Locker room chatter, 1/24

Posted on January 24, 2008 
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Here’s some locker room chatter taken from this morning’s media availability

Bill Belichick on whether or not this week feels like a division game, having played the Giants alreday this year?
I think it’s sort of like a division game. When you’ve played a team once earlier in the year and your familiar with your opponent moreso than a team you haven’t played … I don’t think it’s an advantage for either team — both teams are working from the same point. But it’s just more familiarity.

There’s a little bit of that game that you go through any time you play a team the second time in a season — actually, this is the third time, counting the preseason. There’s a little bit of that. But I think the familiarity, it helps coaches, it helps the players. Just gives you a higher starting point in your preparations. But I don’t think it favors either team. There’s just more information.

Ellis Hobbs
Does this feel like a division game?
It kind of flashed through my head while I was watching the film today. It was like, ‘Man, we’ve already played these guys three times,’ between the preseason, the regular season and now. That’s how you have to look at it. It’s a great opportunity for film study. You’ve seen those guys. You know what they’re going to do. There’s going to be wrinkles here and there. You have to decide what can we do to get the best game plan out there and execute.

What’s the line between dirty play and nasty play?
It’s arbitrary. Whatever the refs see as being dirty. Some guys view that as hard, physical football. Other people say that it’s dirty. I don’t think anyone goes out there intentionally to hurt players. I just can’t see that, because I don’t. But there’s a time where you have to be a lot more physical in a game. There are certain games where you have to be physical in, and you have to stand up and not be intimidated by the opponent. I think the last time we played the Giants, that was one of those games where both teams refused to back down. The comments that were made, or whatever has been made — I haven’t even heard them — I hope from my teammates and theirs as well, they would understand that it was both ways. It was hard, physical football both ways and that it wasn’t that one side was taking cheap shots at the other and the other side was just sitting there taking it.

Rodney Harrison
What do you tell the new guys who haven’t been to a Super Bowl before how to prepare?
Just focus on the Super Bowl. We’re out there for one thing, and that’s to win a football game. We’re not out there to party. Spend some time with your family, but all the other side distractions, keep them away from yourself, do the right thing and just focus on the game.

Are you approaching this like it’s a division game?
We approach it like it’s the Super Bowl. It’s the most important game we’ve played in our lives. It’s a very important game, a game where we need to go out there and just do what we’ve been doing and continue to get better and win. I’ve been on the other side of losing and you don’t want that. Our No. 1 priority is to win.

What can you take from that game against the Giants earlier this year?
They have a good team. They’re physical, they’re big. They have a lot of weapons. But at the same time, we didn’t play particularly well on defense, and that’s something we look to improve on. We did a lot of things terribly, and we really need to improve on that. We won a ballgame. They’re a different team than a month ago. I feel like we’re a different team. Both teams are heading into this game with a lot of confidence and we’ll see what happens.

Is red-zone defense one of those things you want to improve on?
It’s a contrast from the last time we played against San Diego. We gave up four touchdowns (in the red zone against the Giants). We gave up four field goals (in the red zone against the Giants). A big difference. That saves you 16 points. Obviously, we’re disappointed. They put up 35 points, but at the same time, we learn from it and move forward. That’s a month ago. That has no relevance to next week.

Is there a fine line between hard-nosed football and dirty play sometimes?
Of course there is, but that’s not up to me to judge. We go out and play the game hard, and if someone wants to think that we’re a certain way, or someone else is a certain way, that’s on them. But our game is to really be physical and play whatever game you want to play, whether it’s finesse or physical. You want to match up with us intellectually? We can do that as well. That’s for you guys to judge.


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