PM: I know this is the first time I’ve spoken to you all, but I’ve talked about that quite a bit since March and training camp and I’m just about talked out of the topic if you don’t mind. I’m kind of past that point. [I’m] certainly glad to be out there playing. [We’re] right in the middle of a tough start to the season, we’ve played some really good teams and are 2-2 at this point and just have a huge game against New England.
PM: Certainly Tom and I had different types of injuries. I went through the entire rehab process and saw doctors and if the doctor had advised me not to play, then I would not play. I wouldn’t argue it. When I was cleared to play, I certainly still had a great passion for the game. I enjoy playing, I thought I could still produce and even though I’m not playing for the team that I used to play for, it’s what I’ve always loved to do. I know that Tom has said before how long he wants to play. I don’t have that number in my mind quite like he does, but I still have a passion for it, I still enjoy the preparation, the work of it, the offseason, the Mondays, the Tuesdays, the game planning, I still enjoy that. So I think until I stop having a passion for that, until I can no longer produce or be effective, that’s when I’ll stop playing – when I can’t produce or I just don’t enjoy it.
Q: You certainly look like you’re having a lot of fun out there.
PM: Certainly winning – our two wins have been fun. It’s a fine line for me after being out for a year. I certainly didn’t need a year off to reemphasize how much I enjoy playing – I’ve never taken football for granted – so I didn’t need a year off to remind me of that. But it certainly does reinforce that we are fortunate to be playing this game. So I know how hard I’ve worked, how far I’ve come and I know where I was last year. So there’s that fine line between, ‘Hey, I have come a long way, I’m out here playing.’ Last year at this point I was coming off of surgery and was not in a place to play at this time in the fall last year. At the same time, I don’t think your teammates or your fans want to hear that you’re just happy to be out there playing. When you’re out there you certainly want to win. Our two losses to Atlanta and Houston were disappointing losses; they were two good teams. Certainly winning is always more fun, but I do have to admit that I do enjoy being out there knowing where I was last year at this point.
Q: Bill Belichick has said a couple of times this week that what you’re doing now in Denver is pretty much identical to the kind of offense you were running back in Indianapolis. Is that a fair assessment?
PM: I can’t really say that one way or the other. Obviously I can’t forge someone else’s opinion and I think for me to respond to that would be too informative. If that’s Coach’s evaluation, that’s his. It’s new players that I’m playing with, new coaches and there are new things for me. So everybody can form their own opinion.
Q: How have Brandon Stokley and Jacob Tamme helped you with the transition in Denver?
PM: Well I think anytime that you go through a change, any familiarity that you can have certainly helps in a transition. Brandon Stokley is one of my favorite teammates of all time; just a guy who loves football and grew up around football with his dad being a coach. The four years that he and I played together were a lot of fun. So to be reunited with him has been special. And then Jacob kind of played in the shadows of Dallas Clark there in Indianapolis and has a chance to kind of establish himself on his own and is really a good teammate and hard worker as well. But yeah, it certainly helps having a couple of guys that you’ve played with before.
Q: What’s it been like getting a chance to work with Dan Koppen?
PM: Well certainly I’m sick about J.D. Walton’s injury. I know how hard he’s worked this offseason. He and I have spent a great deal of time together; that’s probably the first thing I did when I got here, was getting snaps with J.D. The quarterback-center exchange is vital and so I’m sick about his injury. When you lose a starting center who has started every game for the past three years, it’s very rare that you can replace him with a veteran like Dan who has played in many huge games and is experienced. So we feel fortunate to have him and it’s always nice having a veteran player who’s been around winning for his entire career on your team.
Q: When your peers talk about the amount of success that you’ve had they say it starts with the work ethic. How much time do you spend at the facility on a day-to-day basis and what goes into your routine?
PM: I’ve never charted it. I’ve never logged hours or felt like I had to achieve a certain amount of time each week. I’ve always just gone through the entire week and tried to do as much as I can, that I felt like I had to do to get ready. Certain teams and certain films require different types of studying, so maybe I should keep count one time. I feel like I do what any quarterback should have to do in order to get ready to play. Part of the job is being on top of the cerebral part. I think at my age you certainly have to spend a large amount on the physical as well. I still have my rehab that I have to do, the body of work, those kinds of things. So between the physical and the study time you certainly do have to spend extra time. I think that’s part of being a professional football player, especially being one that’s in his 15th year.
Q: When the Patriots were winning Super Bowls the defense was always lauded for being able to disguise things before the snap. Right now are they anywhere near the same level in that defensive area as they were back when Rodney Harrison, Tedy Bruschi, Ty Law and those types of guys were playing?
PM: I can’t speak to the comparison. I don’t know them as well right now. We’re studying them through the week. I didn’t play against them last year and I think the best way to learn about a team is to play against them. It’s been two years since I’ve played against them. I’m studying this team all week and getting to know them. Obviously I think you learn during the week and you learn during the game as well. I know they’re creating a lot of turnovers. I know they’ve had chances to win and easily could be 4-0 at this point. They’re coming off a huge road win in the division in typical Patriots fashion. A 60-minute game, Buffalo got out to a big lead, but some of their veteran players stepped up with some big plays and turned that game around. It’s always tough when you play them in Foxborough.