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Patriots conference call
Interesting interviews with Wilfork and Slater leading up to the game.
Posted 1 hour ago
PATRIOTS DL VINCE WILFORK
JANUARY 8, 2013
Q: Do you guys account for the fact that the Texans may feel like they owe you one after the regular season game?
VW: Yeah, we know that. They didnít play their best game. They know that and we know that. Come Sunday we are expecting their best. Itís all or nothing from here on out and for us; we have to be able to execute. If we donít execute, weíll have troubles. First, it starts with their running game. It starts with [Arian] Foster Ė the more touches that he gets, in the passing game or on the ground, the better that team is. But Iím pretty sure theyíre sitting down there saying, ĎYou know what? They played us in the regular season and things didnít go well.í We basically outplayed them and they feel that they are a better football team and they are a better football team. Thereís a reason that theyíre in the postseason and thereís a reason that weíre in the postseason. So I donít think anything from that game is going to play a huge factor. I think it will give them more momentum or give them more of an edge that they will want to come back up here and face us and try to beat us in Foxborough. So we can control what we can control, and thatís going to practice and working hard and trying to fix little kinks and stuff. We had a good chance to get back to work last week. We had two days of good practices, working on things that we think can help us moving forward. But itís going to come down to execution Ė thatís what itís going to boil down to. A bunch of guys making plays Ė who can make the most plays and who can execute well. Thatís what this game is going to boil down to.
Q: What are some of the challenges of facing a team that runs a zone blocking scheme?
VW: Well always cut blocks. Thatís something that they do very, very well. Their zone running scheme, stretch runs [and they] mix in a couple scheme runs. But playing cut blocks is always a big challenge when youíre facing a team like this because it seems like Ė I donít care if youíre getting cut on the front side or the back side, that running back sees it and he hits it right off that cut block. So up front itís going to be very important for us to try to stay on our feet and make sure that we are playing our blocks pretty good. And hopefully everybody around us is doing the same thing. But itís always tough. Any team that runs the ball the way they run the ball and has the play-action and the bootlegs and all the stuff that comes after that, itís a big challenge for us. But weíve faced it, weíve seen it a bunch of times, so we kind of know how we want to play this game. If we play it the way that we need to play it, weíll be OK.
Q: Although Arian Foster did not do much against you guys in the regular season, he is coming off a great game against Cincinnati. Do you expect to see that kind of performance?
VW: Absolutely. I expect to see the best. Whatever they have, I expect to see it Ė the kitchen sink if itís called for. But last week you saw why this guy is one of the top offensive players in the game Ė not just a back, but a top offensive player in the game Ė the things that he can do with the ball in his hands in the pass game and running it. Heís a great blocker when they ask him to block. I mean heís a special player and we understand that. We know it starts with their running game. I mean you canít x-out the receiver, Andre Johnson, you canít x-out [Owen] Daniels, you canít x-out the quarterback [Matt Schaub] and you canít ex-out their Pro Bowl size. Theyíre well put together and the last time we played them, they didnít play as well. So, Iím pretty sure that theyíre going to come out here fired up and ready to play this week.
Q: You must have been pretty happy that you guys built an early lead in the last game and were able to take Arian Foster out of the game. Is it a huge relief for you to see the offense come out like that?
VW: Well anytime that you can get a team one dimensional thatís a big plus. Every team tries to do that. We try to do it, Iím pretty sure Houston tries to do it. It just bottles up a bunch of things when you can get a team like that one-sided; knowing when you can expect the pass, you can expect this and you can expect that. But when a team is on track and when they are running the ball good and throwing the ball good and the play action is good and the special teams are good, itís tough. So you have to be able to play 60 minutes of good football. So weíre at the time now where weíre going to have to play that. Weíre definitely going to have to play that from here on out. But starting with this game first, we have to put it together for one game and then move forward hopefully.
Q: Do you get an added sense of excitement at this time of the year? You have played a number of big games over your career, but is there still a step up in adrenaline for you?
VW: Absolutely. I mean, you lose and you go home, plain and simple. Thereís no more next week or next time that we face them. Youíre talking about next season. So we all have to be at our best. I have to be at my best, my teammates have to be at their best and the coaches have to be at their best. Coach [Belichick] has done a great job this year putting us in situations that make us successful. So hopefully we can carry it on, but we all have to raise it a notch just a little bit. Going forward weíre going to have to play like that. Like I said, hopefully this isnít our last game. We go into this game like our backs are against the wall. You lose and you go home. Thatís reality. Thereís nothing else to it. You canít sugar coat it; you lose and you go home, you win and you move on. We want to win and we have to do everything that we can to try to win. It starts in practice.
Q: For you specifically, what have been the physical benefits of the bye week? Do you feel like a new man after a few days off?
VW: I mean you could take it however you want to take it, but I think everybody treats it different. For me, it was doing what I needed to do to feel good. [i] still worked out, got a chance to watch football, got a chance to enjoy my family and got a chance to get away. Just clear your head and prepare for whatís soon to come hopefully. Thatís how I approached it. Just knowing my level of play had to go up and my teammatesí level of play had to go up. So the best way to do that is to show; lead by example. A lot of times people think you have to talk; you donít have to talk a lot. If you go to work and everybody sees that youíre boosting your level of play, theyíll follow. Thatís my goal. Go out to practice today and boost our level of play up and hopefully guys can see that and hopefully I can bring some guys with me. We have a great group of guys now. Iím pretty sure that theyíll be ready, theyíll be excited [and] they should be. Weíve worked very, very hard to get to this point, but we canít stop now. We canít stop now, especially if we want to continue to play. So we have to do whatever it takes to win.
Q: How much do you think playoff experience matters?
VW: Well it only matters if you make it matter. You have to understand whatís at stake. I think thatís the biggest thing, for this team to understand where weíre at [and] what itís going to take to win. Thatís when you talk about how many times youíve been in the postseason and stuff like that. But if you canít put it out and you canít execute, I donít care how many times youíve been at this level or how many games youíve played in the postseason, it wonít matter. It will not matter. So we have guys that have been here before and we have guys that havenít been here before. So our job is to make these guys understand what it takes to win, especially in a situation like this. Like I said, we have some good teammates Ė great teammates. They understand what we need to do to go out and perform our best. We just have to go out and execute.
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