Q:Was there more tight end involvement in the game yesterday? If so, can you elaborate on that aspect of the offense showing itself in the game yesterday? JM: We definitely went in with the mindset to allow all of our guys, our skill players, the opportunity to contribute in the game. I think that played out pretty well. With Mike [Hoomanawanui] and [Matthew] Mulligan and Gronk [Rob Gronkowski] all kind of having their own role at tight end; [James] Develin played eight or 10 snaps again on offense. All those guys can contribute and I think that to me, the more that we can evolve and allow everybody to have an opportunity to help us move the ball and be productive, that was what our intent was. Some weeks it may be different, where we feel differently about that. I know that's happened in the past and it may happen in the future. Yesterday I thought everybody did a good job of contributing. Certainly that was our plan, is to mix and match some of your personnel and make Pittsburgh play a lot of different defensive packages, which they did and try to attack the things that we felt best about attacking.
Q:That seemed like Tom Brady's most complete performance of the season. What would you attribute that to? JM: I think, like we've been talking about the process of improving and getting better all year. That includes all of us – coaches, players, different units, different combinations working together, whether that's in the line, the receivers and the quarterback, the backs, tight ends, whatever that may be. I thought we had another decent week of practice, where we tried to focus on getting better in a few different areas. I thought our execution yesterday was as good as it's been in a little while, especially in some of the critical situations. Third down, I thought we did a good job of protecting first and allowed him time to throw and read the coverage. I thought Tom was accurate and delivered the ball where it was supposed to go yesterday. The guys made plays and got open. When it was their turn or their opportunity to be the guy versus specific defenses I thought they stepped up and made plays. Any success that we have offensively is certainly attributed to all 11 guys on the field doing their jobs. I think that's what it was yesterday.
Q:At the bye, how do you think the offense handled all the transition this year? At this point, have you seen tangible improvement in the cohesion of the offense? JM: Each year, you have a bye week and whenever that may fall, sometimes it's earlier, sometimes it's the middle, sometimes it's later and you kind of can look at it and maybe try to figure out your progress. I really think that each year is almost the same in whatever you start with, you try to work each week to try to improve certain aspects of your team. I don't think this year is any different. I know we've had some players that are new into our system or have less experience in our offense but I think the process has been consistent for us, which is really important. I think we've gone through different steps of learning things and figuring out what we're best at, what we need to work harder at and then the players have really, I think, done a good job of really trying to go out there and take the coaching and try to improve in certain areas. That's really what happens every season. This season is definitely no different. To say which things have or haven't been improved as much, nothing is exactly where we want it. We have a lot of work ahead of us and a lot of things we can get better at. I think our team has really been focused on doing that all year. I would expect that continues this week during the bye week and into the next game against Carolina. I think, to me, to stay the course and be focused on just trying to get better every day is really more important than trying to figure out exactly what you have and haven't necessarily improved significantly at. You're always trying to make things better no matter what it is.
Q:What are some of the factors that have led to Kenbrell Thompkins' reduced time on the field? JM: I think really that, each week there are so many things that go into a game plan and so many decisions that are made based on special teams or what packages people are using offensively or defensively or what we need to have up for the game in terms of our depth and I think that a lot of those decisions Coach [Belichick] makes and there are a lot of things that go into those. I think Kenbrell, there's been no real change in terms of what we've seen from different guys. I think everybody is working hard and contributing in practice and then whatever ends up happening at the end of the week and the way that Bill decides to go with it, it's really his choice and his decision based on how he sees the game being played. I'll leave that up to him. Like I said, everybody is contributing. Some weeks it's more receivers, some weeks it's not. Some weeks, it's a different formula at receiver. The same thing could be said for the tight ends. That's just the way this goes. We're going to continue to work with everybody and focus on getting better.
Q:Did you intentionally go back to Stevan Ridley after his fumble as a confidence-type thing or was it just the way things played out? JM: I think that was just, we're just trying to move the ball the next series. We have a ton of confidence in Stevan and all our backs. We know they're not out there trying to do anything to hurt the team. Sometimes those things happen. Sometimes the defense makes a good play. But I think most importantly is how we respond and react to that. I thought he did a good job of coming back and running the ball hard and protecting the quarterback on a few protections and plays after that happened. I think he caught one or two balls after that as well. If you didn't make mistakes, this game would be a lot easier. But everybody does and it's more important how we handle that going forward as opposed to trying to keep track of all those different things and penalize guys during the course of the games. We're all out there trying to do our best and we understand that things are going to happen. I thought he responded well to that.
Q:How important have James Develin, Matthew Mulligan and Michael Hoomanawanui been this season? And what have you seen out of Aaron Dobson in recent weeks? JM: I think between James and Matt and Mike, they've done what we've asked them to do. We ask them to go in there and they run block, they pass protect for us, they catch balls when their number is called. They're versatile enough to do a lot of different things and play a lot of different roles for us in our offense that really help us out significantly in terms of moving people around. They're important for our offense to be able to have that versatility. I think they add a level of toughness to our team. certainly you hope your offensive line carries the flag in that regard offensively, but your tight ends, your backs, your fullback, those players need to be tough, physical guys and I think those guys have all added an element of that to our game. Then Aaron is, we have a lot of young receivers and whether it's Aaron or KT [Kenbrell Thompkins] or [Josh] Boyce, they're just out there working hard to try to learn the game plan each week, improve in certain aspects of their play. I just think he's really doing that. You see some things each week that, you know what, we worked on that in practice, he improved on that in practice and then it worked in the game. I think that attitude has really been good for our whole team. I think Aaron is starting to make more plays as the season progresses and he's just going to continue to work hard and try to improve.
Q:As the coordinator, what are your thoughts on the staff and how you guys work together and how that's all come together for you through nine games? JM: I know I'm very fortunate to be a part of our staff here on offense. The guys, we have a wide variety of experience on our staff. It's a group that they have a lot of responsibility during the course of the week. It's great to be able to rely on their feedback and their input during the course of the week in terms of the game plan or what we should or shouldn't be doing. The way they coach and improve their players each week has been great. They do a great job on game day of making adjustments with me and giving me the information we need and getting us to be able to do things that we need to do to be able to make ourselves better during the course of the game. This group has really worked hard. They do a great job each week of focusing on the process, which we've really made a point of emphasis to our players. They're great examples of that. They come in each day and put in a great day's work. Like I said, I'm extremely fortunate to just be a part of this group on offense and proud of the work they do. Hopefully [we] can continue that throughout the course of the year.
Q:How much of yesterday's success was things coming together and what you could control and how much was about what Pittsburgh gave you on the other side? JM: I think each week is its own entity in terms of your execution against the opponent. Each team is different. Each week we come in and try to come up with a game plan to give ourselves the best chance to win and then it comes down to how we implement and execute that game plan on Sunday and certainly what the defense chooses to do against us can impact that. I think that we were given some opportunities yesterday and made the most of them to make some big plays. I also think that we reacted well to some situations that maybe were less than ideal or less than what we had hoped they were and made the most out of those too. That's really kind of what happens during the course of each week. Yesterday I thought our guys did a good job of executing what we could in terms of the game plan. Then when we had to make adjustments during the course of the game, I thought they did a good job of that too. Sometimes things happen and you get more of what you practiced, sometimes you don't. I think really every week is its own week and we have to go back to work and try to get ready focus on our next opponent and try to do the same thing each week.