Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his postgame press conference on September 12, 2010.
BB: That was a good start for us today. I'm really proud of the team. I thought those guys did a really good job today, came out ready to go and made some plays early. [They] got on top and really made plays in all three phases of the game. That was a big drive for us after Cincinnati came back. It was about 80 yards or something like that. It really ran a lot of time off the clock. We made some plays when we needed to make them. There are certainly a lot of things we need to work on [and] things we can do better, but I thought the team really did a good job today all the way around. I'm proud of them. I thought they played well and now we're going to New York. We know that's a big challenge for us next week, but we're going to enjoy this one for a while.
Q: Did you get a good read on what happened on Gary Guyton's interception?
BB: It was man-to-man coverage and it looked like he undercut the route and made a nice play on the ball and showed some speed. That was good. Two returns for touchdowns - you hope for that, but you never really can go into a game planning on that. So to get 14 kind of bonus points like that, retuning a kick, returning an interception for a touchdown, that's a great boost to the scoreboard there. You usually don't count on those points.
Q: How happy are you for Wes Welker, after he worked so hard to get back for this first game?
BB: I'm happy for Wes. I'm happy for the whole team. I'm happy for everybody. All the guys that were out there, they all played hard. They worked hard. We had a good week of preparation - a good week of practice. I thought we made enough plays out there to win. But yeah, Wes, you can't say enough about him. He's worked really hard and you've got to be happy for the success that he had, but happier still for the team's success.
Q: Can you talk about the young cornerbacks and the game that they played today?
BB: [They] matched up against good receivers [and] a good quarterback, a good offensive scheme. We had our moments. They had theirs. I thought it was a good, competitive battle. We made a few plays; they made some. We'll look at the film, but I thought at times the coverage was pretty tight. They made a great throw, a couple great catches. Like I said, it's a good quarterback and they are good receivers. I thought we battled them and hung in there.
Q: The pass protection seemed really good today.
BB: It did. They're a pressure team and have got a real good front. A good group of pass rushers up there, but Tom [Brady], the offensive line, tight ends, backs, blitz pick up, seeing things, getting rid of the ball. It was good team execution and that's really what the passing game is about. The line is important - don't get me wrong. They do a good job; they did a good job, but receivers getting open and tight ends and backs doing their part - it was just good execution by the overall offense.
Q: Did you get a good look at Brandon Tate's return for a touchdown?
BB: I [didn't]. I think I saw enough. He's done that before. He's a good runner, good with the ball in his hands, and it looked like he was close on at least one other one. Again, it's good to get those points in the kicking game. We've been working hard on that. We've been working hard on our return game. We've had some production here so far this year. Of course, today was a big one, so hopefully we can keep that going.
Q: It looks like you ran a lot of bodies out there on the front seven on defense.
BB: We were just trying to manage the game. No huddle there from about the middle of the second quarter on, so no huddle there. Cincinnati was trying to get a pretty good pace, so we were trying to keep guys fresh and I think everybody played. I'm sure they did and I think we needed that.
Q: What does the adaptability of your tight ends do for you guys in terms of formations, etc.?
BB: That's part of the position on this team. [For] tight ends through the years, that's been a big part of their job - formationing, doing different things, giving us some versatility offensively. So that's a big part of their job. I'm sure if you talked to them, they'll tell you that learning the formations and the motions and all of that stuff is a big part of their [job]. Really, they do more than anybody else. There are all the assignments on the plays and everything, but the formationing, a lot of it goes on their shoulders. To be able to have that and those guys do a good job is important for us. It makes it hard on the defense to adjust to all of that.
Q: But considering that you have two rookies in there, you don't seem to have scaled back on that at all.
BB: We try to do what we think is best each week. That's the way it's always been. I'm sure that's the way it will be going forward. We try to do offensively, defensively and in the kicking game what we feel is best against the opponent.
Q: Is that at all unusual for two young guys to be that adaptable and pick it up that fast?
BB: I don't know. I don't think we've had two rookies at that position. They've done a good job with that.
Q: Do you worry about that with rookies, specifically the secondary? Do you feel like you have to compromise how much you can throw at them?
BB: I think we've been practicing now for 50 practices, counting the dozen or so in the spring and all the ones in training camp, and this is our fifth game. Somewhere along the line, you've got to be able to do something.
Q: Was there a little bit of the element of the unknown on defense coming into this game with so many rookies?
BB: Again, we've had over 50 practices and this is our fifth game. Yeah, I mean, we've got a lot to learn. There are a lot of things we can do better and all of that, but at the same time, we've been doing those things for a quite a while with the same people. I'm comfortable with them doing it and I think they're comfortable.
Q: Were you encouraged by how they communicated out there and worked together?
BB: We had our moments. Again, I think there were some good things there today. There were some other things that we need work on and improve on - no doubt about that. It was far from perfect; it was no Picasso.
Q: Can you talk about Wes Welker? He really showed he's all the way back.
BB: I think that's the way Wes usually plays. He's a very determined guy. He's good with the ball in his hands. He runs hard and kind of knows where the chains are, knows where the goal line is. That's kind of Wes.
Q: When you saw them go right at Devin McCourty the first two plays, did you have a reaction to that? Did you see that coming? He seemed to deal with it well.
BB: I mean, we knew coming into the game that they had a real good group of receivers with T.O. [Terrell Owens] and Chad [Ochocinco] outside and [Jordan] Shipley in the slot. We figured they'd be going after us and try to get the ball to [Jermaine] Gresham on some plays inside. I don't think that's any secret; that's kind of what they do anyway and that's what they've done through preseason. I think it's a pretty good attack. We had trouble with it in the second half. They did a good job of keeping us off balance with the running game, the inside throws, the outside throws. And they hit them; they made some great throws and great catches. But we definitely expected them to try to get the ball to those two guys. Sometimes they did. Sometimes they didn't, but they're tough to cover.
Q: Not that you didn't see it in the 50 practices and preseason, but did Devin McCourty show you anything else today, and maybe live up to his first-round draft status?
BB: Devin is a real mature kid. He's been that way since day one. [He's] very professional going about his job and being prepared and playing good technique and really trying to play the responsibilities of the defense. He's been like that all the way. He's still got a lot to learn, but he's done a good job for us.
Q: What, if anything, did you learn about your team today? You've said that going into the season opener you never really know.
BB: We had a big first half and that went a long way in this game. We'll see how it goes next week. We've got other challenges: going on the road and playing a different type of team with the Jets. We'll give it a few games here and see how it goes. We learned a little bit today, but we won't even be in that situation next week. So we'll go through a few games here and see how things come together. But I was happy with the way they came out in terms of their energy, their effort. I thought we really had a lot of spark and energy to start the game - as we should [since] it's opening day - but it was great to see that. It was a lot more than we've had in the last two years here at home, let's put it that way.