eagles are in the past.
Q: Do you guys think you can keep bouncing back from these losses and keep trying to find that positivity. Do you imagine that if at some point it doesn’t get turned around, it’s going to be really hard to come in and try to find that positive energy? A: I don’t believe so. I don’t believe this team is going to break apart at any given moment. We have leaders in this room, young and old. That is how they’re built. That is their character. They are not taught to quit or pack in the season. Whatever comes up starting on Thursday, win or lose, we know we’re going to stay positive.
Q: We were talking to Tom Coughlin earlier and he said we should put all of the blame on him. As a player, what does that mean to you when the head coach says that? A: Coach Coughlin is honestly one of the best coaches I’ve ever had. He’s one of the best coaches in the NFL, hands down. When he says that, I automatically respond in my head, no. The coaches can only put us in the right position, but it’s up to the players to take those actions. We’re on the field, 11 players offensively, defensively, and special teams. He can’t put all the blame on himself. He’s a great coach, but some of the blame has to lie on the players.
Q: Do the players appreciate that kind of thing when a coach sort of falls on his sword or shields them from criticism? A: When any player has a coach that can take the blame on him, you do learn to respect that. I, myself, have the most respect for Coach Coughlin, but I do know when I’m on the field, I’m there to make a play. I’m there to help the defense as well as everybody else. For us and me in general, I know I have to make those plays and can’t put all the blame on our coaches.
Q: Despite Eli having won two Super Bowls with this team, he is starting to get a little bit of criticism this year. I just wonder what your reaction is to the criticism he’s starting to get? A: Obviously I’m on the defensive side of the ball, but I know the type of person he is. I know his work ethic. I know he doesn’t pack it in. He’s not trying to give the ball away or anything like that. I just ask the fans and the media to take it easy on him, because he is trying. He’s not coming in here messing around, joking around, he’s all about his business. If people saw the work ethic that he takes into account, they would learn to respect it.
Q: How hard is it to pick yourself up and get back to work today? You’re 0-5 and your chances of making the playoffs aren’t that great. A: We’re not thinking about the playoffs right now. That’s too far away for us to think about. Right now we’re 0-5. We’re looking for our first win, hopefully coming on Thursday. For us, it wasn’t hard to come here and pick ourselves up. We know each day is a new beginning and the mark of a man is his ability to backup what he says. For us, we’ll come to practice every day and go through our walkthroughs and we’re going to take this short week into… and hopefully get a win on Thursday.
Q: Why do you think this team has been able to keep games close into the fourth quarter and late in the third quarter, and sort of have them slip away? A: Truthfully, I do not know. I know we play really good games up until the first, second, third quarter and when the fourth quarter comes, some factors come in and the ball doesn’t bounce our way. For us, we just need to learn and do whatever we can to secure those fourth quarter wins.
Q: You’ve talked throughout the season about the idea of finding the positives with the way the defense has played. When you take a step back and realize you guys have given up more than 30 points every single game, is that hard to believe with what you’ve seen you guys do well? A: It is. I was talking about this with Mark (Herzlich) earlier. My gut feeling of how I play, how the defense plays, we look on the scoreboard, it’s not how it seems to us. We know we’ve been playing pretty well, but the fact is we’ve been giving up 30 points a game. That doesn’t sit well with anybody in our defensive room. Right now it’s just us going into the fourth quarter, getting those change in possession plays and pretty much shutting down the ball.
WR Victor Cruz
A: It’s difficult for the stretch that it is. It’s one day that we had to talk about it and move on, but that’s exactly what we had to do is move on. Luckily, it’s a short week so we can put this game behind us pretty quickly and get ready for Chicago.
Q: How has Eli’s demeanor been today?
A: He seemed pretty good to me. He just seemed his usual self, just getting after it and understanding what we’ve got in our game plan and executing as far as our practice was concerned. He seemed like himself. He didn’t seem stressed. He didn’t seem anything out of the ordinary.
Q: Do you feel he takes too large of the share of the blame for a 0-5 team?
A: I think that’s naturally how he is. He’s so proud of the way he plays and wants to play great each and every week and when things go the opposite way… The type of person he is, he takes a lot of that blame. But that’s not the way it is. It’s everyone. It’s the receivers. It’s the offensive line. It’s everyone that’s to blame for some of these losses and some of the things that have happened out there, but it’s a full team effort. It’s not just one guy. You can’t just put the blame on one person.
Q: How frustrating has it been to be in these games even though they have ended up lopsided games?
A: It’s a little frustrating knowing that all of these games, all we had to do is finish strong and finish the way people are used to us finishing, and that’s winning the fourth quarter and dominating time of possession and things of that nature, and we’re not doing that. It’s pretty frustrating, but we understand that one of these games have to turn for us. One of these games has to be the one where we minimize our turnovers and minimize our penalties and are able to break through and get to the other side and win a ballgame.