On QB Peyton Manning
"The league certainly missed him when he wasn't in there last year. He's an incredible player and competitor. We've had our fair share of meaningful games against a Peyton Manning-led offense when he was with the Colts. He seems like he's got this team really in the hunt as well. They lost two very close games and were in it right until the end. He's a phenomenal player, leader and quarterback and it's great watching him play out there."
On Manning referring to himself and Brady as "the elder statesmen"
"Maybe he's the elder statesmen. I'm younger than he is. I have a few years to grow into that role. I still feel like a young kid."
On the time it took to get his timing back after he missed the season in 2008
"It's hard to say, because it's early in the year and you missed a year of football, but in a normal offseason you miss seven months of football. To miss a whole season obviously was very challenging. Every year has different challenges. We didn't have a great year in '09 when I did come back. It was a very up-and-down year for us as a team. Peyton has obviously worked very hard and the level that he plays at now, it really doesn't look like he missed any time to tell you the truth."
On if Manning reached out to him during his injury
"Yeah, he did. Certainly, it meant a lot to me. We've known each other for a long time. My first start of my career, I met Peyton on the field before the game. He was out there warming up and I went over there and he said, 'Hey, I'm Peyton Manning.' I was like 'Of course. I know that.' He's a great guy. He's been a really good friend over the years, certainly someone I can relate to. We have a lot of things in common, so it's nice when we're going through some things, to bounce an idea or two off one another."
On if there is a legitimate kinship between he and Manning
"Well, like I've said, it's really grown over the years. We've known each other for a long time. You talk about a lot of things. We've seen each other off the field quite a few times over the years. He's always really been someone I look up to and admire -- certainly the way he plays the game, but also the way he handles himself off the field. Football is a huge part of his life and it's really important to him. He makes a lot of decisions based on his leadership position as a teammate. I think he's always making great decisions. He's really set the standard for quarterback play over my entire career."
On what has changed in the Denver defense with Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio
"Both games were very challenging. We just executed. Those were two of our better games, execution-wise, all season. So hopefully, we go out there and execute well again. There are a lot of things to prepare for. There are so many different looks. They really try to confuse the offense with the different defensive fronts, the different pressures, they really do a good job disguising. They're a very good defense and they're playing very well. We got off to a good start in practice today and hopefully that carries through with our preparation in the next few days, but this is going to be a battle. It always is. We've got a great history with the Broncos and I have a lot of respect for the organization. It's going to be our toughest game yet."
On seeing C Dan Koppen snapping on the other side
"I was really happy he got the opportunity to be out there. Obviously, he's been one of my best friends over the years, to see him go was a very hard thing. It always is at the beginning of the year. But, I was happy he got the opportunity to be with a great organization. To play with a quarterback like Peyton, and certainly with an offense like that, I'm sure Dan is a great fit. He's smart, he's tough and he's physical. He's got great command out there for that position. I loved playing with him when he was here. Hopefully he doesn't play his best game of his career this weekend against us, but we're always rooting for Koppen, except when he's playing us."
On how the New England offense has changed with TE Rob Gronkowski in it
"One thing our offense has always done is play to the strength of our players. I think it's always evolving based on the skillset of the guys that we have. For Rob and [New England TE] Aaron [Hernandez] and [New England TE] Daniel Fells and Hooman (New England TE Michael Hoomanawanui), our four tight ends, they've definitely added a different element for us in the passing game and in the running game. They can all run routes and catch the ball, but they are also good blockers, too. That's the most important thing. At that position, you have to be able to do both. If you're just a pass-catcher, then you really don't bring that physical element to the field and our guys take a lot of pride in that."
On New England WR Brandon Lloyd
"I really enjoyed working with Brandon and getting to know him. He's a veteran player that has really come in here and been totally professional and wants to do the best he can do every day in practice and every day out there on the game field. He got in the end zone this week which is great. He and I have had quite a few practices together where we're just continuing to work and try to get better every day. Hopefully, it's showing up on the game field. It's certainly not by a lack of work ethic by Brandon. He's really worked his tail off since the day he got here."
On if he ever talked to Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels about his experience as a head coach in Denver
"We haven't had a chance to talk about that much. I know he has great respect for the organization. He's told me that. But, we haven't really talked much about that. Everything is about the Patriots, and that's kind of what we talk about, in getting better as an offense and the things we need to do. I have 100 percent confidence in Josh doing his job, and I rely on him for so much over the course of the week. He and I have known each other for a long time as well and I really love having him as our coach and calling plays. The situation with Bill O'Brien leaving really worked out well for us, timing wise, with Josh coming back. He's done a great job."
On the slot receiver
"Well, [New England WR] Wes [Welker] is a very unique player, person and teammate. His heart is bigger than anyone that I've ever played with. What he's capable off in terms of his mental toughness in terms of his mental toughness and his ability to move on from bad plays, he's an incredible player. He shows up every single week. He does every single thing he can do over the course of the week to be prepared for the game. He has a lot of pride in what he does. He doesn't want to be covered one time over the course of the game. He's a great teammate and obviously a great friend. He's someone I'm always aware of out there. He's just done a great job this year."
On if the guys that work the middle of the field have to have something extra in their makeup
"Some guys, yeah. I've played with some guys who don't like coming in there at all and a guy like Wes loves being in there. The versatility from the inside part of the field, you can go anywhere. You can go all the way across the field, to the sideline, you can go short, you can go deep, intermediate, that's the nice part about being in that position. Wes has enough quickness and instincts to find the right spot. He really knows how to get open and separate from the defender. He's done a great job with honing his skills as a receiver over the course of his time here and he's playing at a very high level for us."