Q: How are you feeling about Thursday's game and who is going to play quarterback this week?
DM: I think for us it's just important to get rolling. I think our staff does a great job of moving on for these short weeks and trying to prepare for a team. We came here yesterday and they got us a ton of information right away. I think that really helps us as players because in a normal week, we've got days to go over stuff, but now you need it right away. Our coaching staff, I don't even know if they've slept; coming back from opening week, flying all the way back, then getting ready for Miami, then now with another short week. I think that was big for us as players, just to have stuff to go over at home and try to get ahead and get prepared for Thursday. Quarterback-wise, they'll be ready, they'll be prepared, and we'll just go out there and play.
Q: Do you feel like Jacoby Brissett has to cram for the test this week?
DM: No. One thing, if you play here, Bill [Belichick] says in the beginning of the year, 'This is not college. This is not a four-year scholarship. Each week you need to come in here and prepare and practice and be out there like you're out there playing for a job.' That's the attitude here, and I think [Jacoby Brissett] has been preparing and doing everything he has to do like everyone else on the team.
Q: What are your thoughts on Jacoby Brissett's performance and progression as a quarterback?
DM: He's playing well, but like I always said, I'm no quarterback coach. I don't really have the tools to grade a quarterback. I think he's like every other young player that's come in here. He's been eager to learn and excited about being here and just trying to get better.
Q: Does the short week help you have a short memory of the second half defensive decline in the Miami game?
DM: We'll see. As long as we play well [Thursday], then that means it's good. But I think short weeks have an advantage. Hopefully you don't get too banged up on Sunday, you get right back out there, you play a game, and then you get a little extra time off going into the next game. I think Matty P. [Matt Patricia] and our defensive coaches, they always talk about just putting everything you've got in to being ready to go Thursday, and then having time off after. I think it's the mentality of understanding how to prepare for this game more than anything. To try to go out there and execute, obviously, it's not normal, so having the blueprint kind of laid out for us by the coaches gives us a little advantage.
Q: What kind of threat does Brock Osweiler bring to the Houston offense?
DM: Same way when we played him last year in Denver; a guy that's mobile enough to move around and make plays with his legs. He had a play against Chicago where we escaped like three tackles and was able to pick up about 15-20 yards on a scramble play, and then obviously, has a huge arm. One thing, as soon as you turn on the film, you see they're getting the ball down the field to [Will] Fuller and [DeAndre] Hopkins, 40, 50, 60 yards down the field they're throwing it and letting it go, so that's probably the easiest way to lose a game - let a quarterback drop back and throw the ball over your head. So that's going to be a huge challenge for us. Obviously, Hopkins has been one of the top receivers for the last couple of years in the NFL, and Fuller has been a guy who has come out as a rookie with back-to-back 100-yard games, so we're going to have our hands full. Being in the secondary, that's our first challenge right there; if we don't stop that, we don't give the rest of the defense a chance to play well on Thursday.
Q: What was it about the defensive performance in the second half of the Miami game that allowed the Dolphins to get so many yards and scored so many points?
DM: We didn't play well. I think it was obviously a short week, we had to move on quick, so it was just we didn't play well. We, like always, watched the film and tried to fix some things that can come up Thursday and help us going forward, and then just moved on.
Q: Does it give you any added boost that the Texans have never won a game at Gillette Stadium, or is that something you have to set aside?
DM: No, I don't pay attention to that because right now, they're 2-0. They've gone out there, played two tough games and got victories. I think that has to be the focus - how they're playing right now. How many times they've come in here and got a win really doesn't matter. I think our focus just has to be the team right now, the 2016 Texans, and being prepared for them.
Q: How did your relationship with Vince Wilfork during his time here help you grow as a professional and a player in this league?
DM: It was a big help. Vince [Wilfork] is a good friend of mine. He taught me a lot about being a leader, about preparation, being a true professional in this league. I think just having his voice and always teaching to me and talking to me about life and playing football, and also off the field, has really helped me become the player I am.
Q: Is it still strange to see Vince Wilfork in a different uniform?
DM: It's the NFL. I have a twin brother and I always say, I see him in another uniform playing against him, so after that, everything else is kind of normal.
Q: A lot of attention has to be focused on DeAndre Hopkins' speed.
DM: Yeah, he's a vertical guy, gets down the field. I think the biggest thing he does is just catch the ball. I don't care if there are defenders on top of him jumping with him, if there are two guys jumping with him, he does a great job of just locating the football and being able to go up in traffic and get it. We played them towards the end of the season last year so we got to watch a whole year's worth of really top-10 highlight plays of really, guys being there in coverage and him just going up and getting the football, so we've talked a lot this week about - it's important to be there, but it's more important to make a play and get the ball out. Guys are there on him in coverage, but he somehow comes down with the ball whether it's deep, whether it's in cuts, comebacks, he does a great job and has great hands just to go out there and be able to pluck the ball out of the air.
Q: How much does the addition of Will Fuller make the Texans more difficult for you to defend?
DM: He creates and deserves attention. You can't just worry about [DeAndre] Hopkins. You do that, and he'll burn you for two 30, 50-yard bombs. If you watch throughout the preseason and the first two games, he's been the guy that's been able to get vertical and get behind the defense and has big catches for them. You can see they have designed plays to get him the ball and let him use his speed, even throwing him quick screen plays that make a guy or two miss and he goes in and gets in the end zone. It's always hard when you've got two vertical threats out there because you've got to respect both of them. You can't just be out there worrying about one guy going deep because if you shut that down, the other guy will beat you going deep three or four times. It forces the secondary to really be on top of their game across the board.
Q: How is this team able to overcome so many bumps in the road and still keep winning?
DM: I just think it's complete belief and faith in us as a team. I think as players, Bill [Belichick] always says that the coaches coach, but the players have to go out there and play. When you're on a team and you believe everybody is out there trying to work and trying to get better, everybody wants to play here. When guys get the opportunity to go out there and play, you believe they've been waiting for this, so I think we all understand what we have to do to win. I think sometimes, you worry about so many other things that really don't translate or have anything to do with winning and that throws you off. I think here, we have to focus on what we have to do to try to win. No matter what happens, it's always a clear cut message. When we came in here yesterday and moved on to the Texans, Bill stood up there in the meeting and said, 'We need to do this to win.' I think that becomes a focus throughout the week. This is what we need to do to win, and if something comes up and it doesn't pertain to those things, we've got to kind of forget about it and move on.
Q: How big is trust and having faith in each other across the team?
DM: I think that's huge. For us, that starts in April. You come in here and guys are working out together, you go through OTAs, you go through training camp. We do a ton of things together. We're in this building 12-13 hours per day. You build trust in guys. You go out there, you practice hard, and if guys do it on the practice field, you know they can do it in a game. We can't go out there and play a bunch of games per week, but if you go out there and you practice hard and execute at a high level, I believe that you can go do that in a game. I think the effort and the time we put into being able to be prepared in practice carries over to the game.