Q. If you had to pinpoint one key in stopping Tom Brady what would that be?
TB: (Laugh). If he gets the flu and doesn’t show up for the game. If I had that answer I think I’d be a millionaire. I’d be like Bill Gates. Seriously, there is no one key. You have to play sound, solid defense. Your guys have to make plays and they can’t let up for a second. You also have to hope he’s having an off day.
Q. As defensive backs coach, that first game this year had to be your biggest nightmare. What went wrong that night?
TB: Everything went wrong. We couldn’t play man. We couldn’t play zone. We couldn’t stop the run. We couldn’t stop the pass. We blitzed. We tried everything and it didn’t work. Emotions were high going into that game and we just didn’t play well. Fortunately we settled down later in the year. But on that night they played a great game and we didn’t.
Q. What would it tell you about this team if it were able to go to New England and win that game?
TB: It would just further underline the character of our team, the same character we’ve been showing. To go up there and win this game, to have a chance to make it three in a row to end the season, would tell me so much about these players and what they are made of.
Q. Talk about the difficulty of defending against a team with two play-making tight ends?
TB: It’s tough. Usually when you play teams they have two receivers outside and you can kind of double those guys. But they have two play-making tight ends. They are different too. One is bigger; the other is more fluid. It’s tough because if you put small guys on them they overpower you, if you put big guys on them they outrun you. You have to pick and choose your spots, hit them off the line when you can and use multiple coverages to try and confuse them.
Q. The general consensus around the league is that you have to rattle Tom Brady to make him ineffective. How do you see that?
TB: That might be the consensus, but that’s not what’s happening. I really don’t think you can rattle a guy who has been in the league this long. You can hit him and throw him off key some, but your guys are going to have to make some plays. That’s no guarantee because Brady can make a lot of plays. You just have to come in clicking on all cylinders and hope for the best.
Q. As you think back on the victory at Buffalo, your first as an NFL head coach, what memory will stand out the most?
TB: Just the fact that the guys played hard and came out in adverse weather conditions and played well, especially after the tumultuous week we had leading up to the game. They competed so hard. That was so satisfying.
Q. Last season and earlier this season the Dolphins defensive backs couldn’t hold on to interceptions. Now they are catching everything. How do you explain?
TB: You don’t. They come in bunches. The first half of the year we couldn’t buy one; the second half everything is falling into our laps. You want to keep it going. You try to preach it. You work on it every day in practice. Then if it doesn’t happen in the game there’s nothing you can do. But when it starts happening, it builds confidence and breeds confidence. Guys are looking for the ball now, which is good.
Q. Are you a gambler by nature as far as going for it on fourth downs or throwing in an occasional onside kick or trick play?
TB: It depends on the situation. If we’re moving the ball pretty well and we are facing a fourth-and-one, then I won’t hesitate going for it. But if the defense has been having its way against our offense then you really don’t want to do that. Onside kicks depend on the situation. You have go to with your gut at times and that’s what I’ll do.
Q. What do you see in cornerback
TB: Jimmy is a competitor. He’s gotten so much better in the fundamental and technical aspects of the game over the course of the season. Jimmy’s potential is as high as he wants it to go. He can play corner or he can play safety. He has a great skill set. He has to calm his emotions and that will come once he understands the game a little bit better and once he stops trying to turn every play into a big play. But I like him a lot. He has a bright future.
Q. Finally, what do the upcoming holidays mean to Todd Bowles?
TB: It’s football season. I just want to make sure the family is taken care of and everyone is healthy and happy. If that’s the case, then I’m good. I don’t expect any gifts; I know I get them. I like to take care of my family and friends. I just hope for peace each year.