Thanks to the Patriots PR staff for the transcription…
Q: How was the first day?
TB: I think everybody is excited to be back. We realize that we have a pretty good team and I am anxious to start the games. We have five tough weeks of practice and I think we are going to need it. The ’08 season has begun and I hope the rain isn’t a forecast of things to come. Everybody is just excited to be back.
Q: With how last season ended, did it make the off-season longer?
TB: It was a short off-season because we played all the way to the end. We were all disappointed with the way it ended – there’s no doubt about that. That is part of competition. You can’t always control the outcome. You control how much you put into it and I know this team put everything it could into it. I think that is part of what helps you move forward is to say ‘OK we did the best we could do and it didn’t turn out the way we would have liked but sometimes that happens.’ We are moving forward with just as much energy and excitement as we always have. Hopefully we can go out there and compete as hard as we can and put ourselves in the best position possible every week.
Q: Is it very noticeable with guys like Asante Samuel, Rosevelt Colvin and Junior Seau not out here?
TB: We miss every guy we have ever lost, especially from the very successful seasons. Dating all the way back to guys like Lawyer Milloy, Drew Bledsoe and Ty Law. We always miss those guys. I think every year there will be changes and it is hard to make comparisons every year because we never have the same team intact. There are new coaches here, new opponents and a new schedule. It always starts fresh for us and it starts today.
Q: There is a long history of teams that lose the Super Bowl and don’t have success the following year. What have you learned from those teams to help make sure this a positive year?
TB: We start by taking leadership from our head coach [Bill Belichick] and the example that he sets. I don’t think he is too concerned with what anybody did last year, including us. He is concerned with what we did today and what we do tomorrow. That is where is all starts. I don’t think what any team has done in the history of the NFL will have any effect on what we do this year. We are going to do the best we can do. We are going to try and do the best we can do everyday in practice. Hopefully that leads to a lot of wins.
Q: Have you watched film from the Super Bowl last year or do the coaches keep it away from you?
TB: We watch film from it and learn form it. We learn about some things we didn’t do so well and learn about the things we did well. It wasn’t all bad but it wasn’t all good. I think like most games it comes down to a few certain plays. We didn’t make enough plays in that game and that is why the outcome turned out the way it did. We will learn from it and learn from the games we won. We are always trying to improve and learn from the previous week.
Q: Does watching film from last year’s Super Bowl help put it behind you?
TB: You always have emotions when watching it because you remember the disappointment you felt after the game. Just like when you watch games you have won you remember the excitement you felt. It was one game last season that we all felt we could have played a little better. You can’t change what happened; as hard as you want to, you can’t. So what can you do? You can move forward with the awareness that you can improve. We are going to try to improve in all phases. There are a lot of improvements we need to make as a team to be able to compete as hard as we can. This is a tough league with a tough schedule and a tough conference. Those teams are always trying to beat us and it has been like that since I have been here.
Q: How was your off-season? Did you travel more?
TB: It was great and every year it seems to get better. I really enjoy it. It is a time to spend with family and friends but I am also anxious to be back. I love playing and I love competing. In March and April you are not too excited about football but once June and July come you are anxious to get back, be around your teammates and start working.
Q: What did you like about watching the Celtics in the Finals since you were at a couple of games?
TB: It was fun to watch. It is exciting for this city because of the Celtics’ history. I really respect and admire those guys. Their players, coaches, management and ownership have always been so supportive of what we do. It is cool to have all the Boston and New England community come together and be able to watch those guys. I was especially excited for those guys who hadn’t won a championship. You know how it feels so you get excited for guys like Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul [Pierce] that have played for so long and haven’t experienced it and now they are world champs.
Q: Do you feel you guys have anything to prove because of how last year ended?
TB: I don’t think about that. I don’t think about proving anything to anybody except proving that we can work hard. You don’t focus on proving people wrong. You just focus on doing the best you can do. You control how much effort you put in when you are on the practice field or in the meeting room. You control the effort you put out. We focus on that. No matter what anybody thinks or says – it doesn’t matter. As much as I want to think it matters or you guys [media] think it matters, it really doesn’t. We are going to control what we can control and that is the attitude we take with our preparation, effort and attitude.
Q: With how much of a grind last year was, physically and mentally, do you have to pace yourself early this year?
TB: Yeah. Each year I learn something different. The goal this year isn’t to see how sore my arm can get. For our team the goal is still the same – to be ready to play in September. Whatever we need to do to get to that point, our coach is going to put us through. It is a veteran team. We pretty much have everybody back on offense. I don’t think it is going to take what it took to cover last year. Hopefully we can build on stuff we did last year.
Q: Last year you had to get acclimated to a bunch of new receivers. How will it be different this year?
TB: We now know what everybody can do. We know what everybody is capable of. Last year when we broke the huddle, guys were running to the right or the left because that is where they had to go. They are trying to figure out how to run the routes and find out what I am looking for. Now when we get in the huddle, I tell Randy [Moss] what to do and he knows exactly what you are going to do. It is the same with Wes [Welker] and Jab [Gaffney]. It is pretty much everybody. That leads to better execution and if you can execute more consistently than that will help over the long term. There are a lot of guys who can do it really good for one play but it goes back for one play. You want to do it well and right as often as possible so nothing inhibits you from scoring.
Q: You guys had huge numbers last year. Can you equal or better that this year?
TB: I don’t know what this year is going to call for. Hopefully if the other team scores 40 points we can score more than 40. Each game is going to be different. How ever many points we need to win, I hope that is what we score.
Q: Last year you said you felt 22 years old. How old do you feel this year?
TB: I feel 21. I feel like I am getting younger. My body feels really good and in great shape. My arm feels good. My mind feels good most importantly. We are ready to attack this season and see what we can make of it.
Q: Are you going to take some practices off and not throw like you did today?
TB: Yeah, because we have another practice this afternoon. For me, I don’t think it is important to throw twice a day. I want to make sure the reps I take are good reps. Two practices today is good for arm soreness. Some guys do it but for me over the long term it would be beneficial to pace it.
Q: On the first day of training camp what are you focused on most?
TB: I think it is whatever the drill calls for. If coach scripts the practice to work on the run game then we will work on the run game. If it is a conditioning drill then we will work on conditioning. Whatever coach asks us to do that is what we are going to do and do our best at it.
Q: You said your arm feels good but how does your ankle feel?
TB: Yeah it feels great. The ankle is great.
Q: How much fun was surfing?
TB: I am a terrible surfer. I swim and avoid waves. I don’t think I surf much.
Q: Did you get your parking spot?
TB: No, I gave it up. I didn’t compete for it this year. I am sure if I would have competed I would have won but I chose not to compete.
Q: Do you feel you needed a bigger vacation this year?
TB: No, I think there are other things that have come up in my life that I had to make choices on. One of the choices was to spend time away with things that I don’t get the opportunity to do in the off-season. It was not all vacation though.
Q: You don’t have to face your buddy Jason Taylor as often this season. How happy are you about that?
TB: Yeah. I think [Matt] Light and I popped a cold beer when I saw that transaction. We were the two most excited players in the NFL. I appreciate that very much and I let him know it as well.
Q: Would Matt Light admit that?
TB: Oh yeah. We were hugging each other. It was awesome.