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Patriots Conference Call Transcripts 9/6

PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK JIMMY GAROPPOLO

Q: What is it like for you to get to play in a game like this on national television for your first NFL start?

JG: It's exciting, it really is. It's a great opportunity. The team is real excited. We have to have a good week of practice. We've been working real hard and we'll see what happens on Sunday, but we're excited about it. 

Q: What have you been able to learn from Tom Brady?

JG: He has done a lot of little things to help me, whether it be on the field or off the field. You spend so much time with the guy that you pick up little things that he does that you find helpful, and you put it towards your own game. Whether it's dealing with the media, dealing with the fans, he's been really helpful whatever it may be.   

Q: Other quarterbacks have recalled their first starts and said it wasn't as much about the pressure as it was about their excitement to get on the field. Is that how you look at it?

JG: Yeah, it's a little different being the backup the last two years. You want to be out there with your guys. We're all competitors at the end of the day and when you get your opportunity, you've got to take advantage of it. It's not really pressure, it's really excitement. 

Q: What do you have to do to be able to handle the Cardinals defense?

JG: We just have to communicate well. Whatever it may be - in the huddle, at the line of scrimmage, we just have to go out there, do our jobs, and everything will take care of itself. We have to have 11 guys on the same page.  

Q: When Coach Bill Belichick devised his game plan for this week, how instrumental were you in offering some of your thoughts on what it is you'd like to do more or less of?

JG: Here and there - there's a time and place for that. Our coaching staff does a phenomenal job, I think, of putting us in good situations. Putting our guys in situations where they have a chance to succeed. That's their job and they do a great job at it, so you just have to have faith in the coaching staff at times.  

Q: What's it like to show up to a quarterback meeting or practice and having Tom Brady not be there?

JG: It's pretty similar to when he is there. We go about our business. Now it's just me and Jacoby [Brissett] in there with Coach [Bill Belichick] and Coach [Josh] McDaniels and everything, so it's a productive room, I'll put it that way. We get a lot done in a very short amount of time. 

Q: How do you feel now that Chandler Jones will be on the other side?

JG: I have complete faith in our offensive line. Those guys have been playing very well this training camp, preseason, whatever it may be, and I have complete faith in those guys. We're going into the game with a lot of confidence and we'll see what happens.

Q: With the addition of Martellus Bennett and a healthy Rob Gronkowski, what does that do to your offense?

JG: It's very helpful. It allows us to do a lot of different things and those two guys, when they're out there together, are dangerous. We'll be good.  

Q: Has this experience been a little bit surreal, stepping into the role you're stepping into?

JG: I wouldn't say surreal, it's exciting. It's a great opportunity and you don't get many of those, so you have to take advantage of those when you do.   

Q: What was some of the advice Tom Brady shared with you?  

JG: A big part of it was how to deal with the media. That was a big part of it, but just little things here and there that he would help me with, whether it be in the film room with our teammates, or in walk-throughs even, he's always sharing information with me. He's been very helpful throughout the whole process and I thank him for that. 

Q: What did Tom Brady tell you about dealing with the media?

JG: No, we've joked about it a little bit. It's kind of an inside thing I guess. 

PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK

Q:  What are your thoughts on Larry Fitzgerald and the career he has put together?

BB: Hall of Fame career, great career. Just does everything well; great competitor, blocks, makes big catches, very consistent, unbelievable hands, big plays in the red area, scores touchdowns, unselfish player. I think he is a Hall of Fame receiver. One of the best that has played the game over this past period of time that he has been in the league.

Q: What did D.J. Foster show you in order to make the team?

BB: Well, we kept the players on the team that we felt like are best for our team, both long and short term. He's obviously a young player that we hope can continue to improve with hard work and attention to detail, so we'll see how it goes.

Q: How have Jonathan Cooper and Cyrus Jones, two players directly and indirectly involved in the Chandler Jones trade, done for you since arriving with your team?

BB: Well, Jonathan missed a little bit of time. He had a good spring for us and was having a fine training camp for us. He had a little bit of a setback so he's working his way back. Cyrus has come in and played defensive back and returned punts for us. I think he'll help us.

Q: The Cardinals tend to use Deone Bucannon as sort of a hybrid linebacker. Is that a new trend in the NFL lately or are there guys that come to mind in the past that have performed that role?

BB: Well, I think that throughout the league as the game has become more of a multiple receiver/nickel league, where that's really been predominantly the base defense for every team, or the defense that's played the highest percentage of time for every team, that's kind of changed the way that teams comprise their roster and set their draft board and so forth. I thought it was a good move by Arizona to kind of be out ahead of that and what they've done with Bucannon is certainly something that we took note of. He's a great player for them. He doesn't weigh a lot on the scale but he plays big. He's tough. He's a really good football player. He adds a lot of team speed to their defense so he's a good player, a tough matchup, a very productive guy for them and I'm really impressed watching him.

Q: Was it fun to have to coach up Jimmy Garoppolo for this game since you've been predominantly used to preparing the same quarterback in Tom Brady?

BB: Well, you know, Tom was injured in 2008. We played the whole year with [Matt] Cassel, but the bottom line is Arizona's a great football team. We're going to have to do a good job in our preparation in all three phases of the game with all of the players and all of the coaches who compete in the game, so we'll work hard to do that, and go down there and be ready to compete Sunday night. But they're a very tough team to be ready for. They're well coached. They have a lot of great players; obviously, a lot of players coming back from a very good season last year when they won the NFC West. We all know that's a tough division. Yup, we know it will be a big challenge.

Q: What do you think of David Johnson and all of the hype that he has gotten for this season?

BB: [He is] a really good player. [He] did a great job for them last year in kickoff returns, running the ball, catching the ball. He's a threat every time he gets the ball in his hands and they get it to him a lot of different ways. He's fast. We saw that on the long kickoff return. He's strong, breaks a lot of tackles, good hands, good route runner out of the backfield. He has got good quickness, can make people miss. They have very good skill people; their running backs, tight ends, and receivers and obviously quarterback. They have a lot of skill at those positions, good depth. The Cardinals really have a lot of explosive players, probably as good a group of skill players that we've faced in a long time. From top to bottom they are really outstanding. They have great depth at all of those positions. 

Q: What are your impressions of Bruce Arians and his success as a first time head coach since taking over in Arizona?

BB: Well, I think Bruce has done a great job there. Coach Arians has a very experienced staff. Many of those coaches we've competed against through the years. Coach [Tom] Pratt, Coach [Tom] Moore, many others so they definitely know what they want to do - that they've put together a very good football team with good talent. They have a good system. They're hard to prepare for. They do enough things to keep you off balance but yet they do a lot of things well that their execution is just good on. They do a good job of taking the ball away. They score a lot of points, so they're a tough team to match up against. Again, their coaching, the fundamentals, and the scheme that they present you with are very challenging. He and his staff have done a great job down there.

Q: What are some of the bullet points of success when you reflect on why your organization has been able to remain successful for so long?

BB: Well, mainly we have a lot of great players here, so I think that's always the most important thing. I've been very fortunate to have great players. I have a lot of great coaches here; coaches that have gone on to other opportunities and coaches that are here that have been considered for other opportunities as well. So, we have a number of people who are general managers or are in high personnel positions throughout the league. We have a number of coaches who have been head coaches or have left here to be head coaches. Billy O'Brien, Romeo Crennel, obviously Josh [McDaniels] and Matt [Patricia], Charlie [Weiss], so we've got a lot of great coaches here and a lot of great players.

Q: What do you see from Carson Palmer now that he has been in the Cardinal's offense for four years?

BB: [He is] really productive, a good football player like we know he is. [He] does a great job of handling the team. They play well in good situational football; third down, red area. He definitely gets the ball down the field, very explosive team, a lot of big plays. You can't be light on your coverage in the deep part of the field or he'll kill you. [He's a] tough guy, [can] stand in the pocket, take a hit, make a good throw. But he's smart. We'll have to do a good job of not making it easy for him and we've got to do a good job of not giving up big plays. He can see the weakness in the defense and get the ball down the field in a hurry for a lot of yardage if you're not sound, so we've really got to be disciplined in our defense and make sure we take care of our [assignments] and our responsibilities so that we don't give them anything easy. It's hard enough to stop them if you're playing well but if they catch you on something where you miss an assignment or you just cut a guy loose then it's just a bad place to be against this team. [They have] too many explosive players and the quarterback is too good and too well coached.

Q: How do you feel about Kurt Warner's potential as a Hall of Fame player?

BB: Yeah, he's a great player, no question about it. Kurt had tremendous production and poise. Again, ran probably arguably as good as an offense that there has ever been in the National Football League. He was the conductor, so yeah, a very good football player.

Q: What goes into preparing for a guy like Chandler Jones who you know well from coaching him the past several years?

BB: The same way we prepare for all of the players. We look at each players strengths and weaknesses, study them on film, and have the plan for how we're going to handle them on certain - depending on what the play is and what the situation is. The same thing we do with every player.

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