QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY
Wednesday, January 19, 2019
Q: How much do you enjoy being the underdog and how big of a motivating factor is that for you?
TB: I don’t think about it too much, what people might say or think. I know we’re playing against a very good football team. They’re the first seed for a reason. They’ve had a great season and we’re going to have to go into a really tough environment and play our best football, so it’s a great opportunity for us and hopefully we can take advantage of it.
Q: In looking back, I noticed that as an offense there was a stretch from about 2006 through 2009 where you went for it more often on fourth down. Given how explosive Kansas City can be on offense and their ability to strike quickly, is there any thought given to potentially using all four downs more on offense and strategically planning some opportunities to go for it on fourth down this Sunday?
TB: It could be. I think situationally, however the game is going, I think sometimes you get in the games and offensively you’re doing really well and you feel like if we have that extra down, we can get it. Sometimes it’s not going as well and you feel like they’ve been stopping us and then you punt. I don’t know what those particular reason were. I’m sure there was a reason for all of those, why we would go for them, why we wouldn’t. How many times did we go for it this year?
Q: Fourteen. Seven-for-14.
TB: Fifty percent. That’s not very good.
Q: Do you feel emboldened ever to lobby for it?
TB: We talk about a lot of scenarios before the game and so forth. Whatever the situation presents, I think we’ll try to do what’s best or what we think is best or gives us the best opportunity to win. It’s one game. If you don’t win, that’s it. That’s what the playoffs are about. You’re right – they’ve got a great offense. We’re going to need to score a lot of points.
Q: Is there a constant that you can point to that shows why your team keeps going to the AFC Championship Game?
TB: I don’t know.
Q: What happens organizationally or team-wise that lets these opportunities keep happening?
TB: I’ve never sat to think about any of those things. I really haven’t thought about anything like that.
Q: What factors go into whether you decide to wear a glove on either hand in a particular cold weather game?
TB: Yeah, obviously weather’s a factor anytime you play in January in these colder climates in Kansas City – obviously, a cold climate. They’re used to it and we’ve been practicing in it for the last two months. It hasn’t been extreme cold, but it’s been cold enough to know what you’ve got to wear and how you’ve got to deal with it the best way you can. I’ve played in a lot of games over the years where weather’s a factor. You just dress for it and hopefully our blood has thickened up enough here being in the Northeast to deal with some of the cold, which I think it has. Even days like today, they’re cold and they do a good job preparing you. It’ll be colder Sunday than it’s been at any point this year, so have a little mental toughness, a little physical toughness and just deal with it the best you can.
Q: How would you characterize defensive coordinator Bob Sutton’s defenses, and given your familiarity with him do you feel like you have a pretty good idea of what you might be seeing this week?
TB: Yeah, we’ve played them quite a bit over the years. Obviously, very well-coached offensively, defensively, special teams. Bob Sutton’s a hell of a coordinator. They’ve had some incredible units that we’ve played against. They’ve got play-makers at each level. Obviously, a good scheme. They make you work for it. It’s a very tough, hard-nosed team. They compete on every snap. They’ve been in a lot of close games this year. It’s a great challenge for us. I don’t think you can take anything for granted. These guys are going to play extremely hard and they rush well. They try to be stout in there against the run. They’ve got some good, hard-nosed linebackers and the secondary – they’re not afraid to tackle. They’ll go up there and mix it up with everyone. That’s a lot of what our first game was like. There was a lot of battles at the line of scrimmage and we’re going to have to win our fair share.
Q: What is it going to take to repeat the type of offensive performance you had last week against the Chargers and bring that into this week at the Chiefs?
TB: Yeah, I think we talk about in these games, it’s not like a special play or there’s a special formula. It’s just excelling at the right time. There’s no play you can call, "This is guaranteed 10 yards here." This is a defense that gets up in your face and they try to challenge you and they don’t make yards easy. We’re going to have to go dig them out. We’re going to have to fight for every yard, toughness, effort, all of those things play into it. Obviously, scheme and execution but I think some intangible things are very important about finishing blocks and out-efforting the guy that’s over the top of you or winning your one-on-one matchup running your pass route. Because these guys, that’s what they’re trying to do too, and even the first game we played against them we had some opportunities that we came up with down the field. There were other ones we were really close and we just didn’t. That could be the difference and you never know which play it’s going to be and I think everyone’s going to be counted on. Similar to last week, it’s about distributing the ball to everybody, making them defend everybody on the field in run, pass, everything and that’s why we were effective last week and hopefully that’s why we’re effective this week.
Q: How does it feel to be the underdog going into this one?
TB: It doesn’t change much for us, but it just kind of shows you what people think about what our chances are. That’s about it. No more added comment to that.
Q: So it’s not any extra motivation for you?
TB: I mean, if you’re not motivated this week you’ve got a major problem. This is the week where you shouldn’t have to put anything extra in. This is what it’s all about. You sign up any chance you get to play in the AFC Championship Game, so I don’t care where, when, time, cold weather, rain, blood. It don’t matter.
Q: Why do you think you guys have struggled so much on the road this year?
TB: I just look at those games individually and I know why we haven’t won those games individually. I don’t think it’s a broad, sweeping thing. It was a little bit in each game. I think the point of that is this is not the week to have less than our best. It’s a tough game. It’s a tough challenge. It’s tough to beat the number one seed on the road. That’s the reality, just like we’re tough to beat at home when we’re the number one seed. It takes a lot. It takes a lot of good football. It takes a great complementary game. All three phases have to be on point. We’re going against a team that scores a lot of points. They lead the league in sacks, strips-sacks. It’s a good group and I think everybody at every position has to play well. That’s what championship games are all about. These aren’t just handed to you on a silver platter and, "Here you go. Here’s your trip to the Super Bowl." You’ve got to go fight them out. We’ve been in a lot of games that come right down to the end.
Q: Has the use and the effectiveness of the 21 and 22 personnel sort of helped you establish an offensive identity late in the year after some of the things the offense went through earlier?
TB: I think those are good groupings for us. We have confidence in whatever grouping we put out there, or else the reality is we wouldn’t put it out there. I think those groups are good. It’s certainly a style of football we like to play and it sets up a lot of things. Obviously, running the ball and then play-actions off the run game are very important. They help you create space. It’s impossible to create space in the defense with a drop-back pass like you can when you play-action and you can displace underneath coverage and so forth. But yeah, both of those are going to be effective. We’ll see as the game plan shakes out what we use more of. Every player is ready to go and whoever’s called on has to go out there and execute their job – run, pass, whatever it is.
Q: Where do you think this team stands right now compared to your Week 6 matchup with Kansas City?
TB: Yeah, hopefully we’ve improved. I think we’ve worked pretty hard. We’ve put a lot of time and energy into it and you’re at a point where this is as many practices as we’ve had, as much as this team’s been together, it’s a lot of communication, a lot of meetings, a lot of things that we’ve tried that maybe haven’t worked. We’ve got one game guaranteed this Sunday, but nothing beyond that. Whatever we got, it’s just the best that we got and that’s how it should be in these games.
Q: How cool are these moments for your kids and your family now that they are a little bit older? Is it different than when they were younger?
TB: Yeah, absolutely different than when I was young and very little responsibility and now kids. It’s a lot of fun. It’s great for me. My daughter is six. She’s a great cheerleader for us. My oldest son is into every play. My middle son is not into any play. It’s perfect. We get to talk about it on the way home. They’re understanding more and more but they’re still my kids, so they don’t care much about Dad. They’d rather hang with Gronk [Rob Gronkowski] and Jules [Julian Edelman] and all of those other guys.
Q: They don’t give you any advice or tell you what to do?
TB: My oldest son, Jack, does a little bit. He can analyze it pretty good.
Q: Can you comment on how James White has shown up in big games for you guys these past couple of years?
TB: James has been an exceptional player for us. Obviously, in the biggest games and we have so much trust in him and his ability to make the right decision. He’s great with the ball in his hands; run game, pass game. He’s just been an exceptional player in every way. A great teammate and they don’t make too many like him, so I think we’re all lucky to have him on our team playing, competing. That’s what it’s about – playing your best in the biggest games and James has always done that.
Q: He’s a fellow Big Ten guy.
TB: I know. I love those Big Ten guys.
CENTER DAVID ANDREWS
Wednesday, January 19, 2019
Q: When talking to Dante Scarnecchia, he said you guys try to keep a lot of your schemes in the running game similar so it’s the same footwork and technique. Is that something that helps you guys out as linemen?
DA: Yeah, I think that’s a big thing is we try to keep – our techniques are our techniques so come Week 16, there might be a new wrinkle to a run, but in reality for us, it’s the same footwork, same technique but it maybe looks different, dressed up a little different. That allows us to be very good at what we do and consistent.
Q: Do you guys plan on going out there with no sleeves in the cold?
DA: I’ve never worn sleeves a day in my life so I’m just going to put on what I put on and go out there and play.
Q: Even if it’s one degree out?
DA: It’s the AFC Championship Game. I don’t really care what the temperature is. I’m just fortunate to be here.
Q: Kansas City tied for the league lead in sacks. What’s your impression of their pass rush and the problems they pose?
DA: It’s a very good defense so a very good defensive line. You can’t play these guys from third-and-long, play them from behind and behind the sticks and let them tee up their pass rush. They’re very good and they can get home. They don’t have to do a lot of crazy things. They’ve just got good athletes that can rush the passer. It’s going to be a big challenge. We’re going to have to go in there, stay ahead on down and distance and play the game how we want to.
Q: You’ve played in a lot of playoff games. Are you different in these games?
DA: No, I don’t think so. I think everything’s just amped up and heightened, just like each playoff game. It’s the biggest game we’ve played all year, best team we’ve played all year but it’s just a football game at the end of the day. It’s going be a big challenge but I think you rely on what got you here, rely on all the hard work you started putting in in April and then through the summer, camp in August and all those things and whatever week we are now in the season. So you just rely on those things and you’ve just got to be at your best come Sunday.
Q: Were you able to take that attitude as a rookie or are you more mature now?
DA: I think I’m definitely more mature now. As a rookie, it’s a little different but I think that’s something you just learn.
Q: How much has that consistency along your offensive line helped?
DA: We’ve got a tough group of guys and we’ve been very fortunate for the most part. Football’s a physical game and things happen that guys can’t control but we’ve been fortunate the years I’ve been here and having guys stay in there and play. It’s a big thing, when you need to work together with guys each day in and out, you just kind of form a group and know how each other operates and communicates. It’s just a testament to guys coming in each day and working and staying healthy.
Q: Ivan Fears said no one does the screen pass better than James White. Can you talk about how you guys work together to make that play so effective?
DA: Man, I just try and go out and block for him and then you can kind of feel him run by you and it puts a little smile on your face. James is such a good runner in open space. If we can just get out there and try to throw our bodies around, get on guys, he’ll do the rest.
Q: Arrowhead Stadium is known to get pretty noisy. How does that change the way you guys communicate as an offense?
DA: I think you just have to be very thorough. You can’t leave anything assumed and need to make sure everybody’s on the same page. You can’t work on a snap count so you have to be on the silent but I think that’s something we can do a good job of. It’ll be a big challenge. It’s going to be a great environment for a football game, that’s for sure.
SAFETY DEVIN MCCOURTY
Wednesday, January 19, 2019
Q: How much do you guys embrace the underdog role?
DM: I think it probably has happened to everybody individually in their life at some point so I think that comes naturally for guys. As far as from a team aspect, we just get ready to go. I think you guys see it around here, Bill [Belichick] doesn’t treat us any different if we’re underdogs or the favorite or any of that. It’s all about just being ready to go out there and try to win a football game.
Q: Patrick Mahomes has been very complimentary of your defense. How much pride do you guys take in being able to confuse the quarterback at times?
DM: I think we definitely take pride in that and I think we kind of realize that we have to do that to win. A lot of these quarterbacks in the NFL are just too good to just go out there and give them whatever it is you’re doing. We definitely try to make it hard for them. Playing him before, he figures things out. We even thought in the first game that we got him on some stuff but later he was able to figure it out and I think you’ve seen that throughout the season. Even as a younger guy, he understands coverages. Obviously, he has a great ability to throw the ball and to move around so we’ll have to definitely try to make it tough for him Sunday.
Q: Have you ever seen a guy as fast as Tyreek Hill before? What do you have to expect when you face a guy like that?
DM: You’ve just got to do your best. You can turn on the plays throughout the whole season over and over again. Everyone knows he’s fast. It’s on the scouting report, it’s on the film but he’s still able to make plays, he’s still able to run by guys. It’s awareness, it’s knowing where he’s at, it’s trying to get the film study to understand what he’s doing when he’s at different places. But I think in their offense they do a great job of he’s at number one, he’s at two, he’s at three, he’s in the backfield, he’s going on speed-motion so it’s very difficult the way they use him. But it’s a team effort. It’s not going to be one guy that you just say go cover him. It’s going to be a team effort of just trying to know where he’s at and gang-tackle him and get as many guys to him.
Q: How much do you relish all of these opportunities you’ve had to play in the AFC Championship Game?
DM: It’s a great opportunity. I think just walking in here today, seeing the background, you don’t know if this will happen every year and it kind of seems crazy because we say it every time we get this opportunity, but it’s a special thing to be able to play in this game. Especially because it’s the one game back in April that every team wants to be playing in, every team in the AFC wants to be in this game and it comes down to us and Kansas City. Bill [Belichick] said it all week, “We won’t regret putting a lot into this.” So I think that’s the approach guys are taking, just giving it everything they have this week as far as film study, staying late, getting their body ready, just doing anything possible to try to play their best and I think that’s the right approach to have this week.
Q: You guys have a saying, “Ignore the noise.” But on Sunday, you said that you see it all and Julian Edelman had something on social media saying “Bet against us.” Are there times you can use the noise to your advantage?
DM: Yeah and I think “ignore the noise” goes as far as preparation. I think if everyone thinks we’re great, that doesn’t mean you take the week off and just show up for the game and if everyone thinks we’re bad, it doesn’t mean we have no shot to win. But I think guys do. Like I said, each one of the guys in the locker room at different points in their life has been counted out and counted against. You have to. You guys are probably built the same way. That’s why you’re here doing what you do. It’s no different for us as people and as athletes that love to compete. We understand we’ve got a big challenge Sunday.
Q: How do you strike the balance between using it as motivation but not getting too caught up in it?
DM: At the end of the day, you better be ready to play football. What you see and what everyone else is talking about becomes irrelevant as soon as kickoff. No one else cares about that. It’ll be us versus Kansas City and that’s why we’re here all day today. That’s why we’ll be here for the whole week, is to prepare for that. Everything else is cool. It’s something to talk about but at the end of the day, it comes down to being able to play football and execute at a high level.
Q: How do you keep track of all of Kansas City’s weapons on a given play and how important is the communication between you guys in the secondary?
DM: It’s vital for not just the secondary, but us as a whole defense. With so many weapons, whether it’s in the run game with [Damien] Williams, all of the guys they put on the field to catch the ball, with [Patrick] Mahomes playing quarterback who’s going to have the ball in his hands every play, we have to be able to communicate and know what each guy’s doing out there. We can’t have anybody that has a bad game Sunday. Like it’s that time of the year where we all need to kind of play our best football and that’s the teams that win – when you get all 11 guys out there on the same page playing good football, and that’s what we’ll need to do Sunday.
Q: What does it take to win these games that are usually close and back-and-forth?
DM: Flo [Brian Flores] has been my position coach for a lot of these years and he always said, “When you get in these big games, it’s about focusing on the next play.” No matter if the play before was good or bad or what happened, it’s all about focusing on the next play, not focusing on what could happen or what might happen in the game later on in the fourth quarter. It’s just, “next play, next play.” I think we’ve got to have that mentality throughout the whole game because like you said, each one of these games I’ve played in, there’s been great moments, there’s been bad moments. It’s just like a roller coaster. When you have two good teams going at it, that’s what you’re going to have and we’ve got to have that mentality for 60 minutes.
Q: I loved the piece that Jason McCourty wrote in the Players’ Tribune –
DM: I thought it was okay.
Q: What was it like for you guys to celebrate his first playoff win together?
DM: It was fun. But the mindset you kind of develop quickly in the playoff atmosphere is that it’s all about the next game if you want to stay alive. But for all of us, running in the locker room, realizing you get a chance to come to work the next week, you get a chance to compete in the AFC Championship, like guys love that feeling. When you play in those games, it’s just the truth, you either have a tremendous high or you’re going to have a really, really, really low. I’ve been on both sides of that so when you win, even though like I said, you know you want to win the next week, you have to celebrate and you have to kind of live in that moment. To play in the first playoff game for him and first one together, we were quite happy it was a win.
Q: He’s one-for-one.
DM: I mean, he’s doing better than I am.
Q: What’s the top thing to remember when you’re going up against a quarterback that makes you defend the whole field like Patrick Mahomes?
DM: I think one of the things is that at times, you have kind of a clock in your head of when the ball’s coming out or when the rush will get there, you just kind of know, you have a feeling on plays. Against Mahomes, it’s a little different. Like that ball might not come out, he might run backwards ten yards, he might go back across the field, like he just has that ability. Usually you talk about if a guy is on one side of the field, he kind of cuts off the other half, but if you watch him, he makes throws across his body that get to the receiver. It’s more of an awareness of understanding what’s still alive with him and that’s what we mean when we say that the whole field is still alive because of his arm strength and athletic ability to buy time.
Q: Is there any difference in a playoff game when you’ve already played the opponent in the regular season?
DM: I think it’s a little different when you play a team three weeks ago, two weeks ago. A lot usually is very similar. I think because we played each other so long ago, you definitely watch the game and you go over some of the things that went well or didn’t go well because those things could come back up. But a lot of times, the teams you play in October – we’re not the same really. They’re not the same. It’s just a little different. Whereas I think it’s a little different when you play a team a couple of weeks ago like how Baltimore and L.A. [Chargers] played towards the end of the regular season and then in a playoff game, like you don’t have that much time to make a lot of changes at this time of the year. But I think that game definitely has relevance.
Q: If I heard you right, you said Bill Belichick told the team, “You’ll never regret putting everything you have into this week.” That’s an urgent message. When you hear that from him, what do you notice about how your teammates respond?
DM: For me, I’ve heard it each year now but I think guys kind of get it. You put in everything you got because if you don’t, that’s it. Whatever you thought was important, you have all the time in the world now in the offseason so I think guys see that message and they’re like, “Yeah, this is what I want.” I think that feeling of walking away Sunday with an opportunity to play again, I think that urges guys more to see what the feeling is next week if you can win. I think what I’ve always loved is that it’s a clear message and I think everyone can understand that, that you’ll never look back and say, “I put in too much work for us to go out there and win.” Because of that feeling, it just trumps it.
Q: These games are won and lost over the course of the week in terms of practice and preparation. Can you speak to the importance of the scout team, especially in moments like this?
DM: Yeah, it’s key and I think we always talk about that here. You guys see it – you’ll see guys in black jerseys and stuff and the importance of that. I think guys take a lot of pride in, of going out there, seeing the film, seeing what they’re asked to do and trying to do it to a high level. I think one thing that always helps that is you see guys come from the practice squad or not playing much throughout the season and then out of nowhere, they’re playing in the biggest moments and all of that starts with being on the scout team, being out there at practice. I think when you see us go out there and play well, it’s probably because we had good moments in practice but sometimes it’s because we had bad moments because the scout team gave us a good look to go back there and review and get ready for the game. You get to this time of the year, every man in that locker room counts, every man has a role on the team and that’s why when you win, every guy’s excited, every guy has fun. I don’t care if you played every snap or if you played one or if you didn’t play on Sunday. Every guy embraces that and enjoys that moment because you’re truly a part of it.
RUNNING BACK JAMES WHITE
Wednesday, January 19, 2019
Q: How much does the underdog mentality motivate you guys?
JW: Yeah, it can motivate you a little bit but you’ve still got to go out there and play for four quarters. Just because you’re an underdog doesn’t give you any added boost. You’ve just got to go out there and execute, play hard football for four quarters on the road and that’s what it’s going to take to beat those guys.
Q: What do you think of the cold weather in Kansas City for this Sunday?
JW: You’ve just got to deal with it. Both teams have to deal with the elements so whatever it is, as Coach [Bill Belichick] will say, you’ve just got to go out there and play through it. We’ve just got to play football. If it’s going to be cold, going to be hot, you never know so you’ve just got to deal with it.
Q: Do you wear a different kind of clothes, layer up?
JW: You can layer up as much as possible but you’ve still got to be able to go out there and run and play football so you can’t put too much clothes on.
Q: As a running back, how difficult was it to learn the system and how to catch the ball out of the backfield?
JW: It wasn’t too difficult just going out there and trying to do the right things, pay attention to the finer details, trying to see what Tom [Brady’s] seeing so we can be on the same page and I’m in the right spot when he looks my way. So just working hard at practice, during OTAs, training camp and throughout the season. You just continue to get better at it.
Q: What’s it been like to run the ball behind this offensive line?
JW: Oh, it’s awesome. They’ve been doing a great job for us all year, from them to James Develin to the tight ends, receivers. They’ve been giving us a big boost, giving us big holes to run through and making it easy for us. If we just make one guy miss, we’ve got some big runs and it’s been a big boost for our offense. If you can run the ball successfully, it opens up a lot of stuff. Sony [Michel], Rex [Burkhead], everybody who has run the football has been doing a great job.
Q: How are these games different for you? How are you different in these games?
JW: You just don’t take the opportunity for granted. It’s not just every year automatically you’re going to be in the playoffs, be in the AFC Championship so just make the most of our opportunity, live in the moment and just go out there and play your best football. You don’t want to have any regrets.
Q: What are your impressions of the Kansas City pass rush and Chris Jones in particular?
JW: Chris Jones is having a huge year and Dee Ford, Justin Houston, those guys have been disruptive all year long. I think they lead the league in sacks and stuff like that so it’s going to take all of us to pay attention to those guys and not let them make too big of an impact on the game because they really can mess up a game.
PLAYERS IN THE LOCKER ROOM
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN TREY FLOWERS
(On the impact the weather will have on him Sunday)
“[No impact] at all. It’s football. It is what it is. Mind over matter. It’s a state of mind.”
(On if the defense takes pride in giving opposing offenses multiple looks)
“Yeah, definitely. Just being able to mix [it] up with different looks; pre-snap, not allowing the quarterback to be comfortable and know what he’s looking at. Anytime you can make it uneasy on a quarterback or an offensive play caller not knowing what he’s looking at is always an advantage for us.”
(On the challenges of facing Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes)
“He’s a great player. He’s a playmaker. A guy who definitely can make plays [and] not the typical way as far as planting your feet or pushing him out of the pocket. He’s great out of the pocket. Keeping him in the pocket and he’s great in the pocket. He’s one of the guys that you just have to kind of contain him the best you can and try to out-execute him.”
(On the importance of keeping Mahomes and the Chiefs offense from getting off to a fast start)
“We definitely understand this is a very explosive team. They’ve got a lot of explosive playmakers that can get the ball into the end zone in one play or they can push it down on a 12-play drive. It’s just one of the things that understanding how explosive they are and how they want to start fast and we just have to come in and match the intensity, match the execution and try to stop them.”
WIDE RECEIVER CHRIS HOGAN
(On what a team can take from a previous matchup with an opponent and apply it to a second meeting)
“You can definitely go back and self-scout a little bit and see how they played you in the first game, but you know this is the playoffs; you never really know what is going to happen out there. You have to be able to adjust out there on the fly. What we’re focused on is just preparing ourselves as much as we can this week and putting everything we have into it and hopefully we can go out there on Sunday and just play a good football game.”
(On how he is preparing for the weather forecast for Sunday)
“It is what it is. You go out there and you focus on just playing football. Whatever the weather is, it is. You just have to go out there, grind through it, a little mental toughness. I think guys will be ready for it. We’ve played in the cold before.”
(On if the Chiefs seem to play more man coverage in critical situations)
“They’ve shown that in the past. They definitely showed that against us in the past and the last time that we played them. I think there will be a lot of man coverage, so we are just going to have to do a good job of creating separation and running good routes and getting open up top for Tom [Brady].”
LINEBACKER ALBERT MCCLELLAN
(On the film study and communication of the Patriots special team unit)
“The amount of years we have in that room together- [there] is a lot of vision and a lot of wisdom, so it’s not just one person that has a vision. Everyone is kind of just adding their input to it. It’s a great formula so to speak with all of the people combining their ideas together and coming up with one solution or one idea. It keeps the unit strong. Nate [Ebner] and Slate [Matthew Slater] are our leaders and they do a good job of asking questions and asking what we see and how we do normally play it coming from other places and then how we do it here and why it’s either better or worse. It’s great communication.”
(On his impact on special teams this season and how much is a credit to film study)
“A lot of it is preparation. Effort is the main thing. Giving all of our effort; core specialists only get 10 plays a game so we have to let it all loose on the field. A lot of it is film study, but the majority of the time it’s effort and fundamentals trying to get to the ball.”
(On receiving recognition for his special teams contributions)
“[Special teams] is a key phase of the game. A lot of people always say that punting is the most important play of the game since so many people have their hands on the ball. It’s great to get noticed, but at the same time we are a unit, so once one person gets noticed the whole unit gets noticed.”
(On what makes Kansas City so good on special teams)
“They got some home run hitters. You’ve got to be disciplined. You’ve got to be laser-focused. Everything comes into play – your assignment, your technique, communicating everything. It’s not just one person, it’s not just one thing – it’s combining everything and hopefully your formula is better than theirs.”
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN DEATRICH WISE, JR
(On what is impressive about Mahomes)
“A very creative quarterback who can throw on the run, [throw] in the pocket and out of the pocket. [We’re] looking to just keep him in the pocket for the whole game.”
(On Mahomes’ athleticism compared to other quarterbacks in the league)
“It’s the same. I believe all quarterbacks who are athletic have the same ability – can throw and can run. As long as we disrupt him by keeping him in the pocket and throwing the timing off we’ll be good.”
(On the key to keeping Mahomes in the pocket)
“Just make sure we do what coach [Bill Belichick] tells us to do. Whether it’s driving a guy back or throwing a guy off; make sure we are in his face and throwing our hands up, hitting him, stuff like that.”
(On whether the Patriots defense is deceptive)
“We just focus on pretty much making plays as best we know how. We line up how we line up and if they [the offense] can’t read it, they can’t read it.”
(On the importance of containing Mahomes and the Chiefs offense early)
“We have to start strong, start fast and go out there being physical and set the tone for not only the defense, but for the game.”