Q: How has the start of 2015 been compared to other years? Did you feel more comfortable?
TB: Well, we have some veteran players on offense, guys that I think have worked together for a long time, so you look at like the receiver position – Danny [Amendola] has been here for a long time now, Jules [Julian Edelman] obviously, AD [Aaron Dobson] has been here three years – and those are guys who have been playing mostly. Even bringing in Keshawn [Martin], he's been in the league for a while. It'll be exciting when Jo [Brandon LaFell] gets back. And then [Scott] Chandler, he's been in the league for a long time. Hooman [Michael Hoomanawanui] has been here for a while, and Gronk [Rob Gronkowski] has been here for a while. I think that continuity certainly helps. Hopefully, you can get off to a really good start, and you can build on things over the course of a lot of practices, a lot of throws, a lot of conversations. When you start fresh all the time, I think that can get challenging. So, I think the passing offense is all about anticipation. It's about trust, being on the same page. The only way to do that is to have experience. It doesn't always necessarily need to be together. I mean, if someone has a lot of years of experience in the league, you have a lot of belief that that person knows how to get open in a pro-style offense against a pro-caliber corner or safety. So you just try to build up on those types of things. We worked pretty hard in the spring, had a good camp and we got off to a decent start. So hopefully, we can keep it going.
Q: Where are you mentally now in terms of feeling more comfortable with everything as opposed to a few years ago?
TB: I think each year you try to gain more experience, and like I said, the level of comfort when you play with guys who you've played with for a long time, I don't think that can be understated. So every year is different. Every year has different challenges. This year, the offensive line is going through some of that where you lose [guys] – [Ryan] Wendell hasn't been in there, [Dan] Connolly retired, and you have young players up front. So, I'm sure that's challenging for Nate [Solder] and Sea Bass [Sebastian Vollmer] who have been playing next to guys who have been very experienced, and then at some point, based on the way pro football is, the burden, it's got to fall somewhere. You can't keep everybody together for 15 years. It just doesn't work that way. It's just that constant turnover, and one year it may be the offense, one year it may be the defense, it may be the specialist, it may be the offensive line or the receivers, and you've just got to find a way to keep building.
Q: Do you have to remain calm when you go through that tough period?
TB: Yeah, and I think it's, I mean, it's a long season, so you try to do it over the course of a year as opposed to, you know, the Super Bowl isn't played in Week 1. Even though you'd love to be in mid-season form at that time, it doesn't always happen that way. So you've just got to believe in what you're doing, believe in your process, and I think that we've been pretty consistent here for a long time based on what our OTAs are, training camp. You guys have been here all those days. It's not like one year it's different from the next, but I think you gain trust in what you're doing based on the past results that we've had that, OK, we're on the right track. This is how we're going to be coached. This is the expectations we have for what a practice should look like. Regardless of who's in there, this is the level that we need to get to if we want to be able to compete on a week-by-week basis against really good football teams. We're going to be challenged throughout the whole season. Every game has its different challenges. There are different matchups. There are different, you know, just situations in the game that come up that everyone has to be prepared for. And obviously the more veteran players you have at certain positions, the easier that may be or may appear to be. Sometimes it's maybe a bit more challenging.
Q: What are your thoughts on the early bye week?
TB: I think whatever it is, it is. We've had some late ones. Whenever it comes, you just deal with it. It actually goes really quickly, so before you know it, we'll be back here Monday getting back to work.
Q: Does the early bye break the momentum you have?
TB: It's hard to say. That's hard to say. We'll see how the season goes. It's a long stretch after this. There's no doubt about that. It's a lot of football games in a row, but that's what we work so hard in the offseason for. I think that's what you, physically and mentally, you have to be able to be all in.
Q: What did you pick to work on this offseason?
TB: There are a lot of things I always want to improve on, so I'll watch players around the league at my position and see the things that they do really well. And [I'm] always trying to become a better player for our team. A lot of those things are personal. But I constantly work on my mechanics, try to keep my footspeed, not that it's ever been very exceptional, but try to get out of the way of at least one lineman per Sunday, or defensive lineman. So [I'm] just trying to make a few plays outside the pocket, which we've done a decent job of. And ultimately, it comes down to throwing the football, and I'm a big believer in mechanics. Someone that's, you know, if you've got poor mechanics, I don't think they'll hold up under pressure.
Q: Did last year help you get perspective on going through struggles early in the season in terms of the offensive line clicking?
TB: You know, truthfully, I never worry about the offensive line much. I've never, we've just been so well coached over the years. I think those guys have done such a great job. I don't think I've ever put a lot of concern into whether those guys were capable of doing what they're asked to do, and I think we've had a lot of confidence in the guys who have been in there this year. I don't know. It's just one of those things in my career that I've been very blessed with – to have really great players up front who are really well coached, always know what to do. [It] just allows me to focus on what I need to do, which, you know, there's plenty of that. If all my mental energy can go to one place just doing my job, that's ultimately where it's best. If you're worried about the line or the receivers or tight ends, I think that takes away from what I'm try to accomplish.
Q: Do you ever take a proactive role in working with the younger guys on the offensive line?
TB: We talk quite a bit. There are a lot of things that you try to, as our offense has evolved, you try to skip part of the learning process and just get to the results part and say, "Alright, this is what we want to do on this." They're going to go through growing pains like every young player has. I mean, veteran players make plenty of mistakes, too, so a lot of it is just having that trust in those guys to be dependable. And they really have been this year. They have been throughout the course of my entire career.
Q: How do you look at the 3-0 start?
TB: Obviously it's good to be 3-0 - better than being 0-3 or 1-2 or 2-1. I think before we really get to know what we're all about, what the other teams are all about, it's good to win the games however you can win them. That's what you've got to be able to do this time of year. But we've got a long road ahead, and I think everyone's got to be tuned into what we're trying to do in order to accomplish what our goals are.