Back again is the one and only “Leftovers” blog, which provides fans just as much insight as what is in THN Weekly.
In this edition of Leftovers, Andre Carter talks to THN about the Collective Bargaining Agreement, his adjustment to linebacker and Dallas’ struggles during the preseason.
THN: So far, the criticism with your switch to this defense is your pass coverage ability. Do you feel you’ve made improvements in that area or is that criticism something you agree with?
AC: I’ve made improvements. At the same time there will be scenarios in a game that we haven’t seen in practice. So you learn from it and make the adjustments so the mistakes won’t happen again.
THN: It’s been said that your goal this preseason was to not make the same mistake twice. Are you accomplishing that goal and have your mistakes decreased as you adjust to this defense?
AC: I feel that I have learned from my mistakes from playing the run and pass coverages.
THN: Since you’re going to spend most of your time close to the line as a standup blitzer, does that make your transition to linebacker that much easier?
AC: I think so. I feel as an outside ‘backer you can anticipate plays on the run and pass because our visual is much broader compared to playing defensive line.
THN: I know we’re still a few days away from the first game but I also know everyone has looked over the schedule and in the first six games; you play the Cowboys, Eagles, Texans, Packers and Colts. That is a very tough schedule. I know you like to take the season one game at a time but if we could look down the road a little bit, how important is that stretch of games for you and how will it determine how the rest of the season will go? What will this stretch of games tell you about the talent level and character of the team?
AC: We are playing some good teams. But sorry man, the focus is Dallas. We are excited about future matchups but only when that time comes to play those opponents.
THN: I asked you this last year about the younger guys on the team but now I’m asking about the new guys, young and old. Do the newer players on the team grasp the importance of the Dallas rivalry, this game, and how it can set the tone for the rest of the season? I know that the team wants to win and the opener is always a big game but have you and some of the other veterans spread the gospel to the new players about how much the Dallas rivalry means to the fans?
AC: The new guys have an understanding how big this game is to not only the organization but to D.C., Virginia, Maryland, and the Redskin Nation. We are all excited.
THN: Albert reportedly wasn’t at the halftime meetings during the Cardinals game and didn’t attend them last year so that he could focus on his duties. Is that unusual in NFL circles?
AC: Yes, that is unusual.
THN: Dallas struggled to score and protect the quarterback during the preseason. Is that indicative of how their season might go or is preseason not an accurate way to gauge how a team will perform in the regular season?
AC: It can go either way with Dallas or other teams that have struggled in the passing game. When the regular season starts, it’s on. We can take all the info from there preseason, however we can’t underestimate them.
THN: Are you in favor of the proposed two preseason game/18 regular season game format?
AC: I am a 16 games person/player. 18 games is too long.
THN: Do you think there will be a new Collective Bargaining Agreement in place in order to avoid a strike season in 2011?
AC: I hope so for our sake and for the fans sake.
THN: What are the biggest issues that are hindering an agreement from happening?
AC: A little bit of everything from salary, insurance and benefits.
THN: Considering what has happened to MLB and the NHL after strike seasons, what could be the ramifications if the NFL misses several weeks or a whole season?
AC: Not only will it effect us but also the cities. Hotels, car rentals, vendors, people who work at the stadium as an extra job. From an economic standpoint it’s a big deal.
THN: Is there anything you can do or are you just taking a wait-and-see approach like most of the players in the league?
AC: Constantly ask questions and get information on new problems that have arisen. I try to constantly educate myself.
THN: DeAngelo Hall and London Fletcher spoke out against Commissioner Goodell’s visit to training camp recently, essentially saying that he answered players questions without providing any depth or any new insight into what’s going on in regards to the agreement. Did you personally take anything away from his visit? What was your interpretation of the question and answer session he had?
AC: He really didn’t answer our questions. I really didn’t understand where he was coming from with his visit.