CORNERBACK MALCOLM BUTLER
(On making a jump as a player from year one to year two)
MB: Overall just being a pro, taking my job more seriously, just learning from mistakes that I made last year. It's just all about improving and getting better. Every day I come out here, I'm trying to get better. If I have a bad day then I'm still trying to get better the next day. It's all about getting better, learning from your mistakes, improving and being a productive player.
(On things being more comfortable this year)
MB: Definitely. I was pretty tense last year, but experience, it's a big deal in this league. I feel a little more comfortable, more relaxed and I can play ball free.
(On his emotions this time of year compared to last year)
MB: Last year around this time I had a little confidence that I would make the team, but at the same time still humbled myself, go out there like I'm not going to make it because I've seen good guys still not make it. Around this time, I'm more relaxed. I'm comfortable. I have a job, but I'm still working like I've got to keep this job. That's it.
TIGHT END ROB GRONKOWSKI
(On the challenge of opening the season on a Thursday night)
RG: I've never played a Thursday night game opening up, so I kind of feel like it won't change my preparation at all because I know it's the first game of the season for me. I've just got to go out there [in] the days leading up to the game and prepare how I always prepare for a game just like any other time.
(On James Develin's injury)
RG: He's definitely going to be missed. He was our thumper. He was a guy that set the tone on our offense and made the big hits and cleared the holes out for the running back. He's a great guy, hard worker, and I'm sure he'll be back in no time because he loves the game and always works hard. We've just got to come together as a team and just fill the holes that are missing that aren't quite there yet when people go down and just go out there and work hard at practice to get prepared for games.
(On the similarities between the fullback and tight end positions)
RG: Yeah, there are definitely similarities at each position - tight end, fullback. Sometimes you see the fullback lined up at tight end, the tight ends line up at fullback. It's all what you can do as a player. You've got to do your job, so the more you can do the better off you are. If I ever got called to play fullback, I know I lined up a couple times in the backfield to play fullback. It's definitely a position that interchanges and you can play both.
DEFENSIVE BACK DEVIN McCOURTY
(On what it's like seeing the roster trimmed down this time of year)
DM: The end of training camp is always kind of the toughest time. Everyone's out here giving everything they have to try and be on this team. The roster has to be cut down so it's always tough. I think probably one of the best things is some of the friendships and stuff that you make with guys. It's always tough to see guys leave, though.
(On what advice to give guys at this time of year)
DM: You've just got to go out there and play this last game and give it everything you have. There is going to be a lot that you can't control. The only thing you can control is your play and what you've done so far. Just keep going at it. It's a tough time in the league, but you know, you're on one team, but there are still 31 other teams out there that could be interested, so you still want to go out there and play your best.
(On the chemistry between the secondary)
DM: Yeah, it's been good. I think just being out there, I think that's been the key for this group. Whether it be in a game or even in practice, you know, being down in New Orleans practicing with [the Saints], just being out there more and more with guys, I think we're getting a better feel for each other. This is the time of year - the end of training camp - you want to start to feel like a unit. I think we're leaning towards that and getting close, so we've just got to keep at it.