Player Diary: Osi Umenyiora

‘I felt like people were starting to doubt me' I think we've had a pretty good season so far. Defensively, we've kind of been up and down. We'll do real well one week, then not so well the next. Against Washington, we kind of put it all together defensively. Hopefully from here on out, we'll play a lot better and a lot more consistent.

I really needed the big game that I had (two sacks, four tackles, a fumble recovery and a pass break-up). Things just weren't going the way I wanted them to. I wasn't playing bad, but I also wasn't playing as well as I thought I could. I've been pretty in between so far. I haven't really done anything bad, but I also haven't done anything outstanding. Some good, some bad. They also put me in the proper position so I can take advantage of what I'm good at, and I was able to capitalize on that.

I kind of felt like people were starting to doubt me a little bit. Not just the media, but some people around here. For what reason I don't know. That's just the thing about the league. You have to prove yourself, week-in and week-out, it doesn't matter who you are. That's what is expected of you, and I guess I wasn't performing at a high-enough level.

I felt there was a little bit of doubt and I didn't like that too much to be honest. I thought it was unfair. I really did. It was just a situation where I don't even really talk to the media anymore. A lot of people don't really sit and watch to see what's really going on. I don't get mad about it; I understand the media has a job to do.

It was getting to me a little bit. I just have to continue to play football and continue to do what I'm good at. Nobody really said anything to me, but I just realized that no matter what anyone says, I know that if I'm in position to make plays that I'm going to make plays. I never doubted myself. I never have doubted myself since I left high school. I've always felt like I can play and can make plays. I'm not going to let anybody tell me that I can't do something when I can see for myself that I can.

I felt the coaches felt that way. I felt they did. That was really a little bit disturbing. I know what I'm capable of doing. I don't think I'm even half as good as I'm going to be. No one said anything specifically, but sometimes you can just feel it. I didn't know what or why that was all about it.

I saw that Justin (Tuck) was getting more reps. I wasn't really surprised. As a defensive lineman, you have to play. As a rookie, I was getting four or five snaps a game, and you don't progress that way. To be honest with you, I really don't care. I just want to help this football team win football games. It's real simple for me. I just have to play the run and rush the passer. That's it.

But it wasn't like I flipped the switch against Washington. I really was doing the exact same things that I had been doing. I've always had the same practice habits and the same mentality. It's just that certain situations come open for you and you have to take advantage of them.

I think I was in a better position to succeed. In passing situations, there really weren't many blitzes called. That's good for me. If it's a straight, four-man rush, it's just me against my guy. I went against (Redskins tackles) Chris Samuels and Ray Brown pretty much the whole game. I had the chance to keep on rushing against the same guys. When you give me that chance, there's no one that's going to be able to block me for the whole game. When we blitz, then my assignment changes. I have to move in different directions and do different things. That's good for the defense.

We were ranked 31st coming into that game, but I don't think that was a true indication of our defense. I'm not going to tell you we were just outstanding, but I don't think we were as bad as a 31st-ranked defense would be. You can't possibly be bad and then come out and do what we did. We had some mental lapses, plus we were playing ahead so people were just racking up a lot of yards that way.

A lot of people on defense were very angry before that game. Not just because we were ranked 31st, but Washington had come out and said some things, talking about how soft our defense was. You just don't do that in the NFL. Even if you're thinking it, you're foolish to say it. That's stupid to talk like that.

That was a huge win to get for us. That was a situation where we had to win that game. There's no way we could have lost it, after what happened during the week. There was no option. We had to win that game for Mr. Mara.

We have all the ability in the world. We have all the talent, real good coaches; it's just a matter of us playing our responsibilities and doing what we're supposed to. We've showed everybody what we're capable of doing now. We can't regress; we can't take two steps back like we've been doing. One game we'll hold someone to 30 yards rushing. The next game we'll give up 190. We just can't do things like that. We have to be more consistent. We put it together for a whole game. We have to keep doing that.

This week, everyone thinks we're going to go out to San Francisco and just smash them. It's going to be tough. They play very, very well at home. They're in the NFL too. The Redskins blasted them, 52-17, then came here and we beat them, 36-0.

Winning is a lot of fun, especially the manner in which we're winning. Most of the games we have won, we've been really beating people bad. Not since my junior year of college have I been on a winning team. I feel like that's what we have here this year. We just have to build on that Washington game. I really feel like we're going to be a dominant defense.

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