Looking at Houston's game from Saturday with the way Houston controlled the ball and the clock, is that exemplary of how they can be most dangerous on offense? MP:
Yeah, I think that was really a great example this past weekend of how they like to play football down there – be physical, be aggressive, run the ball, control the clock and really just do a good job of just handling the game. I think with the run game going the way they have it going, obviously it sets up the play-action pass game, whether it’s the play-action downfield, [Matt] Schaub’s – the boot game that they have, or even you saw them try to get the screen game going too. That complements their deeper downfield throws along with their drop back game. But I think the more they can go ahead and establish a solid running game – and obviously they’ve got the players to do it and be physical and aggressive – I think that’s where they want to go. Q:
What was the key to having an ideal defensive performance last month against the Texans with such a well-balanced offense? MP:
It’s every week that if we can just get our guys to focus hard and prepare for exactly what we’re going to see and then obviously adapt to the way the game goes, the better of we’re going to be in those instances. Obviously it’s just a great challenge for us again because they are such a good offense. They are a balanced offense, one that can run the ball. When that running game gets going, it obviously sets up a lot of other things that they can do. It really falls in the line of the same things of kind of what I said last time. Obviously a great wide receiver in Andre Johnson and [Kevin] Walter’s certainly very good. Their tight ends are phenomenal, between [Owen] Daniels and [Garrett] Graham and [James] Casey, who was in there also. I think they just really provide a lot of different weapons that they can use offensively that you have to be prepared to stop. It’s going to be another big challenge for us and they proved again last week that they can control the game and run the ball and really just do a good job of handling game from that standpoint. Q:
What are some keys to defending the bootleg, because so many different things can happen rarely or sporadically throughout the game? What are some keys the defense has to look for? How tough is it if they end up in one of those two-on-one situations? MP:
The boot game for them is a great complement to what they do in the running game, so it is an extremely hard play to recognize and defend. Hopefully through preparation during the week, you get those tips and keys or any tendencies you might see along with obviously just some awareness, some play recognition that will help you be able to see the design of the run versus the design of the boot and hopefully we can pick those up and have a good handle on it. Q:
Tight end Garrett Graham missed the first matchup last month and although not a starter, he plays a key role on offense. How important are the tight ends and how much more dangerous is the Houston offense with their full complement of offensive weapons? MP:
Yeah, I think obviously they’re going to put the healthiest bodies they have out on the field and be successful. I think all the guys they have when they’re active for the game, they’re going to use them in the most efficient ways possible. I would just say with those in particular, the three tight ends they do have and they do use all of them quite a lot, I think they have a real excellent package that they can kind of mix and match those guys and put them in different positions and create different matchup situations or just formation situations that they feel are advantageous to what they’re try to do for that particular game. I definitely think those guys, those three players along with the wide receivers, their skill positions, they really do throw a wrinkle into what they’re doing and what you’re trying to do to defend it. So, it certainly does just add another dimension to what they do.