PATRIOTS WR DEION BRANCH
(On what self-scouting is)
"It's a lot. I think if [you] look at our work and look at what we've done the past couple of games, it looks good. I think the coaches did a great job of breaking down the game tape...I think we've got a lot of stuff that we've got to correct. And there was a lot of stuff that was pointed out. I know a lot of guys took that to heart. And we're going to go out and improve it with these two days and the extra days that we have next week."
(On whether the offense is playoff-ready when compared to other years)
"Yeah, I think every year is different. I think we're improving at the right time, but there are also some things we've got to correct: skill-wise, front line-wise, running back-wise, quarterback, across the board. I think we improved our running game a whole lot, but the biggest thing for us [is] we've got to improve a little bit more running with the ball in our hands when we get the ball. Those are the minor things that you can pick out, which will help improve our offense."
(On how excited he is to be back in the playoffs)
"It's crazy. I was very excited to see the guys go out last week and put out a great performance, but at the same time, I was also eager to get back on the football field. I'm glad that we do have the opportunity to come in and work on some things that we've got to improve this week of practicing and going into next week."
PATRIOTS CB DARIUS BUTLER
(On what self-scouting is)
"Taking a look back on the season and seeing some things you did well and seeing some things you didn't do so well and improving on it." ?
(On how this week will work)
"We'll see. We've got a couple of different things we want to hone in on that I think will help us down the stretch. Hopefully, we do that this week."
(On whether waiting to find out who their opponent will be is hard)
"It's kind of good and bad. The longer that you have to prepare for someone, the more prepared you're probably going to be. Also, this week we'll take some time to look at ourselves and get ourselves better, and then go to the next step."
(On how critical the self-scouting is)
"It's real critical because once you identify your own weak points, you know probably what they're going to try to attack. So by strengthening those in this short period of time, like I said, it will help you down the stretch."
(On young players being ready for playoff intensity)
"We played tough teams this year, not only in our division, but outside of our division, especially in the AFC. So I think we'll be ready for it. Devin [McCourty]'s done a great job. Kyle [Arrington]'s done a great job. Everybody that's been in there has been doing a pretty good job and been getting better with each week, so hopefully that continues."
(On pride in the secondary's development)
"We just want to make plays, as many plays as we can to get the ball in the offense's hand. We know they can do some dangerous things and put up a lot of points. We want to do our job. As a secondary, linebackers are going to do their job and the defensive linemen are going to do their job. We're the youngest group back there, so we take pride in getting better each week."
TIGHT END ALGE CRUMPLER
(On not knowing which team they will face)
" You've just got to make sure that when you come into work, you're working; you're working on something to get better. We've all been critiqued this morning and we'll watch a lot of film, do a lot of things, get out and practice and bang around for a little bit. I can't think of anything else that we can do right now other than look back on the things that we can get better at and just make sure that we go into this postseaon game fully prepared and ready."
(On watching the games this weekend and how closely he will watch for the next opponent)
" Well, I think right now scenario-wise there are only three other teams that we could play in the opening round. Our coaches have put together a plan and we'll come in and we'll work. I mean, that's it; that's all we can do is work."
(On cherishing the time for self improvement)
" As long as everybody understands it - and I really feel like we do - understands that 'Hey, this is when football starts,' then we're fine."
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN ATIYYAH ELLISON
(On what it means to get picked up at this time of year)
"It's a big deal to get picked up at any point of the year, especially this time year and especially this team. I'm taking it all in still."
(On coming in for the playoffs)
"It's tough. I don't know what my role is going to be. It's tough to even try to rush and learn everything that they've been putting in the whole year. I'll just do the best I can and rely on my athletic ability after that."
(On whether it's a dream scenario to join a 14-2 team for the playoffs)
"Yeah, that's definitely something that doesn't happen much. It's something that's not impossible, but you don't think it's going to happen to you to possibly be in the playoffs and all of that after basically being at home all year."
(On trying to pick up the system and the playbook)
"Some 3-4s are pretty similar. It's just getting the language down because, like you said, teams are all-around 3-4s, but the same word can mean something else is somebody else's defense, so it's just getting the terminology down and trying to watch the other guys and pick it up as quickly as I can."
KICKER SHAYNE GRAHAM
(On the difference in the playoffs as well as the change in overtime rules)
SG: It has no effect on me. Really, prepareing for any game is no different than the other games. The segment of time is still the same. The fields are still the same and we still have to perform at a high level. The expectations are no different, it's just do or die now. Either way, we go into practice, we practice the same fundamentals of kicking and we do the same things to be successful as we did every other game."
(On the comfort that comes with homefield advantage)
SG: I think anyone likes having the comforts of home when you're preparing for a game. For me, I like having the extra time before the game when we're not on the bus and travelling from the hotel and all that. It's always good to have that, but I don't think it really gives us any great advantage on anything."
(On having Kyle Love on the kickoff team)
SG: I enjoyed watching film of it...That's a train wreck wating to happen right there. When you see that one going down the field, you don't want to be on the other end of that."?
(On if he followed Adam Vinatieri's career in New England)
SG: I mean, it would be kind of hard not to. There can't really be anyone who watches football who hasn't seen any of his game-winners in the Super Bowl and other times. Obviosuly, he has had a great career and he had a great career here. We all want to have success. We all want to have those opportunities."
(On if not missing a field goal yet with the Patriots gives him confidence heading into the playoffs)
SG: I think anytime you have success, you build your confidence from that, but that means nothing at this point. Really, I could have - no different than any other aspect - I could have had any other kind of performance and still prepared the same way and still...None of those kicks are going to make the kicks for me in the future. I was glad I could help the team, but hopefully I have more opportunities to help the team from this point out."
(On if he would have imagined this situation two months ago)
" Two months ago when I came here I was just looking for every opportunity to get the chance to do anything and took it game by game. That's kind of how things work around here."
RUNNING BACK BENJARVUS GREEN-ELLIS
(On shaking hands with all the offensive linemen after his 1,000-yard season)
" Everyone works hard and we all had a hand in pitching in in what we're doing."
(On if he will do anything special in honor of the 1,000-yard season)
" We're not even thinking about that right now. We're just thinking about going out to practice and working hard to get ready for the next opponent."
(On what the key to the bye week is)
" We just have to go out and fix some things and continue to do the things that we do well and go out to practice and fix our mistakes."
(On watching the Wild Card games Saturday night and this weekend)
" I'm not even thinking about Saturday night yet. I'm just thinking about right now, going out to practice and getting better today."
(On self-scouting, self improvement and if it's strange to not have a specific team to prepare for)
" Yes, sir. Right now we just have to fix some things we don't do well and get better at some things we do do well."
(On using this time to get everything set)
" Like I said, we're just going to go out today at practice and work hard and make sure we're not slacking off in areas and get better at the things we need to get better at and continue to do the things well that we do well. And go out, most importantly, and work hard at practice today."
(On the importance of ball security and how bad he felt for Danny Woodhead after his fumble)
" You know, I'm sure Danny had his own situation as far as the ball and everything. Like you said, ball secuirity is the No. 1 thing on our list and we want to make sure we're holding on to it."* *
PATRIOTS RB FRED TAYLOR
(On seeing the development of BenJarvus Green-Ellis)
"Before I got here, Marcus Stroud over in Buffalo, he said, 'Yeah, No. 42, oh yeah, he's a good player.' So that kind of put it on my radar. It just comes to him naturally, he does everything right. He does everything right - along the lines of the weight room, when he was doing special teams a whole lot...He does whatever the coaches ask of him. And the opportunities have presented themselves, and he grasped them and he's taken full advantage of them."
(On Green-Ellis making it through the entire season without fumbling)
"The thing is, I really can't answer that one because Benny will be upset with me. He just blows that one out of the water. Usually the commentators when they mention that, the very next snap something bad happens. Ball security is the No. 1 thing at our position. And you constantly rep it and pay attention to it, in the game, it becomes muscle memory to you and those things don't happen."
(On veteran players helping younger players)
"The bottom line is winning. That's what it's all about. The coaches bring these guys in, and just because you've experienced something, you try to do whatever you can just to pull them along for the betterment of the team so the entire team can be successful."
(On how he advises younger players on how to deal with pressure in the playoffs)
"Really, what I was told was the speed picks up a little bit because everybody really wants it, so the intensity changes. You have to focus in a lot more on the preparation. Not much more than that."
(On having to experience playoffs to understand it)
"That helps. It will probably remind them of their very first NFL game. I don't think it will be any different. For me, in my first playoff game, it wasn't that much of a difference. Probably there is a sense of urgency being that [if] you lose, you go home. From that standpoint, you just do whatever you have to do to make sure you give the team the best opportunity to win."