Porter, whose 21.5 career sacks already ranks him in a tie with Carnell Lake and John Banaszak for 18th on the team's all-time list, is being asked to move to inside linebacker on the team's dime defense. He spoke with Lolley about that move:
DL: I see you talking a lot with (free agent linebacker) James Farrior. Are you a teacher now?
JP: "I'm still learning this all myself."
DL: At this point in your career, is it tough to make a move like this? You're kind of taking one for the team.
JP: "We're all playing this game for one reason, to win a championship. We have a lot of guys who are really good athletes. So we need to have our best 11 guys on the field at one time. If that means me going to the middle, to let Kendrell get out there and rush, so be it. If that's what it's going to take for us to get to where we want to go, San Diego, then I'm going to make that commitment and learn the dime position and help our team get better."
DL: Everybody talks about the transition Kendrell is making, but you're making a pretty big one too, having been a college defensive end. What are the toughest things about this move?
JP: "It's a whole new position. Third down is usually my down to go and get the quarterback. Now I'm going to be doing a lot of covering and calling the defense. So I'm adding a whole lot of responsibilities. But at the same time, that's a price I'm willing to pay. I'm going to accept this challenge and challenge myself to be the player that I really think I can be. And that means I'm going to be out there covering guys in pass coverage because I think I can do it. Coach (Mike) Archer and Tim (Lewis) and Coach Willy (Robinson), they've coached me well. They've helped me out a lot, getting me in there to show me little things to help me get better. The thing is, the faster I learn my position, the more I can help Kendrell. I've already played where he's at. I can line myself up and then remind him of what he has to do. It's going to be a good situation for us. The faster I pick it up, the more it's going to help our defense. I feel like I'm ahead of schedule. So I'm out here just knocking out the kinks, learning all the different formations, adjusting to them and making sure I'm doing the right things."
DL: This is going to hurt your sack numbers, isn't it?
JP: "Sacks really don't matter that much. This just means I'll have to go harder on first and seconds downs. But we still have a lot of blitzes. Just because I'm in the middle doesn't mean I won't be coming."
DL: But when people start looking for the Pro Bowl vote, a lot of guys probably look at the sack totals, don't they?
JP: "The Pro Bowl doesn't really matter. We had the No. 1 defense in the league last season and they took one guy from it to the Pro Bowl. I don't know what it's going to take. We have our sights set on winning something bigger. If we do what we did last season and go on and win the Super Bowl, the Pro Bowl and all that other stuff, it will come."