Tedy Bruschi's return was a key moment for many Patriots fans, friends and teammates. Bruschi was the proud veteran leader in the middle of the Patriots defense in 2004 and has been unable to return to the field until last week. During his rehab from heart surgery and the effects of a mild stroke Bruschi suffered in February, his stance was that he would return next season, yet his competitive nature wouldn't allow for that. Bruschi has returned to be the veteran leader of an injury depleted linebacker unit, which had difficulty adjusting to the new faces of free agent acquisitions Monty Beisel and Chad Brown.
McGinest commented on the morale boost the return of Bruschi gave to the team.
WM: "It was good to have him back doing what he loves to do. I was just happy to see him out on the field. Of course he has that energy and that playmaking ability, but the biggest thing was seeing him back out there healthy playing."
Focusing on the Colts game this week, the questions turned toward the Patriots domination of the win loss record when the two teams meet. The Patriots have won seven of the last seven matches.
WM: "We just try to go out and play hard. I don't think it's any magical or special things that we do, or else everybody would be doing it. The Colts are a very good team. All of that has been in the past, as far as us winning. That was in the past. This is a new year. They're the best football team in the game right now, so we have our work cut out for us. They're playing really well."
Both the Colts and the Patriots have one of the best quarterbacks in the league. The comparisons made by local and national media members have put Tom Brady in the same sentence as Joe Montana and Peyton Manning in the same breath as Dan Marino. Brady and Manning's numbers and records speak for themselves, but what does McGinest think agree that they are the best in the league?
WM: "You could say that. We know ours is one of them, and of course Peyton, without a question, all he has accomplished and done, would have to be one of the top quarterbacks in the league."
Brady has been cast as the good guy, who can do little if anything wrong. He is labeled as a player whose selflessness has allowed his team and his teammates to share in his glory. How would McGinest describe Brady to those who are not familiar with him?
WM: "Well, he practices like he plays. He tries to get everything perfect, pays close attention to detail, works hard, studies hard, is in early. He's always trying to get the edge, so I'm pretty sure Peyton does the same from what I hear, the same thing. He gets a lot of film, understands what's going on all over the field, and that's why he's so good on top of his ability."
The discussion moved back to focus on questions about the Patriots defense. The team hasn't been the same since Ted Johnson, Rodney Harrison and Tedy Bruschi went out of the lineup. How much of a transition has it been for the team with those veteran players not available to help?
WM: "It's definitely different when you lose core guys like that. It's definitely different on the field, but the show must go on and other guys need to come in and step up and fill those shoes. That's just part of being a professional. When your number is called, you have to come in and do your job."
Does their absence mean that guys like Willie have to be more vocal?
WM: "You try to do that, but I think the best example is to try and lead by example on the field, just make plays and do what you're supposed to do."
The Patriots success in the past has enable them to post a remarkable post November record (39-5) over the past four years. What is the difference for the team in games after the first of November?
WM: "I don't know, I didn't even know that. That's pretty good. I hope we can keep that going. We just take one game at a time. We don't really worry about the rest of the schedule, what's going on, what's happened in the past. We just try to take one week at a time. We've been a little up and down, inconsistent, and we've been working really hard at getting consistent. Hopefully now it can kick in for the rest of the season, but it all starts with one week at a time."