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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Tue Jan 25 | 02:00 PM - 11:59 PM

New England Patriots Postgame Quotes 1/2

HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK

Sunday, January 2, 2022
Postgame Press Conference

BB: All right, well, it was obviously a good win for us today. I thought the players really did a good job, came out, a lot of focus. High level of execution. It was an unusual kind of week with guys going out at the beginning of the week and then kind of trickling back as the week went on. I know those guys worked really hard just staying involved in the Zoom calls and stuff like that, but to be able to get these guys back and then go out there and play well, I thought that we played well in all three phases of the game. It was good. It's what we needed to do, and hopefully we can build on this and play well next week and going forward. Good solid team win all the way around. Excited to be back in the playoffs but big game coming up this week, take care of that. But feel like we made some progress today, but we've still got a long way to go here. Just need to keep grinding it out day by day. Hopefully we'll do that and see where it takes us.

Q: We just asked a lot of your guys how they felt about making the postseason after clinching after the Miami loss, and we basically heard six or seven different variations of, 'we're on to Miami.' What's the state of the team right now buying in and locking in to make sure they finish the regular season strong and committing to finishing out this season down the stretch, especially as COVID protocols make things trickier to try to coordinate?

BB: Yeah, we'll just do what we always do, come in tomorrow and go through the game, go through the corrections, talk about this game and move on and prepare for Miami. Obviously they're a good team. We lost to them the first game. It was a long time ago, but they're a good football team. They won, whatever it was, seven, eight, nine games in a row. I can't remember whatever it was, but they won a bunch of them. They're a good football team. Got a lot of respect for them. There's a lot of work to do to get ready for them, but we'll start on that tomorrow night and Tuesday and then whenever the game is, we play them. Have they changed it? I don't know, whenever it is it is. We'll play them when we play them.

Q: Can you talk about Jakobi Meyers? Another big opening to the game and basically over his career it just seems like with a lot of players in and out of the lineup, COVID and whatnot he's always there and maybe as consistent a guy as you have. Kristian Wilkerson says he embraced him from day one. Can you talk about how important Jakobi is to this team?

BB: Yeah, Jakobi has really done a good job in the room. We have some new players in the room with Nelly [Nelson Agholor] and KB [Kendrick Bourne] coming in this year. Even though they have more experience in the league, Jakobi has got a little more experience in this offense and he really has had a good work ethic, versatile guy, plays a lot of different positions. His role has changed, and he's adapted over the time he's been here with us – it's his third year – whether it's blocking, blocking the force, crack blocking, running different types of routes, playing all three positions, the X, the Z and the F spot. He's embraced whatever role he's had and has gotten better at some of the things that he needed to work on as he matured and gained experience in the league. It's a great example for all of our guys to look at. Undrafted player that's come in and established a role for himself, and he's created a lot of value because he can do a lot of things, and he's worked hard to do it.

Q: Some notable contributions from Kristian Wilkerson today. What have you observed from him behind the scenes this year that put him in position to contribute today?

BB: Yeah, Wilk is a hardworking kid. He normally plays the top or one of the top receivers of our opponents for our defense, so he gets targeted a lot in practice. But he's always ready to go when we've had injuries or guys that needed to step in, didn't practice or that type of thing, he's stepped in and is always well prepared, knew what to do, and has been productive in practice. It was nice to see him get the opportunity today and take advantage of it, cash in and play well. He also played in the kicking game. He was able to contribute there. Just overall he's helping us in both phases of the game, and the more you can do.

Q: David Andrews mentioned that you'll need to stay on schedule to have success offensively. Obviously you did that today. How much did good gains on early downs contribute to that success?

BB: Yeah, we were one-for-ten last week, and this week we were gaining yards on first and second down. Those third downs – if it gets skipped over or you're dealing with a lot better situation where you can have a potential run or throw the ball at any of the five receivers, and Mac [Jones] scrambled I think one time, too. Yeah, that's a lot easier than when you're in third-and-long and you've got a couple guys you can throw it to that can get down there and get the distance that you need. Yeah, first and second down have a lot to do with third down and staying on track with the running game and some good possession passes and some good running after the catch and good ball carrying by our backs, that all helped.

Q: After the last couple weeks, how nice was it to see a quick start, the defense get the three-and-out and then the offense getting a long touchdown drive there?

BB: That was great. It was great to play from ahead instead of playing from behind and being down 20-0 and all that. It's brutal. Yeah, it's really good.

Q: I know you're a student of history. Today was the Patriots' 10th win of the season and your 20th 10-win season. You are tied now with Don Shula for the most all time with 10-win seasons. Any thoughts about reaching that plateau with Coach Shula?

BB: It's flattering, but again, it's really the players. Players win games. Been fortunate to coach a lot of good, a lot of great players during that time. When you have good players, they can go out and win games for you, so it's really – they're the ones that win them. I've been lucky.

Q: I'm from Mac Jones' hometown. Can you talk about what he has been able to do this year, only four Hall of Fame quarterbacks have ever in their rookie seasons led their teams to the playoffs and those were all in the pre-free agency era. Can you talk about whether it's his maturity level, his preparation, whatever it is that has enabled him to get your team to this point?

BB: Yeah, well again, Mac is super consistent. Every day is really the same day for Mac. He's always well prepared. He's in early. He's ready to go. He knows what we're going to be doing, and he's already got a head start on it. He maximizes the information that the coaches give him, maximizes the walk-throughs, the practice reps, and learns from whatever happens in those situations. He's smart. He's a good learner, but he's got good instincts and good mechanics. He's just worked hard to get better every day. A lot of consistency and great work ethic and really pays attention to details and has just improved in every area throughout the course of the year. Continues to improve on a daily basis. He's just a really great person to coach because he's so responsive to trying to do everything the way that you want to do it. Josh [McDaniels] has done a fantastic job with him, and Mac has really, I think, embraced the wisdom that Josh has transmitted to him, and he played extremely well today.

Q: After a 2-4 start, you got a big win against the Jets and everything seemed to be back on track. Last two weeks you got back-to-back losses. Did you feel today's win will help you to reset the team going forward?

BB: Every week is its own week. So I don't think this week will have much to do with the Miami game, just like I don't think the Buffalo game had much to do with today's game. We'll get ready for a new team, a new challenge, and we'll see where we're at on Sunday against a good Dolphins team. It's nice to win. It's nice to go out there and have a good week and have that be realized with the score and the way we played the game. But next week is a new week and we're starting all over again. We emptied the tank out today. We're going to have to spend all week filling it up and be ready to put it out there again on Sunday against Miami.

QUARTERBACK MAC JONES

Sunday, January 2, 2022
Postgame Press Conference

Q: Mac, how needed was this offensive explosion by you guys today? To really distribute the ball to everybody, passing game, running game, it had to feel good.

MJ: Yeah, I think we had a really good plan and Josh [McDaniels] outlined that for us. The offensive line obviously did a great job executing and keeping the pocket clean and all that, and the receivers making their catches, and the running backs running. That's kind of how offensive football should work, and obviously we'll watch the tape and see what we can get better at, but we finally kind of got some momentum early and just played the game on our terms and all that. That's what we wanted to do.

Q: On some of the hand-offs particularly at the goal line, I noticed that you had a particular habit on the four touchdown runs today you were putting your hands up signaling touchdown by the time the guys were getting to the line of scrimmage. How confident are you in your running backs right now and what sort of brings that about?

MJ: Yeah, I think every time we get close like that, it's always good to celebrate when your teammate is going to score or you think they're going to score. I like how hard they run and how big the holes are for them to run through with the offensive line. It's just fun to get that view from behind and celebrate with the team and score points and score touchdowns in the red area, which is something that we need to get better at, and we're trying to do that.

Q: We saw you work with Kristian Wilkerson a lot during training camp. How much did that foundation help now that he's a part of the offense?

MJ: Yeah, I think that's just a great example of someone being ready for their opportunity and I think all of our receivers, we have great chemistry because we put in all the extra work, not only in training camp or whenever but throughout the week. We get the game plan and those guys will come over and run extra routes and all that while someone else is doing special teams or whatever it may be. We're trying to get the extra work, get the timing and all those guys did a great job today, and we'll just try and continue to build off that.

Q: How exciting is it to have a playoff spot and does this reinforce the notion of how happy you are to be drafted by the Patriots?

MJ: Yeah, I think any sport you play you want to get a chance to play for a championship and for a playoff spot. We have a big game next week, and that's what we're going to focus on, and finishing strong and all that. We'll focus on that and be where our feet are, and then when the next thing comes we'll have a new plan and attack it.

Q: In the third quarter when you were scrambling for the first down, at the end of the play we saw that you put two hands around the ball, just like holding a baby. Is that something you particularly practiced this week, something you want to share?

MJ: We just talk about ball security and the past couple weeks my ball security hasn't been very good, so I'm trying to work on it, just like everyone else is. The coaches put a big emphasis on that, and the goal was to protect the ball, whether you're throwing it or running it. That's all you've got to do.

Q: If you had to pinpoint two or three things knowing obviously there are probably thousands, what were a couple things that made the difference in your execution here overall today from your past couple games?

MJ: I think just doing our job better. We talked about how it's us, it doesn't have to do a lot with the other team. We just have to focus on what we're supposed to do and how we can do better at it, and we didn't do that in recent weeks. But we've got to do that more consistently, and I think that was a good step today, but the job's not done.

Q: The idea of going to the playoffs, I know that your focus is going to be on Miami and then whatever comes after that, but only four Hall of Fame quarterbacks in the history of the game have taken their team to the playoffs as rookies. Can you talk about what that accomplishment means to you, and is there any little extra satisfaction that you did it against your hometown team?

MJ: Like I always say, we're trying to play for as long as we can and get as deep as we can in the playoffs. Not a lot of it has to do with me, it's our great team that we have. My job is just to distribute the ball and get it to our playmakers. At times, I've done that and at times I could do that a lot better. I realize what we're playing for, and like I said, we're going to focus on this next week like we always do and put a good product out there and finish strong, and then all the stuff that happens in the future we'll deal with that when it comes, but it's been a great privilege to play here so far and we've got a lot more work to do, so that's what it comes down to.

Q: What about doing it against Jacksonville?

MJ: Yeah, I think it was cool. When you're a kid growing up, whatever team you root for or whatever, you get a chance to play against them, it's always fun to go out there and compete. That's pretty much all there is to it.

They came out there and fought and all that, and I think we just did a good job playing a good team game together, and yeah, it was really cool.

Q: I know the last couple weeks we've seen you make some plays outside the pocket, rolling out, and the touchdown pass to Kristian Wilkerson. When you were drafted I think some draft analysts didn't think your legs were going to be a big part of your game, but we've seen you use them quite a bit. How do you feel comfort-wise to be outside the pocket and throw on the move like that?

MJ: I feel really comfortable with it. I mean, it's always good, and I think every offense has those type of plays and Josh [McDaniels] does a good job creating different platform throws and stuff like that. My job is to execute them and get the completions. The guys were open, and that's what matters, so they're fighting to get open, and obviously the line – it's a different blocking scheme, too, so they did a good job executing that. We work on them, but it's part of our game just like a normal run or a normal pass.

Q: Obviously you were going against your hometown, but on the other sideline was the top quarterback taken in last year's draft. Was there any added incentive going into the game obviously besides trying to get the team back on track?

MJ: I think we didn't play our best the past couple weeks, and our goal was to come together and kind of come together as an offense and address our issues that we wanted to fix. We have a lot more work to do, and every week when you get a chance to play, it's motivating because we're trying to be the best versions of ourselves and our best version of our offense. We've got to just keep doing that. Every time you get a chance to play, you've got to attack the week and prepare really hard, and when Sunday comes just go out there and be yourself and have fun.

RUNNING BACK DAVID ANDREWS

Sunday, January 2, 2022
Postgame Press Conference

(On starting the game strong and having Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson together in the backfield)

"I think that's something the last few weeks we haven't done a good job of. Kind of been playing from behind, showed a lot of fight at times but when you're playing from behind the whole game it's hard. Yeah but those two backs – our whole room is really good with them healthy. There's a lot of good things they do that make us look a lot better than we are sometimes."

(On playing a complete 60-minute game)

"Yeah, definitely, that's what we wanted to do. No let-up, nothing like that. It was a good job by everyone going in there and executing. Did a lot of things right. They do a lot of blitzes, handled that pretty well for the most part. Everyone went out there and did their job and when you do that and have 11 guys on the same page executing, a lot of good things can happen."

(On clinching a playoff spot with the Dolphins losing)

"Yeah we're not really focused on that. We've got to play them this week. Got a big game, playoffs don't start for another week. We'll deal with that when we deal with that, we'll focus on Miami this week."

(On not allowing any sacks today and the emphasis on it following last week)

"It's a point of emphasis every week, you don't like your quarterback getting hit. We did a good job. They have a lot of blitzes, the whole blitz package they have, so like I said it takes everyone executing on the same page. Backs, us, the quarterback, receivers if they have to run a hot route, or whatever it may be."

(On the first couple of offensive drives and if it felt like they were prepared for the different looks they saw)

"Yeah I think we did a good job of executing. Seeing it getting in and out of the huddle, having time, giving ourselves time. Like I said, everyone being on the same page, that's the big thing. It's not just on us, not just on the quarterback, not just on the running back. It can be tight ends, it can be receivers, everyone has got to do their job. That's really what it takes for good offensive football. Down after down, play after play, it's 11 guys doing the same thing. If you don't have that, you can block them all day but receivers don't run the right route or the receiver can be wide open and we don't block, that's not very good. It's 11 guys every play executing and that's how you have good offensive football."

SAFETY KYLE DUGGER

Sunday, January 2, 2022
Postgame Press Conference

(On the play of the defense)

"We just did our jobs and the results show. So we were able to help the offense by playing defense."

(On not reaching out for the end zone on his interception)

"I also kind of froze up to, to be honest. That kind of crossed my mind, don't reach the ball out. It was a two-out look. We buzzed down from both sides and I don't think he [Lawrence] saw me. I just kind of slipped into the window at the last minute. It was great, when everybody can eat and everybody can have success doing the right things and playing our individual jobs in the defense. I think it creates confidence for everybody and makes you want to play that way."

(On the versatility of the defensive backs)

"I think it's just great for everybody because you never really know who is who on what play and who is doing what and who is where. I feel like it could be confusing for the offense, for sure. It is great to be in a role like that and play with two other great safeties."

(On how it feels to be in the playoffs)

"I don't know how to describe it. That's a great feeling. Ready to put some more work in and continue to move forward but that is a great thing. I'm looking forward to it."

RUNNING BACK DAMIEN HARRIS

Sunday, January 2, 2022
Postgame Press Conference

(On playing with Rhamondre Stevenson)

"It's been great. Obviously, Rhamondre's a great player, but an even better person. We're getting to share the locker room with great guys like him, Brandon Bolden, James White – unfortunately, who hasn't been with us as much. But just to be a part of this team that has so many great guys that are great men on top of just great football players, I feel very fortunate to ultimately share the room with a guy like this. Being able to step on the field with guys like that that just come in ready to work, ready to improve every day, and just go out there and give it their all. This is a special team and a special group. I think that you guys can see how much we all appreciate each other, everybody's effort, and everybody's commitment to this organization when we're out there playing."

(On his interactions with fans during the game)

"It's just been great because, when I think about this game, when I was eight years old, I dreamed of being in this situation, being in this position. The game of football has done so much for me. It's done so much for my family and it's given me so much that any opportunity that I get to give back to the fans who make what we do so fun, it's a special moment. So if I can just give somebody a touchdown ball, it's a great feeling. I remember back in the Dallas game, I gave a fan a ball and just seeing the reaction on her face afterwards, it made me feel inspired because I feel like that every time I step on this field. Every time I come into the locker room with guys like Rhamondre [Stevenson] and everybody else, that's the feeling I get. If I can in turn do something to make somebody else feel that way, I feel like I'm just being a good person. This is a great game that we all love. The players love it. The fans love it. I just love being able to share the enthusiasm, the pride, happiness, not only with my teammates, but also the fans that make the game so special as well."

(On what it means to make the playoffs after missing out last season)

"We've got more games to play. It's as simple as that. We won today. It's a great win for our team. Like I said, we've got a lot of good things to build on – obviously things to correct, but it was great to come out here and win today. Like I alluded to earlier, we've got another tough challenge coming up next week, so that's what our focus is – getting ready for Miami."

CORNERBACK J.C. JACKSON

Sunday, January 2, 2022
Postgame Press Conference

(On clinching a playoff spot today)

"I mean it's a great spot for us. We know we have to do. I'm ready to get back to work this week."

(On what they were able to do to create disruption against Trevor Lawrence)

"We talked about it all week as a team – playing aggressive. We knew what type of offense this was, we prepared for it all week and we went out and made plays today."

(On how the defense felt they played against the Jaguars' offense)

"We created three turnovers. That's good ball on the defensive side of the ball. They couldn't score so it felt like we did a hell of a job on defense."

SAFETY ADRIAN PHILLIPS

Sunday, January 2, 2022
Postgame Press Conference

(On clinching a playoff spot)

"We are definitely glad to have the opportunity to be in the playoffs but we aren't even thinking about that right now. We are thinking about Miami. We will celebrate this win for about the next 24 hours then it's on to Miami. Whatever happens after that, we will handle that when we get there. It's a great feeling to know that you have the opportunity to go to the postseason but that is still a ways away for us."

(On if he agrees with Damien Harris that this is a special team)

"One hundred percent. Just seeing how far we grew with the guys we had even last year, how tough it was for us and coming back and wanting to get this thing turned around, and kind of starting off the season with a little hiccup then really buckling down and going on a winning streak. You can see the group of guys that we have. Everyone really cares about football and one another. They are not just out there to do a job so to speak, they are out there playing for one another and you can just feel the difference."

(On regaining focus after two losses)

"It was super important because we know we dropped the last two games. There was a lot of talking, a lot of stuff going on after the play. We kind of forgot about football and we were focused on the outside noise rather than to play between the whistles. We knew that this week we really had to go out there and play, go out there and dominate and don't worry about anything else. For us to go out there and do that today is a step in the right direction. We just have to keep doing it."

RUNNING BACK RHAMONDRE STEVENSON

Sunday, January 2, 2022
Postgame Press Conference

(On missing playing last week and coming back this week and contributing so much.)

"It means the world. Last week not being out there with my team and just watching it on the TV, it's probably the worst thing to do as a football player just watching your team out there fight to the last whistle. Being out there meant the world to me tonight and I just love being out there with them."

(On Damien Harris)

"Damien that's my boy, just like he said it's just a brotherhood in that room, and we all just feed off each other. It's always positive, we never have anything to say to each other. We do sharpen each other's tools and things like that. But it's just all love and I just appreciate all of them in that running back room."

(On Brandon Bolden's revelation that he had cancer in 2018)

"Well I didn't know about his situation until actually a few weeks ago when he sat down with me and had a little conversation. But that's just a testament of who he is. He comes in here ready to work every day. He's having a good day – I've never seen Brandon have a bad day. I know why now, because of the things he's been though and things like that. So I understand his joy for life as a whole. That's my big bro and it's just all love in that room."

LINEBACKER MATTHEW JUDON

Sunday, January 2, 2022
Postgame Press Conference

(On clinching a playoff spot)

"We get to continue to fight after next week. We haven't done much. We still have got to fight, we still got to play, still got to scratch and claw and come in here and make sure we are ready for the next opponent. It was good to get a win today."

(On how prepared he felt physically and mentally for the game)

"I felt very prepared. Like you said, just on Zoom calls, Zoom meetings, that's really all you can do. Then kind of run a little bit but try not to get my heart rate up. It's still a lot of unknowns that we don't know about COVID. It's still a lot of unknowns so you still try to relax your body but it kind of sucks in the heart of the season that you can't move and stuff. But I am fine."

(On the possibility of him using this week to recharge)

"I'm a football player and if we have a game, I want to play. That's the competitor in me. It's good to relax and stuff but if we are going to battle, I want a war. That's just how I am. Like you said, it's good to rest your body, but I always want to play."

WIDE RECEIVER JAKOBI MEYERS

Sunday, January 2, 2022
Postgame Press Conference

(On Kristian Wilkerson stepping up for the team)

"It was amazing honestly. Just understanding where he came from, undrafted, guys probably doubting you, you're just waiting on your moment, working hard every day. He's in here at 6:00 every morning. Seeing him go out there and make plays that we all knew he could make – now everybody gets to see it. I'm real happy for him."

(On his touchdown catch)

"Honestly, that was a great job by the quarterback and the coaches because they prepared us for all the looks that we could possibly see. When we got down there, they called blitz zero. I knew I had to win and win fast and Mac [Jones] threw me a dime. I just had to catch it. He pretty much caught it for me honestly."

(On the moment he felt that Mac Jones could take the team to the playoffs)

"Day one honestly. We all kind of came in here with goals and aspirations to make it to the postseason. It wasn't really a doubt of ourselves or, 'hopefully we'll see if we can make it later.' Even when we were losing, we had a feeling that we were a good team and we had goals to reach."

WIDE RECEIVER KRISTIAN WILKERSON

Sunday, January 2, 2022
Postgame Press Conference

(On when he found out he would be elevated from the practice squad for the game)

"I think I found out Friday or Saturday. I was just ready to go. Just prepared all year for this so it finally came and hopefully I did what I did but we got the win, so that's the best thing."

(On his two touchdowns)

"I'm just doing whatever I can to help the team win. It doesn't matter if it's a catch or blocking, just trying to help the team win."

(On the work he put in all season and what it was like to have this opportunity)

"I feel like there's just a standard here to come in and work hard every day so it's not like I think about it. But just working hard is the standard here pretty much if you want to make it or play. You've got to work hard, be on top of your game and know what you're doing out there for the coaches."

(On his relationship with Jakobi Meyers)

"That's my brother. He's the best teammate, took me in really this summer and just looked out for me, told me what I need to know. I ask him questions all the time, one of the smartest guys I've been around football-wise. I could go on and on talking about Jakobi. He's a great player, great teammate, great person. I love him."

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