Q:** You guys are coming off a loss. What do you need to do to bounce back from that?
MT: We started on Monday. We reviewed the game and got started on the Patriots. Today we had a great start. Guys were all in, had a good work day and we're back at it.
Q: How do you feel about what took place Sunday in the locker room postgame? It's been reported that things got very emotional.
MT: I've been in NFL locker rooms for 20 years. To me there was nothing there that was at all out of the ordinary or unique, in my opinion. Players moved on today. That's really it. That's really all there is.
Q:** The Patriots are known as a game-plan team. How different is it preparing for New England and trying to figure out what they do on both sides of the ball in comparison to other teams?
MT: I don't know. I don't know that, that answer deals with a competitive advantage. I could just tell you that like every team in the league they're incredibly sound in all three phases. Their techniques and fundamentals are excellent. They do a tremendous job of taking care of the football offensively. They've been outstanding taking it away and because of that they're standing at the top of their division. We have a lot of respect for that.
Q: Is there something about playing on the road that your guys are good at?
MT: I really don't – we prepare for every game the same way. We practice hard, like most teams do in the National Football League. Our guys pay attention to detail and we focus in and we know what we need to do better. We have to take care of the football. When we do, we're in position to win – and we get takeaways – just like the Patriots were in position at the end of the game to win. When we've gone into San Francisco and gone into New York and gone into Atlanta, when we've taken care of the football and found a way to knock it out, we've been right there at the end of the game. That's put ourselves in a position to win. You look at the Patriots, that's what they do. They're an excellent, very, very sound tackling team, very, very sound at taking care of the football. They've done a tremendous job of not only taking it away – the interception side, but the fumbles as well – and that usually makes a difference. Certainly they're a great finishing team. When we won, that's what we did.
Q:** You've worked with some legendary quarterbacks over the years. What kind of improvements and what areas have you seen Jay Cutler improve since you've been there? MT:
I think the number one thing we have to do is you can see where he's improved in terms of his completion percentage. We're throwing the football recently well. What we haven't done is, we haven't done a good job collectively as an offense, starting with me, in terms of putting ourselves in a position in our losses to take care of the ball. I've got to do a better job with that; our football team does. I think with that will come an ascension to another level, you know. Jay is great in adversity. He's a very, very tough guy. He's very smart. He has a very good understanding of our offense, it continues to get better and grow. Collectively as an offense that's what we have to do. When we do that, I think we'll even see growth in Jay. But I'm not saying we're on track. I'm saying we certainly have seen signs that he can play very, very well. We saw it in Atlanta. That's kind of the standard that we're looking for.
Q: You've got a local guy on your team Al Louis-Jean. Could you speak about the progress you've seen in his game? MT:
Yeah, we're excited about Al. He's a smart young man; just turned 21 last week so there's a lot of room there. He's been working, we're working hard to develop him and to work with him. He's a long guy. He's got long arms. He doesn't have [Brandon] Browner's length but he has length. He continues to get better. We're excited about having him with us.
Q: Did you see a young man who was pretty rusty when you got him? He only played a couple years at Boston College – did that show? What intrigued you about him?
MT: We just saw the athleticism, the speed and his length. He did improve on a daily basis when we had him early in the OTAs and the minicamp. We're just looking forward to watching him grow and get better. As I said, he just turned 21 years old so there's certainly a lot of room there to develop him physically and mentally and even emotionally as a young player.
Q: What kind of challenge does a guy like Shane Vereen present for you guys?
MT: Well, because he can, he's such a versatile back. He not only can run it, but he's a tremendous receiver out of the backfield. He's a threat and he does a good job of pass protection. He's a guy that you can tell that Tom [Brady] is very comfortable with in the backfield in terms of not just running the football, but obviously in the passing game as well as another target.
Q: What's the scouting report on his brother Brock?
MT: I don't want to give you too much. He's certainly got good genes, no doubt about it. Brock is a highly intelligent guy; great work ethic. We continue to develop him too as he gets to play a little bit more. He's been a significant factor in some of our games. Even though he didn't start, he came in and had to play due to injury and did an excellent job. He's getting more reps and we feel good about having him on our team. He's a good young man, a good young player.
Q: You've mentioned the giveaways a few times already. How frustrating is it for a head coach to see the amount of turnovers that you've had?
MT: It's frustrating. It's frustrating because we don't practice that way. We work very hard at ball security. Certainly with any team it's going to be a priority. It's not just a priority with us. When it doesn't happen, it just makes everything more difficult when you turn the ball over. It makes everything much easier when you take care of it and you're able to take it away and certainly that's what the Patriots are feeling right now. They've mixed a lot of what they're doing. The one thing that they do exceptionally, exceptionally – they do a lot of lot of things well, but they're sitting where they are, like most teams are when they have that kind of record, because they're high in the plus area almost halfway through the season.
Q: When you're working with a quarterback, what is the balance you have to find when he has supreme confidence that he can make any throw between making the right throw as opposed to sometimes taking a risk and risking ball security?
MT: Yeah, certainly it comes through practice and repetition and discussion and conversation. You can see the numbers where Jay is with his rating, where Jay is with his completion percentage. There's a lot of movement in the right direction. The change and the improvement is certainly not over. We're continuing to work on that, he is. What people need to know about Jay is he's tremendously invested in this football team. He's highly intelligent. His work ethic is second to none in the organization, like it is with most quarterbacks. We're just looking to push to the next level.
Q: What strikes you about Tom Brady all these years?
MT: What can I say that hasn't been said? The hyper-competitive, just talented, at times just incredibly brilliant, so much of his career. When you're on the field with somebody like that, it's just a privilege to be in the league and to be out there competing against him. He's certainly one of the best and has been one of the best for a long time.
Q: What has it meant to have Robbie Gould at what's often a tenuous position?
MT: Robbie has been extremely consistent for us. He's also shown great leadership this year and over the last 18 months. He's done more than just kick for us. He's been a mentor to a lot of our young players. He's got a great rapport with him. They look up to him. He's a good, good, sound advisor and mentor to a lot of the things. He's been more than just a kicker around here. He's been certainly a strong part of the leadership in our locker room.
Q: Your time in the Canadian Football League coincided with Brandon Browner. What do you remember about him there? The way the CFL plays, is there anything that would have helped develop his game?
MT: The fact that teams can run to the line of scrimmage had to help his game and the fact that defensive players, even when they're in bump-and-run have to be a yard off the ball. So, there's quite a big difference there in terms of the bump-and-run technique. It's much more difficult to play bump-and-run in the CFL because you don't have to have a stationary receiver. You can have a receiver who can run vertically at you. That's not easy to do. That's a whole different kind of technique. When Brandon can line up and play bump-and-run without having to adjust to that and play tighter certainly is an advantage with his size and length. But he was an extremely hard playing player. I remember him not only as a very good corner obviously but also a special teams player. He did a very good job on special teams as well, played hard.
Q: Did your CFL experience shape your philosophy?
MT: When we went up there not knowing the league at all, I just basically took the offensive playbook that I used as a coordinator in the league for years and we just threw it on the table, added a guy, added more motions because you could do that – multiple motions. We really played on a 53-yard field, even though it was 65 yards wide. We were playing with 12 guys but actually you can't ask a quarterback to finish his progression to the sixth guy so to speak. So we just developed an offense that really was just kind of a bridge from the NFL to the CFL. What I learned there was more just about managing the team and dealing with salary caps and things like that.
Q: What are your thoughts on what Brandon Marshall has meant to the team this year?
MT: Brandon, he's really obviously not only one of the faces of our team, but one of our team leaders. That was clear after the Carolina game, Brandon was a pivotal part in leading the way and getting us back on track against Atlanta. He's a vocal leader, he's a passionate leader and all that being said, he came out today and was one of the hardest working players on the field, which was not unexpected because that's the way he's been.