Q: **What is this week like for you guys? With the bye week at 7-2, what do you guys do this week?
TB:I think you try to think of ways to get better and improve as a team. Probably a lot of critical evaluation of yourself as an individual – I know the coaches do it of our team. It's a good opportunity to try to get ahead on Carolina and see if we can make the most of our season. There are seven really important games ahead of us, so this is a very critical time of the year.
Q:I'm sure you've heard about the situation in Miami. As a captain of this team and a leader, what kind of responsibility do you have to create a respectful atmosphere and not go over the line?
TB:We've never dealt with – we have our own locker room and every locker room is different I'm sure. I don't know really anything that happened down there.
Q:But I'm asking about your locker room.
TB:We've got a great locker room. We've got a lot of great guys. Everyone is just trying to do the best they can for the team. We take Coach [Bill] Belichick's cue and try to go from there. But everyone has a role to play and everybody's role is important. You can't do someone else's job. You show up every day trying to figure out what you can do to help the team win. That's the most important thing for anybody in our locker room.
Q:Looking at the tape, do you feel like Sunday was your best game of the year?
TB:It's all of ours. It's an offense, so it's really not one –
Q:Was it the offense's best game?
TB:Yes, it was. No question. Fifty-five points was great. Four touchdowns in the fourth quarter was pretty impressive. It's all a matter of us being on the same page and working hard to make the improvements. There are certainly a lot of things that we can do to improve over the course of the next month and a half. A lot of things that we've learned from our experience, trial and error – some was good and some was bad, but for the most part we need to take the lessons we've learned and try to apply them so we can be the best offense we can be going forward.
Q:You seem to preach a lot that players need to get rest. When did that become your mantra and when did you realize that importance?
TB:Those are important things to recover. It's a physical sport and injuries happen all the time. Sometimes you overdo things and the only time to recover is when you give yourself some time to take a break, whether that's a Tuesday afternoon or a whether that's a good night's sleep. Those are all important this time of year. The games come to you so quickly. It's really a marathon for us. It starts in late July and it's just a mental and physical marathon. The thing about football is that if you get hurt, it doesn't matter; you're playing next week. You've got a game next Sunday. So over the course of the week you've got to figure out ways to do the best so you can be at your best the following week. It's not like most people where if you get injured, you get injured and you deal with it and you work through it. In our job, yeah you try to work through it, but you can't postpone the game. You have to do everything you can to be ready to go. That's a big commitment that a lot of guys make. The best players I've been around do that the best. They take the same energy and enthusiasm to the rest and rehabilitation part that they do to the preparation part. So guys that I've played with like Wes [Welker], for example, that was a real strength and that was why he was able to play. And guys that I've played with like Rodney Harrison and Junior Seau, I learned from those guys. So you watch the way that they prepare. You watch the way they treat themselves and then you try to be the best that you can for the team.
Q:When did you get really good at listening to your body and knowing when to rest and the things to do to get yourself physically prepared?
TB:There are some times you need rest and there are some times you need to move. There are some times you need to get your body moving.
Q:When did you figure these things out?
TB:It's been an ongoing process. The longer you're at it, the more you learn and the more you learn what works for you. And I think that's the important thing. People all probably demand different things and whatever is most comfortable so that they can be prepared to play, that's probably the best thing to do.
Q:You said last week was the best offensive performance and obviously there has been some turnover with injuries, but is that what you've been expecting out of this offense?
TB:It's a week-to-week league, so it all depends on what we put into the week and how we execute in the game. You know, you could score three points one week and you could score 50 points the next week. Who knows? It depends on the matchup. It depends on the execution. It depends on did you have a certain play called and you got a certain look that you were hoping for and did you make the throw and did you make the catch? Did you make the block? Did you make the run? Those are all important things and all of those things are critical to the success of the team. I think for the most part our execution was better, but it needs to be better. Look, it's the tenth [week]. It should be better; that's what we're trying to do. We're trying to get better every week. I think the more we're at practice, the more we can communicate, the more we can figure out the things we're good at, the better we'll do things.
Q:Aaron Dobson was saying he feels he's at the point now with you where you can go to the line, see something, and he can kind of make the communication with you to change something. Is that what happened on the long touchdown pass? Did you see an opportunity and you both recognized it?
TB:He made great – it was great coverage recognition and those are things that the more you do as quarterback- receiver or quarterback-tight end, they know kind of when I'm looking and when there will be a great opportunity for them to get the ball. That's what receivers do: they try to do everything they can to get the ball and they want to know where they need to be so they can get the ball. The longer we play together, the better we're going to be at those things and opportunities like today to go out there and practice like we did, and we have some extra days of preparation this week and next week, that we'll be able to hopefully be better next week. So that's the goal. It's just constant improvement. You don't ever stop in this game. It evolves, it changes, but you've got to continue to figure out ways to improve yourself and improve your team, and hopefully that leads to more wins than losses.
Q:Are there any words of wisdom you try to impart on the rookies who are going through this bye situation for the first time?
TB:The coach handles all that. I think the important part for all of us is to realize our most important football is ahead of us and we can get a good jump on Carolina and we can work hard this weekend to improve ourselves as best we can, whatever that needs to be. There's no letdown. This is time to ramp it up. It's when the most important football starts to be played – right about now.
Q:Do you personally take a few days to get away from football or is it always on your mind?
TB: It's always on my mind. It's just the way it is. I've been doing it for a while. So I'm trying to work hard on getting better and getting ahead and seeing if we can be more prepared than we've been for a game this year. We've got a little extra time to do it and we've got to be at our best. We're going to Carolina. They've got a really good team. They've won four straight. They've got one of the best defensive fronts in football. I think they're first in the league in scoring defense. It's a big challenge playing Monday night. I think we've got to use every bit of time that we have to improve, try to get better and hopefully go out there and play our best a week from Monday.
Q:Are there one or two things you look forward to doing over the next five or six days before you get back here?
TB:It goes so fast. Before you know it, we'll be back getting ready for a game. We've got a couple days where we don't have to come in here, but I'm still doing plenty of football stuff. It's that time of year. I think our break comes in February after the season is over and I think now you just blink your eyes and you're like 'Man, OK, what plays are we running and how are we running them?' So you get a few extra days to let your body try to heal some of the bumps and bruises and that's a good thing, but at the same time you have to make sure you're exercising so your body doesn't fall asleep on you either. You have to go out and work just as hard this time as we did last week; it's just working at something different.