QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY
(on the week of preparations and media obligations)
"For me, it's been a very fun week. After not having been here for four years, I'm really enjoying the experience, and some of the fun aspects of the week. It's much more tolerable when you become a veteran player. I had a great time at media day, that was fun. Sunday night was cool when we got in, I got to see Rodney (Harrison)
over the stadium. I've spent a lot of time together with my teammates. Unlike the other playoff games where you're not really sure how it's going to go the following week, now we know how it's going to go. We're not going to see each other after Monday. You just enjoy the experience with those guys, and hopefully we have a lot of reasons to celebrate on Sunday night."
(on whether the Super Bowl loss to the Giants still eats at him)
"Every loss hurts. When we lost to the Colts in the AFC Championship Game, that hurt pretty bad. Last year losing to the Jets, you see other teams advance and you're staying at home, they all suck. You have to move on, and use those as opportunities to learn. I think this team has done that. We're a very mentally tough team. That's probably one of the strengths of this team."
(on the qualities that make Bill Belichick such a successful head coach)
"He's extremely prepared. Nobody works harder than he does. I don't think there's ever been a time that I've shown up at the stadium and he's not there. He sees everything. He evaluates everything. He watches every bit of film that he can get. Over the course of the season, our teams have always seemed to improve. I think that's through our preparation. He prepares us day in and day out. Every day that we walk in he has a game plan for us. I think that he finds players who are able to tolerate that coaching. He always says that it's not an easy program to play for and that's the truth. If you do, you stay committed and you stay selfless and committed to the team and it pays off. I think all of these guys enjoy this experience a lot more than staying at home right now."
(on whether he's watched any tape from their Super Bowl loss against the Giants in preparation for this game)
"Yeah, I've seen plenty of clips from the game. It's a different scheme, it's a different defense. Some of the players and the matchups are the same, but I can see those from when we played in Week Nine. There's not a lot of things that you can take from that game in 2007."
(on common denominators in previous Giants games and the high number of pressures and turnovers)
"I was holding the ball too long. They have some blitz schemes that are challenging to handle. As a quarterback, you can't sit back there and think that you're going to have all day to throw the ball. You have to be able to find guys quickly and get the ball to them. You have to throw the ball with accuracy. You throw a quick pass and it's half a foot behind the receiver, it slows him up and he's tackled for a five-yard gain. Whereas if you throw it one foot in front of his numbers, he catches it and he gains 12. That's how you need to play this game. The more accurately you can throw the ball on the shorter passes, you know you have to throw the ball quickly against these guys. You have to be able to throw the ball down the field and get it in the hands of Wes (Welker) *and Deion *(Branch) and Aaron (Hernandez) and Gronk (Rob Gronkowski), the running backs, we've been stressing that a lot the last couple of weeks."
(on whether he's surprised by the level of talk coming from some of the Giants players)
"No, they're a confident team. They've always been a confident team. They should be confident. They're a damn good football team that has won some pretty tough games down the stretch. We're pretty confident, too. I think that's why we're going to show up on Sunday night and give it our best."
(on Giants QB Eli Manning)
"He's a great quarterback. He's obviously a great leader. You hear the comments coming from their players, and obviously they respect him. He loves the game and he's played it at a high level for a long time. He's survived in that environment in New York, it's a tough place to play. He answers the critics. He never makes excuses. He goes out there and he plays very well. He has his team back here for the second time in five years."
(on his comfort level with the game plan having an extra week to prepare)
"I always feel as the week goes, I feel more comfortable because I have a better understanding of our plan and what we're trying to do when things are really settled – third-down, red area, two-minute, how we're going to start the game – I feel like I can really just hone in on those plays. Earlier in the week it's a little tougher, you're thinking about the red area and third-down but you haven't put those plays in, so you're not quite sure what you're going to do. I've been a pain in Billy's *(O'Brien's) *you-know-what trying to get all of the stuff in that we want to use. On a normal week, we wouldn't have even put in third down, the red area, both of those are already installed. Everything has already pretty much been installed. We're ahead of where we'd be on a normal week. We've had two weeks to prepare. You can always get more film work in. You can always get more understanding of what they're doing."
(on whether he'll offer any special words of encouragement to his lesser-publicized teammates on Saturday night)
"If you look at the history of this game, there are a lot of players who made plays who no one was really talking about. That's how this game goes. You never know who is going to be the difference. It could be a kick returner, it could be a punt returner. It could be a receiver down the depth chart, it could be a running back down the depth chart who gets an opportunity and they have a career day. If you're active for the game, you're going to have an important role in the game and hopefully they can go out and have a career day. I have confidence in all of these guys. We all need to go out there and do our job."
(on whether he has spent any additional time watching film with TE Rob Gronkowski given his limited practice availability)
"Yeah, he's really been keeping up mentally with what he needs to do. He's been a part of every meeting and walk-through. He's preparing himself as if he's going to play even though he hasn't been able to practice. We'll see how it goes. No one can really predict the future. Hopefully he continues to feel better. We're always communicating back and forth about his routes and the schemes that we have that are a little bit different for this game. He's a fast learner. He's played every game, he's practiced every single day this year. He has a pretty good understanding of what we're doing. It's not like he has to figure out how to play football again. Probably the break is good for him in a sense that he hasn't been beat all week in practice. Hopefully he can go out there and play."
(on what ways WR Wes Welker makes him a better quarterback)
"Wes Welker would make any quarterback better with his ability to get open and catch the ball. He's a very smart player who has a great feel for the game, who has a great feel for how to get open in man-to-man (coverage), where to find the spots in zone, great body language. He's a very decisive player. Route-running ability, when you watch him run routes, he makes very swift decisions. That gives me a lot of confidence. He knows what he sees and I can trust him to make the throw."
(on the warm reception the Patriots have received from Colts fans in Indianapolis since the two teams aren't playing)
"It's actually been a very fun week here. It's a bit surreal to be playing in Indy's home stadium and to be practicing at their facility. I think all of us have enjoyed the experience. It's been a fun place to be this week. We're certainly very appreciative of all the fans here. There have been a lot of Colts jerseys out there. We've had a great welcome here."
(on his comments from Wednesday regarding hotel accommodations in Buffalo and the Patriots loss at Buffalo)
"I apologize for saying that. Buffalo was tough on us this year in Buffalo. I should have picked a non-NFL city for that (comment). Any time you throw four picks, it's going to be tough. I did that once before in a loss up there. Any time you throw four picks, you're going to feel pretty miserable the next week. You're never going to win a game if you throw four picks. They (Buffalo) had a great team and they got off to a great start this year. Coach Gailey has done a great job with that team getting those guys prepared. Even the game we won, we were down 21-0. They gave us everything we could handle both times we played them."
WR DEION BRANCH
(on the team's approach from this point on)
"Everything is still the same. We take it one day at a time. Coach (Bill) Belichick has our schedule and we just follow his lead. We've got a couple meetings after this and then we've got practice and then we'll see what happens from there."
(on the feeling of being 5-3 after losing to the Giants)
"It wasn't good. We felt like that was one of our worst games we played, going into Pittsburgh knowing that in order to beat that team we had to put our best foot forward, and we didn't do it. Not only that, just coming back from...after we lost to Pittsburgh, losing to the Giants right after that. It just wasn't good at the time, but also at the same time, we realized that we weren't playing our best football."
(on being back in the Super Bowl)
"It's an honor. It's an honor just to be a part of it. To have the opportunity to come here, to come back, and also to play with these guys and play with my quarterback who I came into the league with, it's an honor."
(on watching the Patriots play when he was in Seattle)
"To be honest, you don't have that much time to really watch other teams, unless it's a later game, which they played a lot of primetime games. Me just personally pulling for my guys...when I was in Seattle I was all in Seattle. I was all in with those guys, but I was also pulling for these guys to win some games in the times when I did get to see them play."
(on coming back to the team and playing in the Super Bowl)
"It's a blessing. The opportunities for guys to return to the team they started with are very slim, and the option that Coach Belichick chose to bring me back and I accepted. Trust me, I was going to accept it regardless. It was a blessing the day it happened. I think the opportunity presented itself once Mr. (GM John) *Snyder and Coach *(Pete) Carroll sat down and said, 'We're probably going in a different direction,' which is understandable. I respect those guys to the utmost. I was thankful that coach also wanted to bring me back."
(on being one of the few remaining members of the team from the Patriots' last Super Bowl)
"What is it, seven or eight guys from the last Super Bowl? We all share a major bond. We want to also do that with this group of guys. I think once you be a part of something like this, be a part of a Super Bowl, you have this friendship forever. There's a lot of football. We were just talking yesterday about how long we've been playing ball. We've been running around in meetings since July. Had we not had a lockout, it would be probably since last March. That's a long time, but I don't accept that each and every year to be a part of this, be one of the last two guys playing in this game."
(on what QB Tom Brady has said to him about bouncing back from the AFC Championship Game)
"There wasn't a lot said. Me and Tom are locker mates, so the conversation we have on the regular is beyond football, but to see my guy feeling down after a game that he felt like he didn't play his best is understood. We respect him, but we also want to let him know that we're here for him regardless of what he did. Nobody had a perfect game. I would say the defense did a great job, but anybody on the offensive side of the ball, I wouldn't say we had a perfect game at all. So he shouldn't put everything on his back, but he's a leader and that's what leaders do. They accept that and they bounce back from it."
(on Brady seeming lighter this week)
"He's a lot lighter because our practices are going great. Guys are responding to his demands on the football field, and we're looking forward to the same thing in the game Sunday."
(on the amount of time the offense needs to score from 80 yards out at the end of a game)
"It's all about the situation of the game. I can't sit here and say we need a minute or two minutes. It's just all about what we need, how much time we have. I can't give you that time though."
(on if the team would have won in 2007 if they'd had 30 more seconds)
"We played them in the regular season and I think we left too much time on the clock. You can look at it that way as well. I can't say. I wasn't here in '07. How much time did they have on the clock? Thirty seconds? They had the ball on the, what, the 30-something-yard line. It's all about getting that first play going. You get the first play going, then you can kind of go from there. They didn't make a first down or anything, right? The odds are stacked up against you if you don't get a positive play, and then he took a sack. I do remember that. You can't get a sack in that situation."
(on if the odds are in their favor to score if they have at least a minute left)
"I'm very confident that we could get it done, but we don't want to be in that situation."
(on if he's been the tour guide at all for his teammates)
"Just a little bit. It's kind of hard with the schedule that we have. I had some guys over to the house last night. My wife made a little dish for a couple of the guys that came over. It's kind of hard, and then plus guys are so tired. Coach Belichick is getting a lot of us, and that's what we're here for. We're here to work, but the free time we do have I do want to open my house up to my teammates."
(on if it's odd in the offseason to deal with Colts' fans that see him)
"No. Some of them are cool, some of them are not. I went to the (Indiana Pacers) game the other night. I took a couple of the guys to the game. A couple of the fans, they had about five that cheered for me and then another 14,000 that booed me, so it's fun. I also understand, because I'm pretty sure that the Patriots fans would do the same thing to a Colts player that comes to New England."
(on what his feeling was prior to his last Super Bowl when he was named MVP)
"I have the same feeling now that I had in the past. Me personally, I just want to go out and do anything I can to help my team. I want to make each and every play. When Tom needs somebody to throw the ball to, I want to be that guy if he can't find his first read or whatever. I'm just embracing this. To be an MVP, it's hard to say because nobody really goes into the game saying I want to be the MVP of the game."
(on if that game felt different in any way)
"No, it didn't. It felt like one of the regular season games, but we knew that this was it. This was the last game, so I pretty much laid it on the line. I gave it my all the entire game. I was beat after the game. I couldn't spend too much time with my family. I was so tired and my body was worn. I had to wake up the next morning at eight and I think I got up at about 9:30 or 10."
(on if he ever dreamt as a kid about having an MVP performance in a game)
"No. I was a soccer kid growing up, so it was a little different for me. I know people look at me all crazy, but I felt like I was a better soccer player growing up. But I think I chose the right sport. I think I did. Who knows?"
(on not having tight end Rob Gronkowski in practice and how it's affected him)
"It doesn't affect anybody right now. That's being honest. My job is to go in and I have a role on this team and I've got to go and do my job regardless of who's on the field or not. Do we need Rob? Yeah, but if he's not there, the ball will be kicked off at 6:30 and we've got to move forward."
(on if Gronkowski's absence is affecting preparation)
"Not the way we prepare. Maybe the way the coaches formulate the game plan. There's nothing that will change with me. My game is my game. That's the coaches' job to figure out the kind of game plan we're going to have."
GUARD DAN CONNOLLY
(on the challenges the Giants' defensive line presents)
"They are known as good pass rushers and that's what we have to be ready for. Jason Pierre-Paul has 16.5 sacks or something like that so they are really good at getting to the quarterback. It's important for us to protect (Tom Brady)."
(on one member of the Giants' offensive line who stands out)
"I don't think we can single-out one guy. They are all good. You've got four guys across the front and no matter what combination, they are all good at what they do."
(on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady dealing with changes at center this season)
"I think everything has gone well. We do a good job with our coaching staff and during practice making sure different guys get in there with Tom. We do quarterback-center exchanges before practice and make sure everyone has the same cadence and timing. I think we've done a good job anytime someone has gone down with the next guy stepping up. We haven't missed a beat."
(on the chemistry developing on the offensive line from the start of the season)
"With all the different guys in there, we've been able to develop that cohesiveness. During practice, we've had all different combinations of guys getting in there and it's made it easy when a guy has gone down."
(on preparing this week considering the magnitude of the Super Bowl)
"It's a little different. We're in a different city, different hotel and different practice facility. We're trying to stay as routine as possible. Obviously, we have media day and extra things that go along with the Super Bowl, but we're trying to keep our focus on the game and make it as routine as possible."
(On having a chance to experience different things surrounding the Super Bowl)
"I'm trying to stay away from that as much as possible. It's not stuff I normally do during a normal week. I just try to focus on the game and the goal we are here for."
(On feeling nervous playing in the Super Bowl)
"I'm going to prepare for it like it's a normal game, but you can't ignore the fact that it's the last game of the season. It's important and we're going to put everything into it."
WIDE RECEIVER JULIAN EDELMAN
(on downtime activities)
"In our down time, we're really just kind of resting this week. This is the biggest game. We know how much is on the table in this one."
(on his favorite video games)
"I don't even play "Madden" that much. I'm a huge "Call of Duty" guy, "Modern Warfare", go play with friends and talk to friends. I'm a huge fan of Xbox. I enjoy playing it on the occasion."
(on the importance for an active lifestyle for kids)
"It's definitely great for kids to go out there and exercise and get outdoors. With the way the world is evolving with technology, everyone is getting away from stuff like that. Not only to burn calories but just to stay in shape and enjoy childhood outside. That's something I did a lot growing up, climbing trees, making forts but it's definitely very important for those guys."
(on TE Aaron Hernandez)
"Aaron is a huge part of our offense, first off. He's a little different by the fact he's very confident – in a good way. Something a lot of people don't realize is how hard he prepares, how hard he works, how hard he prepares off the field mentally unlike a lot of other guys."
(on TE Aaron Hernandez "make it rain" dance)
"It's his signature. I guess it's his swag. He's got his own little dance, he's made it a little famous."
(on pregame plans)
"I haven't thought about it. Literally, just thinking about today's work, the assignments, the tasks, plays in every situation is really what is on my mind and trying to keep this week as normal as possibly just like any other week. That's what I'm trying to do."
(on the adrenaline rush before the game)
"I'd lie if I said no. This is the biggest game on earth and you're definitely going to be excited. I'm going to try to keep those emotions under control."
(on his Jewish background)
"It's on my Father's side so I'm not really a practicing Jew but I'm definitely keeping that in mind that it's in my background."
(on Kicker Stephen Gostkowski)
"I don't think he needs to be worried. Steve is a great kicker and I definitely couldn't kick the ball like he could."
(on the challenges of playing on the defensive side of the ball)
"It's ultimately a foreign thing for me, you're doing everything backwards, from covering a guy to terminology on the defensive side of the ball. You have different terms. It's like a different language from seeing things backwards on the track so it's definitely been a good experience for the coaches and the players surrounding me as helped me out a bunch."
(on the challenges from switching from quarterback)
"It helps in a certain manner. It's definitely a learning process and I'm still trying to learn."
(on thoughts of the Giants' wide receiving core)
"They have a good wide receiving core. They have a quarterback who's playing very well, a defense who is playing great and special teams that are making plays that are deciding games. This team is playing very well and we definitely have a challenge ahead of us."
RUNNING BACK KEVIN FAULK
(on how quarterback Tom Brady compares now to when he entered the NFL)
"There's only one thing that doesn't compare: he was smaller, a lot scrawnier. He didn't talk as much, and now he's the leader of our football team. He's a very mature guy, and you can just see how very confident he is in what he's doing. I'm not saying he didn't have confidence earlier, but he's very confident (now) in what he's doing."
(on how competitive Brady is)
"It doesn't matter what the game is, he's very competitive. You can be shooting a piece of paper in a trash can, and he's competitive with you. That's just him. It's how he is."
(on how much he remembers about the first Super Bowl the Patriots won)
"You remember it, but it's kind of back in your mind because you're still doing it. Right now, we're focused on this game. Ten years ago was 10 years ago. We're focused on this game right now. This game is very important. Ten years ago was important 10 years ago."
(on how he wants people to view his career when it's over)
"Just how much I put into it. How much I loved the game, how much the game meant to me."
(on if last year's lockout prepared him at all for what it will be like to retire)
"A little because we had a lot more time. Not just to think about it, but a lot more time to do stuff, to actually get into doing other things. Without the lockout, you'd have been doing what you normally do, and that's going to the offseason program, being able to take care of certain things about football that need to be done."
(on his reaction to Chris Canty's claim that they would have a victory parade)
"Congratulations-that's his mindset. That's his opinion. The game still has to be played."
(on the inspiration the team took from the passing of Myra Kraft)
"Togetherness. Going out there and doing everything together. Knowing that each person's job is important."
(on if Myra Kraft's passing has been a strong rallying point for the team)
"Of course. It's been strong for the family. Right now, she's in a better place. She's in a better place than any one of us right now. But right now, we're for the family that's down here. You can see how much the team has come together and rallied for her, for her memory, and what she stood for for the team."
(on his confidence in kicker Stephen Gostkowski)
"He's been doing it for a long time. That's his job. I'm very confident in him."
(on what makes running backs coach Ivan Fears tick)
"If you're not doing your job. He wants everything to be successful. He wants you to understand why he wants you to be successful. He's just very intense about what he does."
(on if Fears is the type of coach he likes to have)
"Of course. You want a guy that's well-prepared, ready to go, understands his guys, understands which guy he has, understands guys are different that he coaches. That's him."
(on what tight end Aaron Hernandez means to the offense)
"He means a whole lot to this offense, just like every other guy on this offense means a whole lot. Every guy has a job. He has to be ready to do it, and he does his job well."
(on if they have something to prove in the rematch after losing to the Giants in the regular season)
"Both teams lost games during the course of the season. This right now does not even compare to a rematch game. This is the NFL Championship. This is what we're playing for. Forget a rematch. It doesn't compare to a rematch right now."
KICKER STEPHEN GOSTKOWSKI
(on the last time he kicked a game winning field goal)
"It was last year against Baltimore in overtime."
(on what he remembers about Adam Vinatieri's clutch field goals in previous Super Bowls)
"Before I got in the NFL, I was a fan like anybody else. Anytime games come down to an exciting play, it makes for good TV."
(on envisioning kicking the game winning field goal on Sunday)
"First of all, you want to win and you want to win no matter how. If you get to win while having a good game or big play it makes it even better. This game is a team game and it's about winning a championship. If they need me to kick five field goals and the game winner, that's great. If they need me to kick five extra points, that's great. I'm ready, and anything can happen in each game. The toughest thing about this position is that you don't know what situations you'll be put in. You can't make your own opportunities. You have to take advantage of the ones that you get, the best that you can. That's what I feel like I've done."
(on remembering Adam Vinatieri's game winning Super Bowl field goals and envisioning himself in those positions)
"You think about it a little bit, but it's not like it consumes my every thought. I'm worried about my first kick right now and worrying about having a good game. If it gets down to a situation like that, I'll be ready. We practice all year. I've kicked a ball tens of thousands of times this year. My plan is to stay level-headed throughout the game and towards the end too."
(on feeling bad for Billy Cundiff who missed a game-tying field goal in the AFC Championship game)
"I know him, but not well. I feel bad for any player who gets the spotlight put on him like that in a negative way. At the same time, we're the AFC Champions and we're playing in the Super Bowl. Kickers stick together, but we're not all the same people and we don't all do the same thing the same way. Just like quarterbacks."
(on potentially being responsible for a game winning field goal in the Super Bowl)
"This game is so hyped up and publicized. You know what you're getting into when you sign up. One thing is that I've never been scared to fail. Everybody has failures in life and everybody has successes. I don't prepare for the failures because I don't expect to fail. Everybody does, but it's how you bounce back. That's what makes people last a long time in your profession, especially professional athletics."
(on not expecting to fail being an expectation for a kicker)
"I can't speak for other people, I can only speak for what I do. Kicking hasn't been the only sport in my life. I take experiences from everything I've done. I was a collegiate baseball player as well. I've dealt with difficult situations and I've struggled before in every sport I've played. I've had success in every sport. If you go into a game think you're going to screw up, you're probably not going to be at a professional level. Stuff like that doesn't cross my mind. When I go out in practice, I go out to make every kick. When I don't, I try to make the next one. If I freaked out about every kick I missed in the NFL, I wouldn't be sitting up here right now. I go out there to make every kick and that's my goal. I don't think too much into it to tell you the truth. I want to win like everyone else. I don't feel different from anyone else on the team."
(on Sunday's game marking the first time he'll kick in a dome all season)
"The first couple of times, it might throw you off a bit because you're used to dealing with the elements all the time. It's easier to go from kicking outdoors to indoors, than vice versa. The main thing is, just because you're indoors doesn't mean you're going to make every kick. You still have to do everything you've been taught to do and you've learned to do. You still have to execute. Just because it seems easy on paper doesn't mean it's always easy. Anything can happen in the game. You have to be at your tip-top, focused and concentrated. The biggest thing for me kicking indoors is trying not to kick the ball too hard."
(on trying to put every kickoff in the back of the end zone)
"Our coverage team has been unbelievable and I'm going to try and give them the best opportunity to make a play. I'm going to kick it as far and as high as I can. If they don't return it, even better. If they do, hopefully our coverage guys will make them pay."
(on practicing situational kicks)
"We practice that all the time. You feel different each game and your job as a professional is to get ready each game. It's impossible to feel the same way each time. You never know what opportunities you're going to get in the game. You just have to be ready for each opportunity that you get. We won by three (in the AFC Championship game) and I kicked three field goals. They weren't last second field goals, but we still won by three. You have to be ready for all kicks at all times, especially at the end of a game, of a half or two-minutes. You have to be ready for those kicks. That's something we cover for sure."
(on his take with coaches freezing kickers)
"It's part of the game and it is what it is. You have to be able to handle it."
(on the possibility of kicking the game winning field goal on Sunday)
"I'm just excited to play and kick as many field goals and extra points as possible. If it comes down to the end of the game, I'll be ready."
(on the responsibility of the long snapper and holder to accomplish a good kick)
"They are a big reason that I have success. If the snap and the hold are good, most of the time in the NFL, guys are going to make the kick. People don't realize that one little thing can throw the kick off. They are professionals too and Zoltan (Mesko) and Danny *(Aiken) *have done an excellent job. I have 100 percent confidence in them for every kick, let alone big kicks. We've already gone through two playoff games and we've had games where we try to get home field advantage. We've had success in those games. There is no reason that if we don't keep practicing hard, and keep doing what we've been doing that we won't have success in this one."
(on the Patriots having gone through a bunch of long snappers)
"Three or four and a couple of holders. It's part of the game. It's a noticeable difference at first, but you get used to them. If they told me I was going to have a new long snapper for this game, I'd be able to tell the difference. If you gave me a couple of weeks to work with them, I'd be OK."
(on long snappers having their own styles)
"Yes, just different speeds. Guys at this level can throw the ball back where the holder catches it laces out each time. You have to get the kick off in 1.3 seconds from the snap so if they catch it and put it right down and you see the fat part of the ball, it's like a pitcher hanging a ball right down the middle. You just see it really well and you feel like you're going to make it when you get a good look at it."
(on if he can notice a good snap right away)
"Yes. If you're fully concentrated and you're into the game, you should be able to adjust and make that play. With a bad snap or a bad hold, you can still make the kick if you do everything perfectly. It will definitely mess up if you don't do it perfectly."
(on not being able to hesitate prior to a kick)
"Pretty much, yeah. You might hesitate half a second, but you still have to get the kick off in a certain amount of time or it's still going to get blocked."
(on going through a game winning situation in his mind)
"I just want to play well and I want to win. I feel like I do a good job not getting overwhelmed by the situation. Even playing in preseason games are nerve-racking. You're playing for your job and for a spot on the team. It picks up as the year goes on, but you've been doing it all year. Although the stage might be bigger, the goal posts are the same size, the football is the same and the guys playing around me are the same. If you're confident in your ability, you should be able to have success. At the same time, you have to be humble because any player is one play away from being the hero or the goat. It's something that you sign up for."
TIGHT END ROB GRONKOWSKI
(on if he is surprised by the amount of attention his ankle is receiving)
"Yes, definitely. It's a lot. You just have to be able to focus on preparation, practice and training for the Giants."
(on if he came close to practicing yesterday)
"It was whatever the trainers had me do. Obviously, it wasn't practice. I wasn't out there yesterday. It's just improving every day and it did so a little more yesterday. It's moving in a positive stride and getting to where I need to get to."
(on if he will play on Sunday)
"We're just day-by-day right now. I want to be out there. I'm anxious to be out there. My goal is to be out there and do everything I can. I want to put myself in the best situation, so when it comes to Sunday I will be in the best situation to play."
(on how anxious he is)
"Every day is an inch closer to game day. This is wild. This is a dream come true that we're going to play in the Super Bowl. We all got here together, we worked hard. It's going to be a lot of fun when it comes to it."
(on his preparation while not practicing)
"You have to do everything you possibly can if you're not practicing. You have to take mental reps, visualize, film work, learning the plays. You have to do everything possible if you're not practicing."
(on his meetings with the trainer and how he will wrap his ankle)
"We have a couple of options to explore. I'm not even sure I'm going to wear anything. I'm taping it and testing things out every day to see how I feel. We just talk about it. We're going to figure it out."
(on how badly he wants to get on the field)
"It's the Super Bowl. I'm doing everything I can possibly do to be out there. I want to be out there no matter what. I want to help out the team. I am doing everything possible to be out there, and we'll just see on Sunday. I will try to go as much as possible."
(on how frustrating it is dealing with his ankle)
"There is definitely frustration. It is what it is right now. You just have to put that in the back of your mind and just focus on what you need to focus on. I'm not really worried about it. I'm just worried about the things I can control. I've been getting healthier every day. I'm just listening to the coaches, doing the mental reps and studying up film on the Giants. It's just things that I can control. You have to keep on doing what you can do to improve every day."
(on the amount of time he spends treating his ankle)
"Basically - besides media, film and bed - I'm trying to get better every day. I'm working to get stronger and where I need to get to. It's basically all day. I'm just trying to get better every day."
(on if him playing will come down to how much pain he can tolerate)
"No. That is my decision. I know how much pain I can tolerate."
(on if he or the trainer makes the final call)
"I will make the final call. I listen to the trainer's advice, but it's how I feel. I'm just trying to get better. The trainer has helped me get to a place where I need to be."
(on if it hurts his team if he tries to play through the pain)
"It's hard. Right now, I'm just going into it day-by-day to get healthy. When it comes to game time, it will be a whole lot different. It's the Super Bowl. The adrenaline rush will be going wild. It will be crazy. It's going to be a huge atmosphere and you aren't sure how it will feel on that day. That's why we are just day-by-day. You never know. I can wake up tomorrow 100 percent and be good - that happens. You can wake up one day and feel great. You just never know. When it comes to Sunday, I hope I'm feeling great."
(on if the coaching staff told him that if he doesn't practice by a certain day, he won't play)
"No. They just tell me to take it day-by-day. I'm not worried about tomorrow when we have a big obstacle ahead of us today. We have to get better and get stronger. That's why we aren't worried about our practice tomorrow because we have a whole day today to get better."
(on his progression)
"It's going good. I'm getting better every day. I'm feeling good today, better than I did yesterday. That's what you have to do. So far, we have had no setbacks and we are just moving forward every day."
(on if he has been able to enjoy the whole process)
"Yes, I've definitely been able to enjoy it. It's coming here with your teammates, hanging out with them this week, being able to go out with my brother – he lives out here. I can see him and catch up with my family. I've been spending time with coaches for possibly the last time as well. It's just cool to come out here and have a blast with everyone. I'm having a good time."
TIGHT END AARON HERNANDEZ
(on how much of a loss it would be to the offense if TE Rob Gronkowski can't play)
"Obviously, our team would take a toll on him not playing, but we have a lot of great players on this team. That's the reason we're here today. Yeah, it would take away a huge weapon and a big part of this game, but I feel like we have so many players on this team that everyone is smart enough and knows that it would be time to step up and carry that rifle on their shoulder. I think he'll be fine and I don't think we'll have to worry about that."
(on if he wonders every day if Gronkowski will practice)
"I'm not even asking if he's practicing. I'm wondering if he's playing on Sunday."
(on the relationship he and Gronkowski have with tight ends coach Brian Ferentz)
"He's a great guy. One thing he really knows how to do is he knows how to coach certain players. A lot of players are different. They all can't be coached the same. A lot of people learn differently. He recognizes how people learn and how they like to be coached. He knows how to do that. He keeps us both focused and he also brings that excitement in the room, so we can have fun. It's not always just serious and that's why our room is so close."
(on if someone needs to play tight end to coach tight ends)
"Not necessarily because most of the coaches in this League probably didn't play any of the positions that they coached. Like Bill Belichick, he's the head coach of a team and he probably didn't play too many positions."
(on why he does the touchdown dance that he does)
"Honestly, I don't know. I like to have fun. I did it once and then people started to like it, so I just kept doing it. I like it and I'll probably keep doing it."
(on if he's going to come up with a new dance for the Super Bowl)
"I might have a little something to do before I make it rain."
(on representing the Hispanic community by playing in the Super Bowl)
"My family's huge on that and they make it known. They're Puerto Rican and they're the type of family that has that Puerto Rican flag in the car. I'm proud to be Hispanic and I'm proud to be Puerto Rican."
(on if there's more pressure on him with Gronkowski not at full health)
"I'd say it puts pressure on everybody. If you come to a Super Bowl and you're not thinking you got to step up your game in the first place, then you're probably not ready to play. I feel like everyone is ready to step up and we'll be prepared with or without Rob. Obviously, it will be a tougher game without him."
(on what he remembers of the Hispanic culture growing up)
"The music has all got the same beat. I used to get sick of it because my father and them used to play it so much. All the Spanish parties, they would play the congas and everything. Also, we had the big ol' pot of rice and beans on Monday, Wednesday, Friday. I love my family. I love Puerto Rico, the way I was raised and I love the food."
(on him and WR Victor Cruz being two Puerto Rican offensive players going against each other in the Super Bowl)
"I feel blessed, first of all, just to be in the game and knowing that there's not that many Hispanics in the game that are successful. It feels good to know I'm doing something for Hispanics and hopefully some Hispanics look up to me."
(on what he can tell kids that want to emulate him)
"I'd say you just got to work hard in life. You got to set your goals high and you got to have something to work for and look forward to. If you just have your normal base goals, then what are you really striving for? If you have goals and you have people you look up to, you can work hard, strive and something to work for instead of just going through every day as a normal day."
(on possibly being the first Puerto Rican to be named Super Bowl MVP)
"That would be great, but I want that ring."
(on Head Coach Bill Belichick saying things need to be tightened up in practice)
"Yeah, going into every game, until the day before the game, you're going to be making little corrections here and there, little twists and turns. I felt like practice went well. We've been practicing pretty well and we'll be alright on Sunday."
(on if the team has made changes to adjust to the Giants' defense)
"Yeah, you make changes every game. You make changes in the middle of the game. We've got great coaches who know how to adjust and I'm sure they'll have us prepared and ready to go."
(on if the team has a game plan for if Rob Gronkowski is not ready to play)
"Everybody else will just have to step up, but I'm sure he'll be fine to play."
(on what he thinks about all the nicknames he's been called)
"Gronk likes the Boston Tea Party, but I don't care. As long as we keep doing work on the field and keep performing and keep getting to these championship games, that's really all I care about. The nicknames are kind of cool. It brings a little, I don't know, swagger to it."
(on competing with Gronkowski before the NFL)
"In high school, we just knew about each other because we used to be rivals. We both wanted to be the number one tight end in the nation. We were always competing for that, it was always him, me, him, me. Then going into college, we were competing for that Freshman All-American and he ended up getting that. Then, obviously we came to the same team here."
(on what it was like when he first met Gronkowski)
"I didn't know if I was supposed to be his friend because I'm competing against him. Should I talk to him? Should I not talk to him? Once I realized we both have outgoing personalities and we both have a good sense of humor, we actually bonded pretty well. Now we're working together and we love each other."
(on how he met Gronkowski at the Combine)
"I think we just kind of bumped into each other."
(on if he anticipates nerves on Sunday)
"Yeah, if you don't get butterflies and a little anxiety for this game, then you probably shouldn't be playing in this game."
(on how he will handle the nerves on Sunday)
"This is what we do. All of us have been playing football our whole life. It's not like it's something new to us. It's another game. Everything looks way more crazy on TV, but really when you're out there on the field, there's just two teams, you against the opponent and it's a regular game."
(on if Gronkowski's injury has affected his week of preparation)
"I don't think so. We'll still have the same game plan and if Rob isn't okay to play, then obviously everyone else will have to step up. I feel like I said all day, I think he'll be ready to play."
(on if he's getting all the balls in practice)
"No, it's getting spread around."
(on if he's tired of hearing about Gronkowski's injury)
"I don't think so. I'm sure he'll be fine. I was expecting these questions because when probably the top player on your team besides Tom Brady is injured, it is a big thing."
TACKLE MATT LIGHT
(on his time at Purdue with Coach Joe Tiller)
"Yeah, I came in with (Jim) Colletto and Tiller, obviously, followed that pretty quickly. I had a great run with him. We obviously took full advantage of the guys that he brought in his first year and made a great run with the number of bowl games we were able to go to. It really turned the program around. It started this tradition. It's been great. Now that Coach (Danny) Hope has taken over – I've got a lot of respect for *(Hope) *and how he runs the program and his team. *(Tiller) *pushed us all to the nth degree and I can't thank him enough for helping me to get to where I am now. I've always got a special place in my heart for West Lafayette and the Purdue family. So, all the best time them. I heard that their National Signing Day went pretty well yesterday, so I'm sure they'll be excited about what they've got coming in and do a great job with it."
(on how his Light Foundation's charity raffle for a trip to the Super Bowl this weekend is going)
"This morning, the post was $262,000. It's pretty incredible. We are going to draw the winners at 11am (this morning)... I have got a lot of people that are telling me that they hope to make it on that flight. It's great. That's the cool thing about this whole week for me is that we have been able to do something with the foundation and raise a lot of money with a pretty simple raffle item and it is working out good."
(on the Giants' blitz)
"I think they pick and choose when they want to blitz. I think that whoever they have doing it, they usually have a pretty good idea of what you do offensively and they try to time it up with maybe some of your protections and things of that nature. I think primarily their front four do a pretty good job on their own of applying up-the-field pressure. With the number of games that they run and how well they can play off of each other, they make it pretty difficult for you up front. But, I think they game plan pretty well against you, so they have ideas on what to do and where they can attack. I am sure we will figure that out pretty early in the game."
(on if the matchup comes down to how the Patriots' offensive line matches up against the Giants' front four)
"It's always that way. It always comes down to the one-on-one battles. Wherever you can get some help now and then, you gladly take it, but for the most part, you are going to be matched up one-on-one with those guys."
(on if Super Bowl XLVI feels different than Super Bowl XLII)
"2007 was a long time ago. All that kind of stuff is out of our memory bank and we're moving forward with this one. It has been a heck of a year. If you want to draw any similarities or do anything, you have to keep it within this season. I think the first time that we faced them during the regular season, you saw a lot of things there. But, the way they play now, their mode has changed even from that point. The only thing we can draw off of is going back and watching as much film as you possibly can and getting to know these guys more and more. It's been a good week, week and a half – the never-ending week and a half – and we'll see how it all plays out."
(on if any issues between he and the Giants' DE Osi Umenyiora will carry over to Sunday)
"It's football, not tennis, so I'm sure it will be entertaining."
(on if staying in downtown Indianapolis as opposed to outside the city has been any different)
"I think being on this campus, you are kind of secluded a little bit. We are in our own little world here. I think the facilities have been great, from all the friends and family that have been down so far, they've said that the city is doing a great job of keeping up with everything. Obviously, the weather is cooperating. It's a little awkward being this warm in Indianapolis this time of year, but I think the city has done a great job. I'm sure the biggest test is still to come."
(on what it is like practicing in the Colts' facility)
"Very awkward. They did a pretty good job of covering up most of the stuff that had to do the Colts and putting up the Super Bowl logos and banners and things of that nature, but I've seen a lot of blue and white."
(on if the Colts have left any playbooks laying around their facilities)
"No, and I don't think we will be leaving any behind either. I'll tell you what, though, the facilities have been great. Obviously, they've got a first-class facility and it's been nice having some of the things that we are typically used to being at home and being able to prepare to get ready for this thing. That indoor facility is great. They had it cranked up to about 900 degrees yesterday."
(on if the Giants move around their defensive line a lot to pick and choose whom they are matching up against)
"I think a lot has been made about which side this particular guy is going to be on versus another, but they've have always kind of moved those guys around. I think they are comfortable rushing of the right or left side. I don't think it bothers them. They are a very athletic group. When you've got guys like that, you can move them around and do those things with them, and they do it pretty well."
(on the pressure he feels protecting Quarterback Tom Brady's backside)
"You know what? I've never looked at it like it's MY responsibility. I think we've always looked at like it's the offensive line and it's the offensive line's job – not any one guy in particular. We've had a lot of things – a lot of moving guys – up front, and I think everybody has done a good job of sticking together and working hard and playing as a unit. It is a difficult thing to do in this league, but we've got great veteran guys and obviously our young man on the right side – Mr. *(Nate) *Solder – has done a great job this season, as well as the rest of the guys who have stepped in when their number has been called and gone in there and performed well. It's worked out well for us."
(on all the Pro Bowl and future Hall of Famers that he has been matched up against the past eight weeks)
"I'd gladly have those guys line up on the other side (of their defensive line)
any day. But, it's part of the position. I think it's why some guys end up there. They like that individual challenge each week. The only good news about playing left tackle is that you never have to worry about being perfect, because you'll never have one of those games. You'll never have a perfect game. So, it keeps you coming back to the table and keeps you working hard. It keeps you young in some sense – golf and left tackle – you'll never get it mastered."
(on what playing in the Super Bowl means to you)
"It means that we obviously worked hard enough and put in enough time to get to this position. When you're at this point, where you are two or three days out from the big game, you really start fine-tuning the little things. We've had a good week of preparation and I felt like we've handled the move and everything that goes with the Super Bowl pretty well. Right now, it just comes down to every guy just trying to do a little bit more and communicate amongst your own group with some of the guys that you are going to be working with out there – just make sure that you don't leave anything unturned. Unfortunately, we know what it's like to not come out on top. It's a bad feeling. You want to make sure you don't put yourself in that position."
(on if there is any extra motivation because of Super Bowl XLII)
"I think the motivation comes in because you want to finish out what you started. This season is unlike any other season I've ever played in. I think every guy on this team right now just wants to see this thing through. We've been through a lot. It's been a long year. It's been a long year."
(on if the anticipation is building up as the game is getting closer)
"It will intensify, just like the coverage and the city of Indianapolis and everything else. It will magnify to a certain point. I'm sure if we can keep it together and hang in there for that extended pregame and everything else that goes along with the Super Bowl, then we'll be fine. We just want to make sure that we peak at the right moment."
G LOGAN MANKINS
(on Tom Brady's life)
"I guess he's not like me when media is chasing him around trying to get a picture of him on a bike with his dog. We haven't gone to dinner in a while, but it's as crazy as it can be for a celebrity."
(on the Giants pass rush)
"The key is blocking them. I don't think anyone has any big secrets to it. They give everyone problems so the key is doing what you're supposed to and the way you're supposed to and you have a good chance."
(on when Brady gets heated with the offensive line on the sidelines)
"It's a part of the game. Usually when he's mad at us, we deserve it."
(on the growing challenge to block the pass rush)
"I think if you look at a lot of teams, they draft four pass rushers. That's one of the main things, especially with the amount of times teams throw the ball. That's one way to take an offense out of the game."
(on the overall offense)
"We want to score every time we're out on the field. We'd like to score as many points as possible but if you look at our last game I think we only scored 23 points. Our defense only gave up 20 points and they kept us in it. We didn't finish the game very well, but our defense did finish the game."
(on the success of the team with such a high turnover since 2007)
"We play good, complimentary football. The defense and special teams feed off each other. We have guys who have really bought into the system and they're trying to do their best out there. Coaches are putting us in situations to succeed."
(on overall personnel)
"Our head coach is the guy who picks the players. And they're guys he wants, and believes in."
(on the Giants overall defense)
"They all have speed and power, but they're all very athletic. The majority of them have good quickness which is very good to have, especially when you're going against linemen. They're going to be able to move faster than we can. They all have it."
(on the rematch from 2007)
"I don't think we're playing for revenge. No matter what team we're playing this week, we'd want to win just as bad. This is the one game you want to win, and we're in the position to do that and go for the big win."
(on the Patriots coming away with the win)
"I'm sure they want their fans to be able to have a party. We want our fans to have a party. Hopefully, we can do that. We know one team can win, so hopefully we can do that."
(on the postseason success of the Giants defense)
"They've gone after the quarterback for one. They've done a pretty good job of that. They had three playoff games and I think, nine sacks so that's some pretty good stats for that few of games."
(on the teams mindset)
"I think we're on good pace. We've had a couple good practices out here this week and we have two more. As long as we keep heading in the right direction. It wouldn't be good if we had a bad practice in between that time."
(on people saying Eli Manning's play is better than Tom Brady's)
"That doesn't affect us at all. I could careless if they're talking about Eli (Manning) or Tom (Brady)
. I couldn't care either way. There's always got to be a story and I guess Eli (Manning) is that story."
(on the success of the Patriots over the years)
"I think it starts with our ownership and our head coach - the system they've bought into and believed in. The guys that they draft and the free agents they believe in. We buy into the system also. Once everyone believes in one thing and you have one common goal it's easier to do things."
(on the Patriots key building blocks over the years)
"We have a great head coach, great assistant coaches, a good quarterback and then you build around that. I think they've done a good job of putting pieces together."
(on Bill Belichick's personality)
"It depends on the situation. When it's work time, it's work time but there is a little bit of time for joking around and he's more than willing to joke around. When it's time to get down to business, he's time for business. That's what we want from him – he's our leader. We know when it's time for business that he's going to show us it's time for business. That's the great thing about Bill (Belichick) *you always know what you're going to get from Bill *(Belichick). You don't have to show up to work wondering what Bill *(Belichick) *is going to be like – you know."
(on the dominance of the Giants defensive front four)
"Definitely. They don't need to blitz much when your front four is that good. You can drop seven guys and let them do their jobs and they've been pretty successful with it so you've got to give those guys credit. That front four plays very hard and they're very talented."
(on blocking the Giants defense)
"It's going to be a huge challenge. The last five or six weeks, not many teams have done much to their front four so hopefully we can do better than the teams previously. If we do, I think we have a great chance to win."
(on Brady's intangibles)
"It starts with his heart. The way he reads defenses, the way he directs and takes protections. He knows if he's hot or not. Then, just his toughness, many people might say Tom isn't a tough guy, but if you look at some of the shots he's taken over his career, he just gets right back up. I'd say Tom is a very tough game."
(on Brady's intangibles versus his ability)
"I think everyone gets enamored with the talent side sometimes, but Tom might not be one of the fastest guys but he's definitely one of the smartest guys and he has a strong arm. He can make all the throws. He reads defenses so fast - it makes him a special player."
(on the Giants trash talk this week)
"I'm not surprised. We've played these guys a few times now, you kind of can expect this from their side. I don't blame them for being confident and wanting to win. We would love to have a big parade for our fans too. We know only one team can win and it's either going to be our fans or their fans. We'll just have to wait and see. Football is about making your statement on the field. The game is on the field. It's not during the week, or in practice, or through the media, it's on Sunday in that three hour block. We'll see who does the talking this weekend."
(on Bill Belichick's preparation throughout the week)
"He's going to let you know if you're ready and let you know if you're not ready. In those morning meetings, when he's showing you a bunch of mistakes, you know you're not ready."
WIDE RECEIVER CHAD OCHOCINCO
(on what he does before the game and if he has any superstitions)
"No, I don't have anything like that. I don't have any superstitions, no lucky charm, no lucky socks, or anything like that. I just say a prayer and I just go out and have fun."
(on how he will celebrate if he scores a touchdown or if they win the Super Bowl)
"Normally, everybody knows I have crazy celebrations that I do all the time. I've been kind of quiet on the celebrations and the production this year, so if I score this Sunday I might do something. It's the biggest stage."
(on what his take is on the city of Indianapolis and this Super Bowl)
"This city's always been awesome. I wasn't too far from here. I was only an hour away for 10-years straight (Cincinnati). I don't frequent Indy a lot, but when I did it was always enjoyable for me."
(on what his mindset is in preparing for the biggest game of his career)
"My mindset is to be the same as it's always been all year - I've been focused. I've just been waiting on those opportunities to come, and when they come I'm trying to make the most of them, and I'm taking that same approach this Sunday. When my number is called, I'm going to do everything I can to get open, make catches, make plays, and we'll see what happens by the end of the game."
(on being a part of the media the last couple of years and what's it like being a player in the Super Bowl)
"It's been good. It's been enjoyable, and it's been a dream of mine for years. To actually be on that stage is awesome. I didn't get here the way I wanted to, but what more can I ask for."
(on if there's any disappointment he didn't play a larger role in the offense this season)
"No. I'm not disappointed at all. Yesterday, I compared it to a year of marriage. The first year of marriage is always rough, and you have to feel each other out and that's what we did this year. Going into next year I think it'll be a lot better."
(on if he could have a dream ending to this game what would it be)
"I'd rather not do that. I don't want to have a dream. I did all the dreaming already and I'm here. We'll see what happens Sunday."
(on media week ending and switching gears to get ready for the game)
"I'm not really switching gears. I've always been in that mode already, regardless of talking to the media. I've had my blinders on."
WIDE RECEIVER MATTHEW SLATER
(on what the Super Bowl experience has been like so far)
"It's been a tremendous experience. I think everything I would have expected and more. I think my favorite part about this has been the time I've been able to spend with my teammates. Just look back on the season we've had and enjoy it, but also just looking forward to Sunday and preparing for Sunday."
(on what it's been like having a veteran wide receiver like Deion Branch on the team)
"Deion, it's been so great having Deion back here. He's the ultimate professional. He really does the little things to prepare himself to have the best success he can on Sundays as far as on the field. Off the field, he's just a great guy to have in the locker room. He's a leader; he just knows how to motivate guys, how to keep guys positive and how to keep guys focused on the task at hand. You couldn't ask for a better guy to play with than Deion."
(on if he thinks his religion and faith has an impact on the outcome of the games)
"I don't think of it in that perspective because there are believers on both sides, there are Christians on both sides. At the end of the day, as Christians, it's not about us as players, it's about us giving our glory back to our Lord and savior. We're just blessed to play this game. I really don't think that he's up there saying this team or that team; obviously he has a will and a plan for us all, but there are believers on both sides of the ball and the Lord says he doesn't favor one of us over the other."
(on if he gets frustrated by the backlash directed at Broncos QB Tim Tebow regarding his public displays of his faith)
"It's unfortunate, but it's to be expected. We are aware as believers that we can take some criticism for standing up for our beliefs. As far as Tim is concerned, I couldn't be prouder of a young man, I couldn't appreciate what he's doing more. I really am thankful that we have a brother like that taking a stand for our faith. He's putting himself out there, and I think we need more people like that. Obviously, everybody's not going to love you regardless of what you're saying and doing and we understand that, but I have a lot of respect for that kid."
(on if he envisioned playing in the Super Bowl as a little kid)
"It was always Super Bowl - you wanted to make the big play in the big game, the game-winning touchdown in the Super Bowl. It was always the Super Bowl, the big game, and to actually have a chance to play in it is going to be unbelievable."
(on if the team has rallied around Patriots' owner Robert Kraft after the passing of his wife Myra Kraft)
"Definitely. I can't imagine being in his shoes and losing the love of your life after all of those years, and the pain that he feels. They were extremely close; they spent most of their lives together. He has been around more, he has been building a relationship with the players more, and we really appreciate that. He's a great man - he's always been a great man - just to see that side of him and to get to know him a little bit better this year has been special. Your heart goes out to him though, like I said, I can't imagine how he feels and having to deal with that, but I think he's done just about as good of job with it as anybody could have."
(on what the players talk about with Robert Kraft when he comes in the locker room)
"It can be different things. He and I can talk about spirituality, we can talk about the game, we can talk about Myra (Kraft) , just different things to try and get his mind off of it and ask him how he's doing. Like I said, I know it's tough for him but he's doing a great job."
(on if it's easier to play special teams in the Super Bowl because of the stakes)
"You shouldn't be playing (if you can't get up for the Super Bowl)
. We'll definitely have the juice and they'll have the juice too, it's the Super Bowl. I think in the end, it is going to come down to us playing our technique, even though it doesn't look like there is much technique on special teams, and us playing disciplined as far as the scheme is concerned. Like I said, these guys are playing real well this time of year. The last game they had, special teams won the game. We realize that we're in for a huge challenge, but we're trying to do the things to prepare ourselves to meet that challenge come Sunday."
(on the recent struggles the kick return team has had)
"I think we've emphasized that all year. Obviously, the production isn't up to the standard that we have set for ourselves through the course of the season. We've just been telling the guys to keep believing, stick to our schemes, stick to our technique, go back to the basics and we started to see some results last week. Danny (Woodhead) and Julian (Edelman) have done a good job all year long. They're really comfortable back there. They're really comfortable with what they're seeing, with their reads and hopefully, we can make a play or two this game to help our offense out and help the field position game."
(on if he's thought about what it will feel like to run onto the field for the Super Bowl for the first time)
"I've thought about it about 1000 times, and there is really no telling until it actually happens. I am sure there will be a lot of nerves and excitement, but I'm looking forward to that time."
(on if his father, NFL Hall of Fame OL Jackie Slater has told him about his experience playing in the Super Bowl)
"He played in Super Bowl XIV I believe it was - against the Steelers, they were leading with 11 minutes left to go in the game, I've heard it 1000 times. It was a great experience for him, and hopefully it will be a great experience for me."
(on if he knows how many father-son combinations have played in the Super Bowl)
"I think somebody said 14 the other day, but I'm not sure."
(on what his father, NFL Hall of Fame OL Jackie Slater has told him about his experience playing in the Super Bowl)
"He's told me a lot about it. We've obviously talked about his experience over the years. I've had to sit down and watch the tapes of the game with him several times. He just told me to do everything I can to make sure at the end of the day I have no regrets. So as far as preparing myself to play the best football game of my career come Sunday, and leave nothing back, hold nothing back - just so I can live with no regrets."
(on what is the greatest moment he has visualized about being in the Super Bowl)
"I think as a youngster you always visualize making the big play in the big game. Making a game-winning play of some sort, leading your team to victory some way, and to actually have a chance to be a part of this team and take the field with this team on Sunday is going to be a dream come true. Win, lose or draw - obviously there won't be a draw, but win or lose this experience is something I will take with me the rest of my life."
WIDE RECEIVER WES WELKER
(on if this game is an opportunity for him to raise his profile as a player)
"I don't think I am really worried about that too much. I just try to go out there and do my job to the best of my ability. I really just focus on whatever I have to do to help the team win the game. I think that is the key thing."
(on what makes Bill Belichick so special in a week like this)
"He pays a lot of attention to detail. He does a great job of really going through all of the games and making sure that we are on top of everything that we need to do, and preparing us how we need to."
(on if Bill Belichick is different with the players than toward the media)
"It's pretty much the same with us. He is kind of like our boss in a way, so we listen to him, follow his lead and do the best we can out there."
(on if a lot of teams worked him out when he was coming out of college)
"There were some that came to my pro day. The Bears, I ended up going to visit them before the draft. I talked with them and stuff, but there wasn't a lot of hype or interest going into it, not a lot anyways. There was some, but not too much."
(on where he forecasted his career coming out of college)
"At that time, I just wanted a job. I didn't really have any big expectations. I really just wanted a job. I wanted to go out there and do the best I can to try to get that job."
(on why the NFL Play 60 program is important to him)
"I think it's very important for kids to have a place to go and play, and do what they need to do to be physical and active and all of those things. It's always a big thing for the NFL to get involved in those types of deals. "
(on how he has developed such good chemistry with QB Tom Brady)
"It just takes a lot of time and preparation, us working together and doing whatever we need to do to try and improve and get better. We are constantly working on that stuff on a daily basis."
(on how long it took for him and QB Tom Brady to get on the same page)
"Those things always take time. I feel like we are still working on it today, there is always room for improvement on different things we can do like that."
(on what he attributes his increase in production this year to)
"Just being older, wiser, working harder, understanding the offense better, being on the same page as Tom (Brady)
more and just going out there and doing the best I can to get open and make plays for us."
(on the patch for Myra Kraft)
"Mrs. Kraft is obviously a big part of this organization. She was kind of the heart and soul of it. She was always the first one to hug and kiss you after games and tell you what a great job you did whether a win or a loss. What she stood for as far as volunteering and everything else, she really set a great example for us. It's an honor for us to wear that patch out there."
(on how his experience has helped him)
"It's reading plays better, taking care of your body better, understanding what it takes to get ready for games and mentally preparing yourself for that. It's watching film, and understanding every little bit helps and all of the preparation that goes into that."
(on one of the main things he has learned)
"I think one of the main things is reading the safeties and knowing where they are. The safeties never lie in coverages. It's being able to see them, and understanding what they are trying to do to you as far as where they are."
(on QB Tom Brady being critical of his own play in the AFC Championship game)
"I think we all have our games where we wish we had played better or whatever. He is very hard on himself and he continues to be. That is why he is so great."
(on his ability to disguise his intentions in route running)
"I don't know if you can really disguise it. I think you go off and react to what they do. However they decide to play you, you attack it. A lot of it is reaction and being quick and in and out of breaks and doing different things to get open. "
(on how you can make a defender not know where you are going)
"You've got to make all of your routes almost look the same. Whenever you make them all look the same to a certain point, they aren't sure which one you are running. You could be going in, out, straight up the field, faking a certain way or whatever. They really don't know."
(on if he ever reflects on how far he has come in his career)
"Not really. I just try to focus on the here and now, and what I have to do now to get ready for a game. I don't think you can really sit back and look back too much. You have just got to continue to get better, continue to try to learn and do what you can to try to help the team win."
RUNNING BACK DANNY WOODHEAD
(on practice this week)
"It's been going good. We're just trying to get more acclimated with the game plan, get it down and make sure that we're ready for the game Sunday night."
(on what's different about practice this week)
"Really, there hasn't been a big difference. Coach has kept it the same or as normal as it can be. We're trying to do what we do every week and that's be prepared and be ready to execute once the game comes around."
(on if Rob Gronkowski will be ready to play)
"That's a question you ask Coach. That's not a question you ask Danny. I'm not the one that makes the call on anything. That's what Coach does."
(on what has been the most fun thing he's done this week)
"I think it's just the whole Super Bowl experience and being a part of it. It's something as a kid you dream of. It's really exciting, but we do need to keep things normal a little bit because it is a business trip and we got to be ready on Sunday."
(on if everything has sunk in for him yet)
"I don't know if it will sit in until we're out on the field, but it's exciting. We're keeping it normal. Coach has done a great job of keeping it like a normal week and just preparing like it's a normal week and that's what we have to continue to do."
(on if it will be hard to keep things normal with the game only 72 hours away)
"It's 72 hours until the game, so just like any other game, we're going to approach it the same way. I'm going to approach it how I approach all the regular season, preseason, playoff games. I'm going to try not to change anything."
(on if he gets to spend time with his family when they arrive)
"There will be some time to hang out with family and that'll be nice. I'm glad that my family is going to be able to be here to experience it and experience it with me, my wife and daughter. It's a fun time."
(on if he gets to stay at the same hotel with his family)
"No, it's a business trip. We got to try to limit most of the distractions and that's one of the ways you do."
(on if there have been any distractions this week)
"Not really. To me, it's been a pretty normal week. We've had media every day, but that's not something that really changes the way the week is really approached. We just go out and practice. We have our meetings, so things have been relatively the same."
(on if he's seen any celebrities this week)
"No, maybe a few I guess, Media Day. Other than that, no. We're approaching this like any other week and that's where we're working. I don't really have a lot of time to pay attention to stuff like that."
(on what he thought of Media Day)
"It was different. It's not every day however many thousand media-credentialed people talking to you. It's not that big of a deal. It didn't change the day too much. We did media for an hour and then we're back to our normal schedule."
(on the children's book that was written about him)
"I thought it was something cool and something cool to be able to have books for my children someday that's about their daddy. It was a neat thing to do."
(on what it's like to have his life in a children's book)
"I don't know if it's really set in. It's not like I really see books everywhere. I think it's cool. It's something that probably I never expected to have happen, but it happened and it's pretty neat."
(on his children's book benefitting charity)
"Yeah, I think that's something that is even more important is doing it for a good cause. That's the number one thing."
(on what the Super Bowl experience has been like)
"It's been like a normal week. We have media every day, but other than that, we have practice, we have our meetings. It's a pretty normal schedule. It's been like a normal week besides the whole media part."
(on if he's dreamed of what it will be like to step on the field on Sunday)
"You think about it, but I try not to think about it too much. I don't want it to consume my thoughts. I want to be able to approach this week like any other week and that's just going to work every day. When it comes, it'll happen and I'm sure it will be exciting."
(on how much more comfortable he's gotten on kickoff returns)
"I think the more you do anything, you're going to be more comfortable. I just go out there and try to execute the play that is given and I'm going to do my best with it."
(on if he feels like he's getting closer to breaking a big kickoff return)
"I don't know. I think we got 11 guys on the field, 10 others and there's me. We all try to do our job to the best of our abilities and we're going to do that every play."
(on the kicking game possibly being a deciding factor on Sunday)
"Any play could help us out, whether it be offense, defense or special teams. It's a team game and whatever's going to happen, it's going to be all of us as a team together."
(on what he's learned after getting more reps as a returner)
"It's still football. I don't know if there's one thing I really learned. It's still football. Special teams, when you're returning, you're still following blocks. It's still football."
(on if he's thought about the possibility of him being the first one to touch the ball in the Super Bowl)
"I don't know if I've thought about it all that much. Like I said, I stay so in the present right now. I'm just trying to get ready for the game. That would be cool, but we just got to go out and approach it like any other game. It's obviously the Super Bowl, so it's a little different, but we got to approach it like it's any other game."
(on if he keeps up with the Jets anymore)
"Not really, I keep tabs on the New England Patriots and that's it. Once we play them, yeah, I'm going to find out what's going on. I think anyone else in the League, you might see scores come across the TV or something later on after your game, but you don't really have time to think about the other teams. You're more worried about what you do with your job. Honestly, there's not a real reason for me to do that because I don't play for New York. I play for the New England Patriots. That's the number one thing."
(on how he looks at his past experiences of getting released and signed)
"I look at every experience in my life as something that it's part of my life and it's something that I can use whether it be something good, something bad, can use it to help me out with the rest of my life. It's not something I think about a lot, but I feel like my journey was planned out by God and that's how things worked out."
(on how tough of a challenge the Giants' defense will be)
"I think it's going to be a huge challenge. I don't think it's just the last couple weeks. I think they had a great defense the whole year. We just got to be ready to go Sunday night."
(on if he's had a special connection with DB Ross Ventrone)
"He's a great guy and he's a great player. This year has probably been a little crazy for him. That's something you have to ask him, but as far as a guy, he's a great guy."