SB: Yeah, I thought we had a really good practice today. Obviously, it’s been a long past two days, but it felt good to actually get outside and move around a little built after having been on the plane for close to eight hours and then yesterday really not doing much. So it was nice to get on the field. I thought we had a really solid Wednesday and we’ll look to build on that tomorrow.
Q: What concerns you when you look at the Patriots defense?
SB: I think you look at their ability to create turnovers. I think they lead the league right now in takeaways and obviously with the offense they have, when you give them extra possessions or short fields, you’re really putting yourself behind the eight ball. I think we’re very aware of their ability to get the ball out, both [by] causing fumbles and interceptions. We have to do a really good job of taking care of the football and not giving their offense anything extra this week.
Q: What have you seen from the pass rush of
SB: Yeah. Yeah, I think you said it: the more you watch them, I think the more impressive both of them become. Especially the last couple weeks, I think they’ve kind of found their groove. They’ve put a lot of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. They do a great job of never going around the quarterback, never taking themselves out of the rush. They’re always right there around you. So there’s no doubt that we’re going to have to take care of the edges this week or they'll cause turnovers just like they did last week.
Q: The numbers might suggest something about the Patriots secondary, but what have you seen on film schematically and personnel-wise?
SB: Schematically, those guys back there do a really good job of disguising things. They hold things well. They don’t tip their hand before the snap. You’ve really got to be able to play with your eyes when you play against them and see the rotation, see what they're doing after the snap. They’ve got several coverages that look very similar. And I think obviously they have given up some plays, but at the same time, they’ve made a lot of plays in the back end. [Devin] McCourty has obviously got great ball skills. You’ve got to be aware of where he is. I think they are a really solid group in that back end.
Q: I don’t know how much you get to dive in and compare last week’s game to previous games, but did you notice a difference with
SB: I’m not sure I noticed a huge difference with him there. They’re still going to do what they do. I don’t think that really changes them. Like I said, you’ve just got to be aware of where he's at on the field because he does have such great ball skills to be able to locate the ball and make plays when he gets his hand on it. I’m just going to have to do a good job of finding him.
Q: What would it mean to your offense to get Danny Amendola back this week?
SB: It would mean a lot. Obviously I’ve said it before: a lot of our offense runs through Danny when he’s healthy. You look at the Washington game when he caught 15 balls and everything really started with him. There’s no doubt that we miss him, but I think in the past couple weeks, the guys that have had to step up and make plays because he's not there, I think they’ve done a great job and I look for them to do the same this week. Everyone has really elevated their game since he went down.
Q: How surprised were you today to see him back out on the field on a limited basis?
SB: It was really good to see him, obviously. Me and him are pretty close; we talked about it last week. He told me that he was going to be out there with us today doing some stuff. I was a little surprised – just from the initial reports, I thought it was going to be quite a bit longer for him to get back on the field. But anytime you get him back out there, I think it just brought a whole spark to the whole group today and just lifted everyone’s spirits a little bit seeing him back out there. Even though he didn’t do a whole lot, just having him on the field really energized our group.
Q: Have you had much contact with
SB: You know, I haven’t. I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to Tom. But obviously I have a great deal of respect for him. I think he's one of the best, if not the best quarterback in the league. He's been playing at a very high level for a very long time. When you turn on the tape and you watch him, it’s very evident that he's in total control.
Q: Do you try to pattern yourself after him or are you different players?
SB: I think there are things that are fairly similar, but I think at the same time, I am a little bit different than Tom [Brady]. Obviously the offenses that we’re in are a little bit different. We’re asked to do different things. But there’s no doubt that during the offseason I enjoy watching him and just trying to pick things up that I noticed that he does.
Q: Bringing the game to England is part of a concerted effort by the NFL to expand the boundaries of the game. What’s your experience been so far and how has it been received? It’s a place where people call soccer football, so has it been an interesting experience for you guys?
SB: Yeah, it’s definitely different. We went to that Play 60 event yesterday and it was very apparent that we were in a foreign country. Just the youth here compared to the youth in America, I mean, they had very little awareness to what American football was. I think it surprised me a little bit just how little they knew about our game, which I think is one of the reasons it’s such a great opportunity for the NFL to come over here. These kids aren’t exposed to American football and if we want to expand our game, we’re going to have to do things like this to get them active and get them interested in learning more about the game.
Q: Can you compare the football skills of the American and European kids you’ve interacted with at these Play 60 events?
SB: No. You really can’t even compare them because I mean, I have a feeling that yesterday some of the kids we were dealing with, it was probably the first time they’d ever seen an American football. Obviously they play a lot of soccer over here. I asked a couple of them what they played and the predominant answers were soccer and cricket. I think, obviously, they're just brought up a little differently in terms of the sports they're exposed to. It really is kind of hard to compare them talking about football.
Q: Given that, is it going to be hard to find Oklahoma-Notre Dame on TV over there Saturday?
SB: Yeah, I know. I’ve been trying to figure that out, but I think it’s going to be about one in the morning when it kicks off over here, so I’m probably not going to get to see much of it. But hopefully I’ll get to see some highlights of it in the morning when I wake up.