PATRIOTS DL VINCE WILFORK
(On playing for Greg Schiano at the University of Miami)
"Very, very intense. He recruited me [along] with [their] D-coordinator. Very intense guy and he loves doing what he's doing and that's coaching football. It wasn't a surprise to see him at this level someday – it was just a matter of time. He went to Rutgers and had a very successful reign up there and turned that program around and got guys to buy into his program because he's all about winning and I've seen it first hand. Having some guys from Rutgers on our team, Devin [McCourty] and Justin [Francis] and guys like that, they say the same thing. He's a great, great guy. He's a hell of a coach and I think he's going to be around for a while."
(On whether the defense is coming together)
"We have to. We're going into the third game now and everything has to be gelling. This third game, I think everyone treats as a regular season game and you approach your preparation and everything like that. We're going to have a lot of quality reps out there and see what we can put together as a team. We definitely need it. I think coming down here and practicing in the weather and against a pretty physical football is going to better us down the road. I think we got a lot of stuff done that we wanted to get done. It wasn't perfect, but I think we got some good work in and going into the game, I feel very confident and the team feels very confident going in. And that's all we look for. Health is everything and going in and being able to practice at a high level and then play at a high level and come out healthy, that's our goal."
(On his impressions on the Bucs after two practices)
"Same thing I've seen on film: they're a football team that loves to run the ball, big strong, physical, tough, they make it very hard for their opponents and nothing is easy with them. So everything that we've seen leading up to this practice is everything that we got and we expected that. We expected their best."
(On the need for trust between two teams in order to hold joint practices together)
"Yeah, I think if the two organizations can get along and you've got the players getting along and everybody understands that we're out here trying to get better. It's going to be competitive and you're going to have guys trash talking, but that's part of the game. I don't think there's anything negative [that came out of this]. I think both teams got some very, very quality reps. they faced a team that's bigger and stronger and we faced a team a lot smaller and a lot quicker. That's a different look for both sides, but we need it because there's going to be a point in the season when we might face a team like this, so it's good to get just early to see how we need to work on some things going forward. And I think that's exactly what we got done this week."
(On whether the pass rush has improved)
"I think it improved last year. I think we were – what was it fifth in sacks? I mean, that's going to come. Every year is different with that. I'm very confident in what we've been doing, the way we've practiced, the things we want to do and the communication that we've been having. Sometimes it never shows all the time. You're not getting five, six sacks a game; you might walk away with one, you might walk away with one or you might walk away with none, but that doesn't mean your rushing isn't good enough. But I'm happy. I'm happy with where we're at, but we can get better. We definitely can get better. That's what we strive for every week: to get better. Btu it's starting to come together, guys are starting to understand how we need to rush. Now that we're way deep into camp, we should have a good, good idea of what we have, the moves that we like, some things we don't like, what we need to work on and what we're pretty good at. So we should have a good sense of where we're at with that, but I'm pretty happy with where we're at."
(On whether he's impressed with the rookies who have been able to contribute)
"Those guys work very, very hard. Everything you ask of them, they've done. We can't ask anything more from them. They approach it like a profession, they take the criticism – whether it's from certain players or the coaches – they take it, they learn, and they try to get better, and that's what we need. All of them show signs that they can help this football team. That's exactly what we want."
PATRIOTS TE AARON HERNANDEZ
(On how practice has been)
"Today was a little bit easy. Yesterday was kind of hard, getting used to the heat. Kind of like the weather up North a little bit better."
(On how physical the play has been with the Buccaneers)
"When you have pads on it gets physical and it's the NFL. People know how to use their pads. It was a good practice, a good way to learn a little bit and get some competition against another team."
(On what he is looking for in tomorrow night's game)
"Hopefully play good as a team, improve and get ready for the season."
(On his impressions of the Buccaneers)
"It's the NFL, everyone has good players. They compete, we compete. They're a good team."
(On playing alongside several college teammates in the NFL)
"It makes it a lot of easier to adjust to a team. There a lot of people that you know, so it still feels a little like college. Especially with Spikes because we were roommates when I first went to college so it's still good to have someone from your college team playing with you."
(On if he expects a lot of passing tomorrow?)
"I'm sure we'll do a little bit of throwing."
PATRIOTS RB STEVAN RIDLEY
(On battling through injuries)
"You have to battle through adversity. If the leg's not broken and hanging off you have to be able to roll. This team is depending on you to get out there and do your job. I'm not trying to miss any more than I have to and I'm trying to be on the field as much as I can. You have to get out there and tough it out."
(On what he is looking for personally)
"Just go out there and work hard. With hard work brings great results. Really, it's just what coach asks me to do."
(On what he hopes to contribute this year)
"That this team can depend on me at the running back position and that's all aspects of the game. It's not just one thing. I just have to go out there and just be the player they know I can be. That's all I'm trying to work hard to do every day."
PATRIOTS LB BRANDON SPIKES
(On playing alongside several college teammates in the NFL)
"Definitely. I tell them if you're not a Gator, you're a hater. It's fun to see the guys, some of the Gators come back and reunite: once a Gator always a Gator. I really loved that, really glad I had an opportunity to play there. It will be with me for the rest of my life. Me, Aaron [Hernandez], a lot of the guys in the locker room, we play all the time about the SEC and there rest of the conferences."
(On how much interaction he had with Bill Belichick before he was drafted?)
"A lot. I used to see him all the time. I'd ask him, 'Don't you have a team to coach?' I'd see him in our facility so much. He knew what he was going to get out of the Gators. We all come from different walks of life but we love the game. It made us like a brotherhood."
(On how physical today's practice was?)
"Not really. Just mental reps, going through our techniques and stuff like that."
(On where he is looking to improve?)
"In the film room. I have Pepper [Johnson] now and he's on me about being the best player I can. Take the smaller things and being a better player. I have certain stuff that God gave me, instincts and stuff like that but just taking the smaller things. If I want to be one of the best I have to put in the work. So that's the main thing."
(On how much Jerod Mayo has helped him with film work?)
"Oh man, tons. He's a savvy vet. That's why he's a Pro Bowler every year. He plays at a high level. He sits in there dissecting just finding anything he can use against an opposing offense."