Player Diary

‘He was an owner that I know anybody would love to play for' Mr. Mara was a true giant. He was an owner that I know anybody would love to play for. He was a guy that was always in this locker room, through wins and losses, up times and down. He was just a special individual. He came and talked to the players and cared about the players. He'd give anything to win.

When we went to the Super Bowl in 2000, he looked so happy afterward holding that NFC Championship trophy. That was a special memory for everyone, because we all knew how much it meant to him. It was a good feeling to be a part of that. Even though we didn't go all the way, it still was a great moment for him.

As a team, we haven't yet spoken about the rest of the season, but I'm sure everybody wants to dedicate the rest of the season to him. I don't want to put anything on this team unjustly, but I'm sure we'll do something in his remembrance throughout the season.

I remember when I was injured for the first time. When I came in and saw him, I'd always ask him how he was doing. He'd always say ‘don't worry about me, how are you doing?' He was worried about my rehab and my recovery. That means a lot coming from an owner and a guy of his stature. A real pioneer of this league, he really cared about the individual players here. He really took a part in everybody's personal situation, like me and my injury.

I saw him about two weeks ago, and I knew he wasn't in the best of health. I was hoping and praying that he'd get better. Unfortunately he didn't. Going into the Broncos game, Coach said a couple of words to us about how Mr. Mara wasn't in his best condition. So we went into the game knowing that and extremely happy to get that win.

Even though we look at all games as must-wins, the game against the Redskins really has special meaning to us. The last game he saw we were able to win. We know he's going to be looking down on us so it would be great to be able to get a win for him.

This year, I can't say I'm all that surprised with how we're playing. Actually, we feel like we could be and should be 5-1. But that's how it is with a lot of teams in this league. A lot of teams have an optimistic view that their teams are going to be better than they really are. At 4-2, we're happy where we're at, but we're not satisfied. We just want to keep improving on that. Each week, every game becomes bigger and bigger, especially once you start winning.

There's no question in our minds that we have as good a chance as anybody. Every team realizes that every season there's a team or two that kind of comes up and contends. Even though New England's been winning the last couple years, there are teams you wouldn't expect that are getting closer to that championship.

I just think we need to pay more attention to detail defensively. If we focus on the little things, that will make us better. For the most part, we're doing the right things, we're doing the big things. We can hold teams to third down, but then we can't get off the field on third down. That's important. We just need to pay attention to detail and we'll be OK. I have the utmost confidence in our personnel here. Like I said, I think a little more attention to detail and we'll be fine. Focusing on the little things can pay off in a big way.

Of course every player wants to play and anybody that's a competitor would be frustrated as I am that I haven't been playing that much lately. But I just take the mindset that I practice hard every day and have to be prepared for anything that arises and just be there for my team when they need me. But of course as a competitor, you always want to be out there on the field.

I feel I've been playing well when I'm out there, but you'd have to ask the coaches about that. Obviously, I'm biased when it comes to that topic. I try to work and produce when I'm out there and hopefully catch the eyes of the coaching staff and whoever else is looking out there that has to make a decision on me.

It's a really tough situation to be in. There's no question it's really tough. I'm used to being a starter and contributing to this team a lot. But I just try to focus on the good things. Coming off two knee surgeries and still being out there and able to play in the NFL is something that's special to me. That's really what I try to focus on. I just try to enjoy myself when I'm here at practice and just work my butt off every chance I get.

It sure is fun to watch Eli improve. He's been doing exceptionally well. He's a special player and he's done very well for us this year. He's been a pleasant surprise. Coming off last year you thought he might have a rocky start this year. But he's been throwing the ball so well. I really think that San Diego game was a big one for him, even though we didn't win that game. It was a hostile environment for him, but he came out and performed. I think that helped his confidence and he's been building off that momentum ever since. To come back with the game-winning drive against Denver was huge.

It sure makes it easier to play defense with him on your side and makes it easier on the whole team to know that with a special talent like him back there, no game's out of reach. He can get it done and he's proven that. That's definitely been a benefit for us.

Going forward, we still have a lot of unfinished business to take care of. We know that this league is very competitive and if we don't go out there and play our absolute best, it greatly diminishes our chances of winning. Personally, I'm just looking forward to continuing to contribute to this team at all times and be prepared to make plays when I'm out there.

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