HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, January 3, 2021
BB: Well, start by saying how proud I was of our team today, not only today but all year, certainly this week. We had a disappointing couple of weeks here, but these guys came back, really bounced back. Had a good week of practice, a good week of focus. They played competitively today. It's always good to see some of the plays that we execute in practice be executed well in game situations. We had some of those today. Obviously the turnovers were a big part of the game, not turning the ball over, and getting two turnovers. That was good. We played pretty good situational football, scored in the red area, had a red-area stop. We converted better on third down. Those are helpful. Ultimately, a good field position day for us in the kicking game with the returns and the punting, kickoff coverage. Overall felt like we had a little advantage there. Again, just proud of the way that the team, the players, competed this week. We had several guys that didn't play, David and Shaq, Terez, Jennings, a bunch of linebackers on defense. Chase came back in after he hurt his hand, had it clubbed up, finished the game. Things like that. Go right down the roster, right down the line, a lot of examples of toughness, competitiveness, guys that love playing football. I just have a lot of respect for coaches and the players, members of this team. Obviously our results this year weren't what we had hoped for, but doesn't change my appreciation for their efforts, what they tried to do. Players like Cody Davis, Ja'Whaun Bentley, LG, Lawrence Guy, were banged up. Had some guys playing on the offensive line. Korey played most of the second half at tackle. Hadn't played much this year. Some guys got an opportunity to play. Not that that was the goal; they were forced into it. In a way, all their hard work paid off, at least gave them an opportunity to do that. It was good to end a disappointing season on a positive note. Still not necessarily where we wanted to be here at the end of the year. Today was today. All we could do was control today. Again, I appreciate all the players, the way the team performed. Cam has given us a lot of leadership, certainly gave it to us today, first run, getting the ball in the end zone. Again, just part of the leadership he's given us all year, especially with Andrews out, being a little shorthanded there offensively. I don't really have anything to say about next year. We just got finished with the game. We put what we had into the game. I'm not going to talk about anything beyond today because I'm not prepared to talk about it.
Q: How happy were you to see a guy like Cam rewarded with the three touchdown passes, even a touchdown reception, after the work he put in coming into a new system, dealing with COVID? You talked about how hard he worked this year.
BB: Look, I'm happy to see anybody have a good day. That's what we work for. These guys work hard. They put in a lot of physical effort, a lot of mental effort, a lot of group effort. It's always rewarding to see positive results, whether it be Cam or Sony or our offensive line, Jon Jones, Adam Butler, anybody. I'm happy for all of them. It was just good to see the team respond in all three phases. I thought we played competitively. It wasn't certainly perfect. There were things we could have done better, for sure. But I thought they competed well and played competitively in all three phases. I'm proud of the team for that.
Q: When you usually lose in the playoffs, there's a brutal finality to it, you never know when it's coming. In this situation, are you at peace where things are because you knew going into this game this was your last game so you can be proud of the performance today but look back and still have disappointment on what transpired over the 16 games?
BB: Yeah, I think that pretty much sums it up. Yeah, that pretty much sums up the feelings.
Q: There was a report on ESPN today there's an understanding between you and Cam Newton that you'll be going in different directions this off-season. Is there an understanding this was Cam's final game?
BB: Is that another one of your anonymous reports?
Q: That was from Adam Schefter this morning.
BB: I don't think that's what Adam said. You should talk to Adam about that then. Great question, thank you.
Q: We know Jakobi Meyers' history at quarterback. When did the team develop trust in him to throw the ball in games?
BB: I don't know. I'm not sure. I mean, he's always been able to throw the ball. Julian has been able to throw it. Guys that have played quarterback previously in their career, they throw a ball back to the ball boy at the line of scrimmage after they catch a pass, you sort of notice it, so... An opportunity to use some of those players.
Q: Sony had a big day in the passing game. How much have you seen him develop that aspect of his game this season?
BB: I think Sony really probably developed more of it after his rookie year. He works hard at the passing game. Fortunately we were able to get the ball out to him in space a couple times. Sometimes that's a lot easier than having to block a lot of guys, get through the line of scrimmage. Passes that give the backs the ball with an opportunity to run with it, those are good opportunities. I know backs love those so they can see fewer defenders and see more space. Yeah, it was good.
Q: Chase Winovich today, he seemed like he brought a lot of energy.
BB: Yeah, he did. I thought Chase played hard, like he always does. Brought some good pressure, some inside pressure on the quarterback. With Josh Uche, Chase stepped up, Rashod Berry stepped up, played some for us, too. Overall we had decent pressure on the quarterback, forced him out of the pocket a couple times, at least knocked him down a couple times there, created some longer yardage situations. Yeah, those are positives.
Chase plays hard all the time. Usually plays all four phases of the kicking game. Sometimes we pull him off one, but usually at least three phases, a lot of times four. He's a kid that has a lot of versatility for us. Certainly the pass-rush, that was good for us today from him and, like I said, Adam, Deatrich, Rashod.
Q: Devin Asiasi got into the end zone today, a couple grabs. How much have you seen him grow? Sort of a stop-start kind of year for him. Knowing it's just one game, is it possible for a young player like that to build momentum having a pretty good game?
BB: Yeah, I mean, I think it's a stretch for me to think that a career is going to be defined by one play or one game. Is there a positive or a negative impact that could happen? Yeah, sure. Really all of our rookie players are going to need to have that same opportunity to have a big year of growth from year one to year two now that they understand more about what we're doing, now they understand more about what our opponents do, now that they understand what an NFL season is like, the demand, mental and physical grind that an NFL season entails. If they do a good job of approaching it the right way, have the right work ethic, take advantage of the opportunity that they have to boost their career, then good things will happen for them. If they don't, then there will probably be other players that pass them by. That's what every year brings with those second- and third-year players, how far have they grow, how much have they improved, is it enough to establish or pass other players that they're competing with. We'll see how all that turns out. But, you know, again, we got an opportunity over the course of the year, at times not what we were looking for, but at times a lot of opportunities for players to get game experience and play a decent amount of football. Again, sometimes they were the beneficiary of injuries or circumstances that allowed them greater playing time than what you would have normally expected it.
Those opportunities will hopefully be good learning experiences for them but also be a real reality check that this is how hard it is and how hard it's going to be, how much they have to do in order to be successful against the kind of competition that they've seen this year in regular season games. Yeah, we'll see how all that plays out. I mean, I hope it does. That will be up to Devin or any other player going from year one to year two to put in the time, the work, the investment and the sweat in order to get the results.
Q: On Jakobi, do you go back to the Arabia Mountain High School tape there when you're thinking about dialing up the passing plays? What are your thoughts about him as a passer?
BB: We didn't go back that far. Probably not doing enough homework there. Like I said really, you see a lot of it on the practice field. When receivers run routes and catch the ball, then they turn around and throw it back to the line of scrimmage to the ball boys that are setting up the drills for the next guys to run, so forth, doesn't take too long to see if the guy can throw the ball 20, 30 yards accurately. Through game planning, like Josh as usual, does a great job of finding opportunities to attack defenses and putting players in position to execute those plays. Of course, another thing that Josh does a great job of is the timing and setting things up and making those calls at the right time and against the right defense that give us the best opportunity to succeed. That play was well-executed, well-designed, and Jakobi made a good throw, Cam finished it, got in the end zone. That was a big play for us, gave us a big boost, got us back in the game. I know everybody wants to talk about tryouts, all the highlight tape from passing and so forth. That would be a good story. I can't honestly say that's the way it happened, though. I appreciate the background.
Q: The question about Adam, he had reached out as a colleague, and he wanted to make sure what he had said was represented accurately, that it wasn't a report, it was part of an overall discussion. Just getting away from that, overall, how would you sort of describe what you learned from Cam this year being with him every day, what that was like?
BB: I think I've covered that quite a few times. Nothing's changed. He had a great week this week. Came in with a lot of energy, did a great job in practice with executing the game plan, getting things right. We made some adjustments. We made some in-game adjustments. Overall we did a pretty good job of it. I wish from a team standpoint that we could have performed better collectively as a team, not just offensively, but defensively and in the kicking game, we could have collectively performed better over the course of the season. As mentioned earlier, coming into today, it was what it was. We were 6-9. The only thing we could do today was be 7-9. That's what we tried to do. That doesn't erase the other games that were played this year. Nothing but respect for Cam and the way he's approached every day that he's been here.
Q: As you spoke about players going from year one to year two, learning what it takes, what was the value in Cam's model of example in that regard this year, the work he put in to learning a new system? Do you think in a very specific way, does that have an impact on young players in particular?
BB: I'm not sure I understand the question. Are you saying his example, the way he approached it, would that affect other players?
Q: Because he came in with a strong résumé, a great player, yet it seemed from what you've told us first guy in, last guy out. Some of those young players, they might not have been around other quarterbacks. Maybe them seeing what Cam did, if that's part of the leadership that you keep telling us you see in him?
BB: Yeah, absolutely, definitely. I mean, honestly, I can probably say that about 20 players on this team. Devin McCourty, Jason McCourty, Lawrence Guy, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, James White, Matt Slater, right down the line. Some have been here for over a decade. They approach every meeting and every installation and every walk-through like they're rookies, like they're undrafted rookie players. Attentive, trying to get it right. If something happens, they ask a coach a question. After 13 years or 10 years, however many years it's been, five years, it doesn't matter, that they have just as much of a thirst to get though situations right so they'll be prepared so if they come up in the game, they'll do the right thing as a rookie would, a first-year player would, who doesn't know. Some of the questions are more advanced and so forth. We have so many players on our team that approach the game that way. I mean, I couldn't just single out one person. Again, obviously our captains. There's a whole 'nother group of players that aren't captains that have that same work ethic, same day-to-day consistency to excel. Part of excelling is improving. But they want to do everything right. They want to physically be prepared, mentally be prepared, study film, work with their teammates so that the communication is done properly and efficiently on the field when we have to make a change or an adjustment, all those things. Yeah, I mean, honestly it's an inspiration to all of us, coaches as well. Any player who hasn't been around that, who hasn't experienced that, doesn't have those kind of work habits, again, urge to get it right, commitment to winning, what you have to do to win in this league, yeah, of course they all can learn from that. We can all learn from it. That's what real good professional NFL players do, is they make that kind of commitment on a daily basis throughout the entire season. They don't take days off. They don't miss opportunities to prepare and study and be ready to step out on the field and do their very best. They don't have those up-and-down type of periods. So absolutely. Anybody that watches those players in their room or on their side of the ball, just in general, absolutely, those are great leadership examples. They don't even have to say anything. Leadership comes from doing your job and putting the team first when you do it. That's what leadership's really about. It's not about always standing up and giving a team speech. Just going in there and doing your job is leadership. Your commitment to doing it for the team is leadership. That's kind of how I measure it. We have a lot of that. We have a lot of great leadership on this team. I mean, I don't have any issue there. Thank you. We'll see you tomorrow. Appreciate everyone.
QUARTERBACK CAM NEWTON
Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, January 3, 2021
Q: How nice was it for you today to go out this season with the three touchdowns and that receiving touchdown?
CN: I don't think that was necessarily more or less about me than a great team win. We just wanted to start the year off in a great way that we know we needed to, knew we could, so...
Q: Do you anticipate being back here in New England next season?
CN: Listen, I have my desires. I know where my heart's at. I know the things, who I am. But as far as that, I can't really speak on it right now. But just my whole time here in New England has been a blessing. I've learned so much about myself, about great teammates, unbelievable coaching. Yeah, so I just see how it goes, go from there.
Q: What was it like to throw or see a camp attendee throw a touchdown pass to a camp counselor today?
CN: I was teasing with him. I was like, Listen, I'd like to thank my hands for really catapulting us and giving us the momentum to win. You know what I'm saying? But Jakobi is great, man. We had fun throughout this whole season, with this game. For the guys to battle back not even to blink going down seven points here the early part of the second half, guys just kept plugging away and found a way to win.
Q: Devin Asiasi is a guy we don't know really well. You finally get him his first catch, first touchdown. Seemed like you made it a point to run down there and celebrate. How important is it for you to be a part of guy's lives?
CN: Number one, he's still young. There was a growing element as part of his season. Just for him to head into the off-season with a game like today is a great step in the right direction for Acai Bowl. For him to make a great catch for the touchdown, something that he needs to keep doing, he will keep doing. He has so much talent. He shows so much flashes in practice. It's great just to see it in a game.
Q: I don't want to read your body language. You just looked very joyful out there today. Describe how you felt at different points in the game, if you were joyful.
CN: I'd put it like this. There is nothing, no one, nothing, that was going to get me out of the spirit that I was in. I don't know what it was, but I had a great manifesting party New Year's Eve, going into the new year. That was kind of what I kind of foreshadowed. How to kind of visualize it, for it to play as it did, means I should have been doing that more this year, right?
Q: On the drive when you were down 14-7, tied the game, take me through your mindset on that. The big third down, the catch from Jakobi Meyers. Seemed like you were having fun. Has that been missing this year to some extent?
CN: Sometimes because you were thinking. Today everything meshed in ways that we wanted it to mesh. Obviously we hit a lull there, but we knew we just needed to keep going and keep plugging away. That's what we did. Success brings a different swagger, a different comfort. Obviously scoring touchdowns, back-to-back touchdowns, will kind of do it for anybody.
Q: When you went into the locker room after the game, was there a sense of finality in how you were going through things from a mental standpoint? What was your mindset postgame?
CN: No, it wasn't. Yeah, we play this game to win, but our season is done. We got the talent in that locker room to be still playing for a playoff berth, making a deep run in the playoffs. That's the realization of things. You know what we can possibly do. You know what we're capable of. We just didn't show it enough this year. But yet through it all, we did finish strong today.
Q: When you look back on this year, obviously you didn't get all of the results you wanted on the field, what are you most proud of? Do you think things could have gone differently if you had more time to learn the Patriots' system?
CN: Yeah, without a doubt. Without a doubt. I think one of the main things for me this year was a small but yet important thing for me, just to finish healthy. I think that was one of the most frustrating things for me, was that I was healthy but still not getting the results that I was yearning for. Through it all, my shoulder held up, foot held up, mental held up. I had nicks and bruises, but who doesn't have any nicks and bruises in the NFL? Nothing lingering enough to stop me. I'm going to take that as a blessing and do it in the off-season.
Q: As you and we know, Bill Belichick is a man of few words, at least with us. He just wrapped up his press conference with praises for your leadership. As the season comes to an end, knowing he praises your leadership and you were the starting quarterback under Bill Belichick, which is something few guys can say, what is your reaction to that?
CN: I mean, I respected him prior to not even knowing him. I respect him even more just because -- not because of the words that he said today, but just being around him in this stint. I mean, the guy is just a walking historian of knowledge. He's probably forgot more football than I know. With me, I'm always eager to learn, eager to kind of talk about the good old days from his time wherever he was. He's just such a great teacher, teaching the game of football. For him, if his mentality is up here, everybody else, the coaches, the players, then everyone else, it kind of rubs off. There's no question why they've had so much success in this franchise during his 10 year. He's such a master of focusing on the details. I keep going back to it. We didn't do it enough this year. At times when we did, it was a thing of beauty to watch. For him, it all starts with the head coaching. He speaks on fundamentals each and every single day.
Q: What does or what did being the starting quarterback of the New England Patriots mean to you?
CN: Well, you got to understand I didn't really get the full effect, too, because we didn't have any fans. That was a regret for me that I was anticipating just playing in front of the fans in Foxboro or New England. I've had the opportunity to play against the Patriots obviously with the other team. Seeing how emphatic they were about their team, I just wanted to witness it. I know that would have probably been cool to experience. With me being such an emotional energy type of guy, not having the fans there to give you that extra boost, who knows what would have happened.
Q: You've been very honest this year about some of the ups and downs. After some of the downs, how much does it mean for you just to finish the season on a strong note? I don't think you lack any confidence, but does a performance like this just maybe give you a little bit more confidence heading into the off-season?
CN: No. I need to get better. That's what it all comes down to. For me, I'm such a stickler about did you win, did you win, doesn't matter what the statistics were, did you win, find ways just to win. Yeah, having a game like today is good, but you wish you would have had more games like this.
Q: For those of us who might not be familiar, can you describe what a manifestation party looks like?
CN: A manifestation party is when you call people, obviously practicing social distancing or quarantining, so to speak, and what you would do is FaceTime people or be in a room where a lot of people from family or close friends, and you kind of manifest, you set your intentions on things that you want, right? From sage, to incense, gem stones, a lot of different things, even the Bible, you just kind of had this meditative experience where nothing else matters outside of what you want, what's obviously on your heart, whatever your heart's desire. Obviously 2020 was such a great and trying year for a lot of us. For me, all I really wanted was some things to be a little different for 2021, a lot of people, the masses, the close ones, loved ones, family for me.
Q: Who were you waving to at the end of the game in the stands?
CN: They are my partners. My folks up at the top top that was shooting the guns. Yeah, I better watch out. Don't be saying too many crazy things about them because I have the shooters stashed away at the top of the stairs. I'm just messing with you. No, the cheerleaders and guys, the end zone militia. They was all the way at the rafters. I tried to throw them a ball after the touchdown. It didn't get there. But I still get an E for effort for that, though.
Q: After a season like this, after a game like today, what do you want to be remembered for, especially for the fans, of the quarterback for the New England Patriots for the 2020 season?
CN: I don't know. That's a great question. 2020 was a weird year, man. I think for me, my legacy is all I have as a man. You know what I'm saying? Yeah, we came up short a lot. It's not necessarily more important than the fans than my most focus was to make as much of an impact that I could for the people on this team. I came in with the mentality each and every day to try to get better, to try to impact lives in a positive way, and to be receptive of change. It was a lot of things that I had to disassociate myself from. That was on the field as well as off the field. I've learned over time, no disrespect to your question or to the fans or anything else like that, but my main focus was just to impact this locker room as best as I could. I tried. That's the only thing I can say at the end.
TIGHT END DEVIN ASIASI
Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, January 3, 2021
(On the win, his first NFL receptions and his first touchdown)
"It's definitely a great feeling getting that first [touchdown]. I think, as a collective, having that win and ending off with a win, getting that team win was the best feeling. Going into the offseason, I think that gives us a little momentum and a little confidence going into the spring and into the fall. It's definitely something to build off of."
(On what the season entailed for him)
"It was up and down. Just like anything, you go through your struggles throughout the whole process. Those are the things that harden you, that get you better and grow you into the person that I am right now. I take all those lessons and situations and I take it forward in things that I can learn from, things that I can hold dear to my heart. Obviously, with the tragedy of losing two of my close family this past year, definitely made me go harder in the season. It made me cherish the moments I have with everybody around me and cherish the moments that I have with my teammates. For me, it was just about being consistent, keep working, keep grinding and try to improve every day and improve every week."
(On whether today's game felt like a breakthrough)
"I think it's just another step. I think it's another step in my growth as a player. That's how I'm going to take it. I'm going to approach every win and every loss the same way. I'm going to try to see what I can do better. Obviously, it wasn't perfect out there, so there's definitely room for improvement in the game. For me, the situation with the win and the touchdown, it's definitely just a step for me. That's how I'm going to treat it. I'm going to be humble about it, keep working and keep grinding. I'm going to try to keep writing my name in my spot."
(On playing with Cam Newton and catching his first touchdown from him)
"It's a crazy feeling. Watching him growing up, it's just crazy to think that I'd be on the other side of the catch. Having that moment, cherishing it and him being there to celebrate with me in the end zone was definitely a dope moment for me."
SAFETY DEVIN MCCOURTY
Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, January 3, 2021
(On what it felt like to end the season with a win)
"Yeah, it's a good way to end the season. Obviously not the way we wanted it to go and we've known that for the last two weeks but I think it's good for the team moving forward. You talk about character and building all these things that the Patriots are built on, and it's a lot easier to do that when you have all the 10-win seasons, you're in the playoffs every year. I think it showed a lot for these guys and I think it'll mean a lot going forward for a lot of these young guys. Hopefully they have extended careers. They'll always remember this year, what we went through, what the coaching went through and what it took to go out there each day to just keep fighting. I think it was great. I was proud to be a part of this team. Today, to go out there, the leadership from guys, the young guys stepping up – a lot of guys played today and I think everyone was on it and ready to go."
(On his message to the defensive backs before the game)
"It was simple. I think everywhere you looked this week, the game didn't matter, it was meaningless. I just told guys to think about their journey, to have an opportunity to play here. Last game of the year, you know you're not going to the playoffs, but at some point on your journey, you've been doubted, you got hurt, a certain school told you that they didn't want you, a team released you, a team traded you, a team told you that you weren't good enough to play. At some point, if someone asked you, 'Would you take an opportunity to play in the last game of the season with no chance at the playoffs?' We all would take it and give it everything we've got. I told guys to think about that today. If someone tells you this is your last ever game to play, what would you do? I was proud of the way guys responded. But I think guys knew that coming in. I think guys already had the right mentality. I'm very fortunate and blessed to give this team different talks and to be a leader on this team because it's a lot easier to lead a bunch of guys that don't need much direction and were ready to go and hungry to learn. I've been very fortunate over the years I've been here to lead the group."
(On how happy he was to see how Cam Newton played today)
"It was awesome. I think, so much talk of not playing him from the media and all of that and I think the way he's worked this year – he came into a group of guys and there's always so much that when you're on the outside looking in that you hear and you don't know. And he's come in and he's just been himself. We've accepted him, he's accepted us. So to see him be able to finish a season this way and our offense – Guys like Sony [Michel] who's gone through a lot this year with being injured and then on the COVID list, to see the way he played this year – To see the way [Devin] Asiasi played out there, to have a big first-down catch and then his first touchdown catch. I think that shows the strides that this team has made and now it'll turn into all about the future. But make no doubt about it, Cam's been the leader of that group, he's been a captain, he's been the offensive leader day in and day out, and I was happy not only for his play, but for the success of the whole offense that he leads. I was just happy for him because I know he cares a lot about that. He doesn't just care about how he plays as an individual, but leading a group and the group playing well, he takes a lot of that on his shoulders. I've been very fortunate and happy the way this year worked out, to get to know him and get to see his work ethic and person and all the things that he brings to the team. So it's been awesome just to be around him."
(On if he wants to be part of this team next year)
"Yeah, I'm under contract for next year and I think I said it maybe a week or two ago – this is without conversations with my wife but I plan on playing next year. I think she'll fully support that. I hope I'm here and I hope I can continue to try to lead this group and be around these guys and hope for a better 2021. But I thought Slate [Matthew Slater] said something great even after the game – for us to take time to think about 2020 and what it's taught us. What we've gone through – the good, the bad and most importantly, to grow from it and not just say, 'Man, I'm happy it's over. Let's move forward,' but to actually take the lessons you've learned. I hope those lessons that I've learned from 2020, I can take forward and be an even better leader, be an even better player, better man and hopefully and ultimately, we all do that as individuals and have a better outcome next year. But like you said, there's a lot of things that will be done in the offseason for this team. However it works out, I've been extremely blessed to be a part of this organization. I take a lot of pride in being here and being with this group of men day-in and day-out. No matter what, I've been very fortunate to be a New England Patriot."
(On how much he missed the fans this year)
"I think this area is a lot like this team. It didn't go well but from social media, people were reaching out and still supporting. I felt like this would have been one of those games where as much as we wanted more, the fans would have been happy with the effort and the character of this team. I feel like truly that is the character of this area. Whether you're in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, any of these states, Connecticut – when you're in the New England area, that's what you get. You get hard-nosed, hard-working people. It doesn't always go the way that everyone wants, but I think one thing you know is that it's going to be a constant fight. You see that with every show or movie based in Boston, it's all about fighters. I think we definitely missed the fans today, just to send this team off the right way, to send some of these guys that won't be back in Patriots uniforms off the right way. I miss that, just having that and seeing that. It's just a sad way for the season to end with no one there."
(On the importance of having joy with the win today)
"Oh, it was everything. I think that's what 2020 meant for a lot of people. It was finding joy in the things that you take for granted sometimes. I think for us, if you told me back in March that we were going to play 16 games, I would have told you that you're a little crazy. So the opportunity to do that, the opportunity for guys to play through different losses, different adversities, the opportunity to play through big levels of success when we went out there and beat Baltimore on a Sunday night or go play the Chargers – to get through all of those things, the ups and downs, I think it meant a lot to take the field today one last time for the 2020 season and to start off the year right. It meant a lot because I think no matter how you feel, what went wrong this year, you had things that you can count as blessings. I think those are the things that you need to hold tight and really show value in. For us as individuals, that will look different in each person's life depending on what you went through. But as a team, the bonds that we were able to make, some of the contributions we were able to make off the field. A year that for me, I was so proud to be a part of hosting Monday social justice events where we're getting to learn about what's going on. Guys asking questions, guys learning new things. There's so much to be grateful for and proud of with the 2020 season. Now it's all about continuing those things into 2021 and most importantly, bringing some more W's to the end of the season and getting back to the playoffs and doing those great things. I don't want that to get lost, that's obviously a part of the plan. But some of the things we were able to accomplish this year, in a hard year, I think meant a lot. It meant a lot to the community, so I'm definitely proud of those things."
ADDITIONAL PATRIOTS PLAYERS
J.C. Jackson, DB
(On the importance of the message Devin McCourty gave to the defensive backs before the game)
"It was a very important message that one of our captains gave. Every week he gives us a message but this one, I really felt it because like everybody knows, this is our last game, this is our last game together."
(On his ninth interception of the year and the year that he had intercepting the football)
"I mean, like I always say, I just see the ball and make plays on the ball. I'm a ball hawk, that's what I get paid to do. Like you said, the ninth pick of the season, I feel like I could have had more than that. But that's a hell of a season, to have nine picks. I've just got to continue to grow and get better for the 2021 season."
(On the importance of ending the season with a win)
"It was important because it's a new year, you get things rolling with a win. It was a great way to start the year, to get a win. Even though we're not going to the playoffs or anything like that – to get a win today, it was a big influence. I feel like we finished the season the right way."
(On what this win meant to him)
"It means a lot to me and my teammates. The guys we have in this building, the character of the men we have, we just kept fighting. Not only today, but all season long. We kept fighting. It was a rough season, rough year, but the men in the locker room, our captains, they showed great character and they led us all year and they led us today and we came out with a win."
(On why the game mattered even though the team was already out of the playoffs)
"I mean, you get to go out there and compete. What do you mean, how can someone say the game doesn't matter? I don't get that, I don't understand why people say that. It's another game you get to go out and compete with your brothers, your teammates, and just ball and have fun. That's what the game is all about, just competing, having fun and enjoying the moment. So it matters to me and my teammates."
Jakobi Meyers, WR
(On throwing a touchdown pass to Cam Newton)
"It was pretty special. It was always my dream to be playing quarterback in the first place. To actually be able to throw a touchdown and to throw it to Cam [Newton] feels pretty good."
(On confidence from the team to be able to make the throw)
"I mean if you saw the weather, it was starting to get a little weird out there. I mean, it tells me that they believe in me a lot. Honestly. I need to have confidence in myself and just keep that going."
(On overall confidence the coaching staff has in him)
"I mean, they are the ones that call the plays. You can't go out there and call the plays yourself. So, for them to put the ball in my hands and give me opportunities to get the ball, it means a lot. It's something that I will hold on to."
(On being ready for a play being called where he has to throw a pass)
"I was ready for this time. The Ravens game, it caught me off guard. I'm like, 'It's kind of wet our here, what's going on? Did we mean to call that?' But this time I was kind of ready for it. I knew that Cam was pretty much bigger than everybody in their secondary. All I had to do was put it in the sky for him and I was hoping he would make the play. I feel like that was a blow to them and we just built up that momentum."
(On having Cam Newton be the player to catch the touchdown)
"It means a lot to me. It's something hopefully that he won't forget. It's something I definitely won't forget. It was a pretty special moment to throw him a touchdown pass. Just life. You see that full circle kind of moment. That's something that I will definitely hold onto."
Sony Michel, RB
(On his first NFL touchdown reception)
"It was a cool experience to get that first receiving touchdown, but coach [offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels] called the play. The offense executed, and once I got the opportunity to catch the ball, I'm just trying to make a play in space and I was able to reach the end zone."
(On his improvement over the last few games)
"That's my goal. Each and every year, try to improve. To kind of feel strong, especially towards the end of the year. Try to grow, try to be the best version of me. Unfortunately, this season there have been ups and downs for the team, for myself, but at the end of the day, just have to keep going, keep grinding and pushing forward."
(On being heavily involved in the passing game)
"I've gotten opportunities in practice to work on my ability to be in on the passing game. I just kind of waited and hopefully I was able to execute when coach put me in there. That's all you really can do. Be prepared. When your number is called, try to execute, try to do your job as best as you can."
(On playing a career high in snaps)
"Practice prepared us, this team for situations like that. There are guys that played on the offensive line 100 percent of the snaps. They are prepared because they practice that way. We practice that way as running backs. So, no matter how many snaps you get, I would say we are well prepared. Coaches do a great job of that."