I wore the numbers 36 and 23 on my armbands out to practice the last day before our weekend off. This was the first day that I've done it. They're our fallen soldiers and I just wanted to represent them. I've been thinking about them a lot so I put them on my wristbands.
It's really tough without those two around. Whenever you have down time you remember the friendship and the laughter and the camaraderie that I had with them. I've been playing with them a few years now, so it's tough. But we still communicate. They're holding up well but I know it hurts them because I went through it too last year with my back. Especially since we're winning and I know that they want to be a part of that. It's good to reach out to them every once in a while to let them know that they're still a part of everything that's going on and let them know that they're missed.
On the flip side, I can say that I'm really not all that surprised by how well Gibril (Wilson) has played stepping in for those two. He's a very hard worker. He really studies his film a lot – we watch film together all the time. He knows what's going on, he's really football savvy and has a lot of football sense. He wants to be great and that's what's driving him now.
We're doing a lot better this year and I really think it's because of our discipline. The coaches have done a great job of putting us in the right spots to make plays, both offensively and defensively. They're coaching us in such a way that it helps us to perform. They stress that this a high-performance game and that every time we step out there we're going to be held accountable.
We really focus on the stuff that we can't do and also all the stuff we need to get done for us to win. As a result, guys have it in the back of their mind that they can't make mistakes. You know that you can't jump offsides because it will lower our chances of scoring 35 percent. You know all the numbers because the coaches have told us. One penalty will really lower your chances of scoring. It's been around the league for years and years but these coaches are educating us about all this stuff.
Coach Coughlin's attention to detail really stands out. He lets you know and reminds you about all these little things that you probably weren't thinking about. Little things that you might have already known, but forgotten, or just stuff that most people might not have ever even thought about.
Defensively, we're a lot more aggressive and I really enjoy that. Our system is aggressive without you having to input your own aggressiveness. I don't have to go out there and jump an out route. This defense is designed to allow you to play underneath that out cut so you don't have to jump it. It's a little bit different, but it's still aggressive. I know the fans and media are looking at it and seeing that we're really playing well. For one thing, guys are taking the time to study and figure out what the offenses are going to do. And two, it's the scheme. We're always in the right place.
I'm not surprised by all the turnovers we've forced. Not at all. Honestly, I think we could have had more. Our aggressiveness and knowledge of where to be are where all the turnovers come from. We're all confident and comfortable in what we're doing. That helps too. We know our responsibilities and just go out there and execute.
The most surprising thing to me so far this season had to be the Philly game. I never could have figured that we would play as poorly as we did. I thought we were better prepared for that situation. Obviously, we weren't but it made us get our act together that much quicker. I'm definitely anxious to see them again.
I love Tim Lewis. I can't say enough about him right now. I remember when he first came in he told me he wanted to make us the East Coast defense. Everyone's talking about the West Coast offense; well, he wants us to be known for our style of defense. Right now, it's going very well. We're leading in turnovers; that's a positive. But we all can get better and guys are anxious to get back on the field and get back to work.
Making that pick to basically end the Dallas game was nice. But that's stuff that I'm supposed to be doing. That's my job. I know my role in this defense. I'm supposed to make plays so I take that as my job. If I don't make plays, then there'll be something to talk about. Making plays is just what I'm supposed to do.
If someone had told me before the year that we'd be 4-1 at the bye, my question would be ‘who did we lose to?' Seriously. I have that type of confidence in us and so does everybody else. Winning early has created a lot of confidence around here. We know what type of talent level and ability we have here. We all know how hard we work and how much we put into it. Since we work so hard we feel like we deserve to win. To work as hard as we do and then lose would be a waste of time. At halftime of the Dallas game, guys came in and were real upset, saying that we had worked too hard to lose the game. We weren't going to lose that game.
All we care about in here is ourselves. I don't pay too much attention to what outsiders are saying and writing about us. One week, it'll be that we're great, the next that we stink. It literally changes every week so it's not worth paying it much mind. My mind's only worried about getting better each week and what's going on inside this locker room. That's all you can control.
We can be as good as we want to be. Winning is contagious. You win, you build confidence and then you expect to win. We expect to win every game. No one wants to let the team down so I think that we'll just continue to get better.
It's the bye week, and I think we really needed it. There's no concern that we'll let up after this weekend off. I spent my bye weekend visiting my family in Arizona. It was good to see my mom and my sisters. It was just my nephew Elijah's fifth birthday so I went out there and got him a little dog.
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Scout NFL Network08/24/2016