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Quotes: Wednesday practice

Posted Jan 9, 2013

Members of the Houston Texans and New England Patriots spoke to the media following Wednesday's practice.


Head Coach Gary Kubiak

Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison

LT Duane Brown

WR Andre Johnson

RG Ben Jones

OLB Whitney Mercilus

S Glover Quin

QB Matt Schaub

LG Wade Smith

DE J.J. Watt

 

New England Head Coach Bill Belichick Conference Call

New England QB Tom Brady Conference Call

 

Head Coach Gary Kubiak

(on the team’s  health at practice today) “Health-wise the only player that we did not have practice today was (CB) Alan Ball. Other than that everybody was at practice.”

 

(on if CB Alan Ball re-injured himself) “No, we were on the turf with obviously the weather being so bad and our fields are pretty bad today so we go inside. Coming off of that foot (injury), we just thought we’d protect him today. He’ll go back to work tomorrow.”

 

(on if the team is in good shape health-wise) “Yeah, we’re in good shape.”

 

(on what he needs to see from QB Matt Schaub this week for the team to win) “We need to see it from everybody. It’s not one player. Our team’s got to go play extremely well at a high level. Obviously, he’s the one taking the snaps. It’s a big step forward for him. He plays in his first playoff game last week and obviously this is his second one on the road against a tremendous opponent. He’s going to have to play at a high level, but we all are. You know what I mean? We’ve got a job to do around him.”

 

(on Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski) “He’s exceptional. I tell you what, if the ball is close to him he’s going to catch it. The thing about him, people play him with corners on him. They play him with backers on him. They play him with safeties. His size is just such that it’s just hard. You get in there and bang with him you’re going to lose that battle. Obviously, we didn’t see him the first time around so it’ll be different for us, but a big, big challenge for us.”

 

(on the way the Patriots use both tight ends) “They do. They spread the field, but they do it a lot of different ways. They do it with two tight ends. They’ve done it with three tight ends before. Their back is a very good receiver. A lot of times, when teams spread the field, you’re seeing four wides, five wides, these guys spread it with big people. It makes those matchups inside when you’re banging on those linebackers and people like that, it makes it very tough.”

 

(on how important postseason experience for quarterbacks is) “I think it’s extremely important or you wouldn’t see guys like (QB) Tom (Brady) and (QB) Peyton (Manning), these guys going there so much. It’s obviously something that you got to have a great football team, but guys that do play in those games a bunch that stage does get bigger, the level of play, everything just picks up. This is his opportunity to start to get those chances as a player. He’s been working really hard for nine years to get this opportunity. Unfortunately, last year he was hurt. I think he’s got a lot of football left in him. Hopefully he’s going to play in a lot of those big games. Obviously, that’s what you’re trying to do, trying to lead a team to play in those types of games.”


(on the Texans’ kicking game) “(K) Shayne (Graham) he has kicked very well for us. He struggled early in the season with his kickoffs. I think they’ve gotten better. He has played a lot of football. He’s kicked in playoff games before. His performance over the course, I’d say of the last five or six weeks, has been pretty darn good. (P) Donnie’s (Jones) been pretty consistent all year long. We do have two veteran football players.”

 

(on if was concerned about K Shayne Graham’s kickoffs earlier in the season) “I think we all were. The kickoffs were a concern. We actually worked out some kickoff guys. The problem with that is you get roster spots so we had other issues along the way and have had our share. He had to come through and I think he has. He’s worked really hard at it. We’ve done some certain things kicking off that he’s been able to handle so I think he’s held up his end of bargain here down the stretch. He’s played well.”

 

(on the significance of having both TEs Owen Daniels and Garrett Graham on Sunday) “They’re always big. That gives us our versatility as an offensive football team. We’ve got both of those guys so they were big in the game last week. They’ll be important this week. I think the biggest thing is everybody’s got to make plays for us. We’ve got to spread the ball around. You can’t go in one place against this group. They can find a way to take somebody away so everybody is going to have to do their part. We’re going to have to be aggressive. We’re going to have some young guys make some plays also.”

 

(on the inside linebacker position right now) “It’s been a tough deal with what (Linebackers Coach) Reggie’s (Herring) been through from a personnel standpoint with losing (ILB Tim) Dobbins, losing (ILB Darryl) Sharpton the week before. We’ve been through quite a few football players in there, but we found a way to still play good defense. (ILB) Barrett (Ruud) came in and played well last week. With (OLB) Brooks (Reed) being healthy, now it does give us some flexibility to move some people around if we get in trouble. Then we pick up two guys to play special teams for us last week off the streets. It’s that time of year. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do each week. We were fortunate to have one of them out there who had played a little bit of football with us.”

 

(on OLB Brooks Reed) “Obviously winning is big, but coming out of the game with him, with no setbacks, that was huge. He took all the snaps. He looks fine. He practiced today even when we’re on the turf today he’s fine. He’s a big part of what we do. I think he balances us up in our pass rush in what we do, so it’s great to have him back.”

 

(on what he saw in RB Arian Foster in college that other people didn’t see) “First off, you saw a big body guy, not a lot of negative plays when (RB) Arian (Foster) touches the ball. He’s always falling forward. It seems like so long ago but he had a real big year the year before I think then he comes back his junior year or senior year. I’m not sure if he was an early out and it was not a very good year. You’re looking at ability. You’re looking at size. I knew some guys that knew him. I knew he was very intelligent. You’re seeing things on film that he’s got a chance to play in our league. Now was he going to play at this level? That credit has got to go to him. You just saw the size and the ability if he could take the next step and overcome some of the problems he had had at Tennessee. He had a chance to be a fine player.”

 

(on preventing penalties and turnovers that plagued them during the previous month) “During that stretch the last month, you’re right, our penalties picked up. We didn’t win any turnover battles. If you’re doing that as a team you’re going to struggle to win and we did. We got back. It was better last week. I think we still had seven. The thing that I was encouraged about last week, I think five of our seven were all first year players so you know young guys are going to make some mistakes. Those things get magnified right now. We’ll have to go down there and play clean in a hostile environment. Obviously this team has not played a game without getting turnovers so we’re going to have to protect the football.”

 

(on RB Arian Foster wanting to wear all white on the road) “He’s got a lot going on doesn’t he? I have no idea. I couldn’t tell you what we wore Sunday, to be honest with you. I just want him to play halfback.”

 

(on Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison being a candidate for Chicago’s head coaching position and what makes him a strong candidate) “Well obviously my mind is somewhere else right now getting ready for this game. Obviously, I think the world of him. I think his football background speaks for itself. I could sit up here all day long. He’s a leader. He’s a teacher. He’s a class act. I don’t know what else to tell you. I could sit up here for a long time. We’re real proud of him. I’ve been with him a long, long time and proud of him when I was with him in Denver. Obviously, he’s done a tremendous job here with the Texans. Anytime guys have an opportunity like that you should support them. We definitely support (Offensive Coordinator) Rick (Dennison).”

 

(on how everything is different in the playoffs) “It is. It is totally different. You’re there for one day and it’s not so much about how you win. It’s finding a way to move on to the next week. I don’t think it’s a time of year where you get so consumed with a stat here or something there. You got to get your team playing fast, cutting it loose, playing with confidence. Like I said, you got to be at your best on one given day. We know what our challenge is. I feel good coming out of the game last week. I think we took a step forward from where we had been the last month. Now we know we got to take another big one. It’s a great challenge. That‘s what the business is about. That’s why we all do what we do.”

 

(on turning field goals into touchdowns) “We’ve got to finish those drives. That’s very important. That was a negative in the game, but there were a lot of positives. Like I said, I don’t want our guys to get so consumed with one particular thing. When we went down there five weeks ago, we were 100 percent in the red zone. It sure as heck didn’t help. We were two-for-two. I’m just worried about finding a way to play a good football and do what we’ve got to do to win a game.”

 

(on playing fast and confident this week, given how the last game against the Patriots went) “Believe it or not, guys don’t worry about it. That game is gone. It seems like it was a couple years ago, not a month ago. We understand. We own it. We did not play good. We understand all those things, but I think players let things go quick. I know coaches let things go quick. Anything can happen on any given day in this business and we’re trying to be at our best this Sunday.”

 

(on if he can use lack of respect to his advantage) “I don’t know. I don’t get into those things. I really don’t. I just try to concentrate on our team and making sure we’re doing everything we can to put our players in the best possible position. We respect our opponent, a tremendous respect for this opponent and understand the level that we will have to play at, so we’re getting ready to do that.”

 

Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison

(on being considered for the Chicago Bears head coach position) “Obviously, it’s a great honor to have somebody inquire about a job of that type, but I’ll have to handle that at the end of the week because my big focus – my only focus – is getting this team ready to play the Patriots.”

 

(on what he liked about what QB Matt Schaub did against Cincinnati) “Well I think Matt operated what we need him to do, run and pass. I think he managed the game well and then he handled the pressure when it was coming, when to get the ball out, when he was hot. He missed a couple of things. Obviously, his footwork was a little off, it cost us one there, and the ball placement, but he’s a tough minded kid and he kept playing. Our guys rally around tough guys and he’s done a nice job with that all year: just keep bouncing back. I think with that, he leads us very well.”

 

(on the little things that RB Arian Foster does) “One of the things that Arian does is there’s nothing he can’t do. He catches the ball extremely well; he blocks very well. The little things, as far as seeing somebody, it’s almost like a chess move; he knows a couple moves ahead when a guy is coming so he doesn’t take a solid shot. One of the best things that you notice about runners is they don’t get hit really hard, and Arian does that very well. He understands everything we put him in; that’s why he’s on the field all the time. We don’t take him out unless he’s tired, and sometimes that’s very reluctantly. We don’t like to have him out. Not that the guys behind him, (RB) Ben (Tate) and (RB) Justin (Forsett), don’t play well, it’s just the things that he affords our offense is that he can do everything and understands everything we’re trying to do.”

 

(on the Texans’ pace of play on offense) “I think we’ve varied our pace at times. If we feel it’s in our favor, we’ll pick up the tempo. If we feel that it’s not in our favor, it’s in our favor to slow the game down, I guess you could say, we’ll do that. I think if you watch the film throughout the year, we’ve done a little bit of both. So what we’ll do this weekend, we’ll see what’s in our favor as the game progresses, and it may change as the game progresses.”

 

(on how Head Coach Gary Kubiak is behind the scenes) “Well I think Gary, he lets you do your job. He tells you what he wants done. For me, we work together on what we’re going to install, then he lets me get my job done. He doesn’t jump out in the middle and say, ‘No, I want you to coach it this way. I want you to coach it that way.’ We get together and we talk about the installation and then he lets everybody do their job. Same is for any other position. He lets people do their job and he treats you as he wanted to be treated as an assistant coach. He understands that there are pressures and things are not going to go well. He does put pressure on you, but in the right way. I think those are the things that are strengths of his. And the other thing, just like most coaches that are successful, he has a plan and he sticks with it. He doesn’t backslide or change his mind. I think that’s an important aspect of most successful coaches.”

 

(on how tough Head Coach Gary Kubiak can be) “Oh, he can be really tough, being the object of the wrath at a point in time – and deservedly so. But I think in the heat of the battle, that’s the one thing: it seems like he’s calm because he needs to be calm. To right the ship, the captain can’t be flipping out. He’s got to be keeping the thing going in the right way. And I think he deserves a lot of credit for that.”

 

(on having TE Garrett Graham back for this game) “All of the pieces, as many healthy pieces as you can get. Garrett has played a lot of football for us and that was one game that he missed, so all of the experience that he affords and then the different personnel packages, it gives you a lot more flexibility. He, along with anybody else that we can get to this game that’s played a lot of football, will help us. It’s a tough task for us.”

 

(on the importance of TE Owen Daniels to the passing game) “Certainly any time you work the underneath coverage it makes them commit more guys, they can’t double (WR) Andre (Johnson), they can’t roll [coverages]. He is a tough matchup for a lot of linebackers, so that makes the safeties have to come down and even that makes it hard for them because he can do some things. Any time he’s had big games, we usually are very productive elsewhere.”

 

(on how the team can contain New England DT Vince Wilfork) “We just keep throwing things at him. Hopefully we can keep him off balance. One of the things we were successful at last weekend against the Bengals is the score was in our favor or relatively equal, so we can run-pass. Those are the best options. When you get to an all-pass, it makes it difficult for an offensive linemen when you have people as talented as (Cincinnati DT Geno) Atkins and certainly Wilfork.”

 

(on how frustrated the offense’s red zone efficiency has been) “It’s been very frustrating for us. It’s one thing that we’ve been efficient with throughout the year, and then we just didn’t get our sevens; we settled for threes. And you take that many trips and are able to move the ball, you should reap more benefits. It should be more fruitful for you when you get down there. And part of it is the continuing philosophy of just making sure we’re progressing towards the goal line. We have to be successful on first and second down to make the third downs manageable in the red zone because you’re running out of territory. Your play calling sheet becomes a little bit shorter with the shorter field, certainly, so anytime you back up with penalties, that hurts. Those are the kind of things that we keep talking about with our guys. Make sure we’re making the yards we need to on our first and seconds downs so those third downs, if we get to a third down, they’re manageable. They’re easier for us to attain and we can keep getting into the end zone.”

 

(on the balanced play between G Brandon Brooks and G Ben Jones) “I think our rotation will be our rotation. It’s the same that we’ve really tried. If by some mystical, magical way they end up being equal, they end up being equal; sometimes it’s one way or another. I think with two young guys that are progressing, as they’re progressing, we’re trying to keep them both involved. And they each offer a certain element to our offense, I guess you’d say. I think we’ll try and keep rotating them the best we can. I don’t think that there’s one playing out more than the other; it’s just getting them going. Maybe their drives are longer. If we see a benefit one way or another, we’ll move in that direction.”

 

LT Duane Brown

(on how much TE Garrett Graham will help the team and how important it is having him for this game) “It’s extremely important. (TE Garrett Graham) is an asset in the run game. But his receiving ability will really help us out a lot. Being able to spread a defense out and create some individual match ups that I think he can take advantage of.”

 

(on how much different the offensive line is with RT Derek Newton back) “(RT) Derek (Newton) has really come along. I think last week was the best game he’s had and I think he will really help us out this week. He’s a dominant force in the run game. His pass protection has really picked up in the last couple of weeks. I’m excited to watch him work out there.”

 

(on how different the unit is with RT Derek Newton) “I think it’s different. Like I said, he’s really progressed this year. I’m proud of the progress he’s made. I think in the run game especially, we’re a different group. He’s a strong, just powerful guy. And he finishes plays, so that’s something we’ll need out there.”

 

(on the Texans’ pace of play) “We switch our pace up. We’ve had a few games this year when we’ve went kind of quick pace, get to the ball, try to keep the defense off of their heels. And sometimes we’ll huddle up, switch personnel, things like that. I’m not sure what the game plan will be going into this week, but we can have a different pace.”

 

(on if the team likes running a slower pace, maintain possession) “Yeah, but I think that positive yardage is the only thing that allows that to happen. If you’re not running the ball well, not picking up positive yardage on first and second down, it kind of makes it hard to play that style of game. So I think being able to move, stay ahead of the chains in our possession will help us with that style of game.”

 

WR Andre Johnson

(on the keys to winning on Sunday) “We’ve just got to make more plays than they make. That’s pretty much it. We’ve just got to go out and make plays and execute our game plan and play the way we know how to play. That’s pretty much it.”

 

(on if making more plays than the Patriots is easier said than done) “It’s easy to say it. You’ve got to go out there and make the plays. That’s what we plan on doing: going out there and playing the way we know how to play football and if anything bad happens, have a short-term memory and just move on from it.”

 

(on the mood of the team) “I think everybody’s fine. I don’t sense any tightness or anything like that. We know what’s at stake. We know it’s a big game. In order for us to get to where we want to go, we have to go out and try to win this game on Sunday.”

 

(on what he took away from the first trip to New England) “We got our butts kicked. That’s pretty much it. We didn’t play like we know how to play, so that’s what happened.”

 

(on Head Coach Gary Kubiak saying that the New England loss feels like it was two years ago) “No, no that wasn’t two years ago, but you can’t dwell on the past. It happened. We know it happened. Everybody saw it. It happened on the big stage. We’re not running away from it. It happened, but it’s a new game. It’s a new game on Sunday so we’ll see what happens.”

 

(on the importance of a fast start on Sunday) “It’s very important. We know how capable they are on the offensive side of the ball, of scoring points and stuff like that. We just have to go out and make plays, keep our third downs manageable and we’ll be fine.”

 

(on the importance of having TE Owen Daniels playing well) “In order for us to get where we want to go, it’s not going to take just one guy. It’s going to take everybody. Guys can’t sit around and wait for somebody to make a play. Everybody has to take it among themselves and make the play and just keep going forward. It’s not going to just take one guy. It’s going to take everybody in order for us to get it done.”

 

(on how much he relishes the challenge to go to New England) “It’s a great challenge. People have their own opinions about it, but we know what kind of football team we are. We know if we go out and play well we’re capable of beating anybody, so I don’t really get caught up in what people are going to say. We can’t worry about that. All we can do is focus on ourselves and make sure we’re ready when kickoff comes.”

 

(on getting a second chance against the Patriots) “You play to put yourselves in a position to get in the playoffs. It just happened that in the Division round we’re meeting with a team that gave us a good butt whooping. We didn’t know we would be playing them in the Division round or not. It happens. It’s a great opportunity for us and like I said, we’ll be ready.”

 

(on having Foxborough experience) “It doesn’t matter. It’s football. I don’t get caught up in all that. That doesn’t bother me. I’m not worried about that.”

 

(on QB Matt Schaub going into New England for his first road playoff start) “I think he’ll be ready. He’s working his butt off like he’s done every other week. Like I said, we’ll be ready to go.”

 

(on what he expects from the New England defense) “I don’t know. They do a lot of different things, so you never know what you’re going to get. Pretty sure it won’t be the same thing as the first time. They have a great coach and he does a great job of game planning and designing schemes to stop certain players, so I don’t know. We’ll just see when we get out there what happens.”

 

(on the importance of not hurting yourself with penalties and turnovers) “It’s very important. That’s something we have been doing over the past month or so. It’s just something you have to try to limit because sometimes you put yourself in third-and-longs when you have those penalties in early downs and stuff like that. That’s just something we’re just going to have to try to eliminate.”

 

(on the team having been through a lot this season) “Yeah we have, but every team comes into the season with the ultimate goal, and that’s winning the Super Bowl. There are steps you have to go through to get to that point, and this is a big step for us. I don’t know. A lot people think we don’t have a chance, so I just laugh at it. Like I said, we’ll be ready.”

 

(on if it bothers the team that outsiders don’t think they have a chance against the Patriots) “I don’t really get caught up in what people say. You have to go out and play. Just like people said I was old, but I finished second in the League in yards; it doesn’t matter what people say. You’ve got to go out and play the game; that’s the only way it gets done. You’ve got to go out and play the game. That’s pretty much it.”

 

(on what it means to be in this situation to him) “It means a lot. It’s a great opportunity. Like I said before, it makes you appreciate all the tough times you went through to get to this point. It’s a big opportunity. It’s a big stage. A lot of people will be watching. You have to step up to the plate and make the plays in order for you to get to where you want to go. It’s going to be a challenge and it’s not going to be easy at all, and we know that. I know that. Like I said, we’ll go out there and we’re going to give everything we got.”

 

(on the team being hungrier to go further in the playoffs this season) “It was a hurtful feeling last year walking off that field, but that’s in the past. We have another opportunity. We’re in the same game, just playing against a different team. Like I said, it’s never going to be easy. It’s hard to win games in this league. It’s going to be a challenge for us. We know that. We just need to do everything we need to do to make sure we’re ready and go out and play the way we know how to play, and if we do that we’ll be fine.”

 

(on if QB Matt Schaub will be even more confident with a playoff start under his belt) “I think him just getting his first win probably got a monkey off his back because that’s something a lot of people talked about or whatever. I think with him getting that out of the way, it probably would make him feel more comfortable going into the game.”

 

(on if he’s talked to QB Matt Schaub about how he missed last year’s postseason) “We haven’t talked about it. We haven’t talked about anything like that. I’m just glad that he was able to get his first playoff win. Now we can move forward.”

 

(on having TE Garrett Graham and every option on offense available) “It’s very important. It’s going to take everybody. It’s not going to take one guy; it’s going to take everybody. Everybody, as a team, has a part and every guy has a role; and every guy has to go out and do his role to the best of his ability in order for us to get the job done. It’s important that we have everybody.”

 

(on forgetting previous losses) “The season is long. You don’t dwell on stuff like that. Once you play a game, win or lose, you’ve got to go on to the next week. You don’t forget things like that, but you don’t sit here and just dwell on it.”

 

RG Ben Jones

(on the key to blocking DT Vince Wilfork) “You can always do something better. When you’re backside on him, I want to get to the linebacker a little quicker and stuff like that. But that’s going to be my key is just getting to the backers and fighting to the down block to get to him.”

 

(on how much of a challenge DT Vince Wilfork is) “He’s definitely a load and he’s a savvy vet. He knows what he’s doing. He can read the offense, what we we’re doing. So we’re going to come out there and try to give him something he hasn’t seen every time.”

 

(on being in such a big game as rookie) “It’s just another game. You try to not blow it up in your mind. So you just come out there and you just try to handle your job each week.”

 

(on how much fun it is to be a part of this playoff atmosphere) “It’s great. I haven’t done it since high school, being in a playoff, so it’s nice. You get to come out there each week, no matter what your record is, and hey, you win, you go onto the next round. It’s a big week. No matter if they were perfect or we were perfect, whoever wins this game is going on.”

 

(on how DT Vince Wilfork and DT Geno Atkins are similar or different) “(DT Vince) Wilfork is a lot bigger. (DT) Geno (Atkins) is a quick guy, gets off the ball and tries to disrupt it right off the bat. Wilfork is a guy that plays with you. He reads you and makes the play. Geno, you have to get on him quick so he doesn’t expose you up the field.”

 

(on if DT Vince Wilfork surprised him with his quickness) “Yeah at first. I knew he was a really big guy, but some of the plays that he made, I was like, ‘This guy is really athletic to be this big.’ I know that was one of the key things that I saw from watching film.”

 

(on how you prevent DT Vince Wilfork from making plays) “You just try to get on him and get on him fast so he can’t read run or pass, because if he sits there and he knows it’s pass, he can work a move. That’s the thing, he’s a read guy, so you want to get on him and try to disguise if it’s run or pass.”

 

OLB Whitney Mercilus

(on correcting mistakes and moving forward to the game the matchup with New England) “Honestly, it’s a lot of mistakes on our part that happened in the past. So it’s just a matter of correcting in practice and executing perfect.”

 

(on if attitude is the most important thing to bring to New England) “Yeah, of course. You have to have that too. You know, some swagger—you have to be confident in yourself. The thing is when you’re confident, good things happen.”

 

(on if the team got some of its swagger back after defeating Cincinnati) “Yeah, definitely. All week we were just focusing on making sure we were executing well and things like that. When it’s in the game, we pulled out the swagger and won the game.”

 

(on what lasting effects from the loss to New England a month ago) “It was a bad taste that was in our mouth after we lost and things like that. We could’ve played a whole lot better. Yeah, it was just an old fashioned butt whooping that day when we played them. But all we’re doing is just focusing now and making sure we execute well and understand the offense a lot better than what we did.”

 

(on how much he’s looking forward to the opportunity to play New England again) “When you lose against an opponent during the season, you don’t really get a chance to play that person again. So it means a lot to actually get another chance.”

 

(on facing QB Tom Brady for a second time and what the biggest challenge is facing him) “I don’t really expect anything different from (QB) Tom Brady or anything like that. The guy is a prolific quarterback, no doubt. He plays well all the time, he’s consistent. What you see is what you get, consistency day-in and day-out.”

 

(on if the Texans have experienced as much as a team can experience in one season) “Going 12-4 in the season and things like that, it’s definitely hard in this league to do that. It means a lot. Losses happen and the thing is you have to learn from your losses and just progress from there and get better. It teaches you a lot about yourself, your character and things like that. We’re in the playoffs and definitely, our character is going to be tested each week. It’s just a matter of buckling down and taking care of business week-to-week.”

 

S Glover Quin

(on how the practice week is going) “Today is the first day. We just got started getting a game plan, things that we want to do, going over things that they do, obviously, so we’re off to a good start.”

 

(on how much the team takes away from the last game against the Patriots) “I think you take every game and you look at it and you study it and you see what they did and you see things they like to do and things they tried to do against you and you prepare for it. Obviously, they’re probably not going to do the same things, so you just have to prepare for formations and things of that nature. But at the end of the day, when the ball is snapped, you have to execute. Whether you’re covering somebody man-to-man or you’re playing a certain zone, you just have to execute it.”

 

(on defending against New England TEs Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez) “It’s going to be tough. They’re good players, but we have good players too, so it’ll be a good challenge. Hopefully we’ll make more plays than they do.”

 

(on how much the team is playing catch up since the Patriots have had a week off) “We’re not playing catch up. We’re studying, we’re going over our game plan. We’re not playing catch up. They’ve had a week and we played last week, so we’re ready to play. We’re not playing catch up. We’re in our weekly routine.”

 

(on New England playing up tempo on offense and the problems that causes) “On substitution, if they’re not subbing, we can’t sub, so it’s just guys on guys. But if they sub somebody, we get a chance to sub. Obviously if they’re going no huddle or they’re hurrying up the tempo, they’re not going to sub anybody. You just have to be on your communication, have to get the call in and get lined up and get ready to play. Because a lot of times they try to go no huddle, pick it up fast and find somebody that’s not on their guy or not properly communicated, a busted coverage or something like that. But if you get the calls in and everybody communicates the calls from one side to the other, you’ll be fine.”

 

(on if he likes the mental challenge of facing QB Tom Brady) “To us as DBs, Tom Brady is not running any routes, so at the end of the day, we have to cover (WR) Wes Welker. We have to cover (TE) Aaron Hernandez. We have to cover (TE Rob) Gronkowski. We have to cover the guys that are playing. Obviously, he’s going to throw the ball, but he’s not running any routes, so we just have to do our job and cover our man and we’ll be fine.”

 

(on how much confidence the game versus the Bengals gives the defensive backs) “We always know what we can do. We had to go out and do it, and obviously we did that. But it’s a new week, new challenge, and our confidence is still the same. We’ve been confident the whole time, we just had some issues and we just had to execute better. We did that, and we got the good results, so obviously we have to continue to execute and just prepare each and every day. That’s what it comes down to, preparing each and every day like you’re playing in a game and you’ll be fine.”

 

(on having CBs Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson both playing well) “We’re a strong unit. We feel like we’re very close-knit. We feel like we have two great corners, two good safeties and we feel like we can match up with anybody and we feel like we fly around and hit with anybody, tackle better than anybody. That’s just the way we feel. And so when we’re playing at the top of our game, we feel like we can be the top secondary unit in the League, so to have the corners locking guys down and flying around and hitting people, that’s always a plus.”

 

OLB Brooks Reed

(on coming out of the Cincinnati game without any health setbacks) “It was great coming out of the game and having no setbacks and feeling really good. So I’m full-go this week, just like I was last week, so nothing has really changed. It feels good to be back.”

 

(on keys to stopping the New England offense) “They run so many plays and so many formations, and they line up so fast, you have to know what you’re doing mentally. You just have to be able to react really quickly with this offense. It’s challenging.”

 

(on preparing for the pace of the New England offense) “Just practicing and film, watching film. Once they break the huddle you have to know what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. So this week we’re definitely emphasizing just being fundamentally sound and it’s easy to say, but it’s pretty difficult when you have an offense that lines up so fast with their personnel and runs plays quicker than the other teams. It’s pretty tough.”

 

(on if QB Tom Brady is the best in the league at dealing with blitzes) “He’s got to be up there. He rarely gets sacked, just like (Peyton) Manning. I wasn’t there last time, but it’s going to be challenging. And I’m sure they’re going to be prepared for blitzes and all that.”

 

(on how hard it was to watch the last game against the Patriots without playing) “Pretty difficult. It’s tough watching your guys go out there and play their hearts out and you’re stuck here nursing a groin injury. But now it’s a little bit different, so I’ll be out there and try to make plays of my own.”

 

(on important it is to make a big play against New England) “Yeah, to win the game you’re going to need some turnovers, some big plays, just like we had last week. Those are always the difference. Just winning the turnover battle is probably the biggest one.”

 

(on bringing attitude to New England) “Yeah, we have to come in with a different mindset. We  have to compete. We can’t let a team go up that many points so fast. The game changes after a team puts up 14 points so early. We can’t let them come out quick.”

 

(on what it means to be in this game and ready to go, not worried about being injured) ‘That means a lot. I was so disappointed that I couldn’t play last time and now I get a chance to go down there again and play them. It means a lot.”

 

(on being considered one of the x-factors of the game) “It’ll be fun going up against the Gronk (TE Rob Gronkowski). We were old college teammates, so we’ll be battling out there.”

 

(on what kind of challenge TE Rob Gronkowski is) “He’s a big challenge. He challenges the field vertically, and you have to have a big body on him down field because he just reaches up top and over safeties. He’s tough to cover.”

 

QB Matt Schaub

(on if the team goes up to New England with any doubts in their minds) “No, we go up with a lot of confidence.  We know what type of team we can be when we’re playing up to our expectations and our standard and what we demand out of ourselves, so we go up there with a lot of confidence to go win a road football game.”

 

(on what it will take to win in New England) “It takes our best football. It takes good, clean, road football and a total team effort. It’s going to take everyone’s best shot.”

 

(on what the team learned from its first trip to New England) “We didn’t make enough plays to win the game. They’re a good football team and they made more plays than we did.”

 

(on if they expect something different from the Patriots defense) “You’ve got to go in expecting a lot of different things. You’ve got to be prepared to handle a lot of different situations and circumstances, things that they can do, because they do a lot, and being able to adjust in game to looks you’re seeing.”

 

(on how important it was for him to get his first playoff start out of the way) “It was great to be out there with my guys, especially with how last season went for me, being injured and not being able to be out there. To go out and win the football game in front of our home crowd, it was a good day.”

 

(on having TEs Owen Daniels and Garrett Graham both healthy) “They’re such big weapons for us. They create a lot of mismatches. They run great routes. They’re very precise, great hands with the football. They create separation at the moment of truth. Having them both on the field at the same time, because they’re so good on the line of scrimmage blocking, as well, they allow us to do a lot as far as formations and what we can do with them.”

 

(on going to New England for his first career playoff start and if he’s excited) “Yeah, I think our team feels that way. I think we’re all excited for that opportunity to go on the road in the environment we’re going to go into and cut it loose and give it our shot.”

 

(on something that he didn’t do last week that he has to do on Sunday) “I think as a team, offensively, I think we need to score sevens down in the red zone. Against this team in their building, threes aren’t going to cut it. We’ve got to get down there, we’ve got to be aggressive and we’ve got to score touchdowns.”

 

(on what Head Coach Gary Kubiak does behind the scenes that impresses him the most) “I think at this point the game plan he gives us, they’re so many options. There is so much variety and there are so many things that he puts on players because it’s our time of year. He puts so much on us to go out and make plays. As a coach, putting your players in that position, that’s the ultimate respect because he just allows us to go out cut it loose and be players and go out and make the plays necessary to win the game.”

 

(on how important it is to not hurt yourself against a team like the Patriots) “It’s huge, especially in their building and the way they play. You can’t have penalties and put yourself behind in the down and distance. You can’t give them extra possessions by turning the football over, because the way their offense is playing, you have to expect them to score points and you don’t need to give them extra opportunities with the ball. They’re a pretty good group.”

 

(on if it helps him relax more knowing that the Texans were just in New England a month ago) “Yeah, I think we were just in that place so we know the lay of the land as a football team. We’re not going into uncharted territory here, so I think that helps.”

 

(on what the offense needs to do better to get touchdowns instead of field goals) “I think there are a few things. I think we’ve got to be better on first down. We’ve had some penalties in the red zone and that puts you behind in the down and distance. When the field is condensed there is less room to get the ball in there; and to be able to run the ball effectively. The other day we had a big first-down run and then we had a holding that put us, we were in third-and-11 on the 11 and that’s a tough scenario. How our defense was playing that day, we could settle for three and not force the football and create and negative situation, take the three and let our defense go and continue what they were doing the other day, but against this group that we’re going to face this week, we’ve got to get seven.”

 

(on how this team embraces an underdog role) “We’re just embracing the opportunity that’s in front of us. Whether we’re an underdog [or] a favorite, we’re just going to prepare ourselves to play a good football game on the road. It’s going to be a tough challenge, tough test, but one that we’re looking forward to.”

 

(on what RB Arian Foster brings to the offense with his ability to also catch the football) “His ability with the ball in his hands, whether he’s running or catching it, very rarely does the first person tackle him, and that creates big plays for your offense. When your running back, you can dump it down if something’s not there down field and he can turn a three-yard catch into a 12, 15-yard gain, that’s a huge positive for us.”

 

(on looking forward as a team) “Whether it was good, bad or indifferent in the past, we can’t control that. We’re looking forward. We’re looking to this opportunity to take the next step in the playoffs towards a championship. We’ve got to go on the road in New England and do that this week, but we’re excited for that opportunity looking forward.”

 

(on the expectations surrounding the team) “The expectations have grown and grown around here, especially in the locker room, that we expect to play good ball and to move on. I think the demand is there inside our locker room. Last year there was that demand, but it was our first time and everything was new, but this year, guys have been down this road and we’re looking to take that next step.”

 

(on mixing up the tempo on offense) “We definitely have mixed up our tempo, whether we’re in our normal pace in the huddle or we’re hurrying up on the line of scrimmage or we’re in a two-minute style. We change the tempo, change the pace when we feel that we need to, especially if we need to get a boost and we need to play a little faster, up the tempo. That’s something that we try to do throughout any game.”

 

(on who decides to mix up the pace and tempo on offense) “It’s something that’s talked about. Sometimes the coaches dictate that. Sometimes we as players say, ‘Hey we’d like to do this.’ We have enough guys that have been around here long enough that the coaches listen to us when we say stuff like that.”

 

(on how the offense mixes up the tempo) “I think you keep the playbook open. You keep their defense on their heels a little bit, prevent some of the things that they might be able to do. I think offensively, you can dictate the tempo with your snap count or with what you’re doing; playing fast, getting the ball out and you’re wearing down the defense.”

 

(on bringing an attitude to New England as a team) “I think so. It’s playoff time. There is no tomorrow at this time of the season. If you want to move on, you’ve got to bring a sense of nastiness and attitude with you to go out and dominate your opponent on every play.”

 

LG Wade Smith

(on T Derek Newton playing this time against New England after missing the previous matchup) “I think (T) Derek Newton is coming off of his best game. If you watch the film of the Bengals game, he’s very physical in the run game. He played well all around, pass game as well. So I think it’s going to help us going forward. I know that gave him a lot of confidence going forward as well, just to have a good game like that in the playoffs when the lights are on and it counts. And so we’re looking forward to seeing him perform on Sunday.”

 

(on what the team wants to do differently this time against New England) “For the most part, we have to stay on schedule and do what we do up front and not get behind early to where we can dictate the type of game that we want to play. We had some good plays out there and we had some plays that we didn’t make that we should have made. They made some plays and that’s NFL football. We’re playing against a good team and they’re going to make their plays, but we’re going to have to make ours. We’re going to have to make more plays than they make in order to come out with a ‘W.’”

 

(on if DT Vince Wilfork is freakishly athletic) “I mean, he’s a good player. He’s athletic, he’s big. Freakishly athletic? I don’t know about that. I mean, he’s a good player, bottom line.”

(on the similarities and differences between DT Vince Wilfork and DT Geno Atkins) “They’re both strong; that’s probably about the only thing they have similar. (DT Vince Wilfork) probably outweighs (DT) Geno (Atkins) by, I don’t know, 40 or 50 pounds. Geno Atkins is definitely a strong player, probably about 6-2, 300. Wilfork is probably 6-4, 350, or something like that. But both of them play the game hard. Both of them play with restraint and both of them have quickness. Those would be the similarities, I would say.”

 

(on if he has seen another player as big and quick as DT Vince Wilfork) “I don’t know. I’d have to think back. Most of his plays that he makes are with his strength. I don’t really see him making a lot of plays just beating people with quickness. He is a quick player, but it’s not like it’s (OLB Dwight) Freeney coming off the edge or something like that.”

 

DE J.J. Watt

(on if he was wearing his Craig Biggio jersey in protest of the Hall of Fame results) “Hall of Famer in my book. I wish he would’ve gotten in. I think it would’ve been really cool. [He was a] heck of a ballplayer and he deserved it.”

 

(on people expecting him to be great in every game) “That’s good. That’s what I was working for. You want to get to that point in your career. Nobody has higher expectations for me than myself. When I look in the mirror at the end of the day, I have much bigger expectations than any media member, coach, player, anybody has for me. I think that if you, like I’ve said all season long, if you want to be the best you have to want to do things that have never been done before. I’m always striving to do that. I think if people expected good from me and not great I would be disappointed. You want people to expect greatness from you.”

 

(on how he played against New England in December) “I don’t think I played my best game. I think we can all agree on that. I got quite a few hits on him, but obviously the ball was gone. I need to play better and I’m going to play better.”

 

(on how he left the locker room and his emotions following the game) “First of all, I spoke to all reporters that asked for me to speak to them. After that game, obviously yeah I was upset. You’re going to be upset after you get beat like that. We got beat by a good football team. They played better that night and that’s the way it was.”

 

(on if how he welcomes the challenge ahead) “Very welcomed challenge. I’m sitting here in the NFL playoffs and we have a chance to go on the road and play against a very good football team. It’s win or go home. This is what you live for. This is what you play for. As a kid, you dream about being in the playoffs. It’s a great opportunity for us.”

 

(on facing QB Tom Brady for the second time) “Their quarterback is a good player, heck of a player. Obviously he has a great reputation in this league for good reason. We need to do us. We need to play our game and we need to be who we are. If the Bulls on Parade show up the way we know how to show up, we’re going to have a lot of success.”

 

(on if this is the kind of matchup he was hoping to receive) “I welcome all matchups. Any teams, any players, anyone, anytime, anywhere, I’ll play anyone.”

 

(on being hungrier to advance this year compared to last season) “I think this year; obviously last year we were very excited to be in the playoffs. We were happy to make it as far as we did, but this year, new year, new goals. Biggest goal of them all, Super Bowl and this is a big step for us and we’re really excited about the challenge.”

 

(on the team’s penalty issues) “I think everybody knows that the key to success is not having penalties so we need to make sure we’re smart and we play mentally sound football. That’s the main focus for us.”

 

(on having OLB Brooks Reed back for this game) “He’s a very good player. He’s strong. He’s physical. He’s fast. He can do a lot of different things. Obviously, him and I work together on some pass rush schemes and things like that. It’s nice to have him back. It’s always a welcome sight to see 58.”

 

(on if there is a little competition going on with OLB Brooks Reed with postseason sacks) “Of course, there is always competition going on. That’s good competition. It’s great and hopefully we get many more.”

 

(on playing in tight games on defense) “As a defensive player, all I can do is keep points off the board. As a defensive player, my mentality is if the offense scores three points, we hold them to zero, we win. That’s how you have to think as a defensive guy so that’s all I can say about that.”

 

(on players having added adrenaline in the playoffs and how he approaches playoff games) “The playoffs bring with them a certain aura, a certain feeling and energy and adrenaline. I treat every single game the same. I come out every single game as hard as I possibly can. That’s the honest truth. That’s not just a cliché. That’s not just me saying this. Every single game I bring everything I have and the playoffs are going to be no different.”

 

(on if he has to relax himself in a situation like Sunday’s) “No, it’s all a game at the end of the day. It’s a huge stage. It’s the playoffs and everything, but it’s’ a game I’ve been playing since fifth grade. When I step on the field I remind myself of that and I remind myself how lucky I am to be here, how hard I’ve worked to be here and how much fun I get to have. They pay me to play this game. It’s crazy and it’s a blast.”

 

(on having familiarity with the New England trip) “You look at a lot of things. Obviously, the logistics of a road trip, you’re familiar with the area. You’re familiar with how things are going to work. You watch the film. You learn from the game. You learn from those types of things. You look at all different aspects and you try and obviously make this trip a lot better.”

 

(on if he likes being an underdog) “Love it. I love doing things people tell me I can’t. That’s a great feeling. Right now, there are a whole lot of people telling us what we can’t do. I see a lot of guys in this locker room working hard to prove what we can do. Even if it’s just us 53 in there believing in it, that’s all it takes. We’re going to go up there. We’re going to have a heck of a week of practice here and we’re going to go up there and we’re going to put our best foot forward and we’re going to play one hell of a football game.”

 

New England Head Coach Bill Belichick Conference Call

(on his thoughts going into the game) “Well, obviously, a good football team. I think we all know the regular season doesn’t really mean anything at this point. It’s about a one-game matchup. I thought that the Texans really played a good football game against the Bengals. They played the game, I’m sure, the way they wanted to play it. [The Texans] had the ball almost twice as much, they played great third-down defense, really just played a strong game all the way through, all three phases. They have a lot of outstanding players. They’re very explosive offensively with their receivers, their tight ends, their running backs, three Pro Bowl guys on the offense line. Defensively, they do a good job in every area, especially the situational football, third down, red area, goal line. They put a lot of pressure on the quarterback. Good coverage people. They added (S Danieal) Manning to their return game with (WR Keshawn) Martin. (OLB Bryan) Braman is one of the top special teams guys we’ve seen all year. (CB Alan) Ball, they got him back. We didn’t play against him in the first game. (OLB Jesse) Nading, (S Shiloh) Keo, they have a lot of good players in the kicking game as well. So, pretty good football team.”

 

(on keeping his team from dwelling on beating the Texans earlier this year) “Yeah, we’ve played division games where we’ve played the same team twice in the division or three times already this year. Those games don’t mean anything.”

 

(on it being more difficult to play a team for a second time in the playoffs after defeating them in the regular season) “I think all the previous games are pretty meaningless. I think it’s a bunch of garbage. The game comes down to teams, the way we match up this weekend, on Sunday. It doesn’t have anything to do with some game that was played this season, last season or some other time. It doesn’t matter. It’s not this game. The game will have its own elements and it will write its own story. And I don’t think any other game has any bearing on this one.”

 

(on the Texans’ utilization of RB Arian Foster against the Bengals) “Well I’ve been impressed with him since he came into the league. He did a good job against us in the first game. He’s done a good job all year. He’s a good runner, good receiver. He makes a lot of yardage on his own. He’s an explosive back. Good in short yardage and goal line situations. He’s good with the ball in his hands and he’s an excellent receiver. He’s a very dangerous player. He’s one of the best backs in the League, no question about that.”

 

(on the importance of having a shutdown corner like CB Johnathan Joseph) “Every position is important on defense. Any time you can put a corner out there and do a good job on a receiver, especially a good receiver like (Cincinnati WR) A.J. Green, that just narrows it down for everybody else. When you have to start double covering, that takes one guy out of your scheme and puts more pressure on other parts of your defense. They have excellent corners, Joseph and (CB) Kareem Jackson. Of course, their safeties are great, too, with (S Glover) Quin and (S Danieal) Manning, (S Shiloh) Keo playing in there as well, (CB Brandon) Harris coming in on the slot. They’ve got a good group of corners, but Joseph does an excellent job. He’s got good skills. He’s a playmaker and he’s gone up against top guys every week other than those two weeks that he missed. But he goes up against top guys every week and they’re very competitive.”

 

(on having TE Rob Gronkowski back this time against the Texans) “Well Rob is a good player. If we have him back, I’m sure that it will be good to have him, but we’ll have to see how it goes.”

 

(on the Texans’ struggles in the red zone) “Again, in this league it’s such a fine line between scoring touchdowns and not scoring them. Sometimes it’s a couple inches or this one little thing here or there. The red area is a tight area of the field, not a lot of space, but I think the Texans have the good area tactic. They can run the ball, no question about that. They have a couple big receivers in obviously (WR Andre) Johnson, (WR Kevin) Walter, tight ends are very good down in that area, too. (TE Garrett) Graham’s a good red area receiver along with (TE Owen) Daniels and obviously (FB James) Casey. They have a lot of weapons down there. They’ve scored plenty. We have a lot of respect for their offense, period, in all areas of the field. They had a lot of big plays, but they get down there in the red area, they’re a challenge because they can run it and throw it and they have a lot of weapons. We know we’re going to have to get our best on Sunday to stop that group.”

 

(on what has impressed him the most about the way Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips runs a defense over the years) “Wade does a good job. He’s done a good job everywhere he’s been. He’s basically more or less kept the same system throughout those years, which I think you don’t see a lot of that. You see teams evolve differently over the course of time and the offense change or personnel groups change, that type of things. Wade, for the most part, has stuck to his system. When I came here in 2000 and he was at Buffalo, we saw a lot of the same things now that we saw then. I think his overall consistency with the scheme and his ability to take players, mold them into his system, find the right ones. He knows what he wants. He knows who he is looking for and he gets those guys and they perform well for him. He’s a good motivator. He can get his guys to play because he’s done that everywhere he’s been.”

 

(on the keys to slowing down DE J.J. Watt) “Well, I think there is a lot more to it than sacks. He’s a good football player. We certainly had a big challenge dealing with him the last time. It’ll be a big challenge dealing with him again, as well as the entire defense, not just him but all of them, especially on the front there with (NT Shaun) Cody, (DE Antonio) Smith, (OLB Brooks) Reed, (OLB Whitney) Mercilus, that whole group. Watt’s a big challenge and he does great on runs at him, runs away from him. He’s a good pass rusher. He runs games well. You’ve got to block him on every play. He’s a tough guy to handle. I don’t think you really slow him down. You just try to keep him from ruining the game. That in itself is a challenge because he’s so good.”

 

(on the Patriots’ quick pace compared to the Texans) “Well, pace is just of an overall way you play the game. I think execution is a lot more important than pace. Sometimes we’ve gone faster than others, certainly the Texans have been in the two-minute mode or they’ve not been in it. It all comes back down to execution. It’s how well you can do whatever it is you’re trying to do. Pace is part of the overall system, sure, but it really comes down to executing. If you don’t throw and catch and block and execute the techniques properly and perform in efficient and good plays consistently, then it doesn’t matter what pace you go at, I don’t think your results are going to be very good.”

 

New England QB Tom Brady Conference Call

(on what concerns he has about the Texans’ defense for this game) “Well, they’re very good in all phases, a very good situational football team. They have some great players in the secondary, a very experienced group of linebackers and a great defensive line, and one of the best defensive players in all football in (DE) J.J. Watt. We have our hands full. It’s going to be a very tough game.”

 

(on if this will be a different Texans team from the team they played in the regular season) “Every game is totally different and this one is certainly different than the first game. I think there are some matchup things that you may look at, but at the same time, the Texans are going to have a few different things, we’re going to have a few different things. It’s just going to be a totally different game. You face that when you face division opponents; you play them twice a year, so every game ends up being a little bit different.”

 

(on what impresses him about DE J.J. Watt) “Yeah, he’s an incredible player. He’s had another great season. What he does in both the run game and the pass game – the passes defensed is an amazing statistic. You have to know where he’s at on every single play because he’s so disruptive with tackles for loss and his penetration of the backfield. He gets to the quarterback. He led the league in sacks. He’s as good as anyone playing in the game and we know how challenging it is to play against him. We have our work cut out for us.”

 

(on if the team is using brooms in practice again to simulate defenders getting their hands up and how it helps) “Yeah, there’s been some of that this week. Coach (Bill) Belichick always really challenges us in different ways. He finds strengths of the other team and then really tries to emphasize it with our team. That’s been one of the things, and like I said, the passes defensed, and just to get into our mind that they’re a very active group up front that defends a lot of passes, certainly, not only over the middle but in all parts of the field. There’s no team better in the League at it than the Texans.”

 

(on if the team has talked about the playoff loss to the New York Jets a few years ago) “Not really. No, not within our team a lot. A lot of us were a part of that team. We talked about it at one point and kind of moved forward, and a lot of guys weren’t a part of that team. No one has really brought it up.”

 

(on if the playoff loss to the New York Jets resonates now that they’re facing the Texans in the playoffs after beating them in the regular season) “There’s always a chance of losing every game you play. I think that’s part of the competition: sometimes you play well and sometimes you don’t. When you play well you usually win and when you play poorly, you usually lose, so I hope we play well this weekend.”

 

(on the important of the pace of the Patriot’s offense) “I think there are a lot of different tempos used over the course of the season. We can go fast, we can go slow, there’s two-minute type tempos, there’s no-huddle versions. Whatever we do, we have to do effectively. I think that really is about execution in both the run game and the pass game. It doesn’t do you very good if you go quickly or slowly if you’re not executing, because then you’re going to be off the field, and there’s no better team than the Texans in time of possession. They led the League this year in time of possession. Last week against Cincy, it was almost two to one time of possession. That’s a big strength for them and we have to make sure we stay on the field, especially on third down. But they’re a very good situational team, so they get off the field on third down. They’re very good in the red area; they’re very good in short yardage and goal line situations. It’s easier said than done. That’s why we’re practicing every day. We’re trying to practice hard and get a lot of looks, and hopefully we can be prepared by Sunday.”

 

(on having TE Rob Gronkowski back this week, the difference he can make) “Well, he is a very good player. And the guys that are in there, like I said, it comes down to execution, not so many of the players that have been in there or not in there. I think the important thing is we go out and execute well. We’ve got a lot of good players on our roster and guys that we expect to play very well, so whether it’s Rob or (TE) Aaron (Hernandez) or (WR) Deion (Branch) or (TE) Daniel Fells or Mike (TE Michael Hoomanawanui). All these guys have to play well in addition to (WR) Wes (Welker), Deion, all the running backs. It’s really a team effort from us. So whoever is out there, we have to go out and execute well.”

 

(on what stood out for him that the Texans did well against the Bengals) “I think, like I said, the time of possession. The Bengals couldn’t stay on the field. They were on the sidelines for 40 minutes of the game on offense. It’s hard to score when you’re not out there. That’s what they do. They do a great job of getting you into third-down situations, especially third-and-longs. They’re the best team in the league at third-and-long. They had more third-and-longs than any team we’ve played all year, so that tells you they’re doing it all on first and second down, and that really shows to the strength of their whole defense.”

 

(on how difficult of a challenge it is for QB Matt Schaub’s second playoff start to be in Foxborough) “I’m not sure. I don’t want to speak for Matt, but I played games early in my career when I had no experience and we did pretty well. I think it’s all a matter of how well you play. It always comes down to who is executing the best and not so much the experience. That’s kind of how I feel.”

 

(on what the Texans did well in defending WR Wes Welker when the teams played in the regular season) “Well they have a very good secondary. (S) Glover Quin and (S) Danieal Manning and (CB) Kareem Jackson and (CB) Johnathan Joseph is as solid of a group as there is in the League. They challenge you. You’ve got to be able to make really good throws into tight coverage. We just wished we could have done a better job after the first time we played them, so hopefully our execution in that part of the game will be better.”


PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY

PRESS CONFERENCE

January 9, 2013

 

Q: Of all the things the Texans do well defensively, what’s maybe the one thing you're most concerned about?

 

TB: I think there’s a lot to be concerned about. They’ve got a great front, some very experienced players at linebacker, a very athletic secondary. You saw what they did last week playing at home against Cincinnati there in the first half was pretty impressive. There are a lot of challenges for us, certainly from my standpoint. We just tried to have a good day of practice yesterday and get off to a good start and try to string a bunch of those together.

 

Q: Last time you guys played them, we talked about racquets and brooms at practice to simulate the Texans defense. What did you see yesterday?

 

TB: More of the same. It gets frustrating at times, but I think it’s a very good thing that coach does and it just subliminally gets it in my head of his [J.J. Watt’s] ability and their ability to defend passes at the line of scrimmage, which I’m sure teams try to do every week, but they get them every week. So that’s a big difference.

 

Q: How much can that week off help you guys get healthy? Did you notice a little extra pep in everyone's step yesterday at practice?

 

TB: I think it was a week for us to really identify the things that we need to do better and to put a lot of work in on those things. I think we spent extensive amounts of time on all the situational football and tried to understand why we did things well over the course of the year and things that we need to do better. I think it was more about improvement than anything else.

 

Q: Physically do you feel like a new man after a few days off?

 

TB: I always feel pretty good. I play football for a living. There’s a lot to feel good about doing that. So to have a chance to play in this game, there’s a lot of excitement. Not many teams have this opportunity. It’s the second round of the playoffs, and to be here and have this chance, I think we all look forward to it and it’s why we work hard: to be in this situation.

 

Q: Can you talk about the fine line between wanting to repeat what you did so well against them the last time and also throw in new wrinkles?

 

TB: Yeah, I think there are things that we did well. I think there are things that we can do better and things we didn’t do well and I'm sure they feel the same way. I know the score looked like it was a certain way, but there were certain plays that we could have done a better job on and hopefully we can do a better job of this week. They're going to give us [their] best game and were going to try to give them our best game. It will be a good game.

 

Q: Speaking of new wrinkles, Rob Gronkowksi didn't play last time but will be back this weekend. Is that something you can exploit more than usual since they didn't see him last time?

 

TB: Well, I think it’s a matter of execution more than anything. Just because he may have the opportunity to be out there on a particular play doesn’t matter if we don’t execute it well. I think there are things that we did in the last game with the guys who played in the last game that did a good job execution-wise. I hope the guys that are in there this week do a good job execution-wise, because it comes down to, like I said, there’s nothing [relevant] about last game – giving us an opportunity to have this game at home, I think that’s the important thing about last game. Other than that, this is going to be a whole different game full of our own execution, our ability to try to beat a very good football team that’s played well all year.

 

Q: How hard is it as a team to totally put the last victory out of your mind and separate the two?

 

TB: I think we always try to put the previous week behind us. This has been a while now. There’s nothing in the Dolphins game that will help us this week. Like I said, we tried to use last week to our advantage, but that time has come and gone and now we’re on to this week and it’s about our preparation this week and the amount of time and energy that we spend trying to prepare for this team, and hopefully it’s time well spent. Every week is different. The playoffs are different than the regular season. This is just a very different game.

 

Q: But what’s different about the preparation for a team you played so recently?

 

TB: I think you try to put the same amount of time and energy in. I don’t think you take for granted that you know everything about them. The more time you have, the better you can understand, so to have a second week in five or six weeks to have the chance to prepare for them, yeah, you learn a lot of things. And it’s not like they're going to be able to put in a whole new defense for us, but I'm sure there are things that will be different. There always are. I don’t think any game ever goes as planned. I think there is always a part of seeing how they're playing you, being able to adjust and who can make the adjustments? Who can get those on the field and execute under pressure? That's the team that’s going to win.

 

Q: When you have both Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez on the field at the same time, what kind of challenges does that present to a defense that we know likes to bring pressure and play a decent amount of man coverage?

 

TB: Like I said, it’s all about our execution. It doesn’t matter if they're out there together. They were out there a lot together last year and when we executed well it looked good and when we didn’t, it looked bad. So like I said, whoever’s out there, we expect to go out and execute well and that’s what we’re hoping we do.

 

Q: As a quarterback do you take stock of the health of your offensive line and have you noticed a difference in them after a few days off?

 

TB: I haven’t played too much attention to that, to tell you the truth. I’ve just been trying to focus on Houston and what I need to do to prepare. The guys that have been out there in practice, they're doing what they need to do. Everyone is just trying to get ready and listen to what coach is talking about and telling us what to do and we’re going to go out there and try to do those things well.

 

Q: As you self evaluated last week, did you get a chance to look at Houston as well as the other two teams?

 

TB: We did a lot of studying on ourselves and what we need to do better. We had an extra day, so we’ve had a lot of time to prepare and get started once that game finished that Saturday and a lot of the energy and attention was focused on them.

 

Q: This time of year, how much does your family life take a backseat to football?

 

 

TB: This time of year like football season or the playoffs?

 

Q: The playoffs.

 

TB: It’s pretty much all of football season for our families, so they get the short end of the stick a lot of times this time of the year – meaning football season. Even when you're at home, your mind is on football and what you need to bring to practice every day. I wouldn’t call this a low-stress environment that we work under. But you’ve got to bring your energy and enthusiasm and I think in order to do that, when you're at home you can’t be going out and doing lots of things. When you mature as a player, you understand how important these days are and you don’t get these back. So to be the kind of leader that you need to be, to bring the kind of energy and enthusiasm that you do at practice, you need to make sure you get plenty of rest.

 

Q: You also have a new infant at home. Does that hurt you at all?

 

TB: There’s not much I can do to help at this point. Mom is doing a lot of that.

 

Q: Do you have any thoughts on Robert Griffin III's injury, and having gone through it yourself, any advice?

 

TB: You hate to see guys injured and I certainly wouldn’t wish that injury on anybody. It’s tough. You’ve seen plenty of guys, like on our team, come back from that. We’ve had quite a few players. It’s a physical game and it takes its toll and it’s not an easy game. But you try to be mentally and physically tough and the teams that do that over the course of the season continue to advance. Certainly injuries play a part of every season. We’ve had guys injured. Houston has plenty of guys injured. It’s just part of the season, but the more depth and quality that you have on the football team, the better you’ll be over the long run and the better you’ll be able to sustain it.

 

Q: You've gone to the playoffs almost every year. Is it always as exciting? Is it as fun as in the past or maybe even more so?

 

TB: I mean, you certainly never take it for granted. It’s hard to get to this point. You’ve got to work pretty hard. There are a lot of teams that have worked hard, but certain things have to go your way and you have to win a lot of games and put a lot of practice in, a lot of preparation to get to this point. It’s as exciting as there is. This is why we work hard. This is why we put the time in: so we can be at our best.

 

Q: Are you aware that you could become the all-time winningest quarterback in the postseason with a win this weekend?

 

TB: With that question, I guess I’m aware of it. I’ve been fortunate to play with some many great players and great teams. Football is a team game. I’ve been fortunate to play here and have the opportunity. There’s no place I’d rather be.

 

Q:  When you look at video from the 2001 Super Bowl win against Saint Louis of you with your hands on your head after the game, is that you or is that some kid?

 

TB: That was some kid back then. You really don’t quite understand what has happened or what has been accomplished until you try so many times and you don’t get to accomplish those things. It’s very hard to win that final game of the year. We’ve had a chance and lost a few. It’s hard to win this game. The best teams bring out the best in the players; they bring out the best in the teams. The margin for error is less. You make one mistake, and you're going to be watching next weekend. A lot of what we talk about in our meetings is making sure that we’ve got everything covered. You spend extra time talking about every little detail of every little play. Not that last week wasn’t important, but the ramifications are different. We’ve got to be at our best.

 

Q: Do you talk about the finality of that fact that any one play at any time can end the season? Or do you have to be cautious of having guys off their game because they're afraid of screwing up?

 

TB: I mean, I don’t think you can be exactly that: I don’t think you can play so conservative that you're not able to go out and make plays. I think part of that is the mental toughness. If you make a play – like we won in ’06 [when] we beat the Chargers – I threw three picks in that game. Look, you’ve got to overcome mistakes. If you make them, you’ve still got to do everything you’ve got to do to win and give yourself a chance to move on. I think the important part is if you do make a mistake, you‘ve got to hope you don’t make another one. Because if they capitalize on it, you're going to have to dig yourself out of that hole and make a lot of good plays. The more mistakes you make, the harder it is to win. You can make mistakes and still win, but they’ve got to make mistakes, too.

 

Q: But you also have to make plays and put yourself out there in order to do that, right?

 

TB: Yeah. It’s always about risk-reward in football. I think there are calculated risks and judgment that you make as a player on every single play, whether that’s my position or whether you’re a defensive tackle. Should I try to go for it or should I not? I think that’s what you train yourself to do over the course of a long season. That comes through experience. That comes through playing a lot of games. Certainly when you play better players, you don’t have as long to make that decision. The better players you face, the less margin you have to be able to make those split second decisions.

 

Q: You guys have had a lot of winning seasons and a lot of playoff berths since your last Super Bowl win. Yesterday Matthew Slater and Vince Wilfork were saying that without the title, it’s a little bittersweet? Do you think that’s fair?

 

TB: I think every year – I said to someone yesterday: we try to win every game. I hate to [say] ‘that season meant nothing.’ I think there is always something to be gained from every game every season. But at the same time, I think that when you lose a game – I don’t care whether it’s the first game of the year or the last game of the year – no one wants to be on the losing end. I just think you put everything you can into it. If you win, great; you continue to move on. When you lose, you learn from it and hopefully it motivates you more for the next year.

 

Q: Is there a disadvantage to playing a team in the playoffs that you’ve already faced?

 

TB: I wouldn’t characterize it as a disadvantage to be playing in the playoffs. If I'm playing in the playoffs, that’s a pretty good thing. Whoever we play, we play; it happens to be Houston this week. They're a great football team that has played really well all year. We had a chance to play them five weeks ago and we understand the challenge that it takes to beat them and the type of plays we need to make and the type of plays we can’t make. The more of those we make – the good ones – the better it’s going to turn out for us.

 

Q: When you have Gronkwoski and Hernandez healthy together, what’s the biggest matchup problem that creates for opposing defenses?

 

TB: Like I said, it’s about execution. Whether it’s Rob and Aaron or Daniel [Fells] and Rob or Deion [Branch], whoever’s out there needs to be able to make the plays that are called. We have a lot of good football players on this team and everyone has an opportunity to contribute at some point and if your number is called, you [have to] go out and execute well.

 

Q: Do you almost try to forget your first game as if it didn’t happen or do you want to acknowledge it because of the things you did do well?

 

TB: I think you learn from it. You also understand things aren’t going to be the same. They're going to see things that they're working on that are going to be different for us this time around. We do the same thing. I think you put a game plan in like we always do and you see if it works. And if it works, great, you win the game. But the next time you play them, you have to figure out another game plan. It’s never ‘let’s just take a bunch of those plays and just run those again.’ It’s ‘what worked? What didn’t work?’ Because although the score was good, every play wasn’t perfect; it was far from it. I think there are a lot of things we can learn from and we can understand what we need to do better.

 

 

 

PATRIOTS LB JEROD MAYO

PRESS CONFERENCE

January 9, 2013

 

Q: After the last game vs. Houston, you talked about having a chip on your shoulder and there was too much talk about the Texans leading into that game…

 

JM: Obviously we’re still trying to – those guys have won a playoff game and we’re 0-0, so I guess that’s our chip. We know a hungry Texans team is going to come in here ready to play. I’m sure those guys have been talking all week on how they want to play this game. We know the last game could’ve been a lot closer than it what it was. There were plays in the game that just kind of bounced our way. We know this is a good team coming in and we have to be prepared and ready to go.

 

Q: Is the defense better now than it was at the start of the year?

 

JM: Obviously when you get a group of guys together for an extended period of time, you’re going to get better. But, there are also things we had to improve at – especially communication, getting on the same page and doing things like that. But overall, that’s probably a question you have to ask Coach [Bill] Belichick. I’m not really sure.

 

Q: Can you talk about Arian Foster’s ability to create his own opportunities and what that does to a defense?

 

JM: You know, Arian’s great. He makes a lot of cuts where he makes the offensive line look good, but they’re also a good offensive line as well. He’s such a patient runner. I like to liken his running style to water. He’s not that guy that’s going to stick real hard. He’s going to be patient until the hole develops and he makes the whole team better.

 

Q: How much did the big lead affect their running game last time or was it a matter of executing the defense’s game plan against him?

 

JM: Obviously they started off the game with two big runs. I think one of them was called back on a penalty, but they did an excellent job. When you’re playing catch up, it kind of makes a team one-dimensional. I think that’s what kind of happened in that game.

 

Q: How do you raise your edge from the end of the season through the bye week to this week?

 

JM: Obviously you have to talk about it, but I think that the sense of urgency is there. We have a young team but guys have been playing a lot of games and the coaches are doing an excellent job making sure everyone knows: ‘You’re one play away from being at home.’ I think guys are ready to go.

 

Q: This season the defense has forced and recovered a lot of fumbles. Is there a skill to getting on the ball?

 

JM: We practice these things every day. Going against a great offense, we practice getting balls out. But like you said, it is tough recovering those fumbles. I think guys like Vince Wilfork and Rob Ninkovich, I think they have five apiece. They have a special knack at getting on the ball and have been doing a good job all year.

 

Q: What are the challenges of going against an offense you just faced a couple weeks ago?

 

JM: Obviously, they know what we’re going to do, but we know them as well. I’m sure there will be a couple different wrinkles but the personnel is pretty much the same from the last time we played them. They have a couple guys coming back. We know each other. It’s kind of like a division game [when] you play a team twice in a couple weeks.

 

Q: In what ways has Arian Foster’s game grown since college?

 

JM: I’ve always thought highly of Arian as a running back. Obviously now you guys get to see what the can do. I went against him every day in one-on-ones [at the University of Tennessee]. I think he’s always been a good player.

 

Q: Has his game changed at all?

 

JM: I mean, he’s probably more patient now. He’s lost a couple pounds. He might have been a little heavier in college. He’s faster now as well. He’s doing a lot of different things. He’s catching the ball well out of the backfield, just an overall good running back.

 

Q: He said he modeled his work ethic after you. Did you know about that?

 

JM: Well to be honest with you, when we first came into school, we weren’t – it wasn’t like, ‘We’re here, rookies, we’re best friends.’ What happened was he was always at the facility late and I was always at the facility late. So it was kind of like, ‘Well, we’re both here at 8 o’clock at night so we might as well work together.’ That’s kind of how it happened.

 

Q: What do you see in Matt Schaub?

 

JM: I see a guy who’s throwing the ball well. The play-action is great. He can throw the ball deep. He has a lot of weapons on the outside and also on the inside. He’s throwing the ball well, making all the checks at the line of scrimmage, great with recognizing what the defense is doing. He’s playing well for them.

 

Q: Schaub has struggled a little bit late in the season. What have you seen from him in the last several games?

 

JM: Well to me, he’s still making all the throws. I can’t really sit here and say he’s really doing that much different than the early part of the season. The play-action game’s still going. Guys are just, I guess, making plays on the defensive side of the ball, some of those balls, but he’s making all the throws.

 

Q: When he is on like he was earlier in the year, what is he capable of?

 

JM: He’s tough. Anytime that team is two-dimension, anytime they have the running game going, the play-action opens up. They like to take a lot of shots down the field. They can eat up yards very fast.

 

Q: Do you almost have to forget about that last game?

 

JM: Oh, definitely. That’s not even in our mind to be honest with you. Obviously you have to watch the film to see what happened, see what plays hurt us. We still were hurting some of those plays and we still had people running free down the field that could have been big plays. You have to take some of those plays, but at the same time, you have to be ready to know that this is the playoffs. It’s different; you’re one play away from being at home.

 

Q: What has Rob Ninkovich brought to the team at his new position? How has he improved from last year?

 

JM: He’s an overall smarter player. He’s doing a lot of different things as far as the communication aspect. He’s getting guys lined up, he’s helping with that. He’s always been a good pass rusher. I’m not an overall great evaluator. That’s another question you have to ask Coach Belichick, but he’s really helped us this year - the sacks, the strips, the fumble recoveries, things like that

 

Q: What have the young guys like Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower brought to this defense?

 

JM: Some great dances [Laughs]. No, those guys really bring a lot of energy. Those guys are hungry. Those guys have really kind of fit in very well. They came in trying to learn as much as they could. I always talk about when I came in as a rookie trying to be a sponge and learn as much as I could and those guys have done the same.

 

Q: What has Chandler Jones brought to the team?

 

JM: Oh man, he’s one of the first guys here and one of the last to leave. As you can see on the field, it’s really paying dividends.

 

Q: Specifically, what has Chandler done from the beginning of the year to now where he has made improvement?

 

JM: Well, when he’s healthy, he can rush the passer. He’s a long guy. He’s doing a lot of different things. The coaches, as the season goes on, they start to place more on these rookies and I think he’s doing a good job handling that.

 

Q: With one more win, Tom Brady will become the all-time winningest quarterback in postseason history. What have you seen from him that does not make you surprised to hear that?

 

JM: Yeah, he’s one of those guys who’s in early and out late as well. He’s a Hall of Fame quarterback and he’s still putting in the work, putting in those long hours.

 

Q: What about how he has raised his level in the postseason?

 

JM: I mean, it’s a joy to watch from the sideline anytime we’re able to catch our breath and he’s moving the ball down the field and that offense is at work. He gets better as the game goes on once he figures out the defense and does a good job.

 

Q: Is it important to understand you have to play conservatively at some points in these playoff games because it is a one-game season, but still take the risks when a play is there to be made?

 

JM: Definitely. You know, those are calculated risks that you have to take. Especially, I think the biggest thing for us is third down, getting off the field and getting that ball back in our offense’s hands.

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick

(on his thoughts going into the game) “Well, obviously, a good football team. I think we all know the regular season doesn’t really mean anything at this point. It’s about a one-game matchup. I thought that the Texans really played a good football game against the Bengals. They played the game, I’m sure, the way they wanted to play it. [The Texans] had the ball almost twice as much, they played great third-down defense, really just played a strong game all the way through, all three phases. They have a lot of outstanding players. They’re very explosive offensively with their receivers, their tight ends, their running backs, three Pro Bowl guys on the offense line. Defensively, they do a good job in every area, especially the situational football, third down, red area, goal line. They put a lot of pressure on the quarterback. Good coverage people. They added (S Danieal) Manning to their return game with (WR Keshawn) Martin. (OLB Bryan) Braman is one of the top special teams guys we’ve seen all year. (CB Alan) Ball, they got him back. We didn’t play against him in the first game. (OLB Jesse) Nading, (S Shiloh) Keo, they have a lot of good players in the kicking game as well. So, pretty good football team.”

 

(on keeping his team from dwelling on beating the Texans earlier this year) “Yeah, we’ve played division games where we’ve played the same team twice in the division or three times already this year. Those games don’t mean anything.”

 

(on it being more difficult to play a team for a second time in the playoffs after defeating them in the regular season) “I think all the previous games are pretty meaningless. I think it’s a bunch of garbage. The game comes down to teams, the way we match up this weekend, on Sunday. It doesn’t have anything to do with some game that was played this season, last season or some other time. It doesn’t matter. It’s not this game. The game will have its own elements and it will write its own story. And I don’t think any other game has any bearing on this one.”

 

(on the Texans’ utilization of RB Arian Foster against the Bengals) “Well I’ve been impressed with him since he came into the league. He did a good job against us in the first game. He’s done a good job all year. He’s a good runner, good receiver. He makes a lot of yardage on his own. He’s an explosive back. Good in short yardage and goal line situations. He’s good with the ball in his hands and he’s an excellent receiver. He’s a very dangerous player. He’s one of the best backs in the League, no question about that.”

 

(on the importance of having a shutdown corner like CB Johnathan Joseph) “Every position is important on defense. Any time you can put a corner out there and do a good job on a receiver, especially a good receiver like (Cincinnati WR) A.J. Green, that just narrows it down for everybody else. When you have to start double covering, that takes one guy out of your scheme and puts more pressure on other parts of your defense. They have excellent corners, Joseph and (CB) Kareem Jackson. Of course, their safeties are great, too, with (S Glover) Quin and (S Danieal) Manning, (S Shiloh) Keo playing in there as well, (CB Brandon) Harris coming in on the slot. They’ve got a good group of corners, but Joseph does an excellent job. He’s got good skills. He’s a playmaker and he’s gone up against top guys every week other than those two weeks that he missed. But he goes up against top guys every week and they’re very competitive.”

 

(on having TE Rob Gronkowski back this time against the Texans) “Well Rob is a good player. If we have him back, I’m sure that it will be good to have him, but we’ll have to see how it goes.”

 

(on the Texans’ struggles in the red zone) “Again, in this league it’s such a fine line between scoring touchdowns and not scoring them. Sometimes it’s a couple inches or this one little thing here or there. The red area is a tight area of the field, not a lot of space, but I think the Texans have the good area tactic. They can run the ball, no question about that. They have a couple big receivers in obviously (WR Andre) Johnson, (WR Kevin) Walter, tight ends are very good down in that area, too. (TE Garrett) Graham’s a good red area receiver along with (TE Owen) Daniels and obviously (FB James) Casey. They have a lot of weapons down there. They’ve scored plenty. We have a lot of respect for their offense, period, in all areas of the field. They had a lot of big plays, but they get down there in the red area, they’re a challenge because they can run it and throw it and they have a lot of weapons. We know we’re going to have to get our best on Sunday to stop that group.”

 

(on what has impressed him the most about the way Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips runs a defense over the years) “Wade does a good job. He’s done a good job everywhere he’s been. He’s basically more or less kept the same system throughout those years, which I think you don’t see a lot of that. You see teams evolve differently over the course of time and the offense change or personnel groups change, that type of things. Wade, for the most part, has stuck to his system. When I came here in 2000 and he was at Buffalo, we saw a lot of the same things now that we saw then. I think his overall consistency with the scheme and his ability to take players, mold them into his system, find the right ones. He knows what he wants. He knows who he is looking for and he gets those guys and they perform well for him. He’s a good motivator. He can get his guys to play because he’s done that everywhere he’s been.”

 

(on the keys to slowing down DE J.J. Watt) “Well, I think there is a lot more to it than sacks. He’s a good football player. We certainly had a big challenge dealing with him the last time. It’ll be a big challenge dealing with him again, as well as the entire defense, not just him but all of them, especially on the front there with (NT Shaun) Cody, (DE Antonio) Smith, (OLB Brooks) Reed, (OLB Whitney) Mercilus, that whole group. Watt’s a big challenge and he does great on runs at him, runs away from him. He’s a good pass rusher. He runs games well. You’ve got to block him on every play. He’s a tough guy to handle. I don’t think you really slow him down. You just try to keep him from ruining the game. That in itself is a challenge because he’s so good.”

 

(on the Patriots’ quick pace compared to the Texans) “Well, pace is just of an overall way you play the game. I think execution is a lot more important than pace. Sometimes we’ve gone faster than others, certainly the Texans have been in the two-minute mode or they’ve not been in it. It all comes back down to execution. It’s how well you can do whatever it is you’re trying to do. Pace is part of the overall system, sure, but it really comes down to executing. If you don’t throw and catch and block and execute the techniques properly and perform in efficient and good plays consistently, then it doesn’t matter what pace you go at, I don’t think your results are going to be very good.”

 

QB Tom Brady

(on what concerns he has about the Texans’ defense for this game) “Well, they’re very good in all phases, a very good situational football team. They have some great players in the secondary, a very experienced group of linebackers and a great defensive line, and one of the best defensive players in all football in (DE) J.J. Watt. We have our hands full. It’s going to be a very tough game.”

 

(on if this will be a different Texans team from the team they played in the regular season) “Every game is totally different and this one is certainly different than the first game. I think there are some matchup things that you may look at, but at the same time, the Texans are going to have a few different things, we’re going to have a few different things. It’s just going to be a totally different game. You face that when you face division opponents; you play them twice a year, so every game ends up being a little bit different.”

 

(on what impresses him about DE J.J. Watt) “Yeah, he’s an incredible player. He’s had another great season. What he does in both the run game and the pass game – the passes defensed is an amazing statistic. You have to know where he’s at on every single play because he’s so disruptive with tackles for loss and his penetration of the backfield. He gets to the quarterback. He led the league in sacks. He’s as good as anyone playing in the game and we know how challenging it is to play against him. We have our work cut out for us.”

 

(on if the team is using brooms in practice again to simulate defenders getting their hands up and how it helps) “Yeah, there’s been some of that this week. Coach (Bill) Belichick always really challenges us in different ways. He finds strengths of the other team and then really tries to emphasize it with our team. That’s been one of the things, and like I said, the passes defensed, and just to get into our mind that they’re a very active group up front that defends a lot of passes, certainly, not only over the middle but in all parts of the field. There’s no team better in the League at it than the Texans.”

 

(on if the team has talked about the playoff loss to the New York Jets a few years ago) “Not really. No, not within our team a lot. A lot of us were a part of that team. We talked about it at one point and kind of moved forward, and a lot of guys weren’t a part of that team. No one has really brought it up.”

 

(on if the playoff loss to the New York Jets resonates now that they’re facing the Texans in the playoffs after beating them in the regular season) “There’s always a chance of losing every game you play. I think that’s part of the competition: sometimes you play well and sometimes you don’t. When you play well you usually win and when you play poorly, you usually lose, so I hope we play well this weekend.”

 

(on the important of the pace of the Patriot’s offense) “I think there are a lot of different tempos used over the course of the season. We can go fast, we can go slow, there’s two-minute type tempos, there’s no-huddle versions. Whatever we do, we have to do effectively. I think that really is about execution in both the run game and the pass game. It doesn’t do you very good if you go quickly or slowly if you’re not executing, because then you’re going to be off the field, and there’s no better team than the Texans in time of possession. They led the League this year in time of possession. Last week against Cincy, it was almost two to one time of possession. That’s a big strength for them and we have to make sure we stay on the field, especially on third down. But they’re a very good situational team, so they get off the field on third down. They’re very good in the red area; they’re very good in short yardage and goal line situations. It’s easier said than done. That’s why we’re practicing every day. We’re trying to practice hard and get a lot of looks, and hopefully we can be prepared by Sunday.”

 

(on having TE Rob Gronkowski back this week, the difference he can make) “Well, he is a very good player. And the guys that are in there, like I said, it comes down to execution, not so many of the players that have been in there or not in there. I think the important thing is we go out and execute well. We’ve got a lot of good players on our roster and guys that we expect to play very well, so whether it’s Rob or (TE) Aaron (Hernandez) or (WR) Deion (Branch) or (TE) Daniel Fells or Mike (TE Michael Hoomanawanui). All these guys have to play well in addition to (WR) Wes (Welker), Deion, all the running backs. It’s really a team effort from us. So whoever is out there, we have to go out and execute well.”

 

(on what stood out for him that the Texans did well against the Bengals) “I think, like I said, the time of possession. The Bengals couldn’t stay on the field. They were on the sidelines for 40 minutes of the game on offense. It’s hard to score when you’re not out there. That’s what they do. They do a great job of getting you into third-down situations, especially third-and-longs. They’re the best team in the league at third-and-long. They had more third-and-longs than any team we’ve played all year, so that tells you they’re doing it all on first and second down, and that really shows to the strength of their whole defense.”

 

(on how difficult of a challenge it is for QB Matt Schaub’s second playoff start to be in Foxborough) “I’m not sure. I don’t want to speak for Matt, but I played games early in my career when I had no experience and we did pretty well. I think it’s all a matter of how well you play. It always comes down to who is executing the best and not so much the experience. That’s kind of how I feel.”

 

(on what the Texans did well in defending WR Wes Welker when the teams played in the regular season) “Well they have a very good secondary. (S) Glover Quin and (S) Danieal Manning and (CB) Kareem Jackson and (CB) Johnathan Joseph is as solid of a group as there is in the League. They challenge you. You’ve got to be able to make really good throws into tight coverage. We just wished we could have done a better job after the first time we played them, so hopefully our execution in that part of the game will be better.”

 

 

 

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