Photo Gallery: Eye on the Opponent: New England Patriots
Is this a different Patriots offense this year than what everyone has been used to seeing in the past?
It is a different offense. They have some new players scattered at different positions. They lost some key guys on their offense during the offseason. And now they have some guys down due to injuries. There are definitely some differences.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski is back, and is a big target for Tom Brady. What do you have to do to take him out of the game?
He is Brady’s favorite target and it’s the basics. We have to put pressure on the quarterback and hit him and that helps take Gronkowski out of the picture. That’s what we need to do.
Last time you played against the Patriots in 2011 you sacked Tom Brady twice. What do you remember about that game?
I didn’t remember a lot of it until we watched it on film. We got after the quarterback. We did a good job of matching them up and doing a great job of putting pressure on the quarterback. We got some sacks and made him get rid of the ball.
He was sacked three times last week against Miami. What is the key to getting to Brady?
It’s what you always have to do, beat the offensive tackle, the cornerbacks covering tight, pushing the pocket and getting the hit.
You have five sacks this year, but when you’re 2-5 is it hard to look at those numbers and be satisfied?
I am all about the wins. I would rather have zero sacks and be 5-0. I would take that over individual stats any day. When we lose, we lose as a team. Getting individual stats doesn’t mean anything at all when you aren’t going out there winning football games.
How important is it as a team to get off to a strong start in all phases of the game?
It’s very important. We can’t start off like we did last week against Oakland by giving up a big play on the first possession of the game. We just have to go out there and take care of our responsibility and not put ourselves in a situation where we have to dig ourselves out of a hole.
Is this gut check time for the team, especially going to a place where you know it’s not easy to win?
I think it’s been gut check time ever since we were 0-4. It’s been gut check time to come out of that hole. We started coming out of the hole and then we went to Oakland and lost. Each week now is gut check time because of the way we started the season.
As a leader what do you need to do to help the defense on and off the field?
As a leader and professional football player you have to make sure you are doing everything right. You have to make sure you are playing at a high level. Everyone has to hold themselves accountable to play at a high level.
Can you talk about how
He has been doing pretty good. He probably didn’t expect that he would be starting this year and he has definitely answered the call. He goes out there and plays hard, plays with a lot of energy. When people always make plays, you always see Vince celebrating whether he made the play or not. He brings a lot of energy to the field. He wants to learn. You have to love his attitude. I watch him out there on the field in practice and in the meeting room and he is always willing to learn and play hard. He is doing a good job as a signal caller too, especially as a rookie.
Williams is starting because you lost
That is how football goes. Somebody goes down and it’s somebody else’s opportunity to step in and showcase their talent. That is the good thing about football. It’s not a good thing to lose guys, but it’s still an opportunity for somebody else. That’s how I look at it. When I went down last year with my hamstring injury it was another opportunity for somebody else to go out there and play. You still have to go out there and play on Sunday no matter who is playing or isn’t. Whoever is in there needs to step up, embrace their role and play at the highest level they can play at.