Opening Statement: “It was a big victory for us today. I was proud of how our guys have responded. Obviously the beginning of the season hasn’t gone how we anticipated it going but today was a step in the right direction. We were able to build off of last week and come in here today and compliment each other well. Defense played great and our offense played well throughout the day. Guys made big plays in the passing game. Our offensive line was unbelievable today against a very, very good pass rushing defense. They gave me time to throw all day long. Our offensive line did an outstanding job. Special teams showed up as well. It was a good victory for us.”
Was the downfield passing part of the game plan or an in-game adjustment? “It was part of the game plan this week to set up some play action and some drop back. We thought we had some opportunities down the field to throw the ball. It worked out well for us.”
Did your conversation with Coach Haley after an incomplete screen pass ignite the team? “To be completely honest, it was such a long game, I don’t remember the specifics of it. I think it was probably just a misunderstanding on both parties. It is a heated game, a heated discussion and you need to move forward. That is what our team did. Those things happen throughout the year and sometimes they catch it and sometimes they don’t. It is just part of the game.”
Todd Haley says he coaches you guys hard and there is a freedom for an open dialogue. Do you like that? “I seem to respond well when I am pushed and when my back is up against the wall. Coach tries to create an environment in practice where he challenges you and he rides you. He wants to make an environment to where, when you get to game day on Sunday, it’s easy. You have dealt with it throughout the week. I understand his purpose. I also like the open dialogue as well, that he is able to have with his players.”
Do you have another gear that Coach Haley knows how to bring out? “I don’t necessarily know. Hopefully that is not what motivates me on a consistent basis. I wouldn’t want to go through that but it just turned out that way. It came out in the second half; we came out firing. We did a great job. The receivers made great plays.
On your speech to your teammates in the locker room at halftime: “I am proud of this team and how it’s responded to adversity early on in the season. These guys continue to stick together. We are not going to fold and be one of those teams you see that goes out there and struggles when people say you can’t do something. That is the big part about moving forward; sticking together.”
On the touchdown pass to WR Dwayne Bowe and his play after the catch: “It was a great adjustment on the sideline by our coaching staff. They saw Minnesota jumping some intermediate routes and we thought we had an opportunity. We didn’t have it in the game plan; it was put in on the sideline. They said he was jumping so I pumped him. Sure enough, it opened up just like we thought it would and Dwayne did a great job. Once he gets that ball in his hands, there is no refusing him when he tries to get into the end zone. I told him he’d better score.”
How much does this win mean to the team? “This season didn’t start the way any of us anticipated. This team stuck together and this was a huge victory for us. We need to remember how this feels because it feels great. I think everybody was excited that we finally played a game where everybody played together in all phases. We worked together and it was a great team victory. All the hard work that you continue to put in, it pays off. Hopefully we can continue to do that.”