T NATE SOLDER
(On being the Patriots' Ed Block Courage Award winner)
NS: "Yeah, it's a real honor. I have to give a lot of the credit to the training staff who have done such an awesome job: [head athletic trainer] Jim Whalen, [assistant athletic trainer & director of rehabilitation] Joe Van Allen, Sean Jordan, who used to be here, just really poured a lot into me getting back playing well this year [and] staying healthy. So, I give a lot of credit to those guys."
(On if some of the personal stuff that he has gone through was part of people voting for him, and if that is something that has been difficult to manage)
NS: "Yeah, yeah. It's been difficult. For example, Hudson is at Jimmy Fund this afternoon and he's meeting with doctors, and that's kind of been throughout the season. So, I have to give a lot of credit to Jesus for getting me through it. A lot of times I feel weak, and through my faith, he's carried me through a lot of it, and I've got a fantastic wife and a fantastic family."
(On what the Steelers do well defensively that help them get after the quarterback)
NS: "It's a physical group. They play hard. They have a defense that they are very confident in and do the things that they do, and they do them really well."
(On how they step their game up from last week for the AFC Championship)
NS: "We need to take the things that we didn't do well and we need to improve them. If we're smart about it, and we analyze the things that we didn't do well, we can improve those things. That's definitely our goal."
(On if the Patriots have a team policy regarding social media, and if they are instructed on what to say or what not to do)
NS: "You know, everything that we do is just to be professional and carry yourself in a way that you would be proud of."
(On if the Steelers empty the well with their defensive linemen and their moves, and if having already seen them this season is an advantage)
NS: "No, you know what, we don't take anything for granted. I'm watching the most current films and the things that they were doing last week and the preceding weeks. They're playing really good. So, we don't take anything to say, 'We did this good against them last time.' No, we've got to analyze it all over again from ground zero."
WR MATTHEW SLATER
(On what the intensity is like in these AFC Championship games)
MS: "As high as it gets. This is what we work all year for, for these games here in late January/February. So, everybody knows what's at stake. There are a lot of teams around the league and we all prepare and plan for the same thing, but only a few of us get to actually see that plan through. So, we're excited about where we are."
(On how much detail every phase of the game has to pay attention to what they're doing, especially knowing what it means if you win this game)
MS: "Well, you can leave no stone unturned during the course of the week as far as preparation is concerned. I think it's going to be the little things that give you a chance to win the game. It's not going to be anything schematically that's hugely different than what you've been doing all year long. It's going to be the attention to detail, as you mentioned, that really gives you a chance to have success."
(On the Steelers being very fast all over the field, and how they can slow them down, particularly in the return game)
MS: "Playing together. I don't think there is a team in the league with more fast guys on it than what they have over there. So, I think us playing together, playing disciplined and just everybody doing their job … It sounds simple, but when you can get out there and have an out-of-body experience, because it's the AFC Championship game, and start pressing and doing things that you shouldn't be doing, that can hurt the team. So, just doing your job, that's going to be big this week."
WR CHRIS HOGAN
(On how he is feeling physically)
CH: "Feeling good, just had a little minor setback in the game, but I'm working back every single day and feeling better every day."
(On the level of intensity as the team prepares for the AFC Championship)
CH: "Man, I mean it's an all-or-nothing kind of thing. We were fortunate enough to win the last game and now we're moving on. Everything that we have to do to win this game, we're putting everything we have into it. Whatever we feel as players, as coaches that we could do to help the team win, we're going to do it this week."
(On if the excitement is building this week)
CH: "Yeah, I'm beyond excited to be in this positon. Just to play in the AFC Championship game at home with this team, I'm just fortunate to be in this position and I'm excited to be here."
(On what he was doing last year in late January)
CH: "On a couch watching football, wishing that I was in this position. I'm fortunate to be in this position now and I'm going to go out there and give it everything I have to help this team win."
(On two strong offenses going head to head on Sunday)
CH: "It's tough to win in this league. We always talk about it being 60 minutes and that's what we're going to go out and do. We're going to play 60 minutes of football, hopefully play 60 minutes of good football, and we'll see what happens with the outcome.
(On what was eye-opening for him last week going through a playoff game for the first time last week)
CH: "It's the energy. You get out there and everyone is really energetic. The fans are really intense. At the end of the day, it's another football game, and I just have to approach it like that, just the way I've been approaching every single game this year. Go out there, play my best, play good football and try to help this team win as much as I can."
DL TREY FLOWERS
(On if the Steelers' biggest threat is Le'Veon Bell or Antonio Brown)
TF: "They're both up there for us. They're both guys that we've got to attack, both guys that we've got to game plan for and key in on. They're both explosive players, so anytime they've got the ball in hand, we definitely - all guys are at a point of attack."
(On how hard it is to actually square up Le'Veon Bell)
TF: "Yeah, he's definitely a tremendous back, extremely patient, but he also has a little quickness and things like that. When you square up guys, he's a little shifty; he can be a little shifty, so just being able to anticipate that. I think a lot of it is about guys taking their shot and a lot of guys around pursuing that one guy missed, and you've got the whole team to deal with."
(On if you have to roll the dice in anticipating where a guy like Le'Veon Bell is going to go)
TF: "Oh yeah, yeah, no doubt. We've got to go out there and play football. We're football players. It's not ok to miss a tackle, but it's ok if you understand you've got a lot of guys pursuing to the ball. That's going to be the big thing this time, this game. We've got to have 11 guys pursuing to the ball each play."
(On if he considers this offense their biggest test so far)
TF: "Oh yeah, no doubt. Ben Roethlisberger is a great quarterback and the guys that he can facilitate to - you've got [Le'Veon] Bell, you've got [Antonio] Brown, and all those guys in the skill positions and things like that that are able to make a play at any point in the game. It's going to be a big test for us. We're going to prepare for them and hopefully get the win."