Brian Dawkins Press Conference: 11-2-05

On how important this game is in his mind: "This is certainly an important game for us. It's another game in the NFC East and we are trying to back on the winning side. That is the first thing we try to do as a team anyways, is win the NFC East. This is an important game. Once again, to get that winning feel and get the confidence back."

On whether the defense has done enough early to keep the team in the game:

"Obviously not, especially the last game. That was too many points to give up. You don't want to give up any points. If any, you want to hold them to 9 points. Let's hold them to field goals once they get down there. That is the mentality we have to have. They are driving the ball sometimes and I give them credit for making plays, but it's not a guarantee they are going to get in the end zone. That is the mentality we have to get back. Just because you are getting down there does not mean you are going to get in. You are going to get field goals."

On what the difference is this year when it comes to teams making big plays on the defense:

"Sometimes we are in position to make plays, like myself. He did a good job of getting up before I could and making a play, but I have to get that ball out. That is not an excuse, but I have to make sure that next time, I get it out. For whatever reason, we are giving up too many big plays. That is something we are not known for as a defense and we are not going to allow ourselves to be known for."

On how frustrating it is when the defense is on the field the whole first half:

"Once again, it goes back to us. The thing about defense is you cannot worry about what the offense is doing. If they go three and out, why can't we make the other team go three and out. If we do that, we are off the field and the offense is back on the field. If they go three and out again, let's make them go three and out. Let's make it a defensive battle and sooner or later, we believe our offense will click and if we do not allow the other teams to score points, the offense can get into a rhythm and play the kind of ball we know they can play. Regardless of what our offense does, this defense should not be predicated by what happens with them."

Whether he feels the defense needs to play a perfect game to win:

"No. It feels like that is what defense is about. When I came into the league and I understood more about defense, your defense plays a certain way, period, regardless. I don't care if you don't have an offense on the other side of the ball or your offense is the best in the league. You play defense a certain way. You don't allow points, you get turnovers, you make big hits and you get pressure on the other guys. That has nothing to do with your offense."

On who is the biggest offensive threat the offense has, RB Clinton Portis or QB Mark Brunell:

"They are both doing well, especially Brunell. He's dong a great job this year. He's getting the ball where it needs to be and the big play potential between him and [WR Santana] Moss has been tremendous for him. I believe you still have to make sure that run does not go crazy on you. If that run goes crazy, then everything else open up. That is one thing we have to pay attention to and when the passing plays are called, we have to make sure we are in position to make plays."

On whether he sees that it is harder for teams who lost the Super Bowl to do well the next year:

"I could care less about that. That has nothing to do with us. We just are not doing the things that we need to do to win. As far as I am concerned, we did not go to the Super Bowl last year. This is a whole new season."

Whether he sees that teams' level of play goes up when they play this team:

"I'm pretty sure that is the case, not just because we went to the Super Bowl, but because of the success we had for a number of years here. If I am going up against a team that has been that good for that many years, I'm saying to myself that we need to have a good game against this team. We can't let them score points and offensively, we cannot turn the ball over with this team and their offense. I'm pretty sure that is what they are saying and with us struggling a bit, they lick their chops a little more."

On whether he thinks this team still has the same hunger they once had:

"I would hope so. I don't know the mentality of everybody; I can't get into everybody's head. But I would hope that the hunger is still there. I know it is for me. I know that I am not satisfied with last year. I'm not satisfied with playing 2 or 3 good games. I want to play every game perfectly. Will that happen? Probably not, but that's the mentality that I hope everyone is taking into every game. We still didn't accomplish what we set out to last year and we are not even thinking about what could happen at the end of the season. We need to think about what can happen in this game right here. We can actually stop talking about playoffs and Super Bowls right now."

On whether anything came up in the last few days to describe the team's slow start:

"By looking at the film, we are in position to make plays. We just are not making them. That is the bottom line. The opposing team is doing what it takes to keep the chains moving. On third down we just are not getting off the field and when you don't get off the field on third down; their offense stays on the field and has three more downs to get to the end zone. As a defense, we have been better on 3rd downs and we need to get back to being that way in the first and second quarter and not let them drive the ball. I'm talking about penalties as well."

On whether the lack of a pass rush is killing this defense:

"I wouldn't say its killing us. We all know we want to get more pressure on the quarterback whether it is by blitz or whether it is by the guys up front. Even going back and looking at the film, the television copy only shows you so much. A lot of those throws he was making, he was under duress. The guys were a step away from getting him. So, that falls on the secondary to cover a little better, to give them that extra step they need to get to the quarterback. To me, it works hand in hand. Do I believe those guys can do it? Yes. Do I believe that [defensive coordinator] Jim [Johnson] is going to devise a scheme for us when teams do max protect to take advantage of that? Yes."

On why he thinks the team is struggling in the red zone:

"There have been some missed communications on a couple of occasions. Some pretty good throws by the quarterbacks, some good catches by tight ends and we are just not making plays like we need to make. I am not going to keep saying, ‘what we used to do,' because this is the same defense as we are. We are a good defense and we are going to continue to be a good defense. We just have to make the plays when they are presented to us. I am not going to say, ‘what we used to do.'"

On whether he believes that offenses have caught up to this defense and its schemes:

"I think, just like we look at the tendencies of offenses and try to take advantage of them, they look at our tendencies of our defenses and take advantages of those. It's a chess match and when they find out that, Jim moves us around and does different things to not let them catch up with that. To me, we have to continue to do what we do and play with a certain hunger and mentality that this team is not going to score on us. That is something that is lacking a bit right now, especially on the road. When we play here, it's completely different. But when we are on the road, I don't want to say flip a switch because the switch is turned on at all times, but we have not dialed into that zone of emotion that we need in a hostile environment."


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