HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
Sunday, October 9, 2022
BB: It's nice to come in here after a game like that. Really good team win for us. Start with the coaching staff, I thought they did a great job this week all the way across the board. The team was well prepared. I thought we did a good job. They did a good job all week with the kind of change in the practice schedule and just having the team ready to go today. Give those guys a lot of credit. Obviously, defensively, top scoring team in the league, top everything in the league, yards, points, red area, you name it. To go out there and keep those guys off the board, whatever it was, five, six, fourth downs, and just a lot of good competitive defensive football. It was great. Really proud of that whole unit, the staff, the players, pass rush, coverage, our tackling. Obviously, [T.J.] Hockenson, one of the top tight ends in the league, really focused on him. It was really a strong effort there. Offensively, moved the ball. Missed some opportunities in the red area, but in the end enough points to win. It was just a good solid effort. Rhamondre [Stevenson] was great with the ball. Our offensive line continues to be a strength. Good to get Jakobi [Meyers] back. Bailey [Zappe] made a lot of good decisions, was accurate with the ball. Thought he showed some poise there at some pressure situations where he got out of it and found an open receiver, made good decisions. Hopefully we can just keep building as a team and continue to improve every week like we have, if we work hard and really understand how we can play better, what we need to do to play better, coach better, communicate better. I think we can keep getting better. That's what we're going to try to do.
Q: Bill, how much growth have you seen in Bailey Zappe from last week, obviously coming off the bench, and then this week having snaps in practice and full preparation into this week? How much growth did you see in him?
BB: I thought it was better definitely being able to get in the huddle every day, call a play, see it, execute it, versus watching somebody else do it. That's always more beneficial. But he learns well whether he is in there or not. Yeah, it was good. There was definitely an element of that. I couldn't put a percentage on it or anything, but certainly it helped. He was confident out there. He does a good job. He does a good job of seeing the game and can come off and identify and articulate what he saw, what happened. That's usually right. What he saw is usually what I saw or maybe when you look at the film, maybe there's something that's a little gray in there that his explanation is actually good. It was the way he saw it. Maybe he might not have done the right thing, but he saw the game. That goes all the way back to preseason. He played a lot in preseason. I think those snaps were good for him. He learned a lot. We learned a lot. I think there's definitely some benefit to the playing time that he had in preseason in the games that he has played the last two weeks.
Q: You mentioned Rhamondre Stevenson. Did you see him hit another gear after Damien Harris went out, and just how impressive was it that he was able to finish the game in the fashion that he did?
BB: You have to give him a ton of credit. With Damien out, we only carried two backs for the game, and he put it all on his shoulders and finished with a couple of first downs there at the end of the game in the four-minute offense. Yeah, he is always good. He does a great job with the ball in his hands. He is a strong runner, but he can make people miss. He is a really good football player. Really a good football player. So glad we have him.
Had a couple of blitz pickup plays right up the middle where he stepped up there. He is a good all-around back. Love him. Love him.
Q: The qualities you describe with Bailey very often are qualities you describe in regard to veteran players. Is it rare to see a rookie go from his first NFL appearance to here, his second and his first start, obviously, and have that type of growth from one week to the other?
BB: I mean, I don't know. I think you saw a similar thing with Mac [Jones] last year. Same basic concept. Play, see things, play better, learn from it. Pace of the game, calling plays in the huddle, recognizing defenses, managing the clock, et cetera. I know other quarterbacks have done those things before. It's a little bit different at this level. More things to think about. More things that the defense can do, so forth, so yeah.
Q: Hockenson, just one catch today. What were you guys able to do to slow him down?
BB: Give credit to the players, the defensive coaches. We doubled him at times. We tried to disrupt the timing a little bit. I think some of the credit in our pass defense goes to the pass rush. We were able to, I think. disrupt the timing of the Detroit passing game, which, again, is very good. They have a good quarterback, good receivers. [Amon-Ra] St. Brown is an excellent receiver obviously. [Josh] Reynolds and, of course, Hockenson. [Kalif] Raymond. All those guys. They have a good group of skill players, good backs. It's kind of everybody doing their job, but we tried to reroute them a little bit. Coaches set a good game plan, and the guys that were on him, particularly Kyle [Dugger], but A.P. [Adrian Phillips] had him some, Devin [McCourty] had him some, Pep [Jabrill Peppers] had him some. The linebackers, Jahlani [Tavai], [Ja'Whaun] Bentley had a lot of awareness of him to just not make his routes easy, to try to reroute him, force him to go over or under the coverage, things like that. It's team defense. It's not just one guy. It's just good team defense.
Q: Bill, we saw the Croatian flag on your chest there week and last week as well. What does it mean? What is the significance to you to be able to have that symbol out there on this platform?
BB: This year the NFL gave us the opportunity to do that, so I'm proud of my Croatian heritage, and I'm proud to wear it. I'm not in Croatia. I'm not a citizen, but it is a heritage that is half of my family. My mom was English. My dad was Croatian. So, for other Croatians, Coach Saban, Coach Carroll, and others of us that have that little bond, proud of it and glad to have the opportunity to wear it. And I've heard from some people across the ocean that they appreciate it and appreciate the recognition as well. Go Croatia.
Q: Two things. Two guys. Matthew Judon, how much of a beast was he today? And I don't want to overlook your kicker, Folk.
BB: Nick is so consistent. You kind of start to take it for granted, and then you realize how difficult it was. Today, it was not an easy day to kick. The wind gusted, and it was blowing straight across the field really from our bench to their bench. When you kick straight into it, you can't kick it as far, but it goes straight. If you kick with it, it goes further, and it pushes the ball. The crosswind, especially when it gusts, is tough. Nick makes it look so easy. Honestly, it's kind of what it's like in practice. We've got some wind out there, some crazy wind, and the ball goes in between the uprights all the time. Yeah, I mean, I can't say enough about Nick Folk. He is so professional, so consistent, so dependable. When you stop and think about how hard that job is over the amount of time we're talking about, it's really, really impressive. The first question was?
BB: Ju had another great day. Again, he is a very physical presence for us on the end of the line. This is a very good off-tackle and counter team. They hit us on the one counter. I think that was their biggest run. Then they threw the screen. That was really the big run, but that's been a very productive play for them going all the way back to the Eagles game. All season really. I thought, again, defensively it's team defense. No one guy can stop the run game, but certainly it helped with the good edge play from Ju and [Deatrich] Wise [Jr.] to try to slow down those off tackle runs. Two very good tackles, right? That's really where a lot of those off tackle plays get going. So, you have to give a lot of credit to those guys, Bentley, Tavai, D.G. [Davon Godchaux] inside. We push a lot of plays back into D.G. and Carl Davis, and those guys did a good job inside. It bled a little bit, but there's some 4- or 5-yarders in there, but not like the 20, 30, 50-yarders that they've been ripping off every week. Yeah, Ju had another solid game. Again, with Wise and Uche, we have two different type of players that generally play opposite of him. That's worked out fairly well for us.
Q: You touched on it off the top. How pleased are you with the way the defense faired in some of the clutch situations, 0 for 6 on fourth down, 0 for 2 in the red zone?
BB: Yeah. Then we had the other stop. We had the roughing the passer penalty, which looked like a tough call.
Again, great coaching by the staff. Good plan. Well executed by the players. They have so many go-to guys, it's hard to stop. They're a good sub-run team. We made the stop on that on I think it was a third and two, which put them into a fourth and 8, 9, whatever it was. That was a big stop. The fourth down stop was really – third down stop, it's a good sub-run team. St. Brown is tough. Hockenson is tough. Reynolds is tough. We saw Goff scramble out of the pocket sometimes as well. Not that he is an elite runner, but he is an effective runner and knows how to convert those third downs or fourth downs. Again, team defense. Pass rush, disrupting the quarterback, covering the receivers. Again, Hockenson, St. Brown, Reynolds, they're all tough. Then you still have to play the running game. There's a reason why they're the highest scoring offense in the league and most yards and all the accolades that they've had, but I think, again, really the majority of the credit needs to go to our players. They're the ones that went out there and defeated blocks, tackled them, covered, and all that. There's no one guy. It's just a good team effort.
Q: I wanted to ask you about Trent Brown. Was kind of matched up with Hutchinson on the weak side a lot, and I'm not sure he lost a matchup all day. What did you see there?
BB: Without [Charles] Harris, he is a very good player that they were missing today, but they still have good edge players. Obviously, Hutchinson is tough. He is a fast guy. Plays hard. He has a great motor. We'll look at the film and see how it went, but it seemed like overall the protection was pretty good. Bailey [Zappe] was able to move up in the pocket. I think we took one sack. Generally speaking, the protection was good. It was clean. He was able to step up. That's every quarterback's dream. You know Trent [Brown], Isaiah [Wynn], Marcus [Cannon], Hunter [Henry], and some of the protections where we used them on, those guys did a good job against a good edge rush team.
QUARTERBACK BAILEY ZAPPE
Sunday, October 9, 2022
Q: Congrats on the win. How much more comfortable were you today compared to last week in Green Bay?
BZ: I would say a fair amount. Getting another week of practice in, getting mental reps, physical reps taking every day this past week. Taking every rep as a game rep. Continuing to work with receivers, O-line before and after practice, and just building that comfortability with everybody. It was a great way to come out this Sunday and get a win.
Q: How much better did it feel getting a win than a loss last week?
BZ: Of course, it always feels better getting a win. We played team football today. Defense pitched a shutout. O-line played really well. Receivers played well. It was a team effort today, and it was nice to get the win.
Q: Jakobi Meyers was back for you today. How nice was it to have him out there? It seemed like you guys put together something special out there today.
BZ: Of course, it's nice to have Kobs back out there. He has been in the league for a few years, so to have that veteran mentality back in the group is amazing. We know we have an all-around really good receiving group. Really the only job for us quarterbacks is to get those guys the ball and let them do what they do.
Q: Bailey, last time the Patriots took the field here, you were inactive, third string on the depth chart. Quick turnaround now to you're here today. End of the game we're getting "Zappe, Zappe" chants across Gillette Stadium. What have the last couple of weeks been like to the turnaround being thrust in the starting line-up?
BZ: It's kind of like I've always been told. Taking advantage of your opportunity. We had an opportunity today as a team to go out there and get a win, and we played really well, played team football. Defense played well. Offense played well. Special teams played well. To be able to play like that as a team, it was amazing to get the win.
Q: Some of the things you guys did on the ground and with the play action game, how much confidence right now do you have in the run game?
BZ: A lot. To have Rhamondre, to have Damien, to have our O-line be able to pound the rock like we can, that's awesome. It opens up everything else for us. We kind of showed that today. O-line played their butts off, and it was nice to see that, and we got the win.
Q: In what areas do you think you felt more comfortable in this game as compared to the last one, and how much did having a week to prepare for the Lions and their tendencies versus getting thrust into the fire last week maybe play a role in that being more comfortable?
BZ: Yeah, I think I felt comfortable in almost really everything. Being able to practice with those guys, before and after practice, during practice, taking those reps with those guys. To be honest, I couldn't really pick out one distinct thing, but I think really I felt more comfortable with really everything. To have my teammates around me, they helped prepare me a lot this week into Sunday.
Q: In your first NFL start how exactly did it feel to hear fans chanting your name throughout and especially at the end of the game?
BZ: I like the support, but to be honest with you, I was just more excited about the win. To get a win with my team, that was really the focus point for this week. That was going to be the focus point for the rest of the season.
Q: How many people did you have in the stands today? Did any friends or family make the trip?
BZ: Mom, dad, and then girlfriend.
Q: How big of an adjustment was it learning how to prepare at this level compared to being in college? How much better have you gotten at it, and how much did that help you this week when you knew there was a good chance you were going to be starting?
BZ: I think the biggest thing, the transition is the way you prepare, the more you put into it. College you have school. You have all that other stuff, but now it's just straight ball. So that's what you do all day every day. I love it. I love playing football. I love learning football. To be a part of this organization and learn from these coaches and players, I think has really helped me continue to grow my game. I know there's a lot of things that I could continue to work on and continue to get better at, but I have a great team around me to help me out.
Q: You mentioned your parents and your girlfriend were here. As much as you've tried to focus on what you have to do each day in practice and to prepare for this game, what have the last couple of weeks been like for your family and those closest to you as you've been thrust into the action in Green Bay and today prepared for and gone out and made your first start?
BZ: Well, to be quite honest with you, you might have to ask them. I haven't asked those questions. They've kind of left me alone, let me play football, so that's the biggest thing is just focusing on football. I let them handle that, and I'll ask the questions about football and do that.
Q: Bailey, how important was your offensive line today and the sense that I noticed a couple of times -- maybe even more than a couple -- that you had the protection to come off your first read, which wasn't there, and complete the play to your second or third read?
BZ: They played amazing today. To be honest with you, all five of those guys -- actually six, including Marcus Cannon, were the MVPs of today. We ran the ball well. For the offense, MVP, they ran the ball well, play action well, kept me clean in the pocket. Like you said, we were able to go through second, third reads, get to your check-down. They played really well today. To be able to have those guys up front is amazing to have that.
Q: Can you just take us through the touchdown to Jakobi? It looked like maybe cover two or something like that.
BZ: Yeah, you're right. It was a good play. We've been practicing that throughout the week. We got a lot of reps at it. Once we were able to see that coverage, go up solid, was able to find the hole in the spot, and I was able to get him the ball, and he did the rest.
CENTER DAVID ANDREWS
Sunday, October 9, 2022
(On his confidence in Bailey Zappe)
"Very [confident]. I think seeing how he handled [the game] last week and that adversity. Really getting a full week to prepare here. I thought he did a great job in managing the game, making the right calls and checks. Making the right decisions. He did a great job for us, made some big throws and did a great job protecting the football. He did a really great job."
(On Rhamondre Stevenson's rushing performance today)
"That's a pretty good day. Did a great job, a couple of big runs, a couple of hard big runs. Stumbling, breaking tackles. We can only block so many, so the running back has to make guys miss. He did a great job of that. He's very versatile when he gets the ball in his hands. I'm proud of him. He's a great running back and he makes us look a lot better than we are sometimes."
(On Jakobi Meyers)
"Jakobi does a lot of great stuff for us. Not just catching the football. I have a lot of respect for how Jakobi blocks. He does a lot for our offense and is a dependable guy. He's someone, as an offensive lineman, you know when you need someone to block, he's going to go out there and stick his face in the fire a little bit. I really respect that. Jakobi is another undrafted guy, so he'll always have a special place in my heart."
TIGHT END HUNTER HENRY
Sunday, October 9, 2022
(On Bailey Zappe's first career start)
"He did a great job. Had a lot of control. Great job in the huddle, poised. We knew that going into the game, I mean, he did a great job. He did that last week and was able to control the game really well."
(On what went better this week offensively than in previous games)
"I mean, we were able to be very balanced. Obviously, we ran the football really well, Rhamondre [Stevenson] was hitting holes really good. I feel like we were really balanced and able to really move the football. We need to finish in the redzone more, but we were able to be complimentary in the run game and pass game."
(On if Bailey Zappe needed his offensive linemen to calm him down like he did in Green Bay)
"He was really comfortable. I mean, once you get rolling, he got settled in the game pretty quickly and was very poised. Had a lot of composure. I think being at home helped, the fans helped. He could feel everybody behind him."
LINEBACKER MATTHEW JUDON
Sunday, October 9, 2022
(On what made the defense be successful against the Lions' offensive line)
"They do have a good line, but I'm taking whoever we line up and puts their hand in dirt over anybody. [Josh] Uche, [Deatrich] Wise [Jr.], DG [Davon Godchaux], Carl [Davis Jr.] LG [Lawrence Guy], [Christian] Barmore. I'm taking us over anybody. So, all respect to their offensive line and offensive lines throughout the league, but we kind of really don't care. We're going to go out there and do our job."
(On what it means to this defense to win with a shutout)
"It just means we got the win. As much as we want to ride this game or build off this game, next week's going to be different and we've got to show up again next week. Like I said, you got to take it one week at a time. It's difficult in this league to win games. That's what we had to do. We had to pitch a shutout. We know that the offense got our back and we got their back. So, when we can get them the ball back in any fashion, that's what we want to do."
(On how important the strip sack was that led to a touchdown)
"As a defense, you want the pressure on you. Whether it's in the fourth quarter and you need a stop or a play on fourth down. You want the pressure on you. We embrace that as a defense. We have plays called and put in to allow me just to go and sometimes I've got to run a game and loop things of that nature. But, when I get those calls and I hear those calls, I'm excited. But I don't take any play for granted. I play full speed, try to full tilt, but when I know I get to go, it's a little extra off the line. Just because I know my defense got my back."
WIDE RECEIVER JAKOBI MEYERS
Sunday, October 9, 2022
(On being back out on the field after missing the last two games)
"It was great. It's a little boring watching on TV and watching on the sideline. Just being out there, being able to do what I love again. I really enjoyed it."
(On his thoughts on Bailey Zappe's performance today)
"I feel like he did a great job, honestly. That's just not a testament to him, that's a testament to the coaches and the team. That's a group effort, you know. He went out there and did the best that he could. We just had to make sure we protected him, ran the ball well and caught the ball. Like I said, shout-out to the coaches for just having a good game plan, calling the right plays and for him to go out there and execute it for us."
(On his performance today)
"It felt great, just being out there. I felt like I was smiling the whole game and really just enjoying the game. I felt like a kid again being out there. That was a special feeling. We got the win, which is most important, so going to go celebrate with the guys."
(On the benefit of the team being able to run the ball well)
"I feel like that's honestly the most important part of football, being able to run the ball. You can bring safeties down, bring linebackers down and stuff the box. That just makes it easier to be a receiver. If the running backs are going, it's going be a good day for us on the outside because you can probably get one on one or no help over the top."
SAFETY DEVIN MCCOURTY
Sunday, October 9, 2022
(On how pleased he is with how the team responded this week)
"I thought it was a great effort defensively. I think we were locked in all week. I would say from the beginning of the week, talking about what we needed to do, we had, I would say, a less physical practice Wednesday. I think sometimes everybody's like 'oh my goodness they're not in full pads.' But I think the good thing about that is guys being locked in. We were able to talk about a lot of different plays, see a lot of different looks, kind of figure it out and come back in the play calls and the things that we had scheme-wise. We were able to watch the film together. Talk about it, what we liked, what we didn't like. I thought you saw that progress throughout the week with our play calls. I thought then Sunday, today, we were able to come out and play fast. I think like Bill [Belichick] said this offense had everything. Tight end's really good. You've got good receivers. You got the running game. So we had to all do a good job. We all had to kind of 'do our job' and play good team defense and we were able to do that and get some key stops throughout the game."
(On what it means to hold a team to 0-for-6 on fourth down)
"I think the big part of that was understanding if you watch the third downs, we're in the huddle, we're saying, 'This isn't the end. They're going to go for it on fourth down.' They've done that all year. So I think that was a big part of preparation. Everyone was ready to go after getting a third down stop. I'm calling guys back in the huddle. I think sometimes you get in those situations, guys say 'oh my goodness they're going like –' We didn't have to rush anything. We were locked in, ready to go. We were able to execute and play good defense in those situations. Those are huge plays in the game. Especially those fourth down stops in the red area, where they could kick a field goal, and you stop them, and our offense comes on and they drive the field, whether it's a touchdown or a field goal. That kind of kills momentum and morale. So I think the preparation going into the game, and then going out and executing it was a good job by all 11 guys."
(On how big the sack and fumble recovery for a touchdown was in the second quarter)
"I will say Ju [Matthew Judon] and Dug [Kyle Dugger], they were flying around today. Coming up and making big hits. Judon gets to [Jared] Goff and really gets both his arms and forces a fumble. Then Dug uses the Lenoir-Rhyne return skills to get it in the endzone. So just a huge play. I think you're watching, that play was really, I would say, two of our better guys on defense flying around, making plays. It was obviously a key point in the game. To get the first touchdown of the game, get some breathing room and to do what we've done the last two weeks is score on defense. I think it's huge. Anytime you can score, whether it's defense or special teams, and give the offense free points is going to help us. I thought our offense did a good job of that turnover, then getting off the field and just to continue to move the ball and get points on the board kept the game flowing in our way and our momentum."
RUNNING BACK RHAMONDRE STEVENSON
Sunday, October 9, 2022
(On the performance of the offensive line)
"I feel like those guys up front, they really led the way, for me and Bailey Zappe today. Just because of how hard they were moving people, how hard they were working, things like that. So just those guys up front, I have all the respect for them. Much love."
(On his mindset with Damien Harris going down and what he needed to do)
"Just going in from Monday we knew we had to run the ball well and just be physical. When Damien went down, I just told him I have his back. He kind of knew I did and things like that. So just putting it all together. Just playing a full four-quarter game. Just trying to be physical."
PLAYERS IN THE LOCKER ROOM
Jalen Mills, DB
(On how the defense played)
"Coach [Belichick] talked about it, six fourth down stops. That's hard to do, that's the number one scoring offense. We have not been playing up to our standards these past couple of weeks. So this week I think this is the most we have been locked in. Trying to get back to playing Patriots defense."
(On preparing for fourth down situations)
"It's kind of one of those things that Coach does with us every day at the beginning of practice. We go against the offense and it's a 'got to have it' period. Whether it;s in the red zone, whether it's fourth down, whether it's third down, it's 'good on good.' Offense is calling out their best plays and defense is calling out our best plays. The competition level is high so when we get those opportunities in the game we are ready for it."
(On if the defense won those situations in practice this week)
"I would say we went 50-50 with the offense. We have some good guys over there too."
Jonathan Jones, DB
(On if he is proud of the shutout)
"It does feel great, it does feel great. You don't get them too often in this league, no matter who you are playing. Much better against the number one offense that came in. We were prepared and we were able to make a lot of plays in the game."
(On why the defense was able to play so well and shut them out)
"We made plays when it was time to make plays. The fourth down stops, limiting big plays, making them drive it. They went for it on fourth down quite a few times and we were able to come up with those stops. At the end of the day, those are points."
(On the impact of Jack Jones)
"He is building, man he is building. It was just confidence. Having young guys that come in and help, it makes it better for the defense."
(On how he is feeling)
"Good, ready to go. I'm excited, it was a good game. Ready for next week. Get on the film tomorrow but then get ready for next week. We have got to keep the feeling going."
Tyquan Thornton, WR
(On what it was like to finally get out there)
"It was a blessing to be back out there with my teammates fighting for the W. It was a blessing to just be back out there."
(On if he knew there was a good chance he would play this week)
"It was a day-by-day thing. One thing about the process is that you cannot cheat it, so you have to go in day in and day out and put your best foot forward and get better."
(On what motivated him through the rehab)
"Just watching my guys go out there and fight throughout the week. Missed a couple of games but just sitting down there and watching the guys go out there and fight their hearts out. That motivated me."
DeVante Parker, WR
(On Bailey Zappe's performance)
"He came out and got the job done. He did what he needed to do to help us get the win. He's got a lot of confidence in himself."
(On the success of the passing game)
"We emphasized starting fast. Faster than what we've been doing. Play tough and bring the pain to them."
(On the maturation of the team going into Cleveland)
"It's all about everyone making plays, everyone complementing each other, and the team is doing well right now and we've got to keep it going."
(On what he would tell the fans that doubted or doubt the team)
"Some things take time, and you have to be patient and just hope for the best."
Adrian Phillips, DB
(On Bailey Zappe's performance and the defense stepping up)
"We knew he had the juice with him. Honestly, this week we weren't even worried about him. This week was more about us. We were thinking that we gave up 150-200 yards these past few weeks and we let the game slip out of our hands defensively. We needed to make sure that we were on our p's & q's. We knew that the offense was going to get it figured out and they did. And we did as well and it's great to see."
(On how the team keeps the momentum going headed into Cleveland)
"We know if we go out there and play to the best of our ability, stay in tune with the details, more times than not we'll come out on top."
(On how badly the defense wanted to finish the shutout)
"We wanted to make sure we ended the game the right way. We wanted to play a full 60 minutes today. We haven't done that this year defensively. And we wanted to do that today and that's what we did."
(On the red zone defense)
"There was high awareness of how the offense wanted to attack us. When those fourth down situations came up, as soon as they did what they did, somebody was right there. We just had a good understanding of what they were going to do and how they were going to attack us because we had seen it the past four weeks. We knew what had got us the past few weeks so when those situations came up today, we were ready for it."