Q: How does it feel being the starting corner? **
A: Well I think the coaches prepare everybody to be a starter. We have a slogan, "always work like a champion." Coach Pete (Giunta) always tells all the DBs to always prepare like a starter. You can't be shocked to be out there. You always have to prepare like that. Coach Coughlin and all the staff prepare us well for that every week. I think all the guys out here, regardless of where you are on the depth chart, we prepare like a starter.
Q: How do you feel coming off the hamstring injury?
A: I feel pretty good. I don't feel like I was all the way at 100%, but I was pretty good. Coach Pete wanted to work me out before the game, so we went out there and did a lot of drills to see how it felt. I felt really good, I pushed it a little bit so I could feel comfortable, and I felt pretty good, so I told coach that I wanted to give it a go. I went in there earlier than I thought I was going to, but everything worked out.
Q: Do you feel extra responsibility?
A: Not really. I feel like the standards on this team are high. The standards on this defense are high and especially in our secondary room, thye are high and I feel like the camaraderie we have in our secondary… In our room, we push each other so hard. Every play, every rep we always say 'practice to be great.' It's not just our motto; it's what we try to do every time. We all just critique each other hard. I don't really feel like that and I feel like every guy in that room holds each other accountable and the coaches as far as preparing. Even the players, they've got a lot of peer pressure on players to play great. I feel like it's nothing added on. That's just the way it is.
Q: What's the strategy for the next game? More snaps? Less snaps?
A: I'm not sure. I haven't really talked to coach. I haven't really discussed that. I love to practice. I love to get out there and compete as much as I possibly can.
Q: From the start of the offseason, the coaches have been talking about how you improved and how you have done better. How well do you think you improved?
A: I feel like just building up enough confidence and comfort level and knowing what the coaches expect and in that room, you're always held accountable for everything. Coach Pete makes sure of that and the players make sure of that so I feel like playing a lot more last year, getting comfortable with what to expect, what to see and being in a full offseason and being able to compete with the whole defense with everybody… A lot more comfort level and just knowing what I can do. In the game, the most important thing is you've got to stretch yourself. See what you can and can't do. You get in that comfort level of, 'Oh I can do this against this guy and do that against that guy' and I feel like it boosts you up and you're able to play free.
Q: Last year it seemed like you were on the verge of something good and then you got hurt. Did you feel like that was kind of a missed opportunity?
A: I'd be lying if I said I didn't. I think any competitor wants to be out there and compete, especially when you start to get out there and you're having success and you get a little frustrated. I was frustrated about it, but the most important thing is I can't express enough how the DBs are good people around here. They just kept me staying positive and with the long shoulder rehab, that's all you can do. I think that's important in the game, bad things happen. Things are going to happen, but it's how you respond the next play and you get those curveballs thrown at you in life and you've just got to rebound from them.
Q: Has your mindset changed at all? Have you always felt like you could start with this team?
A: I feel that way and I think any cornerback that plays in this league is going to say the same thing. Coach Coughlin always talks about diligence. How hard are you willing to work? How long will you put in the effort into it. Coach Pete, everybody does a great job of preparing everybody like a starter, but you have to take it on your own terms, too. You have to go home and study the film and really be diligent at what you're looking at. Pay attention to what's going on when you're not in there and all those little things add up. It just isn't something that you turn on, it's just how you do things.