BB: This is another team here that we really don't know very well. [We] haven't played them in a couple years and even looking at them in the offseason, watching their team from last year – and they had a great year – it's just a lot of new players. So, we really have to do a good job of studying up on the schemes and certainly the personnel. They've got a lot of explosive players offensively and defensively and in the kicking game. It will be a big challenge for us. They've certainly got a great pass rush and [Dontari] Poe is a very disruptive player on the front along with [Tamba] Hali and [Justin] Houston. Offensively, Knile Davis and [Jamaal] Charles are real good running backs. [Donnie] Avery, certainly [Dwayne] Bowe – a lot of dangerous guys in the passing game; [Anthony] Fasano, [Travis] Kelce. [Alex] Smith running with the ball is dangerous. A lot of explosive players here on both sides of the ball we're going to have to do a good job on. [Joe] McKnight, Knile Davis on the returns, however that goes. [Frankie] Hammond has done a good job for them on punt returns. They have a lot of explosive players we'll have to deal with.
Q: How has Chandler Jones evolved in the dual role of outside linebacker and defensive end?
BB: Done well. Chandler's got good physical skills, does a good job. He's long, he has good playing strength, he's able to use his length to his advantage. He's certainly gotten better at that each year since he's been here. He's been durable, tough, been out there, played a lot of plays and has good durability and stamina. He has the ability scheme-wise – he's a smart player – he has the ability to do multiple tings for us defensively in terms of playing on the tackle, playing on the tight end, playing on space, playing in coverage. He's been a versatile player. He's done a real good job.
Q: Do you need two different skill sets to play those two positions or are there any shared skills there?
BB: There's an awful lot of people in the NFL that do those things, obviously some better than others. Some players are better going forward than going backward in coverage. Some guys are probably better in coverage than they are going forward rushing the passer and playing the run. Some guys are pretty good at both and I would put Chandler in that category. We're seeing two good guys this week from Kansas City, same type players that can set the edge, that are strong run players, athletic, can play in coverage, great pass rushers. It will be several of those guys on the field this week.
Q: Are you guys better now than you were three weeks ago?
BB: As a team yeah, definitely. I don't think there's any question about it. Yup, there are a lot of things that we're doing better. I think each week the competition gets better too. There are teams that are where they were in September and where they are now at the end of the month and heading into October, they've improved too. We just have to keep grinding it out but I think we are doing things a lot better than we did them a month ago. Hopefully we'll continue on that same trend. But I think we're seeing the same thing from our opponents around the league too. Everybody around the league is getting better.
Q: Do you get a sense that complementary football on offense is beginning to click in beyond what we see?
BB: Sure. There have definitely been a lot of good examples of that in the last couple weeks. Every week you have to go out there and re-establish it and do it. I don't think it's a question of really understanding it, it's a question of being able to go out there and actually get it done. But I thought last week after we scored to make it 7-3 and then we had the three-and-out, forced the punt, played that situation well, got good field position offensively, drove it down to the two-yard line. That was a good example of our offense, defense, special teams with the touchback and forcing the short punt, it put our offense in good field potion, they took advantage of it. We scored 10 points. That's the kind of complementary football that we need.
Q: You said Bryan Stork was improving every day but still had some catching up to do given the time he lost in training camp. With the work he's done to this point, do you feel like he's made up some of that lost time?
BB: Yeah, I think Bryan has definitely gotten better. He's improved. He's had an opportunity to string a few weeks of practice together here and get a little better playing time the last couple weeks. I definitely think he's moving in the right direction.
Q: How would you assess his play in the playing time he has gotten? Do you feel like he could take on a larger workload?
BB: His playing time and workload is functional of his performance – same as it is for every player. The better a player plays, the more opportunities they get. If they don't do as well, those opportunities go to somebody else. If that somebody else performs well with their opportunities then they're going to get more. That's really the way it is for all the players at all the positions.
Q: Stephen Gostkowski has been here for nine years. He's playing one of the most tenuous positions in professional sports. What has that made to the franchise with the stability he's brought?
BB: Oh yeah, it's meant a lot. The one year that we didn't have him, we were fortunate probably to have it go as well as it did. But I've been very fortunate being here basically having two kickers with Adam [Vinatieri] and Steve that are among the best in the league. Over that period of time I think we'd be hard pressed to find another franchise that's had the kind of success and production that those guys have given us in not the easiest conditions to kick in, as we all know. Steve's great. He not only does a good job for us in the roles that he's asked to perform on the field – kickoffs and field goals and extra points and all that, but off the field he works hard. He's an athlete, he's not that kind of stereotype kicker who just comes in and kicks. He works out; he trains with the rest of the team. I think he's very well respected on this football team for, again, not just what he does for us on the field but the way he has matured, the way he prepares, the way he goes about his job. His unflappable demeanor, he's had to deal with a number of different snappers and holders over the course of his career. There's been transition at those two positions and I think he's handled all those things very well, as well as, as I said, the conditions that he's had to kick in – cold, rain, snow, usually some type of wind here on this field and in this whole division. So, I feel very fortunate to have had him and Adam as the two kickers since I've been here.
Q: When we spoke with offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo in July, he said he wasn't re-inventing the system, he was teaching what was in place. How has he been able to get up to speed on the system to know everything and then pass it on to the team?
BB: Well, first of all, Dave is a pretty experienced coach. He's been in a number of different systems, including with Coach [Brian] Daboll down in Miami, which is a very similar system [to] the Giants, which there is a lot of carryover from Coach [Tom] Coughlin going all the way back to Charlie [Weis] and the offense that we really established when we came here in 2000. So, I think it's true that he did come into an established offensive system but one that he has worked in in different forms throughout the course of his career. So, I don't think the transition or the adjustment in the offseason when we were going through all of our protections and schemes and plays and adjustments and so forth, that it was like trying to learn a whole new foreign language or anything like that. But it was kind of fine tuning some things that we did relative to similar things that he's done in the past. That's just been a continuation for our entire staff, no different than on the defensive side of the ball with Coach [Brendan] Daly coming in, working with Matt [Patricia] and Pat Graham and Brian [Flores] and Josh [Boyer]. It's the same type of thing. It's just the whole staff getting on the same page as to how we're coaching certain plays, what the techniques are, how it fits together, what the adjustments are and that coach working with the individual players at his position. It's pretty common really in the NFL to have some type of coaching changes every year. There aren't too many staffs that don't have that. I think we've had it almost every year that I've been here. But I think he's done a good job. I think the offensive staff works well together. I think our defensive staff has too. We just need to all keep grinding though and continue to find ways to improve and do a better job, learn from our mistakes, learn from the things that went wrong the first few weeks of the season here and try to correct them and improve them or find a better way to do some things. Maybe there are some things with this team that we need to do that we're not doing. Maybe there are some things that we need to stop doing. So, that's the way it is every year. You kind of find out what your team is good at, maybe what they're not good at and work more toward the things that they can execute and do well and stay away from the things that for whatever reason seem to be not as productive for you. That's part of our job to put our team and our players in that position as a total staff. Of course it carries down to each individual position.