New England Patriots defensive lineman Richard Seymour addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on January 15, 2008.
Q: Can you talk about how good San Diego's play has been, especially in the second half of the season?
RS: [They're] definitely one of the best teams in football the season half of the season. It's definitely not the same team we saw earlier in the year. It's not the same team that played early in the year. They're playing their best football at this point and I think if you want to be successful in this league, I think that's when you have to do it. You have to do it in November, December, January, and they've done that.
Q: How impressive was their win over the Colts, especially considering how many guys went down?
RS: I think the Colts said it best: It was a gusty performance and I think when you look at their football team, they're a team with a lot of depth. They can do a lot of different things. If a guy goes down, they have another guy that can step in and keep the train rolling. We understand the type of football team that we're facing. We have a lot of respect for this team. They have a lot of good players over there and they're well-coached.
Q: I'm not going to ask if you're surprised that San Diego beat Indianapolis, but I am going to ask if it reinforces that on any give day any team can put together a performance to beat any other team.
RS: Absolutely. But, I mean, they're one of the best teams in the second half of the season, so it doesn't surprise us that they're in the AFC Championship. We're not surprised by what they've been able to do. If you just go back and look at the film and look at what they've been doing, there's a reason why they're here. It definitely can go either way. We'll tell Sunday who is the best team in the AFC.
Q: Does it mean a lot to you to be playing this game at home as opposed to last year when you played on the road?
RS: Obviously anytime you play, you always want to be at home. You don't have to travel and just the little things. We've put ourselves in a position where we've set this up through our play during the year, so that's definitely a plus for us, but we have to take advantage of this workweek. We have to try to out-prepare this team throughout the week and understand what we'll be facing come Sunday. This is the game that can take us to where we want to be, to the ultimate goal, so we can't leave any stone unturned this week. We have to understand what we're facing, understand the team that we're going against and do everything in our power to be prepared on Sunday.
Q: You guys have been talking about how San Diego is a different team and they're much better than when you played them, but how much different are you guys?
RS: You've seen what we've done. I think everyone has seen what we've done, but I think what you've done in the past really doesn't matter. I think when you look at San Diego they've made those steps and we've made some steps as well. Obviously defensively I think we have to do a better job. We're going to have our work cut out for us. They're putting points up on the board and they're not allowing a lot of points, so if you can put points up on the board and you can have a lot of turnovers defensively, you give yourself an opportunity to win. That's how they've been winning - they create turnovers, they don't turn the ball over and they put points on the board. They have a lot of talented guys on this side of the ball, so we have our work cut out for us.
Q: The injuries to some of San Diego's offensive personnel, how does that change your preparation?
RS: Who's injured?
Q: LaDainian Tomlinson, Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates…
RS: I don't know who's hurt. I don't know who's injured. I don't know anything about that. I think who's hurt are the teams they're playing against. We understand what we're facing. We're not looking at this team and saying are they hurt and this and that. We're not buying into that. We have a game to get ready for and that's what we're going to do.
Q: What would another Super Bowl trip mean for Tom Brady's legacy?
RS: We'll have to wait and see. To be determined. To be continued. We'll see what happens.
Q: This was a record-setting year for quarterbacks. There were more quarterbacks with 4,000 yards than ever before. Do you think the rules --
RS: Yeah, the rules are set up for the offense. Absolutely.
Q: Is it that simple, or…?
RS: It's that simple. The rules are set up for the offense to put points on the board. They can stiff-arm us, they can do hands to the face, whatever they want to do to us. They can chop-black us, but it's going to [come] a time where we're going to have to put a flag on a quarterback. That's just what it is. That's what sells this game - points on the board. But defense wins championships. We'll have to see how it all shakes out.
Q: Did you have a day off yesterday?
RS: I mean, some guys came in and worked out.
Q: What did you do?
RS: I worked out. I worked out, I ran, watched some film, did a little yoga. I try to keep myself ready to go.
Q: So there's no such thing as a day off at this time of year?
RS: No. You can't have any days off. I mean, you can rest and kind of mentally enjoy, but no days off right now.
Q: Going back to what you said before, you honestly didn't know if any of the Chargers players were injured?
RS: I didn't see anybody hurt.
Q: Did you watch the game last week?
RS: I saw the game last week.
Q: And the Chargers were playing their back-up quarterback.
RS: Yeah, he came in and played.
Q: And it didn't occur to you that he was hurt?
RS: The only team that's hurt right now - with all due respect to the Colts - is the Colts, so we're not buying into "they're hurt". Trust me, they'll be there, and we expect them to be there. And we're going to be there, too.
Q: Do you think they've put more on Phillip Rivers from earlier in the year, given him more responsibility?
RS: I mean, you can see where his growth as a quarterback - He's looking guys off, he's doing a lot of things to give them an opportunity to win. They're well-rounded. I don't think you can just put the emphasis on one guy. They're a total team. Obviously LT [Tomlinson] gets a lot of respect, and rightfully so, but I think every guy that comes in has the opportunity to make you pay. We're aware of the type of talent that's on this football team. I think as far as talent is concerned and depth is concerned, they're one of the elite teams in the league.
Q: The offense and defense on a team usually work together. Sometimes the offense is a kind of defense, as far as ball-control. You have a fast-strike offense. Does that present challenges for you as a defense?
RS: Anytime they get the ball and they can go down and score, that's what it's all about. We put them out there to go out and score and our job is to keep other teams out of the end zone. I don't think we've done as… We obviously could have done better, but our offense has done tremendous things for us throughout the year. We're definitely going to need that come Sunday, because when you look at what we're facing, you're facing a really good defense and we have to understand that as a defense ourselves, what our offense is going against. We have to do a good job. This is the game that can put us where we want to be.
Q: How big of a factor is championship game experience? This is your fifth in seven years and you have a lot of guys in that boat.
RS: Yeah, five in seven years.
Q: How much is that a factor?
RS: Obviously I think we have a lot of guys that have played in a lot of big games, but I think it can be overrated as well. I think you have to prepare throughout the week and put in the work and do the little things that it takes to be the champion. I think we have a lot of elements and a lot of guys that understand what we're up against and I think throughout the week that's what's going to be key for us.
Q: What's more motivating, the success in four of those or the failure last year?
RS: I think a combination of both. I think we understand what happened last year and obviously we want to avoid that. We put ourselves in a good position to do some good things, but we have to wait and see how this thing shakes out.