(On what winning the Divisional playoff game meant to him personally)
"It meant a lot. It's always been the goal to get out there and win [games]. So it means a lot."
(On how he has developed this year as a professional on and off the field)
"I just try to do what I can to be better every day. I just take it day-by-day."
(On whether he had that mindset before he got to the Patriots or he developed it since he's been here)
"No, I think it's something I developed, just because you have to be a professional. It's something I'm trying to work on every day."
(On whether he finds it easier to just focus on the job at hand now that he's in his second year)
"Yeah that's the biggest thing. I don't worry about anything else. When I'm in the locker room, I'm in the locker room. When I'm off the field, I'm off the field. I've just got to keep my mind on one thing at a time. When I'm on the field, I'm on the field."
(On whether it felt any different without Tom Brady on the field today)
"You've probably got to talk to Coach Bill [Belichick] about that."
(On whether there is a different mindset in the locker room because the team is going to Denver as the underdog)
"I wouldn't say [we have] a different mindset. I mean, our biggest thing is we want to win, and that's what we're going to try to do."
(On the assumption that his technique has improved this year and what he would attribute that too)
"I would attribute it to my DBs. Aqib [Talib] taught me a lot. I've got Devin McCourty behind me, Steve Gregory, and my D-line. Every time they put pressure on the quarterback and make him do a quick decision, hopefully I can make a play on the ball."
(On what it's like playing in Denver with the higher altitude)
"I'm not too worried about it. I think it has an effect if you're there for a longer time. I'm no scientist by any means, but I've played there before and it didn't affect me."
(On him being prepared for the higher altitude)
"I'm prepared for it, yeah."
(On the progression of the running game the last few weeks)
"Yeah, it starts with the offensive line. Definitely Logan [Mankins], everyone looks to him as kind of an enforcer and it kind of just trickles down throughout the line and tight ends to Tom [Brady], to the backs – even the wide receivers doing a great job getting their guys and force guys. It's been a total team effort, and we've got to keep it going."
(On what running back LeGarrette Blount has meant to the team)
"Yeah, I mean he's been terrific the last couple of weeks. We've always seen it in practice – the power and the mix of speed. People underestimate that about him. I think they're not doing that so much anymore. He's just done a great job for us the last couple of weeks like I said, and hopefully he can keep that going."
(On the strength of the Broncos defense)
"All around. I mean definitely their front has had a mix of guys in and out of there, but total team defense on third down, situational, red area. We have to be great in every facet of the game. You don't get to this round of the playoffs by being a joke team, so they're good and we'll have to be ready to go."
(On playing a road playoff game and whether the crowd is a factor)
"We had some noise out there today, so we're getting prepared for it. We can't worry about all that stuff. We've played in loud environments before and we're just going to have to worry about what we're doing and be on our best."
(On cornerback Marquice Cole signing with the Denver Broncos this week)
"I really didn't think too much about it. That might actually be the first time I heard it actually. I mean, teams sign guys all the time and it really has no bearing on what we need to do in order to win a football game."
(On the challenges a secondary faces when one player goes down)
"I think it starts with practice. I mean, we do a good job of moving all of our guys around and having them have some experience at all the different positions in the secondary; being able to move and play different positions and having that versatility. Then after that it's the guys, you know, maybe the backups being able to step up, understand their role and understand what they need to do within the scheme of the defense and go out and play well. All of our guys have done that well this year."
(On how Julius Thomas makes the Broncos offense different from when the teams last met)
"Well he's a dynamic football player and they move him around and put him in a lot of different positions. He can create mismatches, he's big, he's physical, he's fast, he runs good routes, he has hands. He can block in the run game, so it's not like when he's in there it's only a pass. He can do multiple things at a high level. But their offense, if you look at them across the board all their receivers, Wes [Welker] in the slot, their running backs – they're very balanced. Every single one of those guys are playmakers. Peyton [Manning] spreads the ball out to all of them, so he makes it tough on you to narrow down exactly where he's going to go, because he can go to any one of those guys and every single one of those guys have the ability to beat you on any play."
(On what it says about a receiving corps when at times Wes Welker is the fourth option)
"Yeah, it's impressive. You know, [Eric] Decker, Thomas – the two Thomases [Julius and Demaryius] – and then Wes. We know what Wes is. Wes is a great receiver. He does a heck of a job in the slot and they have spots they move him around to. So, we're going to have to be on top of our A game. We're going to have to narrow down our game plan this week and put in a good week of practice and play fundamentally sound, tackle well, do all those things that it takes to beat a great team in the Denver Broncos."
(On whether they have to play a disguise game with Peyton Manning, or whether they accept that he knows what they're going to do because he's faced them so many times)
"If you try to get into that too much, sometimes you can hurt yourself. I think our biggest thing is to go out and play fundamentally sound – getting on top of the receivers, playing a sound football game, tackling well, not giving up big plays. All those things that – you know trying to create turnovers – all the things that you need to do to [have] a winning formula to win a football game, especially this time of year against a team like the Broncos."
(On preparing for the Broncos dynamic offense)
"Well, you know just the same old daily routine: just preparation, practice, simple stuff."
(On whether he had been waiting for his turn to play all season and how it felt Saturday when he got that chance)
"It felt good. All you have to do is just wait and when your number is called just go out there and perform."
(On whether the magnitude of this game has hit him)
"No. It's [like] any other game."
(On whether he feels like he has to do a lot of homework on Peyton Manning because he didn't play much against him in November)
"Well, yeah - just preparation. Just do whatever you can, and hopefully everything will turn out right."
(On him covering Wes Welker a little bit in that game and what challenges that presents)
"It's just the same. Just going out there, like I said, preparation and doing the same thing, whatever it is."
WIDE RECEIVER JULIAN EDELMAN
(on whether it was unsettling to not see Tom Brady at practice)
"I mean it's your guy. When he's not out there, of course it's a little different. But Ryan [Mallett] came in and he ran the offense. And more importantly, I was just kind of worrying about what I had to do to get my assignments and get my work in. I'm sure other guys were thinking the same thing. Everyone is just trying to go out there and do their job."
(On how confident he is that Brady will play Sunday)
"You know, I'm not a trainer, nor am I a doctor, so you'd have to ask him."
(On how Brady is feeling)
"I haven't talked to him, so I don't know."
(On how satisfying it's been to replace Wes Welker's productivity)
"To be truthful, we haven't really thought of that. That's kind of been the media's thing. We're more worried on what we have to do, especially as an individual. What I have to do to prepare for the team we're about to play, along with what I have to do to help the unit. So I'm not really thinking about that."
(On whether they envisioned being able to replace that productivity at the beginning of the season)
"That was so far back. This is the AFC Championship Game. We're not really thinking about that."
(On whether Denver's secondary looks much different than the last time they faced them)
"Champ [Bailey] didn't play. [Chris] Harris is out. So there are definitely some differences in personnel, but you know they're going to have a good scheme. They're going to spin the dial. It's the AFC Championship, so you know they're going to pull everything they have. So we're just going to have to be prepared for everything and know what you have to do on each and every one of your assignments for the variable of change. That's what we're going to do these next couple days in these preparation days and try to take advantage of those days."
(On whether Brady's experience mitigates the effect of missing a practice)
"I don't know. I'm not him, so I don't know what his routine is. Personally, I'm just kind of more worried about what I have to do. I'm sure Tom will do what he has to do. I'm sure everyone else is just worrying about what we have to do as a unit. That will take care of itself. Hopefully he's back soon rather than later. If not, you just have to worry about what you have to do."
DEFENSIVE TACKLE SEALVER SILIGA
(On the dynamic with good friend and teammate Isaac Sopoaga)
"It's been big. Isaac has really helped me out. On the sidelines, he really helps me out. He tells me, 'Hey Sealver, when they come do this, you're going down too much, you're letting them push you too much. So he's been a big help to me because he's put a lot of wisdom in me, helping me out while I'm out there, so it's been big."
(On whether he considers the first game against the Broncos or just their most recent games)
"I just look at it as it's going to come down to our D-line versus their O-line. Really, whoever plays the most physical game is really going to make an impact on the game."
(On whether he saw anything in film of the first matchup that he would approach differently)
"I actually know their O line because I was over there, so it's not going to be anything new for me, because I've practiced against them and I've done stuff against them. It's something that I've already know. I feel comfortable going over there."
(On how good the Broncos' offensive line is)
"Oh, they're real good. I mean, they're a real good O-line. They're good at pass blocking and run blocking, so we'll have to bring our A game against them."
(On playing a team he played for)
"I'm excited. I'm excited. But you know, I just have to do my job and just keep going. It's big for me, but at the end of the day, I have to control my emotions and just play ball one play at a time."
(On his experience with the altitude when he played in Denver and how it can affect players)
"I mean, we're all in shape. Right now, it's just a mental aspect. We're all in shape; it's not like we're going to go over there and be out of shape. It may be a little bit harder, but it's not going to be too hard to where it's going to affect our play."
(On whether it's an advantage for him to know the Broncos)
"Yeah, just because there aren't going to be any jitter bugs, just because I played against these guys, I went against every single one of them. It will be a good matchup."
(On whether it will be strange to go out the Denver field in another uniform)
"Definitely. Definitely, But you know, I'm happy to be where I'm at and I'm excited to be a Patriot."
(On what he's tried to bring to the Patriots)
"Just trying to do my job and not try to do anything else. If I'm supposed to hold the B gap, just to hold the B gap. If I'm supposed to hold the A gap, I'll hold the A gap. It's just doing my job."
(On the progression of Jamie Collins)
"Yeah, definitely man. He made all kinds of one-handed interceptions and crazy, athletic plays in practice, man, where you knew it was just a matter of time before he got comfortable in the game, comfortable enough for him to start making plays like that."
(On if he's been impressed by the play of Logan Ryan as well)
"Definitely man, both of them. You could see their early flashes in training camp, early practices and stuff like that, but they get in the game later on in the season, get comfortable in practice, then you can get in the game and you get comfortable in the game, and you see what kinds of players they are."
(On if facing Peyton Manning is like a chess match)
"It's definitely a chess match. He hard counts to try to get you to move, see what you're in, and as a defense, you've just got to not show him what you're in. You've got to do a great job of disguising, or just not giving him a good idea on what you're going to run that snap."
(On if he's ever able to jump a route against Manning)
"I don't know. I played him – that was my first time playing him when we played them earlier in the season. I just read my keys and play football, man. I just play regular, man. I [didn't] try to do nothing extraordinary because I was playing Peyton Manning. Just read my keys and played regular."
(On how important Wednesday's practice is to set the tone for the rest of the week)
"It's a big day. Wednesday is always a big day, especially in a week like this. You get the bulk of the game plan, and you've got to go outside and kind of set the tempo for the week, so it's the most important day."
(On if it's more challenging for a player to catch up if he misses a Wednesday practice)
"I don't know. I can't answer that, man. I've never missed a Wednesday, so I wouldn't know."
(On what it was like not having Tom Brady at practice today)
"I didn't really have to be concerned with it, man. [Ryan] Mallett was our Peyton Manning, so that's all we [were] worried about."
(On LeGarrette Blount's 'overnight success')
"You call it overnight success, but I've seen him in my first year in Tampa and have 1,000 yards, and the next year have close to 1,000 yards, and then go to no carries when [Head Coach Greg] Schiano got there. So I've seen his success, man. I've seen what he can do, so it doesn't surprise me."
(On his reaction to his sudden popularity)
"It's just – it's nice to know that people like me out here. It's nice to know that they're enjoying the wins that we're getting and the success that our team's having."
(On having his own 'Blount Force Trauma' t-shirt and where that idea came from)
"That actually started before the season. I got with this company called Athletes Original, and we got my clothing line started. It's amazing. I see a lot of people with [the t-shirt], I've seen athletes with it, I've seen – everybody in my family has one and I wear them from time to time, so it's amazing, and I'm just loving it."
(On how it feels to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and if he ever thought that would happen)
"Nah, I haven't been worried about Sports Illustrated at all. I haven't even seen the official book, but I've gotten a lot of pictures from it. I've gotten a lot of text messages of pictures of the Sports Illustrated cover though."
(On if he's worried the cover may jinx him)
"Nah, I don't believe in jinxes."
(On what the last few weeks have been like and whether he feels the offense is on a 'hot streak')
"The offense is definitely clicking. Yeah, we've been getting hot at the right time of the year. This is the time that we need to get hot, this is the time that we need to stay hot, and with me, Stevan [Ridley], with [Shane] Vereen and with [Brandon] Bolden, all of us are productive backs. We bring something different to the table, and I feel like they're just trying to get the ball in our hands a little more."
(On what it's been like to come here and get the opportunity to show what he has)
"It's been good. It's been fun. I've just been working my butt off since I got here to get the opportunities that I have. I've just been doing everything I can to come out here and show them what kind of player I am, and they gave me the opportunity to show them, and I've been getting more opportunities as the season has been going along."
(On today's practice)
"It was good. It was productive. We've just been doing – we've seen film, and know we've been going out there and trying to do everything we can to exploit the weaknesses and the flaws of their defense."
(On if it was different not having Tom Brady at practice today)
"Nah. There's nothing any different. We're going to go out there and operate if Tom's there or not. Ryan [Mallett] knows just about everything Tom knows, I'm pretty sure, and he went out there and executed the practice the same as Tom would."
(On the contributions that the tight ends have made in the running game)
"They get just as much credit as the offensive line, and I've told everybody before, I feel like that entire offensive line should be in the Pro Bowl, and our tight ends should definitely be there as well, because they've done a tremendous job all season opening up these holes for us. That's one of the huge reasons why we get those big runs."
(On when he knew he was getting first-team reps today)
(On if he has any explanation)
"You'll have to ask coach. I'm just doing what I'm told, doing my job."
(On what it was like being out there today)
"It was fun. It was a lot of fun. I like getting to play in our offense."
(On if it's more fun being Peyton Manning or Tom Brady in practice)
"I like both of them, really. Everybody gets to throw it."
(On if his focus changes when he starts getting first-team reps in practice)
"Even when I'm not taking the snaps with the first team, I'm watching and playing the game in my head so I can get my reps in case something happens and I do go in the game."
(On if there was an emphasis today on doing some cadences to simulate Peyton Manning)
"Yeah, right. Peyton does a lot of different stuff, and we try to do our best to emulate that and help our defense get a good luck."
(On if he talked to Tom Brady this morning and has any idea how he's doing)
"Yeah, I talked to Tom this morning. I mean, that's above my pay grade."
(On if he plays a game of cat and mouse with the defense to help them prepare when he's the scout team quarterback)
"Definitely. I always try to keep them honest anyway, even if I'm not Peyton. I try to keep them on their toes and not let them get lulled to sleep over there."
(On what thing he tries to do best when mimicking Peyton Manning in practice)
"Just all the little things. All the things you see them do on film, the checks he might make if he sees a certain coverage, and I try to get as close to what I think he would do as possible.
(On if he's tried using Manning's hard count)
"I've tried everything. It's the AFC Championship Game. No stone unturned."