TB: Sure. No, I mean, you guys were all there. Things come up in practice a lot of times and it’s certainly a physical game. Different guys get knocked around at different times. I got knocked around. Just like I said earlier today, we tried to be smart about what we were doing. I was able to go out and get some treatment and get back to work. That’s where I like to be the most.
Q: It wasn’t scary for you at all when you went down?
TB: Anytime you go down it’s a little scary, but that’s the sport. It happens in the games, it happens in practice and I’m certainly not the first or the last to have it happen. I’m fortunate that it wasn’t very bad, so like I said I was able to get treatment and get back out on the field with my teammates and get back to work.
Q: But you realize why there was so much attention?
TB: Sure, and I hate to do that because I don’t want to make a big fuss about it. But at that time I didn’t have too much of a choice, so you just roll with it. It wasn’t my decision. It’s nice to go out there and play and go out and play against a good team in Tampa. We had good days of practice and now we come back to our own practices and get focused on Detroit because that’s kind of what we have to do now. It was a good day of practice and everyone’s getting into game mode. It’s been fun to play two back-to-back games and we’ve got another one that’s happening quickly on a short week. I’m excited to get out there and play.
Q: One thing that came up was that you weren’t wearing your knee brace that day. Do you go back and forth on that or have you just not been wearing it?
TB: I just have never really worn it for practice.
Q: When did you realize it was ok and how much of a relief was it for you?
TB: As soon as I got inside and had our trainers get a chance to look at it. There’re a lot worse injuries that I’ve had and a lot of guys have played with far worse. Like I said, I felt bad that it got the attention that it did because a lot of guys deal with a lot of stuff on a daily basis. I’m just lucky to be out here. After what happened to me in 2008, I love coming out to practice and playing and nothing is as exciting as that for me, so I take every day and I enjoy it because there is no place I’d rather be.
Q: Do the numbers and the results in these first two games reflect the way you feel you’ve been playing this preseason?
TB: Well yeah, and it’s about team football. It’s about our whole team being on the same page and the anticipation of what we’re trying to do as an offense. Offensive football is always about 11 guys being on the same page. We’ve done a decent job of that the first two weeks in the preseason and those are good test runs for us. And we have another one. It’s all build up for one thing, and that’s the opener. This week it’s Detroit and we’re going to try to see if we can work hard to be on the same page so we can go out and produce against Detroit. They’ve got a very good team, a very challenging front and it will be a big test.
Q: Do you look at those numbers and results as a gauge of yourself and when you think you’re ready for the season? Or are there other milestones in your mind you want to hit before you’re ready?
TB: We’re just going through the days of practice. You don’t wish these practices away; you need these practices to develop the team, develop your conditioning and your toughness and all of these things. You just take it day by day. You don’t try to overlook teams or preseason games or [say] ‘Am I ready? Am I not ready? Should I rest? Should I not rest?’ I mean, every team reports at the same time. Every team’s got four preseason games except for the two teams that play in the Hall of Fame game and they get five, so they get a little more preparation. So it’s good to get the game prep and it’s good to get the pressure of another team and see different fronts and coverages and blitz packages and different situations. It’s all helpful. You can never have enough practice and that’s how I feel. I approach practice very seriously.
Q: How much can you emphasize to the young players who haven’t gone through a preseason that you really haven’t seen all of what they will try to do in season?
TB: You try to tell them. You tell that to everybody. Coach tells that to all of us. Look, we’re not showing everything that we do, just like every other team’s not showing what they’re going to do. There are some things that you want to keep close to the vest and that’s just how football is. Part of it is putting together a game plan and you have things that you already know you do well that we practice that we don’t use. That’s just what football’s all about. And you do that every week, so you try to figure out what a team does well, what a team doesn’t do well, and then game plan around that.
Q: Do you start trying to anticipate those things that maybe a Buffalo or a Jets team might do?
TB: Sure, yeah. You always have an idea of what they’re going to do. It usually plays itself out pretty quickly when you get out on the field. There’s one thing about scouting reports and percentages and ‘this team is a 50 percent blitz team’ – but when you’re out there playing, you’re reacting. You can’t come off the field and go ‘Coach, you said they were only going to blitz 15 percent of the time but they blitzed twice in a row.’ You know? You just go with what you see. So it’s good to have those things in your mind and study for them, especially on a week like this. There’s a lot of emphasis always put on the third preseason game and everyone’s going to play long. But it’s just more of a – you feel like you’re in a little bit of a game plan week and you want to go out and you want to do well. Even though it’s not going to overall count in your standings, obviously they’re all important games in preparation for the season.
Q: Does an experience like you had last Wednesday change your thinking on wearing the brace at practice going forward?
TB: I had it today, so everyone was very pleased.
Q: Is that just temporary until you get the ok from the medical team or is that going forward?
TB: Mr. Kraft felt pretty strongly about me wearing it. He said, ‘what’s the problem?’ I said, ‘I’ll wear it. I’ll wear it.’ Sometimes when you wear the brace a lot then you get used to wearing the brace. I like to keep a nice strong leg. If it wasn’t strong, then something bad would have happened.
Q: So he was a little panicked?
TB: He wasn’t panicked. No, he’s never very panicked. He’s always very composed.
TB: I didn’t, no. I just got a bunch of calls and emails, and there were a lot of people that took time out of their day which was pretty thoughtful and I appreciate it, but I just wish it wasn’t under those circumstances.
Q: Do you ever feel like you’re ready for the season? Is it after week four, or is it this third week that’s kind of that important week? Do you ever feel ready or do you feel just like ‘one day at a time, one practice at a time’?
TB: I think it’s that. I always feel like I can do more and prepare more and study more and work more, get better footwork and throwing mechanics and timing. So as much time as I can get, I’ll take. We’ve got two games and so it’s coming quickly. We’ve been at camp now for quite a while, we’re still in camp, so we’ve just got to be able to keep plugging away.
Q: It’s about the middle of training camp – do you have a better idea of where the offense is? You’ve got a lot of young pieces out there in Zach Sudfeld, Kenbrell Thompkins, Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce; how are the young guys coming along compared to some of the young guys you’ve worked with in the past?
TB: They’ve got a lot of opportunity, that’s the thing. They’ve been there a lot, much more opportunity than some guys get in certain years when you have a lot of veteran players at certain positions. The more opportunity, the better you get. They had a lot of opportunity the other night, KT and Aaron and Josh at the receiver position, with Danny [Amendola], what Julian [Edelman]’s been able to do coming back from his injury, and Sudfeld, he’s had a lot of opportunity. Guys are trying to make the most of it, find their role, and as you see on a daily basis, guys that keep making plays keep making plays. You love seeing that.
Q: They call this the dress rehearsal week, so is this kind of another checkpoint for those young guys to see how they handle game plan and learning what a defense is doing?
TB: I think they’re all important. Last week was important, this week is important because it is the week we have. Nothing’s going to simulate what happens on opening day. That has a different feeling than any of these games; that’s just the way it is. But this is an important game because it’s an important step in our process to see where we’re at as a team. We’re going on the road, tough environment, we went there a few years ago and didn’t do very well, which we’ve already heard about that for three days now, so we’re going to have to do better than we did the last time.
Q: Do you see that talent in these young kids? Are you pretty excited about what you see talent-wise? Obviously they’re trying to learn, but what are you seeing from them as they develop?
TB: Sure, I think all of them are talented, and in the NFL you have to be talented to make plays on a consistent basis. It’s more of the consistency and the dependability. Anybody can go out and make one good play, but if you go out and make a bad play after that, I mean you can’t win football games that way. You’ve got to do it day in and day out, week in week out, and that’s how you get to be a good team. That’s how you get to be a really good player and you contribute. But the dependability and the more dependable guys you can have the better your team is going to be.
Q: Do they have that maturity? Have you seen that yet?
TB: They’ve worked their butts off to get to this point. I’m not the talent evaluator or scout or anything like that, I just love having them as teammates and have been impressed with their work ethic. Any time I ask them to stay after and throw and to work and talk about routes, that’s what we do. So they still want to learn, they still want to get better. Hopefully they want to do that for a real long time.
Q: At this point in camp, given all the new parts involved, are you personally as far along as you were in years past, in terms of development of the offense and working with everybody else? Are you where you want to be?
TB: It’s hard to say. I’m glad we have this week to prepare, next week, and then the game week. We’ve got a lot of time before our first game and we’re going to need to use all of it. I certainly will use all of it. I like to prepare a certain way, and it doesn’t feel like I’m quite ready for that first day. I need all of the days I can get, and we’ve got three weeks.
Q: What type of challenge do you see from Ndamukong Suh and this Detroit defense?
TB: Well, they’re all very good. I mean, they’ve got [Nick] Fairley and Suh [who] are as good as anybody in the league. They’re tough, physical, hard-nosed, they play for 60 minutes. We’ve had preseason games against them. We played against them on Thanksgiving a few years ago. Talk about talent, they’ve got all the talent in the world, so it’ll be a good test for us.