RN: They had a couple injuries. The guard is not playing anymore so they had to move the rookie inside. The backup is back playing tackle now. They’ve flopped some things around. So, just like any other week, you have to go through the tape the last couple weeks they’ve played in that lineup and see the strengths and weaknesses and try and do your best and be prepared for whoever you’re going to play, left or right side, whatever side they’re on, just play them.
Q: On size alone, how difficult is it to go against Bryant McKinnie?
RN: Mckinnie, big guy. For a guy my size you just have to stay active and be quick and agile and not try to get into a power game because [it’s] 360 vs. 250 [pounds]. You just have to make sure you’re moving.
Q: Can you talk about playing at home and how the Super Bowl goes through Gillette Stadium and how that helps you?
RN: Yeah you know, we have great fans always coming out, high energy. It’s going to be another huge game here at Gillette, so I think that everyone’s going to be jacked up.
Q: How about on the rivalry? It seems like a close game every time you guys match up.
RN: Yeah ever since I’ve been here it seems like we always play them twice a year. Again, it’s always a physical, tough game and it comes down to one or two possessions, so you just have to be mentally tough and play a tough, physical game all four quarters.
Q: Can you talk about Joe Flacco?
RN: Yeah, I feel like every year he’s improved. He’s definitely had a great year this year. [He] can throw every pass on the field and can also throw a great deep ball. He’s definitely a guy that, you can’t just stand back there and let [him] throw wherever he wants. So again, improved every year and he’s a good quarterback.
Q: Has Coach Bill Belichick ever shown you any tape of Mike Vrabel?
RN: Well growing up, I’m a little bit younger than him so I always watched the Patriots and watched their successful seasons in the past when I wasn’t a part of the team. So, he’s definitely, still trying to fill the shoes.
Q: Have you ever met? Ever talked?
RN: No, never have, never met him, never talked to him, maybe one day. I’m sure he’ll probably give me some crap for taking his number.
Q: When people make that comparison how does that make you feel knowing how highly regarded he is?
RN: No, I mean his whole career, the performance that he’s had his whole career, kind of speaks for itself. So just to even have the comparison, it’s an honor. But you know, different football players. You know obviously there’s—I think he was like four inches taller than me, his arms were way longer, so he has the advantage there.
Q: On every play do you have the mindset that the ball could come loose?
RN: Yeah I mean as a defensive player you’re always thinking that the ball is a key. You’re looking at the ball on the snap, you’re trying to find the ball in pursuit. When people are around the ball making plays you’re always aware where it’s at. You know if it’s fumbled or if it’s on the ground you have to get on it. Let everyone else decide what’s going on as long as you get the ball, it will all work itself out. As a defensive player, that’s in your mind all the time is being prepared to get on top of it.
Q: The Ravens have a different offensive play caller from the first game. Is there anything that sticks out?
RN: They’ve been real successful in their deep passing game in the last three or four games, so I think that again, there’s going to be some difference in the play calling, different person calling the plays. So we have to be on top of the things that they’ve been doing as of late.
Q: There has been a lot of talk this week about ‘The Patriot Way’ and its correlation to your success. Do you ever sense any resentment or jealousy from any other teams?
RN: I think you look back as long as they’ve been winning, it’s kind of been similar in how they present themselves. It’s obviously worked out and just I think our record in the past 10 years kind of speaks for itself as far as how we’ve won and been successful. So again, there’s always going to be people out there wanting us to not continue to win, but that’s just the way it is.
Q: The Ravens have been a defense with a personality. Do you think the Patriots’ defense has a personality?
RN: I feel like we go out there and we work hard. We make big plays and turnovers at the right times in the game. Obviously, I think being second in the League in turnover ratio is going to help, especially us with the offense we have. So as long as we go out there and do our job, that’s really our attitude is going out there, doing what we have to do to create those turnovers and give our offense the best chance they can to keep putting points on the board.
Q: Does it bother you at all that people question the team on the defensive side of the ball? Does that motivate you guys?
RN: You really can’t look into it that much really. I feel like, ‘Are there some yards that you don’t want to give up as much?’ Obviously there are a few things that you want to not have as many, I don’t know, deep passes, passing yards for the year. But again, you look at some of the different things that affect the game – turnovers – that’s huge, third down, red zone. Those are the aspects of the game that you really want to be tight on.