TB: One thing I do want to say, first, is I want to apologize to Josh [McDaniels] for last week in Buffalo. I know our coaches work really hard. They're responsible for putting us in a great position to succeed, so I just wanted to get that off my chest.
Q: Could you look at that moment as just part of the emotion of the game?
TB: Yeah, but a lot of people see it and they think the nature of our relationship would be something like that, but it's really the exact opposite of that. So I've been feeling bad all week and I haven't had a chance to say it. He knows how much I love him.
Q: What is it about December football that makes you elevate your game and be able to play this good late in the season?
TB: Well, we've had great teams. I think that's what it comes down to. I've been a member of some great teams that have really paid the price months earlier to put you in a great position to succeed in December when the games are the most meaningful because there's fewer of them. They mean more. You kind of see where you're at compared to everyone else. You've had a big sample size. Early in the season you really don't know what you're doing. I think everyone's hopeful in the beginning of September. Everyone's somewhat confident in the end of September. By October you're kind of like, 'Alright, maybe this is where we're at.' By the end of November you're like, 'OK, we either have a chance or we don't.' I've been a part of a lot of great teams that have had chances and it's really what we do from here. So going outside and practicing in that weather today, we know we're going to get it at some point. It won't be like that on Monday night, I hope, in South Beach. Whatever it is we've got to be ready to play in it. Our guys have kind of worked hard to get us to this point. It's a championship game for us. That means a lot and we've got to go take advantage.
Q: What do you do to get yourself ready for December football?
TB: Coach [Belichick] would say 'no days off.' Just work hard every day, no matter what you're doing. Whether you're on the field or not on the field, you've got to be putting the time in mentally or physically to get yourself physically, mentally, emotionally ready to play for those games. I've had a lot of time to kind of work with this team, with these players, with these receivers, tight ends, backs. Hopefully, this is when you're at your best because the games only get more meaningful. We can't afford anything less than our best. I know it's not going to be perfect out there, but you try to do as best you can, especially in the preparation so that you can be ready to anticipate and compete as hard as you can like this on a Monday Night Football game in December. It's a great environment and we've got to be ready to go.
Q: Ndamukong Suh said part of his job was to get into your head during games. How do you deal with that aspect of the game? Are you able to just block it out?
TB: Yeah, there's that part of it, too. A guy like that, he has such a big impact on everything you're doing offensively because of his talent and his special, unique abilities that he presents challenges every week because of his size, speed, quickness, power. He's a real good player. He got us pretty good, knocked me around pretty good last game. I'm sure that's going to be their big goal this game, too. I know our guys are doing their best to protect the quarterback, whether it's me or anyone else, protect the running backs in the run game. We found a way to beat them last time. We're going to have to do the same thing this time. But they present a good challenge, especially at home. They're going to be riled up on Monday Night Football. They played good last week against Denver. There's no opportunity for us to go in there and not think we're going to get their very best.
Q: How important is staying disciplined to what you guys have built here in New England?
TB: It's really important because discipline is everything on the field; decision making, when to fire it in there, when not to fire it in there, when to stay with your particular coaching point or play football. I think there's always things we talk about and then there's things the way they come up in the game. I think there's a disciplined nature of the game, whether that's play to the whistle but not beyond it. Do business as business is being done and that's what we've always talked about. There's holding on every play in the NFL. It's just you've got to do it within the confines of what the refs are calling. Discipline is all of those things brought into one thing and it's kind of a daily practice, I'd say, for our team and what we're asked to do. There's a high level of accountability. You try to come in and bring it every day. That leads to hopefully better preparation and then better performance when it matters on game day.
Q: Is there anything that you can pinpoint about playing in Miami that has made it such a tough game for your team over the years?
TB: Well, they've had good teams, first of all. I think that's the thing – they play well at home. We're in a northern environment. They're in a southern environment. I think it's hard for them to come up here. I think it's challenging for us to go down there and that's just the way it's always been. Hopefully, we can get to 8-8. Is that what we'd get to, 8-8? I'd love that. That would mean we won a championship, too.
Q: The fans seem to love it when you get fired up on the sidelines like you did last week at Buffalo. Do you feel that from them in this region?
TB: Yeah, I think you have to play the game with energy, and emotion and enthusiasm. I just, absolutely, it's just directed in a positive way towards winning and towards what we're trying to accomplish as a team. I have so much trust in the players and so much trust in our coaches and what we're all trying to accomplish. We all want the same thing. To go about that in the right way is what matters the most. We're going to have to have a lot of enthusiasm. We should because this is a great atmosphere and it means a lot and we're playing for a lot this weekend. We're on Monday Night, so hopefully all of that energy is directed the right way toward being the best team we can be and me playing my best to help us win.
Q: How have the day's off midweek helped you and when was that decision made to go ahead and start taking some maintenance days throughout the season?
TB: It's just time for a little extra treatment. That's really all it is. I could certainly go out there but you have just a couple of nicks and we take it week to week. You'd love to be out there physically every week feeling as best you can. Sometimes you've got to pay a little bit more attention to something so that you can be at the best you can be on game day. Just taking it week to week on that and not predetermine anything. We're just trying to be smart. I know we've got four games left and they're all important and you've got to be at your best for those days.
Q: Who makes the decision for you to take that recovery day during the week?
TB: I think me, and I talk to Coach and talk to Josh and just determine how I'm feeling. I think they do pretty good without me actually out there. I'm like, 'Man, I look good.'
Q: How much trust do you have in Brian Hoyer to get the offense prepared when you miss time for those maintenance days?
TB: A lot. He does a great job. When he's been there I've said, 'Man, its actually great,' because I can watch him. He gets a lot of reps and him being kind of back to the team for the first time in a long time, it's good for him to get a lot of those opportunities. He's done a great job with it. I think the guys have gained a lot of confidence in him. I certainly have just watching him. I know the coaches have. He's just done a great job.
Q: Do you feel like you learn more about your offense when you can sit there and watch, as well?
TB: I think there's pluses and minuses. I think it's better being in there, but there's give and take to those things. I'd rather be out there practicing. I just kind of haven't had that opportunity.
Q: Were you able to see much of Jimmy Garoppolo's first start and what were your thoughts on his performance?
TB: I didn't see it, but I heard about it and I'm just happy for him. He's doing great. Hopefully, he can go get another one this week.
Q: What do you remember about another 40 year old quarterback, Vinny Testaverde, from the time he spent here with you in 2006?
TB: Yeah, Vinny came in – I think he came in November. Yeah, he came in mid-season and he brought a lot of experience, a lot of stability, a lot of confidence to the room. It was myself and Matt [Cassel] at the time, so two young guys and to have someone who was really veteran, and I had a lot of veterans over the course of my young career to really help me and kind of bring some insight. He was just a great mentor for me and we've always kept in touch. I really enjoyed my time with him. I heard a lot of stories with him from about when he was younger and kind of his work ethic and how he obviously loved playing the game as long as he did. You have to. It was just great to be able to play with him and then to play with Doug [Flutie], as well, who was another older quarterback, was an incredible player. So to play with those two, it was very unique, I'd say, for anybody. I learned a lot from both of them.
Q: What do you do on your maintenance days when you're not practicing with the team?
TB: I'm here just getting treatment and watching a lot of film and trying to get physically as best I possibly can. When the team is out there doing their thing then I'm in here watching film and getting treatment and getting ready to go myself. Nothing special.