SANTA CLARA – Here’s what Parys Haralson said today at his locker.
Q: Was that the most complete win this season by the defense?
HARALSON: When you’re playing a guy like Eli Manning, that’s a smart quarterback and I think he is one of these elite quarterbacks in this league with quite a few other guys. It was taking care of what we had to do, everybody being on the same page, understanding the defense, guys making plays, Carlos coming up with the two picks, trying to keep pressure on him, not showing your hand too soon. Because he’s one of those quarterbacks who can read defenses and understand what you’re trying to do.
Q: How does that fit in to the road wins at Detroit, Philly?
HARALSON: It’s one of those things where we understand what we have to do. I think as far as the defense and the team, it’s a team with a lot of fight. We don’t give up, man. We know that it’s a 60-minute football game. It was like 30 some seconds and fourth down and they were going for it. A guy like Justin understands that he was going to have to get the ball out fast and just being able to get his hands up and bat it down, it’s just things like that. Sometimes like to grade our performance on how many sacks or tackles you get but it’s basically but when you look at it and watch the film it’s guys playing in the defense, they’re doing their responsibility and allowing us to get those things done.
Q: Did you make a statement?
HARALSON: It depends on who you ask. Do I think we made a statement? I think we went out and we won a game that shows we’re a football team to be reckoned with but we’re looking forward to the next game now.
Q: You’ve worked out with Justin and Ray. Is that conditioning what pays dividends in the fourth quarter like we saw?
HARALSON: It is. I think a lot of it starts with offseason training. There’s a bunch of guys, guys like Justin, Ray, Aldon, Ahmad, every guy on our team, everybody wants to win so there’s a bunch of guys who are willing to give it their all and lay it out there. Conditioning does come into play. It’s about being able to play while you’re tired and being able to focus when you’re tired.
Q: Do you change your mindset facing the Cardinals?
HARALSON: Change it as far as how? We’ve still just got to stop the offense, that’s all we plan on doing. Whoever it is, we’ve got to adjust to what they’re trying to do or make them adjust to what we’re doing and be ready to stop whatever’s handed to us.
Q: Does it seem like so long ago since the last division game in the opener?
HARALSON: It seems like a long time ago, but that’s the way the schedule worked out. It’s the next team up and we’ve just got to be ready for it.
Q: One more win and you have first winning season since 2002?
HARALSON: I never even thought about it like that. We take it one game at a time. Everybody’s excited to be 8-1 but we know that we’ve got Arizona coming in and we’ve got to be ready to take care of that.
Q: How about how you guys have dominated the field-position battle?
HARALSON: That shows you we’re playing as a team, special teams doing what they have to do, offense and defense doing what they have to do. Everybody taking care of their business. I give a lot of credit to those guys out there on special teams. Whenever there’s a punt or a kickoff or something, they run down and make the tackle inside the 20-yard line, the 18, whatever it might be, it gives us more space to work with as far as the defense. Even with kickoff returns, getting good field position with Ted returning. Everybody’s playing as a team, it’s a complete unit.
Q: Does it also give the offense more opportunities to make a mistake? If they have to go down the field 12 plays there’s a greater chance of an INT?
HARALSON: You could say that. One thing we always say, ‘Whatever we’ve started, we’ve got to stop.’ Whenever the defense takes the field, we have to be prepared to stop the offense no matter where it is. It’s one of things we go out there and we know we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do. It does give them a chance to make a mistake but still we’ve got to be powers of that mistake.
Q: What’s the difference with this defense this year?
HARALSON: To tell you the truth I really can’t answer that question. I think sometimes it just falls that way. We’re causing a lot of turnovers, the DBs have been getting a lot of interceptions. Turnovers are huge. You get a lot of turnovers you give the offense more times to score. I think that’s basically what we’ve been doing – causing turnovers, creating turnovers, getting pressure on the quarterback. All that works together.
Q: And you offense not having turnovers helps?
HARALSON: It helps a lot. They’ve been taking care of the ball and the offense has been doing good. With Frank, they’ve been able to run the ball so well and Alex throwing the ball around and the receivers catching it, all that plays in. It’s a team game.
Q: Your coach takes no credit – how much credit do you give him?
HARALSON: I give him a lot of credit, man. Everybody plays a role. Coaches, players, everybody plays a role.
Q: How much did Alex show what he’s about?
HARALSON: I’ve been here with Alex for six years. Alex has been my quarterback for six years. I’m going to ride with Alex whichever way it goes.
Q: What’s the biggest thing Alex has done in his resurgence?
HARALSON: As far as everything goes, I think the offense is playing great. The offensive line is blocking, they’re running the ball, Alex is getting the ball around, throwing the ball around, receivers are catching it. I just think they’re playing great as an offense all around.
Q: How would you assess his performance yesterday?
HARALSON: It ain’t for me to rate it. We won so obviously it went good.