PATRIOTS DB E.J. BIGGERS
Q: How have things been going thus far with the Patriots?
EB: Everything has been going really, really well. [I'm] just getting it in, working out every day, having a good time with the guys.
Q: What are some of the things that stand out about this organization that may be different than your past teams?
EB: You'd know better than me. It's just an organization [that's] top of the food chain. It's somewhere you want to be.
Q: Do you have any kind of background with any of the guys in the locker room?
EB: Yeah, a couple of guys. I trained with some guys in the offseason, played with a couple in Washington and Tampa Bay. LeGarrette [Blount], Frank Kearse; I played with those guys and then, like I said, I trained with a couple of guys in the offseason.
Q: What have they told you about how things are done around here?
EB: Nothing that I didn't already know. Being in the league, going on eight years now, you kind of know what to expect when you come here. It's a job. You come in here in the best organization in football so you come in here with your A game and you just fall in line.
Q: What kind of expectations did you have coming in here about the defense and the coaching staff?
EB: I always heard great things. Like I said, I've had some coaches that know a couple guys and things like that, but you know you're in an A1 organization and you put your cleats on and you're ready to strap it up every single day.
Q: What impressions did you get of the Patriots when you participated against them in joint-practices during previous training camps?
EB: Same thing. Like I said, it's an A1 organization. Everything they are going to do is going to be full speed and A1. [It's] a group of guys and just watching how they do things each and every day, it's always something that when you're not here you kind of envy that but it's always something that you want to be a part of.
Q: Why do you envy it?
EB: Like I said, you see the success and then you see how those guys go about things then you get here and you understand what all that was for.
Q: So it's about the results as well as the process?
EB: Exactly. You see the process when you're there but at the end of the season when you're watching those guys on TV – now you see the results.
Q: How do you think your defensive backfield versatility can help you when you arrive somewhere new?
EB: Versatility helps you many ways. You just always have to be aware. I'm a guy that's going to try and learn everything I can because things happen during the season each and every year, so the more you can do for teams, that's always the best thing.
Q: Has it been challenging at all to play so many different positions in the secondary?
EB: I guess, sometimes. Like I said, when you get to learning things and you're paying attention to everything then everything kind of flows together.
Q: Were you a core special teamer last year or were you mainly just a gunner?
EB: I played all four [units]. Some games I didn't play all four but for the majority of the season I was playing mostly all of the special teams. That's been my whole seven years in the league but that's nothing new. You do what you have to do to help the team.
Q: Did you treat the final two games of the season last year as an opportunity to prove around the league that you can contribute to more than just special teams?
EB: I always feel like that. Especially when you're a defensive back, you have to have the confidence. If it wasn't playing as many plays on defense and still playing special teams, whatever it is that helps the team win – that's all I'm here for, wherever I'm at. I didn't worry about that kind of stuff. When your number's called you have to be ready.
Q: What do you remember about your last time in this stadium on December 6, 2015, with the Philadelphia Eagles?
EB: To me there isn't anything to talk about with that right now, so I'm a Patriot now.
Q: Do you have some personal goals that you want to accomplish coming into this organization and have they given you any personal expectations?
EB: Just being the best Patriot that I can be. Going in every day and fighting and just going in and playing and helping whoever I can help, and getting as much help that I can, and becoming the best guy I can be, and being the best teammate that I can be.
Q: Are there any perceptions that you came here with that have changed for you since your arrival?
EB: No, no perceptions. Like I said, I always thought this was an A1 organization. Like I said, when you're not here you kind of envy it because you see the results and you see the guys go through the process and you want to be in this position and have a chance to be a part of this organization. This is a great step for me and, like I said, I'm just happy to be here.
Q: What does a seven-year veteran know that a rookie doesn't know at this point?
EB: There are a lot of things, but like I said, knowing that this is a process. It's going to be a grind. I'm pretty sure they understand that, but going through it for seven years is a little bit different than coming in as a rookie. But I'm here and I'm going to help those guys as much as I can, and as much as I'm learning from the older guys who have been here, I'll pass it right down.
Q: Is it exciting to be here in New England or are you nervous?
EB: I'm excited. I'm excited. You can't be nerve wracked right now. I've been doing it a little bit too long now, but like you said, I'm just excited to be with an A1 organization. I can't say that enough and you just want to be a part of it.
Q: Did you see any similarities between the way Coach Greg Schiano approached things in Tampa Bay and how Coach Bill Belichick approaches things here?
EB: Yeah, they have some common things, some common ways. There's no organization like this organization, so I don't want to say there's somebody like him or like this organization, but there are some similarities in how they do things.
Q: What are your general thoughts so far on this young cornerback group?
EB: It's young, but there are some guys that have played a lot of football and done some great things in this league, so I don't really want to say young because like I said, there are some guys that have done some great things. Like I said, I'm learning a lot from those guys. It's a great group, great coaching staff, great room, great unit.
Q: Did the Patriots contact you or did you contact them?
EB: I don't know if we can contact them to do that. I'm not sure about that part, so they contacted us.
Q: Has it been difficult to bounce around from team to team?
EB: It's a job. It's the nature of this business. It happens.
Q: In your short time here, how has it been working with the coaching staff?
EB: It's great. Like I said, you get to learn. It's like you're in school. It's a job but it's also a learning job. It's not just something that you go in and you're doing the same thing each and every day. You come in here and you're going to learn something each and every day and like I said, it's not just one thing that you're going to learn. You're going to learn a variety of things. It's going to help you and it all correlates to winning and that's the main focus here.
Q: What led you to bypass some of the bigger colleges coming out of high school and end up at Western Michigan?
EB: [I had] a great relationship with the coaches and wanting to play early. I didn't want to redshirt, so that was a big thing but like I said, the coaches, I'm still close with all those coaches to this day and we had a great relationship. I wouldn't change that for anything.
Q: Did you look at that decision as quite a risk?
EB: You're always taking a chance. Anything that you do in life you're taking a chance. At that time I thought that was the best opportunity for me and obviously it was. Not saying that anything else wasn't but it worked out.
PATRIOTS DE ROB NINKOVICH
Q: What's new in your life?
RN: I had another child so that's always a bit of change there. That's a fun thing I'm going through. It's exciting and now I have two [kids].
Q: How is two versus one?
RN: Two versus one, it's a little bit more work [laughs], but you know it's fun. We're having a good time.
Q: You have a [charity] event coming up?
RN: Yes, on Monday [May 23] Niko-Pong 2, it's coming. It's going to be at the Blazing Paddles up at Fenway [Park]. It'll be a fun event.
Q: Who's the reigning champion?
RN: Last year actually none of the players won. It was one of the girls who was phenomenal, so maybe this year we'll get a player to be in the championship round.
Q: Who's your money on?
RN: [Danny] Amendola. He's pretty serious. He can go left-handed and still beat you, so he's pretty good.
Q: Did he get beat by the girl who won last year?
RN: He didn't play last year, so this will be the challenge to see if he can take it.
*Q: On the football business, how are things going with the program? *
RN: Good. I feel great. Everyone's working hard. Again, just really enjoying a ton of training and spending time with my teammates and working toward the mini-camp, OTAs and training camp.
Q: What were thoughts when the Chandler Jones trade went down?
RN: That's something that's a part of the game that you have to deal with – guys coming and going. I had some great times with Chandler and wish him all the best in the future. It's just part of the business you have to deal with – the moving parts – so I'm continuing to work hard with the guys who are here and build great relationships with the guys who are here.
Q: Were you a little bit surprised that he was traded?
RN: Chandler is a really good football player and it's just part of the business. I've seen multiple things throughout my 11-year career, so you understand that at the end of the day, there's always going to be movement.
Q: What's your connection with Chris Long and what's it been like getting to know him?
RN: Chris is a great guy. He's excited to be here and to just jump into the Patriot way. I know previous location was tough for him, so I just said to him, 'Hey man, you come here and get to work and we'll start winning football games.'
Q: When you get new teammates that are more experienced does that change the dynamics a little bit and make it easier to work with them?
RN: No, I think everyone really just dives right in. It really starts with the foundation, so right now it's working hard, coming in, lifting, running, building a base. As you do that you get to know everybody. These are the times that you really embrace because again, I'm not going to be able to play forever so I try to just really enjoy the moment and be with the guys and work towards the ultimate goal, and that's being ready for training camp and having a good training camp and that'll lead you into a good season. So, I'm just building those relationships.
Q: How long do you envision yourself playing? Is there a set plan or do you just take it as it goes?
RN: Well, I subtract three years because I really didn't play much in my first three. I still feel good and again, it's all about the production on the field so I feel my production is still there and I'm still getting to the quarterback.
Q: When you lose a veteran like Chandler Jones do you feel pressure to take more of a leadership role or do more around the younger guys?
RN: No, again I think that me personally, I just come in and I work really hard and I try to make myself better and that's every phase of the game. The young guys, I think they see and respect that and really it's all about making yourself better and just trying to be a better football player. So, yeah, again I'm excited to be back working and running around and just excited to be here.
Q: Do you like the way the defensive end position has shaped up this offseason?
RN: Yeah, we have a bunch of really talented guys. I love Trey [Flowers], Geneo [Grissom]. I think those guys have a bright future. Again, I think that we're all working and we're going to get better. It's a really athletic, bright – the future for those guys is bright. So, again the sky is the limit. We just have to continue to work hard and learn and get ready here for training camp.
Q: Do you ever give thought to what it would mean to you to finish your career here as a Patriot?
RN: Well, right now I'm not thinking about the end. I'm just continuing to try and help the team win and contribute any way I can. I'm not thinking about the finish line right now, so I'm just trying to work on myself and show these young guys that an old guy can still run and do all the things that you need to do, right?
Q: Once you've had some time to recuperate in the offseason do you get the itch to get back to work and start preparing for this season?
RN: Well, I've been lucky enough to come out for multiple seasons here feeling really good and not having anything that's been bothering me. So, really I take a couple of weeks and then just get right back into it because if you can stay on top of it and continue to work out then there's not a big drop off in how your feeling. So, for me I take a couple of weeks off and then just start lifting and running again just so I stay in shape all the time. That's the easiest way to do it, right? Stay in shape all the time.
Q: Do you plan on playing as long as the quarterback [Tom Brady] continues to play?
RN: I'm going to play. I'm just going to continue to make plays and be consistent. I think that's really what it's all about. It comes down to being consistent, staying on the field, and helping your team win and getting to the quarterback. That's the fun part.
Q: Did you think you would last this long in the league after your first three years?
RN: Well, I knew I was pretty good. I just needed the opportunity and again, I'm thankful that I was given the opportunity and from that point on it's up to you to make the best of it. So, from the first time I got here until whenever it ends I'm just going to continue to work hard and enjoy the moment because I know I can't do it forever. I enjoy it, I really do. I enjoy the game.
Q: What are your thoughts on Kevin Faulk being inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame?
RN: Unbelievable player. I was blessed with a couple of years with Kevin and [he's] just a true professional, everything he did. The way that he worked; I think that's what really sets people apart is work ethic.
Q: What can you say about your consecutive games played streak?
RN: What is that? I don't know what you're talking about.
Q: Do you take pride in your ability to always be available on the field for the team?
RN: Again, like I said before, I like knowing that I can continue to contribute and help the team. I do understand the business aspect of the game, so that's exactly what I have to do. I have to help the team, contribute to win, and if I can continue to do that I'll stay on the field. Other than that, I think that there's a little bit of luck involved with that because the first three years I couldn't stay on the field. Like I said, I really feel blessed being able to play as long as I have, especially since I arrived here and – knock on wood – have been able to stay healthy. Let's not talk about that. Let's just continue to work hard and again, I feel really good right now and just look forward to year 11.
Q: Had you met Chris Long before his arrival here?
RN: No, I had not. Chris, when he signed I reached out to him. I just said, 'Hey man, welcome.' Since then we've kind of hit it off. He's a great guy and again, [I'm] embracing the relationships that I've been able to build.
Q: How does that friendship build?
RN: He's a year younger than me so again, [we're both] just high-motor guys but he's definitely been great so far. It's fun when you can learn from other guys, other pros. He's been doing it a long time as well and he's happy to be here so we're happy to have him.