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Drew Bledsoe Conf. Call Transcript 09-03-2003

Bledsoe: This is definitely a big game for me and it is a big game for our team.



**Q: Apparently a lot is going on up there, behind the scenes, with [Lawyer] Milloy. Are you in the negotiations?

DB:** No, that is not a part of my job description up here, but I certainly made it well known when I heard that he was released that he would be a benefit to any team. Anybody that has ever played with Lawyer and played against him would love to have him as a part of your team. Whether it gets done or not, I don't know, but when my opinion was asked I certainly gave them as strong of a recommend as I could.

**Q: Well your coach is running in and out of Tom Donahoe's office. He is hoping it is going to happen. What is the impact of the changes your ball club during the offseason? Your offensive line is a lot more experienced and you have Sam Gash back there blocking for you. I expect the sack totals will dwindle some, do you expect?

DB:** That is way we would like to play. Last year, we had a lot of situations and the two Patriots games were prime examples where we were forced into situations where we had to the throw the ball a bunch. We weren't able to be patience with the running game like we wanted to be and because of that I took a few hits here and there and we put ourselves in some tough situations. We would like to play a more consistent style of football this year. We would like to be able to establish a strong running attack, a power running attack and still keep the big play component that we had last year. That would be the blueprint for us this year and if we could play like that I think we have a good chance of being in just about every ball game. That being said, whatever it takes that is what we are going to try to do. The plan for the year for us is to try to play a more consistent style of offensive football where we don't have to rely so heavily on the big plays in the passing game.

**Q: How do you view the improvements made? Certainly, Peerless Price is gone, but you seem to have made up for that.

DB:** I think that on paper and on the practice field we are a better football team. We made some good additions defensively. Our offensive line has had another training camp to work together. We have an excellent offensive line coach in Pat Ruel that has done a rally great job with them. Last year, the talent was there on our offensive line, but there was just some confusion from time to time. I think having another year under their belt should allow them to be a lot more effective. Defensively, we have made some very obvious additions with [Takeo] Spikes and Sam Adams and [Jeff] Posey coming in and playing linebacker for us too. I would expect our defense to a little more stingier this year than they were last year and I would expect our offensive production to remain high. The real goal for us this year is to eliminate some the mistakes that put us behind the eight ball in some games

**Q: Do you feel like you are going to have a different approach to these games this year? Do you feel you may have pressed a little bit in these games last year?

DB:** Last year, the thing that happened in these two games… I was conscious of the emotional aspect that is there and I really felt like I did a pretty good job of coming into the games in the right frame of mind. The thing that happened to us in both games last year were that we were down by 17 or 20 points or something like that in the first quarter or quarter and a half in both games and it put us in some really difficult situations. I think that is what caused us problems and that is what caused me problems. You get in a situation like that and sometimes you feel like you have to try and force something a little bit. I have been around long enough and I understand the different components that go into preparing for a game. One of those is trying to keep your emotions in check in a big game and I really felt like I did a decent job of that last year. We just put ourselves in some really, really difficult situations. This year hopefully we will be able to be in the middle of the ball game and have a lead or be within a few points and we won't have to try to play the same style of football that we were forced to last year.

**Q: We really didn't see Travis Henry in those two games. That was one of the aspects that made the game pretty much on your shoulders.

DB:** Yeah. With Sam Gash as an addition in the backfield, who you guys out there know so well and with our offensive line I think that we should be able, through the course of a season, and hopefully in this first game, have a more effective power running attack.

**Q: It is kind of ironic that Sam Gash is in Buffalo. When you had him here, he was a key figure in that outside pass and the way they used him.

DB:** He was great. Sam brings such a physical style of play to the game. He really demands respect for everybody that he plays against. I know that will be a big match-up in the game is he and Teddy Johnson knocking heads like they used to on the practice fields. That will be a big match-up in the game. Sam is great football player and he is still playing at a very high level. He is a weapon for us in the running game and he is also a weapon in the short passing game and the play-action passing game.

**Q: You say that you want to be more consistent offensively, but when you are looking at that Patriots defense now with Lawyer not in the middle and a rookie cornerback, don't you wish you could be slinging it a lot on Sunday?

DB:** We are going to mix it up. We are not going to go and just hand it off every play. We are still going to have the passing component of our offense. In general, through the course of the season, would love to see us be more consistent with our power running game as well.

**Q: What have you seen in the films from the Patriots preseason in terms of the defense that you didn't see last year?

DB:** The big thing that jumps out is personnel that they have added. Rosevelt Colvin is a guy that we had to pay special attention to last year when we played the Bears. He particularly as a pass rusher is an outstanding player. The two young corners look like very good players. They don't look like young guys out there. They look like they play with pretty good confidence. We will certainly check them out on Sunday. They look like good players. The addition of the big boy in the middle, big Ted [Washington] in the middle, I know that is going to cause some headaches for the guys here that are still familiar with him for all those years in Buffalo. The Patriots, as usually is the case, didn't show a lot of twists and change-ups in the preseason. We expect to see something new and different on Sunday. The big difference that jumped out was that they have a couple of additions that can really help them just in their basic schemes.

**Q: Can you say that this is just another game for you now?

DB:** No. This is definitely a big game for me and it is a big game for our team. I would never tell you that is not the case. It is a division game. It is the first game of the year. You just look at those two things and it is a big game. We weren't able to beat the Patriots last year. This is definitely a game that we are pointing at, they we need to try to do everything we can to win. That being said, if we go win this game, it doesn't put us in the playoffs. It doesn't put us anywhere, but it would be a good start to the season.

**Q: How long to you think it takes possibly for a team to shake off the loss of a leader like Lawyer?

DB:** I don't know. I don't know the answer to that. I know Lawyer was a guy that both on the field and off was a great leader for that football team. In the locker room, he was excellent. I know he was an excellent team captain on the field. His physical style of play raised the level of people around him. Lawyer is one of those unique guys that you hear talked about all the time that are so rare that really raises the level of the people around him with his play. Hopefully it will take them a while to shake off the loss of that. They also have some other good veteran leadership on that team. I wouldn't expect them to take to long with guys like … Just look at the linebackers on that team. With the experience they have and the leadership they have with that core that is enough leadership to carry a team. Losing Lawyer for them is definitely a loss though.

**Q: Do you feel that you and Larry Centers maybe weren't a great fit together because you like to throw the ball downfield and Larry is kind of the ultimate safety valve?

DB:** You have been talking to Larry too much. I have ultimate respect for Larry as a player and we really didn't use him last year as much as we should have. We were throwing the ball downfield a lot and because of the weapons we had outside, I don't think we probably used him as much as we should have. Larry is probably the best receiving back ever to play the game and the numbers bare that out, but Larry is also a guy that was kind of my bodyguard back there. If you watch film on Larry, the thing that kind of goes unnoticed is he may be the best chip blocker in pass protection ever to play the game. He would just absolutely just kill guys in pass protection. He is a guy that took care of me. We got to be good friends. We are good friends. It was unfortunate to see him go. The addition of Sam Gash is a big one for us, but is was also very, very unfortunate to see Larry move on and I hope he doesn't comeback and haunt us too much this week.

**Q: Lawyer is a free agent. You said earlier that you made your recommendation to the powers that be in Buffalo. By any chance have you talked to him?

DB:** I called Lawyer yesterday as soon as I heard about it and it was primary a call just to tell him that I was sorry to see that happen to him. I know that he was disappointed by the way that it played out. Having gone through my own situation there, I just wanted to tell him that I was thinking about him and feeling for him. He is a good friend of mine and was a good teammate for a lot of years. That was primarily the point of the call, but I also let me know that if it ever worked out for him to be over here we would certainly appreciate him as a teammate.

**Q: Did you try to recruit him?

DB:** To be honest with you, I was talking to him last year at the Pro Bowl and without ever foreseeing this situation, I told him how much I was enjoying myself up here and how much I like the area. Without the intention of recruiting him, I did let him know how much I enjoyed playing football over here when I saw him at the Pro Bowl.

**Q: If management came to you and said we want to get Milloy, but we need some help money-wise, would you?

DB:** Most definitely. This is a team game and if I can do anything to help build our team then I am going to do that for sure.

**Q: What in your mind makes Rosevelt Colvin special?

DB:** He is an outstanding pass rusher. He has a great burst off the ball. He has great explosion in his pass rush. He is very strong on top of being very quick. He has very quietly become one of the better pass-rushing linebackers in the league. He is a guy that we are going to have to take care of it we are going to have any luck in the passing game this week

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