Q&A with Shane Matthews

[MEDIA:32872]<B>Shane Matthews</B>, former Gator quarterback, has been re-named the starting quarterback in Washington following the "Ramsey Experiment" of the last three weeks. Shane was the NFC Offensive Player of the Week in the opener a 31-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals. I had a chance to catch up with Shane as he prepares for the Sunday night match-up with the Colts.

He was hit and received a lot of punishment in the ensuing two games versus NFC top dogs Philadelphia and San Francisco. After Coach Steve Spurrier's changing to the rookie for three games he has decided to go back with the veteran Matthews.

Brady Ackerman: How does it feel to be back in as the starter?
Shane Matthews: Good... I never felt I played poorly to lose the starting job. I think coach has realized that as well...the fact that I give our team the best chance to win.

BA: What did you learn on the bench?
SM: Well not much.  I have spent most of my career on the sideline and I basically just tried to help Patrick (Ramsey) along during games and practice. He did well in his first game but since then he has struggled because team's have mixed it up on him. He is going to be a good player in this league down the road.

BA: Is this season still salvageable?
SM: I think so. The next four games are very important. They are all winnable and it starts with Indianapolis Sunday night. We just need to string a couple together and then everything will start to take care of itself. We play the Colts at home, at Seattle, in Jacksonville and then in New York, so we can have a chance.

BA: Did the bench help your health?
SM: Well, I am healthier but not 100%, In this league you are going to have bumps and bruises and you have to play through it.

BA: The next stretch of games certainly look more "winnable."
SM: The four games we lost were to teams I believe will be in the playoffs this year. We had our opportunities against Green Bay and did not cash in when we got into the redzone.

BA: Can the offensive line hold up?
SM: I think so.  I take pride in not taking sacks and making good decisions. I have only been sacked twice in ninety plus passing attempts. They will be fine

BA: How important is Stephen Davis?
SM: We had our best rushing day Sunday.

BA: What is the team's morale like now at 2-4?
SM: We are just focused on the next 10 games. It is a 10 game season and the rest is behind us. The team, especially the veterans, are really behind me and I think they are excited to have me back in there.

BA: What do you think of the Gators at 5-3?
SM: Certainly that was a huge win versus Auburn. Hopefully they can build on that and run the table on the season. That would still be a good year.

BA: You had a big game as a senior against the favored Bulldogs.  Do you think Rex can lead the Gators to victory in Jacksonville?
SM: I think so.  He is a great competitor and I know he does not want to lose to Georgia in his career. I didn't either and that helps you focus even more in preparation.

BA: What do you remember most about the '92 game?
SM: We had a good plan and I found Harrison (Houston) to seal it and knock them out of the top ten and put us in the SEC Championship Game.

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