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Questioning the Enemy: Patriots Playoff Edition


*With the Ravens preparing to take on the New England Patriots this weekend, two members of the enemy team answered a few questions about their squad. *


* gives you Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady. *


Head coach Bill Belichick

Can you take anything from the last game against the Ravens?

Belichick:"Well, I think we can learn a lot from it just in terms of the matchups, and a lot of the same players that played in that game will be playing in this one. But, a lot has happened since then for both teams, and I'm sure this game will look a lot differently than that one did; as they usually do the second time around. It just turns out that way. But the thing we took from it is they're an outstanding football team – [they] played in the AFC Championship game last year, back in the playoffs this year, run the ball well, stop the run, good job in the kicking game, real good on defense, don't turn the ball over much on offense. So, you know, they're a team that you've really got to go out and execute well against to be competitive with. And they went out to Oakland, and I thought they played a real solid football game out there. They did what they had to do; ran the ball, played good defense and here they are. So, we know it will be tough, and we have a lot of respect for them, the whole program; the players, the coaches, the entire organization; Steve [Bisicotti], Ozzie [Newsome], John [Harbaugh], all of them. And we know we've got our work cut out for us."

Do you think Tom Brady gets better treatment from officials across the league?

Belichick:"You know, it's not really a matter of what I think. We take the approach that it's what the officials, whatever they call, that's the way we have to play the game. And I think every time you play a game, you always come out of it and say there were a couple that could have gone your way, that went the other way. And sometimes that's true, but we just need to do what we can do and let the officials call the game the way they see it."

What have you seen out of Brady this year, compared to previous years, coming back from injury?

Belichick:"I think he's had a real good year. He's been with us from Day One; from the spring, the minicamps, training camp, the offseason program, preseason games, regular season games, all the way through. You know, he's just had a solid year doing all the things that we ask him to do. And he's been a great leader, both on-and-off the field. He's played well, he's performed well, so that's kind of the way it's been for us, with him, for several years now; with the exception of the '08 season."

Do you take offense when people refer to "The Brady Rule" when a quarterback gets hit?

Belichick: "Yeah, again, I don't really have a lot of reaction that that. You know, Mike Wright was called for roughing the passer on Joe [Flacco], that was… And look, those calls are part of the game. We don't always agree with them, I'm sure the Ravens don't always agree with them, and not all the calls are always right, but that's the rules we all decide to play by."

You have knack for going for it on fourth-down. Are you inclined to go for it more in the playoffs?

Belichick:"Well, whatever decisions we make will be with the intent of doing what's best for the football team at that time, and that situation. So, I can't really answer that question other than, all I want to do Sunday is come out with more points than they do. And any decision that I make during the game will be with that intent in mind."

QB Tom Brady

What is your injury situation regarding your finger and ribs?

Brady:"Coach [Bill] Belichick doesn't like us to talk about injuries, so I kind of just defer to whatever's on the injury report at this point. I felt good. I'm out there practicing, so I always enjoy that."

Can you take advantage of changes in the Ravens' secondary due to injuries?

Brady:"He's done a great job. Chris [Carr] has done a great job since he's been in there. He played in the slot a bunch earlier in the season, and then when Fabian [Washington] went down, he was in there, and he's done a great job. And [Tom] Zbikowski's done a great job when he was in there for Ed [Reed]. It's a really talented group. They're obviously well coached, because they're always on the same page. Scheme-wise, it's a very disciplined scheme. Dawan Landry is a very disciplined player, and Ed always takes his chances when he thinks he sees something. He's one of the most instinctive players, probably, to ever play the game. They're all talented. They're all playmakers. They're doing a good job of intercepting the football. Even Ed, he's got three interceptions, so he's dangerous on every single play, so you've always got to watch him and be aware of where he's at. It's a solid group."

What did you think of the heat you took in the media because of the penalties you lobbied for in the last game?

Brady: "Well, I think everyone has the right to feel how they want after the game. That stuff never really bothers me much, whoever says it; whether it's an old teammate of mine or the opposing team. So, it's just part of the game, and we as players don't make the rules. And when calls go for us, we're all happy, and when they go against us, we're all pissed off. So, in the end, that's just the way I think all of us are made up."

Why have you had so much success against Baltimore throughout your career?

Brady: "Well, we played them in a rain storm here. I think that was '03 or '04, which was really nasty weather. Then, we played them again in '07, and that came down to a couple of fourth down plays, and then this year they had a chance to beat us there at the end with the ball on the 10-yard line. So, they're very competitive games. It's a play here, a play there alters the outcome, not that you want it to come down to one play, but it just typically does when great teams play, and when teams are evenly matched and well coached and both [teams] are very disciplined. They have a very good offense; we have a very good offense. They have a good defense; we have a good defense. Their kicking game is, obviously, one of the best in the league, and that's a matchup for our team. So, they do a lot of great things. It's going to be as tough a game that we've played all year, and we're going to need to have a great game plan and really go out there and execute as well as we possibly can."

How big of a loss is Wes Welker?

Brady: "Well, you can't replace Wes Welker. He's a Pro Bowl receiver. He's one of a kind. There's only one of him in the whole league. Really, it's not really fair for us to say Julian [Edelman] has got to do what Wes has done. I think there is a whole group that's going to have to fill the void. That's typically what happens in the NFL when guys go down, especially players of Wes' caliber. There is a collective effort by a group of players that really need to step their game up, improve their level of performance, and there is obviously less margin of error when a guy like Wes goes out because he was such a great playmaker for us. So, we're going to… We've been thinking about that for the last few days and putting together a different kind of plan, and we're going to need to go out and execute the plan."

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