Q: Can you talk about what Rob Gronkwoski and Aaron Hernandez are capable of and how you guys utilize them so well?
TB: They're obviously a huge part of what we do. They are on the field quite a bit and they've been healthy so it's been good to have them both out there. Between them and what the receivers are able to do and the running backs it's a good group of skilled players and we try to get guys into a position where they're doing things they're very good at. They're pretty good with the ball in their hands and break a lot of tackles so that's definitely a plus for us also. We have a lot of yards after catch this year and those two guys certainly do a great job with the ball in their hands.
Q: Are you amazed at what Rob Gronkowski is able to do at his size and stature?
TB: It's kind of that position, a lot of those guys are bigger, stronger guys. Rob certainly fits that mold. He's tall, he has a lot of range, he's got long arms. That catch he made last week was a phenomenal catch but he's been making those all year so really it doesn't surprise us as much because he's able to makes those type of plays in practice and training camp, so you get used to it after awhile.
Q: When you miss Wednesday practice, how much do you miss and what do you do to catch up?
TB: You just try to do other things to get yourself ready to go. So catch up on your film work and get some extra treatments and so forth. It's just a matter of ultimately we're trying to be as prepared as we can for Sunday. I'm certainly going to be as prepared as I possibly can be.
Q: How much does it bother you not to be out at practice?
TB: It's not the first practice that I've missed over the years. You come off a game Saturday or Sunday and you're just doing everything you can to be prepared. When Coach [Belichick] feels its best that you do other things to get yourself ready, that's what you do and you still use all that time very wisely. You don't go lounging around taking naps or anything like that. You're just putting in extra work and making sure you're getting prepared. I will be out there today; you guys don't have to worry about that.
Q: Bruins coach Claude Julien would call that a maintenance day. Is that how you would describe it?
TB: No, it's just, I missed practice that's all. It's not much more than that other than just trying to find ways to get myself prepared to play. We're facing a great team, great challenges – certainly the best team we've faced all year. I think everyone needs to be at full strength because it's going to be a tough, physical, hardnosed game and we're going to need everybody at full strength.
Q: When Steve McNair used to miss practice, he said he would stand behind the offense and keep his mind sharp by running through the play in his mind. Do you do stuff like that?
TB: Sure, there are things that you do like that as well and there are film sessions and so forth and meeting with coaches. There's nothing that – you have walkthroughs and things like that where you can take a lot of mental reps. Ultimately, you have to go out there and practice and execute them full speed so you know how they look. Ultimately, that's most important but if you're not able to do that on a particular day then you try to do some other things, mental reps they call them.
Q: You have Josh McDaniels back. What extent was he involved in game preparation last week and has that grown this week?
TB: Josh has integrated very smoothly into everything that we do because he knows most everybody here, he knows mostly all the players, he knows the offense. His input is greatly appreciated whether it's tips for me or tips for other players. He sees some things and is very helpful. It's been good.
Q: Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez have 44 combined touchdowns in their two years. They were both selected right before the Ravens picked in the draft. The Ravens selected two tight ends as well. How fortunate do you feel to have them?
TB: They've certainly worked hard. I think all of those touchdowns they've really earned through their hard work and preparation and their ability mentally to understand what we are trying to do with them so they can be in a position to catch those. Both those guys have really worked hard to put themselves in a position where they can be in a big factor in our offense. Football is very important to both of them. They work hard in the offseason to prepare themselves, to prepare their body and there has been a lot of pressure put on both those guys to be able to play and play well because last year we had Alge [Crumpler] here and those two played a lot and this year there's only been two of them so they haven't really had the veteran leadership to lean on. It's really a credit to those two guys and what they've been able to accomplish. It's pretty impressive at a young age to be able to do that. Like I said, that's kind of what, after you prove it, then you're just expected to do it. They don't really feel like second-year players to me, they just feel like the tight ends in our offense that are expected to go out and do what they've been doing.
Q: With all the prolific offense that we saw in the NFL this year, are you surprised that you're the only one still standing?
TB: That's a great question. I think every week it's really a matter of how you play; it's not so much of what you've done or what you've accomplished. Like last week was a great week for us but the only thing that did for us was to get us in position to play this week so we start fresh again. There is nothing that we can do from last week, hopefully we can build on the things that we're doing well but at the same time you realize the ball is going to be kicked off, there's going to be 60 minutes on the clock and whoever makes the most plays is going win. Plays from last week aren't going to count anymore. So we have to do it again. All the preparation that we put in last week, and all the practices and all the walkthroughs were important but at the same time, we have to put just as much in this week because if you don't, you don't play well. It doesn't matter what you did last week, you'll be sitting at home watching and nobody really wants to be doing that. I think the guys really commit themselves to coming here and doing what they need to do to prepare themselves. Hopefully we can go out there and play really well. We're very fortunate to be playing in this game. It's hard to get to this game. There are some great teams that aren't playing this week. We're one of the teams that are playing so hopefully we're going to go out there and take advantage of it.
Q: When you face Bernard Pollard, is it like facing any other safety or do you flash back to your injury in 2008? Have you guys ever spoken and has he ever expressed any contrition over your injury?
TB: No, injuries are a part of the game. I hate being injured, that was a tough one but I've moved on, he's moved on to some different teams. He's a very good player, fits in this scheme very well. I don't think too much about that injury or anything. I just really try to be the best QB I can be.