Doug Kyed, NESN.com:
Hey guys, my name is Doug Kyed and I’m the president of the New England chapter of the PFWA so I was the one who organized the Ron Hobson Good Guy Award this year. It’s presented to the player who handles the media with class, responsibility, the most helpful player to the media. I don’t know Ron, but Chris [Price] does who’s the vice president of the New England chapter so I wanted him to be able to say a couple words about Ron Hobson before we start.
Chris Price, Boston Sports Journal:
Ron covered the team for 50 years and when I say he was present at the creation, he was a guy who was here for a very, very long time. You can still see him around every so often. He’s on the Patriots Hall of Fame nominating committee. He’s a great reporter, great writer, he was also a great resource for other writers, younger writers like myself. When a young ‘slappy’ like me needed a little help and guidance as a reporter, as to who to talk to, Ron was the guy to speak with. In that spirit, Stacey [James], myself, the rest of the folks here decided to name the award in honor of Ron. So just a few quick words on Ron Hobson and his background as a member of the New England sports media.
DOUG KYED, NESN:
So I’m sure as a lot of you guys can guess at this point, the award is going to James White. He’s always willing to handle the media with a smile on his face, always available, always great in these news conferences. So I wanted to present the award to you, James.
PATRIOTS RUNNING BACK JAMES WHITE
JW: That’s awesome, I appreciate you guys. I definitely wasn’t expecting that. That was definitely a surprise. I just try to be the same person every day, walk in with a smile on my face. I know you guys have a tough job to do, tough getting answers from guys like us. So appreciate you guys for sure for the award.
Q: What does it mean to finally get to work now after the bye week and how excited are you guys to get back to work?
JW: It’s an exciting time of year. This is what you play for, to play in moments like this, this is why you play in the NFL, this is why you’re here, to be a Patriot and to win games like this. We have a tough opponent in the Chargers, just got to have a great week of practice, started off good today, just got to keep that same intensity throughout the whole week. They’re going to be ready to go. They have a playoff win already and they’re a tough football team so it’s going to take our best effort.
Q: Did you know you were getting the award because you have a fresh haircut?
JW: Good thing I did get a haircut yesterday. I had no clue.
Q: How hard is it to slow down that front of Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa when they’re getting after the quarterback?
JW: It’s tough blocking those guys. Those guys are explosive, they get sacks, they’re disruptive in the run game. But it’s not just them – they have a good secondary, good linebackers and whatever they decide to do, whether it’s seven DBs on the field or if they decide to play their linebackers, they just go out there and get the job done. They’re a smart football team, don’t give up big plays so it takes your best effort.
Q: What can you tell us about your relationship with Melvin Gordon going back to college?
JW: He’s like a little brother to me. Since he stepped foot on the Wisconsin campus, we were always tight, all the running backs there were. He’s a good football player, good person. I wish him nothing but the best of luck but I hope he doesn’t do too much on Sunday.
Q: Since they won their last game, have you been in touch with him at all?
JW: I haven’t yet, no.
Q: Do you plan on doing that?
JW: I don’t know. We’ll see what happens.
Q: Can you talk about the excitement at this time of year? How do you guys in the locker room channel that excitement in the right way?
JW: It’s an exciting time of year, just try to live in the moment, don’t take the opportunity for granted. Just don’t want to have any regrets and you’ve just got to put your best foot forward not just on game day, from today throughout the rest of the week. High intensity, pay attention to the little details, watch as much film as possible, try and know your opponent as much as possible if you want to come out with a win on Sunday. It’s going to take a lot of effort in all aspects of the game. So definitely have fun but at the same time, it’s just a game at the end of the day but you want to have your best effort.
Q: Why do you think you guys have been able to win at this time of year in the past?
JW: It’s just everybody paying attention to the details, knowing what’s at stake. You never know what play’s going to matter the most so you’ve got to capitalize on your opportunities whether it’s one play, whether it’s 60 plays or whether it’s cheering your teammates on, on the sideline. It’s going to take everybody – practice squad, coaches – everybody makes a difference.
Q: How much of a challenge is it to you coming out of the backfield with the Chargers shuffling around their players in terms of who you have to block and who’s covering you?
JW: It challenges your communication as an offense. They decide to play seven DBs or whatever it is or they switch up the looks every other play, you just got to communicate what defensive personnel is in the game. It just amplifies the communication that we have to have on offense. They did a good job of that last week in stopping the Ravens with that so if they happen to play that, we’ve got to handle that.
Q: Where would you pinpoint the growth in Melvin Gordon’s game?
JW: He’s always been able to do everything. I think he’s gotten better as a pass-catcher. He’s one of the top yard-after-catch guys in the league so he’s been getting better and better with that each year. But he’s a guy who can do everything in the backfield – catch, run, block, whatever they need him to do. It’s going to take full effort to stop him.
Q: Where have you seen Sony Michel grow the most since he’s joined this team?
JW: It’s kind of all aspects. Just coming in here from Day One, you’re kind of clueless and then him, he doesn’t really talk too much, kind of reminds me of myself. Just putting his head down and working, taking the coaching. Your rookie year can be tough. It can be long and he’s just been putting in the work each and every day, getting better and better each week and having him on our team has been a big boost for us this year getting the run game going, him and the offense line, receivers, JD [James Develin], tight ends. It’s been a big boost to have him.
Q: How about the growth that you’ve had this year as a leader, especially in the running back room?
JW: For me, I just try to help guys as much as possible. I try to learn as much as I can so if anybody has questions, I can spread the knowledge that I have and vice versa, learn from them too. So that’s kind of my way of trying to help those guys out and I think we’ve been growing as a group, as a whole. I think we complement each other well in the backfield, anybody can do anything, Coach [Josh McDaniels] can call any play. So I think we have a good, talented backfield.
Q: How important was the bye week for you?
JW: Just good to have it for sure. We’ll see if we took advantage of it if we come out with a win on Sunday so that’s all I can say about that.
Q: What does it mean to you to win the Ron Hobson award?
JW: It’s definitely an honor. Like I said, I definitely wasn’t expecting it. Like I said, I just try to be the same person every day. I know you guys have a tough job to do, try to keep a smile on my face and answer your questions to the best of my ability, give you as much detail as I can. It’s definitely an honor for sure.