Q: How difficult is it preparing for a team you don't see a lot?
TB: It's much more mental preparation, along with the physical. There's different elements I think you've got to get ready for. It's a pretty good team, and they've obviously been hot, so it's going to take a big time effort to win this one. I think we're all anxious to go out there and play.
Q: What have you seen so far in the tapes of Tennessee?
TB: It's a fast team and I think they play with a lot of confidence, and from what you see on tape, they're pretty physical. They have a lot of guys with a lot of talent, and they make some plays, they pick off a lot of balls. We're going to need to go out and play well, it's not one of those teams that you cannot really go out and not put your best effort out there. We're going to need every guy, we're going to need to play our best game that we've played all year.
Q: Lucky you Jevon Kearse is probably going to come back this week.
TB: Yeah, "the Freak," he's quite a player, so hopefully with the time off, I'm sure he's well rested, but hopefully not as well-conditioned. They have another guy in there that's played pretty well too, so whether he plays or he doesn't play, obviously we'll probably anticipate him playing, if he's not there, it's a bonus. He's been a good player in the league for a few years now.
Q: These last few games pretty much decide everything.
TB: Yeah, everything's on the line. Coach read that to us this morning, he said that Indy last week, would have been the number one ranked team in the AFC had the playoffs started last week, which of course means zero, but this week they wouldn't even make the playoffs. It just shows you how fast, and how important each of these games are. It's just one game, one game you can go from being at the top to the bottom real quick.
Q: Does Monday on the road become a long day when you're waiting?
TB: I don't know, it's actually kind of nice to sleep in a little bit, we're here so early in the morning. I think everyone likes playing on Sunday at one, but Monday night at nine is not too bad either, considering you're the only game on.
Q: Tom, do you see some similarities in the team last year in the way they finished so strong, and the way it seems to be wrapping up this season?
TB: Yeah, we've been playing better, there are similarities, but it's not the same. We really pride ourselves on finishing well, and coach Belichick, all the teams that he's had, have finished well. It's because, I think, we are in pretty good condition, and the more we can study our opponents I think we take advantage of that. I feel comfortable late in the year, and I think everyone else does, especially when the magnitude of the games is that much more intense. It really comes down to a three game season, and you can be at the top or you could be at the bottom in a hurry, depending on each game.
Q: What's different from last year?
TB: Yeah, it's a new team. Believe me, no one gives a crap any more that we won the Super Bowl, I can assure you that.
Q: Tom, going to Nashville, Hank Williams Jr. singing the anthem, are you a fan of country music?
TB: Yeah, big time, I actually am looking forward to going down there for the first time. That's pretty cool. I didn't know he was singing the National Anthem. My mom always used to listen to him growing up.
Q: How do you guard against getting too hyped up?
TB: I think you're always hyped up when the game starts. I don't think so, I think you kind of let it flow, the more hyped up you are the better, most of the time, you play. Just because you seem more focused and into it.
Q: (Re: Steve McNair)
TB: Yeah, it's almost like he lays on his death bed all week, and then gets up and goes and plays. Steve's obviously a tough guy, he's playing at a really high level. I watched that Giant game, he brought them back. He looked great doing it, the quarterback draw, he called his own number for the two-point play. It doesn't look like he's too hurt out there, even though he probably is, it doesn't look like it.
Q: Can you talk about maybe not having Deion Branch in the lineup on Monday night, and in addition to that, what Donald Hayes would mean to your team as he starts producing for you?
TB: No matter who is really out there we're all expected to do the same thing. Whether it be a quarterback, a receiver, a running back, coach calls the play expecting it to work, so whether it's Deion, or David [Patten], or Donald [Hayes] or Troy [Brown], I think whoever is out there, I'm confident that they're going to do the right thing, and make the right play, and make the right read and be in the right spot. Donald's starting to play well, he caught that nice touchdown pass, as each week goes along I'm getting more comfortable with him, he's getting more comfortable with me, he's getting more comfortable in the locker room.
Q: Is it tough to develop that rhythm, between a quarterback and receiver, when a guy hasn't played?
TB: Yeah, it's always tough I think, not that I'm not experienced here in the NFL or anything, but you get guys that come in here from other teams, and they know a certain quarterback and they know his style, and then you've got to come in and learn someone else. It's a learning process, each week, Donald's given everything he's got, and he works as hard as anyone, and it's starting to pay off. He's playing better, and as coach will tell you, he's playing better every week and I feel that way too, I have a lot of confidence in Donald.
Q: (Re: Donald Hayes being in the lineup more)
TB: I hope so, I would expect him to be out there and playing well, making catches, and catch and runs, and he's doing a lot better.