|Jason Taylor conference call, 12/2||12.02.09 at 6:02 pm ET|
Courtesy, Patriots media relations, here is the transcript of Wednesday’s conference call with the New England media.
Q: On what the New Orleans Saints defense did to keep Randy Moss and Wes Welker in check…
JT: Well first of all, it’s very, very difficult to stop both of those guys. They are probably, if not the best, one of the top two at their position in the whole NFL. So, I think what the Saints did was get some pressure on the quarterback a little bit and they tackled very well. They covered well for the most part, but they tackled well. A lot of the times, Wes would take a short catch and, as you all know, turn it into a 10, 12, 15 yard gain. What I thought the Saints did very well was tackle him. They were very physical with the receivers coming off the line.
Q: Were you encouraged by the job Vontae [Davis] did on Randy [Moss] in the first game. It seemed like Vontae was right there for the most part.
JT: Yeah I thought he did a good job. There were some plays he wishes he could take back and do a little better and there were some times I think we could have helped him out better by pressuring up front or rotating a little bit better, but he is a young kid and he’s growing. He made a big play early up there with the interception, but at the end of the day, Randy Moss is Randy Moss. He is going to make plays. It’s just a matter of how much you can do to try to contain him or how to do damage control so to speak.
Q: How far along have [Sean] Smith and [Vontae] Davis come for you guys?
JT: I think they’re doing a really good job progressing. You know, it’s still early. They’re still going to make mistakes. They’re going to make the ‘young guy’ mistakes and get schooled somewhat on the veteran savvy things that some of the receivers do or offenses do in this league. But, the great thing about both of them is their willingness to learn and listen. They have the physical talent to do it. They have the mental makeup to do it. It’s a matter of staying grounded and humble and not getting too high on big plays and not getting too low when they get beat. That’s one of the things I think they’ve done really well so far.
Q: Do you see any of Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain in these kids coming along?
JT: You see the potential there. I’m obviously biased to Sam and Pat because I played with them for so long and they were so integral and such an important part of my success as a player. These guys have the talent to do it. They have a ways to go yet and obviously it took Sam and Pat some years to kind of round into form and be as efficient and dominant as they were. But these guys definitely have the talent to do it. Now it’s a matter of let’s sit back a little bit and see what becomes.
Q: What has kept the Dolphins from being consistent on defense?
JT: [We are] just not finishing. Our problem right now is finishing games – finishing drives, finishing series, finishing halves. We’ve played so well at times, particularly in the first half of a lot of games. Then we came out in the second half and for whatever reason it is – and we’re still trying to put our thumb on the exact reason – but for whatever reason, we haven’t finished the games as well as we need to. You sit here and look at a handful of games, whether it be the Buffalo game last week, or New Orleans, or Indy, the San Diego game – a lot of them – even the game we played up in New England. We did some things in the first half and came out in the second half and didn’t finish. We’ve allowed teams to make adjustments on us, and in turn, not adjust well.
Q: How impressed were you by rookie Sebastian Vollmer?
JT: I didn’t get a whole lot of looks playing against him up there. I did rush him a few times and didn’t get a steady diet of him, but seeing him on tape and seeing him against us and having played a handful of plays against him, I think he’s going to be a good player. He’s a big, strong kid. I think he moves very well. I did hear about his story of not playing football his whole life and that whole thing and it’s promising when you see a guy who moves and plays as well as he does that young. He’s still kind of in his infancy as far as his football life is concerned. I’m not ready to say he’s Matt Light because I think Matt Light is a heck of a player, but he has the potential to be pretty good.
Q: Joey Porter has 4.5 sacks in the last two weeks. Is that something he’s doing better or is the defense freeing him up more?
JT: Well anytime you get sacks, it’s a team effort. Joey is certainly rounding into form and feeling better and moving around better. Defensively, we’re getting into situations where we’re getting teams behind the sticks a little bit and getting the chance to tee off a little bit up front and the secondary is playing well and covering down. A lot of the times…I’ve been blessed to get a lot of sacks in my career, but the majority of those are because of guys like Sam Madison and Pat Surtain and all the corners and safeties I’ve played with throughout my career. It’s definitely a team effort. So to answer your question, it’s a combination of Joey playing and feeling better and the defense rallying a little bit and playing better in spots.
Q: Is there something you really like about sacking Tom Brady? Is he really nice when he gets up?
JT: [Laughter] You know, I’ve played Tom Brady more than I’ve played anybody else, so I don’t know what the numbers are, but I know he has more wins against me than I do against him and that’s the disappointing part. For whatever reason, we’ve had some good games over the years, the Dolphins vs. the Patriots and have matched up recently well. When you have a division rivalry like the Dolphins vs. the Patriots, there’s a sense of being familiar with players, with blocking schemes on the lines and it just works out that way.
Q: What did the comments Coach Belichick made to you after the first game mean to you?
JT: It means a lot to me, first of all. To get respect like that from somebody like Bill Belichick is very flattering, it’s humbling and very appreciated because I’ve said over the years how much respect I have for Belichick, a lot of the guys on that team and in that organization and as a whole up there in New England. So to get a compliment from Bill like that means a lot. I’ve never had a chance to play for him, but listening to him talk and how he carries himself in interviews. And from what I’ve heard, he throws around compliments like manhole covers, so it means a lot.
Q: Have you seen the Patriots’ run game evolve at all since the first time you prepared for them?
JT: Yeah, I think Laurence Maroney is playing better. I think he was dinged up early in the year or something – whatever the deal was – but I saw him play against New Orleans the other night and I thought he ran very well. He ran hard and ran over a couple safeties a couple of times. Sammy Morris is a guy we had down here. I know Sammy was hurt earlier in the year and he was back in there. We all know what kind of player Sammy Morris is and how he runs, as far as blocking and running the ball and their offensive line is efficient. I thought they ran the ball well against us when we played against them up there. Unfortunately for us, we didn’t respond as well in the running game as we anticipated and that’s something we need to be focused on this time.
Q: The Dolphins were really healthy last year, and now losing Chad [Pennington], Ronnie [Brown], Jason [Ferguson] and Will [Allen], how do you think your team has dealt with the injuries?
JT: You know what? Injuries are going to happen. That’s part of this game and one year you may get lucky and not have many and the next year you might get slammed by it. That’s why depth is always preached throughout the league and here in particular. We’ve had guys that have stepped up and responded very well. We’re blessed to have Ricky Williams when Ronnie went down. We had a great one-two punch and unfortunately Ronnie went down and Ricky has picked up that slack and done very well. We’ve had a few guys go in by committee trying to fill that role and they are doing a good job. It’s tough to replace guys like that. It’s tough to replace a Chad Pennington, but I think Chad Henne…it’s his team now, it’s his turn. He’s grown up very quickly in a lot of situations. You look back a couple games ago when we were playing Tampa. He had a late drive where we threw a pick. He brought us back down the field and won the game for us. It’s times like that where you have to have talented backups who are ready, willing and able to step in and carry the load and deal with the pressure.
Q: Do you ever wonder if things wound up differently and you did end up here in New England at the beginning of the year?
JT: No regrets. I have no regrets. I’m here in Miami. I’m happy. I’m home. Obviously, it meant a lot to me that Coach Belichick, Mr. Kraft and the organization would have me, [but] it was meant for me to be here and I will leave it at that.
Q: Do you feel like your passion for football changed while you were in Washington and you’ve gotten it back by being back in Miami?
JT: My passion for football didn’t change at all. My enjoyment did in some ways. I haven’t been hurt a whole lot in my career, thank God, and I was hurt and that was something I had to deal with and being in a different place. It was different everything – different city, different team, different colors, different fan base, everything. So it was a tough transition, but I was disappointed I couldn’t help the team out more than I was. I think there were a few reasons for that and part of it was that I was hurt, but going up and playing in a position, in a scheme that didn’t afford you the opportunities to do what you could do was disappointing. It became more of a job for me than it was a passion and a hobby, but that passion is certainly there, the enjoyment is there and I’m doing what I love to do.
Q: Having played the Patriots once, how would you describe their offenses identity and is it different this year than years past?
JT: I don’t think it’s different. I think it’s easy for people to look at a team and say the that the Patriots want to throw the ball around with Moss, Welker and Watson, but I don’t necessarily buy into that. I think the Patriots are willing to do whatever they need to do to win the game. If they see the running game is available and that you are slipping and aren’t sound against the run than they are going to run the ball and run it efficiently and vice versa. If they have to pass the ball then we all know they can do that very well. They have the best quarterback in the league and the top tandem in the league as far as receivers and a tight end that’s very dynamic. So I think they can do that. I think they are a very well balanced team and I think they kind of deceive you a little bit with the pass because they can [also] run the ball very well.
Q: How much longer do you want to play?
JT: As long as I can physically do it. Mentally, I am fine. As long as I can physically do it and do it at a level I think the game needs to be played at. I don’t want to be a hindrance to a team and hold a team back, but I know I can play. I am enjoying it. I am feeling good. It’s December and I’m feeling great and healthy and I’ll go as long as it works out. There’re a lot of things coming up in the future here with the CBA [collective bargaining agreement] and all that stuff and we don’t know how all that’s going to play out. It may be decided for me more so than me deciding for myself.
Q: Would you revisit coming here?
JT: We’ll see after the seasons over. I know my deal ends at the end of the year. We’ll reevaluate where we’re at at the end of the year, what the teams want to do and take it from there. You never close off any of your options, you don’t burn any bridges and you always keep an open mind.
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