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Patriots Transcripts 1/12

Tom Brady, Rob Ninkovich and various other Patriots addressed the media at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday, January 12, 2016.


Q: Does your mentality change at all personally when you prepare for a playoff game?

TB: Its football. It's kind of what we've been doing all year. I just think that the ramifications of a loss are a lot different. You really don't have next week to get it right so we've worked pretty hard to get to this point and we're going to have to have our best week. It's a great team we're playing.

Q: How much of last season's matchup against Kansas City will you use in preparation for this week?

TB: I know we've all studied it. They played really well that night. We didn't play very well. Hopefully we can flip the script. That'll be the opportunity we have, so it's going to take a great effort. They have a lot of good players, great front, great group of linebackers, as well as any team we've faced in the secondary, so they're good at all levels. They've got a good scheme. They put a lot of pressure on you and if you don't handle it then they take advantage of it.

Q: How much will Julian Edelman being back help the offensive line due to your ability to hit him with quick throws?

TB: I just think the more dependable, consistent players are out there, the better the offense is going to be. He's been one of them for as long as he's been here, and depending on what he can do, we'll try to find ways to integrate him. Whoever's out there we have to have confidence in. Like I said, there's no next week so you just got to do whatever you can do to be out on the field, help us win, play your role, do the job coach asks you to do and then try to figure out how to score some points.

Q: How important is it to have Sebastian Vollmer back this week?

TB: Yeah, Seabass has been a great player for us and he's played some different positions. He's working hard, too, so it's a bunch of guys that have been nicked-up over the course of the season and as many guys that can be healthy as possible, that's what we're going to need.

Q: So do you feel better having him back?

TB: Absolutely, yeah. The more those guys – I hope all those guys can play and do a great job. The better everybody feels the better we'll hopefully go out and play.

Q: Is there one thing this Kansas City defense does better than any other team?

TB: Well Coach talks about the turnover margin that's been heavily in their favor, especially in their wins down the stretch. I think they do a great job of complementary football. I think we've always tried to play complementary football. When they get turnovers they turn them into points, and when you turn them into points, they're good in the kicking game and when they're good in the kicking game, the defense can tee off. Like I said the other day, it kind of creates this snowball effect and the game is out of hand and just what happened last week to Houston. Before you know it, they have a seven-point lead on the opening kickoff and then you already feel like, 'Man we've got to start getting back into this game.' You don't want to be down 14-0 in the middle of the second quarter. That's not the way to play this team.

Q: How aware are the guys in the locker room of your intensity at this time of year?

TB: I think they get a full dose of it year-round. I would say I'm not the easiest guy to play with. I think there are a lot of high expectations and I try to put a lot of pressure on everybody to get the best out of us.

Q: Do you think the precision is vital this time of year?

TB: Yeah, I mean every time of the year is really important because you're always trying to build to something. Like I said, you work really hard to get to this point and I don't think you just start working hard last week. I think you've just got to work hard with the opportunities that you have. I don't care if it's an offseason, non-practice day, what are you trying to do to help our team win and become a better player? If you get that opportunity then you try to go out and take advantage of it, and if you finally make it to this point it's not like you're going to do anything different because it's the playoffs now. You're just going to do more of the same, but at the same time you know if you lose there's nothing to figure out the following week.

Q: Have you talked to Brian Hoyer at all about his experience facing Kansas City?

TB: Not much, no.

Q: Is that not at all or was there any conversation?

TB: Not much.

Q: When you say you're not an easy guy to play with, do you ever feel like you have to lighten up or do you think cracking the whip is the best way to get the best out of your teammates?

TB: I think there are different tools at different times for different players. Some guys may think I'm being really hard on them but I'm not being hard on them at all. I just think ultimately we're all trying to get to the same place and you've got to have different leadership styles with different players. I think there is always a sense of urgency and every day you're trying to create some urgency so you can realize the importance of what we're trying to do for ourselves, for our team, because everyone puts in a lot of work. There are a lot of people that sacrifice a lot to get to this point. This is not a one-week event. This is a year-round event that you commit to, to play in moments like this and this is when you need to be at your best, and if you haven't weeded out the guys that you don't count on anymore, then those guys, they're not playing. The guys that you count on, those are the guys that you're kind of I would say in a foxhole with so to speak, and you've got to know who to count on and how to anticipate and know that you're doing the right things ultimately to get productive plays and score points. 


Q: When's the last time you shaved?

RN: Last weekend in July. 

Q: So, can we call it a playoff beard?

RN: Call it a seasonal beard – full season. 

Q: What do you think of Julian Edelman's effort?

RN: It's not a full effort. He's taken too many pretty-boy pictures throughout the year for him to rock the full beard all year.

Q: What's the mentality of the playoffs and the way you handle the pressure?

RN: You have to understand that if you don't play your best football you won't play another game, so that's doing everything you can during the week to be the best prepared team you can be when you walk on the field. 

Q: Why do you think some guys respond to that and others don't?

RN: I really don't know. All I can really speak for is myself and really just try to do the best that I can to be the best football player that I can be the next game that I play.

Q: Have you faced a running game like this with a mobile quarterback all of their scheme plays?

RN: There's been quite a few quarterbacks that are pretty athletic that we've faced and not just this year but in years past. I think that you just have to understand your responsibilities and not try to do somebody else's responsibility. Do your job and play it to the best of your abilities on every single play. 

Q: How has Jabaal Sheard helped you get through the season?

RN: Jabaal has been a great addition. I think he's done a great job for us, and he's a good friend of mine, so I'm happy to have him playing with me. 

Q: How does getting Dont'a Hightower back help the defense?

RN: I love High next to me as well. I think that having a week to recover helps, so again I think that High has done a great job. He does a great job for us every year and again he's a really good football player. 

Q: Personally, you guys are 7-7 making the playoffs since you arrived here. What are your thoughts on that?

RN: I don't know any different, so understanding that during the year you set yourself up to be in this position and you have to execute and you have to start all over again when the playoffs start, so really you put yourself in position for the playoffs and once the playoffs are here, you go back to not having a record and focusing on one game and putting all your effort into that one game. 

Q: Six of the last 13 Super Bowl champions didn't make the playoffs the following year. Why has your team been so successful this year?

RN: What happened last year? You've got to forget about what happened last year. What happened the year before is not going to help you the next season, so having a short memory and understanding that anything that you've done in the past doesn't help your future. You just have to look forward and just focus on that next season. So again I think we did a great job and we've still got to continue to do that going forward here. 

Q: What kind of problems does Alex Smith pose?

RN: He's a quick guy, he's fast. He's definitely one of those guys that can be in the pocket and be out of the pocket in a flash so you have to do a great job on the edge – not just the guys on the edge, but everyone on the front has to be aware and understand that this quarterback can run for first downs on any given play. 

Q: How do you feel like the communication has been on the defensive front this year?

RN: Like I've said many times, there is always going to be change throughout a season. That's just the nature of the business, so I think we've done a great job, I think the coaching staff has done a great job of putting us in the best position possible to be successful. So again I think practice helps with communication, so having a really good week of practice this week is going to go a long way. 

Q: Tom Brady said he's aware he's not the easiest guy to play with. What do you sense from him at this time of year? Is he the same or does he ratchet it up a different level?

RN: I think I've said it many times, Tom is one of the most competitive people I've ever been around, so I just think that's his competitive nature is to put himself mentally in a state where he's going to be the best guy on the field. 

Q: When you get out there in pads this week, what do you look to get out of that as a player?

RN: You have to work on all the little things that when you're not in pads you can't do, so hand placement, leverage, pad level – all those things that really are what football is all about when you have the pads on and when the bullets are going. You've got to really do the best you can for that day you're in pads to get all the looks and improve. 

Q: Have you seen the positive effects of having the bye week on the practice field this week?

RN: Any time that you have a little extra time to recover is going to help you overall.

Q: How valuable is that knowing how well Kansas City is playing recently and how banged up you guys have been?

RN: You really don't pay attention to that. You focus in on this week and you understand that the team coming in is a good football team and they've won a playoff game. You have to prepare well and be ready to play a good football team.

Q: Has Jimmy Garoppolo been an effective scout team quarterback for you guys?

RN: Very effective. I mean Jimmy is a great quarterback – great accuracy, moves in the pocket well, so yeah, he definitely gives us a great look. 


(On if he's excited to get back to playing now that the bye week is over)
"Yeah, we're all ready to go, ready to get another day under our belts today and just keep preparing."

(On what this defense does better than other teams)
"They have a lot of great athletes. They're well-coached. They play hard. They have a lot of guys with a lot of experience, too. They're a good club."

(On if it's business as usual this week or if there is a different vibe because it's the playoffs)
"It's business as usual. We treat every game every week with the same amount of focus and intensity when we're preparing, so it's no different for us."


(On how he feels physically after playing for a whole season)
"I feel good. I don't feel any different than game one, so I've just got to keep on getting better."

(On if the level of conditioning is what helped keep him fresh)
"No, it's really just the love of the game. When you really love something it really doesn't take a toll on me. It's not like, oh man, I don't really want to go out there and do this every day. When you really love the game it's just like, oh wait, I get to wake up and do this again, something that I love.

(On what clicked for him over the last three months)
"Just preparation, just go out there and continue practicing and getting better at what I can and what they want me to do."


(On how much he's looking forward to this opportunity)
"It's a long time coming for me personally. The last two or three weeks have been a whirlwind once again, but I think getting ready for this week and realizing the opportunity ahead of me, it's one that I want to be well prepared for and take advantage of."

(On how he handles the pressure of the playoffs)
"To be honest with you, I don't have the most playoff experience around here, but to me, the game of football boils down to being able to execute, do your job and being able to do that [takes] a great week of preparation. And I've always prided myself on that. The stakes are high. If you don't win, you go home, but at the end of the day, you've got to be able to play relaxed and loose. And that's what I'm going in thinking on Saturday."

(On if this is why he took that phone call from Bill Belichick)
"Well this is why. I mean, we're at this point now. I understood that this is probably the last opportunity that I will have a chance, a significant chance to win a Super Bowl, and when the opportunity arose, this is the one – this is the week. Now we're talking about why I decided to take coach [up] on the offer."


(On if he's seen Tom Brady a little more focused this week)
"He's always focused. He's our leader. We follow his lead, and we also want to play well for him. So like I said, we just want to play our best when Saturday gets here."

(On what he sees in the Chiefs defense)
"They cause a lot of turnovers – great front seven, good secondary, good overall defense. So we don't want to give them any opportunities to take the ball away from us."

(On if the Monday Night Football game from last year has been talked about much this week)
"I mean, you watch the tape. You see what happened. It's a new year. Learn from the mistakes and know we can't play like that. 

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