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Patriots Locker Room Quotes - 1/17/2008

New England Patriots running back Laurence Maroney and wide receiver Wes Welker discuss the team's upcoming AFC Championship game against the San Diego Chargers.

RB Laurence Maroney

Q: How confident are you and your teammates going into Sunday's game?

LM: We feel good about ourselves. We're not overconfident, we just know we have to go out there and play our best 60 minutes. We're going against a great team, a great offense, great defense so we know we can't make mistakes out there.

Q: Talk about the running game's emergence over the last few games.

LM: The running game's always been there, we just never had to use it. The passing game was doing a lot for us, scoring a lot of points for us, so the running game wasn't used. Like I said earlier, when the running game is needed we're going to show everybody that we do have a run game.

Q: How do you like playing in the cold?

LM: It's straight, I really don't feel the cold. We've got heated benches so you know I can stay warm out there on the field.

Q: How do you keep your hands warm?

LM: Gloves, but it doesn't work all the time. But they're alright.

Q: How good do you feel now running the ball?

LM: I feel good. The line's been doing an excellent job. I feel real comfortable behind those guys. They've been doing their thing, the receivers making downfield blocks, so I feel real comfortable running the ball right now.

Q: How much better do you feel now as compared to a year ago?

LM: I feel a lot better. I was going to a situation that I really didn't know what to expect last year. I didn't know how the playoffs were going to be, how the atmosphere was going to be, the intensity level. Now that I have a year under my belt, I've got a feel for what to look for, how it's going to be played, the game speed and all that. Mentally, I feel a lot better than I did last year.

Q: Is it hard to prepare when they don't use running game as much?

LM: Not really. I've been playing running back for a long time. I know how to play running back, so it doesn't take too much to get into the game, a couple plays here, a couple plays there, I'll be alright.

Q: Where did your running with authority come from last week?

LM: It's been there all the time. I do have the power; you just have to know when to use it and when not to use it and what type of game it's going to be. That was a physical downhill game that deserved a downhill running style.

Q: Do you think it's going to be a physical game?

LM: Most likely. Looking at them on defense they have a real physical defense, real big guys out there. It's not going to be too many moves you can make out there on the field. It's going to be a one cut and downhill kind of game.

Q: How much are you concerned about them causing turnovers?

LM: Well they're number one at causing turnovers. We've got to continue to hold onto the ball. Hopefully we won't fumble and give them opportunities to score points.

WR Wes Welker

Q: How encouraged were you after your good play during your first training camp with San Diego in 2004?

WW: It gave me some confidence. I really wasn't sure going into the games. I'd had a good training camp, but I didn't know going into the games if I was going to be able to play in games or not. That was good to see in those games, to play well out there.

Q: Do you remember who the Chargers cut you to make room for?

WW: I don't remember. I'm not sure.

Q: When did you feel that you belonged in the NFL?

WW: I guess once I made the team.

Q: How good has Tom Brady been at distributing the ball to different receivers?

WW: He's a smart guy and he spreads the ball around real well. We have a bunch of guys who can make plays and get open and Tom's going to find the open guy and make sure we can move the ball down the field.

Q: How much is distributing the ball preached around the team by the coaches?

WW: It's not really stressed that much; it's just a part of what happens. We've just got to make sure we're in our right spots and either your going to get the ball and sometimes you're not. You've just got to make sure you're in the right place at the right time.

Q: Does that make you keep your head in the game?

WW: You try and make sure you're staying in it and run your route, doing you plays and executing the way you're supposed to.

Q: Do you relate well to the way Charger's RB Darren Sproles plays the game?

WW: I've seen him a little bit. He's obviously a dangerous returner. That's how I got my start as a return man and just trying to make some plays there. He's definitely made some plays there.

Q: How do you and Sproles relate, size-wise?

WW: Being undersized like that, you've got to use your quickness and speed and things like that to try to try and overcome some of those other obstacles.

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