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Wed., Apr. 29, 2015 11:55 AM to 2:00 PM EDT
Wed., Apr. 29, 2015 2:00 PM to 11:59 PM EDT
Thu., Apr. 30, 2015 12:00 AM to 11:55 AM EDT
Jerod Mayo Press Conference Transcript
Q: Both Coach Belichick and Vince Wilfork were singing your praises about the leadership you bring to the defense. How have you embraced that this year and over your career?
JM: To be honest with you, I just try to go to work every day and work hard. I try to follow the example of Coach Belichick, Vince, Mr. Kraft. I just try to come in and do my job. They always talk about doing your job, and hopefully guys will follow.
Q: Can you talk about the secondary and how you guys have managed to piece things together after all the injuries you guys have had. And what does it mean to have Patrick Chung back?
JM: It means a lot. Like you said, we had a lot of different guys back there, and any time you can get consistency anywhere on the defensive side of the football, you'll have a better defense. So it's good to get him back, it's good to get [Brandon] Spikes back and hopefully we continue to improve.
Q: Can you talk about Vince Wilfork's leadership and how important he's been physically on the field and also as a leader in the locker room?
JM: You know, you rarely see defensive linemen playing 90 percent of the snaps on the field and he's one of those guys. I don't want to say his weight on camera, but he's a big guy - you all can see that. That's very impressive in its own right. And at the same time, he has a ring. He's won playoff games, so we can always draw from his experiences.
Q: What makes Ray Rice so special and so hard to defend?
JM: He's one of those guys that can do it all. He can catch the ball out of the backfield, he's good in blitz pickup. He's a small guy, but at the same time he's strong. He always has his feet going, breaks a lot of tackles, so he's a dangerous weapon for them. There's a reason why he's their leading receiver and leading rusher. You rarely see that. He's a great player.
Q: Can you talk about your offense and what's it like to watch what they have done for you this year?
JM: To be honest with you, we always say that if we get turnovers, our offense will probably score. We've been thriving off that all year; our turnover differential has been pretty good. And we always feel like if we can steal a possession for our offense, there's a pretty good chance they'll score a touchdown.
Q: Can you talk about the growth of your defense in terms of the communication? It seemed better against Denver than it had all year long.
JM: Yeah, I think it comes down to consistency, just getting guys back, getting [Brandon] Spikes back, getting [Patrick] Chung back. That's huge for us and any time you can get the same guys for consecutive weeks, the communication will be there.
Q: You have two young children, so how do you balance being a father and preparing for the game?
JM: It's tough. But at the same time, my fiancé is like, ‘Hey, spend as much time as you need at the office,' because she knows it's a big game for us. You make the sacrifices now so it pays off in the end and that's what we're doing.
Q: Do you feel like the defense is hitting its stride at the right time?
JM: It goes back to consistency once again. Just being able to get guys healthy, getting [Brandon] Spikes back out there, getting [Patrick] Chung back out there. The DBs are really playing well for us right now. I think we're continuing to improve and hopefully it continues this week.
Q: We know about the struggles the defense has had, so to what extent do you feel Tom Brady and the offense carried this team through stretches of the season? To have the complementary performance that you had against Denver, does that make you feel like things are coming together at the right time?
JM: Definitely. We know they're going to score. I said it earlier: we know our offense is going to put up points. Our job is just to go out there and either get the ball or stop their offense from scoring points. We know our offense is going to go out there and do a great job each and every week and they have carried us at points during the season. That's what a team is all about. Whether the score is 2-0 or 100-99, it doesn't matter to us.
Q: What does it feel like to be one game away from the Super Bowl and how do you not look past this game?
JM: It's a good feeling but like you said, all of our focus is on the Baltimore Ravens. They have a great team - this is probably the best team we've played all year. It's a tough task for us and hopefully we'll get it done.
Q: You go up against Rob Gronkowski in practice every week. What kind of freakish weapon is he?
JM: He can do it all - he can block, he's a big target, his catch radius is huge so it's difficult. I don't know how people try to stop him or anything like that but he gives us a good look each and every week.