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Patriots Media Day Quotes Pt. I - 1/31/2012
QUOTES FROM NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS MEDIA DAY
CORNERBACK KYLE ARRINGTON
(on if Coach Belichick said anything to the team to get them ready for everything outside of the game)
"Oh yeah, he does a great job of that. As far as attention to detail on the field and preparation goes, he's just as well giving us the rundown of how this week is going to go as well off the field. We're very prepared going into this thing. Enjoy it. Not a lot of people get here. A lot of great players in their career don't even get to this point, so definitely enjoy it, but still on Sunday, we have a game to play. We're preparing for the game and that's why we're here."
(on if the defense ignores the rankings now)
"What rankings? It's postseason. Like I just said, all that stuff goes out the window. You can just throw it all out. Accolades, individual awards, records, stats, just throw it out. You've got to throw it out the window. It's a fresh start. Basically, anything can happen. You just want to win that first one, concentrate on winning that first one and hey, you're playing in that next one. You're playing for the Super Bowl. We're playing for each other. We just want to go out there and just work as hard as we can and just get the opportunity to get to this point."
(on if the defense is completely different from the regular season)
"We are what we put out there on game day. That's what we are. If we go out there and don't play with each other, play as individuals or just run around there and not do our job, then hey, that's what it is. Perception is reality. That's what we see on film. I think we've been doing a good job of knowing what our goal is and like I said, playing for each other. I can't say that enough. I feel like that was really the turning point for us. It brought us in as a defense. Vince (Wilfork)
and Jerod (Mayo)
brought us in and said, 'Hey fellas, anything else doesn't matter as far as any other accolades or awards you're shooting for. You're in it for the wrong thing.' I can't speak enough about our leadership as far as Vince and Jerod. They did a great job of rallying us. Look where we are now. We still have one more, one more task at hand though."
(on how he would describe Julian Edelman as a cornerback)
"Feisty. He is very, very feisty. If there was a word I had to choose, it would be that. He brings so much energy to not only the defense. Offensively, he's a great player, energy guy. Special teams, high energy, just feisty, high energy and just fun. He's the type of guy you can just look out on the field and just tell he's out there having fun. You almost have to shut him up sometimes because he's out there just talking your head off or whatever the case is. He's a great teammate."
(on his first impression of Julian Edelman on defense)
"'This should be interesting', but he's done a great job. He's out there throwing his body around and he's a better tackler than I would have thought. A lot of credit has to go to him in order to take on all those rolls. All that extra workload speaks a lot about a guys' professionalism."
(on the Giants feeling like they can exploit Julian Edelman since he's not a true cornerback)
"I'm confident and capable in whoever we have out there. Everybody knows what job they specifically have to do and we're all confident that they're going to get it done."
(on if could imagine playing on offense and defense like Julian Edelman)
"That's hard. It's definitely easier said than done I would have to say. They say the old saying, 'The more you can do, right? He's definitely done a great job of that."
(on the most difficult part of playing offense and defense)
"Preparation. The offense is complicated enough. I overhear some of the plays sometimes with the offense and one play sounds like three sentences long. I can only imagine offense is hard enough on this team. Then to come over on defense and things like that, it's got to be hard on a guy. Not only him, (Matthew) Slater as well came over and played defense. I can't speak enough of how much credit they should have in doing that."
(on if they prepare any different for a passing team like the Giants)
"For every team you play, I think our coaches do a great job as far as scouting them, breaking them down, and then we get our game plan. They make a specific game plan for that team. You definitely want to try to take away their strengths in every game plan that they make up. We're going to go out there and fly around. I can't say enough about how talented they are, how much of a challenge it's going to be. I think at the end of the day, whatever team makes more plays is the team that deserves to win."
(on if Hakeem Nicks can spread a defense thin)
"They're talented but we feel we're pretty good, too. I don't want to sound like a broken record, but whatever team makes the most plays is going to be the team that wins."
(on if it's exciting to be out at Media Day)
"Yes, it's definitely surreal right now. Growing up, this is what it's all about, being in this moment. We're just enjoying it the best we can as a team, but we also know at the end of the day, it's still a business trip."
(on if he sees areas where he can get interceptions)
"He's (Eli Manning)
not making a lot of mistakes. Watching film, they're such on the same page with Eli, the receivers and Eli, it's hard to really say, 'This is where we're going to exploit him.' We try to be a very opportunistic defense, so when the situation presents itself, hopefully we can capitalize."
(on if he's confident he can come down with the ball if it's thrown in his area)
"Yes sir, have to be or you're playing the wrong position."
(on if he grew up a Redskins fan)
"Diehard. Entire family."
(on if the Redskins have struggled for most of his life)
"The majority, as far as I can remember. They were pretty good in the '80s or early '90s or something like that, but a majority, yeah. When you're a diehard fan, win or lose, that's your team. I'm a Patriot, diehard Patriot."
(on if he dreamed about playing for the Redskins in high school)
"Most guys did. I've been very hometown since the beginning. I love the Wizards, Capitals, Orioles. We had the Nationals. I've been very hometown growing up and actually my fiancée is a diehard Cowboys fan, so I don't know how this marriage is going to work. She's a Patriots fan by default. In this game, I'm doing what I'm doing and she still reps her Cowboys stuff, so I say all the time, 'What's up with that?'"
DEFENSIVE END MARK ANDERSON
(on the 'New England Way')
"In New England you are more focused on your job. It's a small town. All that's there is football. We just focus on our job and everyone buys into the concept. You see how we play on Sundays. We are focused and have a set schedule that we go about every day. Everyone buys into the system. Coach Belichick is so smart. He really breaks down our opponents. I just try to soak in knowledge from him. He is one of the best coaches I have been around."
(on differences in how New England coaches players compared to other teams)
"Like I have been saying, everyone just buys into the system. There are no distractions. It's just all football. We have access to the facility whenever you need it. There is a lot of film work. Everything you need is right there at the stadium. It really helps you as a player if you want to become the best."
(on having an offense that scores points)
"The situation here is like a dream come true. Our offense puts up points early, and for a pass rusher, you can't ask for anything more. Right then you know the other team has to pass the ball and that just gives you the opportunity to make plays."
(on defense's improvement in the playoffs)
"What goes on in the regular season doesn't matter. Everyone knows that in the playoffs it's one and done. We all (on defense) set a goal that we wanted to step up as a defense and play hard. We committed to each other. We are getting the job done right now."
(on if Belichick is hands on with the defense)
"He is really hands on with everyone. He'll work with the defensive line, and sometimes he's with the whole defense working on strategy. He just gives tips. I take notes every time he talks. It seems like everything he says happens in the game."
(on his fit in New England system)
"It depends on what type of package we have. I play mainly the outside linebacker role and rush the quarterback, but sometimes I drop back into coverage. In pass situations we will go to four down lineman and we try to get after the quarterback."
(on confidence entering Super Bowl)
"Right now my confidence is pretty high. I know what I need to do and I'm just ready to go out there and do it."
(on his experience with the Chicago Bears)
"It was a good experience because I learned a lot. I learned what to do and what not to do. I learned how to approach certain situations. I used what I learned in Chicago and Houston to help me when I came here. It has worked out for me."
(on thinking it would be easy to get to Super Bowl after going as rookie with Bears)
"Honestly it's true. After my first year in the league, I knew we would go back. I thought all you had to do was win a majority of the games in the regular season and then win out in the playoffs. We didn't even make the playoffs my other five years with the Bears. This is my first year coming back to the playoffs, six years later."
(on trying to impress coaches by taking down Brady on his first day)
"I didn't do that. We don't touch the quarterbacks. If I touched Brady I would be out of there the next day. I never hit him. But when I came here, kind of like in my rookie year, I wanted to show the team what I could do. I love the system. It's fun right now."
(on memories of first Super Bowl)
"I remember just being overwhelmed. I was young, my first year in the league, and it was crazy to go to the Super Bowl. It was just overwhelming. I remember a lot of excitement. I just wanted to win."
(on similarities and differences in Belichick and Bears head coach Lovie Smith)
"They are similar in that they are both players' coaches. They know when it is time to work and they know when it is time to rest your guys."
(on being in awe of Coach Belichick)
"He knows everything. He knows about players from other teams. He knows about backups on other teams. He knows weaknesses and tendencies. You have to admire a guy like that. He knew my strengths and weaknesses before I joined the team."
(on discipline in Patriots' organization)
"You don't want to mess up. You want to play into the system. When it's your turn to make the play, just make sure you make the play, or else Coach Belichick will get onto you."
WIDE RECEIVER/DEFENSIVE BACK JULIAN EDELMAN
(on aspiring to be the next Wes Welker)
"That is, obviously, a huge compliment from people that say that. But Wes (Welker)
is too good to have me in the same sentence with him. He is an accomplished player, the guy is consistent and it is an honor to even be in the same sentence with him."
(on playing offense and defense for the first time in his life)
"It is exciting. After a game, when you feel like you've contributed to a team win, there is nothing better than that. Anyway that you can help the team, is always awesome."
(on what it means to be playing in the Super Bowl)
"This is the ultimate dream for a kid that grew up playing football. This is why you play the game, and we have a great opportunity ahead of us."
(on preparing for the Super Bowl as an offensive and defensive player)
"Depending on the week and stuff, depending on my role in the situation of each game, sometimes I have to be in the offensive meetings, and sometimes I have to be in the defensive (meetings). If I wasn't in the offense, or if I wasn't in the defense, then I will meet with the coach after practice when everyone is gone and kind of get the tips there and prepare myself best for the game."
(on being informed that he would be playing defense)
"It kind of just came up and (they) said, 'you are going to be in a defensive meeting today.' You are not going to say 'no' to an opportunity, so I went with it."
(on whether being a defensive back has helped him as a wide receiver)
"Yeah, you are learning football in general. Learning how (defensive backs) are taught, what their techniques are and everything definitely helps you out a little bit on the other side of the ball. It is complimenting me and it is making me a better football player."
(on New York Giants wide receiver Mario Manningham's comments about being covered by Edelman)
"I am not really worried about what Mario Manningham is saying right now. I am more focused on doing my job, and that is preparing right now. We will see if that opportunity comes ahead of us in the game."
(on preparing for the Super Bowl with all of the distractions surrounding the team)
"We are kind of used to it. It is not to this magnitude, but after (media day) we will just try to get the day nice and regular like it always is."
(on whether he has relied upon learning the defensive fundamentals or playing with instincts while transitioning to defensive back)
"A little bit of both. I am not going to go out there and try to flood my mind with all of the techniques and everything, because that will just slow you down and not let you react. I just kind of go out there. Of course I watch the film of my practices and everything, and I will go out there and watch some film on Ronde Barber, Charles Woodson and some of the better inside corners. You just watch what they do, and more importantly, I just watch what the other team does. I try to prepare for any kind of recognition of them."
(on what he would have said if someone would have told him that he would be playing defensive back against the Ravens in the AFC Championship)
"I would have said, 'I haven't played that position.' It has definitely been a crazy road this year. As a team, we have had to overcome injuries. As an individual, I have had to overcome a bunch of stuff. It is definitely very exciting to be in this situation, and to have this opportunity to play in the Super Bowl on the biggest stage in the world."
(on being targeted by opposing offenses)
"You would think, but I don't think I've had that many balls caught on me. Not to say that I've been doing such a great job, but the coaches have done a great job of helping me out with the scheme and preparing me each week on what I have to focus on, instead of focusing on the big picture of the defense. (They) are just giving me my little things to focus on when I have my opportunity to get in there and have a chance to play."
(on whether his preparation has gotten easier over time on the defensive side of the football)
"The only thing that has gotten easier is just the terminology, knowing what the defensive side's terminology is instead of offense, because it is completely different. The same thing can have two meanings, the same word or concept. I have gradually gotten better at getting that down, so now I can talk defense with the defensive guys instead of having one of the coaches translate my offensive terms into the defensive terms. It has definitely been getting better."
(on how much his experience as a quarterback at Kent State translates to his play as a wide receiver and defensive back)
"It definitely helps that I was a quarterback. Not to say that I have it all down, but the fact that I could breakdown coverage when I first got in the NFL, I knew coverage recognition and all of that stuff. I may not have been able to run a route when I first got in the NFL and all of that, but I could go in mid-route and see what the defense was giving us. That is the only part that has helped. Not to say that I am an All-Pro at it, but it has definitely helped."
(on his reaction to the perception that the offense was carrying the defense)
"My reaction is that our team plays complimentary football. Our defense gets turnovers, and they make plays when they have to. Anytime that you win a ballgame it is because of both sides, that's for sure."
(on what New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning's one weakness is)
"I haven't really seen many. The guy is tough, he can throw, he stays in the pocket, he makes big-time throws, he converts on third downs and he's good in the red area. Eli Manning is really good."
(on being concerned about facing the Giants' wide receivers)
"I am not really thinking about that, but we will see on Sunday. I am thinking more about just preparing."
(on whether opposing wide receivers are impressed by his transition to defensive back)
"You talk a little bit with the receivers, and some of them respect your game and some of them don't. You are going to get that anywhere, but you've had your conversations with guys like, 'I respect your game for doing that.'"
(on the standard of success that quarterback Tom Brady has established for the team)
"Playing with Tom Brady makes you better. He is such a perfectionist. The way he prepares and the way that he's a professional, it is great for younger guys like me to learn (from)
. I am fortunate enough to sit next to him in the locker room and try to do everything that he does, because he is a guy that is going to go down as one of the greatest of all time. So he definitely has a standard, and it is not always easy to play for a guy like that, because he demands perfection. But you love playing for a guy like that, because he does (demand perfection)."
(on some of the challenges that players from smaller collegiate conferences face when entering the NFL)
"Usually the MAC guys have a chip on their shoulder because they feel like they were snubbed their opportunity to play big-time ball in college. I think that is what helps small school guys get into the NFL. We are hungry."
(on having a chip on his shoulder when he entered the NFL)
"Yeah, because you go in and see guys talking about Alabama and they just won a National Championship or this bowl game. Well, I never went to a bowl game, and I really don't care. I am here to play football in the NFL now, so that is kind of what you have to be."
(on whether he has been able to enjoy his first couple of days in Indianapolis)
"We had a full practice yesterday, and we are trying to keep it pretty normal, but obviously you are a little overwhelmed with the whole Media Day and everything. It is definitely a cool experience and a very memorable one. I don't think I've soaked it in as much as I should, because I am trying to stay on that plan. Football players, we are all creatures of habit, and trying to stay in the same routine is crucial to the week."
RB KEVIN FAULK
(on what is the 'Patriot Way')
"Like anything else, with any kind of sport, it's winning. Winning takes care of everything. If you want to say the 'Patriot Way,' that's it. Just winning. You know what it is, coming in doing the hard work, doing the dedication. Sometimes you don't want to wake up in the morning, but you have to. Early, early just to go take care of a meeting or get a massage to be ready for that morning meeting, that morning practice you have. You know what it is."
(on what it was like when he first got to the Patriots and how it has transformed to what it is now)
"I think Deion (Branch) said it perfectly last night: Bill Belichick. His work ethic. Once you see a coach put in so much work and so much passion to what he does, that just trickles down to the team. Everybody else wants to be like him."
(on if it was an immediate change when Bill Belichick came in)
"Like anything else, it takes time. The team grew and it's continuing to grow."
(on if he appreciates how long he has been with this team)
"That's one of the reasons why, appreciating, understanding the consistency level of being at this place. No disrespect to any other place in the NFL, because I'm pretty sure every other place is wonderful, but to be consistent on this team, knowing what it takes to be a New England Patriot and knowing how much hard work you have to be here. That's one of the top, in the top three, of my things of being in the NFL."
(on his secret to staying in New England for so long)
"Consistency. Being able to do what they ask you to do in a consistent manner, however, whatever it maybe."
(on if it has been fun to have a teammate also from New Orleans in BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Stevan Ridley)
"That's kind of one of the things we always talk about, how much ties we have together. Being from the Louisiana area, Stevan (Ridley) being from Mississippi, it's a great thing."
(on if he thinks about being the last legacy from the pre-Belichick era of the Patriots)
"At this point no. You tend to do that when you're done playing, and understanding that you're still in the game right now and you want to focus and put all your attention to playing the game."
(on how he has prepared the younger players for this game)
"Just helping them understand that we're here to play the football game. All the other distraction is for everyone else. We'll be able to take care of that after the game is over. Just we're here for a game."
(on how his faith has helped him make it through all the demands of 13 years in the NFL)
"I think this year it really has been…it helped me a whole lot. My faith in God and believing that things in life happen for a reason. Being in the NFL for 13 years, 11 or 12 of those years I was one of the guys that was on top. This year I'm not that guy, but God has kept me where I'm doing more things to help my team besides just playing on the football field. I'm helping my teammates, answering questions, understanding what the game of football is more from a standpoint of just playing it. Because when you're playing it, you're in it. I'm learning a whole lot right now."
(on what he would tell people who go through adversity who don't have Super Bowl experiences)
"You don't have to have Super Bowl experiences to go through adversity. You just have to go through life and understand that God is guiding you each and every day. That's the thing I do every day."
(on how Super Bowl week has changed since the last time he was in it)
"You can see it right now. You've got a lot more fans. We've been getting the fans more involved, but it's still the game has to be played on Sunday."
(On how QB Tom Brady has changed since he got to New England)
"It hasn't been a big change. He's still that guy that's competitive, passionate, fiery guy that wants to go out and win, make every throw, make everything the best he can so his guys can make a play."
(on if the first Super Bowl win means the most to him because it was the beginning of this great run by the Patriots)
"I think the next one means more than anything, trying to get to that next one. I think I answered a question earlier about what happened early in my career. I think you worry about that later on after you're done playing. Once you're in it, you're in it. You don't want to look back and think about what you've done. You wait until that's over."
(on if he tries to enjoy this Super Bowl)
"Of course. You have to enjoy what you're doing now. You try to enjoy everything. It doesn't matter if it's toward the end or it's at the beginning. You still try to enjoy it because you never know if that's going to come again."
(on if he ever gets his Super Bowl rings out and if they are an inspiration to him)
"Oh, of course. Not just to you, to guys that have never been here. To guys that have never been in this situation to see what they're playing for. To see what it means to them and to see their faces, their expressions on their faces, it's a great thing."
(on if he ever wondered if he would get back to another Super Bowl when he got hurt last year)
"Sort of kind of, but that's every year though. That's every year. If you make it there, you always wonder if you can get back there because you know there's a lot of different ways and a lot of different situations that have to go on in order for you to make it to this point."
(on if it is more special to make it this far now)
"Each and every year it makes it that much more special because you knew the hard work that it took. Every way was different."
(on if he has talked to the young guys who haven't been to Super Bowl before)
"Oh, of course. Most definitely. It's an experience of a lifetime. You have to tell them that it's an experience, but have fun, but also understand that we're here to play the game."
(on if there was ever a time the Patriots brought a new running back in and he thought his career there was over)
"Once you put yourself in that predicament, you're done. You lose. I'm never going to do that, no disrespect to any other running back, because you always have confidence in yourself. The confidence you have in yourself is what's going to make you on the football field or whatever you do in whatever field."
(on what he knows now that he wishes he knew before he played his first Super Bowl)
"Let go of all the distractions. You'll be able to take care of that when the game is over. Understand that you're here to play for a championship. Something that you'll be able to talk about and speak of for years to come."
(on Coach Belichick calling him and telling him he wanted to come back this year while he was rehabbing)
"That just showed the respect factor among us and I think the relationship that we have built over time being here. I guess that shows the consistency that I've shown as a person and as a football player for this organization and this team."
(on if Coach Belichick has always been this loose around this time)
"Like I said, time. Time builds a lot. Time builds relationships. It's him right now. That's who he is, so enjoy it. And I think we all are."
(on if he thinks the team is looser than they were in 2007)
"I'm not going to say loose, I'll just say we're a lot more…we're not as mature as we were. We're not like the veteran team that we were. We still have veteran guys, but there's a lot of young guys on our team that grew up a whole lot over the course of this season."
KICKER STEPHEN GOSTKOWSKI
(on Patriots popularity worldwide)
"It's great to be on such a recognizable team. I think the Krafts and the Patriots organization has done a good job of winning games and being a classy organization."
(on a Patriots kicker possibly deciding a Super Bowl again)
"I'm excited to be at the Super Bowl. My goal is to play well. If I get put in situations where it's a big kick, I'll do my best to come through for the team."
(on his feelings when Baltimore's Billy Cundiff missed the field goal in the AFC title game) "I felt bad for him personally. It's more fun to beat a team than to see something like that happen. At the same time, I was ecstatic. We were in the Super Bowl."
(on what he told Cundiff)
"I told him to keep his head up."
(on thinking about the rematch with the Giants in the Super Bowl)
"We are in the Super Bowl. We are excited to be here. We don't care who we play, we just want to win."
(on how different 2011 Giants are from the 2007 team)
"It's completely different. Both teams are completely different. The only similarity is that we are both playing good football and we are both trying to win a championship. Each team will give its best effort."
(on enjoyment of Media Day)
"It's fun, but it's nice to get it out of the way. We are here to play a game and we are here to win. But it's awesome how excited everyone gets about this game."
(on going back to the Super Bowl)
"It's special. You see all the Super Bowl logos and you see the patch on your jersey. It's definitely special. You want to take advantage of the opportunity and not look back at it with any regrets."
(on playing in a dome)
"In New England we get awful weather and it's cold. You definitely appreciate the times where you aren't freezing your butt off, because we are always outside practicing and playing. It's nice to not have to bundle up to play."
(on Belichick's message before coming down here) "He just said to enjoy it. We just have to come down here and get the job done. We just need to be focused on the game."
(on his memories from Super Bowl XLII)
"Well, obviously we didn't come out on the winning end, so it was very disappointing. But I will always remember the opening kickoff."
(on being ready since all the Patriots' Super Bowl wins have been by three points) "You are ready every game. We won last week by three points. We have won other games by three points. I just don't worry about any moment. I just worry about kicking well. I try to treat every kick the same and I want to make every kick, let alone the kick at the end of the game."
(on his range with game on the line in a dome)
"Let's just go 100 yards."
(on his thoughts that the game could come down to a kick)
"I would be excited for the opportunity."
(on advice he got from friends with the NHL Champion Boston Bruins) "It definitely drives you to see how excited people get about a championship. Those guys obviously handled everything with class. They handled themselves well in games and were ready to play. We can definitely learn something from that."
(on if he has any superstitions) "Not really. I just try to stay in my routine. I don't have anything that crazy that I can tell you about."
(on growing up a San Francisco 49ers fan) "I was a big fan of Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and Steve Young."
(on Brady surpassing Montana if the Patriots win)
"That's for the people on the NFL Network and ESPN to decide. I just know how good we know Tom is and how competitive he is. It's good to have a guy like that on your team."
(on his non-politically correct answer to previous question)
"It's a no-win answer. I would take either one of them. They are both two of the best quarterbacks of all time."
TE AARON HERNANDEZ
(on if he has an impersonation of TE Rob Gronkowski)
"No, but he is funny. He'll always make somebody laugh. He'll have everyone having a great time."
(on how it feels to have he and Giants WR Victor Cruz representing Puerto Rico in the Super Bowl)
"I think it's great for obviously the Puerto Rican community. Obviously there aren't that many Puerto Ricans in the NFL, but having some in the Super Bowl is also a great deal."
(on what he thinks about being part of Super Bowl week)
"It's a dream come true. It's crazy. It's obviously an honor to be here. I'm just trying to take it in right now, but when I'm sitting home by myself that's when it's really going to hit me. This is crazy."
(on how dangerous it is when Gronkowski goes to spike the ball)
"I'd say move out of the way, definitely. Let him spike that thing."
(on being an immediate contributor as a young player)
"Obviously the people around us, we have so many people around us that are great players and know the game and have been in the league for a long time, so they've got us acquainted with the offense and told us basically how to catch on. Obviously, me and 'Gronk' study our plays and want to be great players. That's another reason why we succeed in this league."
(on the challenges of learning the offense and how they picked it up)
"Basically, focus and attention. Me and Rob, we practice hard, we study our plays, and like I said we want to be great players. When you want to be a great player, you put attention to detail and you put the effort in to succeed."
(on how it feels to represent the Hispanic community in the Super Bowl)
"It feels good, because obviously not many Puerto Ricans or Hispanic people are in the NFL, but knowing that the Hispanic population keeps growing, it means a lot."
(on the part the Gronkowski plays in the offense)
"Obviously that's a huge part. He's one of, basically the main reason why we succeed so well in this offense. He's such a huge weapon and causes so many mismatches it makes it hard for defenses to focus on one player. Obviously if he's a hundred percent, that's what we need."
(on how the game would change if Gronkowski were unable to play)
"I think he'll be fine, but it would obviously change the game a lot. It would basically be like playing without our main player."
(on when the team's two-tight end sets became a focal point of the offense)
"I'd say maybe training camp this year when they started to work us together. We started to get comfortable with playing with each other, and coaches started understanding how they could use us to make mismatches versus the opposing defense."
(on the chemistry between he and Gronkowski and the impact they have on the offense)
"It's been a long time since we got here already, and I'll say that every practice and every week we develop more and more as players. We have great coaches and great players around us. A lot of people put it on just us making plays, but really it's the people that we have around us that take attention off us, or when the attention is on us when it opens up a lot of other people on our offense. We have a great team effort and everything works together."
(on how he and Gronkowski differ on and off the field)
"On the field he's more of a physical monster and is huge and hard to bring down and a blocker and I'm more agile and I try to use my quickness instead of just being physical with people. Off the field, we're a lot alike. He's a little more into the media, but we're both outgoing. We both love to laugh, have fun, and we're great friends."
(on Gronkowski being a 'beast')
"He's definitely a beast, six-foot-six, 260 (lbs.)
, chiseled. I'd say that describes it."
(on if Gronkowski shows off in the locker room)
"I'd say not only in the locker room, probably everywhere. If I was like that, I probably would too."
(on how tight end has become a featured position in the NFL)
"When you have tight ends on your team or a tight end on your team, it's tough for defenses to match up, especially if they're athletic like Rob (Gronkowski)
, me, (Saints TE)
Jimmy Graham, (49ers TE)
Vernon Davis and stuff like that. Who do you really put on them? It's tough if you put a linebacker on them then they're a little too fast for a linebacker, or when you put a cornerback on them they're a little too small. So you've got to have that one person who is like a tight end on defense, like a safety but more athletic than a safety and more physical than a corner, so it's tough to guard a tight end."
(on if there will eventually be that type of player brought in to guard tight ends in the future)
"It's hard to find, but they'll definitely be trying to pick that up the way tight ends are developing."
(on if guys like he and Gronkowski are changing the way the tight end position is played)
"I'd say that people have been saying that, but there have been great tight ends for a long time now. The thing that's happening is not many people use two tight ends as much as we use our tight ends. (We're) maybe changing it in that way, but I don't think changing the tight end position because there have been great tight ends for a long time. Shannon Sharpe, a lot of them."
(on how it feels to reach the Super Bowl so early in his career)
"It's obviously an honor. You dream of stuff like this since you're a little kid. You never really actually see yourself in this position because obviously it's always a dream, but to be here seems surreal. It doesn't really hit you when you're sitting right now, but when you're by yourself at home and you're thinking, 'Wow, I'm really playing for the Super Bowl,' that's when it really hits you."
(on how this compares to the big games he played in college)
"I remember doing the media day in college. I actually wasn't on the podium, but I was walking around. I was looking around then just thinking how crazy that was, and now I'm in the Super Bowl and thinking how crazy this is. It's crazy."
(on if he's nervous for the game)
"Not right now, because this obviously is what we do. We play football. On game day when you wake up and it's starting to hit you that, 'Whoa, I've got the Super Bowl today,' I'll start getting some butterflies and maybe a little anxious to play. Besides that, nothing really."
(on the versatility he brings to his position)
"We have great coaches and they know how to put players where they can make plays. Different players need to be used differently, and they do a great job on this team on defense and offense. Look at Julian Edelman playing defense. Any player that can help any position, coaches put you in that position. If you can help the team, then that's what they do with you."
(on his thoughts when he was inserted at running back)
"I was excited. I love having the ball in my hands. I played running back back in the day and I love running back, so I hope they give it to me some more."
(on the Patriots coaching staff being more non-traditional in using players)
"They just like to put people in positions where they can try to make plays. They try to give our athletes the ball, and they do a great job doing that."
(on Head Coach Bill Belichick joking with the media)
"He has some jokes in him. He definitely jokes. Not very often, but he jokes every once in a while. He's a good dude, and you just have to catch him on the right day. It's probably the right day today."
SAFETY JAMES IHEDIGBO
(on players being able to flourish with the Patriots)
"It's a philosophy of this organization that stems from Mr. (Robert) Kraft down to (Head Coach) Bill (Belichick) down to the rest of the team. It's the philosophy of the organization, what's expected of you as a player and what's expected of you as a team, and that's what kind of flows through."
(on finding a good situation with the Patriots)
"It's part of the business. Some situations don't work out, but other situations do. I understand that, and I'm definitely happy for our success."
(on becoming an every-down player for the Patriots)
"Each team is different, and I'm glad for the opportunity that Coach Belichick has given me. He told me when I got here that, 'You'd be given an opportunity, and what you do with that opportunity will determine more opportunities for you.' So, I've just really tried to seize it and do everything that I can to help us be successful, and as that role has increased, I've just run with it."
(on what it means for DE Shaun Ellis to be playing in the Super Bowl) "I'm so happy for him. It's overwhelming when you play this game for that long and you have limited success in terms of playoffs and getting to the Super Bowl, and now you're here. It's amazing. I'm really happy for him."
(on if he has a sense of vindication after being released from the Jets) "We're totally focused on the New England Patriots and our success as a team, how hard we've worked to get to this point and really soaking in the moment, enjoying it and knowing that we've got to get back to work and finish this thing off."
(on what concerns him most about the Giants)
"Their big-play capability. They have guys that are dangerous with run-after-the-catch ability and being able to take a slant and take it 80 yards for a touchdown and break tackles. Eli's (Manning) playing phenomenal football at this point, and they're dangerous too. We'll prepare, and we will be prepared to deal with them come Sunday."
(on whether he knew much about Victor Cruz before the NFL)
"I did. I played with him in college. He's one of many guys on that team that have big-play capability. We understand that as a defense, and that's what we're focused on. He's played great. He had a big game against Texas Tech a few years back. He's a great football player."
(on hosting Giants WR Victor Cruz on his recruiting trip to the University of Massachusetts)
"It was so long ago, I don't really remember, but I'm just enjoying the moment. I'm glad that I'm here. I'm glad that our team has worked to get to this point, and it's all about being successful on Sunday."
(on if he received any well-wishing text messages from any of his former Jets' teammates)
"We don't really talk as much. It's part of it. I mean these are my brothers here, and these are my teammates. You kind of spend more time with these guys than you do with your own family. New bonds are created, and you just enjoy it."
(on the Nigerian presence in the NFL) "It's the athleticism, guys that are big guys that are able to play versatile positions and do more and be athletic and play great football. It's awesome, and I'm definitely honored to be one of the many Nigerians in the National Football League."
(on the Giants' Nigerian players)
"They're great football players, Prince (Amukamara) and Osi (Umenyiora). They play amazing."
(on Giants defensive end Osi Unemyiora)
"He's a phenomenal player. We'll have to see come Sunday. He's definitely a great pass-rusher, a great athlete, and we'll see come Sunday."
(on Super Bowl week)
"It's great. It's great to be a part of it. We've worked hard to get to this point, but we still have more work to do. The job's not done. We'll enjoy today and get back to preparation tomorrow."
(on if he is surprised by Bill Belichick's looseness with the media so far this week) "No, not at all. He's a confident coach, and he knows the players we have in this locker room He knows how hard we've been working and will continue to work to be successful."
(on the focus of the team) "I wouldn't say relaxed and loose. We're enjoying the moment, but we're still—our preparation is everything. We understand that, and we're going to prepare hard, and we're going to be ready to go come Sunday."
GUARD LOGAN MANKINS
(on if the team is playing its best right now)
"I don't know. We've had a good couple last games, so that's always good. I know we need to play our best this game. You want to have confidence going into the game. I think we have confidence right now."
(on what it's like to see Tom Brady try to come back from injury)
"That was pretty impressive. I went through it before, so I know how hard it is. It takes a lot of hard work. There's good days going through it and bad days. He's done a great job and he looks like the old Tom Brady still."
(on if he ever doubted that Tom Brady could come back from injury)
"No, I had pretty good confidence in Tom. I know his work ethic and how much it means to him to play football, so I knew he'd make it back."
(on what the night before the Super Bowl is like)
"We do everything the same as we do throughout the year. We have our meetings and everyone goes to their room and just tries to rest or visualize the next day. Try to keep it as a normal game as possible and do everything that you do normally."
(on if he was able to get a good night sleep last time he was in the Super Bowl)
"Yeah, I was, I think. That was a while ago, but I think it was a little different for me being younger then and my first time. This time I know everything that's going on. I've been around a lot longer, so I think it will be a lot easier."
(on playing a Super Bowl in a cold city rather than one with beaches)
"Yeah, you're right and I'm kind of glad for that. I'd rather our team be focused on the game than the night life, going to the beach or worrying about things like that. We're here for one job and that's to play a good game and hopefully win. We're not too concerned with how the city looks. It's been great. Indianapolis has shown great hospitality and they have everything set up very nice."
(on how much pressure there is to block for Tom Brady)
"A lot. That's our job and if we don't block for Tom, our offense isn't going to do any good. We know it falls on us to keep him up."
(on the key to keeping Tom Brady off the ground)
"Just staying on your man, keeping the defensive linemen off them or if they're blitzing, picking those up and just blocking those guys for as long as it takes. For as long as he needs, that's how long we're supposed to block for."
(on if experience matters in a Super Bowl)
"I don't think so. I think it comes down to execution, whichever team executes the best. We had a pretty experienced team in '07 and we lost, so I don't think it comes down to that. I think it comes down to how you play that day."
(on what a fourth Super Bowl win would mean to Tom Brady's legacy)
"It would mean a lot. How many have won four? A couple? Two? So he would be three. I'm sure those guys are in the Hall of Fame, so it would mean a lot. It would be a great legacy for him."
(on if he thinks Tom Brady is the best quarterback in the League)
"Oh yeah, by far. Well, not by too far. I think those other guys are pretty good. Not to take anything from them, but Tom Brady does a great job. I've never played with them. I only know Tom, but he's pretty darn good."
(on if there was ever a time in his career where he hated coming to Indianapolis)
"Oh yeah, I hate coming here to play the Colts. I like it a lot better when they come and play us. They're a good team. That's probably why we hate them. They were good for a long time. They had a down year this year, but I'm sure they'll get it back."
(on if Tom Brady is motivated by rankings)
"He might be. I don't know personally, but I don't think he needs to be motivated by that. Tom, he just wants to do the best job he can to the best of his ability and that's what drives him to be the best. If people say he's the best, he's still going to work really hard. If they say he's losing it, he's going to work just as hard as he was before. I don't think that stuff affects Tom."
(on if he expects the Giants defense to respond with more stunts if the offensive line changes things up)
"Possibly. We have a lot of different protections anyway. Every team we go against, we have max protection, empty protection. We try not to give the same look every single time. The defense, they're doing the same thing too. They're trying to change it up, so we're not used to what they're doing."
(on how much it helps to have Coach Belichick who's been in multiple Super Bowls)
"I think it helps a lot. He knows how he wants to schedule the week because he's done it quite a few times now, and he knows how he wants to do everything because he's been through it so many times. I think it helps a lot and I think he's putting us in good positions."
(on what the best part about being an offensive lineman is)
"Blocking. That's all we do is block, so that has to be the best."
(on what the worst part about being an offensive lineman is)
"There's no bad part for us. We've got it pretty good. I think it's a great job to have and I wouldn't want to play one of those other positions. They have to run too much."
(on if he's always been an offensive lineman)
"No, I didn't play offensive line until I got to college. I was a tight end and linebacker in high school."
(on if the coaches gave everyone advice to watch what they say to the media)
"Not so much. I think every team has PR guys tell them, 'Whatever you say is going to be out there for everyone to see and it could be used in different ways.' We've been told that so many times, I think it should be engrained in the guys, but guys still slip up and say stuff they shouldn't."
(on if winning the Super Bowl would be special for Robert Kraft and his wife)
"Definitely special. That's who we dedicated the season to. A win would be big for that. That would be very special for Mr. Kraft, his family, the whole team. It would really feel great, so hopefully we can get a win."
(on what he was told to expect from Media Day)
"I've been here before, so I knew what to expect. It's a circus."
(on if the team considers Media Day a necessary evil)
"For me personally, I'd rather not be here. I'd rather be at the hotel watching film or even just taking a nap, but I know it's part of the job. We have to be here."
(on if he's surprised he signed a long term deal with the Patriots)
"I thought there was always a chance that something would happen. I just stuck to what I thought was right and it ended up working out for the best. I'm very happy to be with New England still and I think they're still happy to have me or I wouldn't be here. It's worked out for both of us and it's going very well."
(on the challenges of the Giants defensive line)
"A lot of challenges. They're one of the best defensive lines in the game, got a lot of speed, a lot of good players and they wreak havoc on a lot of guys."
(on if there is one guy in particular on the Giants defensive line to look out for)
"They're all good. They all do different things good, so you got to be aware of who's in the game, who you're going against and what his strengths are."
CORNERBACK STERLING MOORE
(on whether he was frustrated after being undrafted after playing college football at SMU)
"It wasn't, frustrating because with the injuries that I had, I kind of knew it was going to be like that. I'm confident in what I can do and I was just hoping for a shot. I felt like if I could get on a team, then they would like my ability."
(on defending Victor Cruz in the slot position)
"You've got to be smart and do your assignment. That's the big thing: just trying to do your assignment against a guy like that. Know where your help is at and use it."
(on the Patriots being known for giving overlooked players a chance)
"We have a great scouting department, and if they see something in a guy that can help their team, they use him."
(on what went through his mind when he made the play on Lee Evans in the AFC Championship)
"What went through my mind was, I'm glad I didn't lose the game for us. It was actually a couple seconds later (that he knew he made the play)
, because even after swiping I swiped again. I didn't know I hit the ball. I thought he had scored the touchdown and I thought we had lost. So it was a couple seconds later when I saw the ball on the ground."
(on the influence of SMU secondary coach Derrick Odum)
"Coach Odum has had a big influence. He's told me from day one 'if you continue to play the way that I see you play, you won't have to worry, people are going to like you. You can play everything. You can play zone, you can play man.' He's always pushing me and still is. He texts me all the time. When I missed a tackle last game he texted me. He's played a big part in my life. He told me; Great play (on Lee Evans) , but he tends to focus on the negatives a little more than the positives."
(on whether he thinks one reason the team is here is because of the play on Lee Evans)
"I don't think about it. I think there's a lot of plays that helped us get here. (Brandon)
Spikes' interception and the way Vince (Wilfork)
played that game; I'm just glad I had an opportunity to make a play."
(on his interesting journey to the NFL)
"It's been a roller coaster. I just try not to think about it right now, especially with this game Sunday. It'll be something I'll think about definitely after the season and kind of reflect on how I got here. But now I'm just looking forward to the Giants."
(on what Bill Belichick might do if someone were to say the wrong thing)
"I don't know, and I don't want to find out, so it won't be me."
(on the matchup with the Giants wide receivers)
"Matchup-wise, I don't know. They're all great receivers and are guys that can run after the catch. Catches are going to be made throughout the game, so the big thing is to tackle them after those catches are made and not allow them to turn into big plays."
(on whether he's surprised at Bill Belichick's relaxed demeanor with the media)
"A little bit, it's kind of catching me off guard. I definitely thought he'd be a little more strict in his interviews. I'm glad to see that he's loose, because I think that reflects on us."
(on what he's learned about the Patriots' culture this season)
"Just come and do your job. Don't cause or create distractions and don't feed into distractions. It's all business."
(on going from a Best Buy employee to the Super Bowl)
"It was about four years ago I was working at Best Buy and playing junior college football at the same time. Four years have gone by fast. It's been a long road and I'm grateful for the opportunity."
(on the inspiration of having MHK on their jerseys for owner Robert Kraft's late wife)
"It's a huge inspiration. Mr. Kraft is such a great guy for giving everybody here an opportunity. He's had a lot of pain this year so we want to go out there and definitely put a smile on his face. "
(on what was going through his mind after being cut by Oakland)
"I was just hoping I'd get another opportunity. I called (SMU) Coach (June) Jones as soon as I got cut and he told me not to worry about it and that I was good enough to play in this league. I'm sure he put some calls out, which has something to do with me being here. All I needed was an opportunity."
(on whether he was surprised the Patriots were the team that offered him a practice squad spot)
"I was definitely surprised, especially with them being all the way on the East Coast. I had a good preseason but I didn't know what they had seen. So I was just hoping for an opportunity."
(on there being a lot of paperwork after being cut and signed multiple times)
"Definitley a lot of paperwork and a lot of signing different papers. It's all worth it in the end."
(on whether he understands that the play on Lee Evans will go down in Patriots' lore)
"I don't think I understand. Everybody else is tweeting me and texting me that I'm going to go down in history for that play. But we have another big game on Sunday, so if I came out here and screw this game up it means nothing."
(on being ready to make a play on special teams)
"There's always a play on special teams (waiting to happen) . We just hope we're on the good end of that."
WIDE RECEIVER MATTHEW SLATER
(on the Patriots' success with developing low-round draft picks and moving players from offense to defense) "Coach Belichick brings guys in here that really buy into what we're trying to do; guys that are going to put pride and personal statistics aside and go out and try to do what's best for the team to have success. When you get the right group in place and who believe in that and start to buy into it, then you have guys like the Julian Edelmans and the Troy Browns that end up playing all over the place, just doing whatever it takes for the success of the team. I think it's a matter of him knowing what he's looking for, bringing in good athletes, guys who are unselfish, and then go out and do whatever it takes for this team to have success."
(on his initial reaction to seeing former Patriots receiver Troy Brown playing defensive back) "It's unbelievable, because at such a high level where everybody's a master at their craft, for a guy to be able to that, he has to be very talented. When Troy was doing that back in his day, and the success in which he was doing it, it was very impressive. Getting to know Troy a little bit since I've been here, it's no surprise. He's a great guy, a man of character, and that showed through his play on the field."
(on his description of Patriots receiver Julian Edelman as a cornerback) "Julian, he's a competitor. No matter what he's doing on the football field he's going to compete for you, he's going to give you everything he's got out there. He's not afraid to play aggressive and try to make plays, play physical. The thing about Julian is that he's a great teammate. He loves being a part of this team. He really loves doing whatever he's asked to do to help this team win."
(on the advice he receives from the Patriots defensive backs when he is practicing on defense) "The first thing was making sure they got me lined up correctly; trying to learn going from the offensive side to the defensive side, getting aligned and straightened out with my signs. There are little things they'll tell me to look at, little keys that you start to pick up on the longer you play the position. So those guys – Patrick Chung, James Ihedigbo and Sergio Brown – all those guys were helpful during that stretch in the season when I was playing safety. They gave me a lot of little pointers."
(on the Giants receiving corps' confidence facing Julian Edelman) "They should feel confident in what they can do; they've proven they can do a lot. But Julian should also be confident because he's done a great job for us."
(on the qualities Belichick looks for in a receiver, such as Edelman, that allows him to play defensive back) "I think the thing with Julian; he's a very aggressive, very physical player. He's very competitive. I think that gives him a chance to have success on both sides of the ball. He's a never-say-never type of guy. I think that's been evident through his play on the field."
(on if he's imagined the end of the game and winning the Super Bowl) "I have. You think about the game and the outcome and the possibility of what it means to win this game. It would be a true blessing to be able to win this game. We all know what's at stake, and hopefully that imagination can become reality come Sunday, so we'll see how it goes."
(on his assessment of the Giants as a Super Bowl opponent) "They're a very good team. They're playing extremely well right now. They have a quarterback that's red hot, and they're just playing well as a team. So they're going to be a tough challenge for us, we know that. We have to continue to have a good week of preparation and put our best foot forward on Sunday."
(on how football teaches him lessons he can apply in everyday life) "With football, you have to deal with adversity a lot. Football is a game of injuries and good plays, bad plays. Different things happen over the course of one's career. And that's similar to life. Life deals you different cards and it's going to be tough at times. There are going to be ups and downs. So I think that football, you can kind of relate to life and how you deal with life."
(on how his Christian faith helps him to get through ups and downs) "I realize at the end of the day, God's in control. Romans 28 says that God is going to work everything together for those who love God and call according to His purpose. You have to, at the end of the day, just trust the plan. And trust that we don't always know what the plan is, but it's not up to us to know the plan; it's God's plan. With that in mind, along with keeping eternal perspective, this is temporary, for all of us this is temporary. The real joy and the real fun is going to start when we leave this world. So I think keeping those things in mind and in perspective will help you deal with anything, not only on the field, but off the field."
(on his comparison of playing in the Super Bowl vs. his relationship with Christ) "It pales in comparison. This is temporary. This is a time where man will give you honor or praise, but at the end of the day I'm playing for an audience of one. I'm trying to live for an audience of one. I don't live for anybody else but Him and I don't play for anybody else but Him. I wouldn't be the man that I am; I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for him. This is great. I'm not saying not to enjoy this, because it's a fantastic experience and we're truly blessed to a part of this, (but) at the end of the day, the glory that we'll see when we get to the kingdom will be infinitely better than this."
(on sharing the experience of playing in a Super Bowl, as well as his faith, with his dad) "He can relate to me in a lot of ways that some fathers wouldn't be able to. The experiences he's been able to share, the advice that he's passed along – both spiritually and from a football point of view – has been unbelievable. It's a very special bond that him and I have. I can't really put into words the relationship that we have. I'm just so grateful for him being the father that he has been in my life and everything that he's passed along to me."
(on the irony of missing his first Pro Bowl because his team is playing in the Super Bowl) "It was one of those things where, 'Man, I'd really love to go to the Pro Bowl, but there's only one way I'd miss it and that's to be here.' So I'm very grateful and humbled by the honor to be selected my peers, the coaches and the fans. But you'd rather be here competing for the ultimate prize with your teammates; this is why we play the game. You play for a chance to play for a championship. Maybe I can order a (Pro Bowl) jersey or something to have some memorabilia from the game, but I'm happy to be here."
(on what it means that his dad is a previous winner of the Athletes in Action Bart Starr Award) "My dad is someone I look up to very much. He's really taught me how to be a man and that starts by the faith that he has and the faith that he passed along to me. I know how much that award meant to him when he won it. He tried to play and live life a certain way by Christ's standards, not by man's standards and he's passed that along to me. I know it meant a lot to him to receive that award. I'm very proud of my father and the type of dad that he's been and hopefully I can by half the man that he is."
(on how much of his dad's career he was able to experience as a child) "I was 10 years old in fifth grade when he retired, so towards the latter years I was aware of what was going on, and aware of what he was accomplishing as a player. I got to enjoy that and, obviously, when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, I was in high school and we got to enjoy that experience together."
(on why special teams continuously gets overlooked as an important part of the game) "That's a good question. I guess it's because the plays that we have are limited. We can be out there 10 or 15 plays a game and, many games, those 10 or 15 plays can have no impact, really. But then you get into close games or crunch-time games and those plays start to have an impact, you always say, 'Special teams are going win or lose you two or three games a year.' I think as players, we buy into that because we've seen it. But it may not be as evident to the fans or the media from your guys' perspective because it's easier to look at Tom (Brady) throwing for 5,000 yards. I'd rather look at that, myself. Those plays are very important and at critical times of the game and can have an impact."
DEFENSIVE TACKLE GERARD WARREN
(on how he liked playing for the Browns)
"I loved the city of Cleveland, part of my heart is still in Cleveland. I liked the people, the atmosphere, the diehard fans, I just wanted to win for those fans."
(on pressure of being a high draft pick)
"I didn't feel the pressure to perform. I felt the hindrance of the people that allowed me to perform to my best abilities. To do the things that I do well on the field they (Browns)
brought me in to play my style of football, fit handcuffs on me and slow my game down, people wanted to turn around and say it was me, why we weren't winning."
(on how his life is different now as a veteran)
"As a man off the field it's a journey still, on the field, it's always like in high school. Basic fundamentals and technique will take you everywhere you need to be in the game of football."
(on life off the field)
"Not married, no children. I'm loving it (life)
. I devote a lot of time back to the kids in my hometown, Pop Warner football and doing things over the summer with the youth association, so that's my life."
(on how Belichick was perceived by Browns fans)
"He was misunderstood, similar to how I feel. Just misunderstood."
(on why Belichick is successful)
"He's got that fire that burns inside of him, the will to succeed, the will to win."
(on how fast his career has gone)
"Superfast. Time flies as far as the season goes, the years, I just thank God I've been healthy the majority of my career and to be here in the situation I'm in right now."
(on how many snaps he will play)
"I couldn't tell you, it all depends on what the situation calls for and what Coach Belichick wants on the field."
(on what its like to be at his first Super Bowl)
"Everybody is like, has it hit you yet, that you are at the Super Bowl? I understand that I'm at the Super Bowl but I'm on the same missions"
(on how they will stop Eli Manning)
"We want to come out and play a complete game, offense, defense, and special teams. We know what challenges lie before us, Eli is one of the elite quarterbacks in this league. They are a well balanced offense and it will be a tough time, but looking forward to trying to get it done."
(on putting their defensive season behind them)
"When everything's on the line, its step your game up time."
(on a lot of former University of Florida players in the Super Bowl)
"I got my young pups here, it's a blessing to see the different generations of Gators be on the same team and actually in the Super Bowl"
(on if the defense is getting the recognition they deserve)
"We don't care about getting recognition, all we care about is W's at the end of the game."
(on how it is to play next to Vince Wilfork)
"One of the best, if not the best. Knowing that you have a technique, fundamentally sound phenomenal athlete beside you, he's going to be right 99.9% of the time."
(on the Giants)
"Tough team, run the ball, throw the ball, great defense, just a well-rounded team."
(on if past games against the Giants will affect this one)
"I don't think it has any bearing on this game, this is a different game, a different time."
(on what Belichick saying to the team)
"Just preparation and going out and trying to execute the game plan and doing our jobs."
(on why he did the Gator chomp after sacking Tim Tebow)
"Gator love, you know, point blank. He's a Gator I'm a Gator, what better way to celebrate."
(on if he is superstitious)
"Not too superstitious, pretty much the same routine, same breakfast for 11 years, same Bible verses I read and pretty much listen to the same music."
(on if the defense is upset they don't get much recognition)
"We could care less about the talk, we just want to go out and play winning football."
(on if he's looking forward to playing against Jacobs)
"Look forward to the challenge, but they are a well-rounded team, don't overlook Ahmad Bradshaw."
(on how to stop Bradshaw and Jacobs)
"Two different running styles but they are going to call the same plays for both backs, you're going to get two different styles, they are a complete team."
(on if their goal is to make the Giants offense one dimensional)
"Always, no matter what defense you play for or what team you're playing for. If you let a team be two-dimensional they are having their way with you. So it's always one of the key points, to make a team one-dimensional.
(on the Giants struggling running game in regular season)
"They run it pretty good in the playoffs, they run it pretty good in the playoffs, tough challenge ahead of us."
(on if the defense talks about not getting enough recognition)
"No because we have bigger things to worry about, like the New York Giants and game planning for those guys." GUARD BRIAN WATERS
(on what being at Super Bowl week for the first time in his career is like)
"Oh, it's fun. This is fun. You get to have a day like this where you get to relax and enjoy the moment, so it's cool."
(on who is the most wired-up out of the young guys)
"That's a good question. We try to keep everything calmed down as much as possible. We let the energy kind of increase as the week goes on, so I don't know. But there are a lot of good candidates for that award."
(on already having one practice under their belt this week)
"I am glad we got that out of the way so we can get things on course for the rest of the week. We aren't usually in practice on Monday, but two weeks (in between games)
is a long time, so we want to get as much pad stuff and as much hitting out of our system to get back to a routine as best as possible."
(on how important Offensive Line Coach Dante Scarnecchia has been to getting Waters adjusted to the Patriots)
"Well he has definitely been an important key to it because he is the guy that helps my transition. He knows what things I knew and didn't know coming in, so he helped really emphasize the things I didn't know and made it easy for me - simplified it. Really, instead of trying to learn the whole playbook at one time, we really focused on week-to-week until we got really familiar with what we were doing."
(on if Scarnecchia was hard on him when he first got there)
"Oh yeah. He definitely didn't slack off on me. He didn't treat me any different from anybody else."
(on Waters' role during the regular-season game when the Patriots were down to their "third-string" center Nick McDonald)
"(Helping McDonald block)
is just something that a lot of teams do now so the center can keep their eyes on the defense. It is something that is transitioning and believe me, a lot of old school coaches don't really like it, but it something that a lot of teams are doing now."
(on what it says about Scarnecchia that he can be down to his third or fourth-string center and not miss a beat)
"Well, he is a very good coach and the reason he is a good coach is because he expects everybody to play a high level - no matter where you are, no matter how old you are, no matter how high you were drafted. If you're on this football team, there is a reason you are on this football team. He expects you to be a performer."
(on what it is like blocking for Tom Brady)
"It is really no different than any other quarterback to be honest with you. That is our main job - to protect the quarterback and give the running backs a chance to be successful. And that's pretty much it. It doesn't matter if it is Tom Brady or anybody else, but it definitely doesn't lighten the pressure (because of)
the fact that it is Tom Brady."
(on what the biggest challenge is in stopping the Giants from getting to Brady)
"To be honest with you, (trying to get to Brady)
is pretty much every team's biggest task when they go against us. So, we expect that from every team. Some teams just have the type of talent to get it done and the Giants do. They have the type of individual talent and as a group to get that done, so we definitely have hard days of work ahead of us. We know that is a key part of being successful as a football team - to make sure that Brady stays clean and gets an opportunity to get the ball out to those special players that we have out there in the skilled positions."
(on the difference in the Giants' defensive line from the first time he played them)
"I don't think there is much different other than the fact that their guys are a little bit healthier. I think (Justin)
Tuck was coming off an injury. They are deep, they're a deep group. They are doing a lot more things as far as how they are scheming up and moving people around, but there is not much different besides the fact that they are playing better."
(on the best part of being an offensive lineman)
"The fact that you are able to play as physical as you are (allowed to play)
. You don't really have to worry about fumbling and different things like that. You really are able just to put your hands on players and if you have that physical mentality, it is a great position for you."
(on the worst part of being an offensive lineman)
"Nobody notices you unless you are doing something wrong. That is the only time you get your name called is when you are messing up."
(on which other positions he played growing up)
"I played everything, pretty much. I think the only positions I haven't played are wide receiver and defensive back. No quarterback either, but I have played everything else. I came into this league as a tight end."
(on what he would be doing if he wasn't playing football)
"I'd probably be coaching. I love the game and I love developing and working with young people, so yeah, I'd probably be coaching."
(on being on this side of Super Bowl Media Day for the first time and what he sees)
"It is a different view from down here than watching it on the television, that's for sure. I like this view better. I am excited like everybody else. It's one of those things where you try not to get too excited because it is a long week; we still have a few days ahead of us."
(on the matchups between the Patriots' offensive line and the Giants' defensive line)
"There are so many of them - both individually and as a group. Those guys are really good. It is evident by the way they play. They are a key to the whole football team because their ability to do what they do really well allows the other guys to be successful and it also allows our offense to stay within their game plan, knowing that those guys can make plays for them both with the run and the pass and being very effective against the other team's offense. So, like I said, they can throw different guys at you. They have a bigger group that can try and stop the run and they have a smaller group that can really pick up the pass pressure, so it is definitely something that we have to pay close attention to."
(on how the tightness as a group of the offensive line has evolved throughout the season)
"I've had an opportunity to know a couple of these guys before I got here. I had a lot of respect for Matt Light and Logan (Mankins)
and the way they played the game before I got here and then just working with Nate (Solder)
and Sebastian (Vollmer)
- those are two of the most talented football players, especially young players, that I have ever been around. So, it has been a really good group. Even the young guys like Donald Thomas and Nick McDonald, Ryan Wendell, those guys have really stepped up when asked, whether it be for a handful of plays or to start a game when they had never started a game in their careers. It just shows that these guys are professional and they love the game and they have a lot of respect for each other that they stay accountable to each other. It's a good group; it's definitely a good group."
(on how much interaction the players have with Owner Robert Kraft)
"We have a lot of interaction because he is always there - he is there every day. He is in the locker room. He works out with us at times. He uses the same facilities that we use as far as with the trainers and different things like that. He is very approachable. He comes by and speaks. He is a very hands-on owner; a very family-type owner. He is definitely an owner that a lot of guys have exposure to because he is always around."
(on his role as an NFLPA executive committee member during the lockout)
"It wasn't an easy process. There were a lot of guys involved with that, but honestly, the concern was for the game and making sure we didn't interrupt this great product that we have. The fans around the world really enjoy this game and I think we all knew the responsibility that we had that if we were to interrupt that, it would have been bad for everybody."
WIDE RECEIVER WES WELKER
(on the Super Bowl atmosphere and the set up in Indianapolis)
"Yeah, it's definitely set in. It's a pretty incredible place and four years ago, I believe, I was in the stands doing interviews and everything. It's kind of nice to have a seat."
(on becoming more of a marquee player since his last Super Bowl Media Day)
"It's kind of surreal in a way. You just strive to be the best you can, and do what you can out there on the field. It's great to see your career develop and into what it is today."
(on how it feels to be where he is after all of the hard work he's put into his development)
"I don't know if you can really describe it. It's a lot of hard work. A lot of late nights and early mornings, and everything else to get to this point—it's never easy, you don't really take it for granted. You just go out there and play the best you can and do what you can to be here. Now we're here and it's a great deal."
(on if he's noticed a change in Bill Belichick's demeanor this year, he's been more light hearted publicly)
"I don't know, I think he's enjoying himself. I think he's got a lady in his life, so that could definitely be the case; I don't know. We're just coming here to try and win a ballgame. However we do that or whatever demeanor we have to take, that's what it's going to be."
(on how he plays the game out in his head going into the Super Bowl)
"Hopefully good, we've put a lot into this and this is what you play for. This is why you run those extra sprints in the offseason, why you lift all those weights, this is why you play the game—to be in the position that we're in, it's the best and we have to take advantage of it."
(on if this is a rematch of Super Bowl XLII)
"It's just the same organizations are going at each other. It's different players, really, different teams playing the game. I don't think there are too many guys who are here from '07."
(on who had the better offensive weapons, Tom Brady or Eli Manning)
"I think both teams have really good offensive weapons, so we'll find out on Sunday night who does."
(on if Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback in NFL history)
"I'm a little bias, but yeah I think so. Just watching him in person, the way he works, what he does out there, it's pretty incredible."
(on his concern level for Rob Gronkowski's health)
"Rob's a big boy. He's tough and everything else, so I'm not too worried about him. I know he's going to give his best out there and do whatever he can do to help us win the game. I think everyone, collectively, is going to do that."
(on how much of an impact Rob Gronkowki's injury will be if he isn't fully healthy for the Super Bowl)
"I think everybody has to step up and make plays—across the board. It's not all on Rob, and it hasn't been all year. We have to come together and make the plays necessary to win the game, and that's what it's all about and guys stepping up to do that."
(on how he can relate, as a kick returner, to San Francisco 49ers return man Kyle Williams)
"I don't think you really worry about that. The plays happen out there, they happen, and you can't really worry about it. You just have to go out there and do the best you can and make the plays necessary to win the game."
(on if sympathizes with San Francisco 49ers returner Kyle Williams being a kick returner himself)
"Sure, sure—it's tough. That's a tough position to play in critical situations. It's never easy to go out there and make those plays, but you have to do the best you can and hopefully have a better outcome."
(on if he thinks the Giants' defensive backs can cover him)
"I think they can, but hopefully not on Sunday."
(on if his confidence level is high right now)
"I think you always have to keep a high confidence level—at all times. That's the only way to play this game and how you have success out there."
(on if he has taken notice of what Giants WR Victor Cruz has done from the slot position)
"Yeah, absolutely, he's done a really good job. He has good quickness; he does a good job of setting up his routes. Watching him, he and Eli (Manning)
seem to be on the same page, as far as doing that 10-yard downhill out in the slot. He sets that up with faking that route and bending it into the middle. It's something I try to tell our defensive backs to be ready for, because either he's going to do that or he's going to try and wrap it in there and get open faking that 10-yard out. I think those two routes really set up each other well in what he does, and he does a good job with them."
(on if he watched Patriots teammate Chad Ochocinco on 'Dancing with the Stars' and if he'd ever be a contestant on the show)
"I may have caught like one episode or something like that. I think he did terrible, didn't he? He didn't last too long, did he? For being an athlete, you would think he'd be in the top two or three, right? I mean, come on. To answer your question, I really don't see myself being on Dancing with the Stars; it's not really my deal."
(on if there is a revenge factor going into the Super Bowl after the Giants beat them in Super Bowl XLII and ended their perfect season)
"I don't think you really worry about that. I think you go out there and play your game and do whatever you have to do to try and win the game. You don't get caught up in the past, you just understand that you have a great opportunity here and you just try to make the most of it."
(on how he would describe his journey from high school to sitting on a podium on Media Day before playing in his second Super Bowl)
"Long. It's been kind of crazy. I feel like it's been long, but I've just been taking it day-by-day, and every day trying to get better and trying to improve myself to get to this point. I continue to do that, and that's what you have to do. It's put me in the Super Bowl now, and even now, every day just trying to get better, and I think that's what you continually have to do."
(on some of the plays that TE Rob Gronkowski has made this season that have made him say 'wow')
"Some of the catches he makes, down by his shoelaces, being as big as he is, and being limber enough to be able to reach down and make some of those catches. We see some in practice that you just kind of shake your head. You can't really describe it. The guy has a lot of talent, and he's a really good player for us. Not only receiving, but blocking—he's a hell of a player."
(on if he'd like to say anything to the United States troops overseas)
"I just want to say, 'Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication to our country! Thank you for allowing us to come out here and play this game. Without you all protecting us, who knows where we would be right now, so thank you.'"
(on how difficult it was to come back from a major knee injury, and how long it took before he felt comfortable on the field)
"I think just continuing to work, and continuing to do what you need to do to get better. It's a long, hard process, and on days that you're sore and you don't feel like pushing it, you have to. That's when you really have to put yourself in a position to get better. No matter how bad it hurts or how you're feeling, it's always those days when you want to take a day off and rest that you have to push it even more."
(on his biggest fears when he first injured his knee)
"Being the same player—being able to come back from it. Being able to cut and doing all of those different things, it was definitely a fear of mine. You know, 'What is going to happen to my career now?'"
(on how he feels going from an undrafted free agent to now sitting on a podium, getting ready to play in his second Super Bowl)
"I'm so excited. To get to this point, you know how hard it is. It's never easy. We're definitely blessed and excited to be here, and hopefully we can take advantage of the opportunity."
DEFENSIVE TACKLE VINCE WILFORK
(on the 'MHK' patches the Patriots wear in honor of the late Myra Kraft) "It means a lot, what she brought to this organization, what she brought to this team. For her not to be here physically with us, I think everybody thinks of every moment that she was around. This year is dedicated to her, and hopefully we can finish it off with a good outcome for her and for the Kraft family. This is the biggest stage. This is the biggest game. We would like to go out on top on this stage. It's a good place to be."
(on Myra Kraft) "She was always in the community. You never knew something was wrong with her, because she was always out and about. She was doing. You would see her around the stadium, but she spent most of her time in the community just helping folks. That was her biggest thing, you know, making a difference in the world, just helping people that weren't able to help themselves—were it physical or financial or whatever it may be. She just had a big, big heart for being such a small woman. She is absolutely missed from all of us, and I'm pretty sure from around the world because of what she meant to a lot of people."
(on what he remembers about getting his Super Bowl ring in 2004) "I don't too much take it out, but it's a memory that you'll never forget. Being on the biggest stage in sports, you're going to always remember it. Win or lose, you're going to remember it. That was the first— I've had the pleasures of (winning) two, to be the three. This will be my third one—win one, lose one. Any time you can get to this step, it's a big, big accomplishment, because it's so hard to win and so hard to compete. We're talking about the best athletes in the world competing on one stage, and it's just tough to win. So, any time you get here, it's always special. I think guys have got to understand that. It's not by mistake we're here. We work very hard, and I'm pretty sure there are 30 other teams out there that are going to be looking and saying, 'We could have been there. We beat these teams,' and stuff like that, but you know what? There are only two teams that remain standing, and it's us and the Giants."
(on reaching out to the young players on the team about what to take from the experience) " I think these guys have done well. I think there are a lot of distractions, but at the end of the day, you have to remember that once the ball kicks off, it's going to be a football game. I think everything leading up to the Super Bowl, with family and fans and friends and stuff like that, is big. Everybody wants to be a part of it, this game, because like I said, it's probably the biggest game in sports. Everybody wants to be a part of this, which is understandable. So, as a player, you have to understand how to distance yourself at a certain point in time in the week and understand that we have to get the work. Gameday, once that ball kicks off, it's 'lights camera, action,' but it's a football game, and you have to understand that. I think these guys have been doing a real good job with that. They've been focusing and practicing well. Guys understand what it means to be a professional. I think this is probably the biggest test of everyone—young guys, veterans. It's probably the biggest test to see what it is to be a professional. It's distractions, not because you made it a distraction. It's just the big stage, so it's going to test a lot of guys, even the young guys. Right now, they don't even know they're getting tested as what it means to be a professional, but they're doing it. So, at the end of the day, they'll always look back and say, 'That was probably my biggest challenge— on Super Bowl Sunday—as a professional."
(on getting over the 2007 Super Bowl loss) "That wasn't hard at all to get off of that loss. Any time you lose a ball game, you try to move on. I don't think anything was said in our locker room about that season or that loss or it being a rematch or anything like that because I don't think it means anything. Both teams are so different now, so it really doesn't mean anything. It's just you have the two same teams that played playing again, but as far as revenge and they're holding the torch and all, I don't think it's anything big there. It's another football game. Like I said, it's two good football l teams that are playing, two good teams that are very well coached, very disciplined— two tough teams that are playing in the Super Bowl. That's the way it's supposed to be. We earned the right to be here. The giants earned the right to be here. Some people may agree, some people may not, but it is what it is. You made the plays to get you here, and hopefully, we walk away with the 'W.' At the same time, I'm pretty sure the Giants are saying the same thing. If you lose this one, there's no more next week. It's see you next year. There's a lot riding on this game, but at the end of the day, it's going to be a game. That's what it's going to be on Sunday. Once the ball is kicked off, it's going to be a regular football game."
(on his relationship with the late Myra Kraft) "I think it was more personal than anything. She was always the type that she cared less about who you are as a football player—which it meant a lot to her—but she was more on the part of who you are as a person, where your heart is. I think in this locker room, you have a bunch of guys that have that similarity in them, a good football player but an even greater person off the field. That's what she was all about. It seems like every week she was in the community doing something. Who it may be for didn't matter, but she was always helping. That was her motto. She always wanted to help; she always wanted to make a difference in someone's life. She touched a lot of people's lives, not just in America but across the world. She touched a lot of people's hearts, and she had the biggest heart—a small, small person— but she probably had one of the biggest hearts ever. I think a lot of people respect her for that, and I think a lot of people saw deeper past football when it came to Myra Kraft."
(on his relationship with Patriots Owner Robert Kraft) "We've always had a good relationship. I think our relationship got deeper once she (Myra Kraft) passed because, like I said, it was more than football there. My wife and I always were true believers in helping people, and it's just like we're the same people as Mr. and Mrs. Kraft. So, I think it got a little deeper just because of the relationship that we did have and the bond that we did have over the years. I think it just got deeper. I think it's two guys that really understand what it means to have a good woman behind you and to lose someone as close and dear to your heart. So, I think our relationship is probably one of the best relationships that a player and owner probably have in this game."
(on playing in the Super Bowl for Kraft) "It's always amazing to get here, and to see him every day and know that he's hurting, it's big for him. We're very happy dedicating this season. We're very happy with being in this situation for this organization, but mainly for Mr. and Mrs. Kraft. I think she would be here right with us today with Mr. Kraft walking around on a day like today, but she's not. She's got the best seat in the house though. Like I said, it feels good to be here in this type of season. It's been a long season. It's been a stressful season. You could look back at this season and say a bunch went on that year. A bunch went on that year, but hopefully we'll be looking back and smiling and laughing."
(on the secret to being a Patriot) "I think you can't be selfish. I think the Patriots are all about team, family, smart football players, things like that. I think the older you get, and you've probably been in the organization for however long—to come to this organization, right away you'll see it's a different organization because of, first, our head coach, how he handles business. He wants nothing but the best. He won't settle for anything other than that, and that's for a rookie and 15-year vet. So, he holds everybody accountable. If you don't have that team spirit or that team motto coming in here, it won't work. A lot of the guys have it, some guys don't have it, but you know what? Who wouldn't want to play under (Head Coach) Bill Belichick? He's going to go down as probably the best coach ever. Even if he doesn't, I'm already putting him there. He's the best coach ever."
(on stopping the Giants' running game) "That's probably one of the biggest things we have to do in this game is to, first of all, be able to handle the run. They have three good backs that can actually run the ball, and trust me, they're tough. They're tough backs, and Eli (Manning), he's playing lights-out ball right now. He's going to be pretty tough to maintain in the pocket, because he doesn't get rattled quick. He doesn't get rattled quick, so we have to do a good job for 60 minutes playing good football. If that's stopping the run more or getting pressure on Manning— just making it tough on those guys. It's going to be a challenge for us, but it's the big stage."
(on carrying over the momentum from his performance in the AFC Championship Game) "I don't change anything. My preparation doesn't change, because I prepare well. I prepare to go into battle each week and play my heart out. So, if that's what it takes, then that's what I'm going to do."
(on if he will eat his pregame meal with the team) "Absolutely, trust me. This game isn't any different from any other game that I've played. It's just the biggest game of the year, but the way I approach it won't be any different from how I approach any game, because I approach every game to win.