Dalton News Conference Transcript 9/7

You guys have won two straight season-openers. How important is this game to help set the tone for this season?

            "It's big. You want to start fast. You want to get ahead as much as you can. Half the teams win, half the teams lose. So if you can take this first one, it would be big. That's our mentality."

How much more challenging is it to gameplan for an opponent in the opener, considering you really can't go off of preseason, and they may have changed since last year?

            "There's a lot of film you get to go off of. You have a whole season of the year before. They may have a new personality, they may have some new guys. You've just got to prepare for it as much as you can. You've got to look at the whole season. You've got a lot of film to watch. There's a lot of different looks you're going to get from teams, so there's a lot you need to look at just to make sure you're prepared as much as you can."

Marvin Lewis said he's talked to the players about playing in New York on Sept. 11. Have you been able to give much thought to that?

            "It's special. Obviously New York, there's so much with that being the place of 9/11, there's just an importance on it. We were chosen to play this game, up against the Jets on 9/11. So I think there's something that's special about that. I think that's why he's trying to make an importance of it. It's going to be cool to be there, and I'm sure there will be a moment of silence, I'm sure there will be some kind of tribute to it. And it'll definitely be something we remember."

Do you remember the first time you played on 9/11?

"It was my first game. So yeah, I do remember that."

Will fans notice a difference in the offense with the new coordinator?

"I don't know if fans will notice it or not. There are some new things that we're doing, some things that we've changed, some things that we've tweaked. So we're trying to do whatever we can to score points."

The Jets blitzed a lot last year. You've improved over your career at handling the blitz. What's been the biggest key to that?

"It's understanding the looks that you're getting and knowing how guys are going to be playing against you. That's the biggest thing. If you can get yourself protected, get yourself in good position, and know when you're not protected and get the ball out of your hands and let guys make plays, because when they're blitzing, that leaves less guys on the back end. That's just the understanding of each play, what the defense is doing against you and knowing where you're going to go to attack it."

How much of dealing with the blitz is about trusting your receivers?

"Again, it's all about being on the same page with everything, and making sure what I'm seeing back there they're seeing, too. It goes to the preparation of it. I think that's one thing we've got to be ready for."

What makes Darrelle Revis so good?

"He's so instinctive. He'll give you different looks, he'll play off, he'll press, he's got great ball skills. Just his understanding of routes and concepts is what makes him such a good player. His instincts are some of the best out there."

He will likely match up against A.J. Green on Sunday. How do you view A.J. when he's matched up against a player like that?

"They're having the same conversation: 'They have that guy, we have that guy.' And so it's going to be a good matchup. We're going to trust that our guy's going to win, and that's the mindset you have to have. When you have one of the best receivers in the league, that's what you expect from him. That's what A.J. expects from himself, and we wouldn't want anything less."

The Jets have a strong, versatile defensive line. What have you seen from them?

"They do a lot of different things up front. They move around, they get in and out of different fronts so they give you different looks. For us, it's the preparation. We have a whole season to look at to see what their mentality is and what their personality is. So we'll know more as the game goes on."

You were putting up MVP numbers before the injury last season. How much of that confidence carries over to this season?

"I've got a lot of confidence in my ability, in what this offense can do, and the guys around me. So there definitely is a carryover. I mean, it was the best season that I've had, so for me it's trying to improve on that."

Do you think you were MVP-caliber last season?

"I wasn't worried about any of that. I was just trying to do everything I could to help the team and win games and score points. So that wasn't even in my thought process."

There was so much talk heading into training camp about the receiving corps, and now you have three rookie receivers on it heading into the first game. Do you have confidence in them?

"I do. There's a reason those three guys made the team. They've proven that they can play, and we're going to need them to. We're going to rely on them. Again, it comes down to the communication, making sure everybody's on the same page, making sure they're seeing things and that they're in the right spot. It was a looked-at position all through training camp, but we feel the guys we have are talented guys that are going to help us win games."

Are you impressed by their football IQs?

"Yeah, definitely. That's one thing: You can tell them, 'Hey, this is how I want you to do this the next time this thing comes,' and the next time you see the correction. They've got a real good feel for the game."

This is your sixth road-opener. What's your advice to younger guys on the situation as they head into this Sunday?

"At the end of the day, it's just football. Just trust yourself. You've put in the time, you've put in the effort, and you know what you're doing. Don't second-guess, just go out and play fast."

What do you remember about your first opening game?

"We won and I only played a half (due to an injury) (laughs). There were a little bit of nerves. Like I said, I remember it was 9/11, which is a cool moment. But we did enough to win."

How excited are you to play in a real game after missing the end of last season?

"I'm excited. With me missing the last part of the season with the injury, but I think even the guys that played at the end of the season, everybody's ready to go, ready to play regular-season games where these matter."

Do you still get jitters or nervousness before the first game?

"It's not nervousness, it's more you're anxious to just get going and get into it. So it's part of it. Usually it's the first couple plays, and then you're just playing football again."

How do you personally expect to handle the emotions of playing in a game on 9/11 in New York?

"There will be emotions not only for players, but for the crowd, all of New York and everyone that's in that area. You can't worry about that. Obviously it will happen, there will be that moment before the game, but you can't let that carry over into the game. You've got to calm yourself down and be ready to go."

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