Patriots players typically don't look ahead to games and facing specific players, but Tom Brady is different.
Speaking to reporters Monday afternoon, Chase Winovich acknowledged he has thought about facing the former Patriots quarterback.
“It’s definitely super cool to have the opportunity to play against Tom Brady,” he said via video conference. “I’ve thought about it. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about it. … I’m just super thankful for the opportunity to have the chance to play against somebody like Tom, and to do it in this setting is truly a blessing. So it’s definitely something I’m not taking for granted.”
The Michigan product knows how much the game is being hyped, but is trying not to think about any of that.
“This is a huge, huge game,” Winovich said. “There’s a reason that tickets are the prices that they are. But with that being said, I would say that it just falls into the category of ‘the noise.’ No matter how inflated the game may appear, at the end of the day, what it comes down to is a lot of 1-on-1s, a lot of fundamentals and technique and assignments and just beating the man across from you.
“I’m just focused on having a good week of preparation, taking care of my body, making sure I get enough rest and hydrated and I’m eating enough food, my hands, my body and my mind are sharp and strong, just taking care of all of that stuff and then hoping and letting the rest of it fall into place as opposed to getting caught up in the excitement. We need a big week because we’re in the NFL. If you don’t have a big week, you’re going to be in trouble.”
Winovich said he even sent his dog away ahead of the game.
“Zeus is away, so I’ve been relieved of my dogsitting duties,” he said. “We’re even extra dialed in, ready to roll.”
With that being said, the edge rusher praised his former teammate.
“I know better than to give Tom any fuel,” Winovich said. “Honestly, he’s someone that I really look up to. I’ve managed to learn so many lessons during our time together, just from an inspiration standpoint, a leadership standpoint and just a way of operating and a way of existing. There’s few people that I’ve ever met that are cooler and do it better than Tom.
"So it’s something that I definitely cherished, but this is a different week.”