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In this edition of the X-Box One Patriots Postgame Show we recap the Patriots 27-25 win over the Jets on Thursday Night Football. Our guest is Patriots LB Rob Ninkovich .
Q: What is the approach you guys will take on a short week here? GS: Well, that’s just it. It’s a quick turnaround, and we’ve got to really watch a bunch of film in a short period of time and get our plays in and put together a plan in a short period of time. But luckily for us this is a division rival, someone that we know, someone that they know what we do and we pretty much know what they do. It’s not going to be too unfamiliar for us, but obviously they’ve got different personnel, and we’ll be doing a few things that are different, so it’s key that we get on that film and really focus in on what they’ve been doing this year. Q: You’ve gone through a tough stretch in these past four games. What’s the mood of the team and how do you turn it around? GS: The thing about this team is that we always take the mood of our head coach. Rex [Ryan] has always been a confident guy. He’s always believed in us and believed that we’ll turn it around, so we in turn do the same. We just have to trust the process and trust that one day it’s going to happen for us. One of these days, one of these games, we’re going to put it all together … [phone dies] … We obviously all take on the mantra and the demeanor of our head coach, and he’s a very, very confident guy. He always shows belief in us, and we do the same. We believe that we have the guys in this locker room to turn things around. We believe that we’ve had our times to win a few of those games and we fell short. And that’s not to make an excuse, but we just think that if we put everything together, all three phases of football, that we can go out there and get a victory. Obviously it hasn’t happened for us, and we’ve got to get it done sooner than later. Q: What have you seen from Darrelle Revis ? GS: I’ve seen a guy who’s pretty much the same guy. He’s up there in bump and run coverage. He’s a very smart player. He plays within the system, but he also really bumps his receivers, and he’s obviously a guy you don’t want to put too balls in his direction and give him too many chances to make plays on the ball. Q: What has the year been like for you, because from afar, it seems like it’s been a little topsy-turvy down there? GS: For me, it hasn’t been. I think, obviously with everything that goes on with the media, a lot of things are, I would say, miscommunicated, and then it just gets misprinted and then misunderstood. I don’t have any quarrels with anything. The main thing is that we just have to find a way to get a win. The hardest part about it all is losing. With the effort, the time that we put in, the preparation that we put in throughout the week, coming up with game plans – we always have a really good game plan going in – and then obviously we haven’t executed as well as we’d like. Those things are tougher than I guess what can be said and what is portrayed out there in the media. Q: How do you feel like you’ve improved from last year? GS: Just learning and understanding the offense, going through my reads and being more precise with my accuracy. There is still tons of room for improvement. I’ve got to do a better job in the pocket and just being more decisive. There were a few times in the previous week [when] I felt like I had some opportunities to step up and run the ball, and I may have hung in the pocket a little bit too long. A lot of those things that I’ve got to learn to work through as a player [are] coming along for me. There is a steady improvement, but there is still tons of room to improve. Q: What are you seeing in the Patriots defense as a whole this season? GS: They’re going to play a bunch of man-to-man coverage. They’ve got some really good corners; they’re about five deep in the defensive backfield. They’re very confident in those guys, so they’re willing to put those guys out there against the best and man them up. Obviously, you’ve got Chandler Jones and you’ve got Vince Wilfork back, who is anchoring that defense. [ Rob ] Ninkovich came up with three sacks last week, so obviously he’s on a hot streak. You’ve got to be aware of all the things that they may throw at us schematically, and then also we’ve got to win matchups. Obviously, football is all about the matchups, and we’ve got to be able to win one-on-one matchups. Q: Are the struggles on offense even more frustrating considering you guys added so many high quality assets this offseason? GS: It’s always frustrating, no matter who’s playing or what you’ve got out there. It’s always frustrating to struggle and to have those moments during games where you can almost be stagnant and find it hard to move the ball. But we’ve also had times where we’ve moved it pretty much at will, so I just think that’s a part of the game. Playing in this NFL, you’re not going to be able to just go out there and do what you want. The other teams, they practice hard, they’ve got Pro Bowl caliber players as well, so there is going to be kind of a stalemate in some of those areas. But I think the key situations where we’ve had opportunities to really win the game or to kind of put our stamp on it or put some domination on the game, I think we have failed to do so, and that’s something we need to improve on. Q: With the losing streak you guys are on and having to come play the Patriots, who are leading the division, do you guys look at this as a game you must win or the season will be lost? GS: We’ll have to find that out after the game. We’re going into this thing with the mindset that we’re going to win. Obviously it’s a must win because it’s a divisional opponent. It’s also our first division game, and it’s also coming off of a five-game losing streak, so there are a number of reasons why we need to win this game. Afterwards, we’ll readjust and figure out where to go from there. Q: Given that it’s a short week, how much more difficult is it to prepare for the Patriots defense? GS: The key thing is that we study, we do our jobs, and you get on to study the details and study exactly the way they do things. Although there is a short week, that’s not an excuse for anyone. The whole team has a short week, so we’ve got to prepare ourselves just as we have with a normal week’s schedule and maybe do a little bit extra. Q: You mentioned that there were a few times yesterday where you could’ve taken off and ran. Has a lack of decisiveness been an issue this year? GS: No, I don’t think so. I wouldn’t say that. My job as the quarterback is obviously to pass the ball first, and second would be to extend plays and always take what the defense is giving me. A few of those times I may have been hanging on to guys too long or just didn’t feel the pressure on either one of my sides, and it’s something that I need to get better at. When it comes to decisiveness, I think I’ve been pretty decisive, but you don’t want to start predetermining things. You just want to play natural. Going back and watching the film, I felt like, just from my own assessment of it, I think I could have stepped up and maybe ran a few of those times. But in my thought process, I was thinking of getting the ball to the receivers downfield, and we had some opportunities there as well. But just from those few sacks I took, I felt like a way to alleviate that was to step up and run and gain some yards. Q: What’s it been like working with Mike Vick? GS: It’s been good. Mike has been definitely a good guy. He’s been a mentor. He’s been someone who has shared a bunch of his previous experiences and all the things that he’s been through in this league, so to be able to compete with a guy like that as well as learn from a guy like that is something that I definitely appreciate. Q: What is Jace Amaro’s potential? GS: I think he has big time potential. We don’t like to talk about the guys on the other side, but when I think about Jace I think about Gronk [ Rob Gronkowski ] – two really big, bouldering guys who have physical statures, but are as nimble as some of the smaller guys who can run great routes and have great hands and can run after the catch. I think Jace can be a really good tight end if he continues to work at the pace that he’s been working. We expect big things from him in the future. Q: What about Zach Sudfeld? GS: Zach has been one of my best buddies on my team. I really like the way that he works. He has a great work ethic. He’s been in there every single day. He even comes into all-quarterback meetings we have with the offensive linemen and watches tape with us. He’s just continuing to gain experience and continuing to learn this offense. He’s a guy that we’ve used in multiple packages. He’s a big target, a guy who can stretch the field, and he’s got great hands. So, he’s a guy that we definitely should get the ball to a little bit more. But you always got to take what the defense gives you. He’s been great with that, not forcing the issue, but he’s always preparing and he’s always coming in to work, working to the best of his ability.