Q: Tom Brady said he is looking forward to seeing you play. Are you excited to see him play as well? CP:
No. I don't get excited to play against him. He's just so efficient with the ball, so smart. You don't really get anything from him when you're the opposing offense. With other quarterbacks, you go into games and there's a pretty good chance you'll get a pick and maybe a fumble here and there. He's just so efficient with the ball and so smart with it. He just takes his time before he takes his shots. It's not fun to play against him. It's fun to watch him. I enjoy watching him on film, and do a lot, and watch their offense on film, but as far as playing against him, I'm not looking forward to it.
Q: As a peer who has played at a very high level yourself, do you just shake your head at his numbers through three games?CP:
It's amazing. The first game I think he was almost 80 percent or whatever it was. It's like, 'That's great, but let's see him do that a couple of weeks in a row,' and now it has been three. He has a chance to keep it rolling, I mean, with the playmakers they have, with the defense playing the way they are, he can just take easy completions, and he's a good enough player to keep his percentage that high all year long. There aren't many guys that are. It will be interesting to see what happens. If there's anyone capable of doing it, it's Brady.
Q: He's the same way you are. He's a workaholic and he sets the bar. There are no shortcuts:CP:
No. Being a late-round draft pick like he was, being a back-up and then getting his opportunity, he knows what it's like to be the low man on the totem-pole and knows what it's like to have to work for everything to get there. He obviously has kept that same work ethic from his rookie year when he was third or second string to his eighth or ninth year now. And I'm sure he's working just as hard as he did back then to get on the team, and now he's a starter and a leader and the best quarterback in the game. As far as his work ethic, I'm sure he's second to none.
Q; It's not always that seamless when you add three or four different receivers, is it?CP:
Yeah. They have a lot of talent. The big question, being a quarterback myself, you see all the things they did in free agency, it's great, but there's always rhythm and timing question and issue, and they've answered that. Those guys are all on the same page, obviously, with their completion percentage. That's the first scare. You think, 'They have Randy (Moss), they have Wes Welker, Donte (Stallworth), and all those guys, but by game four, when we play them, they won't be in rhythm and have their timing down yet.' But they're already there. That's the scary thing. They're only going to get better as the year goes on.
Q: Talk about their defense a little bit. Especially their linebackers ... you can't really fool them:CP:
You look at some of those guys, and some of them are the best in the game right now, like Adalius Thomas, and some of them have been the best in the game for 10 or 15 years. (Mike) Vrabel has been as solid of a linebacker as there is. Tedy Bruschi, Junior (Seau), Roosevelt Colvin has had some big years. Like you said, you're not going to trick them with anything. You're not going to surprise them with anything. They're ready for everything. If they haven't seen you run it, they've seen it on film, they've seen it in practice, they've seen it in other games. They understand their schemes as well as anyone can. They are really just, looking at the entire defense, there just isn't a weakness on it.
Q: What's it like preparing for a Belichick defense?CP:
It's scary. You look at their first three games, there's just so much different stuff. We know we're going to see something different from the years past when we played in the preseason and regular season. We're going to see something different than what they've done over the past three weeks. You just don't know. He's so good. He's never going to give his secrets away. It looks to be, he takes away everyone's strengths, every quarterback's strengths, the offensive strength, and makes them play to their weaknesses. He's done it year in year out, in the playoffs, in the regular season. It's scary going up against him.
Q: Do you expect them to change things up again from your last two meetings with them?CP:
Yeah, definitely. You look at the teams they've played in their division, they changed it up every time. The teams they play in the regular season, they change it up from week to week. You don't know exactly what to expect. You know some things and tendencies they do have, but they do such a good job disguising things and just scheming teams.
Q: They don't give up the big play:CP:
With the way their offense is, they know in the first half they're going to have 21 points on the board and be playing with somewhat of a lead and not give up that much. They're very patient on defense, just as they're patient on offense. You don't see many people throwing balls over their head. You don't see many people attempting to, just because of the way their corners play with depth, the way their safeties get back. They make you be smart, they make you check the ball down, they make you take your time and score. Like I said, they're a very well rounded, great defense.
Q: You played for Belichick in the Pro Bowl. What was it like playing for him?CP:
It was just an honor. He's a legend. He's an icon. I was nervous. You get nervous when you meet him. You get nervous any time he walks by you. You don't know if he's going to say something. He's as good as it gets when you talk coaches of all time in the past. I was just honored to be on his team. I'll never forget the halftime speech. You don't know what to expect. It was my first All-Star game like that, you don't know what to expect. And he came into the locker room rip-roaring and screaming and yelling like it was halftime of the Super Bowl and we're down 21 points. But it just shows you that's the competitive side he has. Doesn't matter whether it's practice, whether it's an All-Star game, whether it's a preseason game, he's coaching to win, and he wants to win. That's why they're so successful, his competitive edge. It's obviously rubbed off on the team, and that's one of the reasons they've been so successful.
Q: Are you preparing any differently for this game?CP:
We're approaching it like any other week. We know there's some more challenges in front of this week than there have been in years past, but we're approaching it like it's any other game. We're not looking past them. We're looking at this game and only worried about this one, not worried about the bye week or whatever the case is. We just know that we've got to play better than we have the last couple weeks and play out best week of football this week.
Q: Are you thinking about sending a message by winning this game?CP:
Nah, we're not. It's so early on in the season, that doesn't matter. We're just worried about getting a win, getting to 2-2, and then working on after we get there.
Q: This will be a very emotional game. How do you control those emotions?CP:
When the offense is on the field and we're at home, it's always pretty quiet. There haven't been too many communication issues. As long as our crowd is quiet for us on offense, it really doesn't matter to us as an offense. There is a lot of excitement, a lot of extra things, just because it's Monday night, it's national television and all of that, but we're preparing and getting ready to play like it's any other game.
Q: Is it part of your role as a quarterback to calm guys down?CP:
It is, if that's an issue. But as far as last week was concerned, in that game we were never rattled. We were never worried. Looking into the huddle, there was never any guys that were freaking out we're down 7-0. It was so early on in the game, there's so much football left in that game that we went out there, we put a drive together, we had a holding here, an offsides here. We knew we put ourselves in those situations and nothing needs to be said. We know we're not supposed to hold, we know we're not supposed to jump offsides, we know we're supposed to get first downs. You've just got to go about your business and keep pushing.
Q: You talked about New England taking away a team's strengths. What do you think has been the problem and how do you fix it?CP:
We've just had a couple of missed assignments here and there from everybody's point of view. From my point of view, getting guys in the right places in the right runs or the right checks, missing blocks here, missing blocks downfield, so it's not just the running back or not just the offensive line, it's been an offensive issue. And we just keep working. There's nothing you can do, there's no quick fix. All we're doing this week is working extremely hard in the running game and trying to get everybody on the same page with all of the calls up front and moving on from there.
Q: If Rudi can't go and Kenny Watson is in there, does that give you another element to work with in terms of a receiver?CP:
Yeah, we lose some things without Rudi being in there, of course, but I think we also gain some things with Kenny. He's not as bulky as Rudi is; he's a little bit quicker. He's not going to run people over like Rudi does and break through every arm tackle. But what he lacks in size and power, he makes up for in quickness and speed and great hands out of the backfield. So it will be tough if Rudi's not ready to play, but I think everybody in this entire offense is very confident in Kenny and I know Kenny's fired up. He's been waiting forever.
Q: It's nice to have another target with Kenny in the game?CP:
Definitely. Kenny is great out of the backfield. He understands the hots, he's quick in and out of his breaks. Whatever route he has to run, whether we have to line him up outside or run him out of the backfield, Kenny does a great job. And like I said, he's been waiting forever. We've been drafting players and trying to replace Kenny, and he hasn't looked at that negatively. He's looked at that as a little extra he needs to work for now because there's a second-rounder in front of him, there's a first-rounder in front of him. He's just kept his head down and kept working and getting ready to play.
Q: Rudi has taken criticism. Do you feel it's unjustified?CP:
Oh definitely. Game-in and game-out, Rudi gives 110 percent. There's no question about that. I don't think it's any issue with Rudi. It's an issue with our offense. It starts with me, it goes all the way through the offensive line and the receivers. Once Rudi gets healthy and gets ready to play, he's still the same back he's always been. He's still going to be consistent week-in and week-out. There's going to be games where it's tough to run the ball and teams do a good job in their run defense. But Rudi's Rudi. He's going to be ready to play, whenever that is. And he'll get this thing going again.
Q: In the NFL, first down success leads to third down success:CP:
Definitely. It's tough when you get in second-and-10 and you've got to think as a quarterback you want to get the ball downfield but you want to put yourself in a manageable third down. So we've got to be great on first down whether we're running or passing, and get ourselves out of the third-and-eight-plus situations because you're playing to the defense's strengths there. They can drop eight guys and rush three and they have three good pass rushers. We need to do a great job on first down, and do a great job on second down, too, to get us in those third-and-ones where we can get in our power formations and try to run the ball.