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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered and Patriots Playbook Wed Nov 24 - 04:00 PM | Sun Nov 28 - 10:40 AM

Bills QB Drew Bledsoe Conf. Call - 12/4/2002

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Q: You're a dull story down here, it was about 15 minutes into [Bill] Belichick's press conference before anybody even asked a word about you today.

DB: Really? Old news, how soon they forget.

Q: You were just testing us right? You wanted to see who would stick around until 1:30.

DB: They changed up the schedule here, and I wanted to see if you guys really wanted to talk to me or not.

Q: Obviously it was big when you played the Patriots the first time, but coming home, even though it's a different stadium, is this big to you?

DB: Yeah it is, no question. It's a homecoming and I get to come back and play against my old team, and play in front of my old fans, and it'll be an interesting game. The big deal for us is that we've got to play a lot better than we did last time, that was really a disappointment to us, and a big setback for us to come out and play as poorly as we did in that game.

Q: Are you aware of how much the fans care about you, when they show your highlights up on the video board you get cheered, there are still like, 'Drew's' and stuff, so the fans still have an affinity for you here it seems.

DB: That's cool, it's nice to know that you're appreciated for sure. The same old thing though, when I was there, you never no if they're saying, 'Drew' or they're booing, so I was able to get by with that for a lot of years. So they might not even be cheering for me, they might be booing, you never know.

Q: Were you disappointed that you never got to play in the new stadium here as a Patriot?

DB: Yeah, at a certain level I was disappointed that I didn't get to play as a Patriot in the new stadium. Also, I'm also proud of the fact that I was there when I was part of the teams that were there when the stadium was approved and when it started to be built. I take some pride in that, but at the same time, it's a little bit disappointing that the thing didn't get done before I left, but at least I get a chance to come and see it now.

Q: When the stadium was being planned did anybody from the Patriots, any of the Kraft's, did they ask you your opinions of the wind currents, or what would be good?

DB: I remember really early in the process Robert Kraft asked me about whether we should try and do something indoors or outdoors, and I told him I thought it was an advantage when you lived in a northern climate to go ahead and play outdoors. Especially when you've got Miami and Indy being in the division where they played in warm weather and played indoors, so I thought playing in the weather was an advantage. So I did give him that opinion, whether that made a difference at all, I don't know.

Q: After that first game in Orchard Park, you sought out Belichick, what did you say to him?

DB: I saw him in the tunnel after the game and said congrats, congratulations. That was it, it's what you do, you compete against somebody, they get the best of you, you congratulate them and hope you get a chance to compete against them the next time.

Q: It's almost like you guys are the forgotten team in the AFC east, yet you guys are right there in the hunt, you win Sunday, you're knocking on the door.

DB: Well, we were a hot topic early, and then we went on the three game slide, and that kind of put us behind the eight ball, and that's the big reason for that. The bottom line is we've just got to play better, in this last game we were fortunate enough to come away with that win, but we still made too many mistakes, and made some of the kinds of mistakes that would really hurt us against a team like the Patriots, who are so opportunistic, and do such a great job in managing the game.

Q: Drew, how much of a weapon is Larry Centers for you, and have you had anybody like him previously, maybe Keith Byars, or anybody like that?

DB: Larry is truly a unique player, in that you see his numbers, you see all the catches that he has through his career, but the thing you don't realize until you play with Larry is what a physical force he is in a game. He brings a lot of toughness to the game, he's a great blocker, maybe the greatest chip-blocker, and pass protector that's ever played the game. In pass protection guys got to watch out if Larry's in the backfield because he's going to get a shot on them, but then as far as a receiver, he gives you so much versatility coming out of the backfield. He's a good blocking fullback but also can be very elusive in the passing game, so I've never had anybody quite like him, the closest comparison I could give you, maybe going way back, would be a guy like Kevin Turner when he was playing in the league because he was a real physical presence and at the same time could be a very valuable receiver. To say I've ever had anybody exactly like Larry, no I haven't.

Q: The Patriots have a situation this week with their linebackers, Tedy Bruschi is doubtful, and Ted Johnson's been playing a little bit better in pass-coverage, he's probably going to be in a little more of the sub-packages, how do you guys look at those matchups, you're familiar with those guys.

DB: You look at the Patriots defense and there's really no weakness in their defense at all to be exploited. But within that, the linebackers that they have are definitely the strength of that defense. Those guys, across the board, are such smart football players and talented football players. When Bruschi gets hurt, then you've got Ted Johnson right there, you've got Roman Phifer who's playing so well, Mike Vrabel does an outstanding job for them, and it's hard to say that there's anything that you can exploit in that linebacking core. If in fact Tedy is hurt, that's an advantage for us because he's just an outstanding football player. On a personal level I feel bad for him, but on a professional level I'd be really happy to see him standing over there in street clothes because he is very tough to play against.

Q: You've got to say nice things about [Ty] Law and [Lawyer] Milloy because this is New England and we'll say you just dissed the secondary.

DB: You know what, I played against those guys in practice for so many years and we each won our battles. Ty Law looks like he's having another spectacular year, he got me in the first game, picked me off there late in the game. Lawyer, I tell you what, Lawyer has been a guy that's been a heart and sole kind of guy for that defense for so long with his physical style of play, and the thing that Lawyer brings that really makes him unique on top of his physical presence is that he's such a smart football player. It's really hard to fool Lawyer, they ask him to do a lot in that scheme, from the standpoint of getting everybody lined up right, and he's able to do that on a very consistent basis. I'm telling you, playing against that defense, not only do they bring a physical presence, but they're so smart with what they do, the scheme allows for them to do a lot of different things, and because they're smart players they can handle all of it. You put that on top of the physical talent that they have and it makes them just really really tough.

Q: Talk about making adjustments the second time around, especially against a division opponent, does anybody have an advantage here, or is it just execution?

DB: You know, we're obviously going to make adjustments and correct some of the things we did poorly in the first game. But with the Patriots, they make things difficult because they change up from week to week how they're going to attack, so you never know exactly what direction they're coming from. The thing that is imperative for us is that we just have to execute better than we did in the first game. Obviously they're going to make some plays, they're going to fool us a few plays in the game, and they'll make plays just because their scheme and because of the talent of their players. The part of it that we can control, we have to do a better job with, we have to execute better when we have a chance to make plays.

Q: On the flip side, if you can get guys one-on-one, you see [Eric] Moulds get behind [Sam] Madison for the long touchdown, a guy missed a tackle on [Peerless] Price and the next thing you know he's gone, clearly that's the situation you're going to be looking for, especially if they blitz, as you figure they probably will fairly often.

DB: Yeah, with the receivers that we have, anytime we get one-on-one situations we feel like that's the situation where we can win. Now that takes nothing away from Lawyer [Milloy] and Otis [Smith] and the players on the Patriots defense, we just feel like the guys that we have when we get one-on-one situations we can win a high percentage of the time. Now how often will we get one-on-one's against the Patriots, if they choose to really go after us with the blitz, then we can create some advantageous situations, but they also do a good job of mixing things up so that it's hard to determine when you're going to get those good matchups.

Q: Is this more of a game this time around Drew?

DB: More of a game how so?

Q: In the sense, rather than the circus atmosphere…

DB: It was nice out here, we didn't have to deal with it as much out here as I think was going on out there the first time around. That really, for me, didn't have an affect on the first game, I really felt like I had a good attitude going into the first game, as far as my approach. The thing I said early on, that I hope would be the case, has come true, I'd hoped all along that when we got to these games that they'd be important games from the standpoint of the playoff race, and a division race, and that's really turned out to be the case. This is the kind of game that, when you start playing, this is the kind of game that you hope you get to play in a lot of times in your career. It's a pivotal game in the race to get in the playoffs for both teams, and it'll be a great contest and I'm really looking forward to it.

Q: Have you gone into this game with a degree of confidence knowing that you were able to move the ball against a Belichick defense?

DB: The Patriots last time we played, they did an outstanding job against us, and they really played kind of with the formula that they used to win the championship last year. They allowed us to make some plays coming downfield, but then when we got into the red zone they really tightened up, and didn't allow us to score touchdowns, and that was really the pivotal thing in the game for us as far as our offense versus their defense. We moved the ball down the field we just didn't put it into the end zone, and that's what we have to do. We have to be able to, when we get our opportunities to score, we have to be able to put the ball in the end zone, and the last game they did an outstanding job of keeping us out of the end zone.

Q: Drew, have you ever experimented with the gloves?

DB: I played around with it once at practice. Bill Parcells tried to get me to throw with the gloves at one point in my career and it's never something I've been comfortable with. I've tried it a few different times and I never felt like I could feel the ball well enough, didn't feel like I was as accurate in throwing that way, so I've chosen not to do it, and I've got big hands, I've never had a problem gripping the ball.

Q: Drew, you said a minute ago, 'when they won the Super Bowl last year,' and on hearing you say that is there part of you that has to check yourself and not say, 'we won the Super Bowl last year,' are you fully a Buffalo Bill now?

DB: Yeah I'm fully a Buffalo Bill now. As I've said over and over again I'm really proud that I was a part of that team last year, but I have certainly moved on. I feel like this is where I am, this is where I belong, and I don't spend any time looking back on last year. I feel like this is where I am and this is where I belong.

Q: Any bites on the house yet Drew?

DB: Not yet. You guys got find some people for me, this economy's killing me.

Q: Want to give a discount to media people?

DB: Oh yeah, sure. You guys want to go take a little walk-through, it'll be a nice bargain for you.

Q: Ted [Johnson] says that dinner is on him this week.

DB: Oh, Ted says dinner's on him? That'll be a first.

Q: He invited us!

DB: Thanks guys.

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