New England Patriots players comment on their upcoming game against the Los Angeles Chargers during locker room media access on Wednesday, January 9, 2019.
David Andrews, Center
(On if it's starting to feel like the playoffs)
"Yeah, it's been feeling like the playoffs. We're fortunate to be here, this is going to be the best team we faced, it's going to be a big challenge. They've got a good defense, they do a lot of things well, they played us here well last year so we're going to have to be at our best on Sunday."
(On the Charger pass rush and their seven sacks last week)
"They're good that's how they can affect the passer. You don't want to be in third-and-long on this team because they can tee off, that's what they want to do. They're very equipped to do it and they're very good at it."
(On knowing they have to earn the win and that it's not given)
"I think that coach does a great job of that and our leaders do a great job of that. Nothing is taken for granted here, especially in the NFL playoffs. It's hard to win in this league and even harder in the playoffs to win."
(On the playoff bye week and if it helped)
"Yeah, it's definitely nice to have that week off, but it really doesn't matter. What matters comes Sunday. We're going to have to be the best prepared team and ready to go."
Adam Butler, Defensive Lineman
(On the disadvantage the Chargers face flying in from the West Coast)
"I try not to think like that. Regardless of how they get here, they're going to come in ready to play. You've got to be ready to play with him."
(On Chargers RB Melvin Gordon)
"He's a strong runner. We definitely have to respect him."
(On his thoughts after watching the Chargers game last weekend)
"I thought they were a tough football team. They put a lot of fight in early on and they sustained it throughout the game and it paid off for them."
(On the fine line between sacking Chargers QB Philip Rivers but not roughing him)
"You just have to lock in and focus. With him, you know he's trying to get the ball out quick. He doesn't really like to take sacks that much, but whenever we the chance, we have to focus, break down and if you can't get him down immediately, then trust that help is coming."
(On the sense of urgency)
"This is a single season game. If we don't come out on top, then the season is over, so everything is critical."
Phillip Dorsett, Wide Receiver
(On what he's seen from the Chargers defense)
"They've got a great defense, they've got a great front seven, they've got a great back end and the secondary. They've got a lot of team speed. Obviously those two d-ends, they're relentless. We know what we've got to do, they're going to make it hard on us. They play what they play and they play it well. They're going to make hard on us like I said and we've just got to go out there and we've got to play. We've got to execute our game plan and all the details to a 'T' and I think that'll help us."
(On the excitement getting back on the field after the bye)
"I know for me, I was definitely excited. Having a week off from football, it's tough but a lot of guys wanted to go back out there, it's a big game coming up. I was definitely excited to go out there and start playing."
(On the importance of ball security and precise route-running against the Chargers secondary)
"That's important every week. You've got to be real detailed in your routes and real precise. You have to run routes at the right depth, just to get the timing. You have to work on it a lot at practice because we know what we've got to do. It's going to come to that, we've got to be real detailed in the different things we do. It's really important for us."
(On the uniqueness of Derwin James)
"He's a game-changer. He's their guy, I feel like that's their hammer in their secondary. He plays relentless every play. He's explosive, he's all over the field, he can defend the run, he can defend the pass. He's already a great player. He's definitely a key guy in the secondary."
(On the excitement of the playoffs)
"It is definitely exciting. We're still here, like you said, there's eight teams left and we're still playing. That's exciting for me because I love just going out there every day and playing and obviously playing for something that's more than the regular season, playing for the chance to be able to keep going, keep playing. It's definitely exciting."
Trey Flowers, Defensive Line
(On the excitement of the playoffs)
"Yeah, it's definitely exciting. It's one of those things you can't take for granted. Obviously, I've been fortunate to be a part of this organization and be in this situation since I've been in the league but it's one of those things that like you said, there's only eight teams left. Not a lot of guys get this opportunity so you can't take it for granted."
(On channeling the excitement)
"One play at a time, one game at a time. I don't get too high as far as all the possibilities, as far as looking forward into the future, things like that. Obviously, I've been a part of the ultimate goal and on the opposite end of it as well. So just kind of take it one game at a time, one season at a time. This is a whole different season, whole different team and just taking it one play at a time."
(On the sense of urgency)
"Any time you're dealing with a win or go home game, it's going to be amped up urgency, amped up focus. That's just the type of environment that you should have, understanding that this is for your whole season, this is for the whole organization. So it's no more next Sunday, no more come in and review the film, it's just one game so definitely got to be precise in the fundamentals, in the little things, the techniques and focus on them as you prepare."
(On how difficult the Patriots are to beat at home)
"I don't know, you can chalk it up to many things. You can chalk it up to the crowd as far as being a hostile environment. You can chalk it up to us going out and out-executing the other team and being the more physical team and things like that. When it comes down to football, it's obviously just the team that executes the most. I don't know what it is about being at Gillette [Stadium], I guess we get a little bit of help from the crowd."
Stephon Gilmore, Cornerback
(On the excitement of the playoff game)
"It's exciting. It's the first playoff game. You've got to go out and play good football. They've got a good football team so we have to do whatever it takes to win."
(On Chargers WR Keenan Allen)
"He's a great receiver. He's very crafty, he's quick in his routes, he makes big catches and he's got a good quarterback, so that helps."
(On the advice he's given to rookie cornerback J.C. Jackson)
"Just to do what he's been doing, really focus on whoever he has to cover, play with good technique, play fast and do what he's been doing all year. Trust his teammates and make plays."
(On if he watched the Chargers playoff game last weekend)
I watched all of it. It was a big game that could have gone either way, the Chargers just made more plays than they did. They've got a good football team, they can do it all. They can run the ball. They've got good running backs, and they can throw the ball. They can do it all."
(On what it says about the Chargers that they've won a lot on the road this season)
"It doesn't really matter where you play. They're going to give it their all. That's good for them, but we've got to take care of our business."
Jason McCourty, Defensive Back
(On what stands out about Philip Rivers)
"He just has that 'it' factor. I think when you look at quarterbacks across the league, there's a handful of them that you can pick out and just be like, 'That's a guy I want to go into a game with, go into a season with.' Philip Rivers is one of those guys. Fiery guy, he's out there competing his butt off. I remember a few years ago, I think he had a torn ACL or something and he was still out there dragging his leg, competing for his guys. He's just that type of guy and that type of quarterback. He's one of the great ones so you relish the opportunity to play against him."
(On mentality heading into his first playoff game)
"I'm just taking it day-by-day. I can't say I'm nervous at this point, today was a Wednesday and you're just trying to get everything accomplished you typically do on a Wednesday. I think obviously at this time of the year, you just realize, hey, if things don't go the way we want on Sunday, we come here Monday and we pack our stuff. So you just try to do a little bit more this Wednesday than you did the prior Wednesdays of the season and just trying to get as much done as you can preparation-wise to put yourself in the best position come Sunday."
(On his excitement and how he's handling it)
"I'm excited but you'd have to ask me after the game Sunday how I handled it. I can't say right now it's much different for me from the standpoint of coming in here, getting my work done, getting in the tubs, going home, hanging out with the kids and then watching film. It'll be the same exact Wednesday but I probably woke up a little bit more excited this Wednesday than I did two Wednesdays ago when we were just heading into a regular season game.
(On how tough Keenan Allen to play against)
"He's extremely tough before and after [the catch]. A guy sometimes I compare to watching a point guard playing basketball. He has crossover moves at the top of the route and once he gets the ball, he's just so elusive. His ability to just catch the ball, sometimes he's covered, sometimes open but no matter what, ball up in the air, he feels like it's going to be his. So one of the toughest receivers that we'll play against this year."