New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his postgame press conference at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, November 22, 2009.
BB: I thought it was a real good performance by our football team today. I think you've got to give all the credit in the world to the players. We came off, obviously, a tough weekend last week with the night game and all that; it was little bit of a short turn around, but they were ready to play this afternoon and had a good week of practice. I thought they competed all week to get ready and that definitely showed up in the early part of the game in the way that we executed things and took advantage of our opportunities. I'm really proud of the way they handled themselves, the way they played and it's a good win for us today. The Jets are a tough football team, but I was really proud of the way our guys stepped up and played all the way through. We know we've got a big challenge this week down in New Orleans. They are a great football team. I've seen a little bit of them here and they're really good. We're going to enjoy this one for a little while and come back to work and get ready for New Orleans. It's good to see a lot of things go positively on the field for us today. I think we got contributions for a lot of guys, certainly Wes [Welker] and Leigh [Bodden] had big days, but I think they had a lot of help. We were down to five linemen there at the end of the second quarter, so we were having some guys fill in and we held up good enough. That's a good win for us.
Q: When did you get the sense that your guys had moved on from the Colts game?
BB: I thought we had a good day here on Wednesday, I really did. I thought the players came in, they had a real strong purpose. We had good meetings, good walkthroughs, good practice. I thought we got off to a real good start on Wednesday. That was probably the biggest day for us and then we kind of build on that the last two days in the week. I thought that was big that we got off to a good start on Wednesday.
Q: Can you talk about those two turnovers in the fourth quarter?
BB: You can't say enough about that. I thought we had overall decent pressure on [Mark] Sanchez and Leigh [Bodden] made a good play. It looked like the ball was a little underthrown. The last one, when he scrambled out of there, it looked like he was trying to get the ball down to Braylon Edwards coming across and [Brandon] Meriweather undercut him and made the play. You get some opportunities in every game and hopefully you can take advantage of them and turn the ball over. It doesn't always happen, but it happened for us today and Leigh made three nice plays and Brandon [Meriweather]. We got some pressure on the quarterback, so the combination of those things helped. A couple of our hits on Sanchez came because the coverage was good and that gave the rushers an opportunity to get that extra half step there and that makes a difference. That was good team defense.
Q: You didn't have Wes Welker in the first game, how important was he in the matchup today?
BB: Wes is probably the best slot receiver in the league, so you always want to have all your players. Wes has done a great job for us, so it's always good to have him. It's good to have all of them. Again, I don't think you can say enough about the whole group — Randy [Moss], Wes [Welker], the play Julian [Edelman] made there at the end, the way Laurence [Maroney] ran the ball, BenJarvus [Green-Ellis]. Kevin [Faulk] made some big plays for us coming out of the backfield early in the game. He was able to spring free [and] Tom [Brady] hit him. We just got contributions from everybody offensively - good offensive line, tight ends blocked well, protected pretty well, so it was solid all the way around. But it's good to have Wes no doubt about it.
Q: Were you expecting they'd match Darrelle Revis up with Moss?
BB: Yeah, they do that all the time. They put Revis on whoever they think the best receiver is [and] they put him on that receiver.
Q: Any idea what happened on that punt block?
BB: Yeah, we had enough to block it. Obviously, we just didn't get it done. [Eric] Smith's a good rusher. He's gotten them before. He's one of the best rush guys, but we just didn't … We've got to coach it better; I have to do a better job. We've got to coach it better, we've got to block it better. But it was a good play on their part.
Q: Is it getting to the point now that you are asking Vince Wilfork as much of him as you've ever asked anyone at that position?
BB: He did. He played some end and then he played some nose today. He's played that the last couple weeks. He's played different spots there from the Miami game [and] Indianapolis this week. He's a versatile guy for us, so he can play on the tackle, on the guard or on the center. He plays with good technique and good leverage. He's a smart guy and reads blocking schemes pretty well. We put him where we felt like we needed him on a game by game basis. How that will be going forward? We'll figure that out week to week. Vince, he does a good job for us every week.
Q: Is it rare that a guy that big is that versatile?
BB: A, it's hard to find them that good. And second, [that] they could do as many things as Vince does. His intelligence, his preparation, his natural instinctiveness in playing on the defensive line are all things that are positives in his favor. He's able to make it happen.
Q: Would you say that's the best pass rush you've seen in quite awhile from Tully Banta-Cain?
BB: I think Tully's given us good rush all year, I really do. Everybody wants to measure it by one thing and that's really not what it's about. It's about beating the blocker and getting to the quarterback. There are sometimes where you're just not there because the coverage isn't tight enough and the quarterback gets rid of the ball. There are other times where the coverage is good and the rush isn't good enough. But when it ends up that somebody hits the quarterback, it's a combination of good pass rush and good pass defense. And it's team defense, it's not just one guy making the play. Sometimes it is, but for the most part it's good team defense and I think Tully's rushed well for us all year, I really do.
Q: How much farther along is Tom Brady than he was the first time against the Jets?
BB: I don't know. I think we're further along as a team. It's all 11 guys executing offensively, not just one. After all the practices we've had and all the games in between that, I think we've improved. I think they've improved. It's been a lot of football. We are just fortunate we were able to go out and make enough plays to win and get off and be able to play from ahead instead of playing from behind, like we did the most of the second half down there. That was certainly a factor you don't want to play the Jets from behind and let them feature their running game, pass rush and all that. It's better if you can kind of flip it the other way around and for the most part we were able to do that today. So that was a better way to play them, too.
Q: The challenge in the second half, was that one of those plays you saw live from the sideline?
BB: Yeah, I saw the ball come out and I really thought it was a fumble. The thing about Jeff [Triplette], he doesn't overturn many calls. It was probably a dumb challenge to make. There's a short list of calls that have been overturned by that crew. It probably wasn't a fumble.
Q: You mentioned that Wednesday you had good meetings, did you notice anything from specific players that helped turn the page from a tough week?
BB: I think our whole team … No, I don't think it was any one guy or any one thing. I think the whole team just had it. Sometimes when you're the head coach and you're in front of the team you can kind of feel it and sometimes you can't, but I definitely felt it Wednesday. I thought that whatever happened over the weekend was gone, we were onto the Jets. We knew it was a huge good for us, big division game, and they obviously had beaten us the first game and they could close the gap with a win here today. I think the players were very determined to have a good week of preparation and as usually that kind of preparation is reflected in the performance on Sunday. I think it was an overall team thing, I don't think it was any one guy.
Q: Looking back, how concerned were you, if at all, with any hangover from that game?
BB: I think you're concerned every week when you come in here, it doesn't matter who you're playing. It you won the week before, it's the being in a comfort zone and creating the urgency. If you didn't win, it's maybe being down because you didn't win. It's a challenge every week. Every team's got that in this league and we just try to meet them week to week. Each week is its own challenge. Every Wednesday is a big day for us because that's the most important day in the preparations for our game, and then Thursday's a big day and Friday's a big day. And obviously it all has to come together on Sunday. It sure helps if you have a good practice on Wednesday and get the week off to a good start.