BL: It’s very important. Coach Bill [Belichick] has talked about us getting off to a fast start a lot this year and how it sets the tempo for the game and gets us in a good rhythm and just keeps the positive plays rolling. So, it’s very important to start off the game in a positive fashion, because the Texans are a team that can really take advantage of a game early and they can maintain the advantage with the way that their offense is able to stay on the field and the way their defense is able to put pressure on the office.
Q: Can you mimic fast starts in practice? Is it just practicing faster?
BL: That's something that every team I’ve been on, you try. I’ve been on teams where you have a round of practice before you warm up or you try to sub from the sideline or after warm-ups, there’s all kinds of different things that you try to create a sudden change or you have a period and then special teams come out and then they put the offense back on the field. So there are all kinds of different ways for coaches to try to simulate it, but what it comes down to is just executing in the game and getting on a roll in the game, having positive plays and not putting yourself in negative situations.
Q: Coach Belichick said one of the keys to the win last time was this team’s ability to beat man coverage. As a receiver, how important is it going to be to defeat your opponent when you are facing single coverage?
BL: It’s very important. I think it just comes down to doing our job. We all have a responsibility and we’re all doing our best on any given play. At the receiver position, we have so many weapons, you just never know when we’re going to get the ball. So my goal is to try to be open every time we’re running a pass play, so that if my number is called, I’ll be able to make the play.
Q: With the presence of
BL: Yeah, I think it’s pretty much a mix bag when you get out there as far as what the defensive coordinator is going to do. Like I said, I just have to do my job. And Coach [Josh] McDaniels is going to do his job and call the correct plays in the correct situations, and as players we have to execute.
Q: Was the opportunity to play in games like Sunday’s and compete in the playoffs part of your decision to come to New England?
Q: This is the 10th postseason the Patriots have been in under Coach Belichick. It is only your first and you've been a few different places, so what have you noticed here about Coach Belichick and how he conducts business that has this team in this position?
BL: He’s a great teacher. The way that he teaches the game, it’s almost like I’m not being coached, I’m actually being taught. That's been the part of this experience that has stuck out the most to me.
Q: How many times have you been in the playoffs?
Q: So that means a lot, obviously. What would you do before in the playoffs and what was it like not being in the playoffs?
BL: I’d be at the Sundance Film Festival [laughs] on my way to the Bahamas, all kind of different stuff.
Q: How did that make you feel when you knew what you wanted to do?
BL: It was part of the decision…ever since [I was] a kid, the ultimate goal is to play in the Super Bowl and the only way to get to the Super Bowl is to make it to the playoffs. This is a step along the way to the ultimate goal for all of us, for all the teams that have entered the playoffs, this is just the beginning. There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done to get there.
Q: With that in mind, have you noticed an increased focus in your own preparation?
BL: No. It’s been the same all season.
Q: When you were with teams that did not make the playoffs, did you watch the playoffs at all?
BL: Not really. If it was on the television in the hotel lobby or something [laughs].
Q: Will you talk a little about how the Junior Seau report came out today linking brain trauma –
BL: You know, I'm talking about the playoffs and the New England playoffs today. I'm sorry.
Q: We have bugged you all year about getting comfortable with
BL: It’s a work in progress.
Q: It is still a work in progress?
Q: Can you talk about the comfort there? It is the third year in a row where you catch over 70 passes. Has it been a different process than in the past or relatively the same?
BL: It’s been different than the past just because of the organization. It’s been different than the past because of Tom and his style of preparation, but it’s been similar in the sense that we have to put the work in during the week in all the weeks and during the camps, and then we’ll go into the game and that’s where we’ll really find out about one another. That's what makes it similar. In playing with the less experienced quarterbacks like in St. Louis playing with [Kellen] Clemens, it would be different. When he was thrown into the staring lineup, it was more of a situation where I was like, ‘Where do you want me to be? I’m not going to tell you where I'm going to be; you tell me where you want me to be and then I’ll do my best to get there.’ With Tom, we have a little bit of give and take. Some plays, I have that freedom and there are some plays where I can say, ‘Hey, I want to be here’ and then he’ll work it out. Other plays, he’ll say, ‘You need to be here and that’s the way the plays go. It’s similar and it’s different, but it’s equally rewarding.
Q: How much has your relationship with Josh McDaniels helped with that bridge with Tom?
BL: I think the bridge with Tom is Josh because Josh gives me credibility. Being with Josh the last three seasons, that’s what gave me the credibility to come here and be accepted as a productive member of this team.