MP: I would definitely say they’re obviously improved from last year. They’ve done a good job this year of distributing the ball around to their skill-position players. They have a lot of them out there on the field and a lot of guys who can hurt you in a hurry. They do an excellent job with their personnel, starting with the running back position, whichever running back is in the game, getting him the ball. Whether it’s in the running game or in the passing game, they will motion those guys out or spread those guys out, move their players around so you really have to be alert and ready to defend those guys in any particular position. And then obviously their receivers with [Stevie] Johnson and [Donald] Jones being big-time threats out there wherever they decide to get lined up along with an excellent pass-catching tight end in [Scott] Chandler. They’ve done a really good job as far as using their skill positions. Their offensive line has been a really good group this year to give the quarterback some protection and time to basically run the offense. Obviously the group, the longer they play together and develop, they’ve really been able to do some really good things with the offense.
Q: What stood out to you as to why the run defense issues came up on Sunday night against Baltimore?
MP: Every week, we take a look at the film and try to improve all the areas of the defense that we can. Whether it’s in the run game or the pass game, get the mistakes corrected. Whether it’s a scheme issue or not and try to just really then focus on the fundamentals going back to doing what we try to do best and that’s defeating blockers and trying to play those plays better with good fundamental skills and tackle better and do the little things better. That’s the most important thing for us right now.
Q: Would it be fair to say it was more an issue of defeating blocks than it was tackling?
MP: I think we’ll just try to get better at all of it. That’s where our focus is going to be.
Q: What do you like about your defense right now?
MP: I’d say that our guys come to work every day and work extremely hard. We have guys on this defense that love to play the game, like to work at the game and try to get better. They understand each week is a different challenge. Each week is something that we have to work on and get better. These guys really come to work every day with the attitude of trying to get better, trying to understand our opponent that week, what we’re trying to do from a game plan standpoint. I just can’t give enough credit to the work ethic and determination these guys have to try to get better every week. It goes from
Q: Is work ethic something that has come up in the past? Is that something that stands out with this team?
MP: Nope, definitely that is not the case. You just asked me what I love about this team and that is that these guys work really hard.
Q: What does the defense do right how that you can count on?
MP: We’re going to go out there every week and try to be a hard-nosed football team, try to play hard, physical, be aggressive and try to do everything that we’re asking those guys to do.
Q: Has that been the case so far this season?
MP: Like I said, every week you go out and try to improve from the previous week and try to get better. That’s what we’re trying to do.
Q: Can you assess Devin McCourty’s performance from Sunday night?
MP: In general, as a defense as a whole, we’re trying to improve every week and that would be from the coaching staff all the way through to the players and that’s what we’re really focused on and trying to get everybody going. Obviously with Buffalo, we have a huge challenge ahead of us so really just focused on trying to get ready for them and all the different things they can do with us. All of our guys are obviously trying to get better each week
Q: How has the complexion of the Buffalo offense changed without C.J. Spiller in the mix?
MP: Good question. What’s been amazing is that Fred Jackson is a tremendous player for them, a very multiple player. With him being out there for a little bit, Spiller stepped in and kind of took over the role. I think what they’ve done there is have an attitude in their backfield where one guy can come in and replace the next and they have still been very productive. Spiller obviously is a very, very fast player, quick, explosive. He and Jackson and put Johnny White in that category and [Tashard] Choice also. Those are guys that come right in and do a good job filling in the offense. Obviously Spiller has had some great yardage here in the past couple weeks. Like I said earlier, both of those guys are players – Spiller and Jackson – that they get the ball to in the run game but also in the pass game and that the complexity of what they do really amplifies with those two players
Q: In Spiller’s case also, special teams involvement makes him a more versatile threat.
MP: Yeah, he’s obviously a utility player for them that can do a lot of different things. They have a lot of confidence in getting those things done. He’s a key part of what they do.
Q: Your thoughts on the way the Monday Night Football game ended up last night?
MP: I didn’t see any of it obviously. I’m just really trying to focus on Buffalo. That’s my concern. My goal here is to try to improve us here and try to get everything that we need to get done for this week. Unfortunately I didn’t see any of it.
Q: Has it become an issue getting your players prepared mentally because of the situation with the officials?
MP: We do a great job here of everybody understanding that you control what you can control. We don’t spend any wasted time or effort worrying about any of those things that we can’t control. If we put all our effort and focus into what we can control, then we’ll be alright.
Q: Specific to the left defensive end position, what are you looking for out of that position in terms of what the player accomplishes, what does he need to do to have done his job well?
MP: On our defense in general with the guys in the front, like what we had talked about earlier, guys that can defeat blocks and play with good fundamental technique, whether it’s in the run game or the pass game. The best guys that we can get to do that and play the best fundamental football is what we’re looking for and I’d say that goes across the board.
Q: What are the skills that
MP: Obviously you have Rob nailed down with his work ethic. But, Rob does a good job of trying to defeat blockers and be strong at the point of attack and use his hands and be able to hold the edge over there. He’s been able to do that for us pretty well.
Q: What happens when a player like Rob Ninkovich does everything fundamentally technique-wise right and is still getting overpowered, does that cause you to take a closer look at the situation at that position? Does it become a size thing as opposed to a technique thing at some point?
MP: We’re trying to look at all of our guys before the game and make sure that we have the best possible matchups we can and obviously we have confidence in the guys we put out there to do their jobs to the best of their ability to get the job done.