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Rob Ninkovich Conference Call Transcript

Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich addresses the media during his conference call on Monday, November 25, 2013.


Q: ** Can you talk a little bit about your reaction and the players' reaction when Coach Belichick told you to take the wind instead of the ball at the start of overtime?

RN: At first, Bill came up to us and explained what we wanted to do there and then when you win the toss, I think it's natural instinct to look around and say, 'Hey, we won the toss, do we want to take the ball?' Then we were kind of looking at each other like, 'We want to kick the ball, right?' We were trying to all talk to tell each other, 'Yeah, that's what Bill said. Let's kick so they have to play into the wind.' That's what it was, that was it. At first we were like, 'Do we want it?' We just went with what Bill told us to do: that was to kick and have them go into the wind.

Q: Your record is 8-3 but every game seems to have something crazy going on. What's it like to play through that on a weekly basis?

RN: These games, they come down to the end almost every week now. You have to stay mentally tough and realize that you have to play to that final play. You never know what's going to happen so it's that whole bend but don't break mentality of keep fighting, keep after your opponent to pull these wins out. It's a great way to win, for a team win as far as guys realizing that hey, if everyone does their job, we're going to win these games. It was, again, another great win for us as far as situational football down the stretch there.

Q: You played two night games in a row, got back in at 5 a.m. last week. How tough is it to get the body back to normal to prepare for a game the next Sunday?

RN: Well, it's definitely harder on Monday night, getting back at five, that's for sure. It was not an easy transition there this past week – just getting in at five, sleeping a little bit and then trying to get into the preparation for Denver. You definitely felt that extra day that you lost. This week, with the Sunday game, it's not as bad because you have obviously today and tomorrow to recover then get into the Houston game plan on Wednesday. Again, that Monday night game is tough because you lose that full day.

Q: When we saw Houston last in the regular season, they were the top team in the AFC. Do you guys ever talk about how a team can have its fortunes change so rapidly?

RN: You respect them as a good football team. Sometimes your record doesn't reflect the type of personnel that you have on the team. They had some injuries that affected them a little bit. But, again, every football team in the NFL is dangerous. You have to do your due diligence on every team, like they're [11-1]. Again, you can't ever let your guard down, especially in the NFL. There's always talent on every team. I now it's been a tough year for them, but I'm sure that they're going to play us hard like everyone else does.

Q: How do you guard against the danger of a letdown?

RN: You have to ride the momentum here of a great victory that we had last night and just continue to finish through here. Every game after Thanksgiving counts that much more toward the playoffs. Again, I think that we know the seriousness of every game going forward now. We're going to prepare like we always do and be ready to play the Texans tough because we know that they're going to play us tough.

Q: Are you guys where you want to be at this stage of the season?

RN: I think we're not exactly where we need to be right now. But again, I think we're working toward that, to where we need to be. Again, it's an ongoing season of trying to improve and get better and learn from your mistakes throughout the season. So again, I think that you don't want to peak right now. We still want to continue to improve and get better. You kind of want to hit your peak right when playoffs hit.

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