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Patriots Locker Room Quotes - 12/19/2013

New England Patriots players address the media inside the locker room at Gillette Stadium on Thursday, December 19, 2013.

RB LaGarrette Blount

(On going up against the Ravens run defense)
"They're a pretty good defense. I think they rank top 10 in the league, so I can't say that they're going to be easy to run against. We're just looking forward to being able to run the football and try to be productive with it."

(On the importance of getting the running game going)
"It's really important. It's important to get the run game going so we don't have to be one-dimensional. We can get play-action plays done, so it's really important for us to be able to get the run game going."

(On why the Ravens defense has maintained its dominance despite losing Ray Lewis and Ed Reed)
"I don't know. I'm not part of their organization, but to me it seems like they're still doing pretty good. I mean, I don't know if they're still Ray Lewis, Ed Reed good, but they're really doing really well."

(On whether it was good to get action in the run game early in the game against Miami)
"Yeah. Yeah, it's always good, it's always fun to get the ball early on in the game and be able to get into a little bit of a rhythm. I mean, as long as I'm touching the ball I'll be happy, you know what I'm saying? And hopefully we come out with a win, that'll make me even more happy."

(On if he likes playing in the cold or if he is looking forward to the supposedly warmer weather in Baltimore this weekend)
"It doesn't bother me. I mean, once you start playing a little bit, you're going to warm up anyway."

WR  Aaron Dobson

(On whether it was tough to miss the past few games due to injury)
"You know it's tough, but I'm just trying to just get off that and just try to get back on the field. I'm just doing what I can in practice to try and improve."

(On if missing a few games has affected some of the positive strides he's made as a young player)
"I feel like it can affect you if you let it. But I just stayed in my playbook, I just had to keep an edge. I wasn't trying to fall off of my playbook and lose sight of my plays, so I just stayed in the playbook and just tried to keep on track."

(On if he feels good conditioning-wise)
"I feel like I'm OK. I feel like I can get my conditioning a little better, I mean I [haven't] played in a couple weeks, so I feel like I can improve on that a little bit."

(On how his mental reps have been)
"I do that all the time. I just sit in the meetings, and that's all I could do for the past three weeks, just all I take are mental reps."

(On what he sees from the Ravens secondary)
"They've got a good secondary, so us as receivers, you've got to go out there and play great. Great routes, we've got to block well, so we've just got to have an all-around good game."

(On what he sees from Jimmy Smith in particular)
"He's a good player. We're going to have to go out there and compete with him. He competes a lot, so as a receiver I've got to go out there and do my job. I think he's just a good all-around corner. He can be physical, he can run, so I just feel like I've got to be on my game."

(On if there was ever a time when he had to miss games in college)
"I have. I've kind of been through the adversity before, so I know how to handle it."

(On how frustrating it is to not be able to play)
"It's a little frustrating, but I'm just trying to keep my head in the right place, don't lose track of what I've been doing, so I'm just trying to stay on the right track."

DB Devin McCourty

(On Joe Flacco seemingly throwing the ball down the field more than other quarterbacks)
"Yeah, he lets it go. I mean, there's some other guys, like Ben Roethlisberger, who have a huge arm. I think he has a lot of confidence in throwing to those guys, so you see him throw at least 8-10 [passes] down the field and giving his guys a shot. He really puts it out there."

(On the changes that the defense has to make late in the game because of Justin Tucker's ability to make long field goal attempts)
"You've just got to know you don't want to put it in that situation. When you've got a good kicker that you're playing against defensively, you can try to pick a yard line and decide that, but I think the key is you have to keep them out of field goal range, because you know if he lines up you have to try to block it. I think he has made like 30 or something straight field goals, so for us to line up and think that he is probably going to miss it, that's just false. So, at the end of the game someone has to step up make a play and, you know, get a turnover – not allow him to get in field goal range. If you leave the game in his hands there's a good chance that he wins it or ties it or anything. It's the same thing we feel about Stephen [Gostkowski] on offense."

(On how the Ravens receiving corps has changed from last year when they had Anquan Boldin)
"They're still pretty good. I mean, you've got two vertical threats with Jacoby [Jones] and Torrey [Smith]. So, I mean I think Marlon Brown has done a really good job inside. He's not Anquan Boldin, but he's a young guy that has been very productive and I think the biggest thing for them is they have to be fully confident with [Dennis] Pitta being back. He's a good player for them. He's played well against us in the past and if you put him in there on third down and you put two deep guys and a good slot receiver, you have a full core group of guys. I think for us, it's another challenge. We've played good receiving corps throughout the year with good tight ends, good outside receivers, and good inside receivers. So, I think our work is cut out for us, but if you like football, this is what you like. The end of the year, [Game] 15, you've got to step up and play a big game."

(On how the Ravens offense changes with Dennis Pitta in the lineup)
"I just think he is more of a target. I think those other guys did a good job – Ed Dickson and Dallas Clark – they filled in and they did a really good job, but something you can't take away is chemistry between a quarterback and a receiver. I think [Joe] Flacco and Pitta, they have that. When he is out there, I think he is targeted more, and I know Flacco probably thinks that if I throw this guy the ball, there's a good chance he's going to come down with it."

DL Rob Ninkovich

(On Bill Belichick mentioning that turnovers have been the core to this unit and whether he feels that forcing turnovers are the key to the defense playing well)
"Yeah, I mean, anytime you can get a turnover on defense, it gives you a higher percentage of winning the game. Again, with us not having as many turnovers, the percentages of winning the game go down. So, we just have to continue to get after the ball and try to create those turnovers, because we're capable of doing it; we've done it in the past."

(On whether he or Chandler Jones feel any extra pressure to generate pressure on the quarterback with all the injuries to key players on defense)
"No, I mean me and Chandler, every week we prepare hard and we know that we're a key to having success on defense, and we both have to play well. I think, again, it's just part of playing the game. You have responsibilities, you have to do your job and you have to make plays. It's just a challenge for both of us to go there, do our jobs and play well, play at a high level. It's expected."

(On whether he is happy about the overall pressure the defense has been able to generate as a unit this year)
"I think that we've done a good job at times of bringing pressure, but there have been other times where we haven't had the pressure that we needed to get on the quarterback, but there are a lot of things that go into it. It's not just lining guys up and getting after the quarterback. Everything works together. I've said it before, you know pressure coverage, coverage pressure, that all works together. Certain blitzing situations, everything has to marry up together nicely. You've got to have the coverage with the pressure and vice versa. It's just the way it goes on defense. So again, it's continuing to work and get after it during the week, understanding concepts and everyone being on the same page so when you are running certain things, it's seamless."

(On whether the Ravens sacks allowed this season are a byproduct of the players winning one-on-one battles or a matter of the scheme they are running)
"Well it's a little bit of everything. If you cover guys and the quarterback has to hold the ball, then you have a better chance to get to the quarterback. You know, they've had some moving parts up front that have kind of settled down recently in the last few weeks. They haven't had much change there, so it's looking at the concepts that they do offensively, knowing that there is a chance for us to get there because they like to throw those deep balls, and just winning your one-on-one matchup. So, whoever's got the one-on-one, they've got to win."

(On the rarity of a kicker in the NFL being able to affect the way a team plays defense like Stephen Gostkowski of the Patriots and Justin Tucker of the Ravens can)
"He's [Justin Tucker] had a great season so far. He's a young guy in the NFL who's done a great job since he got into the NFL. Again, I think having two kickers like that - you know that the spot on the field where they can kick a field goal, it's farther out than most teams. So, you're conscious of where he needs to be to kick a field goal."

(On how much the Ravens offense changes with Dennis Pitta back in the lineup)
"He's been out there a couple games now, and I'm sure that they're going to continue to work him in more and more as he gets comfortable. It's not easy to come in after having no training camp and having an injury, rehabbing and then getting thrown into the fire like that. I expect them to have him working in a little more than he has the last couple of weeks. It's just another guy that you have to be aware of because he was a big target for them last year and I'm sure Flacco is obviously going to know here he is on the field this coming Sunday."

CB Aqib Talib

(On the vibe in the locker room this week as the team prepares to play the Ravens in a rematch of the AFC Championship game)
"The next game is the most important game. It's a big game for the both of us. So I'm sure they're preparing like we're preparing. It should be a good one."

(On the Ravens receiving corps now that Dennis Pitta is back in the lineup)
"He's key for them. He [Joe Flacco] goes to him a lot over the middle, in third down situations. That's one of his go-to guys. He's key for them."

(On Jacoby Jones' ability as a wide receiver in addition to his kick return ability)
"He makes as many big plays on offense as he does on special teams in the kicking game. He's a big-time player."

(On the speed of Torrey Smith)
"Man, you know that. We don't even have to talk about that. You know how fast he is. We all know how fast he is."

(On whether Torrey Smith is the fastest wide receiver in the league)
"He's definitely one of them. He's up there. Put him up there with the [Mike] Wallaces and Calvin Johnsons. Man, they're burners."

(On what it's like to go against an offense late in the game who has a kicker like Justin Tucker who can consistently make long field goals)
"I mean, it changes how you call your defense a little bit. Usually you'd mark it at like the 35-yard line or the 37 or something like that. But I mean, an extra five yards with this guy, it's crucial."

(On special teams getting overlooked as a big factor in football games)
"Yeah it does, but we practice it all day, every day. It will definitely win or lose games for you."

(On Joe Flacco struggling more this year than last year, and the reasons for it)
"All that stuff was kind of early, man. I look at that stuff as being early. He's been playing good football lately. A lot lately."

(On whether he feels healthy at this point in the season)
"I feel like everybody else. It's Week 16, and there isn't anybody in the NFL who is 100 percent. It's football, man. This ain't my first rodeo."

(On the reason why the Ravens seem to start out seasons slow and then finish strong towards the end)
"They're a good team. They've got a good coach over there. I'm sure he just gets those guys ready to play one week at a time like our coach does. So, I mean that's how you've got to go about it."

(On whether Coach John Harbaugh is the closest thing to Bill Belichick currently)
"I wouldn't know. I've played for [Jon] Gruden, Raheem Morris, [Greg] Schiano and Bill [Belichick]. That's all I know and can comment on."

(On what he enjoys most about the holiday season)
"I just enjoy seeing my kids opening gifts. That's the best part of my holiday is seeing the looks on their faces and seeing how excited they get."

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