Q: What do you see differently from this New England defense with the addition of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner than what you've seen the past couple years?
JF: Obviously, our team is different, their team is different, but I think [defensive coordinator] Matt [Patricia] and [head coach] Bill [Belichick] and the defensive staff there have done a great job of adopting the 'next man up' philosophy. They've lost some very important cogs, and guys have plugged in and done a tremendous job. They're eliminating explosive plays. Obviously, Browner and Revis have gotten acclimated to the defense, and I thought they played very well in the last couple outings that they've been out there and you see them improving with each play.
Q: Tom Brady has been on a hot streak this month. What do you see him doing differently?
JF: Again, it's never just one guy. This is a team game. There are a lot of moving parts to offense, defense and the kicking game for that matter. These teams change a lot year to year. You've got new pieces to the puzzle. It doesn't surprise me whatsoever. These are the ultimate team games, and I think they're just getting way, way better as a team. I can't speak to it as well as you guys can and obviously people in the Patriots organization, but I've seen great growth, and that's the secret to this thing is to just keep improving as the season wears on.
Q: There is a large sample size of teams losing the Super Bowl and then missing the playoffs the following year. One of those teams was your Carolina team in 2003. To what do you attribute this team's success thus far in avoiding that hangover?
JF: Really, when you get down to it, the previous season really means nothing. It's one thing cool about this league – and no different with the 2014 season – everybody starts 0-0, and you've got a clean slate. It's just a matter of attacking the new situation. I liken it to when you're driving a car, you have a rearview mirror, but you don't want to spend all your time looking in that, because then you're not looking out the windshield and you crash. I think we're looking through the windshield and obviously learning from things in our past but just trying to learn and grow and get better from all those experiences.
Q: I'm going to try that again. When your team didn't make the playoffs after losing in the Super Bowl to the Patriots 10 years ago, what lesson did you learn from that that you can apply to this team going forward in this season?
JF: Really, I think I kind of already answered it. Really, it doesn't mean anything, whether it was in Carolina in the season following the 2003 season with the 2004 Super Bowl, I don't think it had much to do with it. I think we were back in the championship game in 2005 a year later than that. So, really, they don't have much to do with it. I think you coach, you gain experience, and all those have been something that you lean on, whether it was in Carolina or now here with the Broncos.
Q: Tom Brady talked about Peyton Manning's toughness and durability, and then Peyton returned favor in regards to Tom's ability to always be there. Is toughness a trait that gets overlooked in quarterbacks?
JF: I think really to play in the National Football League, you've got to be tough. It's a tough way to earn a living. A lot is made of different stuff, but in my opinion, they earn every penny. I look back to when Tom was lost early in one season with a knee injury. It's hard to go through an ACL – all the rehab, all the stuff you've got to do – and I'm sure that's what Tom is alluding to. With Peyton missing a year and having been through it himself, these guys all … It's grueling work to come back off of a season-ending injury, and I think the same could be said of Tom Brady for sure.
Q:** What's the most significant thing you've learned about DeMarcus Ware?
JF: I think, obviously, he's been a very productive player in this league. Much like when you acquire guys like Peyton or Wes [Welker] or DeMarcus, you see firsthand what they mean to your locker room – the leadership and the type of people you want young NFL players emulating. We just had another guy here, Champ Bailey, decide to retire. I've spoken on his account a couple times in the last couple days. It's not every day you get to cross paths with great players like that. He's definitely in that category.
Q: Has your snap count for him been what you expected, or has that been altered as the season has progressed? Are you playing him more than you thought you would?
JF: Again, when you get a new player, whether it's a young one or a veteran guy, you learn about them, they learn about you. This is all about relationships – how they respond, what they respond to, and in some cases it may be number of reps. There are a lot of variables that go into it. I've been very pleased with what he's brought to our team. He was voted a captain as a first-year player, and he's been a tremendous addition.
Q: What have Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward meant to your secondary?
JF: They've brought more team speed, something that we looked at and tried to infuse some team speed and particularly on defense. I've been very pleased with their progress. Again, we're still a work in progress. With each outing and each practice, our team mantra here is to improve.
Q: What would it mean to win this game here in Foxborough?
JF: We've got to execute and play well. I think we haven't fared very well. I think it's been since 2006 that we've won in Foxborough, and they do have the longest home-winning streak in the NFL right now at 13 games, so it's obviously a huge challenge and one we're excited about.
Q: How important are in-game adjustments when you see teams going on very fast runs? A lot of these games between the Broncos and Patriots have been marked by large leads that have been erased.
JF: You've got two pretty high-powered offenses to start with, pretty much, with two of the best field generals in the game today and over the last more than a decade. I think that has a lot to do with it. Obviously, turnovers are a huge part. Right now, the Patriots lead the National Football League in turnover margin at plus-11, and I know [in] our four contests there of late, we're minus-seven. So, obviously the turnover battle is a huge component. Regardless of how you gain points or erase leads, [turnovers] will usually have a huge factor in that.
Q: What are the advantages of having a guy like Aqib Talib stay on one side of the field rather than having him follow one assignment for the entire game?
JF: This game is about matchups. Sometimes people elect to match people up. Sometimes they stay where they're more comfortable. I'm not going to get into what we're going to do, but those are a couple options that any team in the league has.
Q: Do you think he's capable of covering, I don't know, say a 6-6, 265-pound tight end?
JF: Again, that's why you play the game. That's what makes this thing tick. He's capable of a lot of things – what exactly I won't get into.
Q: I'll look for it on Sunday.
Q: You mentioned Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner and their ability to limit big plays. I'm wondering from what you've seen this year, how has Devin McCourty affected the Patriots' ability to limit big plays?
JF: They're going to be in your face. They put their corners on your guys and challenge them. They mix up whether they're single-high or split safety, and they do a great job of disguising that. Bill [Belichick] has been doing this – and Matt [Patricia] – for some time, and they've got good people doing it. You go out and get a guy like Browner, a very veteran guy. Obviously, Revis [is a] very, very, very capable guy. There are some young guys that are doing a good job. The safeties are tackling well. They've done a great job of eliminating explosive plays, and we know it's going to be a huge challenge.
Q: You mentioned Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward and their speed. Was that a result of losing to Seattle in the Super Bowl and seeing the kind of speed they had that led you to go out and try to get faster?
JF: I don't know. This isn't my first rodeo. This is about a quarter century for me in the NFL. There has always been, I don't know, a market for team speed. We just every year, like most teams in the league, try to improve your roster, improve your football team. I think that's a challenge every year.