Q: What are your impressions of Eli Manning and the Giants offense?
DM: I know we've played them in the preseason the last two seasons, so watching him, I think he's a guy that makes a lot of throws on the field. When you watch their offense, they're really never in a bad situation. He's a smart quarterback that I think is able to check them into good situations, good plays against whatever he sees out there on the field. As a defense, we really have to be ready to play all around - the run game with [Ahmad] Bradshaw and then they have a bunch of good receivers that get vertical and make plays.
Q: Do you look around at this group -- Leigh Bodden is gone, Brandon Meriweather is gone, James Sanders is gone -- do you look around and go ‘Where did everybody go?'
DM: No, I mean I still talk to those guys so I know where they are. I think our focus right now is just getting better and at times we're making strides in that and at times we're falling a little short. I think our goal is to keep getting better and be more consistent.
Q: There has been a lot of flux though, a lot of guys moving in and out, which you don't really see at this point. How do you handle that?
DM: You just keep playing. Guys have been playing here - just because you don't always see guys on the game field, but guys have been here, guys have been out there practicing. You have to really value those reps when you're out there on the practice field. When we're in the meeting rooms, we're communicating with guys and that's where you build that trust and communication on the field - you build it in meeting rooms and walkthroughs. We really just emphasize communicating in the walkthroughs and meetings.
Q: You just touched on it real briefly and a couple of other guys said it - communication isn't where it should be, especially in the Pittsburgh game. What can be done to overcome that?
DM: I think just putting an emphasis on it - not really taking it for granted, taking it lightly. I think we always focus on that and sometimes you just need reminders - keep attacking that aspect of the game. I think that's big this week, like I said, just doing it in the meeting rooms and walkthroughs and that leads to the practice field and then will lead over to Sunday.
Q: Do you think all the changes have affected the defense's performance?
DM: I really don't think that's important. I think we have a group of guys here that can get the job done. It's our job to go out there and work at it.
Q: Hines Ward said yesterday that he didn't feel the need to push through his injury to play because he didn't think you guys were very good and they felt they could exploit the secondary. Is that something you use as motivation or something that makes you angry?
DM: No, I didn't even know that. I think all of our focus right now is on the Giants. We watched that [Pittsburgh] game so we can learn from that going forward. That's the focus right now - is on the Giants.
Q: Is your hope that the more that you guys get passed on, the more you get tested, the better you're going to get because you're going to have to eventually respond and turn it around?
DM: I think our outlook is really that we're going to get better. We really don't worry about what everybody else says. We're just trying to get better and we're trying to do it as soon as possible. When we go out there today we're going to have that urgency at practice to get better. [We're] trying to make sure it keeps coming over on Sundays, not just for a week, not for two weeks but that we can be consistent stringing each game together.
Q: You've been in this business for two years now. I assume that each time one of your friends is cut, it's probably a strange thing. To lose so many guys that are big names, do you react to that each time it happens?
DM: You don't. Those guys, like you said, they're your friends. It's a business - you just keep practicing, keep playing. Your friendship still goes on with those guys but you're focusing on who is here and what we can do now.
Q: Is there anything you guys can do to speed up the improvement process?
DM: You just have to work. I wish there was a way we could just press a button or something, but it's just hard work and I think time, putting the extra effort into it, watching film together - doing all that stuff I think will play off for us.
Q: How important is it to watch film together?
DM: Definitely I think that's key - just watching together so now you're not guessing on what you think another guy on the field is going to do or guessing on what you think he sees. We're able to talk about it - that's sometimes where you can find a problem that could happen on Sunday, you find it right there in the meeting room and you can talk about it and get it fixed right there.
Q: Last year you guys were able to come away with a lot of turnovers and takeaways. This year I believe you're plus two but how much of that is situational and how much is getting opportunities, especially at your position?
DM: I think it's a little bit of both. You have to have those opportunities, but the other half of it is going out there and making a play. Sometimes you make a good play but you could have made a great play when you break it down from the beginning of the play to the end of the play. It's both - you have to have the opportunity but we also have to go out there and make more of those plays because it's a big factor when you can make those plays - it really helps on defense.
Q: There was a ball that landed almost at your feet the other day, there was a crowd - did you see that ball?
DM: Yeah, I saw it kind of late, that's why I had a late reaction to it. But that's one of the plays - it's an opportunity and you have to really take advantage of that because it could be a game changer.
Q: How much does it bother you personally that teams are openly targeting you guys and that's their plan of attack?
DM: Of course it bothers me but I don't really think it's important. You can't control how somebody feels and what we put out on tape is us so if somebody looks at it and that's how they feel - it is what it is. That's not going to change our attitude. We're still going to watch the film and we're going to come out to play and come out to try to stop people. No matter what they say, if they're nice to us in the media and say all good things, we're still going to come out and try to shut them down. That's still our focus.