Q: You guys started with a real test in terms of the schedule with Tennessee, Oakland and St. Louis?
JT: Yeah, the schedule makers didn't make it very easy on us, but we have to play them as they give them to us. We won two out of three. Obviously we are a little disappointed with last week's game, but we need to put it behind us now and get ready for New England.
Q: What went on in the Rams game last week?
JT: We just didn't play real well all over. We didn't make plays. There were opportunities there for us to get interceptions and pick up a fumble and we had an opportunity on offense to punch it in for a touchdown down by the goal line and things just never went our way. It all just snowballed on us and we could never really get our heads back above water. We just thank God it is over now and we're glad there is another one next week.
Q: Where does your defense rank, in your mind, among the elite?
JT: I think we've got one of the best. Obviously last week we didn't look like it, we didn't play real well, but if you look back over the last few years when we are clicking we are tough to beat. That's what we've got to get back to doing.
Q: It can become intense when teams count of the defense to carry the load week after week, but it seems to be something that you guys can handle?
JT: That's what we do. We know the backbone of our team is the defense. That's what the mentality is and it is just a fact. That's how we have to look at it each and every week. We've got to play outstanding defense every week and I am not going to take anything away from our offense, they're a good offensive unit and they've been doing a good job, but it comes down to the defense playing well and keeping it out of the end zone.
Q: People up here are saying, and they mean it as a compliment, that the Miami defense is not real complicated, they just do what they do and they do it well?
JT: We're simple. I mean you know where we are going to be, you know what we are going to do. It is just a matter of having to go out there and execute it now and I think that is a credit to some of the players we have. We have the talent to go out there and win. Now, like I said, you've got to cross that white line and do it out there on the field and that's where players have to step up and make things happen.
Q: Having said that, does it matter that there are so many ex-Dolphins on this team?
JT: Man you could put a whole team together of ex-Dolphins and ex-Jets. There are a lot of guys up there that have been other places in this division. That's one good thing about our defense, it's not like people can really give away secrets on us because we don't have many. We line up with two ends, two tackles, three linebackers and four DB's and we get after it. We are pretty vanilla, so that will help us out.
Q: Is there a difference playing a division game? Nobody seems to get an edge on anybody in this division, it doesn't seem.
JT: It seems like when there is a division game in this division everybody picks it up a little bit more. We look at every one of them like a playoff game. Everybody's jacked up and the intensity is there. Things that you saw on film that weren't real good on either side of the ball seem to straighten themselves out and teams happen to play better when it's a division game. It always seems like it is always picked up a little bit.
Q: One change is you won't see Bruce Armstrong anymore?
JT: No, big Bruce is gone now and I guess Drew's going to be out too so it will be a little different for us but it is part of the game, you have to make adjustments.
Q: Speaking of doing what you guys do, Tom Brady is a young quarterback would there be a tendency to try to confuse him or is it a 'you just gotta deal with us' type situation?
JT: No…he'll get what he sees on film. We are not a team that is going to try to gimmick and scheme and make up little ways to try to beat you. We're going to line up and do what we do best. That is lining up in our basic defense and getting after it. That's how it has been over the years, that's how it is going to be. You can't change your whole game plan up week to week and expect to be successful.
Q: Do you think philosophically that teams that do use a lot of gimmicks and stuff are essentially trying to cover up weaknesses?
JT: Yeah, I think some teams do that. Sometimes you have to try to hide some things, but I am not a big believer on being cute out there and trying to have little schemes and gimmicks and things like that to win. I believe in just lining up and getting after it. I think players like it better that way too. I know we do. When you sit there and try to draw things up on the blackboard during the week and you've got fifty different lines going different places trying to show guys what they need to do it just, it's more confusing than it is worth. It is so much easier to get in the huddle, make a simple call and everybody knows what they have to do. Not have guys out there thinking about well this is what we talked about on Wednesday and I need to go in the A gap or the B gap. You just line up and play your basic stuff.
Q: The difficulty with that is that if you don't have the talent, you can't do that?
JT: Well yeah, if you don't have the talent then you have to find other ways. But I mean the league is full of talent, every team has talented players. It is up to the coaches to find a way to put them in the best position to win. And our best positions here are just to be simple, be vanilla. We've been called vanilla before, so I will put it that way, just be vanilla.
Q: Is there anybody on your defense that you would say is underrated?
JT: Yeah, I think there are players that are. I think Brian Walker is underrated. I think Brian does a great job and doesn't get a whole lot of headlines. I think Derrick Rodgers is underrated. He hasn't gotten a whole lot of press for the things he does. Tim Bowens is always overlooked because he is such a laid back, quiet guy. Our two corners get enough attention because of how good they are. I'd have to say Kenny Mixon too. Kenny Mixon is a guy that is steady and plays real well against the run and is getting a lot better against the pass and you never hear much about him either.
Q: What was Larry Izzo like as a teammate?
JT: Larry was a good guy. He was always interesting.
Q: He and Zach [Thomas] used to yap at each other a lot didn't they?
JT: Yeah, they did a lot together. They were roommates and all that so they did a lot together. They were like husband and wife around here.
Q: Why would you describe him as interesting?
JT: I don't know how well you know Larry, but he is…there is not other word to describe him. He's interesting. I don't know, he's intriguing. I don't know what it is about him. He does weird things. He says weird things. He's a character.
Q: Like what?
JT: I don't know, I can't really give you an example. I can't even think of anything off the top of my head. I mean he's been known…oh well I can't say that. I am not going to beat him up like that. He's a character. I can't give you an example right now, I am drawing blanks. There are a few things, I just can't think right now.
Q: Have you watched any film of Tom Brady yet?
JT: Yeah we watched the game against Indy and he did a good job. I thought he did a good job. I thought the whole team did a good job. They really put it to Indianapolis, who was a quality football team. It just shows that I think people were overlooking New England for a while and now that opened their eyes. They are a good football team and they are putting it together so you've got to be ready to play in this league.
Q: Generally a young quarterback is apt to make mistakes, but based on last week does he seem that way or does he seem to be cut from a different mold?
JT: It is tough to tell off of one game, really. He played really well last week, I thought. There's veterans in this league that have been in seven or eight years and still make dumb mistakes sometimes. So mistakes are going to be made because you are playing against other quality players too, they are going to force you into mistakes. As far as what he did last week and what we look forward to him doing again, we think he is going to come down here and try to play well again, obviously. That's what he wants to do and that's what the team wants him to do. Our job is to try to make him not do that, but he is a quality football player. He wouldn't be in the league if he wasn't. I feel like he is ahead of a good quarterback that we had down here before in Damon [Huard]. So he obviously has some talent