"Yeah, we're better. We're better. We expect to be better. We expect more out of each other. We expect each other not to make mistakes because we've done it. So, that's just it. It's a tall order to do what we did last year, to try to be better than that. I mean, it's going to take 11 guys doing their job for 16 games for us to have a chance to win the Super Bowl, and I believe that's what we need."
You and Adewale Ogunleye are lining up on opposite sides of the defensive line every play. What can you two do as individuals to make each other better?
"Push each other. Challenge each other each and every day. I think more than myself and Adewale making ourselves better, I think Fred (Miller) and John Tait, going against those guys every day makes us better. In my opinion because I go against Tait, I think he's top-three in the league. I don't think he gets the credit, but he's one of the good ones. He's one of the better ones. So me going against him every day, just understand I got to go 100% every play or else he's gonna crush me. It makes me better, and that's what I want."
Defensive ends tend to get measured by sacks and sacks alone. Do you feel that statistic is overrated, and are there other things you can do to have a bigger impact?
"Well, we play the game (and there are) certain things that the position requires. Defensive end is looked on as far as sacks. So if you don't have 10 sacks, I guess you're not considered one of the elite. But I guess I kind of took a step toward nullifying that theory last year when I was still up there as far as Pro Bowl alternate and getting the recognition because people actually watch the game and they see. There's a little more. I mean, sacks are very important, and we both want to get 10, 12, 15 sacks. Adewale already said the other day he wants 16. So we both want those sacks, but there's other things you can do throughout a game to help win the game, and that's what I try to do. I try my best each and every play, and if a sack comes, I try to get it. So it that happens, then I'll be pretty happy. But it will make the fans happy and our coaches happy, I guarantee it, if we both get 10."
Not only is the defensive line expected to be very good, but you should also be very deep. Do you want to play every snap, or do you need a breather every now and then?
"I don't like coming out of the game. When I'm tired I know I should come out, but I don't want to. Sometimes it's better. You have to make a decision for the team. I mean, when you're 45%, you're out there dead tired, winded, and you got a guy on the sideline that there isn't a dropoff when he comes in the game as far as pass-rushing ability or getting up the field, getting after the quarterback. So you gotta come out of the game. Which you don't want to, and that's the competitive part in us. We don't want to come out of the game, but you have to come off. Just to know you got Izzy (Israel Idonije), or you got Jamaal (Green), those guys coming off the bench, and hey, they can rush the passer. We haven't seen enough of Mark (Anderson) yet to understand what he can do, but he's very athletic. He plays smart. He uses his hands pretty good. So we just got to get him on the field and see if he can actually rush the passer with all his athletic ability."
It seems like the defense is saving their biggest hits for Cedric Benson. Are you guys just trying to break him in a little bit, or is there a message you're trying to send?
"No, not at all. I mean, Cedric runs hard. He's out there. We're playing hard. There's a different attitude, and our offense, they're not going to be pushed around, and we don't feel like we're going to be pushed around either. So you just get out there and you set it in the hole with our safeties, and you might get a little knock every now and then. But it's all in fun, all in competition, but we're not trying to hurt each other. We're on the same team when it boils down. When the 53 come, we're all on the same team. We're here for one goal, and that's the Super Bowl."