Q: Back when you were coming out of college there was a link between teams like New England and the Green Bay Packers due to their 3-4 defensive scheme. Did that play a part at all in you signing here in free agency?
SM: Yeah, I think that was definitely one of the aspects that drew me to New England. I had a good meeting with them before the draft and it didn't work out. I ended up in Chicago and I tried to do my best there and now it's worked out for the best so we'll see what happens.
Q: What do you think has been the biggest challenge for you thus far in your career?
SM: I think for me just learning the different positions, [I] started at defensive end for a couple years, outside linebacker in a 4-3 and then last year middle linebacker in a 3-4 so, for me, just learning the different aspects of each position. It's quite a difference to go from a 4-3 end to a 3-4 middle-backer but that's the positon they put me in. I come in every day and work hard and do the best that I can at wherever I'm put and that's what I'm going to do – I'm just going to work.
Q: How much did your confidence increase last year after stepping inside at linebacker and how versatile does that make you going forward?
SM: Yeah for sure, I think that one of the best aspects of my game is just my versatility. I think moving me around is what gets the best out of me but I think last year [I] definitely gained a lot of confidence. I played middle-backer in high school, it had nothing to do with that, but just the instincts and that kind of thing but I feel comfortable anywhere, outside, inside but last year definitely grew. I enjoyed having that leadership role there in Chicago but it just didn't work out so now I'm here and trying to do the best that I can here.
Q: What do you remember from the pre-draft process, in particularly your dealings with the Patriots?
SM: I don't remember much to be honest. I just remember coming in for a visit. That's about it.
Q: Was there a certain role or position you felt most comfortable with in your time in Chicago seeing as you were utilized in multiple formations and schemes?
SM: For me, I think definitely rushing the passer. Any aspect with my hand down or standing up, any kind of blitzing, any linebacker position really, anywhere where I'm rushing the passer I feel comfortable in.
Q: Was there a lot of that type of pass rushing in your game last year or was that more a part of your earlier time in Chicago?
SM: No, not necessarily. We had some things where we blitzed and did that type of thing but there wasn't a lot of rushing. They asked me to drop into coverage more and take more of that role and I was fine with it. Like I said, I'm not going to complain about my role. I'm going to work hard at it and give 100 percent out on the field.
Q: Does that idea of being able to do a little more pass rushing here excite you at all?
SM: It definitely excites me. I think overall I'm just excited to get a new opportunity wherever that might be.
Q: Are you aware at all of the reputation Coach Bill Belichick has for moving guys around into different roles on defense and have you spoken with anyone here since signing about what to expect?
SM: Yeah, I think I'm a little bit aware of how the coaches run things around there. I think that they try to get the best out of every player they have and that's something that I try to bring. I haven't talked to anyone actually but I'm definitely trying to meet all the guys there and get to know them better.
Q: Do you plan to try and tap into what the current players know as a resource for yourself coming into a new system?
SM: Yeah, for sure, definitely. I've watched [Rob] Ninkovich over the years and just the way that he rushes, the way that he plays, I'm definitely trying to learn from him. I know he's a veteran guy so I'm definitely trying to [inaudible].
Q: Your body has undergone a bit of a transformation in your time in the NFL due to the various positions you've been asked to play. Do you feel it is currently in the best place to contribute regardless of what position you're asked to play?
SM: Yeah, for sure. I think I came in at like 260 [pounds] or whatever and I think that's a little too much weight for my body type but I'm feeling good right now and I definitely felt good when I lost that weight after two years or whatever. It's been years since college so I'm definitely excited just to get started and get working with everyone.
Q: What was it like to prepare for the Patriots when you played them in the 2014 regular season and what impressions did you have of the organization?
SM: It's definitely hard to prepare for the Patriots. You never know what they're going to do. Looking at it from the defensive side of the ball, they could come out with lots of different personnel, all that kind of things. They could come out in anything really. They have so many weapons and of course they have Tom Brady, one of the best quarterbacks, if not the best in the NFL so it's definitely tough. Anytime you play an away game it's going to be a tough atmosphere but it definitely seems like the fans were well into everything. I heard they have great fans out there so we'll see.
Q: Do you think your personality suits an organization such as the Patriots?
SM: Definitely. I've heard they're strictly business and that's the way I like to approach it, as strictly business. Just come in every day, give 100 percent, work you're tail off and everything's taken care of.