Q: For years, you guys have talked about the most important stretch of football being that post-Thanksgiving run. With the holiday looming, are you happy where this team is right now?
TB: I think this game will - this is a very important game for us. Everything that we're putting into - we're putting it all into this week. We have a lot on the line. It's a very good team. They're skilled at every position. Going on the road and trying to win a really tough game on the road at the most important time of the year - that says a lot for what we're looking for as a team.
Q: You faced Asante Samuel in practice for years. Does that help as far as scouting? He takes a lot of chances it seems.
TB: Yeah, he makes a lot of plays and he always has made a lot of plays. He's a great player and I loved playing against him because I thought he really brought the best out in our receivers and our passing game. He's always a threat to intercept the ball. As a quarterback, you're always paying attention to those guys. He does it as well as anybody that I've ever played against.
Q: Their defense as a group played really well against the Giants. What are some of the threats you seen when you look at across the ball?
TB: They really have threats everywhere. They rush as good as anybody that we face. They have two of the best corners in the league that intercept passes. They force you to throw it quick and then they're on you quick. Very athletic and it's a fast group. They're a really dangerous group and we have to go out and execute really well. I think we have to execute as well as we've executed all year in order to go out and try to win this game.
Q: Do their corners compare to anyone you guys face in the AFC?
TB: We play some pretty good corners. This is another group. When you have a pair of guys, that's what really is tough to go against because they're two of the best corners that have played for a long time. They're experienced, they're fast, they intercept the ball, they're looking for interceptions. They're real playmakers on that defense. They expect those guys to make plays and those guys do it.
Q: Are they using Nnamdi Asomugha in a different way than he was used in Oakland?
TB: I'm not sure. I didn't play against Oakland when he was there. I missed that '08 game when we played them. He's playing really good if you look at the film. He covers people, he's very physical, really smooth athlete, very smart player, got a ton of experience - he's an excellent player.
Q: Has it taken you longer to warm up this year than it has in the past?
TB: I feel great. I feel great. I'm excited about this week. I'll be out there on Sunday as I am always, unless they tell me I can't be. I'll be out there. I feel great and I'm ready to go try to play my best football.
Q: You're all business today, huh?
TB: Yup, it's a big week for us.
Q: It's a non-conference game and you guys have a nice lead in your division. It's clear from your tenor that this is just as important as a Jets game.
TB: I think that we need to play really well, certainly better than we've played the last few weeks. There're a lot of people on our team and our offense that have really taken the challenge that our coaches have given us and are going to out there and try to play our best. I think we need to do that. This is the time of year when it's most important. There aren't a lot of games left. When you play a tough team, on the road, that came off one of the biggest wins of their season - we have everything we could ask for. We're going to go out there and try to play our best.
Q: Despite their record, is this as talented a team as you've seen all year?
TB: They're very talented - there's no question about that. You look at their defensive stats and their offensive stats [and] they're as good as any team in the league. They can play with anybody. They've had two pretty significant blowout wins and then the rest of the games have been very close. It's not like teams are running away from these guys; they're in every single game. They're a tough team in all phases.
Q: There have been a few injuries to the offensive line and guys have been rotating in and out throughout the season. How challenging is it to keep that camaraderie along the offensive line and work with guys when people are shuffling in and out?
TB: Yeah, it's important - camaraderie on the offensive line. Those guys, the communication between that group is very important. We've had that for a number of years. The guys that have been in there have played with each other and fortunately a lot of our backups have been in there too - like
Q: How challenging is it for you with all the rotation at center with
TB: No, I'm familiar with both those guys because I've had a chance to play with them for awhile. They're both very good at it. The center-quarterback exchange is obviously most important. Because I've taken so many snaps from both of those guys over the years, it's not much of a problem.
Q: What concerns do you have about getting him back on offense and maybe losing
TB: It wouldn't be the first that we lost over there. Once those guys start playing well, Coach Belichick likes to keep them over there on defense. Julian has a lot of different talents to help this team - a great punt return the other night and obviously he helps us on offense when he's out there, but when they're thin on defense, he can go over there and do that too.
Q: Is there another gear that you think this team can reach, realistically, especially on offense?
TB: We can execute a lot better than we've been executing, there's no question about that. I think that's what we're trying to do. It doesn't matter if you win, you're always trying to make improvements and we're trying to make improvements and we'll continue to make improvements up until the last day of the season, whenever that is. We go out to practice today, we're going to try to get better and I think we can get better.
Q: Over the last number of years, the screen pass seems to have been a big weapon for this team. You throw it occasionally now, but you don't seem to be using the screen as much these days. Would you like to see it get used more?
TB: We used it quite a bit the other night. We use it at different points. Maybe we're just not doing it as well, so it doesn't get noticed as much. As an offense, you have to do everything: screens, draws, outside runs, inside runs, deep throws, short throws. You have to do everything to try to keep them off balance.