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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered and Patriots Playbook Fri Dec 03 - 10:00 PM | Mon Dec 06 - 05:55 PM

Rich Gannon Conf. Call - 11-13-2002

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Q: Hey Rich

RG: Yes sir.

Q: How's everything going today?

RG: Good, thanks.

Q: Congratulations on that win the other night. Does everything seem straightened out in Oakland now?

RG: I don't know about that, I think we're still on probation, but we've just got to keep going and getting better each week.

Q: Did you guys radically change your game plan the other day?

RG: Well, we didn't throw it 50 times in the night, I thought we had a decent balance anyway, we had 38 throws, and maybe, almost 20 runs or something like that. I think our tempo was better, I think we did some things better than we had done in the last couple games. I think the biggest thing though, is collectively as a team we played better. When we were in that losing streak there when we lost four in a row, it wasn't like we were just terrible on offense, we weren't hitting on all cylinders in all phases of the game. In other words our kicking game was suffering a little bit, our coverage units, our return units were not making a lot of plays, defense was struggling. So when all three phases of your game aren't firing on all cylinders it's hard to win in this business. That night we got some good plays from the defense, got a big turnover in the first quarter that kind of jump started us, and got some better play out of our kicking game and that was the difference.

Q: The assumption here is that this is not just another game, can you speak to where your heads are at emotionally?

RG: Well I don't think it has anything to do with last year. It's a huge game for us from the standpoint where it's going to be a playoff type atmosphere from now on for us. When you lose four in a row you put yourself in that predicament, then every game is a playoff game. In other words, it's a do or die mentality, the margin of error for us is very slim, and every game is going to be that type for us and we expect that against a very good New England football team.

Q: Hey Rich, Charles Woodson, after the Denver game said, "We will win", referring to this game.

RG: I have not heard that, that's news to me.

Q: That being news to you, is that the type of thing that sometimes happens, and does that make things more difficult for you?

RG: No. I had no idea that had even been said, it's never been confirmed to me. You've got 50-something guys on the football team and not everybody's opinion is the same, and some people are more outspoken. I really can't comment on what another teammate said about another person, or a game, or a situation. I can just tell you from a team standpoint what our perspective is in this game and our approach. We know how difficult a game it's going to be, a team that really has no quit in it. You watch them come back last week, it's just really reminiscent of a lot of games they've been in where you feel like they're down and out, and then the next thing you know, they put a couple scoring drives together in the end and then they beat you. We know it's going to be that type of game and we're going to need our best stuff to have a chance to win.

Q: After going through your roster it's amazing to me how many guys are in their mid-thirties and have been in the league a long time. As the season goes on, does any thought go into managing reps or anything like that?

RG: Absolutely. I started back in training camp. I think Bill [Callahan] has done a great job with that, with the schedule, and certain players, after training camp, certain guys where their reps were cut down. Of course mine were never cut down, but the rest of them, I think he's done a great job, I think our guys are fresh. They'll be ready to play, and the guys that you're talking about in particular take wonderfully good care of themselves. The reason why Jerry Rice, at 40 years old, is still the player that he is, is because he's spent a lot of time and energy invested in taking care of himself and making sure he's always in premium, tip-top shape.

Q: What did you think of the Raiders mystique when you were in Kansas City now that you're in Oakland?

RG: Well, I don't know about all the mystique, I think that each team is different, I think each team creates its own personality if you will, and I think, despite the fact that we're right in the midst of the season that we're still developing ours. I think that, hopefully, the previous four games isn't a reflection of our football team with all the inconsistencies that we've had, but hopefully we can start the second half of the season off on the right foot like we did last week and continue to play that type of football. As far as mystique, I think each team is different, you create your own identity, your own character, your own personality, and hopefully ours is one of resilience, one that is going to continue to fight and go for what it wants. I think ultimately, with each team, you get what you deserve in this business, in other words, if you put in the time and the effort and the energy and you do the right things, you get what you deserve. If you don't then you get shortchanged.

Q: Rich, is your view of the Oakland fans changed since you've switched teams?

RG: Let's put it this way, I'd rather be the home team than the visiting team in this particular facility, but that's just the way it is. We've got a very unique fan-base if you will, that is very animated at times, very boisterous, it can be very difficult for opposing teams.

Q: What's the strangest thing you've ever seen in the stands?

RG: I don't know, we've got all types. We've got them all out here. The thing about it is it's a blue-collar fan-base, it's very supportive of the football team, and they get out there early in the morning and get started, they are at an optimum performance level come game time. They're a wild bunch for sure.

Q: How is this group different personality wise with Bill [Callahan] than it was with Jon Gruden?

RG: I don't know if it's changed a whole lot, I think anytime you add different players, a new coach, each team, even if you didn't do that, each team for whatever reason has developed its own personality and character. Ours is a little different than a year ago, and I think it's for the better. I think we've added some players like John Parrella, Bill Romanowski, and Rod Woodson, some guys that have really brought in, not only experience, but also a certain leadership ability that has really benefited the whole team.

Q: Just judging by the age of this team, how urgent is this season?

RG: I answer that the same way every time, it's urgent for every football team in this business. I think you look at the last couple Super Bowl champions; it becomes very clear to everybody that anybody can win a Super Bowl. Obviously you have to have the talent and the personnel, but, you look at some of these teams, who would have thought the Rams a couple of years ago would have come from a team that didn't even make the playoffs to being Super Bowl champs, you look at the Tennessee Titans who were in the Super Bowl. Last year, when you look at New England, half way through the season nobody even gave those guys a chance, so, like I said, we're pretty much in that same predicament, when you lose four in a row, the outlook is not very bright, but we're going to hammer away at it, and chip away, and do everything we can to get ourselves back in this race.

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