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Dolphins Defensive End Trace Armstong Press Conference

Phone ConferenceDolphins Defensive End Trace Armstong speaks to the press.



            **Q:  You are in a unique situation with the way the defense is set up for you.**  

A: I'm really having a lot of fun right now. I've said all year that the last couple of years, I've really enjoyed more than any of them. So much of it has to do with the type of organization this is. This is a great place to work. I work with great guys. That makes it a lot of fun and very rewarding.

Q: Did you have a feeling that your defense would be as good as it has been this season?

A: I did because you could just see the potential on the practice field. We had so much strength at every position, we had depth. We had all of the things that you look for in a great defense. I think a lot of us performing well has just been our younger guys maturing. We have got an excellent group tom to bottom.

Q: It was believed that the defense would have to carry the Dolphins, and you have. Was that added pressure?

A: I don't think there was any added pressure. We know how this team was built. When you look at our defense, most of our higher draft picks were on defense. Most of our highest-paid players play defense. I think we carry more defensive players on the roster than most teams in the league. That's how we expect to win games.

Q: You were traded from Chicago when Dave Wannstedt was the coach, and ironically you end up with him as your coach now. How did that all shake down?

A: It's been fun. I really think the best thing that ever happened to me was getting traded from Chicago. They've certainly struggled over the last several years. I've had a chance to come down and really play for a great organization. I don't think you can overstate that when you talk about the Miami Dolphins, just the way they do things from a day to day standpoint. Your work environment, this is as good as it gets.

Q: What was your reaction to being traded?

A: I think mixed emotions. I love the city of Chicago. It was a great place to come in and play. I played with some of the all-time greats ever to play. Guys like Mike Singletary and Richard Dent, Steve McMichael and Dan Hampton. It was a great experience. I think any player, you've got mixed emotions when something like this happens. For me, you're anxious to see if the grass is greener somewhere else, but also you have a home, friends and teammates in the community. There is always mixed emotions. I look back at my time in Chicago and I still love the city and the fans. I think of those days like a first girlfriend. You remember all of the good stuff, but glad you're still not with them.

Q: What has allowed you to improve with age?

A: I think over the years I've kind of bounced back and forth three or four years of my career where I had to go inside and play. I was just really not comfortable doing that and not nearly as effective as I am on the edge. So that certainly helped. There's no question about that. You get smarter as you get older. I'm a smarter pass rusher than I was when I came in the league or even than I was four years ago. You hope some of that pays off with productivity. You just have to be able to run, you still have to have quickness and strength. I've worked hard to try and maintain that over the years. There's no doubt about it, I'm a much smarter player than I was coming in.

Q: How is the team reacting to the situation with the playoffs?

A: I think we've responded pretty well. I think the secret to this team all year is we've been a team that's pretty much been able to put blinders on and really focus on this week's game. There's an expression in the NFL, 'Don't let last week's game cost you the next game.' We've tried to eliminate the real highs when you win and the lows when you lose. Stay consistent mentally, and stay consistent with our preparation. That's the way we'll be this week. We know that there's lots of scenarios out there. If you get involved with looking at them, it takes away your focus and preparation. We've got to go up to New England and win in hostile territory which we know is hard to do. We know that to get that win, it started on Monday and it starts again today with focus.

Q: Do you buy into the notion that Miami struggles in December?

A: Well, I think at least in my time here, in December, in the previous five years we did not play well. I think a lot times we were a tired football team in December. I don't think that is the case with this team now. We've still got to go out and win on the road. You have to separate yourself, I think a little bit as a player, from some of those trends. We know where we're at as a team, and we know how we win football games. That's the thing we need to concentrate on. If we win with the Dolphins formula which is winning the turnover battle, and eliminating the penalties, we're going to win just about every time. If we don't follow that formula then we're going to struggle. That's the thing you focus on this time of year, not what happened in the past.

Q: Do you have any idea what your plans are for your free agency?

A: I do like Miami, but at the same time, I understand the system, I helped negotiate it. I helped build it. I know how things work, we got a lot of guys here that are up. That's kind of one of things that I've been trying to preach to our guys is how special this opportunity is because you don't know where any of us will be next year and what kind of defense we'll have and what kind of team we'll have. You've really got to make the most of it. That's really what I'm thinking about. I really enjoy playing in this defense. I really enjoy playing with these guys. I'm not ready for it to end yet. We're just going to go out and hopefully keep it going for the next several weeks.

Q: You were the president for the last collective bargaining agreement?

A: The last two.

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