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Patriots Quotes - 1/14/2013

New England Patriots players comment on their upcoming AFC Conference Championship game against the Baltimore Ravens during media access on Monday, January 14, 2013.

Robert Kraft signs autographs.
Robert Kraft signs autographs.

Rob Ninkovich, Defensive Lineman

(On the mindset of the team today as they prepare for the Ravens)
"Happy about the win but we are moving on from it. Obviously we have a lot of work to do this week preparing for the Ravens. They are a good team and we are going to do our best this week to do everything we can to be prepared."

(On the culture of the Patriots that leads to players being able to step in when there is an injury)
"I think it is guys that can do multiple things, play multiple roles. A lot of guys are able to be moved around a little bit and still be successful. I think it goes back to fundamentals that you learn in training camp of not only just learning one position but many as you go through training camp, to where if something is to happen to somebody, other guys can step in and there is really no drop off in play."

(On why he is always around the ball)
"I think that goes back to when I was learning how to play football back in high school. I was taught at a young age to always be around the football because that is where things happen. If you are around the ball that is what makes those opportunities come up. The ball comes out, you are right there. It goes back to Rob Glielmi I guess, Lincoln-Way Central High School, give him a shout out."

(On what he saw on the onside kick)
"Again, give the Texans credit. They had a good formation there, splitting out number one outside to where I was kind of in between the last guy on the line to the second guy. They kind of kicked the ball inside to where everybody was at and I saw it bouncing around so I was able to run in there and grab it."

(On always being alert to where people are lining up and what could possibly happen on onside kicks)
"You have to be really alert on onside kicks. Not only to what they are lined up as, formation, but also to kicker tendencies and where the ball is set up. All that stuff. There are a lot of things that go into it."

(On if they ever get tired of facing the Ravens in Championship games)
"No. Whoever we have to play that is who we have to play. The Ravens are there for a reason. They have had a great season as well. Again, it is just going to come down to how well we prepare this week and playing three-phase football."

(On the Ravens field goal from early in the season)
"That was a long time ago. I don't remember too much about that. I am going to move on from the Ravens from earlier in the season. They are a completely different team, we are a completely different team. That is the way the NFL season works. You progress throughout the year. Both teams have improved throughout the season to get where we are at right now. Again, they have done a lot of great things. We are going to have a tough time preparing for all the things they do. They are a good football team."

(On what makes the Ravens so tough)
"They are similar in how they are built, bigger guys, a physical style of play. The running back is great. Ray Rice is able to play physically tough, running down hill. The passing game, (Joe) Flacco is able to stand tall in the pocket. He is a big guy. He can make a lot of throws. Again, their style of play is similar to how we play, physical and tough."

(On getting in the right situation and with the right coaching staff to utilize his talents)
"I think there are a lot of guys that aren't in the NFL right now that it is right place, right time, having the opportunity to play. There are some things out there that just happen. Injuries happen that you have to deal with and injuries affect people's careers. For me I would say that injury affected the early part of my career. Again, I was blessed to be able to stick around in the league a couple years without really doing anything. I am happy to have come here and been able to do something in 2009 to be a part of this team and stick around. I am happy to be here."

(On what defines the Patriots-Ravens games that he has been a part of)
"I think it comes down to the last drive. One or two possessions throughout the whole game that really affect the outcome of the game. If you look back at every game that we have had it has come down to the end and it is one or two possessions throughout the game that really affect the outcome. So ball security and creating turnovers is something that is really going to go a long way in this game."

Matthew Slater, Special Teams Captain


(On how to improve the kickoff coverage following the Houston game)*
"You go back to the basics. Go back to the fundamentals and the rules that we have as coverage players. Doing our jobs better; doing our assignments better. It's been a strength for us this season, kickoff coverage, and I'm confident that we'll get it fixed."

(On Ray Lewis as a player)
"He's changed the game. He's been a once-in-a-lifetime, once in a generation type player. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him and what he's accomplished in his career. As a fan of the game, and I fancy myself a historian of the game also, [I have] all the respect in the world for him. But we're playing the Ravens, too, not just him. They have a good football team across the board."

(On if the Ravens are one of the Patriots' closest rivals)
"I wouldn't go so far as to say that, but we do know that they are a tough football team. They know how to play us well. They compete and play the game the right way. That's why they've had so much success over the past several years and it's been no different against us. They've played us well every time we've played them, so we expect it to be the same kind of game this week."

Shane Vereen, Running Back

(On difference between this year and last year for him as a player)
"A humongous difference. I didn't even play last year in the [playoffs], so to be able to contribute last night and hopefully to be able to contribute a little bit come Sunday is huge."

(On if he's learned a lot from the other running backs)
"Definitely. We're a close group. We talk a lot. We're always together. One player runs a play and he comes back [to the sideline] and tells us what he saw so we can all learn from it."

Steve Gregory, Safety

(On the culture of stepping up)
"It's big. We take pride in everybody on this team responding and trying to prepare themselves so that when that moment comes when we have to step up and make plays [we're] able to perform and make plays. We're all in this together, and everybody's got to be ready."

(On Baltimore's win last week)
"We all know Baltimore is a great football team. To go out there in Denver in that atmosphere and to get a win is huge. We know they're a good football team and it's going to be a tough game."

(On Baltimore thriving on big plays)
"They have some great receivers over there, guys with speed. [Joe] Flacco has a big arm. He makes good decisions with the football, so they have the ability to beat you in many ways and definitely over the top is one of them."

(On if Baltimore is different than any other team in the amount of chances they take)
"When you have guys like that, a guy like Torrey Smith who can really stretch a defense and has speed like that, that's the type of guy who can get behind the defense. So they definitely take their shots at it."

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