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Transcript: Duron Harmon and David Andrews Press Conferences 12/21

New England Patriots Defensive Back Duron Harmon and Center David Andrews address the media during their press conferences at Gillette Stadium on Thursday, December 21, 2017.

Defensive Back Duron Harmon

Q: How often does it come up where you guys are caught off guard by a trick play?

DH: Not too much, if hardly at all. Our coaching staff does a great job of preparing us for every situation for the game, whether it's two minute, trick plays. I'm trying to tell you we go back 10 years before sometimes with an offensive coordinator [and] a trick play he might've ran like 10 years ago. I mean our coaching staff does a great job of preparing us for each and every situation so that we can go out there with the utmost confidence and comfort level to play as fast as we can.

Q: You've mentioned in the past the Steve Belichick almost has a photographic memory when it comes to that stuff. Has that come into play lately?

DH: You're talking about [Steve] Belichick? Steve?

Q: Yeah.

DH: Oh yeah, definitely. He's been around a lot of football since he's been a boy. So him coming under his dad, he's seen a lot of different formations, a lot of trick plays. I think the idea of, like I said, that memory that he has helps us so much because we could be in a meeting and he'll be like "this happened 10 years ago" and we're like "okay, like how did you memorize that?" [There's] not situations at all or plays at all that come up to where we're at all surprised.

Q: In the first Buffalo game the Joe Webb stuff caught most people by surprise because he hadn't attempted a pass all year. Were you guys kind of in the same boat when he threw that pass?

DH: I wouldn't say that we were surprised. We didn't play our coverage with good technique at that point. We didn't play with good fundamentals and it created a hole in the defense. I wouldn't say it caught us off guard but we just didn't play the call we should have right then and there. 

Q: Do you look at Joe Webb differently than other wildcat quarterbacks because of his quarterback experience?

DH: Oh yeah, you've got to. I mean this guy can - he was a quarterback in the NFL. He can make throws. He has a strong arm. He's athletic. You have to treat him more so like a quarterback than an actual wildcat quarterback. We know that he can throw the ball. He can probably make a lot of throws that a lot of other wildcat quarterbacks can't make so the whole playbook is kind of up for him. We've got to just be aware, know where everybody's at, know where Tyrod's [Taylor] at at the time when he goes to quarterback and just play good fundamental football and then play our responsibilities.

Q: It seems like the Bills aren't really built for coming back from multiple score deficits like somebody like the Steelers might be. How important is it this week to do the same thing?

DH: It's important every week. We talk about it, just starting fast, playing with a lead. I mean you can do so much more when you have the lead. Offensively, you can keep the defense honest and defensively the offense usually feels like they need to make plays to get back into the game. When you get up a couple scores or a score it really puts the pressure on offenses to make them want to score. We try to play like that each and every week. This week is won't be any different. [We're] just going out there, trying to start fast, make a good stop. If we're on defense first get the ball to our offense. Hopefully they score but if not I mean it's a divisional game. It's not going to be easy. It's going to take probably 60 minutes. I'm more so positive it's going to take all 60 minutes for us to come out and get this win on Sunday.

Q: Because this game is important for Buffalo's chances of staying in the playoff hunt, that's likely to increase the level of intensity in them. Do you guys anticipate that or do you try to block that out and say we just have to play our game?

DH: Well I would say it's just as big of a game for us as it is them. It's a playoff-type game. It has playoff implications on both sides. So we know they're going to come ready but we're going to come ready too because, like I said, we know how important this game is for us and we can't let [anybody] take it away from us. 

Q: Do you ever recall a situation in practice where you guys were practicing a really obscure situation and people on the field are saying "when is this ever going to come up during a game?" and then it ends up coming up?

DH: I would say it's so crazy because all the situations that we practice come up in the game. I think Coach [Bill] Belichick and Coach Matty P [Matt Patricia] do a great job of making sure we're not just practicing situations just because. Like each situation I'm pretty sure that they've seen in the game or it came up. I think another thing that helps us is we learn from a lot of other teams, a lot of other situations that happen in NFL games. Coach Belichick does a great job of just some mornings coming down to break down film and we're watching other teams and just learning from them. [We're] learning from different situations, putting ourselves in their shoes and what we would try to do different and what we would do the same.

Q: When you see teams respond as if they are unprepared for certain situations does it make you think of how fortunate it is that your team seems to be prepared for those?

DH: It just helps you appreciate what you have here – our coaching staff, the amount of work they put in, how they grind to make sure that we're prepared each and every week. It really just helps you appreciate it; appreciate the work that they do so that we're prepared each and every week.

Q: What are some of the lessons learned from the experience of playing Miami two times in a short span that can now help against Buffalo?

DH: [We've'] got to come ready to play. I mean, each game is its own. When we played Miami the second time I don't think our energy level was all the way there just because we might've felt like we knew them a little bit. But, each game is its own. We've got to bring the energy each and every week and I think this will be a good test for us.

Q: Was the recent stretch of road games and primetime games one of the more exhausting stretches of your career?

DH: I would say, yeah, probably mentally and physically, but a little bit more mentally. Just the idea of just traveling back and forth, the night games, it was a lot. But, when you want to be a really good football team and a championship caliber football team, you've got to be able to go through stretches like that because it really shows your mental toughness if you're tough enough to deal with any and every situation that's thrown your way.

Q: Do you guys feel like you proved something to yourselves through that trip?

DH: I feel like we got some good games, but we didn't win the Miami one, of course. I feel like we got good production. I feel like we tried our hardest to come ready to play each and every week and I felt like it will definitely suit us well in the future.

Q: Is it nice to be home for the final two games?

DH: Oh yeah, definitely. It's good just to not up and leave on the weekend, spend some extra time with your family. It's the holiday season. I know this Sunday is a very, very important game for us but just being around your family more and more on this holiday season helps you keep that cheerful sprit and joy right now.

Q: Is it nice to have the early game at home on Christmas Eve again this year as opposed to being struck traveling?

DH: Yeah, it's great. I mean, what better way for me personally than to start the holiday season off with a football game. You play your game. Hopefully, you get the win. You prepare to get the win and then you can just sit back and really relax and enjoy the holidays with your family, so I'm looking forward to that.

Q: Are distractions tough to avoid or is it just part of the process?

DH: I would say it's always distractions. You've just got to figure out what's important to you, what's more important – the distractions or us getting a win this week and a win that we really need? I would just say we do a good job of just really trying to block out all the outside noise and really just focus on getting ready for the Bills this week and making sure were ready to play physically, emotionally and mentally.

Q: How relevant is what Kelvin Benjamin did in Week 4 with Carolina to this matchup with him now in Buffalo?

DH: I would say what's more relevant is just his style of play. What he brings to the table, what he will bring to the offense for the Buffalo Bills. The offenses are different. Some similarities with a running-style quarterback, but for the most part it's different. You've just got to know what type of player he is and prepare for that and know how they will try and use his skillset in their offense.

Q: Does it make a difference having a quarterback that can throw on the run, especially as a right-handed quarterback throwing it while running to his left?

DH: I think just keeping him in the pocket. I mean, the way he scrambles right, left. He's as good as anybody in the league if not the best. Our main job this weekend is just trying to make sure we keep him in the pocket as much as we can because he's six foot and he has big offensive lineman around him, so if we can keep him in that pocket it really makes it hard for him to see over those offensive lineman and hopefully we can get some tips or some overthrows that way.

Center David Andrews

Q: What does it mean to you to be an Iron Man this year?

DA: Yeah, definitely. I think it just shows durability in guys and guys' toughness staying out there. You've got to be out there to improve. Obviously, you get limited in some ways, but we take pride, especially as an offensive line, of everyone being out there and being able to go as much as we can and working through things and just the durability in that group. So, we take pride in that. 

Q: How do you make sure the team is focused on the task at hand after an emotional game last weekend?

DA: Yeah, it's going to be a big challenge this week. Buffalo's coming in off a big win. They've got a lot they're playing for. We've got a lot we're playing for right now. So, it's going to be a great game, great division game coming down late here in the stretch and both teams are really battling for position.

Q: What's helpful about seeing a team the second time around in such a short span? What can you take from your quick turnaround with Miami?

DA: Yeah, we've kind of had some division games back-to-back. Each team, they do something different. There's going to be different keys here and there and there's going to be wrinkles, so you just try to prepare. You prepare for everything. Luckily, you know a lot of those guys in that sense. Schematically, there's always going to be different wrinkles getting thrown in there, and that's what's great about football and that's what makes this game fun. 

Q: Where do you think the offensive line's level of play is at this point in the season?

DA: It's never good enough. Everything is held to such a high standard, and so we as a group look, and no matter what, we can always find something. We can have a perfect game, but to us, it's never going to be perfect. There's always going to be something frustrating to us. So, it's definitely a challenge. We challenge each other. Coaches challenge us. It's just to be the best that we can be. We've definitely got room to grow, and I think that's what makes a mature football team is these teams that can grow and improve, especially here down the stretch and late in the season.

Q: When you go up against a player like Kyle Williams, how much do you admire his consistency, longevity and high level of play?

DA: Yeah, I definitely respect Kyle. Kyle's a great player. He's done it for a long time. He plays the game in a way that I admire - tough, physical and he's been consistent for however long it's been now. He's a great player, great competitor. You love going against guys like that and competing with guys like that. That makes it all fun. He's obviously an opponent, but like I said, if you love competing, you love competing with guys like that.

Q: In the short time that you were out this season, was there anything you could gain by watching the game from a different perspective?

DA: It's not as fun watching it on TV, but it's tough. I think you can't improve if you're not out there. I think that's kind of hard. I mean, obviously, if you're hurt, you have to get better to get back out there. But, in the sense of football, it's hard to just be sitting around watching it. You pick up on little things, see things here and maybe things you might not notice, but I think as a whole, you really improve with being out there and being more involved.

Q: Because of how the last Patriots-Bills game ended, from a player's perspective, do you have to be on guard this week?

DA: You know, it's just we go out there and we're just going to try to compete. That happened, but that's not really a focus. Our focus is the challenge we have coming up. They're playing good defense right now, and it's going to be a tough task running the football and protecting the quarterback, and that's what we're focused on.

Q: In the wake of your illness, did you recover any weight or strength that you lost?

DA: Yeah.

Q: Do you study other centers around the league?

DA: I wouldn't say study on a week-to-week basis. You know, I've loved football for a long time, so I've watched a lot of any center that I've thought has been pretty decent. I wouldn't necessarily say it's a study each week, but you can pick up on little things, though – he did this, maybe that's something I can try or so-and-so did this. So, I think that just comes along with watching film. You might be watching film on somebody else and see the center of the offense that you're watching do something. I think the big thing is just being like a sponge and trying to soak up everything. You can learn things from defensive linemen - if you set, how they're going to counteract – from your own teammates, things like that, and use it against your opponent. So, I think you just try to take in whatever information you can and process it and use it to your advantage.

Q: There was a picture of you after Sunday's game of you getting hit by a drink thrown by a fan. How much restraint does that take for you to stay calm?

DA: Nah, it doesn't bother me after a win. I was giving a glove to a kid, so it really doesn't matter after a win.

Q: Is there any part of you that wants to say, 'I'm a human being. Don't throw a drink at me?'

DA: I mean, I'm not really focused on that that much. To me, I think that's just part of being an athlete. There's going to be times, up and down, and you can't retaliate. Sometimes you're not going to like something in a game. You can't retaliate and hurt the team, hurt yourself, things like that. Just another distraction. That really doesn't matter.

Q: Is this your first time speaking at the podium?

DA: I think second.

Q: Are you more of a podium or a locker room guy?

DA: I think I like the locker room. I'd stay in there if I had the choice.

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