Q: Landon, after you guys spent the time together in the spring for a couple months and then you go away, do you come back here with a sense of how good this team can be?
A: I come back with a sense that this team has left and we come back with the same intentions we walked into OTAís with: to grind, get better and become one of the best teams in the NFL.
Q: Do you feel like you have that potential to be one of the best teams in the NFL?
A: Definitely. We have the ability and we have the coaching staff. All we need to do is just put it into one and trust one another and definitely we can be up there.
Q: How do you view coming into the season where you guys finished 32nd in the league in defense last year, is it motivation or do you guys try and put it completely behind you?
A: Itís motivation. Itís a chip on our shoulder. You put it behind you, you donít think about it, but you know you were 32 in the league and now youíre just pushing to be top 10 in the league, thatís our biggest thought.
Q: Was it hard when you played every game and you go back in the offseason and youíre not used to being 32 on defense, I donít think, from where you came from. Is it hard to talk to people and rectify in your head that you were a starter on the team that was really poorly rated on defense?
A: As I think about it, I feel like we didnít trust the system at the time. We were all new to the system and coming in as a new team to try and put it together, but from here on out as you played one year, most of us coming back, are all one. As a defense, we fight to the finish. Other than that, the struggle we had last year, I donít see it coming this year.
Q: How much more confident are you that you could be part of the solution?
A: Iím tremendously confident. Just knowing the defense and knowing my position as well as I know the other position and telling everybody what to do and stuff like that, Iím confident in my play calling and play recognition and helping out the whole defense.
Q: When you say you donít anticipate the type of struggles this year as you had last year as a defense, why do you say that?
A: All of us know our positions. We know our positions well enough, so we can learn othersí positions. The linebackers can know the defensive line positions and where they line up to help where their gaps can be filled. Linebackers know the cornerback position, so they know where the safety comes down. As a safety, we know where the linebacker is supposed to be and we know how and where our linemen are, so we can help and fill in the gaps. We can help with the defense when there is a big hole that can occur. Stuff like that, just pushing forward and knowing more than just the Xís and Oís on defense.
Q: Landon, what does it mean to you to have a year under your belt in terms of equipping you to have an even better season?
A: A year? I mean, itís a tremendous because that year was very difficult to just be thrown in there and not really knowing and trusting it and having a lot of pressure put on you trying to just get the calls out and getting everybody to trust you at the same time, so I mean having that year under my belt is tremendous. I was able to see things that I will see this year. You see tendencies that youíre going to see this year that you saw last year. You can anticipate things and react 10 times faster.
Q: Landon, in addition to your own improvement in the secondary, the investment that was made in this defense and front seven in the offseason was immense. How much does that help you guys?
A: It always helps the defense. Definitely against the pass because we couldnít get off on third downs. We gave the quarterback a little bit too much time, stuff like that. Itís tremendous to have that type of pass rush. The investment that they put in that, we will see a great outcome.
Q: What are you hoping to do better this year, personally?
A: Personally? I guess just prove that I can play my man-to-man coverage better than I played last year. My eyes were out everywhere trying to see more than what I needed to see. You just need to see a little to see a lot and thatís my goal this year.
Q: Does it matter to you that thereís a competition going on at the spot next to you?
A: Yes, it does. It definitely matters to me because I have to trust the guy next to me. Every safety that I play with, I practice with next to me. I have to trust that he knows his calls, he has to be trustworthy so if I make a mistake or bad call, he can overrule me and make sure we are all on the same page.
Q: You said a second ago that you didnít think you guys trusted the defensive system last year. What do you mean by that? Was it a learning curve situation?
A: Definitely a learning curve. We just got a coach and a new DC and a lot of players came in at the linebacker position and we had a new defensive line . There were new faces everywhere and we didnít really have a safety group at the time, so it was just new faces everywhere besides the cornerback position.
Q: How long do you think it took you guys last season to get comfortable?
A: About the seventh game. It took us that long as coming together and really trusting the defense.
Q: This is the second year of Spagsí defense, is it exactly the same defense or does it evolve because of the changing personnel and are there new things you have to learn?
A: It has evolved. There arenít too many new things. If itís a new thing, itís kind of into the defense and itís not a huge change. It evolved definitely because you have the same guys you had from last year that know the defense, so he kind of let us free up a little more to have a better understanding of the defense and make different calls to help us out on the field.
Q: Were there times last year that you felt the defense was a little undermanned?
A: What you mean?
Q: I mean that maybe you guys just didnít have enough answers.
A: I think we had the answers but we just didnít trust it. We saw something and we had to ask if this was the right way to play it? Or should I be here? We just didnít trust the call or the opposition of where we were supposed to be.