Q: What are you seeing from Buffalo that looks different from last year?
TB: They're playing good; they're playing good football. They went into Kansas City and really gave it to them pretty good. [Kansas City] didn't really do much offensively; I think [Buffalo's] defense really put a lot of pressure on them. They've got a lot of good players over there. They're really big, physical players, athletic at linebacker, good coverage in the secondary. I think playing against them last year in that second game - it wasn't our best performance out there either. We scored points - I think we were the beneficiaries of a lot of turnovers - but we know how good of a defense [they have]. They really match receivers tight. Its tight coverages, tight throws and they can get after the passer too. [Shawne] Merriman's back to his old self and Kyle Williams is one of the best interior guys we face all year. There're a bunch of different challenges. I think they're good in all phases and Buffalo is always a tough place to play. It should be a fun weekend.
Q: How important is depth - on any team, obviously - but specifically with what you guys do offensively? How do you look at the whole breakdown of depth you have offensively?
TB: Every player is counted on. Everybody that's on the offensive roster that's able to contribute has to contribute; I think everyone is counted on. There're not a lot of guys that you have offensively, so when a guy's not in there, other guys have to figure out ways to contribute. Who knows who it will be this week, but it could be anybody. [It] could be like last week; it could be something different. We're trying to figure out and sort those things out. Obviously, we won't know until Sunday until the guys are out there that are playing because at this point, we really don't know who is playing.
Q: It looks like some teams might be faking injuries to slow offenses such as yours down. You guys are up-tempo, you have quick pace and all of a sudden a guy drops and looks like he's dead but then he's back in the lineup. How bothersome is that to you or is that just part of the game?
TB: It's not really bothersome. The hard part is somebody really may be hurt, so you hate to see injuries in football and if a guy is down, you take is pretty seriously. Whether that's a strategy, I have no idea; Coach Belichick has never coached that for us or anything like that. If it is, you just deal with it, you play through it, play with a little mental toughness and try to go out there and execute. Everyone's going to have different ways to try to slow down teams.
Q: You won AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors again. Are you trying to make it a clean sweep and go 16-0?
TB: I didn't know that. It's always very flattering to be chosen. There're so many great players in the league and really, our offense is 11 guys out there. There's never one player. It's not the quarterback, it's not the receivers; it's everybody. Everyone's got to be on the same page doing their job. I think we've done a decent job the first couple of weeks getting off to a good start, but it's only going to get tougher from here. We're expecting to go out there and make plays when there're opportunities to make plays. That's what we have to do - that's what my job is: to put the ball in the hands of guys that can actually do something with it. Those guys have been doing a great job all through training camp. It's so early in the year, I think we've got to keep building on the things that we're doing well, and also understand the things we haven't done so well so that we can approve upon those things because they're all going to come up. It just gets tougher and tougher as the season goes. It always does.
Q: Having thrown for almost 1,000 yards in the first two weeks, does this start to the season feel different than other years?
TB: That we're 2-0? I know we've started 2-0 before. There're different ways to win games [and] I think we've had opportunities to be able to throw the ball. Last year against Buffalo we ran it pretty good in both games, so when my number is called upon I try to execute. When the running backs' number is called upon they try to execute - the offensive line always has to execute. The receivers, they know when they're the primary on the play; they know when they're run blocking. Offense is about everybody really being on the same page. That's what we're trying to be. We're trying to be efficient and when the ball is snapped, [we're] trying to make yards, trying to get the ball to open receivers, trying to make the right cuts in the running game, eliminate negative plays, eliminate turnovers - all of those things that lead to production on offense. That's what we're trying to do.
Q: Knowing that you've had really good weapons here over your career, is there something unique about this group now that allows you to threaten the defense a little differently than you have in the past?
TB: Like I said, it's a collective effort. Look, the better that
Q: What has stood out about
TB: I think his ability just to come from not doing much training camp to being thrown in there in the first game of the season and also last week, and expected to perform at a high level in a totally different environment. He had some familiarity with our system through what Charlie [Weis] was running last year in KC, but there're a lot of things that are quite a bit different as well. So, I think his ability to really integrate himself into what we're doing to get on the same page as the other group of lineman and their communication and their calls. He's teaching other guys the plays now. He's just that kind of guy. He's really been a professional. Every time you walk by his locker he's looking at his playbook trying to understand his role in the play, and that's what you get from a guy who has been to a bunch of Pro Bowls - a veteran player who takes his job very seriously and really wants to go out there and win games.
Q: For you to be good at making pre-snap adjustments, is that all about preparation or is there something else that goes into that?
TB: It's preparation - it certainly is - but it's by the entire offense. Look, I could see something, but if I can't figure out a way to communicate that or when I do communicate that, guys don't really understand what I'm trying to get across at the line of scrimmage or in the huddle, then it's not worth it for me to try to do something. I can communicate something, but if they're not studying on the other hand, then it's not going to work out; there's not going to be any cohesiveness within the receiver group or tight end group. I love to be able to identify the defenses that I'm going to see. I love to be able to study and prepare and take things that I see on the film and then use those when I get them in the game, and then try to get us into the right play, but those other guys are studying just as hard as I am trying to understand that, ‘OK, Tom is going to change it, this is why he's going to change it, this is what he's going to change it to,' so they can anticipate those things as well. So, there're maybe three or four things they may be looking for, as opposed to 50 things and then they can play that much quicker.