DM: I think the fundamentals. Like just even being out there today it kind of had like a training camp feel. Obviously we have 16 games to go over some things that we didn’t do well, but still just a chance to go against our offense a little bit and just to be out there just competing. We can’t game plan three teams so we can’t come out here and say ‘this is this team’s period.’ You just can’t do that. So it kind of gives you that true training camp where you’re just trying to get better. No matter who you play you need to do that well whether it’s leverage in man-to-man coverage, whether it’s run technique up front using your hands, whether it’s our lanes in coverage on special teams. Just doing those little things that are definitely going to come up sometime in these next games, or game I should say. We don’t know when but when it comes up it’ll be probably a huge play or huge factor to decide a game. That’s why this bye week has always been big for us since I’ve been here, as long as we kind of use it in the right way.
Q: How does the continuity of this coaching staff contribute to the success of this team, especially as you get to this point in the year?
DM: Karen [Guregian] was asking me that. I think we’re just spoiled so we don’t even understand how much that helps. Like I’ve talked to my brother who’s had a ton of different defensive coordinators or head coaches and I don’t think we fully get that because we have had – obviously I wasn’t here when Josh [McDaniels] was first here but being here with Billy O [Bill O’Brien] and then Josh coming back. But I think everyone here in this building puts in a lot of time and effort to put the team first and I think that’s where it all kind of starts. It’s been great, especially for me to be here with all of these guys that now I know very well. I think it’s always great when you come back in April and it’s like, ‘Alright, how can I get better at little things because I already know the big things? I already know the scheme and all of that.’ [We’re] very fortunate but the NFL is very fluid transitionally so things are always happening. We’ll see, but I think it just puts even more emphasis on how you have to take advantage of each year. We always talk about it’s a one year kind of guarantee to be with that team and you want to take full advantage of that.
Q: Can you ever imagine this defense without Matt Patricia or Brian Flores?
DM: I wish I could tell you I even think that far in advance. I’m honestly just trying to prepare for this snow day tomorrow.
Q: How important is it for you to express to other players that Bill Belichick doesn’t handle being late despite the snow?
DM: This day in age, the social media world and the different things [we] have, I think everyone has probably seen it. He’s mentioned it that he doesn’t care. Don’t call and say your car got stuck. I think everyone knows there’s two hotels up here at Patriot Place so stay there for the night. Find a way. But I tell guys, like wake up earlier, especially if you don’t have a garage or something. Wake up. Go clean your car out. I think guys know. We’re in the NFL playoffs. I think everyone kind of – if you’ve been here for a week or two weeks you kind of get that this guy Bill [Belichick] that talks every day in the morning meeting, he doesn’t play. So not much needs to be said about being here on time and being ready to work.
Q: I know it was a year before you got here, but –
DM: Like that. Like I saw that on ESPN. I knew not to come late. I found a couple nice places that are about 15 or 20 minutes away my rookie year and I was like ‘Nah, I’ll do the three minutes away.’ I think guys know that. You see it. You see that around the league when you’re in college. Your season is usually over by now except for a couple teams so you’re following that. Everyone follows the NFL when you play in college so guys know. You know here is the one place where no matter what time of the year it is, if it’s not going well you’ll get fired. Like I always say, the goal every day is not to get fired. So guys know that.