SEPTEMBER 12, 2010
On the game:
I think overall, obviously on our part, not a well played game. Beginning the game and starting the game, and so forth, we knew we were going to have to make third downs. We were going to have to stop some third downs defensively and we didn’t do a very good job defensively the entire football game. And offensively we didn’t do anything in the first half to do that and we had a turn over, we allowed a kick returned for a touchdown and two turnovers and a kick return is a long day. Not the start of our season we would have liked, but I told those guys basically the same thing that I would have told them had we been on the other side of it. That next week becomes the focus and we got to move forward and we’re going to certainly start the grind and get things fixed and corrected. And that’s the biggest thing.
Q: Why weren’t the two receivers on the field after the half?
ML: We had 85 [
Q: What was he [
ML: He [Owens] was just getting looked at, and that’s our business.
Q: Marvin, pardon the question, but how does a team with Super Bowl aspirations manage to play a first half like that?
ML: Well, you know, I think there are 32 teams with aspirations and this is our opening game and it wasn’t good enough. We have a lot of work to do. You know, we've got to go back to work.
Q: Coach, it’s seems to be a tale of two halves. In the second half Palmer and Ochocinco were on the same page:
ML: I think again, the quarterbacks throw the ball to the weaknesses of the coverages and they work on leverage, and so forth, so it’s hard to dictate or hard to predict in a football game who is going to catch the balls. And it’s somewhat based on the coverages, what they do and how we have things set up and in line. So it’s hard for me to say much about, comment on.
Q: Marvin, how disappointed were you in the front four?
ML: Disappointed in the first half. We got very little pressure until the end of the one-minute drive, right before the half, before we got much pressure around the quarterback. We got to take a look at what we are doing, how we are doing it, and make sure we can do it better.
Q: Did you talk to Mike [Sheppard] about how they played?
ML: Again, I’m not going to sit here and talk to you about what we talk to our coaches about, so I appreciate the question, but that’s personal to us, OK?
Q: It looked like after the first half, they took the opening kickoff and then they were trying to get back in there and then...
ML: Well, I think that obviously, that kind of puts a chink in you right away, but guys came back and fought and made some production on offense and moved the ball and we didn’t stop them much today on defense. We played against a good offense, a great quarterback, we know that, and we didn’t play very well and they played a lot better. So, hats off to them. But obviously you allow a kickoff return for a touchdown and an interception for a touchdown and those are hard to overcome. And we weren’t able to overcome it.
Q: [Wes] Welker, why is he so difficult to cover?
ML: Well, he does a good job, and I have said this all week, of getting away from leverage. And he and Tom Brady understand, and they kind of see through the same eyes, and he works well against leverage. If he’s inside, he’s going to push and work out. They do a lot of things that kind of isolate to him. And they do a good job of it.
Q: What about
ML: Jordan has done a good job for us and he’s a young guy, who I think will continue to get better and come up with plays. But as a team, we didn’t play very good today, we have to play a lot better.
Q: Coach, this is a shot in the dark, but was the difference…the off-field distractions?
ML: We had no off-field distractions. What off-field distractions do we have?
Q: A reality show-based distraction.
ML: You don’t live in Cincinnati. You make more of it than people around us do.
Q: Can you take the fact that you moved the ball well in the second half with no huddle as a positive?
ML: Again, it’s hard to see through the muck, but there were some positives things and there’s a lot of things fundamentally that we got to get better at and those are things, some details, some listening in the huddle and defensively, we got to do a much better job at tackling, better job of getting off the field on third down. And that’s our challenge. And special teams, we got to play blocks, play leverage and get off and make tackles. And our return game, we got to do a better job at getting opportunities and getting guys blocked. Alright, thank you.
Q: What happened today?
CP: The way we started off… It took us too long to get going. They got going right away and we were playing catch up midway through the first quarter. It’s tough to beat that team from behind. For years they have played with leads and they are a very good team when they have the lead.
Q: What was the difference between the first and second half?
CP: We just got going. We changed up some of the things we were doing. We knew they were going to have a couple wrinkles for us, a couple of things we hadn’t seen on film in the preseason or the previous year. They did a good job with some things trying to confuse us with a lot of moving around and changing the pre-snap looks and post-snap look. Once we figured it out we were successful moving the ball and we just need to do a better job early and get going early.
Q: What were the wrinkles?
CP: A number of wrinkles. They changed up series a number of times on us and did a good job. They did a good job of disguising things and moving big guys around, creating mismatches and pass rushes. That’s why they’ve been good on defense for a long time.
Q: When did you figure it out?
CP: Whenever we had that first drive. We got down and got a field goal, then got some touchdowns after that. So I don’t remember at what point in the game that was.
Q: Is there anybody better coming up with a defensive game plan than Bill Belichick?
CP: I haven’t played against anybody better at it. I haven’t played against every head coach and coordinator in the league, but he’s won a bunch of Super Bowls for a reason. He is the winningest coach in the game for a reason. He is very good at game-planning and changing game-planning, good at adjusting mid-game. A lot of people that have played for him say he’s the best coach they’ve ever played for and that’s fair to say.
Q: How did Gary Guyton get you on the interception?
CP: Just a bad decision. A ball I shouldn’t have thrown and our team paid the price for my mistake. I can’t do that to our team.
Q: How do you feel about not having your top two receivers for the Hail Mary at the end of the first half?
CP: No reaction. Ship (Jordan Shipley) did a good job of going up and making the play. He did it twice, on the third down over the middle and the ball fluttered up in the air, he we up and got that one. Somehow the guy that’s 5’7” goes up and catches the ball. He’s got a lot of heart, a big play by him. I didn’t even notice. I noticed Ship was moving down the middle of the field and
Q: How would assess the team’s performance today?
CP: Other than the bad decision I made on the interception, we were successful running the ball, we were successful throwing the ball. What it takes to win in our division, we can’t just drop back and throw it every time like we did tonight. You are going play in Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Baltimore is probably the best weather city, but those cities are tough to throw the ball in and it will be tough to beat those teams throwing the ball 40 or 50 times, it felt like. Being down as much as we were down, we had to come out and throw the ball. We will figure it out, we will keep working and keep getting better. We are not going to let this game dictate our season, we didn’t let that happen to us last year, losing an early one in a tough way. This was a tough loss, because we were excited and fired up for this game. To come out with a loss was difficult, but we won’t let this effect the rest of our year. We have a big game next week, we have Baltimore coming in.
Q: Can you point to what went wrong today?
CP: It was bad football by us. We didn’t play a complete game at all. We got beat, we got beat by a team that played better than us today. The teams that are good, the New Englands, the Baltimores, the Indys, the Pittsburghs, if you turn the ball over and give up explosive plays on special teams, and don’t win on third down offensively or defensively, you aren’t going to win. That was the case today.
Q: On making plays enough plays to win the game?
CP: I think we made some plays we shouldn’t have. Whether it was offense or defense, we just didn’t play well enough and we did some things we weren’t coached up to do in some certain situations. We got beat in one-on-one situations and just didn’t play well enough to win. If you are playing with a three or four score deficit again that team, that offense and that coaching staff, defensively it’s tough to come from behind like that.
Q: Thoughts on kicker
CP: He’s got a long leg. He’s proven that and shown that. I hope he has the confidence that he’s not going to miss, because that is what it comes down to with him. He’s got the talent and strength and all that. It’s a mental position, it’s mental game for him. I hope now that he has all the confidence in the world he needs and I know we are confident in him as a team and we are happy he’s our kicker.
Q: What went wrong today offensively?
TO: We didn’t execute <> training camp and preseason games. We kept ourselves out of the game early in the game. There were some opportunities early, and a lot of those mistakes, we can’t fault anybody but ourselves. You saw how we made some adjustments. We went to the no-huddle a little bit and we were able to move the ball a little bit down the field. Early in the game we got behind.
Q: What about you leaving the field early before the half?
TO: Coach said he would address that.
(On same subject):
TO: Coach said he would address that.
(On same subject):
TO: Coach said he would address that. Guys, how many ways are you going to ask me? I don’t know how many ways I’m going to answer you.
Q: Why would the coach need to address that?
TO: He said he would address it.
Q: They went to you early on, trying to get you involved early on:
TO: There were some opportunities early where they played press and there were some miscues. Like I said, I think I should have had that first ball. I think I had it and I was bringing it down and I think it popped out on his helmet, or what have you. Again, those are some of the mistakes – I would say they are mistakes we need to [correct] and plays we need to make.
Q: It didn’t seem like you guys were picking up very many yards after the catch?
TO: I think if you look at the situation, they played a lot of two-man, so it was a lot of zone. And so it’s not going to be a whole lot of run and catch. We had some opportunities where we had them in cover-three and man-to-man and we didn’t take advantage of that. That’s what I alluded to earlier on, the first ball that he threw to me. Those are things that we’re going to get better with. We’ve just got to take this game and take it for what it’s worth. We know that we had some opportunities that we let go. We’ve just got to play better in all phases of the game.
Q: On the Patriots young secondary:
TO: Yeah, they did what they were supposed to do. Again, we didn’t do what we were supposed to do. They suit up just like we do and, again, it wasn’t so much what they did. It was more or less what we didn’t do.
Q: They pretty much played you Cover 2?
TO: Again, if you saw in the game early, they played us in a lot of man and there were some one-on-one matches. Once they got the lead, they played a lot of cover-two man. It was a situation where guys in the slot, tight ends, [Jordan] Shipley, they had to make some tough catches and find some holes in the zones.
Q: On his role in the offense:
TO: Just the thought and the feel that I’m involved and I’m able and I’m capable of making some plays and being able to run some routes down the field and definitely get some opportunities. I think that’s all I’ve ever asked for. We’re going to get better. Trust me, we’re disappointed about the loss, but at the same time, there’s a lot to build from. My message to the guys is it’s not how you start; it’s how you finish. Honestly, I think we know that we were capable of winning this game. Offensively we’ve got to help the defense out.
Q: On the Patriots playing Cover 2:
TO: Once you go Cover 2 and the safeties are on the hash pretty much guys on the outside have to outside release. There were a couple of plays there where DBs or linebackers just did get their hands on the ball. It was just a matter of connecting. That’s how it goes sometimes.
Q: On the passing game:
TO: No, I mean, it wasn’t that. It was just, as a receiver and as this offense and speaking for both Chad [Ochocinco] and myself, we’re just going with the opportunities that are called out there. It’s Carson [Palmer]’s job as a quarterback to assess the defense and we take advantage of what they give us. Again, early in the game you saw that we took some shots and we didn’t connect on those. Again, as they padded the lead, they went to more of a defensive preventive type situation and that was a lot of cover-two.
Q: How do you assess Jordan Shipley and how does he stack up compared to a guy like Wes Welker?
TO: We’ve just got to keep working at it. He’s definitely going to be a great player. As you saw [on] one of the third-down plays, he made a great catch over the middle, where they tied it up and we got a first down. That was huge for us. We’re going to get better. Again, I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished. I know that for the team, we’re disappointed. But there’s a lot out there that we can do
Q: Both you and Chad Ochocinco surpassed a milestone today. Is that something you realize in the moment or not until later when you reflect?
TO: I don’t even know what milestone I surpassed. All I know is we didn’t win the game. And that’s pretty much where my focus was today.
Q: You surpassed 15,000 yards.
TO: News to me. Pat myself on the back.
Q: On no-huddle offense:
“When you get in the no huddle there’s not a whole lot of things different you’re doing. We were able to have success, we were able to run the football and throw quick passes and the deep passes and everything we really wanted. We were able to drive down the field. That’s not scripted plays is what I’m saying. So to be able to do that it shows that you’re good offensively. In ’06 and ’05 that’s more what we did every game. This first game is a game you feel out offensively, how are we going to be.”
Q: On practice moving forward:
“I think this is what defines professional football. If you’re a professional football player then you’re going to do everything possible to figure out what we got to do to do better. The guys that just take this game for granted, they lay on it and they allow themselves to not be good at things. The guys we have on this football team are going to work. I can promise you just like last year when we lost the opener, this is going to be a driving force. We’re going to have to build off this and that’s the kind of team we are.”
Q: On what as a veteran you take from the game:
You go back and look at the film, be sure to make improvements you saw that you could have. It’s a tough loss and there are a lot of areas to improve.
Q: On hurry-up offense:
I don’t know, I guess they had a better game plan for us. They played better than we did today. There were a lot of good things we did do late but we ran out of time and we ran out of chances.
Q: On first NFL game and TD:
“It was definitely a learning experience something I really needed to get out of the way. I learned a lot from this game. I’m just ready to get back next week so I can get better, and do my part to help the team.”
Q: On going no-huddle:
“I think it got us into a groove and we were able to work it well.”
Q: On the Patriots working on all three team aspects:
“We will have to go back and assess the film, look at it and try to get better.”
Q: On the poor play:
“We weren’t ourselves today. We didn’t come close to playing as well we were prepared to play. I think we prepared real well. Coming into this game I think we were real comfortable as a unit. We just didn’t play well today.”
Q: On giving up a lot of yards:
“Today was really unacceptable. You can say what you want to say, but it is really on the on the defensive backs whatever the coverage it is really on the defensive backs.”
Q: On getting back into it next week:
“You've got to look at it tomorrow and forget about it. Baltimore is coming to our house next week and we just have to prepare well for them.”
That was a good start for us today. I’m really proud of the team. I thought those guys did a really good job today, came out ready to go and made some plays early. [They] got on top and really made plays in all three phases of the game. That was a big drive for us after Cincinnati came back. It was about 80 yards or something like that. It really ran a lot of time off the clock. We made some plays when we needed to make them. There are certainly a lot of things we need to work on [and] things we can do better, but I thought the team really did a good job today all the way around. I’m proud of them. I thought they played well and now we’re going to New York. We know that’s a big challenge for us next week, but we’re going to enjoy this one for a while.
Q: Did you get a good read on what happened on Gary Guyton’s interception?
It was man-to-man coverage and it looked like he undercut the route and made a nice play on the ball and showed some speed. That was good. Two returns for touchdowns – you hope for that, but you never really can go into a game planning on that. So to get 14 kind of bonus points like that, retuning a kick, returning an interception for a touchdown, that's a great boost to the scoreboard there. You usually don’t count on those points.
Q: How happy are you for Wes Welker, after he worked so hard to get back for this first game?
I’m happy for Wes. I’m happy for the whole team. I’m happy for everybody. All the guys that were out there, they all played hard. They worked hard. We had a good week of preparation – a good week of practice. I thought we made enough plays out there to win. But yeah, Wes, you can’t say enough about him. He’s worked really hard and you’ve got to be happy for the success that he had, but happier still for the team’s success.
Q: Can you talk about the young cornerbacks and the game that they played today?
[They] matched up against good receivers [and] a good quarterback, a good offensive scheme. We had our moments. They had theirs. I thought it was a good, competitive battle. We made a few plays; they made some. We’ll look at the film, but I thought at times the coverage was pretty tight. They made a great throw, a couple great catches. Like I said, it’s a good quarterback and they are good receivers. I thought we battled them and hung in there.
Q: The pass protection seemed really good today:
It did. They’re a pressure team and have got a real good front. A good group of pass rushers up there, but Tom [Brady], the offensive line, tight ends, backs, blitz pick up, seeing things, getting rid of the ball. It was good team execution and that’s really what the passing game is about. The line is important – don’t get me wrong. They do a good job; they did a good job, but receivers getting open and tight ends and backs doing their part – it was just good execution by the overall offense.
Q: Did you get a good look at Brandon Tate’s return for a touchdown?
I [didn’t]. I think I saw enough. He’s done that before. He’s a good runner, good with the ball in his hands, and it looked like he was close on at least one other one. Again, it’s good to get those points in the kicking game. We’ve been working hard on that. We’ve been working hard on our return game. We’ve had some production here so far this year. Of course, today was a big one, so hopefully we can keep that going.
Q: It looks like you ran a lot of bodies out there on the front seven on defense:
We were just trying to manage the game. No huddle there from about the middle of the second quarter on, so no huddle there. Cincinnati was trying to get a pretty good pace, so we were trying to keep guys fresh and I think everybody played. I’m sure they did and I think we needed that.
Q: What does the adaptability of your tight ends do for you guys in terms of formations, etc.?
That’s part of the position on this team. [For] tight ends through the years, that’s been a big part of their job – formationing, doing different things, giving us some versatility offensively. So that’s a big part of their job. I’m sure if you talked to them, they’ll tell you that learning the formations and the motions and all of that stuff is a big part of their [job]. Really, they do more than anybody else. There are all the assignments on the plays and everything, but the formationing, a lot of it goes on their shoulders. To be able to have that and those guys do a good job is important for us. It makes it hard on the defense to adjust to all of that.
Q: But considering that you have two rookies in there, you don’t seem to have scaled back on that at all:
We try to do what we think is best each week. That’s the way it’s always been. I’m sure that’s the way it will be going forward. We try to do offensively, defensively and in the kicking game what we feel is best against the opponent.
Q: Is that at all unusual for two young guys to be that adaptable and pick it up that fast?
I don’t know. I don’t think we’ve had two rookies at that position. They’ve done a good job with that.
Q: Do you worry about that with rookies, specifically the secondary? Do you feel like you have to compromise how much you can throw at them?
I think we’ve been practicing now for 50 practices, counting the dozen or so in the spring and all the ones in training camp, and this is our fifth game. Somewhere along the line, you’ve got to be able to do something.
Q: Was there a little bit of the element of the unknown on defense coming into this game with so many rookies?
Again, we’ve had over 50 practices and this is our fifth game. Yeah, I mean, we’ve got a lot to learn. There are a lot of things we can do better and all of that, but at the same time, we’ve been doing those things for a quite a while with the same people. I’m comfortable with them doing it and I think they’re comfortable.
Q: Were you encouraged by how they communicated out there and worked together?
We had our moments. Again, I think there were some good things there today. There were some other things that we need work on and improve on – no doubt about that. It was far from perfect; it was no Picasso.
Q: Can you talk about Wes Welker? He really showed he’s all the way back:
BB: I think that’s the way Wes usually plays. He’s a very determined guy. He’s good with the ball in his hands. He runs hard and kind of knows where the chains are, knows where the goal line is. That’s kind of Wes.
Q: When you saw them go right at Devin McCourty the first two plays, did you have a reaction to that? Did you see that coming? He seemed to deal with it well:
BB: I mean, we knew coming into the game that they had a real good group of receivers with T.O. [Terrell Owens] and Chad [Ochocinco] outside and [Jordan] Shipley in the slot. We figured they’d be going after us and try to get the ball to [Jermaine] Gresham on some plays inside. I don’t think that’s any secret; that’s kind of what they do anyway and that’s what they’ve done through preseason. I think it’s a pretty good attack. We had trouble with it in the second half. They did a good job of keeping us off balance with the running game, the inside throws, the outside throws. And they hit them; they made some great throws and great catches. But we definitely expected them to try to get the ball to those two guys. Sometimes they did. Sometimes they didn’t, but they’re tough to cover.
Q: Not that you didn’t see it in the 50 practices and preseason, but did Devin McCourty show you anything else today, and maybe live up to his first-round draft status?
BB: Devin is a real mature kid. He's been that way since day one. [He’s] very professional going about his job and being prepared and playing good technique and really trying to play the responsibilities of the defense. He’s been like that all the way. He's still got a lot to learn, but he’s done a good job for us.
Q: What, if anything, did you learn about your team today? You’ve said that going into the season opener you never really know:
BB: We had a big first half and that went a long way in this game. We’ll see how it goes next week. We’ve got other challenges: going on the road and playing a different type of team with the Jets. We’ll give it a few games here and see how it goes. We learned a little bit today, but we won’t even be in that situation next week. So we’ll go through a few games here and see how things come together. But I was happy with the way they came out in terms of their energy, their effort. I thought we really had a lot of spark and energy to start the game – as we should [since] it’s opening day – but it was great to see that. It was a lot more than we’ve had in the last two years here at home, let’s put it that way.
Q: The week you had, obviously you capped it off with a win today, but what a week:
It was a fun day today, I’ll tell you that. The celebration after the game is what it’s all about. We have a lot of new faces in here, and we’ve been working pretty hard for the entire offseason. Coach said a lot of really meaningful things last night and one of them [was], ‘You know guys, this is when we start keeping score. All of the work we’ve put in, this is what it’s all about.’ So it was good to come out. We started really fast. The defense made some really big plays: two returns for touchdowns, which really sparked us. And then throwing it to Wes [Welker] and scoring a couple touchdowns was good, too. Everyone contributed; I think that was the good part about today.
Q: What does it mean for Wes Welker to score that first touchdown?
It was awesome. I spent a lot of time with him this offseason and the determination that he has is pretty remarkable. [He’s an] extremely mentally tough person. I knew in February, as a matter of fact, or March, that he was going to be back out on the field opening day. It just shows what his mind is all about. He’s really overcome a lot in his career and this thing is only going to make him better.
Q: Can you tell us anything about his emotions on the sidelines after scoring?
Wes is pretty cool. There are times when he gets pretty excited, but I think this was ... he’s out there still feeling it out probably a little bit, so everything was a little bit tame. I’m sure he's going to be pretty excited tonight. It was good contribution for everybody: Aaron Hernandez made a bunch of big plays on touchdown drives. Freddy [Taylor] ran the ball great. The offensive line protected awesome. It was really a good day for us out there.
Q: What does the versatility of the tight ends do for you guys?
All three of those guys – Alge [Crumpler] made a big catch coming out [in] the second half there on third down that got called back from a penalty. And Gronk [Rob Gronkowski] made catches on the touchdown. Not only can they block, but they’re all able to catch the ball, too. It creates different mismatches out there. Sometimes they have tough times getting lined up with the formations. It looks like that’s what happened with the one there to Aaron late in the game. He's open and he makes a big run after catch.
Q: We haven’t talked to you since Thursday. Can you walk us through the emotions of the day with the accident and then signing your contract later in the day?
TB: Well, it’s unfortunate what happened Thursday morning. I’m sure a lot of people have been involved in accidents, but it’s a scary thing. But fortunately I was okay. Hopefully the people in the other car are recovering quickly and well. But it was a scary thing for both of us – for both people involved. But of course, I’ve got to come down and get ready for the game and I knew that. I had to be here for my teammates. I called and said I’d be a little bit late and then went out to practice and prepared. It was good. It was good. It was a good week. It was a good week. I’m glad it’s over, but it was a good week.
Q: Were you aware of all the misinformation out there about the accident? Did you get calls from your family concerned about things that weren’t true?
TB: No, I got a lot of calls. They just hear you’re in an accident, and it’s 3:30 in the morning where my family lives when it happened, so they wake up to a bunch of text messages. I called my dad pretty quick and just said ‘Dad, I’m fine.’ It wasn’t too much other than that.
Q: Protection was pretty good today. The hardest hit you took was maybe Thursday?
TB: They played great, the offensive line. They really handled…that’s a good front, too, with [Robert] Geathers and [Antwan] Odom and the blitz packages they run. I thought we did a good job handling the blitz and I think what happened was we hit some big plays on the blitz early so it slowed them down a little bit, but it’s a great offensive line. Those two tackles are special players and Steve [Neal], Dan Connolly – the way he stepped in. And [Dan] Koppen has been a rock there for a long time. It’s as good an offensive line as we’ve ever had. We’re going to need it all year. I’ll tell you, that’s what we’re going to need.
Q: Would you say Thursday morning’s accident is the hardest hit you took all week?
TB: That was a big one, but I’ll tell you, they’re all pretty similar out here. I said that to a few people. You get jolted pretty good like that. It’s kind of what it feels like. I don’t want to experience that too often.
Q: Did Peyton Manning call you and say thank you very much for signing?
TB: No, no. Peyton, I don’t know – it looked like they were losing today. I don’t know if they ended up losing, but I mean, he’s a great player. His time will come.
Q: How happy are you about your new contract?
TB: I’m more excited about the win, to tell you the truth. That’s really what it comes down to. Contracts always take care of themselves, and I think what I was most excited about was talking about football. That’s what’s most important to me and winning games and celebrating with my teammates and watching their determination and watching the hard work that they put in like Fred Taylor and Randy [Moss]. I see those guys work every day, so when we get a victory like this, it feels pretty good for all of us.
Q: Knowing that the contract is behind, what do your teammates think?
TB: I love being here. I really do. I love playing for this organization. It’s the only organization I’ve ever known, but I know a lot of people come from different places. Randy, who is one of my best friends on the team, always tells me how different this place is than other places that he’s been. That means a lot to me because those guys, I value their opinion so much. It’s a great place. If you like winning games, it’s a great place.
Q: When you can put all of that aside and concentrate on football, is that just part of your character or is that something you have developed?
TB: It’s my job, you know? It’s my job. That’s what my teammates expect me to do. They expect me to come out and do my job.
Before I get to questions, I’d like to say something. I’ve been here for three years. This is my fourth season. I understand the business and the nature and I understand that you all have a job to do. When it comes to football, I take my job seriously, I say [that] time and time again. But I think there is, I don’t really want to say here in the organization, but I think around here in the New England area, a lot of people don’t want to see me do good. And the reason why, I don’t know. I really don’t care. But I just want to let you all know, you all [are] the ones that are doing all the writing, all the pen, the pad and ink. I don’t have any. So, anything that I may say will get blown out of proportion.
Earlier in the week, I got asked a question about me being here and me being unhappy. And me being unhappy doesn’t have anything to do with me toning my game down. I’m here, and I understand my role. My role is to take the ball deep and take the top off the defense. I think earlier in the week, a lot of people were coming at me wrong about me being unhappy. That’s like, for instance, if you worked for somebody, everybody in here you work for somebody, unless you are independent, and if you’re boss comes to you, sometimes you want your boss to tell you you’re doing a good job. That’s every man or woman who works for somebody. You want your boss to come through and be able to say he read your column last night or this morning. He liked your column. And that’s just the way [it is] with football. If you do a good job and think that you’re doing a good job, you want to be appreciated. I really don’t think that, me personally, that I’m appreciated.
I don’t want you all to take anything out of context that I’m saying because I am a man and this is a job. I take my job very seriously, to heart. I want to let you all now and I want to let the fans, the real fans of the New England Patriots know, I’m not here to start any trouble. I’m here to play my last year out of my contract. And I’ve said time and time again, before I signed my first contract here, I want to be here in New England. There’s a great group of guys here. Well coached group here. And I never said that I wanted to leave New England. But I think that a lot of things that have been written or been said are looking at me in a negative light. And I don’t want it to be in a negative light. I just want everybody to understand, you can print it. I don’t care how you put it on your ink, I want to be here as a Patriot. I love being here. But I just think from a business standpoint, this probably will be my last year here as a Patriot. And I’m not retiring. I’m still going to play some football. I just want to get that off my chest and let you all understand that this is a business. Now I’ll open it up for questions.
Q: Why do you think that people don’t want to see you succeed?
RM: I’ve got a long history. My history has nothing to do with anything too, too bad. Everybody has a certain mystique about them. I guess that people just don’t like the way that I carry myself. If that’s what it is, then that’s what it is.
Q: What people are you talking about?
RM: I don’t know. I read. You might not be one. You could be one. But I’m not pointing fingers at any man or woman. I’m just telling you straight up. We’re football players. Everybody’s not going to write in their column today everything’s going to be positive. There’s going to be some negatives. I’m just thinking that the journey that I’ve taken to get to where I’m at, 13 years, I don’t really feel that I’m very liked. And I’m not saying from you all. I don’t really give a damn if you like me to be honest with you.
Q: Do you mean the fans?
RM: Listen here, what I’m trying to say is, I get a lot of negative publicity on any word that I say. For instance, the word that I used this week was ‘unhappy.’ And I don’t know who took it, but word got back to me that that started a domino [effect] about me being unhappy. But then I just told you all about you working for somebody and you having a boss, you would like to feel appreciated. I’m not saying that I’m not appreciated here. But I would like to feel that sometimes. This is the last year of my contract. Nothing has been discussed. There’s not been anything said. Not a letter. Nothing. I’m not saying that I want to stay here, but I love playing here. If the future of my job let’s me go to another team, then that’s what it’s going to be. But for right now, I’m still in a contract for the New England Patriots, and I have a job to do. So I’m going to play my year out and do the best of my ability.
Q: Do you understand how bad this looks after a 38-24 win to stand up here and talk about the contract?
RM: I can honestly say this, ‘I don’t really talk much.’ And I don’t want to take away from the win. But I think that before this season gets started, I don’t want it to be Week 10, Week 11, Week 12, and we’re sitting here talking about a contract. What I want to let you all know is, I know this is the last year of my contract and I’m here to play it out. And I want to play some damn good football. That’s basically what I’m trying to tell you. I don’t want to wait until week 12 or 13. Every week is not going to be good for me. I have two and three guys on me sometimes. I don’t wait until Week 9, 10 or 11 that I have a bad game, and now the tables turn on me. ‘Oh he doesn’t want to be here.’ That’s what I don’t want to happen. I’m not disrespecting the organization. I’m not disrespecting my teammates for the victory that we had today against the Cincinnati Bengals. But I think that this is my first time talking this year, and I want to get it out there. I’m definitely not being disgruntled or disrespectful. Like I said, this is my first time talking.
Q: But it’s going to get spun that way:
RM: Somebody’s going to spin it. Anything that I say is going to get spun around. I’m not trying to take away from the victory that we had today. It’s been a long offseason for us. Bill [Belichick] put us through a lot of hard work. From a physical standpoint, I’m paying for it. The victory today that we had against the Cincinnati Bengals was definitely well deserved because we prepared for it. By me ramping off for me as an individual, like I said, I don’t want to take away from what we did. I just want to get it off my chest because this is my first time talking this year. You’re not going to hear much from me this year. That’s basically what I’m trying to tell you. So I’m getting it out of the way now.
Q: So if the organization comes to you and offers you a contract extension, would you sign it?
RM: I don’t want to talk about contracts. I just want to let you all know that I’m here to play my last season out. If an opportunity later on in the season presents itself for me to be a New England Patriot, I will accept that. But if it doesn’t, I must move on. That’s basically what I’m trying to tell you. Like I say, week 9, 10 or 11 down the road, I don’t want things to fall back on my lap. This is week one, so I’m trying to get it out there right now. Everybody can print it however you copy it.
Q: What if that opportunity presents itself this offseason?
RM: This offseason? I don’t really want to get to that. I’m 33 years old. I think that when you’re brought into this league earlier, you’re played off what you’re capable of doing. I’ve already showed that I can play still at a high level at age 33. For me to be offered a contract after this season is over, I think that would be a smack in my face. So I don’t even really want to get into that.
Q: So do you think it’s time to go somewhere else?
RM: Regardless of what I’m sitting here saying, you all are going to write what you want to write. All I’m saying is I’m not here to start any trouble. I’m going to play my year out to the best of my ability and try to play some damn good football. That’s what I trained myself to do this offseason to play some damn good football and help this team win. And that’s what I want to do.
Q: What did you mean that this offseason Bill Belichick put you through a lot and you’re paying for it physically?
RM: He never let up. We started out from OTAs. You local writers know that [in the past] Bill has given me maybe a day here or there off. I haven’t [had] any. From a physical standpoint, I’m kind of feeling [it]. It’s nothing bad, it’s just old age, I guess.
Q: What part of your old age body is feeling it?
RM: Probably legs. Low back, legs. That’s nothing that a massage and a cold tub won’t cure. I’m not young. I’m old. For us to go out and play on this grass and pound on this turf, doesn’t really feel good. I’m happy to be in this position. I’m very blessed, as I say time and time again. I just want to make the best of this. I don’t want this to be a negative. I want this to be a positive. Win or lose, I still want to come out and play some good football.
Q: Tom Brady has gone out of his way to say that he wants you and he appreciates you. How much does that mean?
RM: It means a lot coming from Tom. He’s the face and the leader of this team. We do a lot of talking daily. Tom knows how I feel about this being my last year. Bill might call me into his office tomorrow, but then again, you all know that this is my first time talking this season. I’m not going to be up here talking every week. And you’re not going to find me in the locker room. Well you’re going to find me, but you’re not going to get me to talk because I’m not here to talk. I’m here to play. It’s definitely very, very helpful for Tom to come to my defense saying that he wants me here because I love playing here. I don’t want to leave here. I don’t. But the business aspect of it, I’ve got to look out for me and my family. So that’s where I’m coming from.
Q: Do you feel like you were misunderstood after the team charity event when you had headphones on?
RM: I really don’t want to get into it. That’s more in-house. So we just take it. Whoever wrote what they wanted to write, and my music was playing whatever I wanted to listen to.
Q: From our perspective, it looks like you just came off your best camp in New England. Would you agree with that?
RM: Since I’ve been here, yes. And that’s why I’m very excited about this season. The Cincinnati Bengals are a good football team. They won their division. They’re a playoff team. So for us to be able to come out and play some good football, we can hang our hats on today. But we have a great task next week with the Jets. Hopefully, Baltimore will beat them up pretty good. Or beat each other up Monday. So we can get a good game on Sunday. I’ve definitely been up and down just because I don’t know what to except. The only thing I can do is take care of me. And that’s to go out here and prepare each day, work hard, and do whatever I can to help this team win.
Q: Are you excited to see Darrelle Revis next week?
RM: Am I excited to see Revis? I think I am because there was a lot of talk last year. And I’m not taking anything from him. He did do some good things last year to be the shutdown corner that he is. And I’m not scared to say this—I prided my offseason on Revis. Like I said, I take pride in what I do, but what he did last year was something that even opened my eyes up as a wide receiver; that there’s a cornerback out here that I really have to be on my A game. So I prided my offseason on staying off of Revis Island.
Q: If you would talk more frequently, do you think you could resolve some of the issues and misconceptions about what people write about you?
RM: If I honestly cared about what you all write, I think I would be up here talking to you every day, every single day. I probably [would] have a couple of [your] phone numbers in my phone and vice versa. But I really don’t care.
Q: You seem upset:
RM: I’m not upset. No, I’m not upset. This is my 13th year. This isn’t my 2nd or 3rd year. You know what I’m saying. My 13th year in the league, anything that I might say might most of the time get blown out of context or get blown out of proportion. By the word that I used, me being ‘unhappy,’ it’s not that I’m mad or trying to be disgruntled. I’m hurt. You give me a word.
Q: You said not being wanted:
RM: That’s a good way to put it. I don’t want anything negative to come out of this like it usually does. You know what I’m talking about. I don’t really care about a lot of the extracurricular stuff that you write. I know me. I know what I’m here for. I’m definitely excited about this season. I don’t want people to take away from that. So that’s why I said I wanted to get it out week one and not wait to Week 11, 12 or 13 down the road to get it out.
Q: Do you expect to get called into Bill Belichick’s office tomorrow?
RM: If I do, then I’m just going to have to explain to Bill how I feel. Put it like this: it’s already going to be headlines anyway about me talking about my contract. Then again, I really don’t care. It’s a job. This is a business. If you understand the business, then you’ll understand where I’m coming from. But if you don’t understand the business, this is not football. Football leaves you in college and high school. This is a job. If you understand the nature of this job, then you understand where I’m coming from. That’s all I’m saying. I’m old. I’m not ready to leave the league yet, but I still have a family to provide for. All I’m saying is, if I’m wanted here, I want to be here. If I’m not going to be here, then that’s it. It’s as simple as that. That’s all I’m saying.
Q: Do you have a good relationship with Robert Kraft?
RM: It’s fair. Mr. Kraft is a busy man, and he’s not seen around here a lot during the week. But on the weekends, he’s here. We have a relationship. Is it where I want to be or where he wants it to be? I don’t know. I really don’t know how busy his schedule is, but as a owner, we have a fair relationship.
Q: What did that first touchdown mean to you and did you keep the ball afterwards?
WW: Yeah, it was one of those deals I didn’t really expect to lead off the season scoring a touchdown on our first drive. It’s kind of a special deal with all the adversity and everything I’ve had to go through this offseason to get where I’m at. So to score on the opening drive was definitely a cool thing, so I’ll definitely put that ball in a special spot.
Q: Did you play more than you thought you would today?
WW: I played about the amount I thought I would.
Q: When you first got injured, did you ever think you’d be able to make it back on the field this early?
WW: This was always my goal, to get back for Week 1, if not even sooner. I didn’t know how much I’d play Week 1 or anything, but I knew I wanted to be back and contribute to the team winning and we were able to accomplish that, so it’s on to the next step.
Q: After your surgery in February, did you know that you’d be back today?
WW: I had a pretty good idea. I had it pretty much instilled in my mind that I would be back. There different scenarios kind of talked about, like P.U.P. and ‘save my body’ and different things like that. But that’s just not in me. I can’t sit there and watch my team out there playing and sit there and work out all day. I was sick of it and I was ready to get out there and play.
Q: What did Tom [Brady] say to you or in what way did he inspire after surgery back in February?
WW: When we were throwing out there in California a lot, he got to see it a lot first hand. So, he pretty much had it dialed in and seen what I could do and things.
Q: How different is where you [and the team] are now and where you were eight months ago?
WW: I feel like we’ve come a long way. Obviously we’ve added a lot of players and rookies and guys that we signed and things like that. So, the team changes from year to year, but I feel like it’s a group that’s really grown and has done a great job of coming together and knowing that we’re in this together. The offense feeds off the defense and the defense feeds off the offense and special teams is the same way. That’s the way we have to keep grinding together and come away with wins.
Q: What were your thoughts during Randy [Moss]’s comments?
WW: I don’t really have any comments for you. Randy’s a great teammate and he’s been here – this is his fourth year now – and obviously [he’s] been at the top of the game at his position and there’s really nobody that can do what Randy does. It’s pretty much unheard of. So, he’s a great player and a great teammate and I’m glad he’s on our team.
Q: Do you think you’re back to 100 percent healthy yet?
WW: No, I still have a ways to go. We’re not all the way there yet. And, I still have this stupid knee brace that I hate and I can’t wait to burn it and everything else. But, we’re getting there, slowly but surely. At the same, trying to get in some plays and help the team win however I can.
Q: You mentioned you are going to put the ball in a special place. Do you mean in a trophy case or something?
WW: Yeah, sure… I don’t know – somewhere.
Q: Which are you sicker of – the knee brace or the questions about the knee brace?
WW: Yeah, they’re about 50/50, about right there. At this point, I kind of feel like, ‘What knee?’, you know? It’s time to move on and we all just had a game. I am definitely ready to move on to next week.
Q: Coming back from this major injury, do you feel you have to change your style or anything?
WW: I think as soon as you change your style, you do get hurt and bad things happen. You don’t play as fast and things like that. So, it doesn’t really enter my mind to change my style or what I’m doing out there – just go out there and attack them and do what I do.
Q: Did any of the Bengals say ‘welcome back’ after they tackled you?
WW: No, there weren’t any touchy feely moments like that or anything?
Q: Is this just another game for you or is this a highlight of the year you’ve had?
WW: I’d like to say that it was a highlight, but it was just another game, not going out there and preparing and thinking, ‘this is the big comeback’ or whatever. For me, it was just getting out there playing, being out there with my teammates and trying to contribute to a win.
Q: What did you say to the doctors when they gave you the original timetable for return?
WW: It was kind of like, ‘well, let’s wait and see where we’re at when we get there.’ So, I tried to put it in their heads early and from there, they were able to see me on the field and able to get out there and play.
Q: Did you ever feel like you could prove the doctors wrong?
WW: Yeah, kind of … you know doctors, what do they know? So, I think when they saw my quad and how all the muscles were same size as the other side, they were a little bit shocked, but at the same time, very cautious.
Q: On the team’s overall performance:
WW: I think we did some really good things out there. We came out with a lot of energy and took it to them pretty early. I feel like we kept that energy throughout the game and the defense, especially, played really well. When they play like that and the team’s hitting on all cylinders, it’s going to be a good day for us. We just have to keep bringing that energy week in and week out.
Q: Did you know you made it into the end zone on the second touchdown?
WW: I thought I got in. I thought I was pretty sure I got in there and stuff and it looked pretty inconclusive when you looked at it from the sidelines.
Q: And the first touchdown?
WW: Oh, the first one – I was out there with the two big bodies, probably our two best blockers on the team against two corners. So, I was glad Tom [Brady] threw it out there. So, if I didn’t score on that one, I might as well retire.
Q: How about when Tom [Brady] sent you deep on that fly pattern?
WW: Yeah, he [
Q: How have you seemingly been able to be patient when it comes to your contract situation?
WW: You know, I never really think about contracts or anything like that. I just want to go out and play winning football one day at a time and help the team win whatever way I can. That’s my role on this team and something I want to do.
Q: Has the injury changed you at all?
WW: I think it’s helped me not take things for granted, really do everything you can to make yourself ready to go out there and play. Do everything possible, no stone unturned and making sure that you only get one shot to go out there and play in the National Football League. I just don’t want to leave any stones unturned and just want to make sure I’m giving it everything I’ve got and not take it for granted.
Q: On getting his first career touchdown:
“It was a great feeling to get the first touchdown. It was a good-executed play, everyone did their job and it was a good throw by the quarterback. It was a great feeling.”
Q: On if he had any nerves playing in his first regular season game:
“Of course. Going out there, your heart’s pounding when I was first out there. Last night, too. A lot of nerves, but after the first couple of drives, it gets out of you. It’s like playing football again.”
Q: On if he was able to appreciate Wes Welker coming back from his injury:
“Definitely. I know he’s working hard everyday, I see him everyday working hard. I would say that’s why he’s already back. He’s a hard worker and a great leader and I follow him in the strides of working hard.”
Q: On what he’s going to do with the ball he caught for his first career touchdown:
“I think someone has it and they decorate it or something…I’m going to definitely keep it myself and send it back home to my family – my parents for the trophy case or something.”