Q: What leads to your success with quarterback sneaks? Why do you think Rob Gronkowski is so successful on seam routes?
TB:The quarterback sneak one, I think that's just a, it's a lot of great blocking. It's a lot of trust in the guys who are up front kind of trying to bore a hole in there with me. We've done a good job of that over the years, so it's a good weapon for us. Hopefully we can keep making it work. It was a key situation last week when we did it. Whenever Coach calls my number, I think that's just, I've got to go out there and try to execute it. So there are little nuances to it, try not to get landed on. I've taken some good hits in there, too. And then Gronk running down the seam, he's such a big target. I think he's got a great catch radius. He's got great speed. I don't know what he was timed when he came out of college. But he gives great body language when he runs, and I can really tell when he really starts to accelerate and he feels like he can run by the guy that is on him. And even the throw I made the other night to him, it wasn't even really a great throw, but because he was by him so far, he was able to adjust. It makes it a tough play on the defender because the guy is running so hard to catch up, and then you throw it a little bit behind Gronk and the guy is really out of control playing him. So he's just a big target running down the field. [He's] a little different than Julian [Edelman] and Danny [Amendola] who are a little smaller stature. But Gronk is just a big target, so he makes it easy on me.
Q: Your accuracy on deep throws has been really impressive this season. Were you working on that going into the season?
TB:We've talked about that a lot over the last couple of years, trying to make plays more vertically into the defense, and I think we do a good job obviously horizontally, all the way from behind the line of scrimmage to the goal line. I think that's, the best offenses really can challenge you in a lot of ways. So certainly getting the ball down the field is, it's a great way to, it's great to have those 12 and 13 play drives, but it's great to score in one play or two plays also. Again, it's a trust, it's a quarterback-receiver trust relationship, you know, trying to put the ball where our guy can make a play on it and believing that our guy's not going to allow them to make a play. And as far as the mechanics, I've really tried to work on those. A lot of them are probably pretty much the same whether it's a five-yard pass or it's a 50-yard pass. The mechanics of the throw are very similar. It would be like hitting a wedge or a driver. It's the same swing. One is just, you know, there's just a little nuance to it that may be a little different. So I haven't hit the driver as well as I probably hit the wedges, but if I can hit the driver a little better, it would make things a little bit easier on our team.
Q: What special knack do you have to develop to control the safety in the middle?
TB:Again, it's trying to challenge all the different levels of defense, so the free safety and the quarterback always have a unique relationship because he's free basically on every play. He doesn't have a responsibility in man coverage, and his zone is really deep middle. And there's really nobody that can control him except the quarterback. Now when there are two safeties in the deep part of the field, there are two guys who have basically no responsibility except to cover their half. A lot of it is knowing who you're playing against, knowing how they like to defend the middle of the field. Like Devin McCourty who I get to go against in practice all the time, he's exceptional at it. I've played against some of the best to ever play that position. This week, [Dashon] Goldson and [Trenton] Robinson are physical players. They have good range back there, so [we're] going to need to control those guys if we do want to make plays at any level of the defense because those guys are both very big, physical, aggressive guys.
Q: Can you have success against them on intermediate routes like Tampa Bay did?
TB:That was a good game to watch. Tampa got up on them pretty good and was controlling the ball really well. I thought they did a good job in the run game, hit a lot of those intermediate passes, hit a lot of balls down the field as well. So like I said, we're going to have to attack all levels, short, intermediate, deep, and it's got to be good execution. So they make it tough on you. They have a very good red area defense. They limit the points. They can be very tough, very disruptive, big, physical front. Their corners are very capable. They've had some injuries. It sounds like they got a lot of those guys back, so it will be a challenge.
Q: Are you surprised sometimes when you look over the line and there's nobody over the center in quarterback sneak situations?
TB:Sometimes, yes. It depends how they're going to defend us. I mean, you've got like 260-pound back that you're probably worried about, too, back there in LeGarrette [Blount]. Sometimes we put an offensive lineman at fullback. We've got Rob Gronkowski on the edge, so it's not all quarterback sneaks. There are a lot of things to defend, so however they choose to defend, we've got to have adjustments off of that. We can do a lot of things on offense. It's trying to take advantage of whatever they're going to ultimately give you as an offense, so if they're going to clog you up inside, you've got to run outside. If they're going to clog you up outside, you've got to run inside. If they're going to guard you short, you've got to throw it deep. You've just got to force them to defend all parts of the field.
Q: How impressed have you been with Sebastian Vollmer's transition from the right to the left?
TB:He's been such a dependable player for us since he got here. He's been phenomenal. He's just a great player, great person, great teammate, always prepared. Football is very important to him, and I love playing with him. To go from right tackle to left tackle is a big move. It's tough. He's been one, basically playing on the right for a long time. I think over the last couple of years we've kind of gone back and forth. Even in practice, he's taken some reps, but Nate [Solder] has been so dependable. Nate's just been in there and doing a great job. Seabass hasn't gotten a lot of opportunity over there, but you go up against the best. Those pass rushers on the left side are the guys who get paid the most. They get paid the most for a reason, because their ability to get the quarterback, and they're so athletic and tough and physical. He's just done a great job over there the past couple of weeks.
Q: When you look at the moments in the last game where you didn't move the ball very effectively, are you happy about putting up 36 points?
TB: I think after every game we evaluate the things you do well and the things you don't do, and there were a lot of ways for us to make improvements out there. There were a lot of things we did in that game that could hurt us, and we talked about those things over the time that we've had off. You've just got to keep, you know, whether you win or lose in the NFL you've got to make improvements, and I think we're trying to find ways to continue to improve. Whether you win or lose, you've got to try and learn from those mistakes because in tight games, a false start penalty can be the difference. It's not always a fumble or an interception. It could be a third down stop that they make because we didn't necessarily make the right check or make the right call. That's why we meet for hours on end here to try to figure out and be our best in every situation, so there's definitely room for improvement. This is a good week to go out there and see if we could clean some of those things up.
Q: How comfortable have you been with David Andrews at center? Do you have any input in who plays when Bryan Stork gets back?
TB: Not much. Not much.
Q: How comfortable have you grown with David Andrews?
TB:Very, he's done exceptionally well. It's impressive to be a rookie ... When I was a rookie I was the fourth quarterback on the roster. I got to like, eat nachos before the game, and I wasn't dressing or active. I just had to bring my playbook to the meeting. That was about as much as I had to do right that year, so for him to come in there and play every snap as an undrafted free agent. He came in and Wendy [Ryan Wendell] was there, Stork was there, he's fighting to make the team, and then gets the opportunity and takes advantage the way he did was very, very impressive. So he's a great kid, a lot of fun to be out there with. So I can't say enough good things about him.