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Patriots Postgame Quotes - 12/30/2012

New England Patriots players addressed the media following their regular season game against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, December 30, 2012. Read their quotes below.

Matthew Slater, Wide Receiver
(On whether he felt as if the team deserved a first-round bye)
"That's why you have to play 16 games. If we hadn't gotten the bye or we end up getting the bye, it wouldn't matter in the long run. You still have to go out there, play games and beat good football teams, whether that be at home or on the road. It is nice to have the bye. You know, our focus was on playing the Dolphins today and we knew all that other stuff was out of our control. "

(On what the next week will be like for the team)
"I think the big thing, there's a couple things. It's huge to be able to get guys healthy at this point in the season. We need everybody, down the stretch we need everybody out there healthy trying to contribute to what we're trying to do. Secondly, I think it's a time for us to go back, and, anytime you have a bye week, and evaluate ourselves, look at what we can improve upon going into the postseason, looking at what we need to work on to give ourselves a chance to have success down the stretch."

(On ending the regular season with a shutout)
"Oh, that was huge. Hats off to the defense. I think I heard the D-linemen talking about how they had seven sacks today, so they did a tremendous job. They were attentive to detail all week. We were challenged this week to see if we would come out and play a complete football game and I think we were able to do that."

Wes Welker, Wide Receiver
(On how much the bye helps the team)
"It helps: it helps us prepare, it helps us get healthy, it helps us do a lot of things. We've got a week where we can still get better and still improve going into the playoffs."

(On how much it helps having Rob Gronkowski back in the lineup)
"He made some big catches in the game. He really got us going on that one drive and made a big catch down the middle and then made another big catch for that touchdown. His presence blocking and everything else, he does a great job for us."

(On if he watched the Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis Colts game)
"Bits and pieces. I was trying to get focused on our game and really trying to zone in on what I had to do to take care of things in our game."

(On if he was aware that the Houston Texans had lost when he went out on the field)
"I wasn't fully aware, but I had a good idea that they probably did. But I was trying not to worry about that and was just trying to focus on my assignment and everything."

(On if it was important to play so well today after struggling the past two weeks)
"Well, we want to do it every week. Obviously we came out and executed well and did some good things. The defense played really well and shut them out, which is great, and we were able to put some points on the board which helped out."

Rob Gronkowski, Tight End
(On his return from injury)
"It was up to the coaches, the training staff how much I was going to play. They control everything, I'm just glad we got the win versus a good Miami Dolphins team. Overall they have a good defense, so just glad to be back out with my team."

(On how important it was to get back on the field before the playoffs)
"It's always important. I got limited reps, obviously, not that many. But you always want to get some reps before heading into the playoffs. It's good to get the speed down, the feel of the game. If it's practice, you can go hard, but that was game time. It was great to get some reps in, get the flow back into it and be out there with your teammates and connect with some chemistry with your teammates."

(On the importance of having a bye week)
"It's always good to get a week off. Extra time to heal, extra time to get stronger and extra time to be able to do what you got to do to get out there and be going full speed. Everyone on the team, [with] all their nicks and bruises and stuff, can get better and hopefully take it to our advantage and work hard."

(On how it felt taking his first hit since returning from injury)
"It felt good. I haven't gotten hit in a while. It's been a couple weeks – about six weeks since I've gotten hit. It's football, I'm always ready to get hit, always ready to get knocked down. You've just got to get back up and get back in the huddle. So it felt good to be back out there."

(On when he knew he was going to play this week)
"I just prepared all week thinking I was going to play. Really didn't just get an answer like, 'Alright Rob, you're good to go.' The doctors cleared me and everything, so that was good. But I was just preparing my mind all week that I was going to play. It really wasn't when I got cleared because I was just preparing myself all week since Monday that I was going to come out here and play with my teammates."

Brandon Deaderick, Defensive Lineman
(On shutting out the Dolphins)
"They've got a lot of great skill players, they've got a great scheme, they've got some dynamic people that they get the ball to. And to shut them out, that's a big building block for us."

(On the Patriots defense recording seven sacks in the game)
"We were getting after them, that's a great feeling."

(On if the Patriots' regular season defensive ranking matters in the postseason)
"Nothing matters, it's a whole new season. You lose, you go home."

Sebastian Vollmer, Tackle
(On what having Rob Gronkowski back means to the team)
"It's good to have [Rob Gronkowski], he's obviously a great player. It's good to have him in the run game and in the pass game. He brings a lot to the table, so obviously it's good to have him out there."

(On what Rob Gronkowski does in the running game)
"[Rob Gronkowski] is a blocker, you involve him in just blocking a guy. He's strong, tall, physical and stuff, so it's good to have him in there."

Ryan Wendell, Offensive Line
(On how it felt to see the defense play so well)
"Oh, it's always great to see your defense play like that. I mean, we play against those guys every day and to see them go out and do that, it really lifts up the offense."

(On if he felt that the offense was more cohesive than it had been in the past few weeks)
"I'm not sure yet. I'll watch the film and see exactly how everybody played and how we did. I felt like Tom [Brady] was more upright, but he got hit tonight and anytime he gets hit that's too much. So we'll work on improving that for next week - well, two weeks from now."

(On the fourth down touchdown to make it a 14-0 game)
"It was big. As offensive linemen, you always want to go for it and you always want to push it. It's not our call; we just have to do it when it gets called and I was really happy that [Stevan] Ridley was able to stick it in there."

(On what the bye week means mentally)
"I think the biggest thing is what you already said: just getting healthy. This sport is so physical that everybody can take the time to get a little bit better and to study a little bit more and do all of the things to get a little bit more of an edge."

Aaron Hernandez, Tight End
(On the win)
"We needed to get the offense going and come out with a good start. I felt like we did that, and now we have a bye week, which is good to get prepared for this playoff run."

(On having Rob Gronkowski back in the lineup)
"It was good to have Gronk back. His presence helps us that much more and (we need to) keep him healthy, get everyone going, get healthy on this bye week, and keep it rolling."

(On the importance of the bye week)
"(We need it) to get fresh while someone else is going to be coming off a game. We get to come fresh, hopefully come to play, and handle business."

(On the outcome of the Houston Texans game)
"I was definitely aware of it, watching the game in the training room for a bit. All I knew was that we had to take care of business and we had to win for anything to happen."

Trevor Scott, Defensive End
(On finishing the regular season playing well)
"It was huge, especially since we started off slow the last couple of games and we really focused on starting fast this week."

(On the loss of Rob Ninkovich during the game)
"It will be huge. He does everything for us. He's a great player but I don't know what the status is. I haven't talked to him."

(On stepping in for Chandler Jones)
"I'm ready anytime my number gets called so I just have to be ready."

Nate Solder, Tackle
(On if the team started faster than in previous games)
"I thought we did some things good. It certainly kind of went well there for a while and we played pretty well. I was happy with my play at least."

(On if the team was aware of the Indianapolis Colts victory over the Houston Texans)
"It's something we couldn't worry about because we had a big game ahead of us, so we focused on the Dolphins."

(On the extra week of rest before the next game)
"I think that's a good thing. I think that it's going to be a chance for me to get some things corrected and get ready to play."

Steve Gregory, Safety
(On getting a first round bye)
"It's great. Any time you can get a bye first round of the playoffs it's a good thing. We got to get to work this week [and] get some things done that we need to get done, but it's good to get that rest, get some guys healthy. I know some guys are banged up, so it's good for us."

(On the great collective defensive effort)
"It was great. Any time you can look up at the end of the game and see that zero up there on the scoreboard it's a good thing. We're proud of the guys and proud of the way we played. I'm sure we'll still get into that film room and there will still be some things to get corrected, but overall it was a great effort - guys came out and played hard and we got off to a fast start which was good."

(On if the team was relatively healthy as a whole for the first time all season)
"I know some guys are banged up and things like that, so we still got to get some guys healthy, but it's good that we have the bye to do that."

(On communication in the secondary)
"It's been great. Guys have been really gelling over the past few weeks. I know we've been working hard all year long and making sure that who's ever in there that we have our communication down and it went real well today."

Justin Francis, Defensive Lineman
(On his big night)
"I just want to start by saying, 'thank you, Jesus,' because without him, I wouldn't have this opportunity. Thank you to my teammates. I'm very appreciative because without them, I wouldn't be able to do anything. Tonight, we got done what we had to, and that was the objective. I thank God for that."

(On the defensive play calling)
"Bill (Belichick) and Matt (Patricia) set everything up, so we just go out and get everything done that we have to. We just go out there and do whatever that may be. We have been practicing pretty hard all week and we set out to obtain a certain objective and we obtained it."

(On his emotions during the game)
"It was fun. It's fun taking the field and getting after the quarterback. We are, as a group, out there having fun together."

(On stepping up big tonight)
"It's just the blessings of God. It's been a long journey and it continues. We are just going to move forward from this game and get ready for (the next one). We'll put this game behind us and get ready for whoever is next."

Aqib Talib, Cornerback
(On having a week off to rest)
"It's key for us, man. We definitely had that in mind and had that in our intentions. We'll use this valuably. We could definitely use the week. We need it."

(On if the week off is particularly important for him)
"It's important for all of us. We all could use it. It's a long season and a rough game, so we all could use the extra week."

(On when he found out the result of the Indianapolis Colts game)
"I guess when they put it on the screen out there, seeing the final when they put it on the screen. I don't know if it was before the game. I don't know when they put it up, but whenever they put it up, it showed us."

(On if the team started the game off like they needed to)
"Yeah, we just needed to come out, start fast and get a win. That's the most important thing and we came out and we did that."

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