NFC Championship Game Conference Call w/ Cardinals LB Bertrand Berry

On if the defense is underrated:

“I don’t know about underrated, overrated, I’m not really concerned about that. We just want to do what it takes to win football games. That’s for guys like yourself and everyone else to debate about. We’re not worried about that. We just want to be a defense that wins a championship. So whether we’re underrated, overrated, it really doesn’t matter to us.”

On if Arizona’s struggles in his four seasons with the team make this season sweeter:

“It’s always sweet when you’re in a good position. It doesn’t make it any more sweet or any less sweet. Had we won it the first year here, that would have been sweet as well. Anytime that you get in this position you have to understand that it’s a rare position that a lot of people don’t get to be in and we have to take advantage of it. The fact that we had some struggles at the beginning of my time here and to have persevered and to come through that and be where we are now definitely makes it all worth it and we are going to enjoy it that much more.”

On if he feels like this year’s team is carrying the banner for a franchise that has struggled:

“I’m not sure if that’s what we’re doing. I know that a lot of the guys that played here before are feeling a sense of pride so, hey, we’ll carry that banner if that’s what it means to somebody then that’s all fine and good, but we’re really most concerned about the 2008 team and the guys that are in this locker room right now. If guys are feeling that sense of pride in us and the way we played this year and they are taking pride in that, then so be it. We’ll share it. I mean those guys laid the foundation for us and we’re just trying to do everything we can to bring a championship to this organization that’s been long overdue.”

On what he is most concerned about when playing the Eagles:

“They’re a versatile offense. They get in and out of there steps pretty quick and, obviously, everything starts with Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook. Those are their two playmakers. You have to give those guys their due respect. They’ve been doing it a very long time. Both have been in five conference championships. These guys are experienced. They know how to win at this level. We’re the ones that have everything to prove. These guys have been there and done that so when you look at where it starts, even with the team, obviously their defense is outstanding and they do a lot of great things, but when you think about the Eagles, you always think about Donovan and obviously Brian Westbrook. I think he’s one of the top backs in the league. He beats you a lot of different ways, with running the ball and also catching the ball out of the backfield. He’s a multi-dimensional threat and it’s a matter of us meeting the challenge and going out there and playing solid, disciplined defense. If we do that, then we got a pretty good chance.”

On his impressions of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie:

“Well Dominique has been impressive since the moment he stepped on the field when you look at his speed and the way he’s been able to pick up this defense so quickly. A lot of times it’s almost better to be a rookie because you just don’t know what pressure is in front of you and so he’s basically just out there playing football. He’s not really worried about the fact that he’s a rookie or the fact that the stakes are so high and that this is a rare position. I mean, he’s just going out there and doing everything that he can to win football games. That’s a positive for us because we just need him to go out and play and that’s exactly what he’s done. You saw the ability to make plays earlier on and he’s consistently got better throughout the course of the season and everybody now is just taking notice because the games are nationally televised, but Dominique has always had this potential and he’s been making plays for us all year. It’s no surprise, but we are more than pleased with his progress so far.”

On how much the Cardinals work on recovering fumbles:

“It’s hard to really work at it because a lot of times you have to be in the perfect position for those things to happen. You have to hit the ball just right and have the ball roll your way. A lot of times it’s just opportunity and taking advantage of the opportunity given. All defenses talk about turning the ball over and getting the ball out and things of that nature so that’s a universal thing. Turnovers are something that every defense preaches and we’ve just been fortunate that we’ve been able to get some turnovers and put our offense in some great positions. If we could continue to do that in this game Sunday and give our offense the ball in favorable field position, it definitely enhances our chance of winning the game. So, we want to continue to keep it going and hopefully we haven’t run out of turnovers yet and hopefully there’s more to come.”

On what changed since the end of the regular season to now:

“Nothing really. We’ve just locked in, gotten focused. We’ve had some really good weeks of practice and everybody really understands what’s at stake and guys have just made it up in their mind that we’re just not ready to end the season yet. So you combine that with the fact that we’ve had the good practices and everything has been sharp and we’ve had some good fortune go our way, that’s what happens. You have to get hot and a little bit lucky at the same time and we’ve been fortunate to be both of those things, starting with Seattle, and it’s carried on into the last couple games. Hopefully it will continue and hopefully the good luck and the good fortune will still be with us there on Sunday.”

On if it is about time the Cardinals organization got some good luck:

“I’m not sure if any organization really deserves it. You have to do what it takes to win. You have to build organizations from the ground up and I think that they’ve done a great job of building this program the last couple years and putting in the right pieces with the players and the coaching staff and conditioning, you know, the strength coach, and everything else. Everything is starting to come together at a perfect time and we’re just enjoying it right now. It’s been a great ride and hopefully it doesn’t stop Sunday.”

On what the buzz is like in Arizona and if he has had any memorable interactions with fans:

“The city is really excited. Obviously, when you think about it this is the only time that we’ve really had a championship game here in Phoenix, everybody’s really abuzz. When you go out to eat or go to different stores, everybody’s like, ‘hey, good luck, let’s do this.’ There’s really a sense of pride because there really hasn’t been much to cheer about as far as football is concerned in the city of Phoenix and the state of Arizona and we’re in a good position now and the fans have really gotten behind us. Everybody’s excited. It’s tough to go places and not have people wish you well and that’s a good thing. Anytime you have the support of the city and people are really behind you that’s always a positive. I haven’t really had any funny stories because I haven’t really been out in public much. I’ve really tried to be low-key and me, myself, I’m a homebody by nature so I’m in and out of places pretty quick. I will say I went to work out a little bit yesterday at a Life Time here in Phoenix and I walk in and everybody gets off their equipment and they started clapping and cheering so that was a good feeling. I never had that happen to me before. It’s just great. You just want to soak it all in and enjoy it, but not lose focus of what’s at hand. We still got to go out and play this game. All the well-wishers can’t help us out there come Sunday so you have to keep it in proper prospective.”

On what it would mean to the city and the organization if the Cardinals make the Super Bowl:

“It would just mean that we’ve taken the step, a big step, in the right direction and that this organization can be known for winning. It would be great for all these guys because the majority of the guys in this locker room have not had success in the playoffs and, obviously, have not been to a Super Bowl so this is something big that really words can’t describe it. When you think about what’s happened here the last couple decades, which you guys have pointed out, there hasn’t been a whole lot to cheer about. To be in this position now is definitely a great feeling and something I’ll always remember.”

On if the team will have any different preparation this week:

“No, you really want to keep it the same. You want to keep it status quo. You don’t want to get too caught up in the moment and try to do too much. You just want to go out and prepare the way you prepared to get yourself in this position. You don’t want to put any more pressure on yourself because, trust me, I mean you guys are doing a great job of putting pressure on us. We just want to continue to be business as usual and go forth as we’ve always done and try to get a win on Sunday.”

On if there is a disadvantage traveling from the west to the east:

“I’m not sure. I know that, with us, everybody’s made a big deal out of it because we didn’t win. Obviously there’s always different reasons why you didn’t win and I’m not going to blame it on a flight or a time change or things of that nature. Everything that happened to us, it happened because, for one, the other team made it happen against us and, two, we just didn’t make enough plays. I’m never going to blame it on the East Coast or a long flight or things of that nature because all those things don’t matter once the ball is kicked off. When the ball is kicked off you just have to execute and we just hadn’t executed as well as we needed to to win those football games. It just so happens that those games that we didn’t execute happened to be on the East Coast. I don’t think there is a stigma behind it. I don’t think there’s a curse or anything like that because we were able to go out, in the same position, and go out and win the game last week. What happened was we executed. It’s just a matter of execution no matter where you play. If you don’t execute, you’re not going to win and if you do, then you have a great chance of winning the football game.”

On if he has an update on Anquan Boldin:

“No, I don’t. I really hope that he plays. Obviously, we’re a much better team when he plays. You don’t lose a Pro Bowl-caliber player and you don’t miss him. We obviously miss his playmaking ability. He was voted into the Pro Bowl for a reason. We’re a better team with him. We really hope that he can come back as soon as possible because we feel even that much better about our chances with him in the lineup.”

On what it says that the Cardinals are trying to run the football:

“We’ve tried to establish the running game and it’s nice to see Edgerrin (James) get the carries again. I’ve been a teammate of Edgerrin on two different teams so I know that he is a great back. I think he is a Hall of Fame back in my opinion. One thing that you see now, you see when he gets the opportunity to run the ball; he still can play this game at a high level. We need him tremendously in this playoff run because you have to be able to run the ball. He has done a great job of answering the bell when his number’s been called and hopefully that will continue on Sunday.”

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