Q:What are your plans for the Bye Week?
TB:I'm not sure yet. I haven't quite made any plans. Get a little rest, stay focused on what we have to do here and try to gear up for a really important next eight games of the year.
Q:Do you plan on staying in the area?
TB:I'm not sure. It's not up to me anymore.
Q:Can you talk about the self-evaluation process during the Bye Week?
TB:Yeah, those are important. It's nice when it kind of comes midway through the year so you really have a nice sample size to see what you're doing well and what you're not doing well. I know that Coach [Bill Belichick] has been hard at work here over the last couple days trying to identify some of those things and that's a lot of what we'll go over today and in practice. You just don't have that much time during the regular season because you're trying to prepare for your opponent. With no opponent you try to focus on what we need to do better. Certainly I think [there are] a lot of things I that we can do better.
Q:Is Bill Belichick putting a lot of emphasis on improving as the season goes on so that you are playing your best at the end?
TB:Sure. I think it's important, as I've said, to not ride the rollercoaster of the season: the highs of the wins and the lows of the losing. When you have a bad game, it can lead to another bad game which leads to a bad month and then you have to be nearly perfect the rest of the way. So when you lose a game, you have to put it behind, you have to move forward. And if you lose again you have to do the same thing. I think to try to get to things we've been good at, the things we're consistently doing better than other things, that's most important. That leads to better execution over the course of the season.
Q:Do you sometimes find yourself trying to fix or improve the same things from year to year at this point in the season?
TB:Well, I think every year is probably a little bit different. You're always trying to improve individually and your techniques and the fundamentals. You get a lot of work over that time in training camp because you don't really have an opponent, so you focus on your own techniques and fundamentals, which leads to good execution within the scheme. Then once you start playing, it's all scheme. You don't have a lot of time for a lot of the fundamental stuff. This week's about, for the players, its fundamentals, it's techniques. The scheme stuff is what the coaches are doing; that's their job and what they spend a lot of time trying to improve. That's equally as important and then we come back next week and Buffalo's our opponent, the players have improved and the coaches have talked to the players about what they need to improve and hopefully you move forward with more awareness of what you need to do so you can be that much better as the season goes along.
Q:When you are analyzing what you have done over the course of the season, do you pick things up that you need to improve on faster at this point in your career? Even before the coaches?
TB:I'd say a little bit of yes and no. There's a lot they see from the coaches' perspective that they see you need to do better, the improvements you [need to] make. You have meetings with your individual coaches and talk about those things. There are certain things that I know that I definitely need to do a better job of, that they may not be aware of, that being self-critical, you determine those things. You try to go back to the things that have worked and the things that you know and the things that you trust and you're confident in yourself. Then you go out there and try to be a better teammate, a better leader.
Q:On offense, where have you seen the most improvement since Week 1?
TB:I'm not sure. I'd like to talk to our coaches about that. A lot of that's really kind of privileged information too. We don't want to really talk about what our strengths are as a team. I think everybody that's on the roster has a level of trust that they've developed from Coach Belichick, that he trusts the players that are in there – the guys that are getting the ball, the guys that are touching the ball. When you design plays, you try to design them for the guys that you think are going to be the most dependable. That's always a guy like Wes [Welker], and Gronk [Rob Gronkowski]. Aaron [Hernandez] hasn't been in here much. Julian [Edelman], Deion [Branch] has been a big part of it. Brandon [Lloyd] has been a big part of it. If you're on the roster, Coach has a lot of trust in you. You have to go out here and keep earning that trust on a daily basis from your teammates so that when it comes to Sunday, everyone's on the same page and you can go out there and execute as best you can.
Q:Is the offense progressing and getting better similar to the way it has in the past?
TB:I hope so. I hope we make improvements. There's still a lot of football left. We're 5-3 so that tells you we've been a little bit up and down. It hasn't been terrible. It hasn't been great and we have a lot of room for improvement, so we'll see how that goes over the course of the next eight weeks. I'm not going to make a bunch of predictions. We'll leave that to you guys. We have to go out there and do it. We have to go out there and earn it. That's part of why we play. The enjoyment of playing is to go out there and do something about it, not just talk about it.
Q:You've lost three games by a total of four points. Does that give you more confidence going forward knowing that you are so close to winning every game so far?
TB:Sure, and I think that you have confidence. Wes Welker has a lot of confidence whether we win or lose. Rob Gronkowski does. I certainly do. We have a lot of confidence in each other and what we can do. So even if you do lose, you're still confident that, we lost to the Ravens but look, you have confidence that if we play the Ravens and we play really well, the outcome could be different. We've done that in the past. We've lost 31-0 before and still had confidence in ourselves as a team. It can't be a week-to-week thing and I think what you do on the practice field, what you do in the meeting rooms gives you confidence to go out there and execute. You have a game like the other night where you go out there and execute better than we have and the outcome was better than it's been. 5-3, we're in first place in our division but like I said, we've been a little bit inconsistent. Hopefully we can improve upon that inconsistency and that really starts this week.
Q:Whether you travel this weekend or not, will you work out at all?
TB:I like to exercise. I try to do as much of that as I can. For a quarterback, it's interesting: you kind of get out of shape as the season goes because you don't run as much. At the receiver position, those guys run, it's incredible how much they run on a daily basis. They get in better shape as the season goes on. It's important for the quarterback position to keep up your conditioning so that you can endure. These last eight weeks is when teams really start to show themselves and the bad ones really start to fade. If you want to be a good team, you have to be on top of all those things, whether it be our conditioning, your nutrition, your rest, your decision making over the course of a long season and how that impacts the rest of your teammates. That's really why some teams begin to separate themselves over a 16-week season.
Q:So will your workouts intensify over the course of your time off?
TB:I always try to work out relatively hard and stay in good shape. I just kind of have my routine of what I do and there's a lot of guys that are working hard out there. I just kind of stick with what I'm doing.
Q:How are you feeling physically at this point of the season?
TB:Great. Couldn't be better.
Q:None of the classic bumps and bruises? I'm sure you have those.
TB:Yeah I mean, everyone deals with little things. But I feel great. Excited to be feeling this way with eights game left to play.
Q:You were a late draft pick like Nate Ebner. What kind of transition do you have to make coming here, being thrust into this?
TB:Well, I think it's a credit to all those young players that aren't drafted high and come into this system and play a lot. That's a challenging thing for a rookie. We've played eight regular-season games but that's 12 including the preseason which is a college season and this is about the end of what most of the guys have been through. We're a long ways from the end of our season. So, a guy like Nate who has come in and worked hard and earned the trust of the coaches and the players – he's very mature for a young player, at least in my getting to know him. To see him develop over the course of the season, you always love to see the young players bring that youthful spirit that he has and the excitement of playing and hopefully going out there and playing well. He's played quite a bit with the injuries to some of the other guys. It's been big for him to step in and play that role for us.
Q:Do you find yourself looking ahead to the tougher opponents like San Francisco and Houston during the Bye Week?
TB:Not much, not much. I know the players probably don't. Maybe the coaches do. I know we have some short weeks there so maybe you try to get ahead. We play on a Thursday against the Jets, so you maybe try to get ahead there. You use these days as ways to try to get ahead because you know you have, we play a Monday night game then a Sunday night game, so I think you try to prepare that way. It's hard to game plan six weeks ahead. You don't know who's going to be playing. You don't know the strength of the team. You don't know anything. That's why you kind of leave it up to that week and then put everything you have into it that week.