When speaking with Dolphins linebacker Kevin Burnett, two things immediately stand out:his strong passion for the game of football, and his immense intelligence. The seventh year linebacker from Tennessee had a tremendous game on Sunday against the Chiefs racking up 12 tackles and 1.5 sacks as he helped spearhead the Dolphins best defensive performance of the season, holding Kansas City to only a field goal. A day after the big win, Burnett spoke candidly to The Finsiders about a number of topics, including revealing Coach Sparano’s message prior to the game:
Question: The linebackers were flying around (on Sunday) running sideline to sideline and they were making big plays, do you attribute a lot of that to the defensive line, it seemed like they really stepped it up..
Kevin Burnett: “It takes 11 guys doing one job to be successful on defense and it’s been very, very close the last couple weeks and I guess you can say it did come altogether but the d-line has been doing a great job for us all year. It’s been a factor of myself and Karlos (Dansby) making a decision and getting with our coaches and getting with the coordinators and saying ‘hey turn us loose, let us do what we do best’. So it’s taken a process of us to all get everything just how we want it and then that’s when the pieces start to get laid and that’s when the glue really starts to dry because that’s when we begin to play well. All it takes is one game like (the Chiefs game) to kind of jump-start a team to a winning way and starts them on their way of turning their season around.”
Question: What’s the message moving forward this week…can the defense maintain this ‘win-at-all-costs’ attitude that Yeremiah spoke about after the game yesterday?
Kevin Burnett: “Well, now we’ve gotten the taste of something that we’ve longed for…Coach Sparano ran down the statistics for me personally, I want to say it’s been about 100 days since we started (training camp) so we’ve waited almost 100 days to get a win in the regular season. So to go that long without a victory, you don’t want to let it go. So the challenge for us is going to be: keep this thing going, and keep it going in a good fashion because remember this is a week-by-week, play-by-play basis, you’re on borrowed time. So if you want to keep your job- coaches, players, GMs, everybody; you better put your best foot forward because now there is no more wiggle room, there is no more room for error. Coach Sparano said it and I was thinking the same thing, he said ‘man I’m out of excuses for you guys, I’m out of them so if y’all don’t want me to make them, I can’t make no more for you. If you lose this one (vs. KC) it’s on you. I’m going to give you everything you need- I’m going to rest you, I’m going to call blitzes, I’m going to call play-action (passes), I’m going to throw it deep, I’m going to run it, I’m going to do whatever it takes to win. So now it’s on you…so if you lose, it’s on you. Don’t look at me for answers and he gave it to us and now we got to continue to hold on to it’.”
Question: Kevin always really, really good to chat with you, thanks so much and enjoy your Victory Monday.
Kevin Burnett: “Oh thank you very much (laughing). No Victory Mondays here, I’m actually going to pick-up my Redskins stuff now (on Monday) and get started on these guys, they’re going to present a lot of problems especially running the football and you’re going to have a highly motivated quarterback coming in here (John Beck). There’s no such thing as easy victories in the NFL, this team’s going to be highly motivated this week, I don’t care what anyone says, it’s going to be a hard-fought game on both sides (of the ball).”
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