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Rob Ninkovich Press Conference Transcript

Posted Jan 9, 2013

New England Patriots DE Rob Ninkovich addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, January 9, 2013.

Q: How is your hip?

RN: I’m not going to get into it. Practicing and getting ready for this game.

Q: What are some of the challenges of facing a zone blocking scheme?

RN: You know, this team does a good job of moving together. All the offensive linemen are athletic and they can move. The challenges for us as a D-line are to play strong, be fast and kind of reset the line of scrimmage. That’s your job really, is to get those guys knocked back and not be run into the sideline.

Q: What kind of scouting report do you have on Derek Newton, who missed the first game against you guys?

RN: You get to watch tape. You know, we watch tape a lot. That’s really kind of where you get a lot of your things that they like to do, type of player that they are, just watching tape throughout the year. It gives you the things they do well.

Q: Any kind of impressions of him so far?

RN: Yeah, good player. Obviously we have to do a good job on him.

Q: In the film that you watched of the Texans losing three of their last four in the regular season, what if anything did you see? What was their Achilles heel in those games?

RN: They’re a good team. You have to look at the whole body of work for the things they’ve done throughout the year. They’re a very tough team. The last time we played them, I don’t think that they were at their best, so this game we’re about to play here, we have to be on our best to come out there and match the energy that’s going to be out there because it’s definitely going to be a high energy game.

Q: It has been a while since the Patriots last won a Super Bowl and very few of the holdovers from those teams are left. There is a rich tradition here. Do you feel like you guys are as hungry as you used to be? Do you feel that hunger since you have never won one?

RN: Everyone in the League is hungry for a Super Bowl. I want to get back there just like everybody else that’s in the playoffs. That’s the number one goal in your head coming into training camp is, ‘Let’s get to the Super Bowl.’ So, everybody’s hungry and you know, this is what we play the game for.

Q: Do you feel like a part of that rich tradition that is here even though you have not won yet?

RN: I think that I wasn’t here with them in the past for all those Super Bowls. I was blessed to be here last year, came up a little bit short and want to get back there.

Q: What are the challenges for playing a team in the playoffs that you have played in the regular season?

RN: Just, they’re obviously going to do something different. They’re not just going to come out there and run the same stuff that they ran the first time they played us. You know that they’re going to change things up. The things that they didn’t do well they’re going to try to correct and it’s on us to make sure that we’re out there doing the best that we can to stop everything that they throw at us.

Q: Is it really a matter of just playing your game?

RN: You have to do your job first. You have to go out there and play tough football. In every phase of the game, you have to go out there and do your job.

Q: What do you tell the rookies on defense who are getting ready for their first playoff game?

RN: It’s going to be a little bit different. Every playoff is. The whole atmosphere kind of jumps up a little bit just because of the fact that you’re in the playoffs and everyone’s doing everything they can to win the game. It’s really just that you have to be out there and stay mentally tough and not get caught up in emotion at any point in the game because you really have to stay focused and play four quarters.

Q: Have they used Owen Daniels more later in the season as opposed to the beginning of the year?

RN: I think Daniels has played well all year, so he’s been involved highly throughout the whole year and I suspect they’ll probably use both of those guys just like they have pretty much throughout the whole year.

Q: This is more for the guys on the back end, but how do you stay disciplined when they try to operate out of play-action?

RN: Really the play-actions just come down to doing the best to stop the run first and foremost so they can’t set that up. When they do throw in the play-action, you have to move quick to get up and pressure the quarterback.

Q: Is play-action really predicated on the run? They could run play-action without having to run the ball.

RN: Well, they do a good job of running the ball, setting up their plays to where you’re ready to stop the run and then they throw in that play-action. So you really just have to do a great job of reading your keys and funneling to the ball as fast you can.

Q: You guys talk about how creating turnovers is kind of a springboard situation. Does it change in the playoffs at all because it is a one-game season and you have to be a little more conservative?

RN: You always want to be out there as a defense and be around the ball. That’s what creates turnovers is guys swarming to the football and that’s one thing I think we’ve done great all year is getting hats to the ball. Guys running to the football and when the one guy does get the ball out, there’s another guy there to scoop it up and fall on it. I think we’re going to continue to play like we have all year and that’s physical and running to the ball and everyone just getting after it.

Q: Jake Bequette said that he has leaned on you and learned from you this season. What kind of growth have you seen from him this season?

RN: Yeah you know, Jake, a young kid, kind of reminds me of myself coming into the NFL. It’s definitely a big difference from college to the pros and it takes a little bit of time to adjust, so I think that he has all the skills and tools to be a great football player. It’s just transitioning from college to professional, just to kind of get adjusted to the game and the way things are out there on the field.

Q: What was your initial reaction when you went down with the injury against Miami?

RN: I mean, that’s in the past. I want to just move on from that. I’m focused in on Houston right now.