Q: Michigan was never like this?
TB: Actually there were days like this, there was. Who's ready?
Q: What is your feeling? Drew is a friend and is unhappy, but you have been on both sides of the fence?
TB: Yeah, I have.
Q: You can empathize I assume?
TB: Of course, and those are the feelings that you fight. You fight the feelings of one of your friends and teammates who isn't as happy as he normally is. So in one sense you are trying to prepare, in another sense you really try not to make the situation any worse.
Q: Do you feel uncomfortable at all about this?
TB: I don't think uncomfortable is the word. I mean this is…I think you want to play and you anticipate playing, you know and under the circumstances of someone else not being, like I said, in a situation they want to be in. I mean it is definitely a different situation.
Q: If uncomfortable is not the word, what is the word to describe how you feel and the strain this creates?
TB: Well, I don't know…in terms of the strain I mean I'm trying to prepare for this game on Sunday and I think that's the only strain that I have. I think if you get distracted by this, then you are not and you won't be as prepared as you could be on Sunday and that's not the goal. The goal is to win on Sunday and it's not about competing…it is about competing on Wednesday and Thursday and Friday to try to get yourself prepared, but it is not about, I am not trying to beat somebody out. I am trying to go out and beat the Saints, that's what it is about for me and that's what it's always been about.
Q: Have you talked to Drew at all about this situation yet?
TB: Yeah, I mean we talk all the time. I mean we are sitting in the same meeting room together and you know I enjoy his friendship, his mentorship and I don't see that changing at all. I think because it is so new and I think obviously it's the topic of conversation. Everybody wants to talk about this and unfortunately when someone says, 'Well Tom does this well and Drew doesn't do this well' or 'Drew does this well and Tom doesn't do this well,' it is almost like to like one person you have to dislike the other and that's not the way it should be and that's not the way it is. You know it's just a unique situation and like I said my goal is to prepare to win. My goal is to prepare to be the best quarterback that I can be. You know that is everyday and that is studying tape and preparing to play and not being distracted by…this week it is this, well last week it was something else and the week before that there was something else. So I think as the season goes along you are always faced with different types of distractions, things that can take your focus away from where they really should be.
Q: Do you think you would have been more prepared for the Rams game if you had had more snaps in practice?
TB: I was as prepared as I have been every week. It wasn't about being not prepared. It's never been that. If there is one thing I am going to make sure I'm going to be, it's going to be that I'm going to be prepared. I'll prepare myself as hard as I can every week.
Q: In the beginning you said Drew was the number one quarterback and when he was healthy he'd get his job back. How do you feel about that statement now that you are the number one quarterback?
TB: I'm not sure if I ever made that statement. I think the statement I made was that, when coach tells me to play I am going to go out and play. I don't think I ever said that.
Q: Did this decision catch you totally by surprise?
TB: You know I prepare myself the same way every week and whether coach says I am playing or Drew is playing I'm going to be ready to play. And that's the only way I approach it. I don't run through hypotheticals that hey, if win this game or I throw for this many yards or have this completion percentage, you know coach is going to stick with me. I don't think that's the way to do it. I mean this is a team game and I don't run through those type of situations in my head.
Q: Regardless of performance level, didn't you think about what happens when Drew comes back?
TB: No, I didn't. I don't think three weeks down the road. I think day-to-day and I think about preparing today for the way that I am going to approach tomorrow and prepare tomorrow the way I am going to approach the next day. I mean that's the only way…like I said, that's the only way I've learned to be prepared each week, because if you are thinking about the game two weeks away, what good does that do? You have plenty of time to worry about that.
Q: One thing you did say was that Drew Bledsoe would never let you down. Do you still feel the same way?
TB: Yeah, I sure do. I sure do. I mean he's been as supportive as anyone…he's been more supportive than I could have ever hoped for and you know our relationship takes on a little bit of a different role because of the way he is feeling. Like I said, I completely understand that and at one point you are fighting those feelings that a friend is not feeling the way he normally has. And I've got to fight those feelings to not allow those, you know, to take away my competitiveness because that doesn't make me a better player. So when I am here working and trying to prepare for practice that's really…you know I have a certain attitude and dealing with the personal relationship, that's going to be fine.
Q: Would this whole situation be easier if you guys weren't close friends?
TB: I mean we've always been friends so I don't know.
Q: But what if you weren't?
TB: I don't know, that's not the case. We are close friends, so that's the way it is.
Q: How were you with Brian Griese?
TB: Yeah, we were friends there also.
Q: Is there a part of you that would like to see Drew get a chance to compete given all he has done here?
TB: Yeah, when I say I know how he is feeling I think, you know, he's been here for nine years. I mean he's done a great job. He's led this team to a lot of wins and I know the feelings that, you know, the things he thinks he deserves and you know you agree with those. I mean that's the way he feels, that's where the sympathy comes and not the sympathy for…it's not a poor Drew Bledsoe, it's hey he's a friend of mine and he's done everything he could to put himself in this situation and he wants to be on the field as much as anybody and that's what makes him a great person and a great player and a great teammate and a great friend and a great father, I mean all those things. That he's really concerned about how other people are doing and he's trying to put his feelings aside for the sake of the team and that's the only thing you could ask of a teammate.
Q: Have you ever been over his house before?
TB: What does this have to do with anything?
Q: You said he was a good friend?
TB: Yeah, I've been over his house a whole bunch of times.
Q: People throw around the term friend lightly sometimes?
TB: Of course, I understand.
Q: As a matter of this game…?
TB: Oh, we are playing a game this Sunday? Is that right?
Q: The Saints present some difficult problems defensively, how do you deal with them?
TB: They're a real good defense. The defensive front is really good. We've been preparing for a lot of different things they do. They have a lot of flexibility in their defensive front. There's guys that are safety types that can play down in the box and guys that can play in the deep parts of the field. There's guys that can play defensive end and also play linebacker. It's just about identifying where they are lining up and how we are going to block them and that's where we are starting to get to now. We're a day…we practiced yesterday so I mean it feels like we are a day ahead. Our legs probably feel like we are a day behind.
Q: You've said you learned something from each and every start. What did you learn last week after the Rams game?
TB: It's always about making better decisions, making the best decision you can make on certain plays and just continuing to get a feel for the game, to get a feel for escaping in and out of the pocket and trying to…it's not like I am going to break down a pass, 'Well on this play I should have thrown here and this play I should have thrown there.' It's just about overall trying to become a great player. So I'd say just continuing on that course.
Q: What about their defense? Coach says it is a unique defense that causes every team problems?
TB: Right and the reason why, as I said before, I think they have very good speed within the defensive front. They do a real good job of stopping the run and in coverage the way they try to confuse you with their different blitzes is something we are really going to have to prepare hard for.