Q: Do you feel that the offense will play better this week? You kind of ripped them in your press conference.
TB: I just really felt like we didn't perform the way that we're expected to perform. I think all the players really felt that way. I don't think that was just my thinking. I think we all collectively felt that, and I think we just expect to go out there and play significantly better. Hopefully we've learned from some of the mistakes, and we can incorporate some better offensive play into the game this week, but we're playing a damn good defense.
Q: What is it about the Bills defense that has your respect?
TB: First of all, they have a lot of good players. It's a very disciplined group. It's a very hard-working group. A very physical group and they all play with great effort. I've played against Drayton Florence a lot. He's extremely competitive out there. I played against [Terrence] McGee. Jairus Byrd is in his second year. [He] had a great year last year, and Donte Whitner, he's one of the real impact players for the team. It's a big, stout defensive front. We've got our work cut out for us. It's going to be a real challenge. We've got to find ways to run the ball better than we did last week, and certainly our passing game execution for the second half last week wasn't very good. We've got to expect to make some improvements here in practice so we can be more competitive this week.
Q: How do you make up for the loss of Kevin Faulk?
TB: There's really no one that you can put in there to expect them to be like Kevin. Kevin is a very rare player, and he not only [brings] a unique skill set, but really his will, his determination, really his performance under pressure was unmatched. And that's the big difference between Kevin and a lot of other guys. When it really meant something, Kevin was at his best. Those guys are hard to find.
Q: How would you compare adjusting to the loss of Faulk in this short time to losing Wes Welker last year?
TB: Well, they're both critical players to our offense, but obviously different positions. Guys that I've been around I have a lot of trust in. [I'm] sitting back here looking to throw the ball to the guys who you really trust. That you know are going to be in the right place at the right time and the guys are going to compete for the ball. That's why those guys end up making a lot of plays because they have a lot of opportunities. Both guys are critical to our offense. With the loss of Kevin, we've got to try and find some other ways.
Q: When you lose them, do you have to remind yourself that they are not out there?
TB: You realize that the guys that are out there are the guys that you're playing with. Whoever in the backfield this week in Kevin's position, I really know the skill set of those players as well, and we're going to try to do what those guys do really well also. We're not going to expect them to just do everything that Kevin does. Guys like Sammy [Morris] and Fred Taylor, and BenJarvus [Green-Ellis], they have their own skill set, so we've got to try to incorporate those into the offensive scheme that works.
Q: How do you explain, in a time when NFL teams are supposed to be evenly matched, winning 13 in a row over the Bills and 18 out of the last 19 matches?
TB: Well I'll tell you, there are a lot of games we could've lost. One or two plays and Buffalo beats us. Even though the record is good, really none of those games have any bearing on what we're trying to accomplish this week. We have an entirely different team, they have an entirely different team, and nothing that we've done in the past is really going to do anything for what's going to happen this Sunday.
Q: Does coming off a loss like last week help focus you and not look past the Bills?
TB: Well, we never looked past Buffalo. I've never looked past them from the day that we got here. All those games have been very competitive. It doesn't matter where we play them, home or away. Last year we were pretty much lucky to win the first game of the year. And then playing in Buffalo the second game of the year we won by what? Three points? I don't think either of the games we played particularly well on offense, and we're going to need to play well this week against a team that is obviously very good defensively from what I've seen.
Q: There seems to be a sense around the league that the Patriots are kind of in decline. Your defense went from a very experienced group to a very young group almost overnight, and you've had some issues with Logan Mankins holding out and now Kevin Faulk out with an injury. What are your thoughts on that and does that give you any added motivation to go out and prove that you are still one of the premier teams in the league?
TB: Obviously, every year there is change. There's transition. Every offseason there's transition. We're not the team that we were six years ago. A lot of guys have moved on. But the goal is to be the best team for 2010. You can sit here and make a bunch of comparisons, but no one cares what the Saints did last year. Everyone wants to know who's going to be the winner this year. I think that's the goal of our team. Sure, there are going to be different strengths and different weaknesses and different ways to get the job done. We've got to be able to figure those out over the course of a long season. Obviously, every team...and I would say we are a long way from the team that we want to be and hopefully the team that we're going to be. Each week, that's why we're out there practicing and trying to make improvements and trying to get better. If I thought we didn't have a chance, then that wouldn't be very fun. Of course I always think that we have a great chance to accomplish our goals.
Q: I know your relationship with Jason Taylor goes a long ways back and you can't seem to get away from him even when he changes teams. Can you walk us through that last play against the Jets and is that still sticking with you?
TB: Yeah, he's been a great player for a long time. Being in the division, we played him like 20 times. He went to the Redskins and I thought we'd never play him again, and then he came back to the Dolphins last year and then now back to the Jets. He made a good play. We handled their pass protection, their pass rush, pretty well all game and then right there at the last moment he made a big play for them. You hate to have that happen as a quarterback. I've got to do a better job protecting the ball.
Q: Is it even more aggravating when it happens with a guy like that who you have such a long history with? It seems there's some deep respect between the two of you.
TB: Anytime it happens it's frustrating. You hate to turn the ball over. Usually a big reason why teams win or lose games is turnovers. We had a chance in that game and he made that play. That was very frustrating.
Q: For years you dealt with Aaron Schobel here. Now that he's retired, what are your thoughts on the fact that you won't see number 94 coming at you?
TB: Well, I'm glad. I'm glad he retired. Believe me, no one's happier than I am. He sacked me more than anyone in the league. He's been a great player for a long time. He is a tough competitor, but the guys in his place - there's a good group of pass rushers up there. Kyle Williams, I really like him. It's a big defensive front that can really push the pocket, so we've got to stand up to them.
Q: Can you give us your impressions of Rob Gronkowski, a local Buffalo kid, and how he's adapted your offense and the NFL?
TB: He's done a great job. He's a young player in age. I think he [just] turned 21. But from the day he got here, he's made an impact on the team with both his blocking and what he's able to do in the passing game. He's a big kid. He's really strong. He's got really good speed. It's just a matter of getting him more involved. He's proven every week that he's capable of doing some really good things for our offense, so we're trying to find ways to incorporate him more.
Q: Aaron Hernandez isn't too shabby either. He looks almost more like a wide receiver than a tight end.
TB: Yeah, he definitely is very good in the passing game. He's good in the run game too. I think that's what surprises some people. He's able to really throw his body around in there, too. He gives a lot of effort. Once again, he's a young player as well. We have two rookie tight ends that are kind of big factors in our offense, so we've got to continue to use those guys.
Q: Do you ever talk to Logan Mankins?
TB: Yeah, I do.
Q: Can you give us any insight into what you say to him or what your relationship is through all of this?
TB: Those conversations are private between Logan and I. Nobody loves Logan more than I do, believe me. He's a great player. He's been a great player on our team for a long time.
Q: There's been a lot of talk about Randy Moss and his contract situation. I know you've made a lot of comments in support of him. Sounds like you would hold him hostage in Foxboro before you let him get out of town.
TB: Yeah, Randy is really a dynamic player on our offense. He's been able to do things over the years that few to no guys that have ever played can really do, and that's to stretch the field vertically. He's got incredible hands, incredible awareness. He's an awesome player. I'm glad he's on our team.
Q: Knowing personally what a long process it is to come back from a knee injury, how amazed are you at how quickly Wes Welker has been able to get back up to speed?
TB: It's remarkable. For people that don't know Wes, it's pretty unbelievable. For people that know Wes, it's kind of what you expect from him because of his work ethic and his determination. He's a very rare player, also. I think the reason why he's so good is his willingness to work at things. Rehabilitation from that knee injury is really all about hard work and Wes has put a lot of hard work in. He's really busted his but to get to the position that he's in.