RUNNING BACK JAMES WHITE
December 17, 2019
Q: Good to get in the bubble today?
JW: Yeah, get a little warmth. Get some good work in on those guys. They're a good football team. It's a tough game every time we play them. [They're] well coached, very sound. Got to have our best game yet on Saturday.
Q: Did you feel like it was bizarre when you woke up and there was snow and sleet outside then you came here and you saw that you're going to the bubble?
JW: Hey, I have to do whatever Coach says, do whatever he says. If we're in the bubble, we're in the bubble. Whatever it is, we're still preparing for those guys. They're going to come out ready to play. Everybody has a lot on the line, so we've got to have our best effort.
Q: Do you feel that the post season has already started because you're in the must-win mode?
JW: For us, we still haven't played our best football yet, so that's what we're trying to go out there and do with two games left versus two division opponents, and they're both going to be tough games. For us, we want to go out there and execute offensively, defensively, special teams and keep that steam rolling.
Q: What is the magnitude of this game in a division sense? This could be one of your biggest division games in a long time.
JW: It's great for us. I think it will be a great challenge [for] everybody to pick that intensity up that much more and pay that much more attention to detail. I think it's what we need at this point. We're still trying to play our best football. We have a great opponent right here. They're going to come in flying around, confident. We have to go out there and do the same because they're going to try and throw the first punch and we've got to be able to accept the punch and go out there and throw ours.
Q: What's the mindset heading into this game knowing it likely amounts to a "hat and t-shirt" game for the AFC East?
JW: For us, we're trying to play our best football game yet – execute, protect the football. They have a good defense. For us, it will be a great challenge for us offensively. We didn't do our best the first time we played them earlier in the season – so watched that film, made the corrections from it. They've been getting better and better as a defense. We've got to be able to run, throw, block, do everything physically in order to win versus those guys.
Q: Did you see things in the second half of the Cincinnati game that you guys can build on offensively?
JW: Definitely. I think everybody came out with a better sense of urgency, more attention to detail, more physicality, more like Patriot football. I think everybody just wanted to go out there and have a better second half. The backs ran hard, the linemen blocked hard, tight ends, receivers, they made plays down the field, as well. We kind of got in the rhythm in that second half.
Q: As a captain, how have you seen the players respond to this ongoing NFL thing regarding the tape?
JM: First, we just kind of ignore the noise. Can't control anything that happens outside the building. For us, we're focusing on the Buffalo Bills and trying to prepare and trying to get a win versus those guys on Saturday. They're studying up on us; we've been studying up on them. It's a big game for both teams, so we've got to be ready to go.
Q: Is it fair to say that you have an eye on the playoffs in terms of securing the first round bye and making sure you finish strong?
JW: Not necessarily. Our eyes are on the Buffalo Bills. Those guys are going to come in here with a lot of confidence. They win a lot of big football games, a lot of tough football games, a bunch of good football teams. Winning at Pittsburgh the other day – got a win versus those guys. It's not easy to win over there. Our focus is completely on them. They're going to be ready for us and we'd better be ready for them on Saturday.
Q: There's going to be two good defenses on the field. How important is it for you as an offense to take advantage of opportunities?
JW: They don't give up big plays and they capitalize on your mistakes. It will be important for us to protect the football, take what they give us and we'll get our opportunities to make plays down the field – got to capitalize on those too. It will be a great challenge, I think protecting the football will be a huge thing for us.
Q: Where have you seen some of the changes in how their defense has improved since you last saw them?
JW: For them, ever since probably Sean McDermott got there, their defense has been really good and they continue to get better. A lot of continuity in their defense. Those guys, they work very well together disguising coverages, disguising blitzes, all different things of that nature. They're not going to blitz you a ton, but when they do, it's pretty effective. They try and confuse you. Whatever they've been doing, it's been working for them, and like I said, it will be a great challenge for us.
Q: When you play a game on a Saturday and you're talking to us on a Tuesday, does that seem like something's not right?
JW: Not necessarily. I don't even pay attention to what day it is, really. Just come in here and you're working. Whatever day the game's on – Monday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday – it doesn't really matter.