Mike Vrabel Press Conference

Patriots' linebacker Mike Vrabel talks to the media about the Patriots/Colts rivalry, Peyton Manning's audibles, the Patriots' approach in the secondary and more...

(on the challenges the Colts present defensively)
"I think the challenge is that you have to weed through a running game that's been effective lately and they do a very good job of protection. Very rarely do you see guys running free, where Peyton [Manning] is just confused. You're going to have to beat somebody, I think. You're going to have to beat them and get back there and cause pressure. You're not just going to be able to draw things up and say, ‘Well, we're going to get a guy coming right up the middle untouched."

(on Peyton's performance in the team's regular season matchup)
"Yeah, he did. We looked at that game and you look back and think, ‘Well, I didn't rush that bad personally and neither did Rosey [Colvin] or anybody else.' And then you say, ‘Well, his numbers were still pretty good.' You've just got to do more. You've got to get there quicker, whether you're rushing or whether you're covering. This is a game where you're just going to have to do more and you're just going to have to play better."

(on Belichick's game management at critical points in the game)
"Well, I think we've probably had plenty of those games where he's had a chance to get pretty good at it. We've played a lot of close games and we've won them. We practice them. The whole team practices them. It's just not enough to know the situation. First of all, you have to execute the play correctly. You've got to make a play and then you've got to go into, ‘Well, what do I do now? Do I call timeout? Does Bill call timeout?' I think it starts with that first – making the play and then going on from there and determining whether you're going to call a timeout or whether the field goal unit is going on, whether you have to stop a team within three downs and then get the ball back for the offense."

(on whether it's still exciting to get this deep in the playoffs)
"Absolutely. There are four teams that are still coming to work. It's easy to get up on Wednesday morning when you know that only four teams in the National Football League are getting up and coming to work. Everybody else is recovering and healing and having surgery and everything else. It makes it really easy to get up for work."

(on if the Patriots' will change their physical approach in the secondary they have used against the Colts in the past)
‘I think we change the game plan each week, against Indy or against San Diego. Some of that may have to do with the rules. Looking back at some film, we're getting called for penalties. I know personally that I got called for a couple that were close – six or seven yards downfield. But that's what they're calling. And so, if you're going to get them, you've got to get them within five yards.'

(on Tedy Bruschi's effect on the team)
"I think Tedy Bruschi gives you everything that you would want out of a captain and a middle linebacker each week. He practices banged up, he plays banged up, and he plays with a lot of heart and a lot of intensity. He is kind of the glue out there, just making the calls, getting the signals and getting the communication to the defense. That's a lot. I did that when he wasn't in there last year, so it's something that's different where you have to get used to getting the calls and getting it to everybody else and then all of a sudden you turn around and there's the offense. I know that it's not an easy job to do what he does. It's a lot better with him out there than with him not there."

(on the rivalry against the Colts)
"I think there's certainly a rivalry. First of all, I think that to have a rivalry, you need to play somebody more than once every two years, which we have. In the last couple of years, we've played in the regular season and playoffs almost every year. From that standpoint, there is a lot of familiarity between our players and their players. We know who the linemen are. We know who the tight ends are. Obviously we know what they've done and what they've had success with. The next part of a rivalry is that you need to have – and I'll just use Ohio State-Michigan, because I'm familiar with that – is some sort of competition. Michigan holds a slight lead over 100 years, but the series is within a handful of games. For a while [against the Colts] we had the upper hand. But certainly they have had our number the last couple of times and they're going to do everything that they can to prepare for this game, like we are."

(on playing in Indianapolis)
"It's just another road game. It's a business trip that we're going to take. They're one of two teams that didn't lose at home this year. San Diego and now the Colts. Whatever test we had last week going in there and winning that game, it's going to be a bigger test this week."

(on preparing for an opponent the Patriots know very well)
"I think that we're going to come up with our game plan and they're going to come with theirs. For the most part, games are really determined on the field and this one is going to be no different. Obviously when you have a good team, combined with guys that go out there and make plays, you've got a good product. This is a game where if you don't get to Peyton, you've got to make the plays. Marvin Harrison isn't going to drop the ball. Peyton isn't going to miss a wide open receiver. Those guys are going to make the plays and to win we are going to need to do the same thing."

(on Bill Belichick's approach)
"I've had three head coaches in 15 years. John Cooper, then Bill Cowher and now Bill Belichick. So, certainly Bill Belichick does things differently than Bill Cowher. I don't know how he does it differently than Tony Dungy or Marty Schottenheimer. His system has worked for me personally as a player and it's worked for our team over the past six years."

(on the mindset of a defender when Manning is going through play calls at the line)
"I think that over the course of the game you can try to come up with some stuff, but it's really tough to try to sit there and listen to what he's saying and then try to get it relayed and have it be right even half the time or a quarter of the time. The mindset that you have to take whenever any quarterback comes to the line of scrimmage is first to identify the formation, identify your responsibility on the play and then look for any pre-snap reads that you can, whether it's stances, formations or alignments. You don't want to make your whole focus before the snap on the quarterback because you're going to miss out on a lot of other stuff going on and you're probably going to miss out on your responsibility. He's the one who makes everything go over there, but as a defender you can't just key in on the quarterback because that's not my responsibility on every play."

(On Dan Klecko)
"With Dan Klecko, I don't think that anyone who knows him could potentially say a bad word about him. He's a guy that in the middle of training camp, when everybody's tired and hurt and banged up, Klecko is just the same guy, making jokes and having a good time. It will be fun to see him out there. Hopefully we don't see him out there in that four-minute drill where they're trying to run the clock out. It will be certainly fun to see Klecko out there."

(on seeing Vinatieri on the other side of the ball)
"My relationship with Adam was on the football field, so I didn't get to know him a whole lot off the field. But he's not going to miss. You're going to have to block the kick, especially playing indoors. He's never missed in the dome. We're going to have to block a kick for him to miss one."

(on how many more opportunities Vrabel will have to get this far in the postseason)
"That's a message that Bill has given us since the beginning of the year. He has coached for 32 years or however long it's been and we've been lucky and these opportunities don't come along that often. Certainly for two linebackers who are 32 or 31, or however old Tedy is, 33, we're on borrowed time already. I think that whatever opportunity we can seize and whatever chance we can seize now, it going to be good for us."

(on Addai compared with Edgerrin James)
"Edge was a great back for them. I really think he had that scheme down. You look at Joseph and he runs with a lot of power and fresh legs. The guy's slimmer than [Laurence] Maroney. Coming into training camp, you could see that those were legs of a 21-year-old running back. There's a lot of power and a lot of speed through the hole. Both him and [Dominic] Rhodes did a good job last week when they needed it late in the game against arguably the best defense in the league, running the ball 12 out of 13 plays and chewing up the clock and winning that game for them down the stretch."


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