Q: Just talk about the mind set of your team going into New England, the importance of this game and how you feel the Dolphins are approaching it this week.
JT: Well, first of all, I approach this week as this is the first round of the playoffs, because we're in a situation now where there's a strong possibility we'll be sitting home at New Year's, and that's obviously not something we want to do. We're approaching this as a playoff game. We are confident going into it. We know we have a quality football team, and we just need to go up there and play well and get a victory.
Q: Does it seem strange to you that you guys would have such a successful season and win so many big games, like beating the Raiders, and here you are in a game where there's a chance that you could maybe even miss the playoffs in some weird scenario, does that seem improbable to you?
JT: Yeah, it's puzzling and to be quite honest with you, it's disappointing, too, when we sit and think about it. But we are at a point and a position now where we can't sit and think about it. It's not something we give much thought to. The most important game of our year is sitting in front of us come Sunday and that's what we have to get.
Now, there's some games, like you said, the Oakland game and the Denver game up there in Denver that we played well against a good football team. When you see us play in those games and win, you think the Dolphins are well on their way. And then we've had some trip ups with some teams we felt like we should have beat but that's all past now. We are where we are and this is what we have to take care of now.
Q: Can you talk about New England? Of all teams to have to go on the road and play, the defending Super Bowl champions don't want to be sitting at home either.
JT: Right. That will make the game a lot more interesting for everybody. It's a pressure situation for both teams. Both teams need to get the win to try to clinch the division and get in the playoffs, and obviously neither one of us wants to be sitting at home. It's not a situation where one team is getting ready to go on vacation for six months and the other one is trying to move into the playoffs.
So it's very important for both teams and that will make it that much better for the viewers at home and make it that much more intense of a football game.
Q: What happened last week? They talk about this "trap game," you had the big win against the Raiders you knew going into New England it was going to be an important game no matter what happened in Minnesota. Just what happened last week?
JT: We certainly didn't make enough plays. We let them make more plays, especially in the second half with their offense. They picked up key first downs. I think they were 7 for 9 on third down in the second half and that's just it's our fault. There's nothing we can say. We can't say the offense didn't put up points or this happened or that happened. We simply didn't get the field on third down defensively, and they were able to continue to get drives going. When it came right down to it, Randy Moss made a big play. We didn't take care of our business when we needed to with that third, that third and 15 or 16, and he made us pay for it.
Q: Can you talk about the rivalry in general with the Patriots and how it's gone over the last couple of years?
JT: It's been big. Ever since I got here, I think it was my rookie year, New England beat us three times; twice in the regular season and they beat us in the first round of the playoffs, I think it was.
From that point on, it's grown every year. They came down here earlier in the year and we played well against them and had some success and got the win, and that will make it that much more exciting of a playoffs, and they'll definitely be ready to go.
Q: You've had a lost success going against Matt White. What do you attribute that to?
JT: Well, No. 1, I always contribute it to playing hard. If you play hard and you keep going and that mode never stops, good things are eventually going to happen.
Matt is a good ballplayer and he's done some good things. He's a competitor. He fights and kicks the whole game, and we just go at it. And when there's plays to be made, you've got to make them. That's basically how it works every week. You just go out there and try to do what you do best against what the guy across you does best, and hopefully you come out on top.
Q: It sounds like you are being a little diplomatic Matt's respected as a left tackle in just his second year, but with what's happened in just his second year, when people were talking about his shortcomings one of the things that comes up almost every time is he can't handle Jason Taylor.
JT: Well, I appreciate that, so I guess he'll be ready to go come Sunday, though. I've had some success against him. I mean, it's almost like I can't give away the kinks in the armor right now. I can talk about them maybe Sunday afternoon, about 4:30 I'll tell you. But there's plays to be made there. I mean, I realize that. I'm in a position with this team that I'm relied on to make some plays, and they look at me to make plays and that's what I have to go out there and find a way to do.
Q: Without giving away some of your secrets, can you talk about how you approach attacking a quarterback, you have 18.5 sacks, can you just talk about some philosophy, your style and how you just go about getting those sacks?
JT: Really, to me, I call it a control chaos. It's just, you know, when you watch film during the week, you look at different things, stances and sets and quarterback drop points where they throw the ball from and so many different things that you look at on film. You know, obviously, I break them down and I try to come up with something that I think will work. But at the end of the day you're going to go back and do what you're going to do. You try to get off the ball fast, keep your pads down and keep working your hands and your feet and be relentless. There's always been things that I'll go into a game and say, okay, I'll try this, this, and this and I think this will work, but if it doesn't, I'll come back to this. Sometimes those turn into sacks or big plays and sometimes they don't.
At the end of the day, again, it's being relentless and outworking the man across from you. A lot of times, offensive linemen in particular, they don't want to play for eight and ten seconds. If you can outwork somebody four or five seconds to a play, then there's plays to be made after that point.
Q: Could you talk a little bit about the special relationship you and Zach have?
JT: First of all, Zach and I, we're family and the best of friends and I don't know anything more than that. We have a very unique relationship in that we're that close and it makes playing with him playing with him is great anyway because Zach is the consummate pro. He's so good at what he does, and is a humble and hard working guy. To be related to him is just that's just icing on the cake.
Q: Can you talk about Rich Gannon and the success he's had this year?
JT: It's amazing what the guy does. He really you could tell watching the guy, he understands the game. He understands the offense he's playing in. He uses his players to run. He doesn't try to do too much. He doesn't have receivers now I'm not saying Tim Brown and Jerry Rice are not fast but he doesn't have guys that are straight burners that can blow by somebody, and he knows that and he works with what he has. Jerry Rice and Tim Brown run some of the best routes and Gannon puts the ball on the money. If they are not open, he'll drop it off to Garner. He's 36 years old, but he can move around and make plays with his legs, and not particularly running like a Culpepper, but he'll move around and in the pocket and step up and keep himself alive enough to throw the ball and make plays.
It's unbelievable what he does. He's definitely having a heck of a year.
Q: Once again it looks like the schedule maker has not done you guys exactly a favor. Are you coming to accept playing December games in New England as a fact of life or is it annoying after a while?
JT: It certainly seems like it's the norm now. I don't know who does the schedule. I've been trying to make some phone calls to figure it out, but I can't get a return call from anybody. Last year, we had a situation where we had the three games in 13 days in December and we had it again this year. It seems like every year, we get it seems like every year, we get New England up there at the end. They like to get those Dolphins up there in the snow in December for some reason.
It's how it's laid out. We can't do anything about it, and the only thing we can do is go up there and play hard, that's what we have to find a way to do.
Q: The perception is that you guys play better in warm weather and not as well in cold weather.
JT: We haven't done anything to make those rumors false and that's something we need to do. We can't sit around here and talk about it and that can't be our motivation going into the game, which definitely it won't be. But until you win and until you silence those things, they are going to keep coming up, and what better way to do it than to get one this Sunday.
I look at it like this: It doesn't matter what the weather is, whether it's snowing, raining, ten degrees or 100 degrees. I don't care if they live in it or not. You still have to go out there and play in it. It's only three hours; if you can't go out there and play your tail off for three hours in the snow or in the heat or whatever it may be, then I think you're getting paid too much money for not doing your job.
Q: If you guys take care of business on Sunday and this scenario plays out and you get in the playoffs, can you talk about how dangerous a team do you think the Dolphins can be?
JT: You know, once teams get into the show, it's like New England last year or Baltimore a few years ago. Once you get into the dance, anything can happen and you can end up in the big show. You've got to get your ticket punched in order it be able to do that, but once it's punched and you're in the door, anything can happen. I mean, it's all about a team getting on a roll and getting hot.
Some of the hottest teams during the year come playoff time, they fizzle out, and some teams that nobody thinks are going to get there, they kind of sneak up on everybody, and before you know it, they are playing their last game in January.
I mean, look at a team like the Titans this year. I know personally I have not heard a whole lot about the Titans this year, but the last couple of weeks there's been some talk and the things McNair has been doing, but to me it seems like they have been flying under the radar all year and now they are in a position to hit the playoffs running.
On the other end we've been getting a lot of publicity and things this year, and now we need to go out there and back it up. We need to get into the dance and make some things happen.
Q: In a light hearted vein, last year when you talked to us, you said that Zach and Larry Izzo were like husband and wife. I was wondering if you could just elaborate on that from your past experiences.
JT: As far as stories are concerned that's nothing I can't give you a story because children under 18 will be reading it.
You know what, I don't know if I said this last year or not, but I think they are divorced now. They went through a nasty divorce and I think Larry got the house and the cars. And Zach has a new girl now, he's engaged, so I think he moved on and realized that his girl now is much better looking than Larry and he's moving on.