Patriots players comment on their upcoming AFC Conference Championship game against the Baltimore Ravens during locker room media access on Thursday, January 19, 2012.
PATRIOTS LB DANE FLETCHER
(On how difficult Ray Rice is to stop)
"He has a lot of components to his running ability. He is quick, he can get out quick and he can also catch the ball. He is a good receiver as well."
(On what it means to the defense to have Patrick Chung back)
"Having Chung back there brings a lot to communication. He knows what is going on and he is a good leader as far as getting the communication. He is quick and brings a lot to the defense. Having [Brandon] Spikes back brings some force as well."
(On if it will be difficult to control the excitement on Sunday)
"Yeah, controlling your emotions and what not and just bringing yourself back and just saying that it is a game and that is always something that you have to bring to these playoff games."
(On the impact of having Patriots alumni serve as honorary captains)
"Having guys like Troy Brown and everyone out there, they brought a lot to this organization in the past with Super Bowl wins and everything else. Having them out there reminds younger players like myself and a lot of other guys on this team what it is all about."
(On the success of the defense last week)
"The defense played well last game and we take a lot from that and carried it on to this game, I guess. We take as much as we can from it and hopefully that carries on."
(On if the defense's confidence comes from the return of injured players)
"I think so. I think it is just as a unit combined. It is not one individual. You feel confident in everybody that you are playing around, so it just carries all over."
(On if this team looks forward to creating their own legacy in Patriots history)
"I think that is something that everybody kind of wants, to make your own little niche in the organization and kind of be remembered. One of my coaches always said, ‘do not be soon forgotten and long remembered,' and I kind of live by that."
(On the difficulty of defending the hurry-up offense)
"You have to get a lot going on with that hurry-up offense. You have to get your signals in, you have to get your front lined up that much quicker and you have to get the coverage organized that much quicker, I guess."
(On how difficult it is to get to this point)
"It is not easy, there are four teams left and two teams left [in the AFC]. There are 32 teams in the league, so it is not easy."
(On the difficulty of getting prepared with the lockout)
"That is something that all 32 teams had to deal with, so I can't say it is just our team that had a shorter camp or anything. It is something every 32 teams had to deal with and it was a tough process."
(On the play of Joe Flacco)
"Flacco is good. He can step up, he can throw the ball, he has a big arm and he can get it 65 yards down the field, as well as he can scramble a little bit and find what is open. He is a really good quarterback."
(On if he does anything special for a game of this magnitude)
"I'm just going to do everything I do in the past. I'm not going to change a thing and just get prepared like it is an everyday game."
PATRIOTS DE MARK ANDERSON
(On if he played the run the best in his career last week)
"No. I think I handled that whole issue a couple of years ago. Now being here with the Patriots, it is just about playing technique and being technique sound and be able to play the run as well as playing the pass."
(On if it was nice to show that he can stop the run)
"Like I said, right now it is just technique. As long as you play good technique and stay low and keep your pads low, playing the run kind of comes natural."
(On if the defense is peaking at the right time)
"I think so, we are playing good team ball right now. Last week, we held Denver to 10 points and it was one of our best performances as a whole with tackling, swarming to the ball and playing with a lot of energy. We are out here making plays right now."
(On if he hears from friends around the league when he is playing in the postseason)
"A little bit. Last night I talked to one of my old teammates from Chicago and he gave me a little advice – keep the energy up, play fast and just take one play at a time."
(On how difficult it is to get to this point)
"It is real difficult. Last time I was here was back in 2006 and I haven't seen the playoffs since, so it is real difficult. You have to make sure you cherish every moment because you never know when you are coming back again. I went to the Super Bowl my first year and I said we are going to do this every year. That is definitely not the case."
PATRIOTS S JAMES IHEDIGBO
(On Joe Flacco)
"He's a great quarterback. He knows their offense very well; he's been the starter for awhile now. He's good at getting the ball out of his hands and into the hands of his playmakers. He's a good quarterback, he's an NFL quarterback. We have our work cut out for us trying to contain him and giving ourselves a chance to be successful."
(On having everyone back on defense)
"It's good, I guess you can say full strength and at this point it's big while we're making our push and doing what we need to do to be successful."
(On magnitude of the game and losing focus)
"Of course. The energy is building around here, we're excited and we're ready for the task ahead. Not in game like this [do you lose focus]. This is the AFC Championship we're playing for and a chance to go to the Super Bowl, so you don't lose sight of that at all. In fact, you gain more focus."
(On being in this moment)
"It's a privilege, I'm honored to be a part of this team and the guys we have in this locker room and we're ready to put it all on the line on Sunday."
PATRIOTS RB KEVIN FAULK
(On being at this moment compared to 2007)
"You're talking about guys that aren't even on the team anymore. I'm a guy that lives day to day. Today is what's next ahead of me, trying to have a good practice. We're focused on today and what's ahead of us so none of that other stuff matters. None of that is going to help us win the football game."
(On his role this year)
"No matter what it has been to me it's not going to help my teammates. It's not going to help us win a football game and that's what it's about. It's about the team and trying to win a game. We're not worried about individuals in the locker room that may be frustrated about what's going on, it's about the team."
(On being a veteran presence for younger guys)
"Don't change, continue doing what you're doing. Keep your routine, and bring your level of intensity way up."