Q: One of the dramatic aspects of your ball club is the way you outscore people in the first quarter. Is that something that you planned or it just worked out that way?
DR: No, I think it just kind of worked out that way. I don't know if you can plan those things, it just kind of works out that way.
Q: But it is a nice thing to have, it puts teams on their heals right off the back?
DR: Well, it does. I think having a veteran quarterback allows you to do some things and it's your ability to execute offensively and defensively. We've been fortunate. I have been on both sides of that where you couldn't ever make a first down and then all of a sudden we score in a lot of games in a row. I think New England's done it like three games in a row now too. So it is something that I think surprises you sometimes but I think that's also what you try for. You try to score every time you get it.
Q: Chandler, and quarterbacks, have become so they have to be resilient and they can surprise you later in their careers more than they did earlier in their careers?
DR: Yeah I think Chris, certainly ever since he's been with us has been a guy that you could rely on. He does a great job, has a great feel for things and he throws the ball as well as anybody that I've ever been around as far as quarterback is concerned. The key to it, as it is for most quarterbacks, is the right supporting cast and also giving him the type of protection that you need to keep a quarterback healthy.
Q: Is Michael Vick learning from Chandler at all? Could you talk about his development and how far away he is from being a decent NFL quarterback?
DR: Well I think he is a decent quarterback now. Unfortunately he got thrown into the fire a little bit more than we'd like to against Chicago and still threw the ball extremely well in that game, he just made some mistakes and most of the mistakes were more from just a knowledge of the system than it was from not having the execution down. I think that that combination is the thing that you look for in a quarterback and he's progressing I think real well. The last couple of games he hasn't played in them, but still I think he has gotten better because he's taking reps in practice and seeing things. It's not like playing in a game, but I still think he's progressing and I'm pleased with where he is.
Q: One of Parcells' old quotes about Bledsoe as a rookie was that, 'He doesn't know what he doesn't know.' Would you apply that to Vick or is that not true in his case?
DR: I think that is true but I think also he realizes he has limitations. He's trying to learn and I think he has a better grasp now after playing a little over half the game against the Bears. He realizes that there is a lot more to it than what you see on film and what you see in practice. And the only way that you can really learn those things is to have it happen to you in game situations and I think he is a better quarterback after that. You know it was a tough lesson to learn, but that is also the way those guys learn.
Q: Was college football almost too easy for him?
DR: I think that he's a very talented individual. I think a lot of times in college you might play teams that have three, four, five, maybe six good defensive players. When you play in pro football all of them have great speed and quickness, but he still has those same qualities that are going to make him successful in pro football.
Q: How advantageous is it to have a situation now to have Michael behind Chandler as opposed to when you had John Elway in 1983? Is this a better situation or is it good sometimes to throw a guy into the fire?
DR: Well I think John certainly progressed faster the way he was exposed to it than if he had been there from a guy that's going to be there say three or four years or something like that. John started the first three or four games, you know I can't remember, I know it was like the first three games and you know really struggled and then later in the season when we put him back in there it was as different as night and day because the system was more familiar with him and he was much more comfortable with what he was doing. I think the biggest problem with young quarterbacks in getting all the things and putting them all together is the time that you have to look at the defense prior to the snap. If everything happens to you after the snap then you're in…I mean even a veteran guy if there in a hurry sometimes and they don't see anything prior to the snap, they have a tough time figuring it out. But if they get up to the line of scrimmage and have the ability to look the defense over and kind of anticipate things, that was the thing that was the big difference between John the first part of the season his rookie year and then when he came back in later in the year. He just was more comfortable and could see things and anticipate things more.
Q: Rod Smith had some yards last week and the Colts put up some yards two weeks ago. Does it surprise you a little bit to see a Belichick defense giving up those kinds of yards and making those kinds of mistakes?
DR: Well I will tell you it seems like around the league, and we are doing the same thing. I think we've got a good defense, yet we are giving up an awful lot of yardage and offenses seem to be doing that now. They're just exceptionally, just a few teams that have those types of defenses that you don't feel like they are doing that. It is so difficult now, if you can play the game the way you practice. Injuries create a lot of problems for you as far as replacing people and when you get thin and all of a sudden you're thin and you practice and then you play the game and you get more injuries. You aren't able to play the game the way you practice it, makes it more difficult. I think sometimes that really makes you look a lot worse than what you actually do because you do give up a lot of big plays because of missed assignments.
Q: It would seem that the league would prefer offense, that they would rather see 42-35 than 13-10?
DR: Well, that's true. I mean most of the rules that have been put into effect since I've been in football seem to always try to help the offense with scoring and so forth. But still, defense is what keeps your games close where they are exciting and if you look around the league the thing that makes the games exciting, I was able to watch them this past weekend and a lot of them were decided at the end, and defense seems to be the thing that keeps you in the ball game.
Q: Back to the Elway/Vick comparison, I don't know I got you pinned down to which is better?
DR: I hope Michael Vick turns out as good as John Elway. John was exceptional and I think he was so much farther along because of the college background that he had of being able to throw the football so much in a good system at Stanford. Mike didn't have that much of a college career, he came out early and so forth. So I think John was much farther along at this time and I hope Mike can continue to improve and have a career even close to what John Elway had.
Q: So you think it is much better that he is being eased in?
DR: Oh, definitely. I think he's in a good situation because he is young and he's got an exceptional talent, but I think if we bring him along slowly and he's in our system now where he has an excellent quarterback in front of him that he can learn an awful lot from on not just the Xs and Os, but how to study the game and how to prepare yourself and the mental part of it. You know there is so much more to it when it is on your shoulders than it is going in and you're the second guy and coming in and playing some plays and so forth.
Q: A few weeks ago David Patten threw for a touchdown, caught one and rushed for one. You were one of the players to have done that in the past, do you remember that game? It is pretty rare?
DR: Well, it is. I think you've got to be in a situation where you can throw the ball. You know there are not many guys that play different positions that… you know you can run for one and say catch one if you are a running back or wide receiver or things like that. I think it is a lot easier for a running back than it is say like for Patten doing it. He's got to run for one, which he did on a reverse. But then to throw for one you have to have the ability to throw it. So I think it's, you know, it's definitely unique and I was very fortunate and I am sure David feels the same way