Q: How much do you find yourself looking back at things that you learned in New England?
MC: That’s a great question. I think I constantly refer back to some of the things that I learned in New England and throughout my career. It was a great stepping stone, and it also gave me time to mature as a player and as a quarterback. I got to learn from one of the best in the game to ever play the game in Tom [Brady], and he was such a great mentor to me. Not only that, but the way that they prepared, the attitude they had, the way they went about their business – I really carried that to every place that I’ve gone. At first when I first went to the Chiefs, there was a huge transition from what we had done in New England to a team that was rebuilding. I think I thought every team handled it the same way. I still refer back and use a lot of the things I learned in New England even now today.
Q: How much confidence did your 2008 season with the Patriots give you?
MC: A tremendous amount of confidence obviously. I think that everybody was skeptical – probably even to a point myself – when I first got the nod and got the opportunity because I hadn’t started a game since high school. But at the same time, I knew through my preparation and also working diligently throughout the course of the week and also over the years that I had the ability to do it. Then it was just a process of getting out there and getting the game time action. I think they also do a great job of preparing their backups because throughout preseason I would always play. I would always start that fourth preseason game. I felt good about where I was in terms of knowledge of the offense, and then they put me in a position to be successful, and the guys did a great job around me.
Q: Miami seemed to run all over the Patriots last week. You guys have a great running back in Adrian Peterson. What kind of changes are you anticipating heading into this week?
MC: Obviously, the Miami Dolphins – you’ve got to take your hat off to them. They did a tremendous job up front of blocking those guys. Anybody who knows the New England Patriots, they always make adjustments and then come back even stronger after a loss. I know that all those guys are working hard and I’m sure there will be changes that they make in terms of scheme and everything else to get it figured out.
Q: Do you still have fond memories of New England and Kansas City?
MC: There is no doubt. I always keep track because I still know a lot of guys on both of those teams. I always keep track of the teams that I’ve played for. I want to see them have success other than when it’s against us obviously. At the same time, I’m always cheering for those guys, and I’ve got great memories of New England and my days there as well.
Q: Is there anyone on the Patriots you still keep up with?
MC: Tommy [Brady] and I are really close, and we keep in contact all the time. Even in the offseason, we golf and work out sometimes and do those things. We still talk once every few weeks, and that’s just the relationship we’ve had since I’ve been there.
Q: What is the most important thing you learned from Tom Brady while you were here?
MC: I think I really took a lot away from his leadership, and I think a lot of it came from how he dealt with different situations, how he dealt with different players because he didn’t treat everybody the same. Sometimes, there were times at which he’d get after a player on the field, and then there were other times where he’d pull certain players aside in the locker room and had a one-on-one conversation because he thought he could get more out of it. So, a lot of it was leadership. I just remember when I was probably in my first or second year, I forgot a motion, and he got after me on it, and he was like, ‘You can’t make mistakes like that because you can’t be the guy who’s the leader in the huddle and trying to tell other people that they need to be in the right spot when you’re making mistakes.’ That has always stuck with me as I’ve gone forward in my career.
Q: How good is Cordarrelle Patterson now, and how good can he be?
MC: I think he is still growing as a player, and I think he’ll be the first one to tell you that. But at the same time, you can tell that he has amazing physical attributes. He can run, he’s shifty, and when you get the ball in his hands in space, it’s hard for a single tackler to bring him down. I think as long as he keeps growing at the receiver position, he could be very, very good.
Q: Is Adrian Peterson everything you thought he would be, and how much easier does he make things for you?
MC: It’s been amazing. Adrian is a special player. He’s been a special player since he’s come into the league. The way that he works absolutely blows my mind each and every day. He doesn’t take days off. He comes into work with a purpose each and every day. He also is a great teammate, like you said, in terms of my job. It always alleviates some pressure off the quarterback position when you can run the ball, and then teams have to come up and load the box in order to stop him. When that happens, you get a lot of one-on-one coverage on the outside, and that’s always great for a quarterback because you’re looking for the mismatch.
Q: Is it a strange existence in the NFL, where everything seems kind of temporary, especially at the quarterback position?
MC: If you look at my career, I know that. Even when Tommy [Brady] went down and we just kind of closed ranks and we went on to go 11-5, and he was a guy that you never thought was going to be off the field. It’s just one of those things in the NFL, especially in the environment that we are now, with the media and everything else. You know you have to go out and perform week-in and week-out in order to stay on the field. It’s all about consistency, especially at the quarterback position because, like you said, it seems like in a number of different places there is always a revolving door. If you’re not getting it done, there’s somebody else they’re going to give an opportunity to.
Q: What’s your impression after watching film of the Patriots secondary?
MC: They’ve got [Darrelle] Revis back there, and you always have to take him into account because he has tremendous ball skills, and he’s a tremendous player. And then they do some different things with personnel. I know that they have [Patrick] Chung and [Devin] McCourty now playing safety there. They’ve got Alfonzo Dennard at the right corner position. They use a lot of different personnel groups there. And then when they go nickel and dime, they switch it up and try to create some advantageous matchups for them when they’re matched up against tight ends. It’s one of those things where they do a lot to help those guys, and then they create doubles in the secondary as well to not always put people on an island.