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Patriots Locker Room Quotes - 1/7/2008

New England Patriots players comment on their upcoming playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on January 7, 2008.

Cornerback Ellis Hobbs III

*(On Jacksonville's rushing attack) *

Hobbs: Obviously, that's their motto - run the football. That's a lot of teams' motto in the NFL. I think by establishing the run, it speaks a lot about your team as far as being physical and overpowering teams. We've given up some runs, some big runs on defense and things like that, but I think it's going to take a total effort from all 11 guys out there stopping the run. Not only that, but stopping the big plays that the Jaguars can create.

*(On whether tackling has been a problem for the defense) *

Hobbs: I don't think it's been much of a problem when everybody's giving a great effort and getting to the ball. Obviously, we're not asking you to get out there and [make] amazing tackles solo every time, but if you have 11 men flying to the ball then it doesn't allow much to happen with the running, as far as him breaking tackles and breaking it for big gains.

*(On what he thought of David Garrard's fourth-down dash against Pittsburgh) *

Hobbs: It was a big play, a big player being able to create that big play. He has the ability to do that. Even before he was starting last year, what he did in the game against us. We always knew what this guy was capable of. He can throw the ball and run with his feet and he's a big guy. He's a player that can create those types of plays.

*(On how difficult it is playing against a quarterback that can run well) *

Hobbs: Obviously, you try to contain that and try to immobilize him, making him one-dimensional. The main focus that we have to do on the back end is not worry about that. That's not our job. The upfront guys, they'll take care of that. We just have to take care of the ball and make sure it doesn't spill out.

Safety Rodney Harrison

*(On the Jacksonville running backs) *

Harrison: These guys definitely present a challenge. [They're] extremely talented. They can do so many things out of the backfield. Any time the ball is in their hands, they can take it all the way. They're very fast, aggressive, and physical and they make you miss.

*(On the teams meeting last year) *

Harrison: Last year really doesn't have anything to do with this year. This is a totally different football team. They still have the personality where they want to run the ball and do things of that sort, but it has no bearing on what we're going to do. We just need to go out there and tackle well and execute and maintain our gaps.

*(On making David Garrard one-dimensional) *

Harrison: You just can't let a team come out and do a bunch of different things to your defense. It's just a matter of us going out there and not really getting caught up in what they're doing, just making sure that we do our jobs and tackle well and fly to the ball and not give up the big plays.e He I

*(On if Jacksonville's physical game against Pittsburgh will have an impact on this week) *

Harrison: Well, you'd like to think so. While they're out there pounding each other's heads in, you're sitting back in the couch, eating popcorn and chillin'. It was good to see, but they'll be ready. They understand that this is a great opportunity for them to come in and play against a good team. It'll be a very physical game. This is what you live for as a football player. You want to play in these games and you want to get excited about it.

*(On Maurice Jones-Drew's running ability) *

Harrison: He's a very tough guy to tackle. He's very fast, very quick, elusive, strong. He's got such powerful legs. He's so short that he carries the weight [sort] of like a Brandon Jacobs because he's so powerful. He's 5-7, but he runs like he's 6-2, 250. No question.

Wide receiver Wes Welker

*(On having the opportunity to play in Foxborough) *

Welker: Any time you have the chance to bring the home crowd into it and get to play at home is good. But at the same time, Jacksonville plays well on the road so we're going to have our hands full and we have to make sure we come ready to play.

Linebacker Adalius Thomas

*(On Jacksonville's running backs) *

Thomas: [They have] great running backs - Fred T [Taylor] and [Maurice] Jones-Drew - one-two punch. That's a handful. Both of them can break games open. [They] can catch the ball out of the backfield, do a good job blocking in pass protection. They have the complete package.

*(On David Garrard's running ability) *

Thomas: That's a triple threat in the running game. They can bring an extra runner into the game, even when it is a pass. We're just going have to be on top of our game.

*(On whether a mobile quarterback changes a game plan) *

Thomas: I don't think it changes the game, but at the same time, you have to be very disciplined in the rush routes so that's something that I'm pretty sure will be a point of emphasis this week.

*(On the physicality of the Jacksonville-Pittsburgh game) *

Thomas: It doesn't bother me. That has no direct correlation. All I care about is next Saturday. That's the only thing we can really control.

*(On the advantage of playing at home) *

Thomas: I don't think it's that big [of] an advantage. You can't say that. They went on the road and won and they've been playing well on the road so they don't care where they play. I think you just have to go out there and be physical and the most physical team will probably win.

Wide receiver Jabar Gaffney

*(On the biggest obstacle that Jacksonville presents) *

Gaffney: They're a big, physical team, just across the board. I think they're up there in every statistic across the board, so we're going to come out there and play a smart game, a tough game, match their intensity and see if we can pull it out.

*(On Jacksonville cornerback Rashean Mathis) *

Gaffney: He's a great corner. I've known Rashean coming up in Jacksonville. We played against each other in high school. He's a tough competitor. He's going to give it his all out there.

*(On avoiding a letdown after not playing last week) *

Gaffney: We've got to go out there. I mean, we practiced last week and we tried to stay sharp. [We're] picking it back up this week and hopefully the rest will settle in.

*(On putting past accomplishments aside) *

Gaffney: It's already pushed aside. We're not paying any attention to 16-0. All of that's out the door right now. It's down to eight teams left and you have to go out there and win in order to stay here.

Fullback Heath Evans

*(On linebacker Mike Peterson's potential return) *

Evans: He's a guy that I've played enough… Obviously, we're going to study every bit of film that we have, but I think this year nine for him. He's a fast, strong, explosive player. I know what to expect out of him. They've got younger guys in there that are playing extremely well. That'll probably be my focus and that's not because Peterson doesn't need to be my focus. It's just that I've played him. I know the type of player he is. These young guys are playing well and playing fast and those are the guys that I need to kind of familiarize myself with.

*(On how practice changes knowing your next opponent) *

Evans: Obviously, the game plan changes because you know who you're preparing for. I think the mental focus, on my part, has been the same, but I took this week off to be physically ready to play whoever the team was. Bill [Belichick] preached it for the last week that it was going to be a team that's good and deserved to be here and they've got the same record as we do in this tournament. Yeah, our focus is definitely on the Jacksonville Jaguars now.

*(On whether it feels more like the playoffs now) *

Evans: We've been focused around here. I think we're made to do that. Last week, [our focus] was on making the New England Patriots better and, hopefully, we accomplished that. This week, it's on trying to put a game plan together to beat the Jaguars.

*(On how crucial the bye week is) *

Evans: It's always a good thing, I guess. Your body always feels better not having to play. I think if you take advantage of it, it can be a huge thing. If you don't, it can be a disappointing thing. We know who we're playing and we better get ready.

Defensive lineman Richard Seymour

*(On watching Jacksonville's performance on Saturday) *

Seymour: It's a good football team we're facing. They do a lot of things well. I think they're playing their best football now and that's what you want to do. We definitely have our work cut out for us. We have a lot of respect for this football team. They're tough, physical. They play the game the way it's supposed to be played so we definitely have a lot of respect for that.

*(On the team taking its game to another level for the playoffs) *

Seymour: Well, it's just one game. You know, it's one game and, for me, I enjoy the regular season, but I love the postseason. If you could always fast forward to this time, that's what you want to do. Obviously, you want to get a lot of work done throughout the year to prepare yourself for these types of moments.

*(On putting aside the accomplishments of the regular season) *

Seymour: I think nothing has really changed for us. We still look at this as one game at a time. Everyone started this race at the same point. No one has a huge advantage, et cetera. We're all at the bottom of the mountain and climbing up. They've won one game so far and this is our first test coming this weekend. We'll be ready to go come Saturday night.

*(On the team's respect for the Jaguars) *

Seymour: They play the game the way we like to play the game. They can stop the run. They can run the football. They can put pressure on the passer. They do a lot of things well and they take that mentality from their coaching staff. They have a lot of good players who can do that. You look at Fred Taylor, he's one that gets better with age. I have a lot of respect for him. We can be in the right places, but I think it's going to be key for us to make the plays this week because there have been times throughout this year that we've probably been there and didn't make the tackles. This week, we're definitely going to have to make those tackles because we can be in the places, but they do such a good job of making guys miss when they're in the holes and breaking a lot of tackles, giving a lot of different moves. And it's a 1-2 punch. It's a great test for us and we're looking forward to this match-up.

*(On the differences between the Jacksonville running backs) *

Seymour: They both have different qualities. [Maurice] Jones-Drew is a little short, bowling-ball type guy that runs hard and Fred Taylor, he's shifty in the hole and brings a lot of power. He has the speed to give that home run hit. They both do a really good job. They both bring different dimensions. We have to understand who's in the game and it's going to be up to our front seven to really shut down this running game.

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