WIDE RECEIVER JULIAN EDELMAN
(On getting to work on the Indianapolis Colts after the first round playoff bye)
"It was definitely good to get a little break, mentally and physically, and kind of recoup from the regular season, but it is definitely exciting to be here and know who you are going to play and getting back in the routine and get mentally and physically prepared for the Indianapolis Colts."
(On what his expanded offensive role this season means heading into the playoffs)
"You really don't worry about that. You worry more about what the Indianapolis Colts are going to do and what you have to do as an individual to contribute to the unit and right now that's taking the coaching in and bringing it to the practice field and getting better each day until the game."
(On what he sees from the Indianapolis Colts defense)**
"They've got some athletic corners. They've got some safeties that cover ground and they can hit you. I mean, obviously they have a good front so you never know. It's playoff time so you could get a little spin-the-dial thing going on here. We are going to have to be ready for their best because it's win-or-go-home."
(On the Colts signing wide receiver Deion Branch)
"I don't play against the offense so I'm more worried about the defense."
(On facing a potent Colts offense and the need for the Patriots offense to score points)
"That's what you go out there every game to do – score more than the other team. That's our job as the offense, to put as many points as we can on the board, so I can assure you that we are going to try and do that to the best of our ability."
(On if the team feels like it can't catch a break with injuries this season)
"You can't worry about what you can't control. What you do worry about is what you can control and that's going out there and preparing for [the Colts] defense, their secondary, your assignments and trying to get better every day."
(On if it has been harder to get open without tight end Rob Gronkowski on the field)
"I mean it's tough to get open in the National Football League against professional corners so you definitely have to use your fundamentals and your techniques that you're taught and you have to use your strengths. Whether it's your height, your speed or your quickness, you have to use them to the best of your ability and really focus on your fundamentals of route running to get open."
(On the desperation teams play with in the playoffs)
"It's really like you lose and you go home now. A loss is 10 times worse so you just have to prepare so you don't get that feeling."
(On preparing for Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton)
"Man, [he's a]burner, man. He's been doing real good all season and he had a real good game this past weekend and he's hot right now. He's getting a lot of targets. He's a good receiver."
(On the possibility of matching up against Hilton Saturday)
"I get my assignment when I come to work, whatever it is. I prepare and to the best of my ability I get that done."
(On getting back to the playoffs after suffering an injury in last season's AFC Championship Game)
"I don't even worry about last year, man. It's a new year. Playoff time right now and I'm ready."
(On whether the secondary has to prepare differently without linebacker Brandon Spikes in the lineup)
"Not at all. We do our job on the back-end and rely on those guys up front to do their jobs. It's the next man up mentality and we believe in those guys to get it done."
(On the play of Colts quarterback Andrew Luck)
"First off, I think he throws the deep ball exceptionally. He puts a lot of touch on it and he can throw it about as far as he wants to. Besides that, he's smart. I know he's prepared throughout the week because he's smart. He'll make adjustments and he just runs the whole show. He runs the show like a quarterback is supposed to run the show."
(On if film shows how big Luck is)
"You see him slinging guys off of him left and right so you can tell how big he is, definitely."
(On how smaller, faster receivers like Hilton challenge him differently than taller receivers)
"They run different routes. They get different balls thrown to them. Big guys get 50-50 balls, they get balls just thrown up to them. Guys like [Hilton] run over routes and crossing routes and routes where he can use his speed to run away from guys."
(On if he has to change his style of play against receivers like Hilton)
"It matters what kind of defense we are playing, it matters what coach calls, it matters what our game plan is, so we can play him a ton of different ways."
(On how much he enjoys these types of challenges)
"It's the NFL man, just what I asked for. I prayed to God I would go to the NFL and I'm here now so I love it. It's just what I asked for."
(On what he took away from the playoff bye week)
"Rest and kind of recovering from what we need to get better as a team in all three phases."
(On what he saw from the Colts offense during their come-from-behind victory over Kansas City)
"It's playoff time and it's one-and-done for a lot of teams so if you're winning you are doing something right. In a lot of aspects on that offense, [the Colts] are doing a lot of things right so that's what I take away from it."
(On what it says about a team that can come back from being down 38-10 and win)
"It shows a lot for that team and throughout the season they've been in a lot of games where maybe they've either had to come back or they've played a lot of tight games and won. I think taking a lot from that, they are a tough team and they know how to get it done."
(On how the injury to linebacker Brandon Spikes changes his role on the team)
"As far as Brandon goes, I'm not even going to speak about it. As far as the team goes, everybody just has to step up and everybody's role kind of increased on defense, especially in the linebacking room."
(On the biggest challenge coming off the playoff bye week)
"Every bye week, whether it's regular season or playoff time, it's just kind of wiping the dirt off your shoulder pads and getting going and revving up. I think we had a good bye week and we practiced hard so hopefully that's not an issue. It's always just kind of getting back into it and getting back into the rhythm of things and getting back into playing on Saturday night."
(On the excitement of playing in the playoffs)
"Everybody knows there is a ton on the line here, it's one-and-done. Every play matters, every second you're in there matters and it could be one problem play that costs your whole team so you never want to be that guy. It's that time of year where everything amps up in every aspect of the game."
(On facing a Colts offense that rarely turned the ball over in the regular season)
"You see where they are having problems and where they are good and you just want to pick your battles."
(On if he approaches this game like any other game)
"Yeah, definitely. We need to approach the week like we do all the time: prepare starting today, narrowing down the game plan, going through your routine, and really narrowing down the things that we need to do in order to win a football game against a quality opponent in the Colts who are playing at a high level."
(On what he has seen from Andrew Luck)
"He's a heck of a quarterback. Obviously his ability to throw the football, he's got one of the strongest arms in the league, but then his mobility, his ability to get out of the pocket, scramble around and make things happen with his feet. He's smart, he understands defenses, he understands how teams are trying to attack them, and he does a good job of getting his offense in the right place in order to be productive."
(On slowing down T.Y. Hilton and the rest of the Colts receivers)
"Yeah, they have a lot of talent over there. Obviously T.Y. had a great game last weekend. He's a dynamic football player, he's fast, he's quick, he has good hands, he makes a lot of things happen after the catch, so he's a guy that we're just going to have to understand where he's at on the field, how they're trying to get him the ball, along with all those other guys: Donald Brown, [Coby] Fleener, [LaVon] Brazill, all the other guys on the outside. Those guys are fast guys, guys that are playmakers, guys that can hurt you if you don't understand where they are on the field, so we'll take it one day at a time.
(On if Donald Brown gets lost in the mix behind Luck and Hilton)
"I don't think he gets lost in the mix. I think they just have a lot of big-name guys. He's a guy that works hard, he runs the football hard, he does a lot of things in the passing game, he does screens, different things like that. They find ways to get him the ball, and his ability to run after the catch or break tackles when they hand it off to him is pretty good, so he's a guy that we're going to have to be on top of."
(On how much better the Colts are since last year)
"I mean, it's a totally different team than they were last year, so to compare is impossible. They're playing good, they're in the playoffs, they won a playoff game against a good Kansas City team, they're going to come in here ready to go, bring their A game, and we're going to have to be ready to go in order to try to beat them."
(On the Colts having the fewest turnovers in the NFL)
"It starts with Luck, he does a good job of really not throwing it into coverages and creating a lot of turnovers, and then their guys that are carrying the ball do a good job of holding onto it, not really having a lot of fumbles and different things like that, so I'm sure it's something that their coaches preach over there, something that they take pride in. Obviously as a defense, we always want to turn the ball over and go get it from them, so it'll be a challenge for us this week."
(On what jumps out in the Colts passing game, particularly with Andrew Luck)
"Big plays. I mean, they've been able to take advantage of making some big plays and getting the ball down the field. I think everyone would watch last game and only think of T.Y. Hilton, but they have some other players that have been able to make some plays down the field. [Da'Rick] Rodgers caught a deep one in that game as well, and then [LaVon] Brazill has made some plays on catch-and-run, so I think their offense has been able to make big plays throughout the season."
(On how Andrew Luck has evolved throughout the season)
"I think he's just keeps getting better. I think last year [there] still wasn't a part of his game where you would just say he was bad, I just think he just keeps getting better. He's able to throw the ball down the field really anywhere on the field, and then I think what really makes him good is he's mobile. He can escape the pocket, he can escape to run or escape to throw the ball. I think everyone already knows a very smart guy back there."
(On what the mentality is after losing Brandon Spikes to injury)
"Next man up. There's nothing else to say about it. I think Spikes has done a great job this year of being a guy that's been a leader on the defense, a guy that's stepped up and made key plays, I think like's he's always done here, but really stepping into a leadership role. But now it's next man up and being ready to go.
(On Andrew Luck's mental toughness)
"Yeah, I mean you can see times he gets hit, he got hit pretty hard, and it looks like he gets up and jokes with the guy that just hit him. He's a tough guy, mentally and physically, and like you said, he's going out there and playing. He's doing whatever he needs to do to win, and I think that jumps out when you see him as a competitor. Take away the quarterback and all that, it looks like he's just a true competitor out there."
(On replacing the energy that Brandon Spikes brings to the defensive huddle)
"I think you've just got to play. Each guy out there brings different things, and the things that Spikes brought, you're not always going to be able to do that. So I think for us, it's going to be each guy doing what they're supposed to do, it's not always trying to replace or do what another guy did. Trying to control what you can control and do what you do.
(On if he expects to see Deion Branch on the field on Saturday)
"He's on the roster, so I don't see a reason not to see him out there."
(On what he takes away from the Colts comeback over the Chiefs last weekend)
"The copy we watch is kind of dry, it's not real emotional, so we kind of see their schemes and their techniques and their personnel, and that's kind of what we analyze."
(On what challenges Robert Mathis poses to the offense)
"Incredible player. He works hard, plays hard, incredibly talented, has done it for a number of years, knows what he's doing."
(On if playing on a Saturday throws his schedule off at all)
"No. We prepare the same way every week, and if that's a day ahead, that's fine."
(On what he remembers from going against Mathis in their meeting last year)
"Whatever you see in years past. I think the best way to start this week is to look at what he's done most recently, and he's been playing really well this whole season, and he played really well against Kansas City, and we go into this just from the ground up, that's for sure."
(On if he gets into any sort of rhythm based on the play calling)
"When you can move the ball, that's a positive thing, and it's never easy. So whatever way you can do it, I guess."
(On whether he knew that the depth at the linebacker position was strong coming into the year)
"We all kind of felt like it was, especially with the older guys that we have and then some of the younger guys added to that bunch. I guess we're kind of thinning out slowly but surely. But we'll be fine - we've still got a lot of confidence in the room that's in there. We've got a lot of young guys that learn pretty well and some of the older guys that know what's going on, so we'll be fine."
(On whether he anticipates Brandon Spikes helping out the defensive guys like Jerod Mayo did after he was injured and what he thinks he can learn from them)
"I mean, it's the same thing with Spikes as it is with Mayo. We're still learning – you can't ever stop learning, especially from an older guy that's had some much success. But, their role really doesn't change. Not necessarily on the field, but off the field. They're still giving us hints and letting us know what we're doing at practice. Sometimes they have a better perspective of what we do. Other than that, I don't feel like too much is going to change."
(On whether he even bats an eye anymore when he hears that another defensive player is out for the season with an injury)
"It is what it is. Like we've been saying since the first injury [occurred] – another man up. There's no use crying about it. There's nothing we can do about it now. It's getting ready with the people that we've got."
(On how he thinks Jamie Collins has progressed since the beginning of the season)
"As well as we expected him to. He does everything we need him to do. He's a smart dude. He is very athletic and uses that to his best. I feel like we're going to be fine."
(On what the defense misses without Brandon Spikes in the lineup)
"Intimidation. Fire. He just brings that spark to the defense that a lot of people don't. A lot of people don't see it, what goes on out there on the field, but definitely that spark. Whenever we need a big play, everybody kind of looks to him for that big play, or whenever somebody needs to say something, it's usually Spikes. It's not a captain. It's not a 15-year [veteran]. It's usually him. Everybody else is going to have to step up and I think we'll be fine though."
(On whether there is a danger of in trying to do too much with all the players out on the defensive side of the ball)
"Yeah, big time. Usually whenever guys try to step up and be a vocal leader or try to do too much outside of the box from what they normally do they kind of put themselves in an awkward position, as well as everyone else. I mean, I've been there; I've done that – trying to do too much. It didn't work for me. I fell back, and everything is finally coming back into place. So, as long as everybody does their job nobody has to go outside the box and be outside their comfort zone."