Q: **What was your take on how you thought Shane Vereen preformed last night in his return? Was there any question about his level of fitness? In the past, you've eased other guys back in the lineup. How much did that impact Shane and how he looked?
JM: I thought Shane, he performed in his role that we had him ready to handle last night very well. We weren't planning on having him go in there and play 60 snaps. We were going to use all the backs there were up last night and we did. I thought Shane really gave us a boost in some critical situations, made a few nice catch-and-runs on some screen plays and certainly impacted the game on third down as well. Shane is a good player and certainly made some plays that helped us move the ball last night. It's great to have him back.
Q:How important was it last night for you guys to get the ball out as quick as possible against that Carolina defensive front?
JM: Any time you play a good rush, which most games have, you just have to be mindful of how many times you go back there and give the rush a great opportunity to get to you. I thought Tom [Brady] throwing it did a good job of getting the ball out when he needed to. I thought our guys, for the most part, were in the right positions, had good spacing against some of their zone coverages and worked quickly to be open or be in the spots or spaces that we needed them to be in to throw the ball on time. It's not just the quarterback. I thought the line did a good job of allowing him to have some space inside and making sure that he didn't have do too much moving prior to getting the ball out quickly. There were times we held it and we held up in protection and there were times we chose, certainly, to get it out a little quicker. I think any time you can get the ball out and get it out on time and give your guys an opportunity to catch and run, it's a good thing.
Q:On your second to last drive, it was third-and-one at the eight-yard line. Can you take me through the play? Was it a pass play at the line of scrimmage?
JM: We always try to give ourselves multiple options on any lay like that: run, pass or if it's just a pass and haven an opportunity to get multiple people out in the pattern. I think they did a good job of covering the front side of the pattern where [Rob] Gronkowski was and [James] Develin was in the flat, they did a decent job there. [They] got a little bit of rush on us and [Tom Brady] ended up going back there to AD [Aaron Dobson] and it wasn't really clean back there and I thought he, under the circumstances, made a good decision to go ahead and throw the ball away, not take a negative play and give Steve [Gostkowski] an opportunity to kick the field goal.
Q:With Von Miller's return, what changes have you seen in the Denver defense? Have you seen an impact?
JM: He definitely makes an impact. He's a great football player. This is a very good defense that we're playing. They have a lot of good players, great speed. They challenge you in the secondary, they're physical up front, they play a lot of people in the front. The front four, they'll rotate guys in and out. They have a lot of size up there: [Kevin] Vickerson, [Terrance] Knighton, [Sylvester] Williams, [Mitch] Unrein. They do a good job of mixing those guys in there and they also have good edge players. I think their linebackers are really a great core group of linebackers. They do a good job in coverage, they do a good job as blitzers, they run and tackle from sideline to sideline. This whole group is really a solid group. Miller certainly makes them better and we're certainly going to have to play well on Sunday night.
Q:I know there are plays that are designed specifically to get one yard and pick up a first down. Why didn't you use one of those plays versus trying to get the whole eight yards at once?
JM: That wasn't the thinking. Like I said, we had options on the play. Sometimes you have a run and a pass called together and if you see something that deters you from using the run then you know, you end up with the throw. It doesn't necessarily mean it was designed to get all eight. Like I said, we had Develin out there in the flat. It was a play with some options, unfortunately we didn't end up picking up that first down there. Anytime you make a call and it doesn't necessarily work out, you feel like you wish you'd been able to do something different. But that happens, usually every week there are calls like that. Unfortunately that one did not go our way.
Q:Were there any commonalities you can pinpoint last night that led to your red area issues?
JM: It always comes down to solid execution down there. There's less room to work with. You certainly have to do a good job of staying on schedule. We had a turnover down there and as [you] talked about the third-and-1 situation, we didn't pick that up. We had some untimely penalties in the fringe slash red area end of the field that really put us behind in terms of down and distance as well. We just have to execute, we have to play our best football down there and last night we did not do that.
Q:What did Kenbrell Thompkins learn the last couple weeks and how did he put that to use last night? What impressions did he make on you with his performance last night?
JM: KT comes to work every day and gives us everything he has. He's great in the meeting room, does a great job at practice working at his craft trying to improve and get better every week. I think his attitude has been fantastic. He played a lot early, played less the last few weeks but never stopped working hard in practice and doing what he needs to do to try to get better and help our team. He was really critical to our overall success last night. He made some huge plays for us in critical situations that helped us move the ball. I think on two scoring drives made his two catches. He really impacted the game when he had his opportunities. That's really what this is all about. It's a long season, there are a lot of things – adversity or changes or decisions that are made – that sometimes you don't have control over. But I think he's done a good job controlling the things that he could control, which is his effort, his attitude and his performance when he's had his opportunities. It was good to see him make some plays and I'm sure he'll continue to work hard going forward.