Buffalo Bills quarterback Trent Edwards addresses the New England media during his conference call on Wednesday, November 5, 2008.
Q: Do you have any Jed Lowrie stories for us from Stanford?
TE: Lets see, Jed Lowrie stories, his freshman year he hit .290 with one home run and then his sophomore year I think he hit .380 with 17 home runs. I always give him a hard time about what happened that summer going into sophomore year; what he did with his off season workouts and whether he was spending time at the BALCO labs down in southern California or what he was doing.
Q: As a young quarterback can you relate to what Matt Cassel is going through with taking on the burden of an offense on your shoulders without a lot of pro experience?
TE: It's tough. You sit there and you're the backup for quite sometime and you have a starter in front of you that you're trying to learn from and you don't get a lot of reps in practice then all of a sudden you're thrown into the fire and expected to play at a high level. It's one thing to sit there and watch and go through mental reps it's another thing to actually go through and make those mistakes. It's tough to do. There aren't really a lot of guys that can jump in there and play at a high level but I've been pretty impressed with [Matt] Cassel. I faced that situation in New England last year where you get two reps in practice then the starter goes down and you have to play and play for quite some time. Now he's got to face that too being the starter for the rest of this year.
Q: How big of a game is this for you and do you think that you guys have to beat the Patriots at some point this season for people to take your rise in the AFC seriously?
TE: Oh definitely, you have to beat the champs if you want to be the champs. They obviously had a great season last year, they're off to a great start this year and in order to be on top you have to beat the guys that have been there most recently. This is obviously going to be a big game and our last game of the season up here in Buffalo against them is going to be a big game too. It's more important just to get back on track. We've lost the last couple of games maybe not games we normally would have lost and [we] haven't played at the level we are normally capable of playing to. We're hopefully going to be able to turn that around and that's more of the reason why it's a big game.
Q: Does the 56-10 loss last year, does that still burn? Is that in any way motivation?
TE: I think a lot of guys have hopefully learned what they are going to learn from that game and moved on. Last year they threw all over us and we didn't get much going on offense either. They made a couple of big plays and that was an impressive football team last year. I watched them in the Super Bowl too. I was very impressed with the way they played last year and even this year. They are playing well without Tom [Brady] in there and I really have a lot of respect for the way that they've been playing so far.
Q: What can you do as a quarterback to help the running game and what's been problem with the ground game?
TE: Just by making sure I'm not tipping off my runs, making sure my footwork and my mechanics are similar on both pass and run plays and not trying to show anything. If there's anything that they are learning from formations or snap points or little tips here and there I've been trying to look at that. Obviously the best way to get the running game going is to have an effective passing game to keep defenses on their toes and keep them guessing. I need to be able to do that too to help out the running game.
Q: James Hardy the rookie receiver, what can you tell us about his development?
TE: It's the same way I was last year. You have a lot going on, there's a lot to learn on the field and in the playbook and you have a lot going on off the field in terms of moving to a new city and trying to live a new lifestyle away from home. James and I are very close and have gone through a lot of the same things in our rookie years of having high expectations for ourselves and wanting to reach those expectations sooner rather than later. I think his development is coming along and we're going to need him now that Josh [Reed] is down for some time. We're going to need to have him step up and he's slowly but surely moving in that direction. I feel his pain I'm trying to give as much advice as I can because I've been in that same situation.
Q: Turnovers have hurt the offense this year and I know that if you could fix it you would but what has been the problem?
TE: We've been getting beat on a couple different plays. I've made some skeptical decisions and [we've] faced some solid defensive schemes. [Those] are really the three things that have caused those [turnovers]. We weren't making those mistakes early in the season and that's why we were going in that direction. Now we are going in the other direction because of making those mistakes and those turnovers. Like you eluded to before there's not really…you don't know how to fix them you just try to make sure that you're prepared for them and don't do them again.
Q: When you have a young team that starts out so quickly and then hits a rough spot is there a danger that people will start to question themselves? How's the confidence level?
TE: I think guys are still very confident. I just think that we need to make sure that we are learning from these last two losses. That's what I am trying to do personally. I don't know if it's because or our age, it doesn't matter how old guys here are, they are still going to be pretty confident and need to make sure they are learning from these losses and taking away as much as they can. In order for us to be the team we want to be we have to be able to do that and we have to be able to learn from those losses.
Q: One of the things Coach [Dick] Jauron mentioned was that the last couple of weeks you've played 3-4 defensive teams. What did you guys learn from facing a 3-4 defense and what type of challenges does that present for your offense?
TE: It's tough because those outside linebackers are very active. Facing the Dolphins and Joey Porter, then facing those guys last week against the Jets they are containing the outside run game and forcing you back into the middle where the nose tackles the last two weeks have been the strengths of the last two defenses. I'd say that's one of the strengths with the Patriots, their defensive line. That's why teams run that 3-4, to try and keep the run game inside. Don't let the speed get to the outside and funnel it into the strength of their defense. We faced it against the Chargers and we were effective against that and now we're facing some different coverages on the back end then we faced in the Chargers game as much as the 3-4 scheme has been a little bit different in terms of alignment and scheme compared to the Chargers.
Q: How does not having Josh Reed impact your game?
TE: The nice thing about Josh [Reed] is he is our big slot weapon. He matches up really well on nickel defenders each week and not having him in there is tough. He's been our go to guy in terms of our third down packages, our red zone packages and we are going to need those guys each week with Josh not in there to pick up the slack a little bit. I know Josh is still meeting with them in meetings trying to help them out but it's been a tough transition. But I think we have the right guys to make that transition and fill that void that Josh has left for us.
Q: What do you see from the Patriots secondary? They lost some players due to injury they lost some players during the off-season - do you see them as being vulnerable?
TE: I don't see them as vulnerable at all. I never really see them out of position. In the limited film I've watched I don't really see them, the guys that have hit them the quarterbacks have made accurate big time throws. That's not always going to happen every Sunday. Hopefully we can get a couple on them but the thing that they benefit from is having a strong defensive line [whose] technique is sound, is very aggressive and I'd say that entire defense plays to the whistle if not beyond the whistle. That's a tough defense to go against for 60 minutes. We're expecting that on Sunday and expecting a lot of different looks from their secondary. Hopefully we can get the passing and running game going too.
Q: Last week against the Colts the Patriots saw a defense that kept their two safeties very deep. How much is patience a part of that as a quarterback in terms of attacking a two deep zone like that where you have to keep going underneath and they don't let you go up top?
TE: It's frustrating because you kind of want to open it up a little bit and try to get it down the field but you have to take what the defense gives you. That's what we've been facing too. These last two of weeks we've been facing some deep safeties and playing a lot of man [coverage] to Lee's [Evans] side and we've kind of had to get our other weapons going a little bit. We've done a decent job of not taking too many shots and taking what the defense gives us but it's tough when their front four can get to you and they can sit back in coverage too. It's kind of a cat and mouse game and they're winning both of those games. That's a tough thing to go against.
Q: Do you make anything of this nine game losing streak the Bills have against the Patriots? Obviously it extends to well before you were even there, do you make anything of that or does it not matter because most of you guys weren't even part of the beginning of that?
TE: It's really just another question that I have to face. I've only been there for one game. I've only played one game in New England. I couldn't tell you a score, I couldn't tell you who was playing in those games or how they won them but I'm not really thinking too far ahead of that, I'm just having to face the question of it.