Q:Do you feel like you're doing a good job in clutch situations?
TB:Absolutely. I think we talked a lot about last week – we always work on 'Gotta have it' situations. The start of the game last week was a 'Gotta have it.' They all seem to be 'Gotta have it' now. There's definitely a sense of urgency. We have to keep trying to make improvements, do a better job. This defense tests a lot of things. They really put a lot of pressure on you in a lot of ways: their front, coverages, scheme. They kind of do it all. There's a lot to prepare for. To do it on three days is a lot but they're dealing with the same stuff. We've had a good couple days. We need a good couple more days and then let it rip on Thursday night.
Q:How challenging do you find the process of turning the page from losing key guys to getting ready for a game on a short week?
TB:Truthfully, there hasn't been much time to deal with any of that this week because it is a short week. Yesterday just flies by and you're trying to get so much done and caught up. We love those guys. They've worked so hard to be selfless and great teammates like Jerod [Mayo] and Stevan [Ridley] are. It's unfortunate to see them go down because they mean so much to what we do, but it's our job to carry on. Certainly we've done that in the past and we're going to need to do it again. There are definitely challenges every year and injuries are always one of them. You hate to see guys that mean so much to your team go down, but we have to keep fighting on.
Q: **How do you deal with the information overload in the short time period?
TB:Yeah, there's a lot. There's a ton of information, especially this team. They have every blitz in the book. They have every coverage and scheme and front. We just have to do to do your best to prepare for as much as you can. You have to balance your rest with your preparation but it's all football – yesterday, today, tomorrow, Thursday night and then after that there's obviously a little bit more time but you have to put everything you can in.
Q:What do you like about Brandon Bolden and Jonas Gray and the way they play?
TB:They're big, physical runners. They have some explosiveness to them. They run hard.
Q:Are they ready for a bigger workload? I know that Brandon has played well; he had a big game in Buffalo. Would you feel confident in them?
TB:I would say I'm confident with all those guys that are out there. Those guys are working hard, that's why they're here, because Coach feels like they can contribute. All those guys, whether they're on the practice squad at some point, there's going to be an opportunity. That's just the way the NFL is. You start with a certain amount of players at the beginning of the year and as the year goes on every week teams are hurt with injuries and you have another guy that gets called up. But all the work that you've done in practice has hopefully prepared you. You sit in all the same meetings that all the other guys sit in. You're getting, maybe not quite as many reps, but you're being coached the same way. When you get your opportunity, that's what you have to take advantage of. You don't know how many opportunities you're going to get in the NFL and when you get your one, you better be ready to take advantage of it.
Q:You guys talk about mental toughness all the time. Jerod and Stevan are great players on the field but how do you replace what they bring, especially Jerod, on a daily basis in the locker room?
TB:It's hard to replace. There are no swaps. There's no, 'Let's move this guy into that role,' because guys like Jerod and Stevan play such a big role. I think the rest of the group has to pick it up and understand the things that they brought to the table that we need to continue to bring. Everyone just has to do more.
Q: **Why has the offense been so much better the last two weeks?
TB:That's a good question. I don't know.
Q:Do you feel more comfortable or confident these past two weeks?
TB:I'm happy we're scoring more points. That's what we're going to need to do this week. The only way to score points is good execution on a consistent basis. I think that's probably what we've been doing better on a consistent better is executing better. But really whatever's happened the past two weeks makes no difference going into this game because this a totally different entity. It's a different team, scheme, matchups, game plan, blitz package. I mean everything is different this week. Coach said, 'We have to fill that tank back up and put everything we can into it.'
Q:Do you enjoy matching wits with Rex Ryan?
TB:He tests every part of your game. I do have a lot of respect for that from a coaching standpoint. He challenges you. When he feels like he's got you on something, he sticks with it. We've had our fair share of good games. He's had his fair share of good games. That's what makes for a great matchup. They're a great rivalry. We've had a lot of meaningful games with them. Ever since I got here, it's always been fun playing the Jets. This week will be no different.
Q:What do you think about the Thursday night game?
TB:I think it's great to get the opportunity to go out there and do something I love to do. I don't care if it's Thursday or Monday or Sunday or Tuesday. Whatever day they tell me to play, that's when I'm going to be ready to go.
Q:As a player do you feel a little less prepared on Thursday?
TB:I think I'll be as prepared as I possibly could be. It all comes together. It always does.
Q:Why do you feel you've been so good on Thursday games? I think with you as the starter, you're 6-0 in those games.
TB: **I hope we get to 7-0 by Friday morning. That would be pretty sweet. That's the goal. I don't know. I think we just – it always comes down to how well you play. I don't think there's any real magic plays that we hold for Thursday night games or anything like that. I think these are important games for our team. It's a short week. You have to max out on football, put everything else to bed and try to put everything you can into these three days and see where we're at Thursday night.
Q:Does that come back to the mental toughness that you guys have shown over the years – that you can block stuff out and get ready?
TB:Yeah, that's right, we do. It's a competition. Every day is a competition. You can't take days off or hours off. It's either rest or football, especially on short weeks like this. That's just the way it has to be. I think mentally you have to get your mind right and prepared for that and then you have to go out and play as well as you possibly can on Thursday.
Q:When you think back to this last stretch of football, what's your take on how things go up and down with people questioning you?
TB:I think you have to have a lot of confidence in the things that you do and the way you prepare. Over the course of a lot of years, you fall back on that preparation. I've been taught really well here by these coaches, by my teammates of how to do things the right way. I think when there are tough times and things aren't always going your way, that's part of football. It happens in games too. It's not like you play the first quarter of the game and you're losing 14-0, you go, 'Let's just pack it in. This is a terrible day. Let's throw the game plan out. All this is crap.' You sit there and you say, 'OK, let's figure out where we're at. Let's make some adjustments and try to get on the right track.' Maybe by halftime you've scored and by the third quarter maybe you keep building, you're making improvements. Ultimately it's a four-quarter game, it's a 16-week season. That's what you're judged, by the end, not necessarily where you're at midway through the first quarter. I think we'll have to keep perspective and like I said, not ride the highs and lows because there's a lot of them. There are a lot of those with your family and friends. They get really high and they get really low. Mental toughness plays a part. You just do the best you can do to stay focused on the things you need to do that are going to help you win and help you get to the place you need to go. Hopefully you really set sail in the right direction.