PATRIOTS RUNNING BACK REX BURKHEAD
Q: As a running back, what are you looking forward to most about putting pads on tomorrow?
RB: Yeah, absolutely. You look forward to putting them on of course, and get some contact going. As a running back, something that we have to be able to do is break tackles and make people miss. For the most part, from the spring until now it's been more of a passing emphasis just because you can't hit or anything. I'm just looking forward to getting physical. That's the game of football, it's a physical game and really just getting pads on pads.
Q: What do you see from Danny Etling's position change?
RB: That's how versatile Danny is. He's an unbelievable guy. You know, we're always preparing and I think he's transitioning well. I know he's going to do whatever he can to help the team out and put him in the best position to succeed.
Q: What are your impressions of Jarrett Stidham so far?
RB: He's come in right away, not said much and he's put his head down and gone to work. I think that's all you can ask. Not only him, but all the rookies. I think they've got a great mindset just coming in, learning as much as they can, and coming out here and working hard and transition the film work out on the field.
Q: How do you get newcomers used to the pace of practice?
RB: Whether it's a rookie or someone from another team, of course it's going to be different than where they came from. Just kind of giving them a heads-up of how it is beforehand, and if they have any questions, being there to answer, not just being selfish and focusing only on you. Just trying to help teammates out and bring them along as well.
Q: How have the dynamics in the running back room changed with Cole Popovich's increased involvement this season?
RB: Yeah, he's been great. You know Cole, he's worked with the [offensive] line before, so he really understands blocking schemes, pass protections, and he's helped us out tremendously in those areas. He's just another piece that we've added within our unit, and any time he's talking we listen because we know he has great wisdom and great words of advice for us.
Q: Do you see a bigger role for yourself with Sony Michel out?
RB: I'm just trying to do whatever I can to help the team out. No matter what that is, what role that is, in what phase – I'm just trying to do it to the best of my ability.
Q: Tom Brady was participating in some ways, was he a coach or a ball boy today?
RB: I'll let Tom speak for himself, but he's always prepared. He's always in the right mindset and always does what he can to help the team out. So, I'll let him speak on that.
Q: Is it cool to see that Tom is willing to do things other than the usual?
RB: Yeah, absolutely. Whatever he can do. Whether that's helping someone on the sidelines, doing something extra in the film room, or whatever it is, you know he's going do that. He's been through this many years. He understands what it takes, and he does a great job leading us.
Q: Are you as hungry to succeed this year?
RB: Absolutely, last year is in the past. This is a new team with new guys, and we're ready to get after it again.
Q: Do you see more of an opportunity to catch more balls out of the backfield with Rob Gronkowski and some receivers gone?
RB: We'll see. Whatever the coaches want.
Q: Does Tom give you a different perspective when he's not out there? Does he give you tips while watching from the side?
RB: If he sees something, for sure, he's going to let someone know and whether it's a younger guy or a veteran guy, if there's something he sees and thinks we can do differently, he's going to speak up. That's just the leadership he has and has always had, and when you have a guy that's played at his ability for so long all you can do is learn from him.
Q: Rex, what are your impressions of Damien Harris?
RB: Damien? He's doing a great job, great kid. He's actually from where my parents went to college – EKU [Eastern Kentucky University]. His dad played there as well so we have some familiarity there. Overall, great kid. He's worked his tail off and not afraid to ask questions whenever he has them.
PATRIOTS SAFETY PATRICK CHUNG
Q: How important is it for you to be out here getting your conditioning in and getting back into shoulder pads following your injury in Super Bowl LIII?
PC: It's very ideal; at least I'm out here. But it's just good to be back, man. Just working with the guys and shaking some of the rust off. It's go time now.
Q: Can you tell the difference when you get to camp of the feel of a team that is coming off a Super Bowl victory versus perhaps a season that ended in disappointment?
PC: Not really. It's a new season. I'm old, man. It's a new season. Whether you win or you lose it, you've got to come back because you can win it and then not even make the playoffs the next season. It's just all brand new. It's a whole new team, whole new everything, so we've just got to kind of start over and just get back to it.
Q: Did the pain of your injury subside once you saw your team pulled out the victory in Super Bowl LIII?
PC: I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel it now. I felt it. When we won, it was a good time. I'll just say that. The pain went away just a little bit.
Q: What do you see from Danny Etling out there working as a wide receiver?
PC: That's a tribute to him that he's athletic enough for them to make that switch. He's been doing pretty good. He's learning, so hopefully he can get better and help us. They put him there for a reason.
Q: Have you seen formations on film with two quarterbacks on the field? How does that challenge a defense?
PC: Yeah, I mean, if you've got a quarterback that's a dual threat it's going to change when the quarterback is in the pocket. Being able to go against both of those – because he's still back there throwing – to be able to go against both of those definitely helps us as a defense, definitely helps the D-line with scrambling and all of that stuff. It helps us in the back end plastering and all of that stuff. It definitely helps.