Q: Has throwing at Darrelle Revis during practice been the challenge you expected? **
TB: He's a great player, and I'm glad he's on our team. You've got to make a great throw, you've got to run a great route, [and] you've got to have the right scheme called at the right time because he always challenges you. It's good work for our team. Ultimately, the better players you have as a unit, I think everyone improves. We've got a good defense to go against, so hopefully that's really helped our offense.
Q: What things does Aqib Talib do well, and has going against Darrelle Revis in practice prepared you for him?
TB: I've had a lot of practices against Aqib in the year and a half he was here. I really enjoyed it. He was a great player, a great competitor, great quickness, great ball awareness. He's really athletic, got real good speed. So, he does everything that you're looking for in a top tier corner. He's had a great season. So, I think they've had a lot of guys who have played really well defensively and taken advantage of the opportunities that they get, whether that's more [Chris] Harris or Aqib certainly has been the ring leader of that group. They've got a lot of guys over there – [T.J.] Ward is a great player, some good young linebackers, and then one of the best D-lines in the league. There's a reason why they're one of the best teams, and we're going to need to be at our best.
Q: How much of what they're doing scheme-wise now is similar or different to what they did last year?
TB: It's always a little bit different. They've got quite a few new players on their defense from when we played them even in the championship game. There might be seven or eight new guys that are out there. We've played against Coach [Jack] Del Rio and his defenses for quite a while. I think he's a great coach. He always has some type of game plan. He keeps it moving pretty good. There are a lot of things to be prepared for. We've had a lot of opportunities over the last few years. There are a lot of plays to evaluate. But once again, it's a new team this year, so you're trying to balance that with the things they're doing this year. They've got a lot of strengths. It's a good team. They've played from ahead, which has been a great advantage for them all season. Hopefully we can get off to a fast start and make them play from behind for once because you don't want to get behind these guys too much.
Q: Are DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller the best pass rushing tandem in the league?
TB: They're pretty spectacular. I think one's got nine sacks and one's got seven. They just tee off on the quarterback. They've got every move. They've got the speed, speed-to-power, they've got the spin moves, they run the games. It's a big challenge for our offensive line. We've faced some good D-lines this year, so hopefully that's prepared us a little bit. But this is a good group, and Von looks like he's playing exceptional. He's been one of the great players in the league since he's been here. This week will be no different, so we've got to prepare for his best, and we've faced it, and we're going to have to go out and execute really well against it.
Q: Does Rob Gronkowski look like he did in 2011?
TB: Yeah he's doing great. He's had a great season. He's provided a big spark for our offense. Whenever he's been in there and been really excited and healthy and playing with the energy that he's always brought to our team, he's pretty tough to stop. He's a big key to our offense. I think he draws a lot of attention, so even if he doesn't get the ball, it helps the other guys get open. It's great having him out there in our lineup. He's been really consistent for us as a player since he's been here. Like I said, he's off to a great first half of the season. This is really when it all matters. We're coming here to the most meaningful part of the season, and we play some of the best teams, so we're going to see what we're made of.
Q: You guys went for the jugular there in the third quarter with the no-huddle offense. Do you feel like the guys are comfortable going to that type of offense?
TB: Whatever we think we need to do … On offense I think it's really important to be aggressive and to try to dictate what you want to do offensively instead of getting really backed into a hole and then pigeonholed into the things that you're forced to do based on what the defense is doing. I think once you get a team in a situation like we did last week, it's great to keep applying the pressure and making them understand that they're going to have to still defend every part of our offense. I think that's what makes good offenses is you spread them out, you tighten down, you play action, you run it, you screen them, you draw them, you trap them. As long as you have all those things at your disposal, you can try to take advantage of what they're not doing or trying to defend defensively. For example, a team like this week Denver, who's had so many of their opponents behind in the second half of games, three quarters of the call sheet you can't even call because they just want you to run the clock out, so you're forced into throwing it like over 80 percent of the time against this defense. They're able to really tee off on you, get to all their pass defense calls, and then they turn these seven-point games into 21-point games in a hurry.
Q: I know it's a team game for you, but how do you look at your rivalry with Peyton Manning now as you get older? No offense.
TB: None taken. He's a great player, and I think that you just know you're going to get one of the best offenses in the league. What that means for me is our offense has to be at our best. You can't think you're going to go out and score 10 points and win the game, and I don't think any of our games have ever really come down to that. It's really an important week for our team. All of us on offense have to bring our best because we know we're playing against one of the best offenses in the league. Peyton has been a phenomenal player – so consistent and durable for a long period of time. We've had a great rivalry in the AFC East, and this year is no different. I'd say it's a great matchup.
Q: Has Peyton Manning's presence propelled you at all to be at your best or been a measuring stick for you?
TB: I'm pretty self-motivated. He's always been someone I've really looked up to and studied and admired. I mean, he is older than me and has more playing experience than me. Maybe when I'm his age, I'll be playing as well as that.
Q: Does playing well against a team that is considered one of the best in the NFL mean more to you or say more about what you have in your locker room?
TB: I think we expect to play well. I don't think we're really looking to gauge it against anybody. I think we expect to go out and win. That's what the expectation has always been – certainly not to go out there and run around and break a sweat and lose the game. So, we've got to try to do everything we can to put the pressure on them and score as many points as we can. That's what it's going to take. Like I said, they're a very good team. They've made significant changes to the team that was in the Super Bowl last year. They've challenged a lot of teams this year. They've gotten ahead of a lot of teams and really put the nail in the coffin – that's a Halloween reference – and we've got to be able to do the same thing if we get an opportunity.
Q: Do you get tired of playing him and would you rather he wasn't on the schedule so you wouldn't have to answer questions about Peyton Manning?
TB: No, this is … Look, you wait a year to play this game. You get one of the best teams in the league against us, and we feel like we're a pretty good team, and that's why you play the game. It doesn't get any better than this.
Q: To what do you attribute your increase in accuracy over the last four weeks?
TB: I'm not sure. I haven't really broken it down or anything.
Q: The numbers would certainly indicate you've been more accurate and more efficient.
TB: I feel like I'm the same every week. That's how I feel. Some weeks it goes better than others, but I feel like my approach is always the same. Statistics may not be the same, but I try to bring the same level of intensity and energy, and I think I've always tried to be really consistent.
Q: How much do you try to communicate with Peyton Manning. Is it a text here or there, or is it not really like that?
TB: A little bit from time to time. We've always had a good relationship. He's done a great job with his team, and he's got them playing really well. Every week, it's so consistent – you just count on a great performance from him every week. I think that's something that I have a lot of respect for. It's not an easy thing to do. There are a lot of people who have played that don't do it on a consistent basis, so when you see someone who does it at a high level, I have a lot of appreciation for that. I understand what it takes, and it's not just a daily commitment; it's a life commitment. Every decision you make is a conscious decision to try to help your team win, whether that's in March or that's in September or whether that's in November. You can't just flip the switch when it matters. You've got to try to communicate that to all your teammates that the competition is always on. It never goes away. You're either getting better or you're getting worse, and I've always respected him because he's always someone who has chosen to get better, and he's using the guys with him, and he's obviously a great leader to encourage the rest of those guys to do the same.
Q: Aqib Talib says he is really pumped up for this game. As a quarterback, do you have to measure that so that it doesn't affect your execution?
TB: Emotion is great for this game. It's an emotional game, so I think the more emotion the better. Hopefully, it doesn't get in the way of your execution, but the energy and excitement that you have, it'll be there Sunday. I don't think you really want to waste it on Wednesday afternoon because you are a human being, and you have to gauge yourself because it is an important game. You want to have every bit of energy and enthusiasm you can for kickoff, but it'll definitely be there by Sunday at 4 [p.m.].
Q: Given the changes on the offensive line, what do you consider to be the most consistent source of foundation for those guys to improve as the season progresses?
TB: Those guys have really dealt with a lot of change. Obviously this year it started back in the offseason and [they] have really worked through that through training camp. And then different players have kind of come and gone and been injured from the start of the season, before the start of the season – with Logan [Mankins] and then being able to really adjust to that. And I think those guys are really taking it as a challenge of the mental toughness, and at this point really settled into kind of the group that they are and the group they want to be. They're playing with a lot of toughness. They're playing with a lot of commitment to what their coach is asking them to do. We've had some growing pains that we're all trying to get used to earlier in the year, but I think we're playing at a much better level. It's great communication – I think that's really the key is having everybody on the same page and trusting each other. Offensive lines, typically the longer they play together the better they get because they do develop a lot of trust in the guy next to them. The offensive line really is a metaphor for an offense and a team. Everyone has to complement each other. You've got to trust that the guy next to you is going to do his job because if he doesn't and you don't trust it, then it's hard for you to do your job. And I think those guys have built a lot of trust in each other over the last eight weeks to the point now where they can go out and be aggressive and be really confident in what they're doing and what they're teammates are doing. That's the way good football teams are built. That's the way good lines are built. That's the way good defenses are built. The longer you play together, hopefully the better it gets.
Q: You guys are underdogs at home. Do you guys embrace that status?
TB: They're a great team. They went to the Super Bowl last year. They've made a lot of changes in the offseason. They're off to a great start. They've got a great team. We're going to have to be at our best. We've got a pretty good team, too. We'll see how it shakes out when it really matters.
Q: Has preparation for Denver distracted you from Halloween preparations?
TB: It's a great night. Halloween is a great night, especially around here. My kids are coming into their own, so it should be a fun night – pull the pillow cases off the pillows and go to town.
Q: How much do you take away from Peyton Manning's longevity?
TB: He's been exceptional at that. His toughness and his durability has been similar to Brett Favre. That's probably why he's been breaking all those records because he's been so consistent and durable, dependable for his team. He's off to another great start this year. He does everything right. I don't know what more else I can say about him as a player. It means a lot to him. Obviously, he's got great leadership, and that's what it takes at the quarterback position.
Q: How have you seen Bryan Stork develop?
TB: Bryan's done a great job since he got here. He dealt with a few injuries in training camp that it's hard for probably any player to deal with, and then to have a rookie do that is even more challenging. But he's really come on as of late. He's learning as we go. He's in there, and he's got two great guys in there next to him that communicate really well and have played center. So, the communication between all of them is so important. He loves the game, he's got great enthusiasm for it, a big, strong kid, and he's done a great job.