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New England Patriots Postgame Quotes 12/12

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, quarterback Mac Jones and select players comment on their game against the Arizona Cardinals on Monday, December 12, 2022.

HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK

Postgame Press Conference
Monday, December 12, 2022

Opening Statement:

"It was a good night for us tonight. I'm really proud of the way the team handled themselves. Long week. Long trip out here. I thought they were really focused yesterday and certainly this morning in our walkthrough and things like that. Had good energy for the game. The Cardinals are pretty good in the kicking game. One of the better teams we've faced. I thought our guys really battled them there and made enough plays offensively and defensively to win. It's an explosive offensive group. It's tough to see a player like (Cardinals QB Kyler) Murray get hurt. I hope he's okay. It's still a lot of good players on the field. I'm proud of the way our defense hung in there. Made some big stops, and a turnover obviously with (DB) Kyle (Dugger) and (LB Raekwon) McMillan. Offensively, (we) played better. A tough break on the interception. (QB) Mac (Jones) got his arm hit but I thought we did sOme things better, but we still got a long way to go. Had some young players step up and make some significant plays in the game. It was good to get contributions from everybody. A short week here with Vegas, and we'll keep grinding and try to be ready to go on Sunday."

On the rookies stepping up:

"Everybody's got a role, and when their number is called hopefully they'll come through for us. These guys work hard. They all do, but certainly it's good to see some of the young guys and even (DB Brenden) Schooler, (DL DeMarcus) Mitchell in the kicking game and obviously the guys that scored the touchdowns or intercepted passes. They're easy to spot. (QB Bailey) Zappe had some contributions a little bit earlier in the year when he played. It takes everybody. I thought we had that tonight. We had everybody pulling tonight."

On seeing the hard work from RB Pierre Strong and RB Kevin Harris:

"Yeah. It was great. They got an opportunity and made some big plays. We'll see if they can sustain it, show up week after week and people will start looking for them."

On if the fumble return by LB Raekwon McMillan was a a key play:

"Yeah, no question. (DB Kyle) Dugger made a good tackle and knocked the ball off Hop (Cardinals WR De'Andre Hopkins). Hop's beat us so many times, but it was a heads up play by McMillan on a good scoop and score to show his athleticism and speed to get into the end zone. That was a huge play, obviously.'

On if the shorter passing game was due to injuries at receiver or based on a game plan:

"We hit ( TE) Hunter (Henry) on a couple seams. It depends on what the pattern was that we had called and what the coverage was. I thought Mac (Jones) made a lot of good decisions. We got hit on the deep ball that was the interception, so I don't know."

On how encouraged he is with the defense's performance:

"They had a couple big stops here today. A couple of fourth down stops. (LB Josh) Uche had a couple big plays for us. He hit (Cardinals QB Colt) McCoy, and gave the interception to (DB Marcus) Jones. We were able to hit the quarterback, but of course that comes from getting ahead, playing from ahead and it became a passing game in the second half. Our defense is—I thought they did a pretty good job tonight. They had again, a lot of firepower. Arizona moved the ball, but fortunately we got a couple red area stops and didn't give them much in the second half, so that was good."

On the 4th down stops and if it is an area of strength defensively :

"Yeah. I think statistically it has (been), but the important thing was just a couple of those were longer yardage, but I think (LB Jahlani) Tavai tipping a pass on fourth and one or two— whatever it was that was a big play for us. (We) probably got a break on (Cardinals WR Marquise) Brown's play where he dropped it."

On if this win will be good for team morale:

"It's always good to win. It's what we practice for."

QUARTERBACK MAC JONES

Postgame Press Conference
Monday, December 12, 2022

On how good it feels to get a win and set the tone for the week:

"First, I want to make an opening statement. I want to send my thoughts and prayers to (Mississippi State) Coach Leach and his family. He offered me a scholarship at Washington State and didn't meet him, but talked to him over the phone. I'm just praising his family with everything that is going on. But, I think the fans showed up today really well. Patriots fans were here and were loud and it actually really helped us bring up the energy. It's always good when our fans can have our back on a road game. It's really good to see that. We came here to win and that was the important part, so coming out with a win however we had to do it, and I think it was a team win. We're going to watch film and get better."

On how important the swing to end the half, then begin the third was:

"We had the one fumble there. We'll learn from that. We were fortunate to get on it and kick the field goal. Then, we get the ball back on our half. We're just trying to play good football. The defense scored a touchdown for us, which was huge to give us that lead. We want to score more points, so we'll watch the tape and see how we can do better as always. The biggest thing is to get the win. That's what we came here for and everyday you have to fight to win, so that's what we're going to do."

On finding tight end Hunter Henry open and delivering strikes to him:

"Hunter (Henry) and (tight end) Jonnu (Smith) have done a great job for us in the tight end room. Hunter has a great feel for the game. He wants to help the team any way he can. Same thing with Jonnu. Love those guys and we have to continue to grow their roles. When they're on the field together they're really good, so we definitely want to expand on that and do those things."

On the rookies stepping up with experienced players out with injuries:

"It was a little bit of a hectic injury game for us, but we couldn't control those things and when (running back) Rhamondre (Stevenson) went down, he's one of our best players, those guys stepped up. With (running back) Damien (Harris) out they had to step up. The thing I told (running back Kevin Harris) was, 'it's like SEC football, so go out there, do your thing, you've played against really good teams and that's what it is. Here, it's the same thing. You're a young guy, but really fast.' He uses his speed well. They did a great job and they're going to have to step up again. The rookies did a great job. I'm super proud of them and they just want to help the team win and that's what we're trying to do."

On seeing smiles from the offense after the game and seeing resiliency as a whole:

"It's great. That's what we want to do, just try to win the game however we had to do it, and those guys made some great plays. The offensive line gave them the big holes and the receivers got the blocks on the outside. That's how we want to play offensive football in the run game. We have to watch the film and see where we can do better. But that's a good defense, (they) blitz a lot from different places to try to confuse you and you just have to stick to your rules, so props to those guys."

On if he was frustrated with this offense:

"No. The biggest thing is not letting it affect my play and bringing the best out of my guys. Today, I thought we all did a good job trying to play the next play, play the next series and (Senior Football Advisor/Offensive Line Coach) Matt (Patricia) did a great job. He's trying to call the game so that we can win. Sometimes, it might be this thing that people don't know about, like the quick passes for whatever reason and that's our game plan. We knew what we had to do to win and he called a great game and stayed calm. He's a calm person, very stoic. We're just going to continue to grow together and do what we can to win games."

On DB Marcus Jones' role expanding on offense:

"It's cool to have him helping where he can. The kid's on special teams, hitting people on defense, and covering really good receivers, then coming over and running full speed on motions and running routes. Really great leadership from him and a vocal guy. He's a young guy, but to show that he's going to give it 100 percent no matter what his role is is pretty cool. I felt like he did that tonight and we're definitely going to expand on that. The guys want to be out there and the guys that play hard are going to be out there. We have a really good group."

CENTER DAVID ANDREWS

Postgame Press Conference
Monday, December 12, 2022

Not Transcribed.

DEFENSIVE BACK MARCUS JONES

Postgame Press Conference
Monday, December 12, 2022

On how the win felt:

"Great, we definitely needed that one."

On what changed in the second half defensively:

"Coach (Belichick) told us that we need to lock in and do what we practice. That's the main thing. First half wasn't how we wanted it to be, but we had to play our game and basically just do that."

On how much the defense sparked the offense:

"In this game defense wins championships, so that's the main thing of locking in and doing what we're supposed to do. Whenever we are putting it all together in all three phases we're a hard team to beat."

On LB Josh Uche:

"Special, special man for sure."

On Uche having 10 sacks on the year and LB Matthew Judon having 14.5 sacks this season:

"I knew they were up there. I don't really keep up with the numbers and everything like that."

On if he feels more pressure with him right on his side:

"No, no pressure at all, no pressure at all.

On how he feels with his versatility and what he's accomplished with the team in a short time:

"It feels great, just coming in day-in-and-day-out. Making sure I know what to do and the main thing I said before is however I can help the team, I'm definitely down for it."

On if he's tired after a game like this:

"So fatigue is real, so yeah, but I'm not winded. Making sure my body is good and recovered and everything so nobody in this league can play every down on each side and everything but the coaches definitely know when to put me out there in things like that."

On preparing himself for the three-phase role on the team:

"Making sure I know what to do, playbook wise. That's the main thing. Just staying on that, making sure I know what to do when I'm out there on different sides and communicating. Sometimes you could have different things happen but just communicating."

LINEBACKER MATTHEW JUDON

Postgame Press Conference
Monday, December 12, 2022

On getting a win and stepping up defensively:

"It's good to get out here with a win. I think we pitched a shutout in the second half and we scored. We got a couple turnovers that got the ball back to our offense. When they had a little momentum, they were rolling. I know their record doesn't show it, but that's a really good team. Well coached. It's good to get a win."

On seeing Kyler Murray go down:

"You never want to see that. You never want to see that, especially in non-contact. (I'm) just praying for him. I'll be walking around the field before pregame and just trying to bless the field and say a prayer, and you just never want to see a guy like that go down. Especially a talent like that in the NFL. I just wish him a speedy recovery. I hope everything's fine and that he just kind of tweaked it and that he'll be back on the field sooner rather than later."

On the injuries tonight and having any problems with the field:

"It's kind of a slick field. You've seen a lot of the guys slipping. It's got a hard surface. We came out here and played on what we got to play on and it's tough. It's tough when you see guys like that caliber or anybody go down with an injury. That's tough. We just wish him the best and a speedy recovery. The game of football is a really tough, physical sport and you just don't want to see people get injured."

On the defensive mindset when a Murray-like player goes down with an injury:

"I think Kyler (Cardinals QB Kyler Murray) is different than a lot of quarterbacks in the league and he's definitely different than Colt (Cardinals QB Colt McCoy). So with that, you plan differently. We planned for Colt McCoy. We know Kyler is QB1. I think everybody knows that, but you also plan for this stuff to happen. We watched him (Cardinals QB Colt McCoy). He played in a couple of games and started a couple games so we also watched film on him."

On when the offense seems to struggle and needing to carry the team on defense:

"Honestly, as a defender you relish it. We'd love for our offense to go out there and score 40 points every game. As a defender… it is what it is. We go out there and we have to do our job. We can't let our offense down and come out there and let stuff go. Every play, we have got to defend the grass and that's what we came out and did. (There were) a lot of tipped balls and we put pressure on the quarterback and we hit receivers jamming them and that's how you beat a team like that, with a very explosive offense."

On how impressed he's been with LB Josh Uche this season:

"I told y'all I was a pass rusher. People are going to have to block and if they don't and if they chip my side then they worry about me. (Patriots LB Josh) Uche would do that every week. I love the way he's playing, the confidence and poise and it's the most he's been able to play since he's been in the NFL. It's taken a toll on him, but he's going out there and having a lot of fun and success. We all knew it; we all knew what type of player he was. He was drafted pretty high here and now he's emerging and offensive lines will have to watch out."

On seeing the younger guys contribute tonight for the defense:

"We made fun of (Patriots LB Jahlani) Tavai, he's got to come up with that ball, but for him to make that play in that moment is big for our defense and we got off the field. They were marching and to come up with a stop like that on fourth down is huge, it's like a turnover. Then for (Patriots S Kyle Dugger) to get the ball out, and for (Patriots LB) Raekwon McMillian chasing and pursuing and to be able to tip-toe the sideline, that's huge; that's really a turning point in the game because at that point they (Cardinals) were running the ball, passing to the tight end, running play-action pass, but when we got that touchdown they kind of had a primary passing game. So it was play-after-play, defend every play. Yeah it's third-and-two or third-and-one, or fourth-and-one or fourth-and-two and we're not trying to give them an easy first down, they're going to have to earn it."

On the message moving forward after moving into the final playoff spot:

"Every week is 1-0. Every week. That's what we have to focus on and that's what we have to harp on. We have to play consistent football."

LINEBACKER JOSH UCHE

Postgame Press Conference
Monday, December 12, 2022

On how big tonight's win was for the team:

"Every game is a must win game. I put everything we got into this one, (and I'll) get ready for the next one too."

On his rapport with LB Matt Judon:

"I've learned a lot. I've been through a lot of adversity and just leaning back on my faith, my family, my teammates, my girl, my parents–everybody. Just leaning back on them and them just helping me stay up. Judon, he has been a blessing in my life. That's big bro, and I don't know where I'd be without him and the rest of the guys, 'D-Wise' (DL Deatrich Wise Jr.) and my boy (LB) Anfernee (Jennings) my lockermate. Those guys we just feed off of each other. They're just a great group of guys in the locker room."

On DB Kyle Dugger's forced fumble:

"That was big time. 'Dug' (DB Kyle Dugger) had a big plan. It's Dug, big hit Dug. 'Kwon' (LB Raekwon McMillan) getting busy (out) there. He looked like a running back (out) there. It was just great. A momentum changer when we needed it. We put points up on the board and the defense, we're just out there playing for each other and it was great."

On how much fun it is to "unload" on the quarterback:

"It's something where everybody just has to do their job and whoever gets there, gets there. We make sure that we're executing our assignments and if they come, they come and if not it is what it is as long as we get the job done."

On how much pride the defense takes in making plays and scoring points:

"We take a lot of pride. Anytime the defense can put up points on the board it's demoralizing to an offense. It's a momentum changer and it just fires us up. It fires the offense up and everyone is just back in the game, so it's definitely a great feeling."

On if it felt like a home game:

"Pats fans always travel well. They did a great job tonight. It felt like a home game. I had to tell guys to chill out—some of the fans to chill out. They were getting a little too excited rooting for us. The game wasn't over yet, but the Pats nation. The best fans in the world and I can't complain."

On if the game plan changed when Cardinals QB Kyler Murray went down:

"We just stick to whatever the coach calls. Whatever coach calls, we're running it and executing our assignments. It doesn't matter who's in there per say,everyone is doing their jobs."

On what he learned about the defense:

"Nothing. We're going to work hard until the whistle blows. Until the whistle blows and until that clock hits zero, we're giving it everything we've got. We're playing for each other. It's just relentless. I love those guys in the locker room and the love we have for each other, that's what was on display tonight."

On if they're focused on the playoff picture:

"We're focused on the next game and we're going to handle that when we handle that."

PLAYERS IN THE LOCKER ROOM

S KYLE DUGGER

On his forced fumble on WR DeAndre Hopkins:

"I saw that he was ready to cut back, I know that after the catch he likes to cut back on the defender, so I edged him out, drove him out of his position and he just loses the ball and I do what I'm supposed to do and made the tackle here."

On seeing LB Raekwon McMillian pick the fumble up for a touchdown:

"It was great to see it. I didn't know that at first, so I looked up and saw him running and it made it so much better."

On feeling a spark for the team after forced turnover:

"Definitely. Every play that can help the team is huge, the energy sparks the team and it's great for us."

On LB Josh Uche:

"He's going. He's really being dominant for us. We love it and need it."

On importance of getting a win:

"It was great to be able to get a win and move on and focus on what we have ahead. We don't want to dwell too hard on our mistakes, but not having to dwell on a loss and get a win was what we needed."

LB RAEKWON MCMILLAN

On being by the sideline on his scoring play:

"I was really running over there to make sure my guy made a tackle. We missed a couple tackles today, so I was making sure we got the tackle. (DB) Kyle Dugger made an amazing play on the ball, got it off of him, and I saw the ball, it was me and the sideline and knew I had to pick the ball up before I get out of bounds. I was looking back and it was only me and the lineman, if I can't beat the lineman then I don't need to be out here."

On the feeling of getting into the end zone:

"It felt amazing, I've been through a lot, as a player and individually. It felt amazing because it was a turning point in the game for the team and I felt like after we made that play on defense, we got it rolling."

On watching LB Josh Uche getting after the quarterback:

"That boy is a baller. 55 is going to show up and play ball every week so he's a baller."

On defense stepping up when necessary:

"Our leaders made plays. (Ja'Whaun)Bentley, we had (Matthew) Judon making plays. Uche made TFLs out there, (Jahalni) Tavai on fourth and one—a big momentum swing in the game. They get that going and it's a different story going into half. We had a lot of guys out there making plays for us and we played together."

On playing Raiders next Sunday:

"We'll celebrate tonight and have a good time, but it's a quick turnaround before the next game."

RB PIERRE STRONG JR.

On his relationship with Kevin Harris:

"It's a relationship like (a) little brother, big brother combo. It's bigger than football."

On sharing breakout performances with Kevin Harris:

"It means the world for us to both make our first career touchdowns. We have to thank the O-line. We are going to continue to praise each other and just come out and make plays when our number is called."

On patiently waiting for an opportunity:

"Coach (Bill Belichick) doesn't make mistakes. He knows what he's doing and wouldn't be in the position he is in. So I just always stay getting better every day."

On the feeling of getting in the endzone:

"It was unbelievable. I was like, wow I really got in, but at the end of the day that's just football, so I have to try to get better everyday."

On being able to use his breakout speed:

"It felt good. Thanks to my O-line again for making that hole for me. All I had to do was run, which is what I do best. It felt amazing. I say that's my game. I'm a fast and shifty player so it's just natural to me."

On how quickly he adjusted (to getting snaps at running back):

"After the first play. I'm on special teams so I make hits and get hit, it's just football at that point."

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