Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning, as he prepares for Sunday's AFC championship game against the Ravens.
The Patriots are coming off a 45-10 rout of the Broncos on Saturday night, a game in which Brady faced little pressure from Denver's defensive line.
"We had great protection, there's no question about that," Brady said. "I thought those guys played well, really as they have all year. The offensive line has been our biggest strength on offense. It was that way in the regular season and it continues to be that in the playoffs. It was a great effort by those guys, and really all those guys that stepped in and moved spots. Logan [Mankins] is in there, and then Logan's not in there and other guys are adjusting. But they all played really exceptionally well, both in the run game and pass game. We'll have a good week of practice and face our toughest challenge this year."
Asked if the offense was in the zone, Brady said: "Well, I thought that a lot of guys played really well. A lot of guys were really on the same page. So, I thought that there were things we were definitely doing more to our level of expectation. And still, I think there's ways that we need to be able to improve. A couple of turnovers hurt us. But for the most part it was really a good, solid effort. I feel like you win the game, and then immediately you're thinking about the next game. So, there's not too much you take from the game other than winning and moving on. That's something we haven't done here in a while, and it was good to go out there and get a win."
Next up for the Patriots is a Ravens team that defeated the Texans on Sunday. Baltimore came to New England two years ago and left with a big win.
"The Ravens, they're the best team we've faced all year," Brady said. "There's no one that's going to overlook a team like that. It would be impossible to do. They present a ton of challenges in all three phases of the game. You watch them yesterday, they're physical, they're tough, they can cover. They've got some of the best players in the history of the NFL at their position, in [Terrell] Suggs and Ray Lewis and Ed Reed and Haloti Ngata. You've got phenomenal players there. We've really got our work cut out for us. We'll be excited about the challenge. We'll use the week to prepare like we always do, and really try to be at our best -- hopefully be better than we were this past Saturday night."
Following are more highlights from the conversation.
On if he was more intense than usual Saturday: "I try to approach it the same way every week. Because every week of the regular season's important. Then you get to the playoffs, and I'm sure everybody naturally there -- it's an emotional game. So, the focus obviously heightens, the awareness heightens. It's playoff football. Because you realize that if you throw an interception, if you fumble the ball, if you misread a coverage, that could be your season. It's not like in the regular season where you go, 'Oh, that's OK, we'll get them next week.' No, there's no next week. So, everything has to be right. And you try to make everything right. And when you make mistakes, you've got to say, 'OK, I made a mistake, I'm not going to make another one.' I thought our team really did a good job of that the other night.
"It's just really that time of year. You don't make any excuses for your mistakes. You just try to play as best as you can. And you try to prepare yourself as well as you can, and you go out there and you see what it looks like."
On if ending the three-game postseason losing streak was a motivation: "Not really. I didn't think about it like that. You know what it is. It's not like coach [Bill] Belichick need to say it. It's not like we need to have a big team meeting to talk about, 'Look, if we lose this game, the season's over.' You don't sit there and think about, man, we're losing the game. I really don't think that's part of our mindset. You show up to work, you put the preparation in, you focus on the things you need to focus on, which is how to play your best, which is game-planning, which is your scheme, which is your execution. And then you go out to practice and you go through it. If it doesn't look good, you've got to change some things and you move forward to the next day and the next day. And ultimately it's the game, and you go out there and you see what it looks like.
"Our preparation is solid. It's been that way all year. We've won nine straight, so that's been good for all of us. But it really means nothing now. Now, the slate's clean. And when that Baltimore game ended yesterday, we know the opponent. It really comes down to one game. Hopefully, we can be at our best for this one game."
On putting Aaron Hernandez in the backfield: "It was a bit of a new look that we haven't done. Aaron's pretty good with the ball in his hands. When you give him the ball, whether you throw it or hand it to him, he does a good job of making guys miss. We handed it to him on the first drive and he ran, I don't know, 40 yards  for a huge gain to get us going. Then we hit Wes [Welker] with a touchdown pass. Aaron's a threat back there. And then when you couple that with Rob [Gronkowski] and his ability to catch the ball, be an influence on the passing game, along with Wes, along with Deion [Branch]. And then with Danny [Woodhead] running the ball, and Benny [Green-Ellis] running the ball hard, it's a good group on offense."
On if the team tired of hearing about Tim Tebow: We never talked about it. And even when we talked about them the first time, when we played them in Denver, coach Belichick really had the team focused on Denver as an entire team. If you don't turn the TV on -- I think you could judge it based on the questions you get, but if you don't really get caught up in the hype, of the good or the bad, then you just focus on what you need to do. We knew that Denver was much more than a team than certainly one individual. And I think that's really what the team focused on. Whoever the media chooses chooses to hype, whatever player, we realize that -- I was focused on [Elvis] Dumervil. and [Von] Miller and their secondary and their coverage and their scheme and so forth. That's where our focus needed to be. I thought we did a good job of doing that."
To read a transcript of the conversation, check the It Is What It Is blog. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.
In the latest edition of the "It Is What It Is" podcast, Chris Price and CSNNE's Mike Giardi take a look at the Patriots offseason on both sides of the ball, try and get a handle on which new guys will make an impact first, and whether or not the Patriots have altered their style when it comes to drafting and developing wide receivers.
Mike Florio joined the program to discuss the Jets decision to release Tim Tebow, he said the situation is as disaster all around for the Jets and that the problems begins with owner Woody Johnson. Mike also said that he was disappointed with the Pats moving back in the first round.
One of the hardest working men in the biz, Mike Petraglia aka "Trags", sits down with Butch Stearns live in Foxborough to help break down all the latest Pats moves. He discusses his reaction to the trade in Round 1 and the guys those picks produced. Also, the boys talk about the decent trade the Pats made in acquiring LeGarrette Blount from Tampa Bay for Jeff Demps and a 7th rounder.
We check in with Danny Ainge for our first talk to him since the Celtics season ended last weekend. We talk about the future of the team, KG, Pierce, Doc Rivers and more, as Danny directly answers the rumors being floated by ESPN's Stephen A. Smith.
Jackie Mac joins the show to discuss the trade rumors swirling around Paul Pierce, KG, Doc Rivers and the Celtics. She also discusses the future of the Celtics head coach.
Stephen A. joined the program to discuss the trade rumors he has reported regarding a possible trade including Doc Rivers and the Clippers. Stephen A. also told the guys that he has heard that Danny and Doc may be tiring of working together.
John Farrell postgame press conference
Joe Castiglione and Dave O'Brien talked to David Ortiz after the Red Sox beat the Twins 12-5. Big Papi said that team chemistry is great, that the new guys see the Sox way of doing things.
Joe Castiglione talked to John Farrell before the second game against the Twins. The manager said that the Sox can win with small-ball or with big-ball.
Bruins rookie defenseman Matt Bartkowski has emerged as one of the young stars of the team and he joins Mut and Tom Caron to discuss his role on the team, why he's confident, and the trade that almost sent him to Calgary.
Andy Brickley joins the show to discuss the Bruins Game 1 win over the Rangers, the play of the three young Bruins defensemen, and the fatigue Jagr has shown on the ice.
Pierre McGuire joins Tom Caron and Mut to discuss the Bruins young defensemen, the intensity and energy level in the game, and the Rangers offense.
Shawn joined the program to discuss another overtime win for the Bruins. When asked about Game 7 against Toronto, Thornton said that he would like to keep his specific comments in the dressing room private, but acknowledged that he encouraged Tyler Seguin to up his play and it paid off in overtime.
Barry joined the guys to help breakdown the Bruins overtime win last night in game one. Barry said that he has rarely seen a team dominate as much as the Bruins yet be forced to an overtime.
Boomer joined the program to discuss the tough loss for his beloved Rangers. Boomer told the guys that Lundqvist will be better in game two and predicted a seven game series.
Millar joins the show to discuss the recent Sox slide, Jacoby Ellsbury's lack of power, and hitting in the big leagues.
We talk all things game one with Jack Edwards of NESN, and get to hear a little from Jack's Finnish protege as well.
We tackle four topics we haven't yet touched upon today.. Joe Thornton and disappointing former Boston athletes, parking in Boston, buying jersey numbers and more...
We talk about the report that Rob Gronkowski may now be a candidate for back surgery with a disc problem. Is Gronk just an injury prone guy? Or is he not rehabbing proberly? Can the Pats build an offense around a guy who is so inconsistently on the field? We discuss.
The Bruins have almost finished raking the Leafs, the Red Sox struggle from the mound, Miami Heat fans show their level of class.
Daily Planet Wednesday May 8th
Today on the Daily Planet the Bruins take a 2-1 series lead, the Red Sox get a run-off win, and we hear about cannibals and bible thieves.
Sounds like a prostate exam to me!
Damn New Yorkers!
Sauce Man stylings!
Buster Olney joins the show to discuss the muddled AL East, the average play of Ellsbury and how that will affect him in free agency, and Tropicana Field.More from this show
Linda explains how the shootout transpired in Watertown during the early morning hours. She saw the first suspect mortally wounded and police beginning the manhunt for the second suspect.More from this show
Jeff Bauman, a victim of the Boston Marathon bombing, joined the show to give the guys an update of his condition and a first-hand account of that terrible day. Jeff told the guys how he wrote the description of the bomber as soon as he could. Mr. Bauman added that he is aided every day with the knowledge that he is alive and the terrorist that detonated the bomb is dead.More from this show