HEAD COACH DOUG MARRONE
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
January 21, 2018
DM: It was a hard fought game by both teams in all three phases. We were able to get, I would not say momentum, but we were able to get the lead. Then we did not make enough plays to keep the lead. We had an opportunity at the end of the game to win it and we did not do that. Credit to New England obviously. They made the plays to win the game for themselves. They are a great team. I liked the way our guys fought. Obviously we are in a lot of pain, a lot of hurt inside. I am hurting, the coaches are hurting. The players are obviously hurting. I am sure our fans are hurting. A lot of guys on this team gutted it out all year, they gutted it out today. Great quality. Guys are playing banged up extremely hard. The reason they are doing it is for each other. I think that is why early in the year I said I thought this team could be special. We fell short but hopefully we will start again and build on that characteristic of playing for each other. Hopefully we can maintain that in our team.
Q: Did the thought ever creep in your mind that you were going to win this game?
DM: I was just trying to play it play-by-play, down-by-down. That is what we talked to the players about knowing that there would be swings and adversity and things like that during the game. I thought one of the things, we got the first down, we got the delay. That hurt us a bit there. Don't want to have those things happen after a timeout. We had some penalties that led to scores for them. That kind of happened but we talked to the players about playing it play-by-play. Throughout the game my thought process was just win the down, win the play.
Q: Any regrets about not trying to score at the end of the first half?
DM: I think more the second half kickoff. They came down and we had to make some adjustments going into halftime. Wanted to make sure we got that done knowing we were going in getting the ball back.
Q: Did Blake Bortles give you everything you needed out of him today?
DM: When you look at the team and we haven't won, obviously you all want more from everyone including myself. So I think it is difficult. By the game, it is not one play or one player. Something random like that. It was a team effort out there today. We played hard and we came up short. I don't think you can really look at anything and say that really swooned this way or swooned that way. We still had opportunities to win.
Q: Do you take this all as motivation for next year?
DM: I do not know. The players may say that now. I am kind of old school when it kind of comes down to I never look a season before or anything of that nature. I always think you have to start from scratch. You have to start from the bottom. Start building the foundation. Every year is a new year. People come in, people go. You just have to start bringing the team together and start training. That is how I view that step, which is down the road.
Q: What did you do defensively to hold them in check after their first drive?
DM: They ran a couple wheels, they hit the two wheels. We had to make some adjustments. They were able to uncover our cover stuff. (Todd) Wash and our defensive staff, even the players, they were all on the same page on what we needed to do for adjustment-wise. We were able to make that adjustment and obviously make those plays so they did not hurt us as much down the road. First they hit the two wheels on the first series.
Q: Any regrets not having Blake throw more on first down?
DM: You can always go back and look at that but the coverage started to change a bit. We wanted to make sure we were being successful. We wanted to keep with thinking we are going to pop one of these runs. Keep going with it. Obviously we did not pop enough, especially in the second half.
Q: What happened on the delay?
DM: Yeah I just thought out of the timeout we lost track.
Q: How impressed were you with Corey Grant today?
DM: We knew we wanted to put him in there and put him on the perimeter. Goes our way of getting the ball outside. Obviously we had a good toss and tried to hit one earlier and tried to hit one later on to Leonard [Fournette]. We were kind of viewing that as a way to get the ball outside with Corey out there.
Q: Can you put into perspective being that close to going to the Super Bowl?
DM: I think it is hard when you come in right from the field and you come in here. I think if you think about it and the more I think about it the more it will hurt. The more it will weigh on my mind about what we could have done better. Everyone in that locker room is thinking what could we have done a better job of including me. So it is tough. Outside of God forbid someone passing away that you feel close to, this is probably as close of pain that you will have. This is the pain you deal with when you lose football games. We have to deal with it and it hurts. It stays with you for a long time.
Q: What was the thought process on the fourth-and-18?
DM: Yeah with the fourth-and-18, if it was incomplete, it is about a 10 to 11 percent chance of making that first down. We had the three timeouts. We were able to get a little bit more yardage. It goes up a little bit to 18 percent. I thought we had a good play call. We ended up going for it and we had the timeout there so we had that conversation during that period of time.
Q: What did Tom Brady do differently in the fourth quarter?
DM: The early part of the game we were able to make some plays to keep them out. Later in the game they were able to make more of those plays. Made some nice plays and we had some penalties that helped them a little bit. They had like one penalty for the whole game and I think we had like nine. A team like New England, they take advantage of that stuff when you give them that type of yardage. We all know he is a great quarterback and they have a lot of good people around him. They made some plays. It was not like there were guys wide open. Myles' [Jack] play he was right there and we can't make a play on that. Things of that nature. [Danny] Amendola made a great catch coming across the middle. Had his hand underneath he ball which is outstanding. That is what those guys do and they do it very well. That is why they are moving on.
Q: What happened on the Patriots conversion on third-and-18?
DM: That hurts. That was a good play. We were hoping that the rush gets to him. There were times where the rush wasn't able to get to him. Gave him some time back there. When he has time back there with those receivers and everyone then they are able to do that. At times we were able to get a little pressure and a little rush. We had a shot and that goes back to the point of everyone trying to do a little bit better job. That is how we all feel.
QUARTERBACK BLAKE BORTLES
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
January 21, 2018
Q: On the third and fourth down, were the play calls there supposed to be for Dede [Westbrook]. Give me an idea of what you had going through the last two plays.
BB: Yeah, both of them. We knew we had two shots to try to get the ball down the field or two downs obviously in third and fourth down. The first one – not getting a good chunk. I don't know I'll have to look at it, maybe we could have. We could have got it further down the field and then the second one was a play we put in this week on fourth down. It was kind of like if we got half – third-and-long or fourth-and-long. In the meantime, it was everything we wanted. Had Dede one on one going across the field. I got to give him a better ball so he can make the play.
Q: How emotional was that locker room afterwards?
BB: I mean, guys were upset. It was not what everybody expected outside of the country and popular belief. That room fully expected to win this game and I think everybody is shocked, disappointed and upset – whatever you want to call it.
Q: When you were up 10 points, did the Super Bowl ever cross your mind?
BB: No, I don't think you can, especially when playing Tom Brady and the Patriots because they're going to score. They're going to find a way to put pressure on you. We had a two-minute drive at the end of the game to win the AFC Championship so there's not a whole lot more you can ask for than that. You got to take advantage of that and find a way to win the game.
Q: Doug [Marrone] pointed to the delay of game penalty that got that drive derailed. What was happening on that one there that caused it?
BB: Yeah, I looked up and the clock was running down. Tried to get it snapped and didn't get it off.
Q: No [quarterback] keepers today. Did they put a spy on you and play pretty disciplined?
BB: Yeah, the defensive ends did a good job all day playing the zone-read, making me hand it off and then kind of closing in trying to get in on the play. I thought that they did a good job of taking that part of our run game away.
Q: How long will it take you to take satisfaction in what you guys accomplished specifically?
BB: I don't know. I mean, it's been an awesome season. I think it's been a lot of fun despite what happened today. It's been a special ride to do this on an organization that hasn't done this in a really long time with a special group of guys. It's tough to try to enjoy it right now, but I'm sure that at some point we'll be able to reflect and think about all the good things that happened. Find a way to fix it to make sure that we don't feel like this at this point again.
Q: Does this prove that you guys are legit contenders for several years?
BB: Yeah, I don't know. I mean, maybe if we would have beat them. We got here and we didn't get it done. We'll figure it out and try to make corrections and do the same thing like we would any other game. We just got a couple month break now.
Q: On that zone-read, they were standing there all day.
BB: Yeah, their ends did a good job of just kind of staying square and making me hand it off. And that's fine, that kind of opens up the backside cut and stuff like that. They did a good job of playing the zone-read.
Q: You guys aren't going to sneak up on anybody like you did this year going from 3-13 to an AFC Championship.
BB: Yeah, I think the funny thing is obviously a lot of people were surprised by what happened this year, but nobody in that locker room was. Our bar was set one week or two weeks from now and we didn't get there. We'll go back to the drawing board and figure it out. We fully expect to be back here again giving it another try next year.
Calais Campbell, Defensive Line
(On the loss)
"I told the guys to keep their head up and use this as fuel. We are definitely going to have a lot of respect going into next year, and it's going to be a little harder. We just have to use this as motivation to prepare for it and be prepared for next year."
(On the season)
"I tell you the guys fought hard, we have a lot of heart. No matter what was against us, all the odds that were stack up against us. We just kept our head down and just kept on fighting. I'm proud of my team, even today. We fought hard, we left our heart out there, and I'm proud of my guys. I wish we were going to the Super Bowl, but at the end of the day they made more plays than we did. You have to take your hat off to them."
(On Blake Bortles)
"We believe in Blake, he's a competitor, he's tough. He went out there and played the game that he was supposed to play. I'm very impressed with the way he played today, and all season. He's been criticized but he's matured and grown so much this season. I'm just very proud of him."
Barry Church, Safety
(On the hit to Rob Gronkowski)
"I just tried to dislodge the ball. He's a big dude and I was just trying to dislodge the ball, but I guess they felt it was too high of a hit. I hope he's healthy. I know he didn't come back so I hope he's alright. It was a tough call, but you have to go with what they call. It's the toughest play in football, if you go low for the knees you are considered a dirty player and if you go high, they throw the flag at you. It's a bang-bang play and I was just trying to play football. I tried to lead with my shoulder."
(On if the size of Gronkowski makes it harder)
"Yes, it's tough. That guy is humongous. If you wait for him to catch it and bring it down, he might run you over. You have to go with it and try and hit him in the right target zone, but going a 100 miles an hour like that is nearly impossible."
(On if the 3rd-and-18 play in the fourth quarter that the Patriots converted was the turning point in the game)
"Yeah, it was a great play. He's a great player and he stepped up and made a play. He got it to [Danny] Amendola and they were able to drive down and score after that. It was a huge play in the game and our hats go off to them. They are a great team and you can see why."
(On if they felt the game slipping away in the fourth quarter)
"No, I didn't feel like it was slipping away. I mean we had it right there where we wanted it. We were up three and we knew if we held them in that red zone, I mean we played great red zone ball all season. No. 1 in red zone efficiency, so we knew we had a chance still. He was just able to buy time and make a play in the back of the end zone. Great throw, great catch and there isn't anything more you can say about that."
Dante Fowler Jr., Defensive End
(On the positives from the season)
"We made it far and it is the first time we got to the playoffs for the first time in 10 years. So we changed the culture and we changed the franchise. Coach [Tom] Coughlin and Dave [Caldwell] did a really good job and Coach [Doug] Marrone did a good job and we bought in and we worked really hard and you guys were with us from day one and I think you saw the work we put in and it sucks. It is a bad taste and we keep it in our mouth and come back for OTAs and be ready to get back to work."
(On Patriots last two drives)
"I think they did a good job of adjusting. Tom Brady is a smart player and [Bill] Belichick and all of those great players are making adjustments. They have been in the league a long time and have been in these types of situations for a long time. At the end of the day they just made more plays than us. We have to take our hats off to them, they won the game."
Tashaun Gipson, Safety
(On Tom Brady)
"He is a good player. If you give him time he will pick you apart. He is the greatest quarterback to ever play this game. You can never have a safe lead with 12 at the helm. We knew we had to keep our foot on the gas. That's Tom Brady, the greatest to ever lace up the cleats at the quarterback position. He went out there and he played good football. We stopped making plays, some was missed assignments. But you can't take anything away from them, they made plays. It's unfortunate because this season could have been a lot more special."
(On the team)
"I would like to be here. It's just so hard to get to this point. We would like to get back to this stage but we understand how things go, guys leave. The locker room will never be the same and that is the toughest part. We build bonds."
(On his injury)
"Toughest injury I have ever had. I couldn't even run on Friday. I told the team 'big game, if I am at least 75 percent I am playing'. I would never go out there and hurt the team if I was less than 75 percent. I'm not myself today but no excuses, I am out there playing giving everything I've got. It's a severe sprain, it's not broken. I played and it is what it is."
(On the 3rd and 18 conversion)
"One play will never define me. I am just going to keep it real. That play kind of gave them momentum. Obviously I would like that play back. I am a better player than to give up a 3rd and 18. Obviously I am a better player than that. That's Tom Brady, a good quarterback. They've got good receivers over there and they are going to make plays. They get paid just like we do. Nine times out of ten times I like myself to make that play. Unfortunately it worked out that way and they got the 3rd and 18. If we could re-run that play 10 times, 9 out of 10 times I make that play. If you are out there playing you have got to make that play."
(On the Patriots success in the second half)
"I guess they [Patriots] made adjustments and they just kind of dinked and dunked us. They were making big plays and they just attacked our system. You have to give them credit."
(On holding the Patriots offense and the Patriots momentum going into halftime)
They just made more plays than us at the end of the day and that is all I can really say. They just made more plays. They made adjustments in the second half and came out gunning. That was definitely big for them, especially going in with the momentum at half. We didn't necessarily agree with the calls but, that was definitely big having them have the momentum going in the half. I think they cut it in half from 14-3 to 14-10.
(What did you learn from today?)
I think what I learned the most is that we are capable of being here. As a team we have the potential and I think we shocked a lot of people. As corny as it sounds, losing in the AFC Championship, we shocked a lot of people and defied a lot of odds. We have to be proud of that but at the end of the end the goal was the Super Bowl so that is going to be the hardest part to swallow.
Allen Hurns, Wide Receiver
(On the game)
"l felt no matter how we started the game or how much we were up we still had to finish. We knew they would put up points, the same as we went through last week. With a high powered offense you never give up. We didn't make enough plays when we needed them the most. They made more plays than us so they were able to finish it off. They made a lot of great plays."
(Asked if this was a successful season)
"Yeah, I feel like it was but it hurts because I felt like our potential was going all the way. It just shows something about life. Last week was one of our highest moments and this week one of our lowest. It's something about life. It hurts."
(On the play of Blake Bortles)
"That's who Blake is, he always feels he can lead his team and he did a great job today. And that is all year. People say what they want about him but he comes into the building each and every day ready to work. Another reason everyone on the team respects him is he never throws anyone under the bus or complains about anything. He has our respect."
Myles Jack, Linebacker
(On the game)
"It is not easy, especially when you were leading most of the game. It is not easy, but you have to give them credit, the Patriots, that is what they do. They stay in the game and they make plays. They made more plays than us."
Josh Lambo, Kicker
(On the success he has had kicking)
"The line has done a great job blocking for me and everyone else is putting me in a situation to succeed every time. I really appreciate their work."
(On the game)
"It is just sports and it is a 60-minute game. It is disappointing the result did not go our way, but it is a 60-minute ballgame today."
(On this season)
"I love these guys. I have never enjoyed football as much as I have this season. This is my sixth season being on the team and I have never had more fun. I feel like I am back on my 13-year-old travel soccer team with these guys. That is the most fun I ever had playing sports. I appreciate their professionalism and their work ethic. I am fortunate and blessed to be on this team."
Marqise Lee, Wide Receiver
(On thinking about getting to the Super Bowl)
"My mindset was getting there. I knew how important this was. In a sense, in my mind this was the Super Bowl. We were playing a great team that has been in the Super Bowl last year."
(On the game)
"We played great, you can't argue that. A lot of people have their heads down as far as this being a loss. But as far as how the team played, I think we did an amazing job of going out there and competing. I can't hang my head; in all honesty, we went out there and competed."
(On Blake Bortles)
"Blake did amazing. He had no turnovers and things like that, and went out there and managed the game. Toward the end of the game we fell short."
Marcedes Lewis, Tight End
(On how he was feeling after the game)
"I can't even explain it. The highs and the lows of this game. We had our opportunities. They made more plays than we did. That's it. That's the league."
(On if he felt that the more Tom Brady got the ball the more they were playing with fire)
"Yeah. You don't want him to have the ball at the end of the game with opportunities to go out there and do what he did. We're not going to hang our heads about it. We had our opportunities and we didn't make them. That's that."
(On if it was that simple that they just didn't take advantage of their opportunities)
"Yeah, you know how it is in this league. The margin for error is small. We had our opportunities to add to our lead and we didn't. They executed better when they had to."
Yannick Ngakoue, Defensive End
(On the fans of Jacksonville)
"I want to thank you for all the support during the season. Thank you for coming to all the games, even the away games, the support means a lot to us. We'll come back next year even stronger."
(On the fourth quarter)
"They just made more plays than we did. He [Tom Brady] did a good job of driving the ball down the field."
Jalen Ramsey, Cornerback
(On the feeling in the locker room after the game)
"We didn't get the job done. It's a terrible feeling."
(On the turning point of the game)
"You never know what play it is in a game that can change it around. There was a difference on what we did in the first half than in the second half in general."
(On Tom Brady)
"We ran zones and he found openings, when we ran man-to-man he was pretty quiet. Tom did what he does."
(On the Loss)
"We did alright, I mean we didn't win though, and that's what matters at the end of the day. It's tough, we had bigger goal, bigger aspirations. We are pretty pissed off about not winning, but at the end of the day we have to reflect on the season, and be proud of ourselves to a point. We brought ourselves closer together, did our thing to make it this far. We got to figure out a way to make it back, and do a little bit extra to make it to the next level."
Dede Westbrook, Wide Receiver
(On if the team was mad after the game)
"I wouldn't necessarily say mad, I would say we just came up short. All the work we put in this offseason. Up until this point, we've worked our tails off and we just came up short."
(On how you can't beat yourself when you play the Patriots)
"Most definitely. We know they are a great team and we had to come and click on all cylinders and we did that in the first half. We came out short in the second half."
(On what kind of adjustments the Patriots made in the second half)
"It was the same thing right before the half. We have to come out and execute as receivers. We pretty much let the team down and that is something we have to get better at."
Jarrod Wilson, Safety
(On the game)
"They threw everything they had at us, the gadgets, the trick plays. I felt we played good and stayed disciplined on defense but they made the plays when it counted. That was the deciding factor in the game."
(Asked if the lead felt safe)
"Never, not against the New England Patriots. They have been in the AFC Championship seven years straight. No. You've got to play a damn near perfect game against them."
(On Tom Brady)
"He is a hell of a player. He will go down as one of the greatest to ever play the game and you saw why. Time in and time out he is going to deliver in clutch situations like he did today."
(On the Jaguars future)
"We were thinking more now rather than in the future. We wanted to win it now. We had our goal, we were all together. It is a missed opportunity and I am sick about it."