TB: Hi guys.
Q: What's up? 14-2 not bad, Tommy.
TB: Well, it was a good regular season. And 14-2, everyone was excited, especially coming into today. Although we kind of knew where we were seeded and stuff for the playoffs, it was still fun to go out there and win.
Q: Was this game, did it go the way you wanted it to go? I mean, obviously, you guys started off playing sloppy football but you finished up kind of strong.
TB: Yes. We had a few plays in the beginning that we would like to have back that weren't very good. The second series, we were still moving the ball. The third series, we had a few penalties. And we came out the second half doing a little bit better. But you always hate to turn the ball over. But at the same time, we were fortunate enough today that our defense played well. And then getting up on 21-7 there at the end and winning the game.
Q: Were you surprised you played as long as you did?
TB: No, no. I think we knew going in I was going to play. And 7-7, you don't want to go out at that point at half time. And then, like I said, we wanted to come out and win this game. Not that Rohan (Davey) couldn't go in there and be capable of doing it. But we are doing everything we can to win. You can say it doesn't mean everything, but it does mean something. It means something to us. We are 14 and 2, one of the three teams in history that have back-to-back 14-2 seasons.
Q: If it was a big lead early, you would have come out early or --
TB: No, he didn't tell us. He just said, 'Be ready to play, everyone who is dressing is going to play and continue to play until we take you out.' So that is the way it was. I mean I am so used to playing four quarters now, I mean at halftime it barely feels like I break a sweat. At that point, like I said, we weren't even playing that well. So you really don't want to end the season that way.
Q: Tom, for most of the game you guys went no huddle. Was that something you saw from San Francisco that they were going to allow you to do or what went into that?
TB: Well, it was just doing whatever we think was the best way to tackle it and the best way to win. That was one of the ways that we felt we could gain an advantage. And efficiency wise, we did some good things. But the turnovers really set us back and the penalties set us back. But other than that, you know, not to say other than that, but those are pretty major things. At times we threw it well, at times we ran the ball really well. So we are going to need more of that in two weeks.
Q: Tom, how comfortable are you with your offense going into the playoffs? And how has Troy Brown been missing affected your approach?
TB: Well, the guys who have been in there for Troy had to have really -- you've got Deion (Branch) in there and he is not a bad option. And David Givens had a tremendous year. David Patten has had a great year. So we're deep. We have been fortunate to be deep at that position, which has allowed Troy to go to the secondary where there is not a lot of depth because of the injuries. So going into the playoffs, I feel, hopefully, we can use these two weeks to our advantage. It is the first time we have had some time off in a while and I think everyone is going to be able to take advantage of some of the rest, try to relax a little bit. It is going to be nice to not feel the pressure of the game. As it builds up every year, you know, every game day you feel the pressure and the intensity of the weekend, and now this next weekend it will be nice to alleviate a little bit of that pressure.
Q: Tom, without being too specific, what do you plan to do to shut down your body, your physicality for a couple of weeks?
TB: Well, not get hit. But probably just, you just try to stay off your feet. This week in practice, I am sure we won't be -- not that I get hit in practice anyway, but it is not going to be a normal practice week. We are going to have a little time off at the end of the week to just stay off your feet and clear your mind a little bit and understand what we have got ahead of us, the great opportunity that we have.
Q: Tom, as you were walking through the locker room to come in here, you seemed to make a specific move to go over to Corey Dillon and congratulate him. Why?
TB: I mean he had a great year, best year in the history of this organization for a running back. And he has been an incredible asset to this offense and to this team. And everyone is proud of the running game and what Corey has accomplished and what the offensive line has accomplished. And all those guys deserve a lot of credit.
Q: Has he made your job easier and have you enjoyed him on and off the field?
TB: I don't -- I mean our offense is, is, I mean, we have scored. We have scored more points this year than we ever had before. And a lot of that is because of the consistency in the running game and how well we run it down there. And he is really -- when you hand the ball off to him, you never know if he is going to gain five or if he is going to gain 50. And simple plays that we used to run, we would gain yards on, I mean he has really turned those things into big plays so he has done just a tremendous effort. And he runs hard every week and he practices hard. He has got a great attitude. He is a great teammate.
Q: Tom, how is this season compared to the last season? I mean it is amazing to be 14-2 in a row. The fact is you are the defending champions going into the playoffs.
TB: Well, this team, aside from that Miami game and blowing that lead, and then a few bad plays in Pittsburgh, it was a darn good year. Everyone is very proud of our record and what we have accomplished and how we have evolved as an offense this year. And defensively, they are continuing to play well, even with the injuries. I mean every year is totally different. It is different players, it is different schemes, it is different teams you are facing. It is just different situations each week, different scenarios each week. And based on what we have done this year, with the situations we have faced, 14 and 2 is pretty darn good and everyone is proud of that.
Q: Based on what you mentioned, the Pittsburgh, four minutes at the end of the first quarter, basically bad; and then four minutes at the end of the Miami game, do you ever sit and think to yourself, 'Man, we're not that far from going for a perfect season?'
TB: It shows you how fast it can get away from you. And similar to a game like today, where you say, 'God, we moved the ball, we threw it pretty well, we ran it well.' Those turnovers really hold you back. And it is really the biggest plays in the game when you turn a ball over. That is what we did in Pittsburgh and that is what we did at the end of the Miami game.
Q: Do you look at that at all and, say, 'Man, we could have gone undefeated?'
TB: I think we look at it and say we could have won that game. Against Pittsburgh, we didn't play well and Pittsburgh certainly deserved to win and they did. And they took advantage of that all year. Miami was a different game than that. Up 11 points, I mean we just -- I don't want to go back on that one again --
Q: Don't be negative.
TB: -- and beat myself up.
Q: You made your point.
TB: It is very different. But like you said, if you turn the ball over and you give that other offense opportunities to score points, you are just fighting uphill all day. And when we don't do that, we are pretty good. When we turn the ball over, we can be as bad as anybody. So that is going to be critical in our playoff game to not turn the ball over.
Q: Tom, the last half dozen years, teams that have gone to the Super Bowl, just gone, win or lose, have struggled the next year, as you guys found out. 2002, struggled 9-7. This year you are 14-2. Did you learn something in 2002 that you were able to overcome here individually as a team for this season?
TB: Well, I think all-around we were a better team this year than that 9-7 year. And whether it was comparing the 2002 team to, the post Super Bowl team to this one, it was a very different team and we didn't play nearly the way that we are capable. I think Coach Belichick right from day one this year said, Guys, I don't care what you have done last year, no one cares about what you did, we are proud of it, we had a banner up there and they can't take that away from us, so there is going to be a new champion this year and, you know, we are starting at the same point that everybody else is starting and you have got to put the work in just like everybody else or else you are not going to be able to achieve it. And we have stuff all around, you see it is all taken down on the walls, but stuff to remind us. And you are right. There is a bunch of teams that haven't fared very well after playing in the Super Bowl, but this team has with the new group of guys that it has, accomplished, you know, 14 wins out of 16. And we've got a great position in playoffs, we have got a bye and, hopefully, we are going to take advantage of it.
Q: Tom, you talked about the Steelers during the season. Would you like another shot at them?
TB: Well, whoever we play, it is going to be tough. They are the best teams in the league and all these teams that are going to be in it, San Diego, Indy, Pittsburgh, the Jets are in, and I don't know who the last team is, I think that is still to be decided. But they're the best teams in the league and that is how it is going to be. I remember when we played last year, Tennessee, that was a battle. We played Indy, that came down to the end. So, whoever you play is going to tough.
Q: Great to have back to back seasons undefeated at home.
TB: Yes, it is. I think the fans gave us a great advantage. I think that the weather, you know, practicing outside in this, this weather and really using the home field to our advantage, and it is a great place to play. It is a great advantage for us.
Q: Tom, there has only been one team, as you know, that ever won three Super Bowls in four years. Do you ever think about this team's place in history and what you have accomplished?
TB: At this point, not really. I mean this year, I think, playing in a couple weeks now and, depending on how we play, I think all the evaluations really come at the end. I mean two Super Bowls out of three years was pretty neat for this organization. But this year it doesn't have much of a bearing on it yet. So, our first playoff game is going to be a battle; and if you don't win that one, you don't move on. So it is a one-game elimination tournament. And hopefully, some of the experiences that we have had from those other years can help us.
Q: Tom, how difficult, because you did it for a little while, for (Rohan) Davey to be ready to play the game week after week? And is there any sort of trick to staying on top of yourself even though you are on the sideline?
TB: It is very tough. A lot of times, I think, the second quarterback, it is harder for preparing for the second quarterback than it is the first. And you are expected to go in there and play as well. Rohan hasn't had any meaningful snaps this year and finally he got in today where it was meaningful and he made some nice plays out there. The hard part is, and even for my experience this week, Rohan got some more reps in practice, you aren't paying attention as much. When you are not in, it is hard to pay attention like you would be if you are in there. You can sort of pay attention, but unless you are there, evaluating the play calls, there is a lot of game management type stuff that comes in it. He did a nice job all week.
Q: Did you talk to him at all about what he about the film description, watching film, and trying to maximize the decisions?
TB: Oh, yes.
Q: Is there something that you do during the week mentally, you know, to keep the sharpness up?
TB: Yes. I mean it is hard to ultimately simulate the game action and simulate being out there under fire. You can try as hard as you can, but it is not the same. You really get better by playing. The film work is important, it is very important to prepare yourself so you can go out there and be confident in knowing what you have to do, confident that you know what the defense is going to do so you can anticipate and play with confidence when you are out on the field. The easiest way to do that is by playing. The second other way that you try to do it is you try to practice it and then you try to watch it on tape. So nothing is as valuable as playing. And for a guy who hasn't played much, he hasn't played much this year, he did a nice job out there today. He almost threw a touchdown pass there at the end.
Q: Tom, when do you start thinking about the playoffs?
TB: When? Well, we are there. We are there. So we are probably going to go over the scenarios in our head, probably put together a few of the practices this week, and then be ready to go when we find out who we are playing and gear up for the toughest game of the year.