TE JABAAL SHEARD CONFERENCE CALL
March 20, 2015
Q:Why did you sign with the Patriots? Can you give us some insights on why your sack total has gone down each of your first four years in the league?
JS:Well I signed to the Patriots just coming in and hearing from the coaches about all of the great things that are going on, coming from a not-so-good program to a great base program that has been winning and doing well. I'm just really excited. I want to win in the league and I want to be a part of a great organization, so that was a big part of me signing. My career has been shaky; it's been up and down. I just haven't had the best year last year and the year before. I've just got to learn to finish and I'm hoping getting with the new coaches over here that I'll be able to work on that and get that accomplished.
Q:How's your bracket look?
JS:I didn't get to do one, man. I heard it's crazy out there though.
Q:When you go to a versatile team like New England, is it a hard sell for you to envision how exactly you are going to fit in?
JS:No. Since I came in, just meeting with the coaches, I envision that they have some great plan for me, just knowing the system that they run. I've been around three different systems in my last three years so I'm ready for whatever. I'm always ready to embrace something new and something different and I'm up for the challenge, whatever it is.
Q:Are you an edge player in your estimation?
JS:I think I can play anywhere up front. I think my main strength is knocking guys back and creating penetration in the line of scrimmage, ultimately stopping the run and being a big factor there and getting after the quarterback or dropping, whatever else may come with it. Ultimately my strength, personally I think, is knocking guys back and creating penetration.
Q:What other options did you have during free agency? Obviously winning in New England was an important factor for you, but what were the other deciding factors on why you chose New England?
JS:There were other guys reaching out, previous coaches I had in Tampa and Seattle, but I mean I visited there coming [into] my rookie year and I thought I was going to be drafted there honestly coming out as a rookie. I got a second shot at it, meeting with the coaches again, [the] same coaches. Coming from a program where I was seeing new coaches every year, it's kind of some consistency there. I think that was huge and just the fact that guys that have been doing it a while, they know how to win. I want to be a part of that.
Q:In terms of your sack production, is there any truth to the fact that you maybe you dipped in your statistical production because of the transition to a 4-3 to a 3-4? Do you think the fact that Patriots play mostly four-man fronts will help bring your production back to where it was the first two years of your career?
JS:Honestly, I don't believe that had anything to do with the fact that I went from a 3-4 or a 4-3. It was just me not executing, me not sticking to the game plan. But I'm more focused; I'm hungrier than I've ever been. Like I said, I look forward to getting with these coaches and learning new things. Pass rushing is about learning new things, getting comfortable and coaches helping you out along the way. I just can't wait to get started.
Q:It seems like defenses around the league seem to like to rotate three or four pass rushers if they can. Do you feel like a starter is maybe mislabeled in today's NFL because teams need to roll three or four guys out there at times? Do you feel like you, Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich could pose a threat there?
JS:I feel like a lot of teams are definitely now going to that. The last two years I've been part of a different kind of rotation rather than my first two years. I definitely look forward to working with Chandler and Rob. Those guys are definitely excited, just talking to them a little bit. I think we'll make a nice three-[man] tandem. We'll get after guys and create a lot of [havoc] in the backfield and on quarterbacks.
Q:How much, if any, did your foot injury last year affect your play?
JS:I don't think it was much. It was a little minor little ding-up. It didn't affect it much. It was just more so me finishing. I sat down and watched film with coach and it was just things I was doing – not working my hands and not finishing plays and that's something where I can improve.
Q:Do you have any friends or relationships with any of the Patriots players?
JS:Well you've got two guys that I worked with over in Cleveland that signed with the Patriots, well actually three. I kind of know Chandler Jones a little bit. I can't think of anybody else, but I'm pretty sure I work out with a lot of guys down here in Miami so we'll get along pretty well.
Q:Can you talk about any sort of relationship you had with Mike Lombardi when he was in Cleveland? Did that ease this part of the process coming from Cleveland to New England?
JS:Definitely. I think that was huge. I think that's what got New England interested in me right away. Obviously he believed in me coming out as a rookie into the league and seeing what I could do. I think that's going to translate to this year.
Q:What was the process like when you visited New England as a prospect? It seems like it set the stage for this visit and this agreement this time around?
JS:It was real business-like, real focused; you could tell that it was going to be all business once you get there. I mean it was a bit nerve-wrecking, I can't lie. I was a bit nervous. It's something I look forward to. It's going to challenge my every day to get better and ultimately everybody wants to be the best in the league at their position. I think that's the thing that the Patriots are going to help each guy on the team, not just me, but everybody on the team, to achieve.
Q:Do you feel as if you were ever misused in Cleveland? Could they have used you differently?
JS:No, no. I feel like each scheme is different and I feel like I challenge myself to play whatever scheme and whatever position I'm put at. I take it all on myself to make that scheme work, whatever they put me at. I think ultimately the 3-4 outside linebacker was a great position for me. I just didn't execute it well enough last year. Prior to that I was in a 4-3 and that's what I'd been playing, which I had fun at. I ultimately could have been better there. It's football, you always get better and whatever position you are put at, obviously coaches see something in you at that position – there's a reason you are there.
Q:Have the Patriots given you any indication of how they might use you?
JS:I think it's a little bit of defensive end, maybe a little bit of outside linebacker, not too much. That's just what I'm assuming, but whatever they decide in the offseason and when we come in during OTAs I'm pretty sure we'll get a feel for each other and actually see where I fit in the scheme just showing how athletic I am or what I'm better at. Once we get to OTAs I'm pretty sure we'll have a better understanding of where I fit in there.
TE SCOTT CHANDLER CONFERENCE CALL
March 20, 2015
Q:What makes New England such a good fit for you?
SC:I think that comes down to the organization that Mr. [Robert] Kraft has set up here. It's been a top-flight organization since I've been playing for sure, and longer than that. I think that was a big factor, was just going to a good organization.
Q:You've put up good numbers against the Patriots. Is there any reason for that?
SC:I think you go into a game just wanting to do what it takes for your team to win and sometimes that means catching the ball and sometimes that means blocking well. I've probably had games that I didn't have very good stats, but they were some of my better games throughout my career. It just so happened that in those games I needed to catch the ball a little bit and I was able to do that.
Q:You played at Iowa for Kirk Ferentz. How big of an impact did he have on you?
SC:Coach Ferentz had a big impact; just getting a different type of coach than I had in high school. In high school we were running the spread offense and throwing the ball every play and you get to Coach Ferentz and he runs a very pro-type program there. You're laid out what's expected of you and you're expected to carry that out. If you're not, you're not going to play. I really appreciate that approach. He tells you what you need to do to get on the field. I was able to go there and have a successful career. Obviously he's built a great program there. I know he and Coach [Bill] Belichick have a lot in common in the way they approach coaching. I'm excited to get in and deal with Coach Belichick.
Q:What is the relationship between Coach Ferentz and Coach Belichick and how will that help you?
SC:I think Coach Belichick is a real straightforward guy. I haven't had too much interaction with him, but from what I've heard, he's just a guy who is going to tell it like it is. That's an approach that after bouncing around and sometimes you have guys who beat around the bush and don't tell you really what's going on, but Coach Belichick seems to do that. That's an approach that you can appreciate as a vet.
Q:You said Coach Belichick is kind of a straight shooter. Has he talked to you and given you a plan for how the team will use you? How do you think you'll complement Rob Gronkowski?
SC:We didn't get into that too terribly much. I think what I want to do is be part of a team that's a winning team. Whatever that role that the coaches define for me there, I want to do whatever I can to help the team win.
Q:How would you describe the free agency process for you? It sounds like it came down to the Ravens and Patriots. Did you visit both places and how did you weigh the choice between those two teams?
SC:I think I was a in a pretty good spot. They're two really good organizations. That's really what it came down to. I've been playing for a while and I wanted to be a part of an organization that has a pretty good chance to win. Mr. Kraft has done an amazing job of not only creating that – and Coach Belichick has a pretty big hand in that – not only creating it, but sustaining it for a long period of time. I'm looking forward to going into this year and doing whatever I can to be a part of that.
Q:You played five years in Buffalo and now you're in New England. What does it feel like to be on the opposite side of Buffalo?
SC:I don't know. I think if you get into those kind of things, you end up making this game more about you and really it's about the team. I just want to come in and do what I can to be a part of the Patriot culture and just do my part. I don't really want to get into those feelings of vengeance or anything because they're not really there for me. I had a great five years in Buffalo and it's time for me to be a Patriot now.
Q:Did you know Rob Gronkowski prior to this or are you new to each other?
SC:Pretty new. I've talked to Rob on the field after games and that's about it. I'm sure we'll get to know each other and get along well. He seems like a fun guy to be around. Obviously he's a great player. I'm looking forward to being able to learn from him and watch him do his thing. He's pretty fun to watch.
Q:How do you feel your height can help you in the blocking game and is that a challenge for you when you're an in-line tight end?
SC:I think it's one of those things that it can be tough, but I've been dealing with it for a while now. You learn to sink or swim pretty quick in this league. You want to do whatever you can to get low and stay low. It's hard, but you learn how to deal with it because if you can't get the job done, they're going to find someone else.