Tedy Bruschi joins Dale & Holley
|11.17.09 at 1:42 pm ET|
Former Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi joined “Dale & Holley” on Tuesday morning to talk about the Patriots and the Colts. Here are some highlights of the Q&A:
Dale Arnold: Tedy Bruschi is with us. Hey Tedy … how are you doing?
Tedy Bruschi: I’m doing alright guys, how’s it going?
Michael Holley: It’s kind of quiet..
TB: Yeah, real quiet right?
MH: Yeah, not much conversation from Patriots/Colts Sunday night … Now, you came out and you wrote a great column that this really sends a message to the defense. Let’s go back before that — you see the game happening in real time, fourth and two, your thoughts when you’re seeing that unfold.
TB: I said it many times already this week, I think the right call was to punt. I mean, I’m a defensive player, I have a defensive mentality, and I thought that game, the defense was having success against Peyton Manning during that whole game, they got a couple of interceptions, few three-and-outs, yes Peyton was getting some momentum going in the fourth quarter but still, you give the defense an opportunity to go out there and get a stop in a two-minute situation with possibly 70 yards, you know Peyton has to drive the Colts down the field and that’s how I feel.
DA: Tedy, you’ve been out there, on defense against Peyton Manning in situations where he was staging a comeback in the past. What does he do, what kind of pressures does he put on the defense that makes it so hard for the defense almost physically to keep up with him?
TB: Well, he keeps attacking. There really isn’t any type of quit in his game, I think early on in his career we were able to get in his head and you saw all the antics with him and the look of confusion on his face when he played against us years back, but he eventually started to figure things out and become more mature, so he just kept on attacking the defense and attacking the defense. And eventually, he always tries to find that right receiver to make the right plays and the right throw.
MH: And Tedy I know you watch all the games and you were watching this one pretty closely. If you had to say three things that lead to the loss here form the Patriots. Because we all say, Bill Belichick not punting, but there were some things that I saw in that game and I’m wondering what you saw as the expert that really contributed to the loss.
TB: I felt maybe one more big defensive play was needed, whether it would have been on a two-minute drive or whether it would have been 30 yards to go. I know that’s asking a lot, you put them on the 28-yard line, but still, as a defense you go out there and that’s the situation you’re presented with, so you try to come up with a big play. So maybe another big play to stop them from scoring on that last drive. Maybe holding onto the ball. Laurence Maroney fumbled the ball but really that’s not a big issue either because of the Wes Welker return, we’re nitpicking now, let’s talk about a field goal. Maybe turning a field goal into a touchdown, seven points rather than three. That’s nitpicking guys, but I think we all know that when we talk about that fourth-and-2, that’s really the situation that the whole game sort of revolves around.
DA: I understand completely that if you were a member of the New England Patriots, the opinions that you’ve expressed in the piece that you wrote would not have been expressed. I understand that if you’re in that locker room, you don’t say it. I understand and actually agree with that. But wouldn’t there still be doubts in your mind if you were in that locker room, even if you don’t say it.
TB: If I’m in that locker room, I still say it. I still say it, but I talk to Matt Patricia about it, I talk to Dean Pees about it, I talk to Bill Belichick about it. This isn’t the first time I’ve disagreed with Coach Belichick or the defensive coaches. There have been many arguments in meeting rooms with myself and Mike Vrabel or Rodney Harrison where we feel something should be done a certain way and the coaches feel something should be done the other way and we sort of work it out that that time. There are times during the game, where we feel something should be done and the coaches feel like something else should be done, and you work it out. You work it out within themselves, so this is the type of discussions that happen inside the locker room when I was there. When strong personalities like Harrison and Vrabel were there we worked things out, we let our opinions be known, and I think that’s what made us a better team. We let them know how we saw things as players and they took that into account.
MH: See, I agree with that and that leads me to my next question. Who is most likely leading that discussion from the defensive side right now from the Patriots, if anybody.
TB: I think its one of two people — it’s either Vince Wilfork or it’s Jerod Mayo. Two highly respected guys that really do things the right way and are somewhat verbal. Of course Jerod’s the captain also, and there are those captain meetings every Friday where you go in, you talk to Bill, and you sort of discuss topics of the week and concerns that you may have. And Bill does a great job of listening and that’s where you get things worked out but that’s how things get worked out in the locker room. I mean defensively guys, if you’re a championship caliber player you want to be on the field in a two-minute situation with the game on the line. 70 yards at my back, those are the situations you dream of that you want. And if you aren’t upset you didn’t get that opportunity, something’s wrong with you. You should be upset about it because you want to be the one to win the game. Yes, coach Belichick believed Tom Brady’s his best player, I’m going to put the ball in his hands and that’s how I think we should win he game, you’re okay with hat sure. That’s the decision coach Belichick makes, you go with it. But still, inside, you still have that little bit of man, I wish he had the confidence in me to go out there and make that play. So it sort of motivates you, it sends a message of motivation, but initially, you feel that way, you feel emotional, you feel upset you should feel that you wanted to be the one out there to win the game, and that’s the attitude of a winning defensive player.
MH: You sound like you still got the fire to play, man.
TB: Guys, that’s all I was when I played. I was heart. I was emotion, I felt things, I expressed things. That’s the way I played, that’s the only way I knew how to play. I wasn’t the biggest, the fastest, or the strongest — you saw me out there. But my emotions are what helped me succeed and what helped those teams succeed. The emotions of players like myself, and Rodney, and Vrabel, and Seymour. I mean these are players that you play with emotion – you play championship defense with emotion, and when you don’t get that chance, you get a little bit irked because you want to be the one to be looked at, coach looks at you and says – go win the game. You want that opportunity.
MH: Tedy how is that feedback, that criticism so to speak of the coaches, how is that received? Is that encouraged, or is it dealt with? In other words, some people want you to disagree with them – they ask you to do it. And other people, they don’t necessarily want you to do it, but if you do it, they deal with it and there’s a resolution. So where do the Patriots and the coaching staff, which category do they fall into.
TB: I think they welcome it absolutely. I think they welcome it because it shows you care. It shows you care as a player, you care about the decisions that are made, you care about wanting to be looked at as the best on the team, to be looked at in the most critical situations. I hope that that’s what the defensive players are feeling that they wanted to be out there and this is the way they feel because then it shows that they feel like they’re the ones that could have won the game. But Bill is very strong about his opinions too and I respect that. I mean Bill is the best coach in the NFL by far, and the decision he made to go for it was his decision and if I was a player on the team right now, I’d respect the decision. I respect it, but I can still disagree with it. I can still disagree with it, but you know what Tuesday is? It’s moving on Tuesday. It’s moving on, talk about it on Monday, you feel the feelings you feel but come Tuesday, you get in there, you watch some extra film, you get back to the New York Jets and everything else is behind you.
DA: Tedy, in your opinion, is part of Bill’s decision based on the fact that I believe Peyton Manning and the Colts have won four of the last five meetings against the Patriots or five of the last six, whatever the number is, and shootouts as well — in the back of his mind is eh thinking, we gotta outscore him, because we haven’t been able to slow him down any.
TB: You know, I believe him when he says this was my best chance to win. I believe him when he says Tom Brady is my best player, Kevin Faulk give you the best chance to complete that ball, this is the play we knew about for this situation and this is what we’re going to go with. I believe him when he says that. I believe him.
DA: You said this is moving on Tuesday. Do you believe when they go back into those offices tomorrow and they go back onto the practice field tomorrow, they’ll forget about Sunday night and it’ll be over with?
TB: I believe so. Because there’s a feeling that you have all the way to that team meeting on Wednesday. You get to the team meeting on Wednesday still living this loss a little bit. But then you get talking about the New York Jets. Once you get the game plan from the defense. Then your mind is on your next goal. Then your mind is on what you have to do this week vs. players like Faneca and Mangold and Sanchez and Revis — you start thinking about those players and that helps you move on from it. But a lot of guys get in there today, they watch their extra film, and they move on today because you’re thinking about something else.
MH: Since the last time we talked, about a month and a half ago, something in there, what have you seen from this defense — how could you characterize this. Because I’ve always said to Dale, this year, I really don’t know what the defense is despite the good performances they put out there. I’m not sure what their personality is and what their strengths and weaknesses are. What do you see?
TB: I’ve seen nothing but positive development, especially from the secondary. I think Darius Butler’s doing good things. Wilhite and Bodden — they’re showing up, making big plays last Sunday night versus the Colts. And I see development along the front especially with the linebackers. And that’s what gets me back to Sunday night and talking about that going for it – I wanted to see them develop more. I wanted to see them in that situation versus Peyton Manning and that 70 yards. I wanted to see them. I mean, everybody talks about there were players in the past that were there that Belichik had phased in that had made big plays and now the defense is sort of revamped and you got new names, but to give them the opportunity to become the new big name, to become the new star. And who knows, Jerod Mayo may make a play and now its his opportunity to say, that Mayo kid, boom, there he is. Or Wilhite or Meriweather, you know give those guys the opportunity, the chance, that’s why I was watching that game and I was like, man, I wanted to see those guys in that situation to see what they were able to do.
MH: See, I’m convinced, that in 2003, and I was at that game, it was a great finish. That goal-line game, so to speak, if Bill had tried that in 2003, if you guys had a fourth and two and he went for it without giving you guys an opportunity to play defense – I think you guys would have assaulted him on the sideline.
TB: We might have. And those were the strong personalities that were there. You know, McGinest leading the way with those strong personalities and myself.
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