JM: I think more of the prediction of where he may be centers around what defense they are actually in on the field at the time. He plays the strong side end – a four or five-technique end – when they’re in base defense most of the time. You have an idea of where he is going to be when they sub that base group out and go to sub nickel or dime packages. You have an idea of where he is going to be more based on the personnel than you do [based on] anything that we would be doing or any guessing on when they’re going to move him around and so on and so forth. They do happen to displace him some, but based on who they put on the field, he generally lines up where you would expect him to. But because he plays to the strength of the formation sometimes, that’s why our guys on the right and on the left will both be challenged with handling him along with the rest of their great front on Sunday.
Q: What is it like working with
JM: Tom has a great approach and demeanor about his work every day. I think that’s really a great thing to have as a quarterback. If you can be consistent with the way you approach your job – how hard you work and the intensity with which you prepare for each opponent – I think that generally that sets a great example for your teammates and for anybody who is looking at you for leadership, in terms of how you would expect them to do their job too. We all get excited when you’re in the postseason, I mean this is really what we play and coach for, is to try to have an opportunity to play in these types of games and to coach in these types of games. I’m sure Tom is no different than any player who is really excited for our opportunity this week. But I think that Tom is a pretty consistent guy who has a great approach to doing his job every day as well as he can do it.
Q: The Texans’ front seems to be better with Brooks Reed back on the field. Can you assess how he makes that group different?
JM: Brooks Reed is another young, talented edge guy that plays with a great motor. [He’s] certainly been disruptive when he’s been in there and gives them another guy to play on the edge. I thought [Connor] Barwin and [Whitney] Mercilus, who we saw in the first game, did really good job and I think they do a great job. I think Reed just comes in and really provides some explosiveness off the edge. [He’s] a guy that can pass rush, can really play in the running game, has a great playing style about him and he’ll be another big challenge for us that we didn’t see a few weeks ago.
Q: What do you see out of the Texans’ secondary? Can you assess some of the players they run out there?
JM: This defense in general really does a great job of playing complementary – the parts of their defense play complementary roles to one another. It’s a secondary that’s asked to play man coverage. They pressure a lot, so they’re asked to play some coverages where they’re in single coverage when they blitz. They ask them to play in the slot some, depending on the formations and the personnel that you have on the field on offense. I think that [Johnathan] Joseph has really done a good job of matching up on some specific receivers during the course of the season. He’s really a talented guy and is worthy of all the accolades that he’s received and has done a great job of really competing well in some of those games where he has been matched up [with] really top notch receivers. The safeties are asked to play a lot of different roles too. [Danieal] Manning plays down near the front in some of their man coverages and is asked to cover the tight ends and I think he’s really competitive in that situation. He does a great job of getting the ball off of people and stripping the ball away and has had a history of that over his career. [Glover] Quin plays safety and also has played down in the front and blitzed and been a disruptive guy in their dime package. So there are a lot of talented players back there. The scheme, like I said, they have to hold up sometimes when they pressure and then other times they do a good job of really shutting things down in the back end and giving the front an opportunity to get to the passer. I think all of them will come up there in run support; they’re good tacklers. It’s a really good defense and there’s no question that the secondary plays a big role in that.