DAILY INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS
Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg
On whether Patriots WR/RS Brandon Tate is similar to WR/RS Joshua Cribbs of the Browns: "The fact that they're both home run hitters is very similar. Their style is very different. Josh is more of a power player. This player is much more of a speed player, and he is really fast. The thing that we have to do is we have to be really disciplined in our lane play, and we have to really be disciplined in our technique to try to get off of very good blockers and keep him in front of us and try to do the best we can to make it dirty and be good tacklers. Because, this guy… If you give him space, he'll make you pay."
On the performance of CB/RS Josh Wilson Sunday: "It's a one-game evaluation, but he ran the play where he was supposed to run the play. The play was over, and we still had the ball. Beyond that, our fouls really were the disappointing part of that whole performance. He really didn't get a chance to display what he can do in the open field. So, we need to coach better, we need to block better, and we need to stop making penalties. Then, Josh's skills – I think – will show themselves."
On whether he is still looking for the one explosive guy in the return game: "No, I don't think we're necessarily looking for 'the' guy. I think the return game is such a team business. One guy can do a really good job, and then if nine other guys do a really good job and two guys don't do a good job, or the coach doesn't make a good call or a good adjustment on the sideline, then things aren't going to be successful. It's all team-oriented. So, just saying that the returner is the biggest factor, I don't think that's necessarily accurate. Sometimes, the returner can make a big difference if he can make guys miss and break tackles and things such as that, but I don't think that was our issue on Sunday, and largely I don't think it's been our issue all year long. We just need to do a better job overall."
On whether K Billy Cundiff's kickoffs should be a factor this week: "That would be great. Billy has been a factor all year long with his kickoffs, even the kickoffs that are returned. Typically, they have enough hang time and distance on them where it gives our guys a chance to get off blocks, so that's been a real positive. His strength in the kickoff game is going to be something that we're going to really need Sunday against this fine unit."
On how rare Cundiff's story is by being out of football for two years: "I think it's a tribute to Billy, first of all, that he would persevere. It's also a tribute to his wife and family that they would support him during this effort. But, I think if you look at the history of the specialists, there's probably more specialists that have done this than other players because a specialist can work by himself. It's difficult to get your brother-in-law to come out there and drive-block him. It happens more with specialists than non-specialists. So, with that in mind, there's been other stories such as this where guys have hung around and hung around. The one that comes to mind is Chris Redman. Chris, one of the former Ravens, was out of the business for a while, then he got an opportunity in Atlanta. Then, he started a game or two if I'm not mistaken, so he's another guy. I'd have a hard time listing for you, but I guess the point is: It happens more with specialists than it does with others."
On S Tom Zbikowski's punt returns last week: "We had one opportunity that went down our sideline that he got tripped up, but I thought the guys did a pretty good job blocking, getting to the point of attack. We averaged – I think – 10 yards, or something to that nature, a return. We're still looking for more there, too, real frankly. That's something we're going to work on today."
Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron
On what the Patriots' strongpoints are:"Obviously, they've got a great scheme. They play hard, they're athletic, they get better every week – they probably get better every down – and they've had an extra week to prepare, which would help anybody. New England's going to play good defense. We know that."
On his decision to use DT Haloti Ngata on offense:"It's always something you weigh. Haloti kind of is the one who wants [to be] in there, so we'll let him dictate that a little bit. We've been awfully good with him in there. It was unfortunate what happened the other day. Thank goodness he's going to be fine. We've only got so many guys active. Playing guys both ways here, there's a little bit of a tradition in that."
On rookie TE Ed Dickson's progression:"No. 1, he was good when he got here. He was drafted for a reason. Just trace his history. He's been a top-notch player at every level – one of the highest-recruited tight ends in the country coming out of high school – could've gone to any school in the country. [He's a] great athlete, great basketball player. For [general manager and executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome] to get him in the draft is just the most important thing. He's gotten better every day and continues to get better. Like most young guys, the biggest challenge is the game-to-game adjustments that you have to make, and that just comes with time. We anticipate him continually impacting every game, and he has. People just don't want to talk about tight end blocking. For whatever reason, people have made it out to be a wide receiver position, which it's not. All tight ends, the majority of their play is blocking. And he's doing an outstanding job. The touchdown by Ray Rice was a great block by him – he and Todd [Heap] in combination. So again, there are a lot of things he's doing at a high level."
On the ball control the offense maintained against Denver:"It's a bonus. You want to possess the ball. It's easier said than done. Our deal is about the fact that our defense gets people stopped and gets us the ball back, No. 1. Secondly, we want to try to possess the ball as much as possible. But there were two situations in the game the other day where our defense should have never been back out there. That's how we look at it. People are all excited about our time possession, and we're looking at two possessions right before the half. I probably got a little impatient. I've got so much confidence in our guys that we can go down there and score. Then the next thing you know, we're punting. And at the end of the game we had a chance to put the thing away and winded up having to punt again. We can still get better in that area."
On the importance of converting on second and third down:"Here's the concept our guys understand: The more third-down conversions, the more opportunities. So do the math. It's the thing everybody wants to talk about – touches and opportunities and weapons. We've heard them all at this point, and I'm sure there's a few more coming. But our guys get it. You convert on third down, and that's three more opportunities for us collectively. Could be a running back, could be a tight end, could be a receiver, could be a quarterback. They bought into [the concept that if] we want to keep everybody involved, convert on third down. We've only scratched the surface of our third-down production. We're nowhere close to where we can be."
On whether he's set aside time for WRs to plead for more catches:"That almost goes without being said. We kind of get all that. We're all doing our best, and they're doing their best. I think that's the most impressive thing is our guys know that based on Joe [Flacco]'s reads, the ball could come to them at any time. Run, it could be a pass. Pass, it could be a run. The ball could come to any of the five receivers at any time. There's a lot of little things we're doing. So everybody knows to do your job and let Joe do his, and the ball should get spread around quite a bit."
On RB Ray Rice not knowing that he touched the ball nine straight times against Denver:"Was his nose growing at the same time? His nose wasn't growing like that, was it? (laughing) That's Ray. Ray's not out there doing math. He's truly a one-play-at-a-time guy. Most guys are, because you don't know which play is going to determine the outcome of the game. The minute you start thinking beyond that as a play-caller or… I've got to think one play ahead. But for the most part, guys function the best one play at a time. And I think that's why he's really good."
On how comfortable the offense is with crowd noise on the road:"I don't know that you really ever get comfortable with anything, because right when you think you've seen it all… I remember one time we were comfortable with crowd noise until we went to Seattle, and you couldn't hear the play called in the huddle. So that was just at another level. You're always tweaking what you're doing and trying to get better every week. You don't take anything for granted. We'll continue to work with crowd noise this week just like it's the most important week of the year. We just continually do that every week and try not to get… Comfortable is just not a great word for me. Maybe we are, but I don't see that as a good word. You've just got to continue to perfect what we're doing."
On whether the offense has gotten progressively better in dealing with crowd noise: "Without question. The one thing we are doing in a lot of areas is getting better. I think that's the important thing. Obviously, there's ways to solve crowd noise. There's ways to solve it."
On the impact SS Patrick Chung has made on the New England secondary: "I remember in the scouting meetings and just listening to our guys. They talked highly of him when he was coming out in the draft, so we have a high opinion of him as an organization. You can't help but love his athletic ability. He's a playmaker. You look at the Miami game, on special teams… He was a good player coming out of college, and he's becoming a good player in the NFL, and I'm sure he'll be better this week than he was even in the Miami game."
Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison
On whether he has met with LBs coach Dean Pees about the Patriots' offense:"If you consider starting at 6:30 in the morning and going home at 12:30 at night for the last three months… I don't know if you call that a meeting or not. We always talk about… Anytime one of our coaches has some kind of relationship or has been somewhere like that, obviously [we talk about it]. Our deal is about any information anybody can give us, you're going to use it. Now, I don't think you can say that because a guy has coached there before that that's going to be a deciding factor, because every team's smart. They aren't the same as they were, No. 1, and different people are coaching there now. And No. 2, they probably are aware of that; I'm sure they are. So we just go about business the way we always do that way."
On what makes Pees stand out:"He's a tremendous football coach. The first thing you have is you've got a guy who has had unbelievable success and he is tremendously humble in that all he wants to do is help make this defense better. It's not about titles, it's not about who gets credit for what. It's about whether our defense becomes as good as it can be. And we have a whole staff of guys like that, and he's just another guy. But it just happens to be that he's had a lot of success and has been in the role as a coordinator and as a head coach in college. His experience speaks for itself. He's just like all of our other assistants – everybody works together to try to do the very best they can."
On what he's seen from Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez:"He's a killer-type football player. It's the same mold where you have a guy that probably has some wide receiver pass-catching and route-running skills, but he has the size of a tight end. He's a tremendous athlete. He's very gifted once he catches the ball, and he's very gifted getting open. And he's been a big plus for them."
On whether there are similarities between Denver and New England:"There are a lot of similarities, but they're their own deal. They do a lot of the same formations. They do a lot of the same [running plays]. They have a lot of the same concepts in their routes. But they're not that similar. I think you saw where Denver… Denver's a huge screen team, whereas I think New England gets that same deal with [Wes] Welker on his underneath stuff. So they [have] the same kind of philosophies but [execute them] in different ways. Now I'm sure they've talked a lot, because they're very close. And I'm sure they would've talked just like anybody else would since we played [Denver]. And [the Patriots would want to know] what they saw."
On how Patriots WRs Wes Welker and Brandon Tate have played:"Tremendous job. And again, they've always had a very good passing attack, as well as running. But they've always had a very good passing attack. And what great programs do is whenever somebody's not part of that group, they do it another way. They have three tight ends right now that are very effective. So they just build their same package and their same routes and their same philosophy with three tight ends rather than with three wide receivers possibly. So they do a great job with it."
On whether he will prepare as if WR Deion Branch is playing on Sunday:"Yeah, we assume he is. Anytime a guy is getting a paycheck, they're going to put him to work. And we assume he's going to be there. He's a very gifted receiver himself. He's got great speed; he's got great experience. So, you have to expect that he'll be part of the plan."
On whether he thinks more about what DT Haloti Ngata's role should be on offense after he was injured during an offensive play against Denver:"No. To answer your question, the No. 1 thing that Haloti would say, that I will say, is, 'Let's put the best players out on the field at any given time to help us win.' That's why every decision is made. And if him being out there in that situation helped us win, which it did, or we thought it would, then he's out there. Just like on special teams… Special teams is an equal part of the three phases. You can't take guys and say, 'OK, in a crucial situation this guy is not going to be out there. Why? Because we need him so much on offense or defense.' It doesn't work that way. You have to have all three phases doing the same thing. Bottom line is that we're lucky he's fine and the whole shot. But that's part of it. He could have done that running over to me after a series, too."
On how Ngata has looked in practice this week:"Great. Great. He looks great. Every time I see him going through our walk-through and going through things – every time I see him – I get a big smile on my face. He looks great."
LBs Coach Dean Pees
On the input he's able to provide the Ravens based on his past experience working in New England:"Well, going back is going to be a lot of fun. I'm excited about going back and seeing everybody and playing New England. It'll be a great ball game, and I'm looking forward to going up against a lot of close friends. And it's always more competitive when you're going against somebody you know and you like. You know, somebody asked me that earlier in the week, and it's just like playing golf in the summer: If I go out and play golf, I'm competitive, but when I play against my brothers, who I love, I'm a lot more competitive. And so, it's kind of like you always want to beat the family and friends more than you really want to beat somebody else. And I'm sure it's the same way [in New England], reciprocal the other way around. As far as my input here, you know, on defense, obviously I've practiced against [Tom] Brady a lot, but that doesn't necessarily mean that's what they're going to do in the game. I've seen it all, over practice, over six years. You know, I've seen every formation, everything that they do, and they keep changing it all the time. So, it's going to be game-plan specific for what we are. And so, all I can do is I think I can help a little more on personnel and what guys can do, and maybe what the shortcomings are, or what they're not, hopefully. But I don't think that's any more than what we do every week. So, I think it's pretty much a normal [week]. You look around the league and you think about all the teams that have somebody on a staff from another team, so it's like everybody's got a little bit of input here and there. I don't think you can make too big of a deal out of that."
On whether he has an idea of what Bill Belichick is capable of doing in a two-week-span, coming off the bye week, and how much change he may have implemented:"Well, that's the thing about Bill. He can do a lot of change, and he can do no change. So, it's going to be whatever he thinks they need to do on both sides of the ball and on special teams to win the game. I've been there before where we did a lot of change in the bye week, and there's times when we didn't do any change in the bye week. Sometimes you self-scout each other, and I can still remember one time we self-scouted ourselves on defense, and I noticed that on first-and-10, I never ran any pressures. And so I told Bill that during the bye week. I said, 'I've studied myself and I've noticed that, you know what, I've never pressured on first down. I probably should change that.' And he looked at me and goes, 'We're No. 1 in the league in first down on defense. Why?' *(laughter) *OK, makes sense to me. So, sometimes you study yourself, [and] if you're doing well, make somebody make you change. Don't overanalyze."
On whether him returning to New England is overrated in a sense of how he can impact the game because of his time there:"Everybody in the league has played for somebody else. Whether it be Josh [McDaniels] at Denver, going against New England… I mean, just think, there's probably somebody on every staff that has been on somebody else's staff. And sometimes, I think that can be overrated. And also sometimes, I think you can give maybe too much information. I think it's got to take every game, and you get into a routine of how you study a team. You may have a little something to add, but I think it's a lot less than what people on the outside might perceive it to be."
On whether he marveled over QB Tom Brady's understanding of what needed to be done to win consistently while in New England:"Well, I think the thing about Tom that maybe sometimes you don't see – you do, because I've heard enough people mention it in the media and stuff like that, but when you're there every day – this is a very competitive guy. Don't let this little boyish look of his fool you. This is a competitive, competitive guy. And it was that way in practice when we went against him on defense in the two-minute drill, or whatever it was. It was competitive every day. It was never [to] go out there, and let's just throw it out, and let's get through practice. It was competitive, and that's the thing that to me has always impressed me about Tom – not only his ability to read coverages and all that kind of stuff everybody talks about, [but] he's a very competitive person."
On whether Brady brings the same intensity to practice as LB Ray Lewis: "Absolutely. There's never a time Ray comes out here and is not competitive in practice. You can just go right down the line. If you think about all players really, really at the top of their game, they're all that way. They come out to practice every day, [and] everything's competitive, everything that they do. So, they're very similar in that way."
On whether Bill Belichick will revamp this offense or plug someone in for WR Randy Moss: "You're not going to revamp the No. 1 offense in the NFL. Like I said, when you're having a lot of success and putting up 30-some points and you're No. 1 in whatever they are in scoring and whatever they are in total offense – I know it's high – you're not going to go revamp anything. They'll plug it in, but here's the thing about them, and I think it's really true about us: They're going to utilize their talent to their best use. OK, so if you don't have this guy… OK, when we lost Brady a couple years ago, who came in? [Matt] Cassel. Well, was it that same offense? No, not quite. There were similarities. There were some things that were the same, but there were also things that fit Matt Cassel and not Tom Brady. OK, well if you've got Laurence Maroney – when they had him – there's a certain way that he runs. There's a certain way that BenJarvus [Green-Ellis] runs. There's a certain way that Fred Taylor runs. Well, there's certain plays then. Let's do what they do best. If a guy's got speed to the outside, let's not run him up inside. I think that's one thing about Bill and that organization, but I think it's about our organization, too. Utilize your talent, and utilize what they can do. So, if they're going to plug somebody in, are they going to use him exactly like they did Moss? I don't know. If they think he can do what Moss did, they will. But, he's going to utilize his talent to the best of his ability."
On what goes into the Ravens' dramatic reduction in penalties this year: "Well, I can't speak for last year. All I'd say is I think our guys do a good job. When we grade the film when we get done, one of the things I look for in the linebackers is I don't want to have a lot of mental mistakes. When you have mental mistakes, that's usually when you get a penalty because a guy's grabbing, because he's not in the right position or something like that. You'd have to talk to Chuck [Pagano] about the secondary, but I just think what I see overall defensively, I don't see a lot of mental errors. So, if you're not making mental errors, that means you're in the right position, doing the right thing. And if you're in the right position, that's half the battle.