Q: Do you feel like the running game is back on track now?
A: I think it was a good start to getting it back going. We had that mindset and determination that we were going to go into this game and get the run game going because in order to win football games in this league, you have to take care of that. There is no question, especially when you start hitting the months of December and late in the season, that is going to be your strength, especially in the NFC. You have to be able to control the ground game and control the line of scrimmage and most importantly, the time of possession. Just like this last game with the Buffalo Bills, this is a team that was putting up 32 points on the board and they were doing a great job of creating turnovers. They were doing whatever they can to get your offense off balance and get that momentum back to their offense so I think it is. I think we are moving in the right direction. Do I think it is a finished product? No. I know that we have the attitude that we are going to continue to work and make sure that it becomes one of the strengths of our offense because it needs to be.
Q: How important was Ahmad Bradshaw's long run late in the game?
A: I think it is a big morale booster and that is the thing when it comes to running the football. When you start off, it is not going to be a big gain right away. Yes, every now and again you are going to have one that is going to break but it is about grinding the ball. It is about a two yard gain, three yards, four yards, six and two. It is just making sure that you are constantly gaining ground and it was awesome to have that in the fourth quarter because that's the time when the run game is effective. That's when you wear down defenses and you start to wear down guys and things start popping and cracking open. I think it was a great feeling for all of us because we all know that we haven't run the ball the way that we are capable of and the way we expect to run the ball the last couple games. Like I said, we practiced and had a mentality going into this game that we were going to do whatever it takes to get it going. To have that happen and have those breaks in the fourth quarter, we knew that it would be very uplifting but are we satisfied or complacent in any way, shape or form? No. This is something that we are going to continue to work on. Each week, each task gets tougher because you are playing different defenses.
Q: How important was the victory yesterday?
A: We knew that this game wasn't going to be easy. Buffalo is a very, very good football team. They play with a lot of passion and they play with a lot of energy. We knew that it was going to take all four quarters and we knew it would be a 60-minute game to win this one. We were preparing to play a game like this because that is the type of team that we were playing. It was a huge win for us to beat a good football team and go 4-2 and it is huge to win the game going into the bye and have that momentum. If you lose that game going into the bye week, you have that bad taste in your mouth and that awful feeling coming off a loss. When it is the bye week it is terrible because there is nothing you can do about it. You have to sit there and you have to wait. You are sitting there for two weeks, doing whatever you can to get that out of way. To do that and be 4-2 at this point, it is definitely a morale booster and we are excited to have that and get guys healthy, get guys fueled back up heading into next week when we play Miami at home again.
Q: What needs to be accomplished during this bye week?
A: You always come in and you evaluate the first six games and the things that you did well and the things that you didn't do well. You evaluate all three phases of the game not only as an offense and as a team but individually as well. You want to see what you need to do to improve technique-wise. You want to see what type of scheme blocking you are doing as an offensive line and what will help you and be an advantage for you later down the line. When you are playing up against defenses and different personnel, some techniques, whether it is double-teaming in a certain area or different things, work better with different teams. It may work against a 3-4 defense of a 4-3 defense, you want to see what you did successfully. These first six games, we have played a lot more 3-4 teams than we did four down teams. Not only getting healthy, but we are going to see what we need to do for these next 10 games and the rest of the season. We are going to see what we need to correct to make sure the rest of our season is successful.
Q: When do you look at what's going on in the rest of the division?
A: I think it is common nature as a competitor to look into your division to see what is going on with the Redskins and the Eagles and Cowboys, but at the same time, the only thing you can control is the way you handle things and the way you prepare. Just to make sure that you take care of your business. In the NFL, you can't rely on people to do your job for you and we learned that very easily last year and I think that it has been proven throughout all the years. Yes, you want to focus and one of your main goals is to win your division but the best way to do that is to handle things yourself. Just make sure you win every game possible. Whether it is a NFC East game or a game in the NFC, we are trying to do everything we can to win the most games possible. And everything else will take care of itself. I think you let yourself get caught up in the Eagles and Cowboys but when we play each other, records don't matter. You may just throw them out because the rivalry or playing each other and the competitiveness and history of them, they are tough games regardless of if a team has no opportunity of winning the division or not. We understand that and have been in those situations before so the most important thing we are going to do is, yes you want to see what everybody else is doing but the most important thing you can do is focus on the task at hand and making sure you are playing your best football and winning the most games possible. It will take care of itself.
Q: What do you feel like you need to be able to do in the next 10 weeks to win the division?
A: You definitely have to be able to run the ball. You have to be able to convert on third downs and keep momentum on your side and keep the opposing offense off the field. That is one of the things looking at this game against the Buffalo Bills. They were scoring over 14 points a game based on the turnovers they were getting on defense. They were giving it to their offense and their offense was scoring over 32 points so you want to be able to run the ball. You want to be able to convert on third downs and keep the chains on your side. The other thing we are doing a great job of doing is you have to score points in the red zone. You have to put touchdowns up and I believe we are in the top 2 or 3 in the league right now in red zone efficiency. When it gets down to the stretch, you have to put touchdowns up and you can't come up with no points. You see a lot of high scoring games and in order to compete with teams, you have to put points on the board.
Q: Are you surprised that it needed some time for the offense to get things going?
A: I think you definitely need time to work and get things where they need to be. We are not creating an excuse and we are not going to say we have new guys or this and that. That is the easy way out and none of us are doing that. We know that each and every week, we need to improve and play better football upfront. We had Chris Snee out this last game and the game before we had David Baas out. Those are things that you need to continue to work through to have that continuity on the offensive line and maintaining that you have the same guys out there. It is a huge bonus for us to have a guy like Kevin Boothe, who both Chris and I are familiar with. He has played and is a veteran who has been in this offense. He knows all the calls and the terminology and has the versatility to play three but at the same time you do want to play more games together. The only way you can improve is by working out there. It is getting game experience and working through those things full speed. Each and every week we need to improve but I believe in our group. I like the direction that we are going in. We are still the blue collar group and still the group that puts it on our shoulders. We took last week as a personal challenge and how could we not. When you don't run the ball successfully, I know I'm really upset and the rest of the guys are, too. We are the first ones to say we need to get this right and we are going to do whatever it takes and we are going to continue to do that the rest of the season in order for us as an offense to succeed. We have to be good upfront and that starts with running the ball and second with protecting Eli.