Press Conference with patriots media
Q: J.J. Watt had mentioned earlier today a donation you had made to his hurricane relief fund. Obviously it wasn't something you were looking for publicity for, but he mentioned it. Why was that important to you to contribute to his efforts?
TB: I think everybody was pretty touched by what happened. I've had a lot of friends down there. I don't know. I'd rather not comment too much, other than a lot of people need a lot of help.
Q: You've played Houston a lot recently as well as practicing with them. How much can that familiarity help you, or them?
TB: Yeah, we've played them a bunch the last few years, practicing against them and kind of knowing their staff. They run similar systems, offensively and defensive and special teams. They have a very tough, hard-nosed team. They have some incredible players, one of the best defenses in the league. They've been in the top five for the last three years. They're really good, really talented, they play hard, they're disciplined, they play with a lot of fundamentals [and] they're coaches do a great job of preparing them. It's a good test. We played them in the playoffs last year. It probably wasn't our best game. They gave us a lot of challenges and we're going to have to deal with them as best as we possibly can. It's a tough team to face.
Q: As much as you're playing their defensive players on the field, how much are you really playing their defensive coaching staff?
TB: Yeah, they know us pretty well. They've been here. They have, I would say, intimate knowledge of everything we do and how we practice and how we teach and how we scout and all those things. I think it's just a really good program they have. They have really good players. Practicing against them we made our fair share of plays [and] they made their fair share of plays. I'm sure that's the way it'll go this weekend and hopefully we make more than them.
Q: It sounds like Bill Belichick isn't going to buy your new book. He said he sees you every day. Do you have any thoughts on that? Do you think he would be helped by it?
TB: I don't know. Maybe I'll give it to him for Christmas or something.
Q: How does the number of injuries sustained early in the season affect what you do and getting through that as a team?
TB: Yeah, injuries really challenge every football team at some point in the year. Your depth is really challenged offensively, defensively, special teams. At some point a lot of guys are called into action, whether its guys off the practice squad or guys you bring off the street or during a game or over the course of time and we've been challenged early. Hopefully, we can use it as a positive in some ways that other guys may get a lot of reps earlier in the year and then when guys get back we can have more depth. I think that's the only positive way to look at those things. You just try to do the best you can do. I mean every team deals with it. They're dealing with some injuries as well; we are. It's just part of this long football season. It's the most long year. It's a marathon of a season and you're going to have ups and downs with guys being in and being out. You always love to be as healthy as possible but that's probably not the reality of most teams.
Q: You guys have only lost three games in the past two years and they've all been at home. Has it become tougher to win at home?
TB: I think it's just we have to play better. At the end of the day, winning games is about how well you play. It's not really where you play. It's just playing well for four quarters and playing consistent, and dependable, and smart, and tough and all the things we talk about. We've got to do that this week. I mean it's a team that really challenges you in those areas. They're going to challenge us for four quarters and we've got to take a great approach, great attitude, great effort, great urgency, all the things that it takes against a really good football team that, like I said, will be really well prepared. They have very good coaching, very good players, some of the best at their position in the entire league. They have a style and it has won for them since Billy [Bill O'Brien] has been there and they're going to give us everything we can handle this weekend.
Q: Do you have any comparisons for J.J. Watt in terms of players you might have watched when you were growing up or have played against in the past?
TB: J.J., I mean he's an exceptional player. They move him around a lot. Earlier in his career you used to kind of get a beat on where he'd be [which] could help you out a little bit, but now they move him so much he's going to really face every guy that you have up front. [He'll] be on both sides, be inside, be outside. They run a lot of games. They've got a lot of scheme stuff that they use to try to get their guys free in the front but all of those guys are exceptional athletes. J.J. is an incredible player. He's been Defensive Player of the Year how many times? Three or four? Something like that. He's got speed, quickness, power, he's got all the moves, got all the counters. He's just a tough guy to block. Then you pair him with Whitney Mercilus who's one of the most underrated players, I think, in the league in terms of rushing the passer to everything that he does to help that team. I know practicing against that guy how good he is and then with Jadeveon [Clowney], he's one of the most athletic guys in the league. He does some things that other people can't do. He's just size, speed, explosiveness. So all those guys on the same field at one time is a big problem for any offense. You don't want to be holding the ball too long because you know that they're going to get home at some point and I think that means we've got to really stay on track. We can't have many negative plays. We've just got to play a really consistent kind of football for the entire game.
CONFERENCE CALL WITH HOUSTON MEDIA
Q: Could you tell us about your donation to J.J. Watt's hurricane relief fund?
TB: You know, I think there's obviously a lot of people in need. It was a terrible tragedy, and I'm just happy to help. I thought it was a great thing that he was doing, along with a lot of other people. I just wanted to contribute in some way.
Q: What are your impressions of Deshaun Watson so far?
TB: Yeah, he was super talented, obviously, in college, and watching him up close at the Greenbrier was a lot of fun for me to see young, kind of aspiring players that really want to work hard and play the quarterback position at a high level. He looks like he has all the talent. The first year in the NFL is certainly an adjustment for everybody, but they have so much confidence in him and confidence in what he's doing, and that's why he's playing. It's a big test for our defense. You know, there's not a lot of film to study on him, but just knowing the kind of attributes that he has as a quarterback is a big test for our guys on the defensive side of the ball.
Q: Did Bill O'Brien make you a better quarterback during his time in New England?
TB: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely, he was just a great coach. I had just a great experience being with him. He was kind of the quality control coach in 2007 - did a lot of the kind of heavy lifting in terms of a lot of the work that is kind of unheralded. 2008, he was more of the receiver coach, and then 2009, when I came back from injury, he was the quarterback coach as well as the coordinator. Josh [McDaniels] had left for Denver, and Billy and I developed really a great rapport. We had a lot of great conversation. He was a lot of fun to play for. He puts a lot into it. He cares. He cares about his players. He's got great leadership ability, and I think what he's done, both at Penn State and Houston, is very, very admirable. I really think they've got a great team. He's put together a great staff. It's a big challenge to go against those guys. I know they'll be ready to play. They're well-coached, they have a ton of talent, they make a ton of plays and they have one of the best teams in the AFC.
Q: What's it like working for a demanding quarterback coach like O'Brien? Do you have any advice for Watson?
TB: Well, yeah, Billy's certainly that. I mean, Josh is that for me. I don't think Josh is like the easiest quarterback coach to play for either. Coach [Bill] Belichick, I wouldn't say, is the easiest coach to play for. They're all demanding. That's what makes them great coaches. They have a sense of urgency every day. They care very deeply about how the team is performing. They want every player on the roster to perform at a very high level every day, and that's a lot of pressure for players. I think putting pressure on players is critical to getting the best out of them because players need to be pushed. There needs to be high demand placed on what we're doing, and typically players that don't like that are probably the ones that don't last very long, in my experience in the NFL. So, you've got to be able to take the coaching and do what's in the best interest of the team, try to listen to the coaches, do it the best you can, go out there and play hard, play tough, play competitive, play as a team, and I think that's what makes great coaches, great teams - certainly all the ones I've been a part of.
Q: What's the key to utilizing all of your offensive weapons, especially when you have injuries at wide receiver?
TB: Well, I said earlier today, it's always challenging when guys are in and out developing rhythms, but that's part of the season. That's part of every team, every offense, every defense, special teams unit. There's constant adjustments. It's such a week-to-week league in the NFL. You can't take anything for granted. Whoever is in there - based on the week, based on injuries or situations or matchups - you have to build confidence in, so you go out and try to play as aggressively and as effectively as possible. Every team faces it at different times. I mean, we've had years where we've been relatively clean health wise and then something happens, you get a rash of injuries and it's tough. Sometimes it happens early and you've got to deal with it that way. Whether it's the receiver position, O-line, continuity is obviously the key to everything. Part of that is staying injury free so that you can develop confidence in the guys that you're playing with on a consistent basis over the course of many, many weeks of practice and of playing together.