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New England Patriots Postgame Quotes 10/3

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and select players comment on their 17-19 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, October 3, 2021.


Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, October 3, 2021

BB: You know, we had our chances. Just could have done a couple things a little bit better. It would have – I don't know if it would have changed the outcome, but we just – we just fell a little bit short. I thought our team really prepared well this week, and that's what we've got to do every week and coach a little bit better and make a few more plays and start winning these close games.

Q: You coached Tom Brady for 20 years, but this is the first time you went against him in a game. What was the experience like going –

BB: Look we went against Tom Brady every day, every day in practice defensively. So it's not like we've ever seen Tom Brady before.

Q: Was the experience of coaching against him in a game any different?

BB: They are a good football team and he's a great quarterback, and I think that's all – goes without saying.

Q: Your thoughts on Mac Jones today showing a lot of poise as a rookie back there. What are your thoughts on his performance today?

BB: We're going to look at the film. Again I thought our team played competitively, and Mac is certainly a part of that. You know, we can all play better and all learn from, you know, some of the things we could have done better but Mac fought hard and made a lot of plays for us.

Q: How do you plan to address your fumble issues? It looks like you have a lot this season and today was a critical situation, too.

BB: Yeah, nothing more important than ball security.

Q: Defensively, you held them to three field goals and a touchdown – or four field goals and a touchdown. So, it was a good performance?

BB: Well, not enough.

Q: Anything stand out about the running game tonight from you guys? Was it just, you know, Tampa Bay executing?

BB: We couldn't get much going there. They are obviously a good run defense but we couldn't – we couldn't get much done there. That was disappointing. We have good backs but we haven't been able to really get them started very often. So it's definitely something we need to work on and do better.

Q: Specifically about Mac, just being able to lead comebacks within the game, is that a learned skill? Is that something he can take coming out of this game? And I did want to ask you what you were told about the Matthew Slater play and if you've ever seen Matthew that upset with a call.

BB: Yeah, that's a tough call. You have to talk to the guys that made it. There's a couple tough calls there but you know, talk to them about that. I mean, look, Matt's a good – a good player, he knows how to compete. He knows how to win. He can learn things tonight like we all can. You know.

Q: What about matching up J.C. Jackson, Jalen Mills and Jonathan Jones, each shadowing a Bucs receiver for most of tonight, what made you feel that was the best decision and how do you think that played out through the course of the game?

BB: Why did we think it was the best decision? We thought it was the best decision. I don't know. How do you want to do it.

Q: I may have missed it, I just got in here, but what did you see – you've seen Tom Brady play so many games over so long. This game with all the emotions and obviously the chess match against you, what did you see from Tom tonight that may have kept it as competitive as it was?

BB: Yeah, I think we already covered that. That was one of the first questions.

Q: Was there any consideration of going for it on fourth down when you kicked the field goal at the end?

BB: I mean, not really.

Q: What were some of the things you guys did to maybe try to keep the Bucs guessing offensively in terms of the number of rushers that you decided to bring at different points?

BB: What did we try? I don't understand the question.

Q: How did you try to confuse the Bucs?

BB: Yeah, we used multiple rushes and multiple coverages. Been doing that all year. I don't think it was anything, you know, a surprise to them. You'd have to ask them. I don't know.


Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, October 3, 2021

Q: End of the game, anything you can share with us about that moment?

MJ: Yeah, after the game, got a chance to congratulate him on the win and he's a great quarterback and yeah, he played well tonight and that's pretty much all there was to it.

Q: Did he say anything to you?

MJ: He just told me to keep my head up and keep working.

Q: We've seen stretches, especially tonight, where the offense is moving very well and you've got motions going and guys open, you're hitting receivers. Do you feel like this offense is getting closer to the group that you want it to be?

MJ: Yeah, I do. I think we moved in the right direction. You know, we made plays and played hard the whole game and I turned the ball over. That's one of the problems, you know, turnovers can kill you, and you know if you turn the ball over – If you don't turn the ball over, you have a 90-something percent chance to win, and it's just statistics but I have thought we moved the ball, passing well and the run game needs to improve and we'll come up with ways to do that. I thought everyone fought really hard. It sucks we lost but yeah, look at it, like you said, that we're making some progress.

Q: Obviously Tom Brady has been a big topic for a while and especially leading into this game. You see the atmosphere and people obviously cheering for him and he sets a record. How are you able to stay composed and this past week and throughout the game?

MJ: I think just focus on what's important now, is kind of what I tell myself and on Tuesday that was practice. On Wednesday it was practice. Thursday, practice. Friday practice. So I just try to focus on how I can get better in the past week and everything else is a distraction. I just try to block the noise and everyone on our team tried to block the noise and I wish I played a little better so that we could have won but it is what it is. Hats off to the other football team for getting the win.

Q: You had trouble running the ball tonight, in fact, only eight carries for minus one yard. How difficult was it for you in terms of Tampa Bay was doing because they knew you were not going to run the ball in terms of what you had to adjust to in order to keep the passing game going?

MJ: I think just where we're at, you know, we just kind of had to do what we had to do and try to throw the ball more and I'll have to look at the tape. I don't really get a chance to look at every detail of the running game but obviously we're disappointed with that. I play a part in that in trying to push everyone during practice and we can play better than that, passing or running, and we will, and I think it's all about communication with the coaches, the players, everybody, just to find ways just to fix the issue and we have to first identify the issue by watching the film.

Q: Just talk about the play of the tight ends, and it looked like both of them were in sync tonight for the first time this season?

MJ: I think the tight ends played well. You know, we have got to keep going together as a team. It's not two people or one person. It takes all 11, and we made strides in that, but we've just got to pick up the consistency part and that's skill players, offensive line, running backs, everybody. We will and it just goes back to watching the tape. And I was proud of how those two guys played and a lot of the guys on our team played and played hard and wasn't our night and didn't go our way.

Q: You're going up against the best quarterback ever and I thought you played extremely well tonight, very efficient moving the ball down the field. Talk about the game plan Josh McDaniels had, especially when it came to throwing the ball and the trick plays.

MJ: Yeah, I think Josh did a great job this week preparing everybody for what we wanted to do and how we wanted to attack the game. You know, I think we executed well. Well obviously not good enough to win but Josh did a great job and I think it was good for us to learn that we didn't put it all together but we got close to putting it all together and playing a full game together. When we can do that, I think positive things will happen. We didn't; we can be 90 percent or 85 percent and you lose. We don't really do moral victories. Those are always forgotten. But you just kind of have to take it for what it's worth and move on.

Q: We were just chatting with Devin McCourty who said you've earned the trust of everyone in the locker room and he doesn't see you as a rookie at all. What does that mean to you?

MJ: Yeah, I think just coming in and learning from a lot of the older guys, I have a long way to go, and I just try to put my best foot forward every day, and we all want to win. So it sucks right now, but I think we have to take it for a positive and just trust our leaders. We have great leadership on the team, and I can do a better job in practice just being vocal, getting everybody going and I think we made strides but we just have to listen to our leaders and not lose hope. We have a long season ahead and there's a lot of work to do and we have a lot of progress to make, so we will.


Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, October 3, 2021

(On how good Mac Jones played tonight)

"He keeps showing he's got some guts. It's an honor to get to play with a guy like that. We just have to find a way to win, win a football game. He battles, he battles and he's a tough kid."

(On Tampa Bay's pass defense)

"When we did pass the bal,l we did a good job. We tried to protect the best we could, we were able to make some yards. Got to figure out the running game a little bit, have to do a better job. Can't give you an in-game analysis right now, watch the film tonight, tomorrow, maybe you can ask me tomorrow".

(On playing against Tom Brady)

"I mean, we lose teammates every year, and play against a lot, a lot of my former teammates. Obviously Tom was a great player for us and still is a great friend."

(On if this is stepping stone for the team)

"Yeah, I think we battled, thought we showed a lot of resolve. Some turnovers, the running game definitely some things we can clean up. But I thought it was a mentally tough game. Thought we handled the week, obviously a lot of people outside of this building put a lot on this game, for the reasons they want to. Thought we did a good job trying to ignore the noise, our preparation all week. Came out with good energy, did some things well, just not enough to win."


Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, October 3, 2021

(On the opportunity to be matched up one-on-one)

"It's competition. At the beginning of the week when Coach gives you an assignment, it kind of simplifies it [the game] for you. It's you versus him and at the end of the game you can see who won by the stat sheet. You can take pride in that just as a player going out to compete."

(On not wanting to get off the field after the last defensive drive)

"[The message was to] Just compete. Everyone on this team fights for each other. We're a brotherhood out there. You don't want to be off the field when your brother is out there fighting. I just want to be out there fighting with my guys."

(On being matched up with Antonio Brown)

"We matched up well. Our coaching staff and players have faith in our defensive backs. Anybody we face we feel like we're a good match up for. We were ready. They did a good job. They made enough plays to win."

(On leveraging knowledge from playing with Antonio Brown to prepare for the match up)

"Used a little bit of everything. He has years of film in Pittsburgh and a short time here. He's a competitor. He's the same guy he's always been – he's a competitor and he loves to fight."

(On the last two end zone targets to Antonio Brown)

"They were in field goal range so at that point, they just wanted to take a shot. He liked the look and the matchup, so he put it out there. We were able to come up with the stop and force them into a field goal."


Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, October 3, 2021

(On what he learned about his team tonight)

"Who we are as a defense and as much as we play, we go out there to learn about one another. Games like this, that come down to the wire early in the season, don't help us on the back end so games like this are a hard loss. Everything that we did out there today is something we can stand on and improve on for the future."

(On the importance of preventing touchdowns against an offense like the Buccaneers)

"Our job as a defense is to keep our team in the game, don't let explosive plays happen and don't give up touchdowns. As many turnovers we can get is great but when the team gets to moving the ball, everybody knows someone is going to make a play eventually so at that point it becomes a bend don't break mentality. Earlier in the game, we bent a little bit but didn't break and got a missed field goal out of that and then a couple times, they just had to settle for field goals because our backend was playing lights out and we were really looking to keep the offense out of the end zone."

(On what he sees when he looks at his team)

"I see a bunch of guys that come to work every day, willing to put the time in, willing to put the effort in and willing to learn. We sit in those seats that you all are sitting in right now and we learn, we game plan and come in here to get better. We lift, we run, we meet, we go out there and practice and do everything to the best of our ability at that day or moment so when we do go out there when you all see us, we can then perform well and get some wins. I think every day that we come back in this building, we only get better and closer as a team. I don't think we are far off, I think we are right there and time will tell.

(On rush plan against Tom Brady)

"Just pressure and affect him as much as possible, then get to him."

(On Mac Jones' performance)

"I think Mac played a hell of a game. I will let Mac speak for himself but as far as our offense, I like what our offense did today."


Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, October 3, 2021

(On facing Tom Brady in a game compared to practicing against him for years)

"In all honesty, it was just a game. I think it's different, practice and a game. Once you get out there, it is a week of preparation. We prepared all week. I think we had some tips, we had things that we knew. We had ways we wanted to play and I think it showed up tonight. Obviously we knew coming in that they were going to make some plays but I think overall we did a decent job of executing our game plan against a good offense. Like I said if we could take back a few plays it really would have been a difference in the outcome."

(On what he learned about this Patriots team tonight)

"I think we are resilient, we are going to keep fighting. I think week-in and week-out we are going to put whatever happened behind us and prepare and be ready to go. And I think we showed that after not playing the way we wanted to play at all last week to come out here in a big game, ignore everything else that was going on and prepare and be ready to go. Like I said, it's finding a way to win these games and that is going to be our next step. Obviously it is great to come out here and do a decent job but we want to win. You know, I think we look up and we are 1-3 now. We need to find a way to win these games going forward and that will be the difference in the season."

(On the coverage plan for what the defense wanted to do tonight)

"Yeah I thought our corners went out and competed their butts off. [The Buccaneers] have three guys I said during the week, three All-Pros, number-one receivers on any team and I thought our guys went out there and competed and played well all throughout the game. We wanted to make sure we did not just give it to them. Different disguises, different looks, different calls that helped our game plan. I thought we did a good job with just slowing them down in the passing game and not letting them just move the ball up and down the field. I thought the biggest thing we did was play well in the red area and that gave us a shot to win the game."

(On the secondary having a lot of energy and playing a physical game)

"I think any time you look on the schedule and you have got a team like this that can throw the ball up and down the field, you have got to love that challenge. I thought guys stepped up to the challenge, came out and competed well. Like you said, great energy, you need that when you are going against a good football team and against good players. I thought we showed that throughout the game. Like I said if we could get a couple plays back that we could have made I thought that would have made a difference."


Kendrick Bourne, WR

(On if the team is improving on offense)

"Yeah, I think we definitely look better. Definitely look more together. Definitely in a better rhythm. But just still not enough. You know, we just need to figure out those little pieces, whatever is off. We'll watch the film and see, you know, where we were off. You know, got to get rid of the turnovers. Can't give the ball back to a guy like Tom [Brady]. You know he doesn't need much time so yeah just stuff like that – turnovers, little mistakes, but like you said, we're definitely close. We know we're close, but it's a long season and it's not easy to do, so we've got to do it every week, whether it be a good team, bad team, you know, we got to do it every week consistently. So, just doing that consistently every week."

(On how well Mac Jones played on a big stage)

"Yeah, I kind of get the same thing from Mac [Jones] these last three weeks that I've said. He's just relaxed. That's what you want to see, like you don't – I said it last week, you don't want to see him in there like he's nervous or scared and it's not that. He's saying the play call fluidly and feeling confident and he sounds like he's confident and it looks like he's confident when he goes through the plays. So it just comes down to everybody doing their part. 11 guys, right, perfect as you can each time so we don't get a sack, we don't get a missed pass. You know, because everybody needs to be at the right spot at the right time each and every play."

(On how much confidence Mac Jones instills in his teammates)

"Yeah, it's a lot, like he shows us he believes in us, whether we had a good play or a bad play. Mac is really good with that. You know, not treating somebody because he dropped the ball different or ran a wrong route. He's, 'Let's go man. Next play,' type mentality. That's what I'm really impressed with him. You know, you probably got some quarterbacks that won't go to the guy anymore because he ran the wrong route and he just doesn't give off that energy, so I respect that."

(On his and Mac Jones' rhythm)

"Yeah, I would say I kind of got a chemistry with him in camp early, when he first came in. Just being close to him and whoever was at quarterback. Just being around those guys, treating them with respect, learn them off the field, you know, how they work, how they do things and it just helps on the field and I've been close with Mac since camp and it's definitely showing. I just want him to trust me as much as he can and I just want to have that confidence of him in me and all our receivers, you know, that's how we think. We want him to believe in all of us so he can go to any read, he can feel like anybody is his outlet. That's how we need to be.

(On Mac Jones blocking out the noise from fans and media)

"Yeah, man, I think Mac's played in plenty of big games at Alabama, I feel like, and his winning season over there. He's ready for everything that's coming his way and he's improving in that direction. You don't want to see it go backwards and it's not going that way. You know, football is football. You don't know how it's going to go, but the way he's handling the situations like this, playing the Jets or whoever it may be, he's the same quarterback, the same kind of mindset and he looks like a baby Tom [Brady]. Like, that's what's my opinion, so it's just good to see his growth and hopefully he continues to grow that way.

(On what the offense needs to do to take the next step)

"I would just say little mistakes. Turnovers. You know, the last few weeks, we've been losing the turnover battle, so just taking care of the ball, you know? That's key, you can't have fumbles. I almost had my fumble on the Jets. Not putting the ball on the ground is key and interceptions, or whatever it may be. Like I said, giving the ball back to Tom [Brady] is tough. Anybod, you know, giving them second chances is tough. So I would say turnovers is the biggest thing for us right now and we harp on that everyday so we just got to keep it in our mind."

Hunter Henry, TE

(On his takeaways from the game)

"I feel like we competed at a high level. We can see that we have a good football team. We competed with one of the best football teams in this league and they were the best team last year. We had too many mistakes, we just keep doing the same things over and over again to beat ourselves. You just can't do that in this league – it's just too hard to win, it's too hard to execute. When you beat yourselves, it's just too hard to overcome those things."

(On Mac Jones' performance)

"The kid is dialed in, man. He's continued to get better. Like Kendrick [Bourne] said, he's super poised and handles himself tremendously. He never is down, never is too up, he stays very even keeled throughout the game and he's only going to continue to get better. That was a big-time game right there and I feel like he handled himself like a veteran, like he's been there before. He's just going to continue to grow. I'm proud of how he played, how he communicated, and how he executed out there."

(On the tight ends performance tonight)

"It was good to get in there [the end zone]. I wish as an offense we could have gotten in there a few more times but it's something we can build on, and we have to build on it and continue to get better."

(On what the offense needs to do to take the next step)

"We can't turn the ball over. We can't commit silly penalties. We need to execute the run game a lot better. We need to run the ball and we are just not executing or communicating enough. There is a lot we need to do better at, and we will get better at it. We'll learn from it and keep going."

(On how hard it was leaving the field before the 56-yard field goal attempt)

"It was tough. We had Jakobi [Meyers] wide open on a route that we executed a ton. For that pass to get tipped, it was tough. I felt like we executed the 2-minute drill really well and moved the ball down the field. They made a play, and we didn't. Credit to them, but it was definitely tough."

Jakobi Meyers, WR

(On if it was tough playing against his old quarterback)

"No, I don't really go against him. I only had a year with him on the field, so it was more about going out there and doing my job to the best of my ability."

(On his play when he caught the ball and threw it all the way across the field)

"That's one of those trust plays where Coach really has to trust you to have the ball in your hands and throw it all the way across the field. That was a third-down play and I just had to go out there and make the best of it."

(On the atmosphere tonight)

"It was crazy. I wish we could've pulled it off because the fans were there cheering loud. I know I definitely appreciated it, I know the rest of the guys appreciated it. So I wish the outcome was different because the fans definitely played a big part today just bringing energy for us. It was amazing. It was a moment to hold onto."

(On the offense in the second half)

"That's Patriot rule number one, everyone doing their job. It starts with an upfront good handle on the protection, receivers running the right route, running backs doing their job, and our quarterback making the right decision. Everyone was doing their job and that's something we talked about at halftime, just making sure no one is trying to do too much. We execute to the best of our ability, we do a job together and we showed we all clicked at the right time."

(On if the offense felt like it was making process and starting to click)

"I remember what it was like when it was happening, just so you know it's a job going forward and just executing to the best of your ability. That's something we feel like we can do all the time, and we're still searching for where our best football is. What do we look like when we're playing our best? I think we're right there."

Nick Folk, K

(On if he thought he had the final field goal attempt)

"Yeah. When I hit it [the final field goal attempt], I thought it was good... wasn't planning it to go left. That's the nature of the beast."

(On if the rain played a factor)

"No, no. We were kicking well pregame, Jake [Bailey] and Joe [Cardona] did a great job, the line did a great job all night. I hit it just about as best I could. Like I said, I thought I made it and this one is on me for this team. This one's on me."

(On if he was confident going out there to take the kick)

"Oh 100%. Yeah, I mean we get a lot of those conditions at practice, so we work on it all the time. I think I made 58 pregame going that way, so it was 56 and I told myself, 'hit the same ball.' Had a slight draw to it today."

(On if 58 yards was the number he had in mind)

"Yeah, that was kind of what we told guys at the end of the game there - 40-yard line. Two yards would have been pretty close. It's a bummer it didn't go in."

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