Q: What stands out to you about this Patriots team and how they have been operating over the last couple of weeks?
JH: Very impressed, in all phases – the kicking game, return game, offensively, defensively – playing at a very high level, very impressive.
Q: There was an expectation that J.J. Watt and the Texans defense would be a little more disruptive of Tom Brady. What do you think it will take for your team to disrupt Tom Brady and this offense?
JH: Well, we would sure like to find the answer to that and then implement it. But it's really, really difficult. As you said, they're tough to do that against.
Q: When you break down the film on the Patriots, what is the one strength or weakness that stands out?
JH: Well multiple strengths: a really good scheme, really good play calling and then great individual effort at each position, the great ability they have to play as a team. You could talk for hours about how good they are.
Q: How has Randy Moss done for you this year?
JH: He's done a nice job. He's been a contributor, he's produced and he's been a great teammate.
Q: You seem to have a similar situation at the quarterback position to the one they had in New England with Tom Brady and Drew Bledsoe. The starter gets hurt and the reserve comes in and plays well. What goes into the decision to play one quarterback over the other?
JH: Well, it's rarely compared to any other situation but I think it was a unique situation here [with] two guys that we believe in and believe can win games for us. In picking one it's who do you think can give you the best chance for this next game?
Q: How much does the upcoming opponent and matchup factor into your decision to play one quarterback over the other?
JH: I hate to speculate on anything, so I'd rather not.
Q: I got lost there. Does that mean that Colin Kaepernick is not your starting quarterback?
JH: I don't know how you got lost or got that impression. I just said that I didn't want to speculate that if we were playing another opponent, what possibility there would be about who would be the quarterback. So I just chose not to go down that road. So I don't know how you got lost there.
Q: So Colin…
JH: Colin is starting, yes.
Q: What has Colin brought to the team in his four games as a starter?
JH: He's playing really with a lot of poise and is beyond his years. He's produced, he's made big plays with his arm and his feet and with his mind. 3-1 as a starter; doing a fine job. He's acquitted himself very well.
Q: What kind of adjustments have you made to your offense given Colin's unique skill set?
JH: A few things. Maybe a few plays here and there in terms of scheme that take advantage of some things that he does really well. Other than that, really just try to improve in every area in terms of our blocking schemes and how we execute.
Q: Other than the obvious physical skill set that he has, what are some of the other important things that Aldon Smith brings to the table?
JH: He's got a very high motor, he really likes football and he's got a lot of physical attributes – speed and power – and a very smart guy. Just to name some of them.
Q: Can you talk about Justin Smith? One thing that stands out is that he has only missed one game in however many number of years it has been.
JH: Well, I've really thought this for a long time, that everybody should have a Justin Smith. He is a football player in every sense of the word, which encompasses all of the good qualities: great teammate, great worker, talented and smart. He has it all. It makes it a joy to come out here and coach when you've got guys like that.
Q: When you look at Jerod Mayo on film do you see some of Patrick Willis in him and vice versa?
JH: Definitely. I think they both stand on their own, but they're both really good players. Jerod has all of the skills that you want a linebacker to have – physical, good tackler, good blitzer, can cover side-to-side. He's just a really good football player.
Q: From what you have seen on film, has the acquisition of Aqib Talib allowed the Patriots defense to do some things that they were not doing before?
JH: Yes, I think it's allowed them to do some things that they weren't doing before definitely, [like] moving a corner to safety and a lot of man-coverage that you saw the other night against Houston. So I think there are probably a number of things there.
Q: Can you talk about dynamic the Pistol formation brings with all the options it allows?
JH: Well that's the idea, to try to have a formation that you can do different things out of – run, pass, etcetera.
Q: Is that a formation that is tailored for a guy like Colin Kaepernick?
JH: Yeah, I think it suits him well.
Q: What stands out for you the most about this New England offensive line?
AS: They're really technique-sound. They do a really good job working well with each other, working as an O-line to protect the quarterback.
Q: When you go against a group of offensive linemen for the first time, how do you study the group you are going to face?
AS: As a defense, we have to make sure we're sound at what we're doing and that we're all together with our approach so what they present, we can take care of business up front. Then we'll study them and see what they're doing and work through it like that.
Q: Talk to me a little bit about Justin Smith.
AS: What do you want to know?
Q: What kind of impression has he made on you?
AS: He's a symbol of what the NFL's all about. Hard-working guy, takes care of business, does his job, plays hard and is an example not only for the 49ers but around the NFL.
Q: Can you tell us about some of your teammates and how they have allowed you and Justin Smith to garner the numbers you have?
AS: That really, once again goes back to our chemistry and how we work together. We're a very unselfish defense, a very unselfish team. Guys don't have a problem with other people making plays and that's probably just it.
Q: You talk about chemistry. How long did that take for you guys to build or is that still a work in progress?
AS: Are you talking about me and Justin [Smith] or the defense as a whole?
Q: Just the defense as a whole.
AS: Just probably, you know, last year we had a new coaching staff and it was my first year here. Everybody was kind of coming into unfamiliar territory. From the first day of training camp it's been building since. For everybody to come back this year with the guys we had last year, the success that we had, it just keeps building.
Q: What type of teammate is Randy Moss?
AS: He's a real good teammate. He's a guy I looked up to as a kid growing up. Being able to be in the locker room and sit next to him is cool, a little dream come true.
Q: Has Randy Moss shared anything about the Patriots this week?
AS: No, not really. He said it's cold.
Q: When you look at film of the Patriots vs. Texans from Monday night, how do you see they handled a player like J.J. Watt and how do you combat something like that?
AS: The Patriots were able to put a complete game together. They were able to take advantage of all the mess ups that the Texans had. J.J. Watt was able to get back there and get some pressure. I think he did his thing. They work well together and just limited him getting to the quarterback.
Q: How much do the 19½ sacks mean to you?
AS: It's definitely a good achievement, setting the franchise record last week. It means a lot to me. It's one of the goals I have and just have to really keep it going, see if I can make that number even better.
Q: Is there a player that you have modeled your style of play after?
AS: Not one specific player. I really just try to take something from everybody I see play the game, every position, and just try to incorporate it into my game.
Q: The Patriots would not have had the chance to select you, but did you have any dealings with them leading up to the draft?
AS: They were actually the first team I met with at the Combine and I also took a visit with them.
Q: What did you take away from that visit in terms of meeting with the coaches and seeing the facility?
AS: It was a good experience. There's a lot of history there, them being Super Bowl champions. The coaching staff does a good job of teaching their players. It's really just a well-built organization and they're doing things right.
Q: Did you have the chance to meet any players at that time?
AS: No, it was during the lockout so I didn't have the chance to.
Q: What is your take on the quarterback situation in San Francisco right now?
AS: I think we're in a good spot. We have two good guys on our team. Colin [Kaepernick] is playing good ball right now. I'm excited to see where he takes us.
Q: From your perspective as a defensive player, what makes him someone people should be wary of?
AS: Not only can he run, because people have seen that, but his arm strength is out of this world. We were playing catch last week and I was telling him, ‘I don't think I'm going to play catch with you because you throw a little too hard for me and I can hear the ball coming before it gets to me so I'm going to step out of this one.'
Q: The idea was floated that since the Patriots played a tough game on Monday on the national stage that the game was a statement victory for the league. Do you look at it that way or is that statement overblown?
AS: I think that might be a little overblown. Like I said, they're a good team. The Texans are a good team. Good teams know how to play no matter what night it is, no matter what day it is. So, I don't think that or anything.
Q: How much is the team driven by the fact that you guys were so close to the Super Bowl last year?
AS: That's definitely a driving force, being that close to making it to the Super Bowl and just knowing that things that we can do differently to make it there this year. We've all taken that into consideration and that's our goal, to make it to New Orleans this year.
Q: When looking at Patriots game film, what do you see as the key to stopping Tom Brady?
AS: Really just taking away some of his options for him to throw to and getting pressure on him and confusing him and making his job a lot harder.
Q: How well do they play-action pass and how disciplined do you have to be against that?
AS: Tom Brady's mechanics are really good and they do a good job disguising things so you have to not only be disciplined but try to anticipate and pay attention to the film so come game time, we're not caught off guard by anything.
Q: Some people say that sacks are overrated. Do you feel that way?
AS: I don't know who said that, but I think they're wrong.
Q: Are they a positive play no matter how they happen?
AS: Yeah, it has to be a positive play. You're stopping the guy who's controlling the offense from making a play, so anytime you do that, then that's a pretty big play.