RUNNING BACK JAMES WHITE
January 2, 2019
Q: What is the biggest thing that you guys try to take out of this bye week?
JW: Just get healthy, practice hard, make sure you’re locked in. This is the most important part of the season. You play all year to get to this point right here so find things to improve, and whenever we find out who we play, just got to be ready to go next week.
Q: From your experience, what’s the best way to use and take advantage of the bye week?
JW: Just got to make the most of it yourself. Like I said, just take care of your bodies, kind of study yourselves, see what you did this season, find things you can work on to get better in this week. You’ve just got to be ready to go, definitely heal your body up for sure, we have a lot of guys that are banged up and just got to take advantage of the week that you have off. At the same time, don’t let it take advantage of you and just got to be ready to go.
Q: You guys talked about how you were starting a playoff mindset last week. Does it help going into this week that you already started that mindset last week?
JW: Yeah, definitely playing like that last week, I think that’ll give us a little bit of momentum going into the playoffs – play that complementary football game that we always talk about and just got to keep that going, keep that same intensity. Like I said, you lose, you go home, so you’ve got to play your best football.
Q: How beneficial is having this week off?
JW: We’ll see how beneficial it is next week if we go out there and win a football game. Like I said, just got to capitalize on this week, find ways to get better, heal up and just come back ready to go. Like I said, it’s the most important time of the year. Got to play your best football if you want to keep playing.
Q: Do you watch the games during the weekend or do you take the weekend off?
JW: Yeah, I always watch football when it’s on for sure. It’s always entertaining. It’s a great weekend for football, get four games and just tune in, relax with the family, watch some great games.
Q: Coach Bill Belichick was complimentary of you today saying that you just know how to play football. Where did you learn how to play that way?
JW: Probably my dad, brother, friends, just playing in the yard, playing Little League football, a lot of coaches that helped me learn the game of football to this day. It’s not just one thing. It’s a lot of people that helped me learn the game of football and just constantly working, working by yourself, working with friends, competing. Over 23 years of my life or so, more than that or whatever playing football, you only get better if you keep practicing at it.
Q: Do you consider yourself a smart football player?
JW: Yeah, I consider myself a smart football player. I just try and take all the coaching points and add those into my game and just be a disciplined football player is how I kind of take my approach.
Q: You seem to be one of those athletes that raises their level of play in the postseason. Why do you think you’re like that?
JW: I think everybody in this building tries to raise their level of intensity in the playoffs. Like I said, you lose, you go home, so you’ve got to play your best football. You never know which play’s going to make a difference in the end of the game, so you’ve got to make each play you go out there and play, you’ve got to make it count. I think that’s the approach that everybody tries to have.
Q: Is there a comfort that you can look around the locker room and there’s a bunch of guys that have gone through bye weeks, gone through the playoffs, and there’s an understanding of how to go about this?
JW: Yeah, I think there’s a lot of guys that have been through this. At the same time, that exactly doesn’t matter – it’s just going to be who goes out there and plays their best football come next Sunday. That’s what it’s going to come down to. It doesn’t matter how many playoff games you’ve played in, how many bye weeks you’ve had, if you don’t play your best football on Sunday, it doesn’t really matter. You’ve seen how there’s been guys that you’ve never even heard of that go out there and play their best football and they’re the reason you win a football game. It’s going to take everybody, for sure.
Q: What kind of things have you said to Sony Michel and other guys in your group that haven’t been through this?
JW: You lose, you go home. You’ve got to play your best football. That’s something that you just stress to them. Just stay up on yourself. Once we figure out who we play, study up on them and give it your best effort. You don’t want to have any regrets.
Q: How different is this situation from the regular season bye week when guys just kind of get away from football?
JW: Yeah, you don’t want to get away from football too much. Like I said, heal up on your body, just take care of yourself. You can take your mind off football for a little bit though, enjoy the time with your family, watch the games, but then when Monday comes around, just lock back in and come in ready to work.
Q: Are you watching those games with a critical eye?
JW: No, just watching for fun and enjoy a good football game and see what happens.
Q: Do you take some pleasure in the fact that this is the first time making the playoffs for Jason McCourty?
JW: Yeah, it’s awesome. It’s a special moment for guys like that that are playing in their first playoff game and getting their first experience at it. I know he’s excited and he’ll be ready to go and you do want to win for guys like that to get their first opportunity. Definitely don’t take the opportunity for granted no matter how many times you’ve been here, been in this spot. Just got to make the most of the opportunity.
Q: Do you feel like you’ve grown this season as a ball-carrier or is it just about having more opportunities?
JW: I think it’s just a little bit of everything. There’s some more opportunities, some just finding ways to hit holes harder, make guys miss, just try to do the right thing. I think we’ve improved on our run game a lot this year. The offensive line’s been doing a great job blocking, receivers, tight ends, James Develin – they’ve been doing a great job for us and making our job a little bit easier. So, it’s a little bit of everything and we’re just enjoying it, just trying to find ways to win whether it’s running, throwing – just find a way to get wins.
Q: Bill Belichick said you almost always make the right decision on the football field. Is that something you acquire or is that more instinct or the experience of playing for so long?
JW: Yeah, I don’t know exactly what it is. Just could be a little bit of experience, a little bit of working hard at it, studying. Like I said before, just paying attention to the little details that the coaches are telling me during the week and keeping that in the back of my head when I’m on the football field and this is what they want me to do in this certain look and just going out there and doing it, playing fast. I think I just pay attention to those little coaching points and that helps me out a lot.
Q: What have you learned about being a captain these last 16 games?
JW: You’ve just got to be a guy that’s available for your teammates, rely on a guy they can look at and see that he’s doing the right thing, working hard in meetings and on the practice field. I’m not the most vocal guy, but say things when they need to be said and just go out there and work hard every time you step into this building. I think that’s what I learned.