Q: Malcolm Butler admitted sometimes feeling frustrated or sorry for himself. Have you noticed that and tried to encourage him? Or has it been something he has been able to put aside on his own?
DM: I feel a little bit like a shrink. I don't know. I think he's always had a good attitude when he's come into work. If he's felt like that, I think he's probably kind of just kept it to himself. I mean, we all have - you talk about from training camp on - we've all had days where you don't feel like being here and all of that. That's a part of being and spending so many hours here. I don't know. I just try to always encourage everybody and stay upbeat. I mean, the other day in practice I was jumping around. I think that's a part of it is just trying to have fun, but all of us are in our own situation. I mean, now that you say that, I'll probably pay more attention and just try to keep him upbeat.
Q: Where you able to take anything from your joint practices against Deshaun Watson that you can use on Sunday?
DM: Some of it. I mean, we went back and watched some of that and tried to kind of mesh it all together with the Cincinnati game and really the second half of the Jacksonville game where he was in there, try to draw some comparisons and see what's similar, what's a little different. The good thing about that is obviously a lot of times we go against rookie quarterbacks, you just have the preseason and for us the game-and-a-half, but now we also have that film. It's kind of just turned into a part of the breakdown. We've gotten to watch that and everything we did from two-minute drill, third down, red area. That's all a part of the breakdown to me when we're watching film. Our coaches always do a great job of going through all of that and bringing out certain plays that are key. As players, it's hard sometimes to watch the game and then us trying to go back through the training camp practices, so I think our coaches have done a great job of throwing those in there and kind of meshing it all together as far as game and practice.
Q: As far as understanding playing speed, is it helpful to have gone against a player rather than just watched him on film?
DM: Yeah, I mean, I guess that's one thing we definitely know is he can run. If we don't keep him in the pocket and try to surround him as much as possible - on a play like he had against Cincinnati, [it] is not just a one-time thing or like some great play. He has that where he can do that at any moment and any game and can do it multiple times. That's something that I don't think we have to go out there and let him run for 40 yards and then say, 'Oh man, he's fast.' You know, I think that's something we obviously already know and have to be prepared for. Obviously, knowing it and stopping it are two different things, so we'll have to really work to that. It's something we've talked about all week so far, so it's definitely a focus of the defense.
Q: How do you take the win you had in New Orleans and start stacking wins together?
DM: I just think mentality. We have to have a blue-collar, bring your lunch pail to work type of attitude every day. I think we're working on that. We're staying at it. How we practiced yesterday and today - a part of that is what we practiced in yesterday. Being out there, it's windy, it's raining, it's a little chillier than it's been and try to have a good practice and get the things we need to get done. I think that carries over more than anything of just, 'Oh, today was good.' It's a mentality to make each day good, and I think we're working on that. It's still a work in progress, obviously. Like we always talk about here, it doesn't matter how good the week is that we feel going into the game. If we don't play well, then it's kind of all for not. So, we've got to keep working throughout the end of this weekend and go out there and play well Sunday.
Q: How is the communication in the secondary?
DM: It's still a work in progress. I mean, each time, different things come up - it could be new, it could be something similar - and we just keep talking through it. I think one of the best things for us always is after practice in the meeting rooms. Defensively, we're always communicating, talking, we're making the calls we made out on the field. Sometimes we make a call that, at the moment, we thought was right, but we get in there, we watch it, it's like, 'Hey, I called this but I think this will work out better,' and we'll talk about that right in the meeting room. I think that allows us to develop communication off the field because, I mean, once you get in the season, we can't practice everything that will come up in the game. But, just being able to sit through the practice film and to sit through some game film and decide exactly how we're going to call stuff and then try to keep that consistent once we get out there in the game allows us to keep getting better at communicating. But, it's something we've got to just keep doing and, hopefully, each week, each game it improves and we get to the point where it's like second nature.
Q: Even though it's early in the season, the Patriots pass defense is ranked 31st in the league. That must dismay you, right?
DM: Thanks for telling me. Sounds about right, though. We haven't played the best football that we know we can. Obviously, if you give up big plays, that's not going to rank you pretty high in pass defense. Like I said, obviously we have a lot of work to get done and it's something we've just got to keep improving.
Q: What has the team been missing without Matthew Slater and his leadership the last few weeks?
DM: Yeah, I mean, especially for me, Slate's two years older than me. So, since I came here, he's always been that constant voice, constant leadership and presence in the locker room and obviously on the field. But, I think the one thing Slate does that's hard for anybody else to do is how he relates to everyone. So, even with him not being out there in games and him being on the sideline in the Kansas City game and him always in the locker room - he's still here now. He'll be here till probably 6:30, 7 o'clock, and you can always count on him to be there to talk. So, his presence really hasn't been missing. Obviously, on the field, it definitely is, but he's still been around and been able to be himself. I think guys really lean on that and need that. I know, obviously as another co-captain with him, it's very important to have that for me to be able to lean on Slate, just because of his leadership and how strong-willed he is and his character.
Q: Does it affect the mood in the locker room to not have the energy of guys like Slater or Julian Edelman?
DM: I think you adjust. I think one of the good things is, after the game, having someone to break it down is a good feeling. You know, even though having to replace Slate [is unfortunate], but at least we could do that. We didn't have to worry about that Game 1 because we fell short. But, I think other than that, I just always remember [Jerod] Mayo used to always be the guy when we came out before the game, you've seen us jumping around. Mayo would do it and then Mayo got hurt, and then Chandler Jones did it. So, it's always somebody stepping up. I think that's the key to everything, whether it's stepping up on an offensive role, a defensive role, a special teams role is the next man up and somebody seeing, 'We have a void here. I need to step in and do it.' I think the good thing for us is we usually have a couple guys that are willing to do that. When it's your turn, you've just got to step up and be ready.
Q: We saw the video on Patriots.com of you breaking the team down after the win at New Orleans. What is the locker room like after a loss? Do you guys still break it down as a team?
DM: Yeah, we break it down. It's not quite like that, but no, we still break it down and, 'Pats on three.' Usually, Slate's in there and he talks about sticking together. I think that's one of the biggest things - we win together, we lose together. You just try to turn the page and move on, so we always focus on that. Hopefully, we won't have to do that many times.
Q: Would you rather get new Uggs or Tom Brady's book for Christmas?
DM: Uggs, no offense. Uggs just seem a little more comfier, and they do very well if you need to wrap them up and pass them on as a gift.