HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
November 14, 2021
BB: All right. That was really a great day here for us today. On so many different levels but I'll start, kind of start at the top here. You know, the relationship that our team, our organization has with the TAPS Foundation has been very meaningful for all of us for a number of years, and proud to work with James Patrick Darcy's pin here today. All of our players and coaches have been involved in that and all week, and I know they had Mr. Kraft and the organization had some events for them and things like that. But it was awesome to see that, to recognize the military, to have Admiral Gilday here. Always like to see a lot of those gold bars on those any of the uniforms. Always sends chills down my spine. Just the whole week, the Veterans week, the Salute to Service Day and all that that brought. And you know, thankfully we did our part and I thought the team really played well today. There were so many outstanding plays and players and the preparation we had this week, really you can put everybody and talk about just about everybody in there. Long touchdown drives. You know, turnovers, competitive plays in the kicking game. Just kind of big plays after big plays from so many different people.
So just really proud of the way the team prepared, the way they competed and you know, we just as I told them after the game there, it's Wednesday night and tomorrow's Thursday and on a did you know day schedule. So we have a lot of work to do here in a short amount of time. So just enjoy this one briefly but we've got to move on and turn the page to Atlanta very quickly. It was a good day for us today and hopefully we can fill the tank back up and be ready to have another good, quick week here and be ready to go on Thursday because that will be a big challenge for us heading down there. But proud of the way these guys played today and proud of the way they competed. Just say, you know, our thoughts and our prayers are with Troy Hill and you know, it's always something that none of us ever want to see, and so he was here very briefly but hope that he's okay, along with Baker [Mayfield] and [Anthony] Schwartz and whoever else.
Q: After falling behind 7-0, how impressed were you to come back 45 straight points, the offense, and Mac Jones specifically on his performance today?
BB: It was a complete offensive effort. You couldn't single anybody out. Browns have a lot of good defensive players, a great corner, a couple good defensive ends. You know, a lot of other good players, too and they brought a couple guys back this week defensively but I thought we ran the ball competitively, threw the ball competitively. Finished drives in the red zone with touchdowns. You know, it was a good team offensive effort all the way across the board in every area.
Q: You mentioned a lot of guys contributing today, Jakobi Meyers contributing, and guys coming from the sideline to celebrate. What did it mean to see him score his own touchdown?
BB: It's great every time we score, but yeah, Jakobi has been a part of a lot of big plays that have put other guys in a position to do that and good to see him score. But the most important thing is the contributions that everybody made to the team winning the game and giving a solid performance for four quarters out there. I think everybody's just happy that that happened, and they should be, because they worked hard to make it happen.
Q: After the opening drive TD by Cleveland, was there an adjustment you made defensively to stop the running game by the Browns?
BB: Yeah, they had a good plan there. They hit us on a couple – two power plays, one zone play. We had a chance to make a stop there on fourth quarter and they converted that on the back of the end zone.
That's the NFL. You know, teams come in with plans and plays and if you don't play things well or haven't coached it well, then you have to fix that, and then they move on to something else and you move on to something else. That's kind of wait it is every week.
Q: 38 seconds came off the clock with the scores and the pick, how big of a momentum switch was that for your team at that time?
BB: It's always good, you know, when you can get those bonus points from your defense or special teams. It's hard to count on those. But when you get an interception return like [Adrian] Phillips had in L.A. or J.C. [Jackson]'s return in Carolina or Kyle [Dugger]'s return to, whatever, five-yard line, whatever it was, to set up a quick touchdown, it's hard to count on those. But when you get those, those are, you know, bonus points and certainly if you don't get it all the way to the end zone, then being able to take advantage of it and finish it with the scoring, the offensive scoring drive, good complimentary football, that's what you need. You need the other side of the ball to finish the job, whether it's getting the field position, making the stop, getting the ball in the end zone and we did that today fortunately.
Q: Six wins doesn't get you in the playoffs, but from a month ago, having played two road games in a stretch, Carolina and L.A., talk about what you've seen over the last month. Seems to be in all areas of the game.
BB: I've asked the players to work hard every day and they have tried to do that. But right now, none of that really means anything. We'll just have to come in here tomorrow, Tuesday, Wednesday, head to Atlanta and be ready to go against the Falcons. What happened today or what happened in September or some other game, it doesn't really – I don't think it really matters at this point. It's really what we do from here going forward.
But players are doing a good job of studying. They are doing a good job of working together and anticipating things that are going to happen so we can react a little faster and play more aggressively. Players are doing a good job of trying to practice and understanding how important that practice execution sets up the performance in the game. But we'll have to keep doing it. We're running up against another good team this week and if we don't, then things won't go well. We'll see how we do this week.
Q: Tough decision before the game with six offensive linemen. What went into the decision with the five that you picked and why did Michael [Onwenu] end up being the sixth guy there?
BB: Yeah, well, we have a lot of good players there and it was good to get Trent [Brown] back and we'll see how things go going forward. It was good to have Trent back out there.
Q: Considering Rhamondre Stevenson's status this week, not practicing three days and getting his first 100-yard game, anything surprise you on the field considering he didn't practice?
BB: Caught well, made good yards after contact. He's been doing that for several weeks. So you know, glad we had the opportunity to get a run call and for him to get the carries that he did. He stepped in for Damien and he did a great job. Again, it's good to have depth and we have depth in the backfield and count on all those guys and they have really come through for us.
Q: Ja'Whaun Bentley tied a career high. Can you talk about the importance to your defense?
BB: He's done a great job for us all year. You know we ask him to do a lot of different things and he's worked hard to adjust to some new roles that he's had on this team in terms of technique, playing responsibility and some different assignments and so forth but embraces it. He always tries to know how he can help the team, how he can do his job better and help somebody else or help do his part on whatever the play happens to call for him to do. Punt return team, you know, whatever it is. He's right there always ready to go and he's given us a lot of quality plays. I'm glad we have him. He's been a really good player for us.
Q: Brandon Bolden, how much has he taken on that James White third down back role, and going back to Stevenson, the injuries he had, how much do you check on a player throughout the course of a game to make sure he's okay and can finish it out?
BB: Well, those are all medical things. I don't check anybody out. I don't think anybody wants me playing doctor with them. That's not really my job. I'm not very good at that. But that's why we have our medical staff. They monitor that. But Brandon, I think Brandon's really such – I think we all have such admiration and respect for what he's done. He has not relinquished any of his roles in the kicking game and he's taken on some huge roles for us offensively, and again, as we've talked about, those are very challenging, difficult and demanding roles from the assignments and multiplicity of what can happen and does happen, week-to-week, game-to-game, play-to-play. He's handled it great and at the same time he's out there in the kicking game giving us quality plays in that phase of the game as well, too. Extremely fortunate that we have him and Brandon prepares hard, works hard and has been a really good player for us for a long time and I'm really glad we have him.
Q: It's never easy going from Sunday to Thursday but is there an added level of difficulty because you haven't seen the Falcons since October of 2017. Does that make it a more difficult preparation?
BB: Absolutely. Yeah, this is a team we don't know very much about. Coach Smith has gone down there and really gotten things going down there. You know, Tennessee, but what I've seen, it's not really Tennessee is a different team than what the Titans were when he was there. It's just put together differently and Coach Pees, defensively, again, there's some carryover, some familiarity, but not really. We've got a long way to go on the Falcons and what they do, even though we're familiar with Coach Smith and Coach Pees, that team looks a lot different than the Titans from what we looked at from them in the past. We did some work in the off-season and we knew, of course, this was going to be a short week so we tried to prepare for some off-season work on the Falcons but it appears that that's not going to be all that – it will be relevant but not all that relevant and obviously they have some outstanding players starting with pits that is going to be a major problem, a guy we haven't faced and a guy they have done a great job of utilizing in different roles and has had tremendous production. Ryan is having a good year. You know, they can certainly move balls and score a lot of points. They are very dangerous.
Q: Fair or not this week, Mac found himself in the middle of an ongoing conversation, criticism over that play from last week with Brian Burns. The only reason I bring it up, from your perspective, what are you learning about Mac the way he navigates through different things we see on the field but you see off the field, just the way he handles things, whether it's criticism or new things in the NFL?
BB: That's the NFL for all of us. We all deal with things every week and Mac has done a good job of it. So has everybody else. We all learn. As I said, there's different challenges every week from each and every team and every situation. So just do the best we can with them. Yeah, he's done a good job.
Q: The plan to neutralize Myles Garrett seemed to incorporate everything, running, pass direction, run and block, is that what you needed to do to slow down the rush today?
BB: Well, again, I think Josh [McDaniels], as usual, did a great job pulling to the game plan and calling it a game. But yeah, there's more than one player out there. You have to deal with all 11 guys. You have to deal with [Anthony] Walker, all the rest of them down the line. It's a lot more than just one guy. They have some very good players. You have to deal with them for sure. But I think really, it's about the entire team, game planning, coaches, coaching staff, the players, just executing the game plan, executing the plays at a good, high productive level. That includes everybody, the line, tight ends, the back, the quarterback, the receivers, fullback and all the guys that played roles in that. They all had different roles on different plays, and you know, we did it a little bit better than they did today. But it's really a team performance. I don't think it's just about one. You just can't block one guy on defense and think everything else is going to work. That's just not enough.
QUARTERBACK MAC JONES
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
November 14, 2021
Q: You guys fell down 7-0 and then you went on a run. How much fun did you have with that offensive explosion of 45 points?
MJ: Overall, great team win and that's how you want to play the game of football. I think it starts with the offensive line, they deserve all the credit in the world. We did hear a lot about obviously Cleveland's front and they have a good front and we have a really good offensive line, and I'm proud of them. And then obviously everyone making the plays that they were supposed to make, they did a great job and that's what happens when you play football like that. You score a lot of points and it becomes way more fun and you're scoring touchdowns and the defense is going out, they are getting stops. Special teams are making their plays, so it's just a three-level game and when we click on all cylinders, we can be pretty good.
Q: You mentioned about their front you heard about all week long, and there were a lot of long drives, but in particular you had a 99-yard drive. How much confidence did you have after that drive to say, okay, we can play with this and we can do what we need it do?
MJ: I think it just goes back to practice, execution and we do that every week where we start way backed up and push it down the field in practice. When you get in the game, you just have to execute the plays that are called and you can't look at where you are, you can't look at the scoreboard. You can't worry about external factors.
You just have to focus on, "all right, here is what I'm supposed to do." When 11 guys do it together, the product will be really good at the end of the drive. We did that multiple times on those long drives and it just shows the mental and physical toughness that we put together and we just need to keep doing that on a consistent basis.
Q: How would you describe the connection you have right now with Hunter Henry, and when you guys are deep in the red zone there, we've seen you guys obviously connect on a few different types of plays. Does he have some freedom? Do you guys have some freedom together to run some different options depending on what the defense has thrown at you?
MJ: I think just with the red zone, we always have a good plan with Josh [McDaniels], and he does a really good job scheming everybody up. My job is to get it to the person that's supposed to get the ball, and Hunter does a great job getting open and he has a really good feel for red zone offense and running routes and blocking and finding his little spot in the zone or in the end zone. So he does a good job of that and all our guys do. We have great receivers and at some point, we just have to figure out ways to spread the ball around and continue to get points in the red zone and that's the most important part is getting the six points versus kicking a field goal and getting three.
Q: Can you walk us through the play with Kendrick Bourne? What did you see and why did it click?
MJ: Yeah, we called it and it was another red zone play that Josh did a good job of putting together and the line gave me plenty of time and KB ran a good route and he was my read and I threw him the ball. He also made a really great catch. There was two guys right there and he just said, "that's my ball" and made the play. So that's how we want our receivers to play, and all of them to do that. So it's really fun when you can throw it and know that they are going to attack the ball in the red zone.
Q: It looked like you were one of the first ones to see him in the end zone. How good did it feel to see Jakobi Meyers get his first touchdown reception?
MJ: I told him today, I was like, you're going to score before the game – I didn't know it was going to come from Hoyer (Laughter). It was great. I was super excited. We were out together and the ball – I was so concerned about the ball. I was like, "we've got to find the ball." I guess they found it. That was good. But I think Jakobi is a great teammate and he's a great team player and that's much deserved and he's going to get more. From here, hopefully we just keep stacking them up and there will be a bunch. He's a great teammate, like I said, gets to the red zone, does his job, sometimes when he's not even getting the ball, he's in there knocking people down and just being really physical. We are really happy to be able to play together and hopefully we'll play together for a long time.
Q: After starting off 2-4, what has been the key to this stretch? Has there been a common denominator?
MJ: I think just practice, doing the little things right. I think here we do a good job every week of preparing for what we want and it just comes down to practice, execution, becoming game reality, and when we practice well, we play well. When we don't practice well, usually we don't play as well. And so it's pretty much that simple and we just have to keep doing that.
Q: Curious if you can remember ever leading a 99-plus-yard-drive at the high school or college level?
MJ: I think close but not 99. That's a long way to go. We did a good job, like I said, of not focusing on where we were and just going back to what we did in practice. We do that every week. So we start way backed up and then move the ball forward. So yeah, that's pretty much it.
Q: What did you think of the way Josh McDaniels called the game, especially early on when you guys were in some third-and-longs? You had a first-and-long and seemed like you mixed things up pretty good.
MJ: Yeah, did he a great job. We talked about, like I said, practice and we saw a lot of those looks, and we just have to do it well in the game. It's his job to call plays and it's my job to execute them and everyone's job to execute them. I think we are on the same page, and it's great, and Josh has been a lot of fun to work with. He's really competitive, like everybody in our offensive room, and we have a great group of coaches top to bottom, and we just have to keep doing what we're doing.
WIDE RECEIVER KENDRICK BOURNE
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
November 14, 2021
(On how it felt to see Jakobi Meyers get his first touchdown)
"I think it was just the highlight of the game. How it was all going and, then, to end that way with him getting his first, congrats to my guy. He's been working so hard. He works hard every day and he deserves it. I told him he might go on a touchdown streak now. It was just dope for him breaking the tackle too and then making the play, but again, shoutout to the whole team executing on the play to make the play happen. It takes everybody."
(On if he has seen Mac Jones ever get rattled)
"Mac always looks poised. I don't know what it is. He's just driven in different ways, wired a different way. He's just relaxed and I think that's how we all need to play. He's not thinking about the next play. He's not thinking about the last play. He's thinking about the current play. That mindset can take you far in this league when you have that kind of mindset. I think he has it. It's easy to dwell on the past. It's easy to get caught up on what's ahead and what's coming. He's good at just being in the moment and fixing what he's got going on right there."
(On how much credit the coaching deserves for keeping the team focused)
"It starts with them. It starts with the coaches, how they come in at the start of the week. They make it hard on us every day. Bill [Belichick] makes every single day and that's what I appreciate most about being here. It's never easy, so when we get into tough situations, it's easy for us because he's already put us through everything. It's just the way we practice. Bill's just wired a different way and it definitely works for me. I'm that guy that needs that type of coaching. I can get coached any type of way – yelled at, whatever it may be, it'll help me get better. They've got a way of knowing how to get through to all of us on the team in different ways so it starts with them and they're doing a tremendous job. You can tell it's a trickle effect."
LINEBACKER MATTHEW JUDON
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
November 14, 2021
(On the four-game win streak)
"Come on man, I know you all know this by now. I say it every time I come up here. We know what we have in the locker room. We didn't get down on ourselves at all. We knew the type of players we have. We knew that we had to execute a little bit better and hone in on the small details. Kobi [Jakobi Meyers] said we had to be better practice players to be better in games. I think that's what we did, and we started executing in practice and it started showing up in games. We got a win and it kept rolling. We have to focus on practice which leads to the game."
(On the defense's growth)
"We evolved. We saw how we were being attacked and what was happening to our defense. We made an emphasis on stopping that. Pushing the pocket, collapsing the pocket, making QBs throw from a well. When it gets tight in there, footwork gets bad for QBs. Our secondary has been disguising and making it tough on QBs. When you do that, the front end working with the back end, it's hard for QBs and you see what it leads to. We have to continue doing that. Get our pass rushers to crush the pocket and our DBs to continue covering tight and make plays. Because they're making a lot of plays."
(On the defense's mindset after the first touchdown,)
"Attack. We came to the sideline and saw what we did wrong on that first drive. They executed. We came to the sideline, got some things fixed and then we started attacking instead of playing on our heels. We tightened it up after that."
(On taking advantage of the win streak)
"Understand that every game is important. We can't slack off. We can't get too high and mighty. We have to focus more because now you have a target on your back and everybody is ready to play you. We have to continue to come to work and understand that everybody will be ready for us. We have to continue to execute and continue to work on our craft and ourselves".
(On having 9.5 sacks)
"My teammates, honestly. The guys in the middle doing a great job pushing the pocket. [Deatrich] Wise was having an excellent game rushing the passer. The DBs out there covering people. About eight of those sacks were coverage sacks. I'm just thankful to be on this team and having so much success. All of that goes to my teammates, then I thank God I'm in a position to make those plays."
(On the short week)
"You've got to get your body back right. That was a physical game we played. That's a physical team. You've got to get your legs back under you. You have to get your legs right and take care of yourself. Make sure you hydrate. Get your body right and mentally prepare."
WIDE RECEIVER JAKOBI MEYERS
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
November 14, 2021
(On what it says about Mac Jones that he was more excited about getting Meyers' first touchdown ball than he was for his first touchdown pass)
"Right? That is a little bit weird, right? I thought so too. I was like, "Man, I should probably do a little more to get his touchdown ball now that I think about it."
(On how it felt catching his first touchdown as opposed to throwing touchdown passes)
"You know, it's crazy. Honestly, the fact that everybody celebrated with me means more than the touchdown. I feel like it says a lot about your teammates and what they think of you, and just the fact that they were all there. I know they've been waiting on that, they've been real patient. Everybody else outside, my family, that was just more so just for them, but throwing touchdowns is definitely a little more funny, you know."
(On what has happened over the last four weeks to energize the team)
"I think Mac [Jones] hit on it pretty well. We knew we always had talent in the room, but in practice we weren't doing the best, or we weren't the most consistent in practice. This past month we really just focused on being better practice players and a better team Monday through Friday or Monday through Saturday, and it's shown on the field."
(On Hunter Henry's route running)
"I remember when I first saw Hunter running routes. I think we were in California, and we were just playing around, and I kind of knew he would be somebody special. Just his ability to get open. I need to take some pointers from him, you know, the way he does it so consistently. He's got real soft hands, real crispy routes, so I feel like this is just the beginning, honestly. I think he's got a long way to go when it comes to just scoring in the red zone and making plays for our team."
SAFETY DEVIN MCCOURTY
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
November 14, 2021
(On the team's mindset after the first touchdown)
"I was sitting with David Andrews this morning and we were just talking about the game. We were talking about how the game would start, and if they go down and score, and with the way they play. Our offense needs to go out and score. I think them just responding in the game and us just settling down. We always talk about that first drive, handling the script, which we didn't do a great job of. But I think fixing the things that showed up on the opening drive, some of the adjustments we made were great. Then it just comes down to playing better, I think we have enough guys, and we're at a point in the season, that we know first drive whether it's three and out, whether they go down and score, that's not going to define the game. We have to keep playing well. I thought guys handled the situation well. I thought when you get a turnover, the offense scores, now you're getting into a groove. The stop before the half and the three points before the half. I just thought we complimented each other really well today and we know that's our recipe."
(On being able to get to Baker Mayfield)
"I thought we did a good job of kind of figuring out some of the things they were to do against us. The empty spread game, kind off attacking the middle of the field, then the hurry up trying to get us in certain things. I think once we got a good idea then Steve [Belichick] knew what he wanted to call. Us getting in our calls, and once we got a lead, those guys can go in and eat, they do a great job. So when you can go in there and play a four man rush and get different coverages, then you can get pressure with those four men, it makes it tough on the offense."
(On the confidence level of the defense right now)
"It's a week-by-week thing. Great job the last two weeks, now we're going on a short week. Something we haven't done as a team yet. Right now it's Wednesday, so we have to be thinking ahead. We're going against an Atlanta team that's got a veteran quarterback with Matt Ryan. CP [Cordarrelle Patterson] is playing out of his mind. Mike Davis is a tough runner, so they give you a lot of different personnel groups, and different things like that. So we have to jump ahead on this and look at the film, and get ready to go. But to me confidence all starts from practice. This week it will all be from walkthrough and watching film together. That's where you build your confidence to go out there and play. That's why we were confident even after the first drive, giving up the seven points. Because we know what we studied, we knew our game plan. We know how to go out and execute. That comes from the week. That comes from making mistakes in practice and fixing them. We just have to keep doing that. I don't think confidence comes from just playing well for a couple games and it is just going to happen."
ADDITIONAL PLAYER QUOTES
Kyle Dugger, DB
(On if his eyes lit up when he saw the ball on his interception)
"When I turned my head around and saw the ball, I was like, 'bingo'."
(On if that was the goal on a play like that)
"Well, for sure. That's the whole idea. I'll start kind of get them thinking one thing and then throw into a trap."
(On how physical this defensive can be)
"I would never put money against this defensive. I think we will continue to get better as the season continues. So I can't really say how good or how far we can go, but I know we're going to be good and keep improving."
(On what the emotion is like on the sidelines)
"It's great. We talk about complementary football all the time in the locker room and to see it work out when we get out there, it just makes you want to continue to put a foot on the gas and keep going harder. So it's really a big momentum thing for us and it's a really great feeling to be able to play like that."
(On the biggest difference from the team at the start of the season to now)
"I mean, we just kept grinding really. As far as the preparation, there was no difference. We know we were making mistakes and we started to kind of correct some of those mistakes and grow together and kind of put things together as we should. But the grind kind of stayed the same and now it's just starting to show now."
(On what the key is for turning things around quickly for Thursday)
"I think it's about tonight. So, the recovery tonight, tomorrow morning is going to be big for us, just making sure we're in the treatment room, getting all our treatment and getting right back to the film. Seeing our mistakes and then getting right on the film for the next game preparation."
Trent Brown, OL
(On how it felt to know he would be playing today)
"I was excited to get out there. I forgot how fun it is. It feels like it's been three years since I played ball, had fun playing ball."
(On how his thoughts on Mac Jones after his first full game with him)
"I pretty much knew what we had the first day of OTAs. He's different. He's not just your average rookie quarterback. He has a lot of poise, but super mature. He attacks every day like it's game day. He prepares well He's just on top of everything."
(On how encouraging it was to see the offensive line succeed without him)
"For me, I always try to encourage my younger guys. I've been in meetings with them, telling them what this guy does or that guy does, how you can play him, and just trying to speak life into them because, really, more than half the battle is confidence. I truly believe that's how I've succeeded the last seven years. With me coming back, I think that kind of just boosted everyone's confidence, just seeing a 6'9 body across the huddle. It was fun. It was a fun win today."
Hunter Henry, TE
(On their success against the Browns and their third-ranked run defense)
"I think our preparation was huge this week. We were really locked in this week, had a really good week of practice. I think that goes along with how we played today. I feel like collectively everybody is going to be good making blocks and making plays for those running backs to run, but we also have some really good backs that are running really hard and making us look good with our blocks sometimes."
(On their pass blocking and how they were able to neutralize Myles Garrett)
"Like Coach [Belichick] said, he is tremendous, he is one of the best we are going to see. We had to try to throw as many different looks as we could at him. He was getting off the block so it was good to be able to neutralize him in a way. He is a really good player who can definitely disrupt a game."
(On his growing connection with Mac Jones)
"There is a lot of work that is put in throughout the week. I think that's continuing to grow as you see as the season has progressed. There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes. Everybody else sees the stuff that goes on when we're playing but there is a lot of work that builds up to that. All that stuff is kind of paying off week by week and we just have to continue to improve and get better every day and take advantage of those opportunities."
(On what a win like this one does for the team)
"We played a complete game. This was a big game, it was kind of a playoff atmosphere feel going against a team fighting for the playoffs too. We would feel how big of a game it was. It felt like we were locked in all week and ready to go once kickoff came."
(On the team being 6-4)
"Yeah we have just got to keep attacking each week. It's good to be in the position we're in but at the same time there is a lot more football ahead of us and we have got to keep attacking each week."