PATRIOTS QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY
October 27, 2018
Q: What has been enjoyable about working with this particular set of skill position players as they gel and grow together?
TB: I think everyone's been trying to just improve on a weekly basis. We haven't had that much time with the whole group together between Jules [Julian Edelman], Josh [Gordon], Gronk [Rob Gronkowski], Sony [Michel]. I think that's probably still in it's infancy in a way. We've got a lot of room to grow. I think we're trying to work at it every day in practice to see if we can make improvements from week to week.
Q: How do you make sure that you throw away all of the records and success you've had against Buffalo and not take them lightly on the road?
TB: I don't think anyone really cares about those records. They're a good team. They always play us tough. It's always a battle up there. I know we've had success but I think it's because we've never thought that, "Oh man, this one's going to be [easy]. We should just win this one." They're all tough and these guys play as hard as anybody we face. It always seems to come down to some big momentum play at some point. It's a Monday night game for them. I think it's just a huge game for us, a division game on the road and we don't take anyone lightly, certainly not this team; a team that's playing really well defensively. They've got some playmakers on offense.
Q: How do you not get caught up in the environment there between the raucous crowd, the hostility, the fact that it's Halloween week?
TB: I think part of it is just that we're there for our job and our focus. I don't think anything should take away from – we work pretty hard year-round for these opportunities. I think Halloween, or costumes, or signs on the walls, or chants or anything like that – that's stuff for the fans, what they can be a part of and for them to enjoy. But for us, we're there to try and go win a football game. I'm excited for Monday night. It's a great chance for us to go out and play our best game of the year. 6-2 would be a great record for us, especially starting 1-2, beating a good team on the road, a place that's always a bit challenging on a Monday night game. It's their only night game of the year so they'll be fired up. We'll be fired up. It'll be a great game.
Q: What have you noticed from Josh Gordon in terms of how he has approached his job here and his consistent effort to be the best version of himself that he can be?
TB: Yeah, I just think it's so impressive, in my view, what he's done in a short period of time and how he's assumed this specific role in our offense. Last week – I don't know how much participation it was – but it was a lot. That's a very challenging thing to do. The receiver position in our offense takes years for most guys to understand and learn nuances and intricacies of not only our plays, but how to get open within the scheme, how to gain my trust, and he's done it in such a short period of time. I don't think we're where we necessarily can be in the future if we just keep working hard at it. Like my relationship with Julian – I mean, it has many, many years of practices and film sessions and individual sessions that are kind of in the bank, so to speak. I think you've just got to try and build those up as much as you can in a short period of time with a newer player. But, typically, the more you play with a receiver the better it gets, and I just think we're trying to make improvements on a weekly basis. For him to play the role that he's played is a credit to him, what he's been doing and what his routine here has been. I know he's got a lot of great support and everyone wants to see him do as well as he possibly can.
Q: How important are your pre-snap reads given the number of blitzes and the various angles from which Buffalo's defense likes to bring pressure?
TB: They're important. I think you have to really see everything. They blitz everybody. They keep it moving. They've got a lot of defensive calls. I think they have a lot of good players. If you have your eyes in the wrong place, they take advantage. I think Coach [Sean] McDermott just does a great job with his guys, utilizing them all to the best of their ability. He doesn't put them in a bad positon. I have a lot of respect for this defense. I'm impressed by the way that they play, how hard they play. Everyone's trying to get the ball off of the offensive player, stripping, punching. They're in a good position to succeed and when they get to the ball and they get a chance, they've forced I think 17 or 20 fumbles this year at this point. Last year they had a ton of interceptions. It's a really good defense. They challenge you in a lot of ways.
Q: Is it kind of a new experience to be this late into the season and still be viewing the offense as if it's in its infancy due to the lack of games you've had everyone healthy and together on the field?
TB: I think it's whatever it is because you could have everyone together and then someone gets hurt and then you've got to incorporate someone new and then you're starting all over again. It's just constant adjustment. I think that's the big challenge with football, is a lot of guys are playing and competing so a lot of attrition takes a toll at some point and you've just got to try and do the best that you can do over the course of a long season. It's not a one-game season. It's 16 games, four months and you've got to put it together over the course of a long year.
Q: Do you have any advice for the Red Sox after playing an 18-inning game that resulted in a loss? How can they come back tonight and right the ship?
TB: Those guys will be ready. Yeah, they'll be ready to go. This is when it all matters. I think mentally, physically, those guys are tough and they know what to do to get themselves ready.
PATRIOTS TIGHT END ROB GRONKOWSKI
October 27, 2018
Q: How are you feeling physically after missing some practice time over the past few days?
RG: I feel good. Just doing everything that I need to do, whatever the training staff, whatever I can do out on the field, whatever coaches ask me to do. Just taking it day by day, one step at a time to get back on the field.
Q: Is this different than when you were younger in your career and wanted to rush back out there? Do you feel that you can be a little more cautious now to make sure your body is right when you return?
RG: I would say definitely. Being young-20's, I mean, end of my 20's now is a total different ballgame. Approaching the game, how I approach each week and everything, it's definitely a different ballgame. You've just got to take care of yourself, and just take it one day at a time, and keep doing the right things and keep taking one step forward every day.
Q: Is it especially important for you to be able to play in front of your friends and family in Buffalo?
RG: It's always special to go up there. This is my seventh or eighth time going up there and playing in Buffalo. It's always an honor. It's always special to go up where you grew up watching them and everything. It's cool. The atmosphere – you can't ask for a better football atmosphere either, especially coming this Monday night. It's going to be rocking there. It's going to be popping and it's going to be one of the most electric atmospheres you can get in football, I would say.
Q: How much better do you feel now than you did last week at this time?
RG: Oh, I mean, obviously, I feel better. I've been taking steps every single day forward and that's all I can ask for. Taking steps every day forward and definitely at this time last week I feel way better because every day I've been taking steps forward to get better and to get back out on the field to help out this team.
Q: How important is it for you and the team to keep their cool out there Monday night? In an intense game like this, emotions can oftentimes spill over.
RG: It's always good to keep your cool. Things happen, but if you don't you can always hurt the team. Every game is different. Another game can be more emotional than another. It could be a little more heated than others. You never want to sacrifice or hurt your team, so you've just got to keep it cool and just keep playing the game.
Q: How do you think the Bills will respond to the kind of intense atmosphere expected at the stadium Monday night?
RG: It's going to be nuts – hands down. The games are nuts on a Sunday at 1 o'clock. From Buffalo they're going to be starting early. The party is going to probably be starting at 10:00 a.m. and it's going to go until after the game, maybe even longer. It's going to be popping, just straight popping.
Q: Do you have a favorite moment or interaction from playing in that type of atmosphere?
RG: I mean, it's just cool to be a part of it, go there where you grew up and everything. It's just so loud. At times it's so loud – the stadium and how it was built and everything. It's more of an old-school stadium. It's like they're right on top of you and it's nothing fancy about it so it just feels more of like a football atmosphere. You know what I'm talking about? There's nothing to distract you away from the game. It's just pure watching the game of football and just getting excited for it.
Q: Did the tailgaters throw people through tables when you were growing up there?
RG: I mean, I don't recall at the games going through tables, but it's like a thing in Buffalo, I would say.
Q: What's been enjoyable about working with this particular group of skill position players as a whole?
RG: It's just how everyone works, their work ethic. No one complains. Everyone just keeps on grinding, day in, day out. If one guy is down, another one tries to help pick him up or pick up the slack out on the field. We're just all trying to work together and we all have one goal and that's to put the team first and get wins and keep helping each other out. When you do that you can just keep going week to week and keep on grinding and hopefully just keep putting good products out on the field.
Q: Was there any point last weekend, like maybe Saturday, where you felt you may have had a chance to play on Sunday?
RG: That was last Saturday. Next question.
Q: Do you expect to travel to Buffalo?
RG: Yeah. I expect to. Yes, unless they tell me no.
Q: Was that your Bill Belichick impression right there?
RG: No, the one before.
Q: What have you seen from Josh Gordon? What stands out to you about his approach and how he has been able to come in and contribute rather quickly?
RG: His work ethic and just the way he dedicates himself to pick up the playbook, because you just can't go to another system, especially this system. This system is tough. You've got to know where to line up, you've got to know what to do, you've got to be on the same page with Tom [Brady], you've got to be on the same page with the coaches, and just the way he's come in and he's been able to handle that all with ease every single week. When you do see him make a mistake, he always goes and corrects it and comes back and is always on top of it. It's awesome to have him here and he just keeps getting better every week. A guy like that, you just see how special he is and you can learn from him, too.