Q: There has been a lot of speculation about the crocodile that keeps showing up in your TB Times posts? What's the story there?
TB: That's right. I'm going to keep you guessing. I'll tell you at the end of the year.
Q: End of the year?
TB: End of the year. That's pretty good.
Q: Is it a crack the code type of thing?
Q: You got hit a lot last week. Do you take things up with the offensive line personally and say we've got to do better or do you leave that up to Dante Scarnecchia?
TB: I think those guys do a great job. Our line, I have as much confidence in them as I ever have. Some of those looks are unblockable looks at the end of the day and the quarterback is responsible for them too. Getting hit is part of the position. You're standing back there and we're trying to defend a spot so we can throw the ball and it requires a lot of timing in the passing game, receivers getting open at the right times and obviously you're trying to get certain looks in the pass coverage. Just getting hit is part of playing quarterback but I think our guys are doing a great job.
Q: Today is December 1 and you're 54-10 all time in the month of December. Can you talk about the important of finishing the season off?
TB: It's so important. I think Coach [Bill] Belichick said it best the other day. He said whether you're 5-5 at this point or 10-0, it really depends on what we do going forward because I was here in 2001 when we were 5-5 and we ended up not losing a game after that. A few years ago we were 10-0 and the season didn't end very well. I think so much of your season is dependent on how we're going to do at this point moving forward. We put ourselves in decent position but we're going to have to go capitalize.
Q: What makes Jerry Hughes one of the better edge defenders?
TB: We've gone against him quite a bit. He got drafted by the Colts and then being on Buffalo he's really become a force on the edge. I think he's got a really good burst off the ball. So he gets off really well and I think he's very savvy as a rusher. He's definitely got a variety of moves. He plays very hard and he's got a lot of length so he can finish at the quarterback. So whether he gets an arm in there, strips the ball out, kind of grabs the back of a jersey and can yank you down, I think he does such a good job ultimately making a play on the ball. I mean we've played against a lot of good guys this year. I have a lot of respect for Jerry. He plays really hard. Nate's [Solder] doing a good job over there on our left side and it's going to be a good matchup.
Q: Nate Solder actually said on Wednesday that you've never had a negative word to say about the offensive line. Is that just because you know how difficult that job is for those guys?
TB: Yeah, it's an incredibly difficult job. There's five of them. They need to coordinate everything up front. There's a lot of different rush packages that you get and you're facing some of the best athletes in the world and you're always on the defense as an offensive lineman. At the end of the day you're always going backwards. Our guys do a great job keeping their poise and I think they're so well coached and they take it to heart. They take the coaching to heart. They play together, they do everything together and they're just a great group. The culture of the offensive line is built by a lot of the guys that have played before the guys that are currently here. They take a lot of pride in watching the current offensive line do its job. Matt Light and Logan [Mankins] and Joe Andruzzi and some really great players that we've had here – Dan Koppen. I mean they're always checking in on how the offensive line is doing. I think those guys are doing a hell of a job and I love all those guys. They do a great job working hard for our offense and it all starts with them in the run game, the pass game. You really can't do anything if those guys aren't playing as well as they're playing.
Q: What was your reaction to Eli Manning's benching? Also Jimmy Garoppolo is getting his first start with the 49ers this weekend. How excited are you for him for that opportunity?
TB: Yeah, it's a great opportunity for Jimmy. We've kept in touch and I'll always wish him the best of luck and I think he'll do a great job. Niners are lucky to have him. Then, yeah, obviously with Eli I said the other day it's just unfortunate. The NFL is a tough league and you just have to do your best as a player and keep doing the best you can do, whether it's for the team you're on or another team. If you love playing and you can keep doing it at a high level then maybe you can still play.
Q: The team has its My Cause, My Cleats initiative this weekend. I saw that you're going to have an opportunity to showcase a cause that's near and dear to your heart. What cleats should we expect to see and what do those mean to you?
TB: Yeah, I have a pretty cool pair that Under Armor made me and I've supported a bunch of different charities and foundations over the years. I kind of wanted to represent a lot of those. So there's a lot kind of on my cleats. There's probably, I don't know, 10 to 12 of them that are highlighted. Afterward I think the money is going to go to Best Buddies that we're auctioning off. I thought it was a really cool thing that the NFL is doing with this. There's a lot of things that are near and dear to people's heart and things that they support and it's nice to be able to auction off something like that for some great causes.