What they are saying in Indy – Volume 5

From Indianapolis, Indiana

Giants OT Kareem McKenzie on this year’s Giants team – “It’s a great mixture of guys who have experience and young guys developing their careers and developing those work ethics that will be necessary for them to be successful throughout that career. It’s a comforting feeling to know that you have guys who are young, in the middle of their careers, and older guys who have the experiences that run across the gamut of the NFL. There are guys who have been to the Super Bowl and lost and guys who have been to it and won. Some of those guys have never made it past the championship round. We have guys who’ve been through the gamut of shortcomings of an NFL season and understand this is a very fun time. It’s also a very focused time to realize their goal.”

Patriots coach Bill Belichick on his team’s togetherness – “Overall, this team works hard and prepares well. They care about their performance, they care about their teammates’ performances, and they try to be helpful in different ways, whether it’s their teammates on their side of the ball or the other side of the ball that you are trying to put a look out for on the field. Again, when you’ve had a good season like we’ve had and won a lot of games, it builds the overall feeling and attitude in the locker room. I think it’s good that the players get along with each another and spend time with each other off the field – that is a positive thing. In the end, it still comes back to the way you perform on the field. Some of that is a little overrated.”

Giants GM Jerry Reese on building his roster – “Our over-arching philosophy is find good players. That’s what’s most important. You try to get as many good players as you can. I don’t care what position they are, you try to stack as many good players as you can. We don’t go into (the draft) and say, ‘We’re looking for a defensive end, we’re looking for a quarterback.’ We’re looking for good players. Then after we get good players, we fill in around and get players in the holes that we need. That’s our formula.”

Patriots QB Tom Brady on head coach Bill Belichick – “He’s extremely prepared. Nobody works harder than he does. I don’t think there’s ever been a time that I’ve shown up at the stadium and he’s not there. He sees everything. He evaluates everything. He watches every bit of film that he can get. Over the course of the season, our teams have always seemed to improve. I think that’s through our preparation. He prepares us day in and day out. Every day that we walk in he has a game plan for us. I think that he finds players who are able to tolerate that coaching. He always says that it’s not an easy program to play for and that’s the truth. If you do, you stay committed and you stay selfless and committed to the team and it pays off. I think all of these guys enjoy this experience a lot more than staying at home right now.”

Giants DE Osi Umenyiora on whether he thought his fine of $20,000 for missing the team’s Wednesday press period was out of line – “No, it makes sense. It makes sense because the NFL is a business, you understand. Players are the product, and the fans are the customers. The only way that we can reach them is through you guys, the media, so we have to be responsible and speak to the people. If it was like a $1,000 fine or something like that, most of the people they will laugh at it. They wouldn’t even come downstairs and talk, but you make the fine substantial enough it is going to make people want to show up.”

Patriots LT Matt Light on the pressure he feels protecting QB Tom Brady’s backside – “You know what? I’ve never looked at it like it’s MY responsibility. I think we’ve always looked at it like it’s the offensive line and it’s the offensive line’s job – not any one guy in particular. We’ve had a lot of things – a lot of moving guys – up front, and I think everybody has done a good job of sticking together and working hard and playing as a unit. It is a difficult thing to do in this league, but we’ve got great veteran guys and obviously our young man on the right side – Mr. (Nate) Solder – has done a great job this season, as well as the rest of the guys who have stepped in when their number has been called and gone in there and performed well. It’s worked out well for us.”

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