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Patriots Locker Room Quotes - 1/25/2008

New England Patriots players comment on their upcoming Super Bowl XLII matchup against the New York Giants.


*(On Randy Moss' play the last few weeks) *

It's not about catches and stats. There're times when I may only make four of five tackles, but if we win -- It's all about wining. Coach Belichick, whether you're a free agent, a draft pick or a guy that's been here for five [or] eight years, he tells you [to] check your ego at the door, and that's what Randy's been doing.

*(On the pressure to win the Super Bowl) *

It's a one-game season. I think you have butterflies, but I think the pressure goes away each day that you come out here, you prepare, you work hard, and you get more familiar with the New York Giants. So I think for the last eight weeks--that confidence that you've built with those games--you use that as confidence for the big one. I don't feel like we feel any pressure. Not at all.

*(On if anyone on the team can be 100 percent healthy at this point in the year) *

Yeah, probably Brandon Meriweather [at] 21 years old. He's running around like he's 21 years old, so I think those young guys are probably 100 percent, but us old guys have got some mileage.

*(On if he came to New England to win a Super Bowl) *

I just wanted to be part of a team and I've said that before, to just be part of a team where the coaches wanted me, the players liked me, and I just wanted to show my ability and that was the main reason. Once I got here I understood the philosophy and I understood exactly what they were trying to accomplish, then it was easy for me to join forces because the only thing I ever wanted to do was win.

*(On being part of the kickoff team in the Super Bowl) *

It's intense, man, because I know I've been a part of that, playing on the kickoff team. You just see a million flashes and you're just like, "Wow," as you're running down and, "I'm actually part of this." I'm the same kid who watched the Chicago Bears in '85 win the Super Bowl and I always dreamt of something like that, and the opportunity to be able to go down there and be a part of that is special.

*(On if he will close his eyes to avoid the flashes) *

No. If you close your eyes you'll get your head knocked off.

*(On if the New York and Boston rivalry has intensified) *

Probably through the media it has. With us, it really doesn't matter who we play. We are going to have to do what we have to do to prepare, work hard, and go out there and make plays. So I don't think it being New York or if it was San Francisco or whatever -- It doesn't matter. We're just trying to do one thing and win a ball game.

*(On Mike Vrabel) *

He's one of the brains behind the operation. [He's] a smart, intelligent guy that just makes huge plays, makes big plays, sacks, forced fumbles. [He's] just a tremendous leader on our team and he's really the quarterback of our defense.

*(On Eli Manning) *

[He's] a guy that's composed, a guy that's playing a heck of a lot better than what he played in the middle and the first part of the season. [He's] a guy that just looks like a veteran quarterback, making smart decisions about turning the ball over, very accurate and just really taking the Giants offense on his shoulders and just leading them.

*(On advice he gives to less experience teammates) *

I say take care of your business here before we get on that plane and focus on one thing and that's wining football games. You're going to enjoy your time with your family, but parties and all the sideshows and events are not important. The only thing you want to do is focus. The worst part of the situation is going out there on Sunday and laying an egg and losing.


*(On what he expects in this game) *

It's a different game. It's a different team and it's a different game, so what we're going to do is work today and position ourselves to go to game day and hopefully execute. That's really the key factor.

*(On playing against Wes Welker when he was in Miami) *

Pound for pound, Wes is probably the toughest football player in the league. The guy is a hard worker, number one. He has all the intangibles of being a great player, which he is, and he has a passion for the game and he needs -- There are different types of players in the league: guys that want to be great and there are guys that need to be great. He's one of the need guys, so I tip my hat off to him.

*(On the New York and Boston Rivalry) *

I can't read, so I'm out of that. I look at pictures and that's about it.

*(On the photos newspapers have been running) *

I can't make them all out. I can't make them all out.

*(On his concern about the status of Tom Brady) *

Tom's been great. He's been doing it for so many years. It makes for a great story. You guys can jump on that and blow it up and do whatever you need to do, but as far as getting between the lines and going out there and competing, there's no better competitor out there than Tommy. He's proven it.

*(On the biggest difference between the last time he was in the Super Bowl) *

It is what it is. It's a great game, and as time goes on and you find yourself 18-0 and the record plays a part in all the hype and what have you. We have to just minus all that and carry on with our day.

*(On if that is what makes this team special) *

It's only special if we can finish it. The 18-0 record is nothing without finishing.

*(On his mentality coming back two years ago as opposed to this year) *

You're more into the game plan and obviously you know your surroundings, you're more comfortable and more familiar with everything else. The guys know your personality and you're able to adjust quicker, but other than that, it's just the game of football.

*(On if he will play for a few more years) *

I'm going to live one day at a time, just one day at a time. That's all I can do.

*(On the perfect way to end his career) *

The end isn't here. We're about eight days away, so until we get that done--then we can answer some more questions.

*(On Kelley Washington's acceptance of his role this year) *

In order to be a part of this locker room you have to be unselfish and he is definitely one of the prime examples of a player coming in with high hopes of going out there and being the great receiver that he is, and finding out that he has to play a different role. He is definitely a prime example of a guy that really wants to win and he's been able to do that, and he's been playing great for us on special teams.

*(On what that does for players) *

We respect everyone that puts on a jersey; that never changes. When someone goes out there and does what he does, outside the box in a different realm on special teams rather than the position that he plays, it definitely is a special feeling that we have for him. We respect him.

*(On getting excited for this game) *

Yeah, I won't get excited until we get there, and probably in the latter part of the week. Right now it's game plan, so all of this is work: trying to get everything down, all of our checks down, being familiar with what they do great and what they do best, and getting into situational football. But for the most part, it's just basically one day at a time. Again, it's a workplace.

*(On his 1994 trip to the Super Bow) *

There were a lot of fireworks, I know that. But the game was over before, obviously, eight minutes into the first quarter, so it's not something I really tap into.

*(On using that experience in this Super Bowl) *

We're doing it now. It's one day -- Every day is a different challenge.

*(On what 16-0 meant to the team) *

I can't remember. I can't remember. I don't want to go back [on] the kind of emotional roller coaster as to what it meant. We're 18-0 now and we're going to go from here.

*(On Adalius Thomas) *

You have to be a smart in order to be part of this crew. Obviously, he's a special talent and what he's been able to do here in Boston in the short time that he's been here has been great…just by him taking over Rosie [Rosevelt] Colvin's outside position and really solidifying that outside position in terms of turning everything in so we can do damage inside: containing and pass rushing and doing the things that he does. There are so many facets of his game you can look at and marvel.

*(On if they talk about winning a championship) *

There are some things you don't even have to talk bout. There are some things you just don't have to talk about. It's understood. And that's the type of relationship we all have.

*(On coming to New England and seeing the lack of selfishness) *

Belichick doesn't allow it, number one. And whenever you have a leader such as Belichick, you have enough veterans around that have been around his teaching, they breed it. And when they start breeding it in the locker room, it' contagious. It's not a big surprise.

*(On whether it only takes a couple of guys to buy into it) *

In any business in order to insert your personality, your identity, you want to make sure you have a nucleus of guys that carry it through. It all works well then.

Wide receiver Kelly Washington

*(On all of the hype of being in the Super Bowl) *

KW: I think it has just all the tension that is coming with the game, the Super Bowl game, the final game . Whether it be the media, whether it be from friends and family it is just a lot that is going on but I think the veterans are doing a real good job of keeping us focused and the coaching staff really just getting our game plan to us early so we can focus on the game and know our assignments, because when Sunday comes it is just going to be another game.

*(On whether he's excited for his first Super Bowl) *

KW: I am. I am very excited. Again, this is everyone's dream, to play in a game such as this. There are 30 other teams at home watching us, so it is a gratifying feeling just to know that we have made it this far. All year long we came together and made it to this point so it is definitely a special feeling.

*(On dealing with so many off the field distractions) *

KW: We've been through the ups and the downs and we've been through it as a team and as an organization, together, so that makes us feel good that we stayed together through thick and thin and we've made it this far. Again, we know that the coaching staff and the veterans have really led us in the right direction to this point and letting us know that if we stay together, we can make it this far and we have.

  • (On treating the Super Bowl as just another game) *

KW: I think once the game -- Once the kickoff comes and all the emotions after the first couple of series, it is just a game. It's just a lot of attention that comes with the Super Bowl, so we're just trying to get adjusted to that. Once the week comes and we're starting to practice leading up to the game, then we'll understand that it's just a game.

*(On whether there's a moment to realize the magnitude of the Super Bowl) *

KW: I think, with me, it'll probably happen with the first kickoff or the first kickoff return because [the veterans] say that you're supposed to close your eyes the first second after you kick the ball off just because of all the cameras and lights, so that'll be an experience. But I really feel that after kickoff and the first couple of series, all the adrenaline will start to wear off and we'll just focus on our assignments.

*(On the importance of special teams) *

KW: Again, special teams are vital in every game so I know how important it is. I'm just going to be excited that I'll be one of the first players that runs out on the field and just contributes on the team or special teams play. I'm excited about it and I'm anxious to prepare all week and put that into the game.

*(On which veterans he's talked to this week) *

KW: I've been asking Troy Brown a lot. I'm probably bugging him with so many questions that I've asked him, just whether it's how to prepare myself, whether it's what going on out at the Super Bowl and what can I not expect. He's doing a good job and guys like [Tedy] Bruschi and a couple of other different guys. We're just real excited about the opportunity and the experience.

*(On the best piece of advice he's received) *

KW: The best piece of advice so far I've got is don't eat too much and go into the game overweight. They said that there's a lot of food out there so you can kind of tend to stray off and eat a little bit more than you should and you don't want to go into the game overweight. That's been some good advice and other advice is just to stay focused mentally and don't get strayed off by outside attention.

LB Tedy Bruschi

*(On advice he's given out to younger players about the Super Bowl) *

TB: A lot of guys have come up to me and ask questions or a lot of players who have already been there and sort of know the protocol of how we handle things and, "What's Monday like? What's Tuesday like? Wednesday?" so I think we can give them a little bit of advice in terms of how it was when I was there before.

*(On what the best piece of advice is) *

TB: I would just say to enjoy it, really. I think the first couple of days, you do have some time to enjoy it. We'll arrive Sunday and guys are already planning to go out a little bit, have dinner together and enjoy each other's company Monday, Tuesday - Media Day, that's just a lot of fun - and realize that it is a game and a lot of stress can be built up for these games, but you still go down there to have a great time and realize you have a job to do still.

*(On how happy he was not to have to play against Wes Welker this year) *

TB: We got him and we said, "How did that happen?" To get a player like that, to just give someone up like that. I don't think he's had a statistical year like he's had this year, or even close to it in his past season, but I think we always considered him a threat and a guy that we had to focus on first and foremost when it came to the Miami Dolphins' passing offense.

*(On what makes Welker so difficult to defend) *

TB: Combined with his speed and his quickness and his good hands, I think the one word you could use is he's savvy. He knows where to find the open hole against a zone coverage or a man coverage, you can just say that, but there are all these little tricks that players use and if you watch him closely, he has a lot of those in his bag.

*(On completing an undefeated regular season) *

TB: I think we were able to soak in that moment before the last game of the regular season because we realized we were on the cusp of history and an undefeated regular season, but now that we're in the postseason it's really about advancing. We haven't been thinking about 17-0, 18-0, or anything like that. It's about beating the Jaguars to move on to the AFC Championship and then beating the Chargers and possibly moving on to the Super Bowl. I'd rather look at this game as if we prepare well and we beat the New York Giants, hopefully we'll become World Champions. That's what we have to look at. It's a game that we have to win to achieve our goal, not some record, number, or something like that.

*(On what it's like going back to Arizona where he played in college) *

TB: Yeah, this one's a little bit more special for me than all the others in terms of where I'm going. I have fond memories of the state of Arizona where I played college football at the University, about an hour and a half south of where we'll be. Coming back from the stroke that I had in 2005, there are a lot of things that I can sort of smile at and realize that I'm back in the Super Bowl and it feels really good to be here.

LB Adalius Thomas

*(On giving advice to younger players) *

AT: I haven't really talked to guy, but this is one time that you'd rather be working than be off. I told Bill [Belichick] that today. This is one time that you don't mind working because you're in a good predicament.

*(On making adjustments) *

AT: That's one thing that I think every team does. Things that some teams have done against you, you'll more likely see it again if it worked very well. That's just things that you adjust to. You always work on your weaknesses. That's just part of getting better.

LB Larry Izzo

*(On what makes Wes Welker unique) *

LI: I think his athletic ability is definitely underrated a lot. He's very quick. He's strong. He breaks a lot of tackles. He has a good feel for finding soft spots in coverage. He has great hands and he has a lot of courage and heart. That's probably a big factor, too.

*(On what's it been like having Welker on the team) *

LI: I remember talking to him on his first day and he was very excited to be here, to be a part of what we've been doing and he's fit right in. We wouldn't be where we are today without his production week in and week out.

*(On whether this Giants team compares to the 2001 Patriots team) *

LI: I don't really want to get into the whole similarities, comparison stuff. We just have to go and prepare this week and have a good week of practice and then get down to Arizona, take care of business during the week and then go out and perform on Sunday.

*(On advice that he's given to players that haven't been to a Super Bowl) *

LI: We get a lot of that sort of guidance from Bill [Belichick] and he does a great job and then, as veterans that have played in this game, whenever we can answer questions for some of the younger guys and just give them a little guidance, it's better for everybody. We'll continue to do that this week and I know Bill [Belichick] will continue to press on that. But I think everybody in the locker room understands what's at stake here and this is a big opportunity for everybody whether you've been there or not. This is what we've worked so hard for all year and guys are going to make good decisions and be ready to play.

*(On the biggest challenge presented by going to the Super Bowl for the first time) *

LI: I think, looking back, that was '01 and everything happened so fast. There was no bye week leading up to it and you didn't have much time to even think, 'Hey, we're in the Super Bowl.' After Pittsburgh, we flew down to New Orleans on Monday and it was start working on the Rams, so we didn't have much time for any distractions there.

*(On whether having a bye week before the game is better) *

LI: Whatever. If there is no bye -- I'm not going to complain if I'm playing in the Super Bowl and there is no bye week, but the bye week does give guys a chance to rest up and get some extra preparation work in. It's out of our hands, but we'll make the most of it.

*(On the Giants' kicking game) *

They're extremely dangerous in the kicking game, as we saw the last time we played them. They're a very physical group. They've got really good returners, good skill guys, guys that can cover, and it's going to be a big challenge for us to player better than we did the last time we played them and be physical and control the guys that have the ball and get down the field and make tackles.

*(On how Super Bowl experience helps) *

It will all be determined by who plays the best on Super Bowl Sunday. That's really-who wins the game is who plays the best. You don't win the game because you had the most experience. Different factors play into each game and this particular game, this is what we all worked so hard for. I know the Giants, just because they don't have any experience-I know that they're going to be ready to play. You take your experience and you use that to your advantage, but what kind of advantage it is over someone who doesn't have experience in the game, I couldn't tell you. It's just about going out and performing.

*(On talk of that they are the best team ever) *

That's all to be discussed at the end of the year. We're just working this week and going out and preparing and going out and taking care of business in the game

*(On his favorite memory for his Super Bowl trips) *

They're all special. Just working through the season and accomplishing the goal that you set out to at the beginning of the year with some great teammates-it's hard to pinpoint on thing in any of those games. I know that playing in Houston, my hometown, was somewhat special for me, but it would have been special if it was played in Iceland, too. Just to get to the game and to win it, that's the goal you have every year and that's our opportunity right now, and we just have to go and work this week and make things happen when we're given the opportunity.

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