Q: Deshaun Watson mentioned that he spoke with you after practice and that it meant a lot to him that you would share some insight with a younger player. What are your thoughts on that?
TB: Yeah, he's had such an, obviously, great college career, got picked by a great team. Watching him play, he's got a great future. He's got all the ability. It was great to meet him. I've watched him have so many great games. Pro football players watch a lot of college players because on Saturday nights we're at the hotel and Clemson was on a lot. Obviously, they won a lot of big games so it was great to meet him.
Q: What kind of tips or pointers did you give him about having success in this league?
TB: Yeah, most of the time it's on your own team. You're trying to help the guys you play with. As an older player you kind of pass along words of advice daily in every meeting. You meet other players in the league, younger players, and whether it's joint practices or other opportunities in the offseason, it's nice to meet a lot of guys. I've got a lot of respect for this team. We play them a lot. I feel like I know all of their players, so it was a good couple of days of work.
Q: Does it make it harder to sharpen your skills against this team because you both know each other so well?
TB: Yeah, there are so many good players out there on that field. They were the first-ranked defense in the league last year. It's just tough to move the ball. As you guys saw, there are a lot of plays that we may make or we may get sacked. I don't know. In the game would we have moved and gotten away from something? Was it an offensive PI [pass interference]? Was it a defensive PI? It's just good getting some work in, some real competitive work. They made their fair share of plays. We made our fair share, so it was a fun couple of days.
Q: Do you like the idea of leaving Foxborough for a stretch during camp to kind of help bond the team together?
TB: It was good. I think we've made a habit of that over the last bunch of years. It's fun to get away and it's fun to be out here working. It's a great facility and great fields and great support. It's that time of year. Nothing shows up on the scoreboard that matters right now, but I think it goes a long way toward helping build your team and seeing what you're all about and seeing who you can count on day after day, and that's what we're trying to do.
Q: Yesterday you seemed irked at times at the execution of the offense. What kinds of things do you say to your guys to kind of get them going in those instances?
TB: Yeah, I'm always pretty frustrated throughout the day in practices. You're just trying to create some urgency. I ask guys to dig a little deeper. It goes like that. Sometimes things don't go great in the first quarter of games, sometimes they don't go great in the first half, sometimes they don't go great for the first three quarters, but you've got to keep grinding. You've got to keep digging deeper. A lot of times football is a lot about momentum. Things don't go well early and then you find a little rhythm, start making some plays, scoring some points and then you can rattle off 28 points. That's football. I think what you realize with this team is they're not going to make it easy on you. There is no easy play, there is no easy throw, there is no easy run. They've got good players, they've got a good scheme, so it's really challenging and has forced us to raise our game.
Q: How nice is it to catch up with Bill O'Brien?
TB: Good. I mean I haven't seen Billy for an extended period of time in a long time. He and I were so close since he came in '07 and worked as a quality control coach. He worked as a receiver coach in '08 and an OC [offensive coordinator] in '09, '10 and '11. I love hanging with Billy. He and I get along great. We've had a great relationship.
Q: When were you able to sort of recover from the last trip to Houston and reflect on that Super Bowl victory back in February?
TB: We had a good offseason to kind of regain our focus. Life doesn't seem to slow down much when you're 40 years old and you have three kids. I think maybe it's a little slower at work than it is at home. You come to work and you try to give it the best you can for your guys. It's nice to be out here playing and that's what I love to do.
Q: When you watch Deshaun Watson, what stands out to you about his game that maybe you would like to incorporate into yours?
TB: If I could run a 4.7 [forty-yard dash], man, I would have been the first overall pick. Unfortunately, I ran a 5.2. I wouldn't have been the first overall pick - I change that. I probably would've been a fourth-rounder. I wish I could make some of those plays. Look, every player has strengths and weakness and you learn to play to your strengths, and you learn to develop your weaknesses. I'm still working on those things in my 18th year. I wish I was born 6' 5", 240, could run a 4.5, jump 40 inches, bench 415, but you can't. You play to your strengths and I think with our team I've been able to learn and think my way through the game. I tell the guys all the time - "Nothing good happens when I've got the ball in my hands." So the faster I can get it out of my hands, the better it is which means we've got to have a lot of trust. I think there are a lot of other players in the league like Russell [Wilson] or Aaron [Rodgers] that prove that when the ball is in their hands a lot of great things happen - Ben Roethlisberger. It's about improving the things that maybe you're not so good at, which I'm going to keep trying to do and keep building on the things you are good at. We've got a lot of good players on the team. We're trying to build our core, our foundation. Every player has those same things and then it's kind of a jigsaw puzzle and you figure it out from week to week. You get your matchups. That's the beautiful part about football.
Q: It looked like you got frustrated after missing Rob Gronkowski on an out route today. Why do you get on yourself so much after a play like that?
TB: I mean we've got to make that play. It's got to be a better throw. We've just got to come up with it. Sometimes you get the exact look you want versus a certain play and it's not a productive play. Those are the ones that you kick yourself on. Then there's some plays where they've got the right defense called versus what you have called and sometimes an incompletion - that's what it is. Plays where it really should be a completion and a big gain, those are the ones you've got to come up with.
Q: How much does the Texans' competitiveness reflect their coaches who you played with in the past?
TB: Yeah, I mean they've all been in our program. They know us so well. We know them. I've been fortunate to play with those guys and be coached by those guys. I know what they bring and what they're talking to their players about. And you know what - this team does all of those things. They've put the work in. They're not afraid of the work ethic. That's why they're one of the best teams. They're a playoff team. We played them last year. They gave us everything we could handle. We play them in Week 3. I'm sure they'll give us everything we can handle then. Hopefully we can score more points than they can.
Q: Jeff Hostetler was here visiting camp yesterday. What do you know about him and his career?
TB: Yeah, he spoke to our team a few years ago. I always followed his career. He was a great quarterback. He was a great athlete and I always knew his story. He took advantage of his opportunities and I think that's a great lesson for all of us. You never know when you're going to get in. When you get it, you've got to take advantage of it.
Q: You gave Roger Federer a salute on Instagram a while back. What are your thoughts on him as an athlete?
TB: Well, I loved his game and just knowing him a little bit. He's all about - he loves the sport, loves playing, loves the competition and he has excelled. He loves his family. I've got a lot of respect for that. He had a great Wimbledon. I know he lost the other day but he's been a great athlete that everyone can look up to. He's done things the right way.
Q: How much different is training camp for you at age 40 as opposed to age 25?
TB: In what sense?
Q: Do you feel differently? Is it harder on you? Does it take you longer to recover?
TB: No. I think it's a lot easier now for me than it's ever been. I feel like my routine is better than it's ever been. When you're younger you don't know what to do. After 17 years, going into my 18th year, I know what to do. I know how to prepare. I'm never sore. I could practice every day. I could practice twice a day if they'd let us do that, but that's not the way it goes anymore. It's just fun being out here competing. That's what us football players are here for. It's football season. That's what football players do - we go out and compete.
Q: Is there any part of your throwing mechanics that is more important and requires more work than another?
TB: You know, I work on them every day and I think for every player it's a little bit different depending on how you grew up learning. I'm always trying to be more efficient and more accurate, more velocity. I feel like I'm at a good place. Sometimes you get out of rhythm and you've got to find your rhythm back. Usually, I know exactly what I need to do when I can see the flight of the ball. It's always a work in progress.
Q: What's it been like seeing Mike Vrabel in a coaching capacity now as opposed to being a teammate of yours?
TB: It's great. I mean he deserves it. He's worked really hard. He was at Ohio State for a while and then obviously to the Texans in his role and then to be defensive coordinator. It won't be long before he's a head coach, too. He's just got a great presence. He was a great player for us. He's been one of my great friends for a long time. It's nice to see him out there. There's a little friendly talk back and forth, which is always fun, but yeah, I love the guy and what he's accomplished. His son is going to B.C. [Boston College] next year, so I told him he'll always have a place to come for dinner. It's a great relationship and it's going to be a great rivalry because they have a great team.