*(on the hype surrounding the game and possible implications on the playoffs, and if that enters his mind at all) *
"Certainly, I think they are, we always know Indianapolis is going to be there at the end. With them being 8-0 right now, it makes it tough if we get behind them with a loss here. There are obviously a lot of things that can happen, and the playoffs are long ways away, but anytime you play the teams that you know are going to be playoff contenders ... You know, that was our problem last year, why we didn't get into the playoffs. We finished 11-5, but we didn't beat any of the playoff teams. So, we have to gout there and have a great week of practice and preparation for an undefeated team. They present a lot of challenges, they always do. We have to play our best game this week."
*(on at what point did he know he was back with his knee injury from 2008 or if it's still an ongoing process) *
"Well, physically, I've felt great for a long time. The rehab process is what it is; it's pretty straightforward at this point. Pretty much January of this year I was out throwing the ball and running around. I participated fully in all the minicamps and passing camps, and I've done every practice this season. So the health of my knee is great, and I feel great physically. I'm actually pretty luck in that sense, to feel as good as I do this late in the season."
*(on if there was some trepidation going into the first game of the season) *
"I didn't feel that at all. I felt very positive about where I was at physically. I think the rehab work had been done. I played in all the preseason games, I had gone through all the training camp. So physically I felt great. It was just matter of getting out there. You're never prepared for the speed of what you face when the regular-season comes, so I think that was, you know, we won that first week—I don't think we played our best, but fortunately we got out of there with a win—and I think we've made steady improvements since then."
*(on if he talked with Peyton Manning or anyone else about coming back from a knee injury) *
"Well, there are plenty of guys on our team that have been through it; Ben Watson was one, I talked to Rodney Harrison, he had an ACL surgery. Peyton and I talked initially. We both had infections, so we were kind of exchanging our notes there with the kind of infection we had and for the treatments there were. We were both very fortunate it wasn't any worse than it was diagnosed."
*(on what Head Coach Bill Belichick is really like) *
"He's got a great sense of humor. He's very witty. He's one of the smartest people I've ever been around. Had he not been a football coach, he'd be in some other profession, really at the top of the profession, because of his level of commitment to the team and his level of intelligence. The great part for the players is we show up to work and he gives us exactly what we need to do to win each week. He boils it down, usually to three or four different things, and 'These are the things we need to do this week.' And it's not too complicated for anybody to figure those things out, but he just has a great sense of what the team needs, and he has a great sense of how to motivate the players."
*(on if he can give an example of Belichick's humor) *
"He's got a great memory, so there is nothing that he really hasn't seen at this point in his coaching career. He has a lot of stories for us, which a lot of them are very comical, probably no specific examples, but he reflects a lot on the past. He enjoys telling those stories, and he's a great storyteller."
*(on DE-Dwight Freeney and if there is less time to throw the ball with him) *
"It's been that way every time we've played them. He's the best pass rusher in the league. He's been that since the time he came into the league. And Robert Mathis, he's a great pass rusher, too, and they complement each other. They almost look at times very similar, their styles that they use. They are responsible for 16 sacks and 29 hits on the quarterback and four forced fumbles. Every game it seems like they're in there in the backfield. Dwight has sacked the quarterback in nine straight games. Anytime you're the quarterback, you know you don't have the time that you normally have to throw, you just have to make those decisions a lot faster than you normally make them. As a quarterback, you'd love to have as much time as possible, but with these guys, you hardly have any time."
Q: If you look at passer ratings the top 14 quarterbacks are 81-33, none of their teams have losing records. How much is this league a quarterback league, driven by the quarterback, and is it different than it used to be several years ago? Is the quarterback more important now?
"It's always been a passing league - I'll say that - whether it's driven by the quarterback, the receivers, the offensive line or the running game. There're a lot of reasons why people become efficient throwing the ball. It's not just the quarterback obviously, but it is a passing league. You don't win games without being able to throw the football when they know you're going to throw the football because a lot of the games come down to the fourth quarter and critical third down situations and third downs in the red area, and the entire passing offense needs to be able to execute at a high level. I'm never one to play too much into quarterback ratings. There's nothing exact about quarterback ratings other than when you have a good quarterback rating it just means you're probably a little bit more efficient throwing the football. It doesn't necessarily tell how efficient the quarterback is. You could throw a screen pass for a 99-yard touchdown and that reflects great on the quarterback when in reality anybody can complete a screen pass."
Q: The Rams are playing the Saints this weekend and the Saints are on pace to score more points and gain more yards than you guys did in 2007. I'm just wondering if you are surprised to have those numbers challenged just after two years and do you see similarities in the two offenses?
"Yeah, I was watching the Saints and the highlights from them. I think they are pretty good at every skill position. They have a great quarterback. They have some great receivers, a running game that really compliments their passing game. They have a coach - Sean Payton - who is one of the best coaches in the league, one of the best offensive minds in the league. When you're able to keep that core group together, like New Orleans has over the last couple of years, you can really see how the efficiency improves. The numbers they're putting up are pretty unbelievable. I thought we were having a great year two years ago, but to see them on pace to break those numbers it's challenging to do and they're doing a great job of that. Any team who plays the Saints you've got to... I've seen a couple of their games this year because we've played some similar opponents and you have to play a four quarter game against them. They're talented at every position. They really force pressure, in all three phases of the game, on the other team. "
*(on if he sees anyone eclipsing his TD record, throwing for possibly 55 TDs at some point) *
"Certainly at some point it will happen. It is just a matter of when. Peyton is as capable as breaking it as anybody, the way he throws the football and the precision that he has. Touchdowns for a quarterback, I think the reason why I enjoy the record, it just means we got in the end zone a lot. That's what is most important, I think. Some quarterback in some passing offense is going to come (along) and continue to break passing records as the offenses develop and you become more efficient, like New Orleans is this year. It's just a matter of time."
*(on knowing what goes into the QB position, does he takes pride in his TD record and the record season the team had in 2007) *
"Yeah, it doesn't happen very often. Peyton had a great season in 2004. Numbers-wise, he's never been able to duplicate those, but that doesn't mean that he's not a better quarterback. There are a lot of factors that go into yards, touchdowns, sacks, the team's you're playing and the defenses you're facing and the weather conditions and the scores of the games dictating the style of the game...We had a really unique season in 2007, one that we are all proud of. I wish we had taken care of business in the Super Bowl, but it was a lot of hard work that was put into that season, and I think that was reflected in a lot of the records that we set, even though I would take that win in the Super Bowl over any of them."
*(on if his season in 2007 was better or Manning's in 2004) *
"Well, Peyton doesn't have too many bad seasons; in fact, I don't think he ever has a bad season. He doesn't ever play any bad games. So if I'm just in that conversation, I'm okay with it."