Hearing from the Patriots

Read a portion of the New England Patriots conference calls:Coach Bill BelichickCan you comment on educating your younger players about the history between the teams?We know what a great football team and organization the Steelers are. They represented the AFC last year in the Super Bowl. They came within half a possession of being the Champions. They do a tremendous job, Coach Tomlin and his staff and the entire organization. They have a lot of good players and coaches. They play very well, year-in-and-year-out. Mike's done a great job with the team. They had a very successful year last year, and they came up just a couple of plays short. We know that feeling. We know what kind of football team they are. We know we have our hands full.Does it feel like a full decade ago when you won your first AFC Championship against the Steelers?I don't know. There have been a lot of great games in the past against a lot of our different rivals. Right now, it's all about this year. None of those games really matter. They don't really matter this week. It's been a good series against the Steelers. It's been very competitive. They've had their moments. We've had our moments. Really, all that is water under the bridge, and it's all about this week. We will see what happens on Sunday.What is the injury update on Jerod Mayo?He's day-to-day. He practiced on a limited basis yesterday. We will put him out there today, and we will see what we can do. We'll go through the week, list him on Friday and see where we feel he is at that point. What makes Tom Brady such a special player?I think Tom does the things that a good quarterback needs to do. He prepares. He's smart and accurate with the football. He makes good decisions. There's a lot that goes into those things but in the end, that's what it comes down to. The quarterback handles the ball on a high percentage of plays. Even in the running game, he's involved in adjusting the play, depending on the defense's look. Decision making is important. Accuracy is important. Preparation for all the situations that are critical, in terms of the end of the game, time management and communication with the rest of the offense, he does a good job in all those areas.Tight End Rob Gronkowski

Can you talk about the impact both you and Aaron (Hernandez) had and when you were drafted did you see yourself competing against him or did you think you would both play the roles that you have?
I just feel like we have a great tight end group overall. With Aaron, my brother (Dan Gronkowski), and our coaching staff. We all help out each other. Playing with Aaron, he is a great tight end and we help each other out, a lot. He is really smart in the game and we help each other when we are on the field. I feel we definitely do compete with each other but in a great way and in a good sense. We are always both trying to get better on our routes and our blocking but we try to help each other out at the same time also.

What kind of pressure does that put on the defense when you both are in the game together?
He is a great player and when he is out there, God. Along with our other wide receivers and along with our other running back and everything, they just have to take care of everyone so you can't just focus on someone because there are so many great players out there on our whole offense.  I feel like if they are doing their job then I have to be doing my job at the same time. While they are out there, the defense is worrying about them, I feel like I have to do my job and get open.

Re: Developing as a pass catcher and who you tend to see locking up on you:
It depends on what type of team we are playing and what their personnel is. I have definitely seen safeties before, linebackers before and I have seen corners this year. You just have to be ready for all and study the defense that you are playing this week so you possibly might know who is going to be on you so you prepare and you have to be ready for all situations just so no matter what situation comes, you are ready.

Do you feel like you are a mismatch if they try to put a corner on you or if they try a linebacker or safety?
I let the experts decide that but I just feel like I go out and try to do my job and get open and pass block, run, passing and everything. That is basically what I try to do, is my job, and whoever is on me is on me.

Do you expect to see Ike Taylor at all?
I am expecting to see everyone and that is the same with everyone else on our team. We expect to see everyone cover us. They are all great coverage guys and we just have to be ready for anyone at anytime.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.
Advertising