New England Patriots offensive lineman Matt Light addresses the media during his conference call on Wednesday, October 8, 2008.
Q: Do you feel the rivalry between the New England Patriots and San Diego Chargers has grown over the past few years and is it the same feel of facing the Indianapolis Colts where you guys play them every year?
ML: Yeah, I think there has been a lot said over the matchups we have had over the last four years. We definitely have familiarity with them. It does feel like a Colts-type game where we end up playing each other every year.
Q: Are they doing anything differently without linebacker Shawne Merriman?
ML: No, it is pretty much a lot of the same stuff - a lot of pressure, a lot of edge pressure, a lot of guys in and out of the line of scrimmage and a lot of movement. I don't really think from what we have seen on film that they have changed the way they approach each game.
Q: Did they flip sides with their outside linebackers? Is linebacker Shaun Phillips playing on the side that linebacker Shawne Merriman would have been playing?
ML: Yeah, I think Shaun [Phillips] is going to be over on the strength side where that was kind of [Shawne] Merriman's role in the past. I think you are going to see guys like [Marques] Harris and Jyles [Tucker] on the backside of that. They are pretty much playing the same spots they always have.
Q: What is your background with San Diego Chargers center Nick Hardwick? Were you guys teammates at Purdue?
ML: [Nick] Hardwick came in after I had left. I believe he was actually a walk on at one point. [Shaun] Phillips played together for a couple of years. He was a young guy in the system when I graduated. We definitely have some background there. We have had some fun over the years. When he was at Purdue he met guys like Rosevelt Colvin that he modeled his game after in his early years. I kind of see a little bit of that style with the way he plays. Again, he was a younger guy when I was there. We had some good battles in college and it has been good facing him against San Diego [Chargers].
Q: How different has this week been with you guys staying in California?
ML: It's been different. Today went pretty much like it always does outside from having to travel and going over to San Jose State. It's pretty much been a straight up work week for us. If anything it gives us a little bit more time to go over things like film or studying because we are all staying in one area. It kind of makes it easier for us to work on some of these things that otherwise might have taken a little bit more time. We are definitely going to learn a lot about these guys [Chargers] in a short period here.
Q: Is there more of a team-building aspect to staying on the road as opposed to be being back home?
ML: Yeah, I think it is just what we needed to do for this type of a week with playing two West Coast games. I think it does give you a little bit more time together. You are away from your family and away from a lot of distractions you have at home. Your sole focus and sole purpose for being here is to go down a play a great game this weekend and prepare yourself. This is a big challenge for us this week. Two road games like this are going to take a lot out of us. We are going to need to be as focused as we can be. I think it is going to end up being a situation where we are going to get more studying, film and work on the little things. Hopefully get those things figured out here and have a good week of preparation.
Q: Last year Chargers center Nick Hardwick had some harsh words for Patriots defensive lineman Richard Seymour. He basically said Richard was a 'dirty player.' Knowing both guys, did you have any reaction to Hardwick's remarks?
ML: I don't know anything about that aspect. I don't watch that side of the game. Richard [Seymour] would probably be the person to ask that question. They have more of an intimate relationship when it comes to playing against each other. You know how it goes. It was a touch game and a tough situation to be in. We have been there. He might have just meant physically dirty. You know how you get in those games.
Q: So it was a compliment?
ML: Yeah, working hard and getting a little dirt on ya...
Q: You are such an optimist...
ML: You have to look at the bright side, right?