Andre Tippett: Tom, on behalf of the NFL and Snickers and the broadcast team of the Monday Night Football group, you were selected as the Snickers Hungriest Man of the Game. For your outstanding play against the Denver Broncos and your victory, the Kraft family and the Patriots organization want to say congratulations for a job well done.
TB: Thanks Tipp. Thank you. Thanks a lot. Obviously getting something like this as a quarterback of a team takes each and everyone of those guys that I play with: the offensive line, who did a hell of a job; the receivers, who are getting better each week and are continuing to get open making that job easy for me; and those running backs, who are doing a great job too; and the tight ends, I have to mention them too. This is always a team thing. It is awfully nice to be selected and hopefully we'll keep it up and keep making progress. I'm proud of all of those guys for a tough victory on Monday night and hopefully many more of those to come. Thank you. Thanks Tipp.
Q: Do you like Snickers?
TB: Sure do. This will hopefully be able to feed all of those offensive linemen for a few days
Q: What makes you so hungry?
TB: Goodness, how do I answer that?
Q: You have the ability to make things happen late in the game. Late in the game do you get fired up where you can reach down and make things happen?
TB: Yesterday, I was talking on a radio show and I said 'The one thing that I always feel late in the game is that our team, if there is one thing we do well, is we play those situations very well.' I have so much confidence in my teammates to get the job done, that really it's just about doing my job. Everyone plays a part. If you look at those plays late in the game, a huge screen play to Kevin [Faulk]. Kevin makes a huge catch on third-and-nine. David [Patten] makes a great catch on the one to win it. It's just a big time effort by a bunch of guys who really work hard and are committed to going out there and winning these games. We've been faced with a lot of tough circumstances and I think we continue to prove that we are up to the challenge. Like I said, I'm fortunate enough to be a quarterback of a team like that. I'm in a great position. I think it is easy for me to do well because I have so many other guys who are just playing great football right now.
Q: Do you thrive in those situations? Ironically you are in Denver and they always talk about [John] Elway being the guy who really thrives on those last two minutes and beating a team down the field. Do you really look forward to those situations? Because there are some quarterbacks who don't, who get a little bit tight or a little bit nervous. You seem to be one of those guys thrives in the situations.
TB: I don't mind when they come up. I would much rather be up 55-0, kneeling on the ball in the fourth quarter. I was thinking in that game actually and watching it today and remembering the thoughts that I was having, but after that three-and-out down there on that one yard line, hey we are still going to get a chance to get that ball back. We took the safety, we played it down. We went over and Charlie said, 'Well we've got one of three situations: either we are down three, either we are down six or we are out of it.' Either way we were going to need to go down and score. I knew we were going to get the ball back because we had three time outs and the two-minute warning; it was just about putting some plays together. We got off to a good start, hit Kevin [Faulk] on a check down, Kevin made a nice play, two-minute warning came, hit the screen. And from there we are rolling. Like I said, we've been in those situations. We do play under pressure. I don't think we fold our tent, because we all have the belief that we are going to get it done.
Q: What do you see about this club that you like?
TB: I think I like the fact that we've played some tough opponents and we've proved that we can beat those tough opponents. That we can play in the rain. We can play in the cold. We can play on the road. We can come from behind to win. We can hold the lead. I think that is the thing that stands out, that this team knows how to win ball games. I think, watching and doing some self-scout today in some of the meetings, some of the things we need to get better at. The encouraging thing is that we are 7-2 and we still haven't played up to our capabilities yet. I think our best football is still ahead of us. I think if we get better in the red zone, I think we are 10-of-26 touchdown wise in the red zone and kicked 11 field goals, had five missed opportunities in the red zone, if we start producing there, if we do better on third down, which we are very capable of, because we have shown that we can do that too. It's just about going out and concentrating and executing in practice and allowing that to carry over into games. 7-2 is a good record. I think we are proud of that, but at the same time, seven wins doesn't get you anything either. Seven wins, it puts us in a good position for our next seven games. But in reality we all know how fast it can all change. Thinking back to that Buffalo game, we are at the bottom of the league at that point and now in the bandwagon there are no seats left.
Q: Can you talk about the job [Coach Bill Belichick] has done and what he has done with the injuries?
TB: I think if there is one thing that he does a great job at is that he gets us prepared to win each and every day. We go out there at the beginning of the week, and I've said this before, but he breaks it down pretty simple for us. You have to do A,B, and C to win, and if you don't do that then we are probably going to lose. Now, I think we broke the mold this week. We didn't necessarily play the way we would like, with 15 penalties, 14 penalties whatever it was, two turnovers, two-of-four in the red zone, 29 or 30 on third down. That's not really winning football. I think we made enough plays in the end to win it, but we really had to be perfect at the end to win it too. Coach Belichick, I think the preparation that he has and the situations that we work, taking the safety like we did, the two-minute drill, we work on that every week. I think we all have confidence and we believe that what he tells us is going to work usually works.
Q: Have you enjoyed his post-game celebrations? He has been a bit more exuberant this season, would you agree?
TB: Yeah. He gets brought down to earth when he watches the tape and he comes in and talks to us Monday morning. He has been getting excited. It's been fun to see. I think everybody has been excited, especially in the last month.
Q: Now that you have established that you can throw the ball deep, is the next step to figure out when the right time to do it is? The question I have is about the third-and-one play where you went down the sidelines to Bethel [Johnson] and you got knocked out of it. Is that going to be the next thing to try to determine when the right time to go deep is?
TB: Yeah, I think that there is very good situations to do it. That third-and-one in particular, I think that was a good time, we just didn't hit it. We had worked on that and said, 'Hey we are going to try to take a shot if we get them in this situation because it will probably be a man coverage and we've got a fast guy out there running.' We just didn't hook up. I think as a quarterback, you just try to throw where they're not. If they are covering short, I'm throwing it deep; and if they are covering it deep, I'm throwing it short. I think the game plans we've had have really allowed me to read the field. Like I said, our receivers are doing a great job of getting open and running the routes precisely, getting great distribution in these zone coverage teams that we are playing. In the man coverage, they are doing a great job of getting open in these man coverages too. I think it's easy for me as a quarterback when I am playing with Troy Brown and Deion Branch and David Patten and David Givens and Bethel [Johnson] and [Christian] Fauria, all of these guys, Dan Graham is continuing to play well. Kevin Faulk makes plays every time you throw him the ball. For me, I've just got to go back and throw it to an open guy. That's something that is very comforting to me to know that I just have to do my job.
Q: It also seems like you guys have figured out that it is a good time to go for the jugular after the other team has turned it over to you, or they have done something, like they have scored, that's a good thing to strike back. As Tipp would tell you that's the old Grogan-to-Stanley Morgan, to go deep immediately after… Do you find that's a good time to take that chance to go deep, when there is a big momentum shift or something like that?
TB: Yeah, I think it's important. I think a big play in that game was after we had the first five plays, two turnovers in the first five plays, and then hitting Deion [Branch] on that…Deion ran a great route, broke the corner down, it just made it easy for me to lay it up there and let him run and catch it. That was a big change of momentum. For you guys who were there, they were fired up at that point and we kind of took a little bit of wind out of their sails. As the momentum changes, especially on the road, when they have the momentum the crowd is in to it. And that crowd was really into it the whole game. It's got to be important for us to build on plays and when our defense makes big plays to go out and establish some momentum for ourselves. That's very important.
Q: Can you talk about the confidence that this team has in the coaching staff to make the right decisions?
TB: Speaking from an offensive standpoint, we deal with Charlie [Weis]. Charlie is very similar to Coach Belichick that he just cuts through the crap, gets right to the nuts and bolts and says, 'This is the plan. This is where I expect the ball. These are the defenses we expect. And now you've got to go out and execute.' Charlie is extremely underrated as a coach. He is probably the best in the league as far as I'm concerned. He has done a great job with our offense of allowing guys with these injuries to still do the things that they do well and disguise it up so the defenses can't exactly figure it out. I think as we continue to evolve as an offense, in these last seven games, we are going to need to really evaluate what we do well and then figure out how e can keep doing it. I think everybody believes that Charlie and Dante [Scarnecchia] and Ivan [Fears] and Huf [John Hufnagel] and Brian Daboll, they will figure that out for us. So when we come into meetings on Wednesday morning, we are going to have a plan that puts us in a position to win and we just have to go out and execute.
Q: Are you going to Cancun or anything fun on your days off?
TB: Haven't decided yet. Still up in the air. There are a few options. There are always options.
Q: I wanted to know if you are literally going to get away?
TB: Yeah. I would like to. I would like to. I think it would be nice to get a little mental break, and physical. Maybe just try to get a little sleep, because it is going to be a long second half. I think it is only going to get tougher for us.
Q: Will you react to the hype at all of the next 10 days because it is going to be Bill [Belichick] vs. Bill [Parcells]?
TB: I am trying to put more and more of that out of mind and I think our team is too. I've never even talked to Parcells, so I'll listen to Belichick and see what he has to say.