All you need to know about Sam Madison's self-confidence is that Keyshawn Johnson, author of Just Give Me the Damn Ball!, says of the third-year cornerback, "He talks too much." Unlike most trash-talkers, however, Madison does not woof after a big play. He prefers to talk before, compelling himself to back up his words, like the time before last year's playoff victory over Buffalo when Madison said, "We're going to get Flutie on the ground and stuff Flutie Flakes down his throat." Madison credits his breakthrough season in '98 to Miami's shift from passive pass defense to one-on-one "press" coverage, which better suits his aggressive nature. Madison finished tied for second in the NFL, with eight interceptions; led Miami in passes defensed, with 23; and helped stuff the run with 44 tackles. Madison's picks were even more impressive because he was beaten so rarely that many opponents all but stopped throwing in his direction. Coach Jimmy Johnson says simply, "Sam is giving me the best cornerback play I've ever had."