Q: **Did you like the debate last night?
TB:I was asleep very early last night. I read about it this morning, but it's a big week so I was trying to get some sleep.
Q:So no comment on the earthquake either?
TB:I felt that; shortly after I was in bed. What was it, about 7:00?
Q:Yes. But you're used to that coming from California, right?
TB:Earthquakes? The big one: '89. How could I forget that? But we don't get them back here. It's a pretty rare occurrence.
Q:You actually went to bed at 7:00?
TB:7:15 I was asleep. Trying to get bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
Q:You've said you like your team's toughness as they grow here. Through six games, what are some things you've seen from your team, even in the losses, that you've liked?
TB:Well, we've battled pretty much to the end in every one of those games. We've had some tight ones that we really haven't come up with, but the nice part – and not that you feel great about losing the game – but you think, 'Man, if we just did a few things better, we'd have been winning those games.' So that is really where our concentration is at and trying to find ways to be better. Every week we seem like we're trying to make improvements and so forth and hopefully this is our best week.
Q:There's a lot of debate and flip-flopping opinions. Last week, after a great performance, there was no stopping this team. Now, after Sunday, you're too old and all that. Do you ever get used to the reactionary nature of the sport? More so than any other sport, it seems.
TB:Well, it's because we only play once a week and there's a lot to talk about over the course of those seven days. I think it's important for us players not to ride the roller coaster of emotions that your family may have or your friends may have or the questions that we get. I think the important thing is to keep trying to improve and get better and focus on the opponent and not what's being said or what you hear or everyone tells you you're great or everyone tells you you suck. You just try to say, 'This is where we're at. This is what my coach thinks. This is what we're going to try to do and this is how we're going to try to win this game.'
Q:There are two schools of thought, one being that you are what your record says you are: a 3-3, .500 team. Or the idea that you're just 4 points away from being 6-0.
TB:Well, there are seven teams in the AFC that are 3-3. There are seven that are below 3-3 and there are two that are better than us. And we've played one of those and we were up 9 points with however long to go and the other team got beat by a bunch of points the other night. So you know, who are you? It's week to week. It all depends on how well you play. I mean, it's just that every week is going to be something different. So you can't sit here and say, 'We're the greatest team ever' or 'We're the worst team of all time' or compare this year to last year. We're 3-3. We haven't earned a better record than that. We haven't played well enough and consistently enough to be better than that, but I don't think six games defines a season and I think that what will define our season is what we do over the course of the next 10 weeks.
Q:There is a perception that the team has trouble at times putting games away. Can you talk about the dynamics of your offense and putting a game away in the fourth quarter?
TB:I think it's execution. There's no magic formula or plays to call. It's just a matter of doing it and doing it well. Football requires 53 players to all be on the same page and that's why we practice and talk about things and that's why we meet all day. I think we've been presented with some situations where we haven't done that. We've been presented with some situations where we've done that and really it comes down to a matter of execution.
Q:What does it say about the competitive nature of this division that all four teams are deadlocked at 3-3? And now that you've got an important division game coming up, what's the importance of breaking that deadlock?
TB:Yeah, I mean, at this point and going forward, they're all going to be important. The thing about football is that the next game is always more important than the previous game in the NFL. So a division opponent is critical. We've only played one of those games this year. We play a team that we know pretty well that always gives us challenges defensively. They're always a very good team. They're very much a game plan defense. They're going to try to figure out what they need to do to stop us and we've got to figure out ways to move the ball and really put the ball in the end zone. I think we've done a good job moving the ball this year; it's really just a matter of us getting the ball in the end zone and scoring points.
Q:It's just a statistical anomaly that all the teams are tied after six games. Is that just a quirk of nature?
TB:Yeah. Well, it's only been six games, so we play 10 more very important games and this week is certainly the most important that we've played all year.
Q:How odd is it going to be to not see Darrelle Revis out there and how does the dynamic change for not having to deal with him?
TB:He's a great player – one of the best I've ever gone against. At the same time, I think they've moved on from that situation and played really well last week against Indianapolis without him. They still have a very good defense. It's built around their team and their scheme and they have very good players: big, powerful guys that run well, very instinctive. They have a lot of veteran players at safety and linebacker. [Antonio] Cromartie is a heck of a player in his own right and he's had a great season, so he's really assumed the role of matching to the opponent's No. 1 receiver – or perceived No. 1 receiver. They seem like they're still doing what they've always done and playing very well.
Q:How do you keep your emotions in check with such an emotional roller coaster ride?
TB:I think you just rely on your experience and you rely on your coaches and you try to convey the message to the younger players that we're not 0-6; we're not quite there. There are other teams that are in worse positions than we are. And it's not like we've played our best football and we're 3-3 either. I think we haven't played very well and that's why we're 3-3. So to focus on playing better and executing better, hopefully the results will take care of themselves.
Q:Obviously you're motivated every game, but is there a little added motivation for you coming off a poor performance?
TB:I would say the focus is always the same for me: to try to be consistent and dependable and to be a good leader for this team, and certainly go out and execute the plays. Some weeks it's better than others, but I know I try to prepare hard and try to make sure the process is good. And I'm sure all our players do the same thing. No one expects to go out there and not play their best, but we don't go 16-0 every year, so you're going to have to deal with some ups and downs and learning curves and not doing your best and finding some mental toughness to move on and go out there and play your best the next week.
Q:Matthew Slater kind of joked that this game reminds him a little of USC vs. UCLA. Does this at all remind you of Ohio State vs. Michigan games?
TB:It's a great rivalry, there's no question. We've had so many meaningful games against these guys. It's like we do the scouting report and they go through the names on the list and you're like, 'I know every single one of these guys on the list. Why are we talking about David Harris and [Antonio] Cromartie?' They've got a few new faces in there, but this defense presents some great challenges for our offense and ones we've faced since Rex Ryan has been the head coach of that team. It's a great rivalry and it's a fun game for us players. It always has meaning behind it. It's never been a meaningless game, so this one will be no different than that.
Q:At what point in the week does the hype die down for you and you just focus on the game?
TB:Pretty quickly: right after probably the last game ended. I don't try to do much other than focus on what I need to do to prepare and be ready. I don't really try to buy in or I don't have to write any stories or anything like that; I just have to show up and do my job.
Q:Coming off a loss like last week, would you rather face a team you're familiar with as opposed to a team you seldom play? Does that help in any way?
TB:I'm not sure. I'm not sure. I haven't thought about it much. I think this is its own separate week and every week the preparation is probably a little bit different based on the scheme you're playing. Really, when you play a team you don't play very often, you try to get up to speed as quickly as you can and understand their strengths and weaknesses. Certainly [with] a team like the Jets, we know what they do well and we try to find ways to exploit the things that we don't think they do very well. We probably know these guys better than just about anybody.
Q:Does that breed a sense of contempt, or when you see guys so much does it breed a certain sense of appreciation and respect amongst combatants?
TB:Sure, sure. Because both teams have confidence and you go in on Saturday night with your game plan and you're 100 percent confident that this is the exact way to beat them. And then you play the game and if you lose, you go 'What were we thinking? Why did we have this type of plan?' And they're doing the same thing. And because you know each other, you just can't keep doing the same things over and over; you have to find different ways to attack them and they're going to find things that work and we're going to find things that work, so there's a little bit of a chess match as well. It's definitely different playing a team that we've played as often as we do with the Jets as opposed to last week with Seattle. But there are plenty of our own challenges to face.
Q:We haven't heard guys like Antonio Cromartie call you out as much as before. Is there a relationship that you guys have developed in terms of a mutual respect?
TB:I've always said I think he's a great player. I mean, he's one of the best corners in the league and has been for a while. I usually don't get into it much. Wish I could help you more.
Q:Were you surprised about Richard Sherman and what he did coming up to you after the game and on Twitter?
TB:I don't have any control over that.
Q:But were you surprised?
TB:I had no feelings either way.
Q:In your three wins, the running game has been very prominent and in the losses, not so much. Is this a team that's still trying to develop an identity offensively?
TB:I think last week we did a great job moving the ball. We had almost 500 yards of offense; we just didn't score enough points. I don't think it's a matter of running or passing; it's important to be able to do both. It's important to be able to run it when you need to run it. It's important to be able to throw it when you need to throw it. But what you do on a weekly basis, you have to be able to do whatever you're doing well enough to score points – more points than the other team. A week like last week where we really get up and move the ball down the field and we're one-of-six in the red area, that's why we lose the game. It's not like it's 110 yards of offense. We're making plays. We've just got to make more of them and certainly we've got to make more of the important ones when we're down close in the red area so we're scoring touchdowns and not kicking field goals.
Q:With Ray Lewis out of the season, do teams still fear that Ravens defense without him there?
TB:It's been a long time since he's really not been there, so I'm not sure. That's probably a better question for those guys. We played them and they beat us. They've got a great team and defense. They always have. So I'm focused on the Jets.