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Patriots Locker Room Quotes - 1/13/2014

Patriots players comment on their upcoming AFC Championship playoff game against the Denver Broncos.


(On the different challenges that Peyton Manning presents as a pocket passer versus Andrew Luck who was more mobile)
"He's definitely a pocket guy that wants to stand in there and make all the throws and he has great pocket awareness. That's the one thing about Manning – he's able to avoid pressure with just shuffling around and moving and using his feet. All great quarterbacks have that ability to avoid the rush with just basic short movements in the pocket. So, you just want to do your best to constrict the pocket."

(On whether he learned anything watching the Broncos-Chargers game yesterday)
"It's the same old, same old. He's making all the calls on the line of scrimmage, changing calls [and] doing what he does best. So, we definitely have our work cut out for us this week. We're going to do our best to start preparing today and tomorrow and continue to have a good week here, because we know they're doing the same thing."

(On whether it's different being the underdog this week)
"I'm just focused in on preparing for the team and doing like we do every week – just putting in the work now, because that's when it counts."

(On whether he has any thoughts about being one game away from the Super Bowl)
"I'm not even thinking about that word. I'm worried about focusing on this game now, preparing well now and having a good game come game day."

(On whether the team started mentally preparing for the game yesterday)
"Well, you know when you find out who you're playing then you just get to work the next day. So, today just coming in here and watching a lot of tape, getting ready for a good team."

(On whether the Broncos look any different from when they played them earlier in the season)
"I mean, very similar as far as what they like to do. Again, they've got great receivers, great tight end, great running game and quarterback that can check out of every play into the one he wants to run. Against your defense he's always finding that perfect play and we've got to do a great job."

(On the challenges with Julius Thomas playing in the game this time)
"A big guy that can go up and make a lot of catches and again, he's a big talented tight end that can pretty much do it all. You know, again, we've got our work cut out for us. We've got to prepare well."


(On the running game producing six touchdowns in Saturday's game and trying to carry that success over to the Denver game)
"I mean, we'll try to bring that physicality wherever we're going. It was great to get the run game going and just have that success and wear people out. So, we'll definitely try to carry that into next week."

(On whether the team is embracing the role of the underdog this week)
"I can't really speak for everyone, but I personally love the underdog story. You know, it just kind of keeps a little bit of the pressure off you and I just like to prove the doubters wrong."

(On whether it feels strange to be the underdog because the Patriots are usually the favorite)
"We'll kind of take whatever role is given to us and kind of just take it as that. We've had a lot of doubt and skepticism from the beginning of the year, but luckily we've been able to just pull it out and keep on churning."

(On how he holds onto the excitement even though the team has more games to play)
"We're just focused like it's a normal week. We're not putting any more pressure on ourselves than need be. We're going to kind of just keep rolling and prepare like we normally prepare and get ready for Sunday."

(On whether it is harder to stay focused with all the Brady-Manning hype surrounding the game)
"That doesn't really make it into the locker room really. I think we're just focused on Broncos versus Patriots. Obviously it's a great rivalry and we know we'll be ready to go on Sunday."

(On how much he appreciates that he is still playing at this time of year given how far he had to climb)
"It's a blessing, but I'm going to give all the credit to my team. We fought through a lot of adversity, through some tough games and a lot of injuries and stuff like that, but I mean we've showed a lot of mental toughness and it's been a blessing to be here along for the ride."

(On whether all his playing time this season has helped him progress at the fullback position this year)
"Yeah, I mean honestly whenever you're getting that much experience at a position you're obviously going to become more and more comfortable as the season progresses. So, I felt like, yeah the more snaps that I've gotten to play has helped me grow as a fullback."

(On the Patriots not employing a fullback very much in recent years and whether he appreciates the fact that he has earned a roster spot)
"Yeah, like I said before, it's like a blessing. I just go out there and try to do my job. They gave me the opportunity to come in here and earn my spot on the team, so I'm grateful that they gave me that opportunity and that everything worked out in my favor."

(On whether he has to remind Tom Brady how to be an underdog)
"No, I'm sure [he remembers]. He came into the league as a big underdog, so I'm sure he's used to that. He doesn't need any help on that."


(On how he is preparing for Sunday's AFC Championship Game)
"Go about it like every other week and just prepare as hard as we can and get ready to play."

(On how different the Denver Broncos look since the Nov. 24 matchup at Gillette Stadium)
"We still have to break down a lot of film. They are a good team, obviously, playing this deep in the playoffs. We're really excited to play them."

(On if the team can take anything from their last meeting against the Denver Broncos)
"They've had some moving parts since then [but] still a quality ball club so we got to prepare well."

(On the veteran presence of Champ Bailey and Quentin Jammer in Denver's secondary)
"You know, Champ [Bailey] has been in the league for a very long time, playing at a very high level. Quentin Jammer too, so we have a task on our hands and we'll definitely be preparing well for them this week."

(On being one game away from the Super Bowl)
"Just taking it one game at a time."

(On playing in Denver on Sunday)
"I've played there a couple of times. It's a great stadium to play in and it will be a live atmosphere and it will be fun."

(On the team's focus preparing for Sunday's AFC Championship Game)
"You win you go on, you lose you go home. That's the name of the playoffs, so we're definitely going to do our part and prepare hard this week."

(On his approach for a game that can seem larger than life)
"It's a big game. At the end of the day it's football and you've got a job to do when you're playing so that's what we focus on."

(On preparing this week as underdogs to the Denver Broncos)
"I like to think that way. In our room, I can speak for our room, we play with a chip on our shoulder and we like to play that way, so just looking to have a good week of preparation so far and go about it that way."

(On if it will be strange playing Sunday as underdogs given the success of the team this season)
"It's just our mentality. We don't think any differently, like I said, playing with that chip on our shoulders. That's how we are."


(On playing the Broncos in Denver this weekend)
"We've got to get ready to go to Denver. Doesn't matter who we play or where we play them, we've still got to prepare."

(On if there is a benefit to playing the Broncos earlier this season)
"It's a different team now than what we've seen earlier. We've got to go out and look at film, look at what they did against San Diego, and see who we're going to be playing against."

(On if he can take some basic fundamentals out of their last game against Denver or if it's a completely different team)
"Right about now is when a lot of guys are playing different football, you know? Guys are getting on hot streaks, and we've just got to go out there and see what they're doing well and see what they're not doing well and hopefully try to exploit it."

(On if he feels the Patriots are playing their best football right now)
"We could play better, but we've been playing better than we have all year."

(On what the team will do with their game plan from the Week 12 game against Denver)
"I don't know. We haven't decided yet, but whatever they decide to do we're going to roll with it."

(On how hot the offensive line is right now)
"They've been hot all season, just haven't been getting the recognition."

(On how he feels he can improve after last game's performance)
"I could do a lot of improvement. We've watched the film, I've seen a couple holes that I could have hit, seen a couple cuts I could have made. I'm just going to try to go out there and look at what they're going to give me and hopefully exploit some of their weaknesses."

(On what it's like running behind this specific offensive line group)
"Like I said, they've been playing amazing all year. Logan [Mankins] is the only one that got to the Pro Bowl, and I feel like they all should have been there, the way guys have filled in for other guys when we've had injuries, so I feel like they all should be there today. They've stepped up tremendously in this last half of the season."

(On if he feels the same way as Tom Brady and will embrace the role of underdog)
"If Tom's going to embrace it, I'm going to embrace it. That's the leader of this team, so if that's how he feels, I'm sure that's how most of the guys out here feel."


(On if he picked up anything watching the Denver game yesterday)
"Not really. Just watched it as a fan kind of waiting to see who we would play, and obviously Denver is a heck of a football team. We're going to have to work hard this week to narrow down the things that we need to do."

(On what he remembers most from the team's previous meeting with Denver this year)
"Yeah, we'll go back and look at the film a little bit, but obviously it's going to be a different game. Different situations, different things will come up in the game, so it's a completely different game."

(On what difference Julius Thomas can make)
"He's a heck of a football player, a playmaker, go-to guy for them, somebody we're going to have to understand where he's at. He can create mismatches and things like that, so he's a good football player. But they have a lot of good football players. I mean, across the board, all their receivers, the tight ends, running back, they all can make plays, so we're going to have play really fundamentally sound and try to make it hard on them."

(On if Denver used Jacob Tamme in a similar role as Julius Thomas in their first meeting)
"Obviously those guys have different skill sets and things like that, so we'll just have to understand who's in the game. Understand your matchup, which guy it is, what he does well, what he doesn't do well, and things like that. You just narrow it down that way."

(On if playing in Denver is as big an issue for visiting teams as some make it out to be)
"I don't think so. It's an away game. They're a good football team; once that ball is kicked off, we just have to go out and play sound and play better than they do in order to beat them. Nothing else really matters."

(On if there is a different sense on the field when playing Peyton Manning in a spot like this)
"I don't think so. I think you've just got to rely on your practice, your film study, things that you've been taught, and go out and execute, regardless of who's throwing the ball or not. Obviously we understand Peyton's one of the best quarterbacks probably ever to play the game, so we understand that factor of it, but we need to focus on us and what we're doing in order to slow those guys down."

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