Q: ** Did you feel like today's practice was a good improvement over Sunday, putting Sunday behind you?
TB: Yeah, putting Sunday behind us is important and moving onto this week. There's nothing really from the last game that's going to help us this week.
Q: How similar or different is their defense with the personnel changes?
TB: We've had some pretty big games against them the last bunch of years. We've played them quite a bit. I think the last [five] years maybe – '10, '11, '12, '13, and 2009 – we've played them a lot, we know them. We know the players; we know the scheme a little bit. So, there's some familiarity but we still have to put all the work in. we haven't played them in a while. They're doing some new things and they're kind of on a hot streak right now. We'll try to figure out different ways to get them; we haven't had the most success against them the last few times we've played them offensively. We have to try to figure out a way to score some points.
Q: You're 3-4 on the road this season. Given the opponent and what the game means, if there was ever a time, would this qualify as what could be the best road win of the year?
TB: We need it. There's no bigger game than this one for us. We have to put everything we can into it. It's a very important game. As the season goes on, each of these games gets more and more important. We know how important this one is to try to win the division. It would be nice to go out there and play this team and play them well for once. We haven't done a great job playing against them offensively. They present a lot of challenges. They've always had great players there; they still have some great players that are carryovers from last year's team and different guys that they've added this year. It's a really good group and they put a lot of pressure on you. They're good in the red area, they're good on third down. They do some really good things. It's going to be a big test.
Q: Does it look different without Ed Reed and Ray Lewis out there?
TB: I think those two are Hall of Fame players. They're phenomenal players and they were that for that team for a long team. They really set the standard for what defensive football is all about. They're still a great defense without them. I think they still really carryover from what they've done. They obviously have a lot of leadership with Haloti [Ngata] and [Terrell] Suggs and [Jameel] McClain and Lardarius Webb. They still have All-Pros at all these positions. They're still a great team.
Q: You've talked about Rex Ryan throwing a ton at you and how difficult it is to prepare for the Jets. Rex is from the Ravens, so is playing the Ravens similar in that it's a lot to get ready for?
TB: Sure, yeah they do. They're kind of a game plan team too so every week it's going to something a little bit different. They have their core things that they like to do, but there's always going to be some wrinkles. You have to prepare for everything and because we have a lot of experience with them, a lot of the games we've played, you can look back on those games and try to see the different things they try to do. Ultimately, it's going to come down to how well we execute, whether we make the plays or not. The players will have plenty of say of the outcome of the game once we get out there on the field.
Q: Have you sent [Terrell] Suggs a Christmas card yet?
TB: No, probably not this year. Maybe one of these years we'll get together for dinner or something.
Q: What have you seen from him this year?
TB: He's a great player. He's always been a great player. He presents a lot of problems for an offensive line, for an offense. He's big, he's rangy, he's powerful. He plays the run and the pass. For a guy that's that size and how athletic he is, to play the way he does is amazing. He's done it for a long time. Then he got injured last year, comes back, plays great toward the end of the year, has a great offseason obviously and hasn't missed a game this year. Between him and [Elvis] Dumervil, the way they rush the quarterback, you don't have a lot of time to stand back there and figure out what to do with the ball. They force you to throw the ball quickly and then they have Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb and [Corey] Graham that can all cover. That's really the challenge. You have to figure out a way to get the ball out of your hands. But they're pretty good at coverage too. That's why they're one of the best defenses in the league.
Q: Without Rob Gronkowski, you really relied on Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola last week. You've been without Aaron Dobson and Kenbrell Thompkins the last few weeks. How much of a factor has that been?
TB: They've done some pretty good things for us this year. One of these days we'll get everyone back, hopefully it's before the end of the season. But we're just trying to deal with the guys that we have out there. The guys that have been healthy have all been contributing. Like you said, Julian and Danny were a big part of last week's game. Shane's [Vereen] done a great job. The tight ends, Hooman [Michael Hoomanawanui], James [Develin] has been making some plays, he made some plays against Cleveland. I have a lot of confidence in the guys we have out there. We're going to try to go move the ball, we just have to score points. That's what it comes down to. You play a team like this that's the best red area defense in the league, they're going to challenge us to score points. Hopefully we can not help them to their number one ranking, we can move them down a few spots.
Q: I know you're focusing on football, but what do you enjoy most about the holiday season?
TB: I don't know. I'm not sure.
Q: What about a favorite holiday movie?
TB: I don't have much time to watch movies this time of year.
Q: Favorite holiday song?
TB: I don't sing [laughter].
Q: Have you done your Christmas shopping?
TB: Amazon.com. I probably keep them in business. It's hard to find your wife something on Amazon.com [laughter].
Q: So you still have some shopping to do?
TB: I do. Christmas, it's hard to believe it's around the corner, but it is.
Q: You talk about getting the ball out quick, but is there a point where you need 'X' amount of time so you don't throw it too quick?
TB: They challenge you at the line of scrimmage. They have guys that are really good at the line of scrimmage: Graham and Jimmy Smith and Lardarius, Chykie Brown is a really good player. They're big, they're lanky, they're physical so you have to get into the defense at some point. By that time, the pass rush is bearing down on you. That's why they play so well. That's why they've always been one of the best defenses in the league. They were that way last year; they're that way this year. They play really well at home. We have to try to figure out a way to move the ball and then ultimately get it in the red area.
Q: You might be missing two tackles this week. What do you see there?
TB: Well, whoever is out there – kind of like at the end of last week: we lost Nate [Solder] and then Logan [Mankins] played left tackle and Josh [Kline] came in and played guard. We just have to do what we have to do. Everybody who is out there has to be ready to go. Everyone who is dressed for the game and whoever is out there and ends up playing, we have to go out and try and win. We can't dwell on the fact that someone may or may not be there. You just have to go with what you've got. I have plenty of things I have to focus on. Whoever is out there, I have to trust that they'll be able to do what they're asked to do or else we wouldn't be asking them to do it. It's just kind of dealing with injuries like everybody else.
Q: In the absence of Lewis and Reed, what are your impressions of Matt Elam and Daryl Smith? What kind of difference has Smith made?
TB: He's really good. He looks a lot like Ray Lewis. Ray Lewis is Hall of Fame, he's one of the best players I've ever played against but Daryl Smith has really stepped in and been a big leader for them. He's right in the middle of the defense. Really smart, instinctive player, really good against the pass, fast sideline to sideline. He's got a lot of qualities, a great linebacker. He's made a lot of plays from an interception return for a touchdown, strip-sacks, fumbles and stuff like that. He's really good. Elam is a young player with all the skill and ability. He's made some big plays for them. He's gotten some pretty key interceptions, made one last week. He's a really good player. Friggin' Baltimore, they've always got a good defense. We've played against them for so long.
Q: Do you see a lot of similarities between the two organizations?
TB: They have one of the best in the league. They have a great owner, a great head coach, Ozzie Newsome. They have coordinators – [Jim] Caldwell and Dean Pees. Right from the top, they have a great quarterback, they have a great defense. They've been able to replace players, they have All-Pros, they have guys that are the best in the league at their position. They play well in big games. They have a great team. You don't win the Super Bowl for no reason. They won it, they earned. They came back this year, got off to a slow start but it seems like they're really clicking now.
Q: The games you've had with them have been memorable. It sounds like you're describing your organization too.
TB: We've had some pretty memorable games against them, so I think that's the – the thing about it is the games have meant so much, especially over the last few years. You get a little bit of a rivalry and then you're always paying attention to what that team's doing. If you play a team once every four years, you don't pay attention too much but when you see them every week – you know you're going to see them at some point during the year, you always kind of follow them. Like I said, that was a real big win they had the other night. They needed it. They're always the kind of team that digs deep. We have to be able to match that.
Q: How vital is the outside receiver in this offense to what you guys are trying to do?
TB: Very important. If they cover you inside, you have to throw it outside. If you throw it outside, they're going to start covering you out there and you have to throw it inside. It all complements each other. The problem is, if you can't throw it outside and you always have to throw it inside and that's where all their coverage goes and that's where you have problems. One thing complements another. The good offenses are the teams that can do – you can run it inside and outside, you can throw it inside and outside. So, whatever they're covering, you can do something different. You just don't want to be, too many times, forced into a one-dimensional game or one area of the field because it's too hard then.
Q: You scare the crap out of Dean Pees. I talked to him last year about the speed with which you play. What's your take on how he calls the defense and his knowledge of how you operate?
TB: How do I scare the crap out of him?
Q: He just thinks you're really good.
TB: [Laughs]. Dean's a great guy, he's a friend. He's a great coach. He coached here for a while so we got a chance to go up against him quite a bit in practice. He's a great coach. They didn't look so scared last year when they played us.
Q: When I talked to him last year, he talked about how quick you snapped the ball and how he wasn't going to let that happen to them last year. Do you find that he's more difficult to play tempo games against?
TB: We haven't really snapped it quick all year. Our team is pretty different now than it was at that point and they're pretty different also. They do some different things. We're just trying to – we have to try to find our matchup and make a play. If the play is there to be made, we have to make it. Like I said the other day, our margin of error isn't big. We're not scoring 50 points a game. When we get an opportunity that's a scoring opportunity, we have to take advantage of those. That's ultimately what the game is going to come down to. But they present a lot of challenges because they have a lot of good players that challenge you. They don't give you easy plays. You have to go out and earn them.
Q: Do you miss going up-tempo?
TB: Whatever it takes. Ultimately it comes down to execution. Whether you go slow or fast or somewhere in between, it's just really a matter of what you think you need to do to execute the best. The two-minutes we've gone pretty fast and done a pretty good job but that's probably about the only time we've really done that. You have to be able to execute no matter what you do. If you can't make the block or can't make the throw or can't make the catch, it doesn't matter if you go fast or slow. To run three plays and punt really quickly doesn't do you any more good than running three plays and huddling and all that and punting. Ultimately we have to score enough points and that requires good execution and everyone being on the same page.
Q: Why haven't you guys been going more up-tempo?
TB: I just think we're trying to figure out what we think is best to do to help us win. It just hasn't really required that. But we go fast plenty of times, like I said, in those two-minute situations where we've done a good job. Maybe we should do it more often.
Q: I'm just wondering because you've said you've been inconsistent on offense.
TB: No, we've been inconsistent and we've been dealing with a lot of different things. The more consistent we can be, the more dependable we can be as players and the better our execution is, the more points we're going to score. Ultimately the game is about scoring points. We have to do that the best we can. We try to practice that and you work on it and try to get as good as you can at that. Hopefully we're better at it now than we were at the begging of the year but that's why we play the games.
Q: I'll ask Josh McDaniels on Tuesday.
TB: Yeah, ask Josh – Josh knows the answers.