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New England Patriots Postgame Quotes 8/12

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and select players comment on their game against the Washington Football Team at Gillette Stadium on Thursday, August 12, 2021.


August 12, 2021

Q: Bill, Joejuan [Williams] seemed to be taking the last two practices into today's game. He was one that showed really good burst defensively. How did he look out there to you today for you?

BB: I mean, made a nice play on the tip ball and ran it made, made a couple nice tackles out there. We'll take a look at it and go through the film and all. But I thought our secondary competed well. We didn't have a lot of players back there. We were in a lot of four defensive backs the majority of the game, but those guys all responded, showed a good level of conditioning.

We lost Myles [Bryant] there in the fourth quarter, so we finished with four DBs, but yeah, Joejuan played some corner, played some safety. It's good experience for the guys that played. At positions where we were a little shorthanded, it gave an opportunity for those guys to play more, so hopefully they took advantage of it.

Q: What drove the decision to go no-huddle with Mac Jones in what looked like the same group of players around him to start the second half?

BB: We would have gone two-minute at the end of the second quarter but we didn't have one, so we just went two-minute at the start of the third quarter.

Q: What do you think of Quinn Nordin's performance today?

BB: Yeah, I mean, we'll take a look at it. Hit a couple good ones, missed an extra point. It's all about consistency. Quinn has gotten better. He's worked hard. But again, it's really about consistency at that position. We're getting there. We'll see what kind of progress he continues to make.

Q: Not that in preseason you're thinking challenge flags, but how much consideration did you have on the Jakobi Meyers play that looked like it was close or if that's not really what you're thinking about preseason?

BB: Yeah, didn't feel like challenging it.


August 12, 2021

Q: Cam, just your thoughts on being in the stadium, being with fans in the stands for this first preseason game?

CN: It was fun. It was fun. It was something that I haven't witnessed before. Just to see the excitement of everything and for us to get the win, that was pretty cool for us. We've got to still keep working, keep fighting for the standard that we know that is set not only by the coaching staff, the organization but ourselves included, and we've got a big week of practice here coming up.

Q: On your second drive, what went right for you in the offense?

CN: Well, it wasn't what went right, it was just more or less guys just doing their job, and that's what it pretty much comes down to. I think the first drive out of 10 guys or 11 guys, one or two guys here making a mistake, me included, we've just got to be sharper. Coach always says, you just have to commit fast. We have to start fast, and we kind of picked it up in the second drive, still had a holding penalty or something like that that kind of held us back, but more or less we know what the standard is. We know what we have to do, and that's what we've got to keep striving to do.

Q: Sounds like maybe you pulled the offense aside maybe after that first drive James White said. Whether you'd be willing to talk about that or not, what did you do to get past that first drive so you guys could execute?

CN: Yeah, there's no magic play. There's no magic player. There's no magic remedy for offensive success in this league. If one guy messes up, it'll show more times than not. I said it before, offensive football is the ultimate team sport where you don't have the capability of having a locked down cornerback that will save the grace for a lackluster rush. If the guard doesn't make the block or step-down block, the tight end doesn't chip block, hit it out, the receivers don't make the catch, I don't -- or the quarterback doesn't make a catchable pass or even when you do make a catchable pass, somebody doesn't catch it, you still need all hands on deck. That doesn't have anything to do with the play calling, it doesn't have anything to do with trying to out-trick a defense. It's just execution.

Q: Talking about that second drive and how it was an improvement on the first drive, do you feel like you have some momentum at that point and would you have liked to play a little bit more to capitalize on that?

CN: Of course. While I'm in the game, I'm trying to score, so of course you would want to score, but we got some type of points out of it, and that's all she wrote.

Q: Would you have liked to get just another series or two to just keep --

CN: That's not up to me to make the call. I've got full faith in the coaching staff and the people that get paid to do that, and if they say it's it, it's it.

Q: What did you think of your up close and personal introduction to Chase Young?

CN: He's smaller than I thought. I'm just messing with you. That's a joke. That's a joke. I'm just messing with you. But yeah, he's going to be good, man. He's going to be good. He's going to be real good. But I've got to do a better job of protecting the football. He kind of got me like right in the tweener when I was letting the ball going or trying to pull it back. Coach talks about it all the time, man, ball security is job security, and that's what it comes down to.

Q: What were you thinking as Rhamondre Stevenson took off and went on that long run? It's almost like you were running with him. Did that kind of give you a kick watching him?

CN: Yeah, the man of many names. We've got a lot of nicknames for 'Mondre. But he showed up tonight. I always tease people on the sidelines for why do you always point in the direction where you know that they're already going, and I caught myself doing it today. So I'm like, go this way, like he's going to turn around and go the other way. But it was fun. It was exciting. Like I said, that was the first time I felt Gillette Stadium, the crowd with a real game. Obviously it's preseason, and it only can go up from here, right, with the crowd's capacity and everything else. It's a lot of guys in there excited, including myself, and we just want to put on a great performance for the fans so that can be our edge this year.

Q: I think you mentioned it last week, I didn't catch it, did you switch off of Mac and Cheese, and how did you think he handled --

CN: Mac and Cheese, yeah, you've got McClennan. McClennan. You don't know what McClennan is? That's what Mac is short for. You've got to do your research. You guys are the reporters. You're supposed to have the tee. I'm not supposed to be teeing you all. I asked him, Mac is -- like I say, he's relatively quiet sometimes, and I try to crack the DaVinci Code of the seriousness. He got a lot of -- I'm not going to say it, but yeah, he's serious sometimes for no reason. I'm like, Mac, so what does Mac come from, is that your first name? He's like no, that's actually my middle name. I didn't know that. I said, what's Mac -- he said McClennan. I think he said that's his mom's maiden name. So there you go. Mac is short for that. For him, man, for him to come out there, I know he came to me and talked to me and we talked it out about just his expectation. Every young quarterback goes through it, the excitement, the anticipation. He wants to be so perfect, and I see his preparation is always pristine. That's what I admire about him, being at such a young age he knows how to prepare and knows when Josh asks quick questions or when a person asks quick questions he knows how to kind of have answers for it.

Everybody is different. Everybody learns different. But for him and today's performance, he's just going to keep getting better, and we're going to be here for each other along this whole process, and that's what we're here for.

Q: Having been through some of camp now, a preseason game, how do you feel about your own progression in terms of the way you've improved coming into the season and where you're going in terms of where you want to be as a player this season?

CN: Yeah, I mean, it's -- got to keep getting better each and every day. Every day is a learning opportunity, especially while we can keep getting better with practices and preseason games. This is where you find out what your personnel is going to be. This is where you find out do I need to add this niche to my repertoire or not. That's pretty much what it comes down to. Like I said, we've got a big week of practice here coming up that we get to change in the arsenal, so to speak, or the target with having the joint practice, and I'm looking forward to it and guys really finding their edge and they get prepared for the next game.


August 12, 2021

Q: Can you take us through that sack you had?

TB: It was just a straight rush for us, had the tight end on me one-on-one and I had all the other rushers doing their job, staying in their lane, making it a little bit easier for me. But I just took a little hand-move, went outside and I got the job done.

Q: What did you go through this offseason to enhance your game or certain areas you might have worked on specifically?

TB: I think it's just strength and then knowing more of the defense, knowing more in-depth things that will help you play faster so you're not thinking too much on the field, so you can just get lined up and know what to do and just play fast.

Q: What stands out to you about what Matt Judon brings to the position?

TB: I think honestly, he has speed and power. He's someone that's able to run around the edge and someone who can go up and just bull-rush you as well. And he's been around a little bit so he has so much knowledge to give and me and a lot of other guys are just under his wing trying to take everything in, learn as much as we can from him. So, he brings a lot to the table.

Q: I know last year you were still working your way back from a serious injury. How do you feel physically now compared to this time last year?

TB: I feel good. I feel really strong, I've been working a lot on strength in the offseason, working a lot on balancing and all the little things that get all those little muscles nice and strong so these things don't happen.

Q: In terms of this preseason, what are some things you want to accomplish or improve here over the next

TB: Honestly, I think the biggest thing is being in sync with everyone and being able to play, whether it be stand up or my hand in the dirt. Being able to have great communication with everyone and working on pass rushing is something I can always work on and same thing with runs stopping. Getting on the same page with everyone across the board is key, not just for me but for the whole defense.

Q: What does the first preseason game mean to you?

TB: I think that we have some work to do. Obviously, there is always going to be work to do, but to start off with a win is huge and is something we can keep momentum on and once we're back in the next day, we will watch the film and see what we have to address.


August 12, 2021

Q: I saw you left the game early today, is everything alright for you physically?

JU: I am terrific.

Q: You had a couple of pressures today. Did you feel like all the work you put in during the off-season came together tonight a little bit?

JU: Just trusting the coaching from my coaches, and you know just trying to execute my assignment every play and you know whatever happens, happens. We definitely put some work during this off-season and just trying to work every day to make sure it pays off.

Q: How important was it as a group to just fly around, and get out there as quick as possible and set the tone?

JU: I mean it is the first preseason game, so definitely important to get our toes wet – first real, real contact against another opponent. You know, there was definitely an emphasis to just fly around and just try and get our feet wet again. Definitely a great way to do that is to play someone else.

Q: With the defense playing against a different opponent for the first time, how much did the communication improve over the course of the game as you got used to playing with each other?

JU: I think it just comes back to our coaching and falling back on our coaches who do an outstanding job. We just trust that training we have been doing. We have been putting in work since the spring and we're kind of just relying on that.

Q: I saw you take some snaps at inside linebacker tonight, what's your comfort level with that position right now?

JU: Right now, I am doing whatever the team needs me to do. Wherever that may be, I just have to execute my assignments.

Q: Do you feel like you have a lot of versatility in the linebacker room between yourself, Matt Judon, and Kyle Van Noy, with a lot of guys who can play inside and out ?

JU: Yeah, you just said a lot of names and we definitely have a lot of versatility in the room. You know just trying to learn from the older guys, do what they do. I'm a copycat if you will.

Q: What were your first impressions of quarterback Mac Jones tonight, in his first true pro game setting?

JU: I mean, I am not a quarterback guru so I can't really tell you too much about mechanics, check downs, or X's and O's, but I mean it definitely seemed like he had some poise when he went out there. It is for the coaches to judge him. I'm not one of his coaches so it's hard for me to judge his performance.

Q: Last year you didn't have the preseason and went right into the regular season. Does tonight give you and some of the other defensive players a baseline to see where you're at? Does it present a situation where you recognize what you have to work on?

JU: I think that is what preseason is for. It doesn't count towards the regular season and gives teams a chance to figure out what it is they want to do and how they can improve. For both teams tonight, I felt like guys walked away knowing, "I could be better at this or I could do this a little bit better." It's definitely a great opportunity for teams to work on their craft.

Q: Is this the first time you have played in front of home fans since playing at the Big House at Michigan and what was that experience like for you?

JU: First off, let me say I love your hair by the way, just want to say that. Second of all, it has been a while since I played in front of some fans, but you know football is football at the end of the day. I mean not too much has really changed.

Q: How would you mentally prepare for this game specifically knowing what you have learned from last year?

JU: Again, just kind of leaning on my coaching, and you know kind of leaning on my off-season work that I put in, and still understanding that Rome was not built in a day. I am just kind of taking that approach and getting better each day, brick-by-brick, trying to get one percent better.


August 12, 2021

Q: Can you describe your interception?

JW: Oh yeah, I feel like Mike Jack [Michael Jackson] gets the credit for that. He made a great play and I was just able to receive it. It was a good play by Mike Jack and I'm happy that it came my way.

Q: Can you talk about the two-point conversion play and forcing the incompletion?

JW: Just got to play through the down. To score a touchdown, you've got to come down with the ball completely – play's not over, so you've just to finish the play. And that was the biggest thing.

Q: What are you hoping to improve and show as the preseason and training camp continues?

JW: I'm just trying to work on being consistent every day. That's the biggest thing for me is working on being consistent every day and playing when I get the opportunity to play.

Q: We saw you playing outside cornerback and then safety later in the game. How important is it for you prove that you can be a versatile player back there?

JW: It's what we always talk about each year. This defense, our DB group, we pride ourselves on versatility. That's kind of the biggest thing as a DB group that we pride ourselves on. We feel like we can play outside, inside, deep, anywhere in the box and that's what we pride ourselves on. The more versatile you are, the more valuable you are to the team so I'm just trying to be as versatile as I can be.

Q: You mentioned the opportunities you get during the preseason. It's not often that a player plays as much in the preseason as you did tonight. What did it mean to you to play as much as you did tonight?

JW: It just felt good that I was out there and I was out there playing. This is what I love to play, I've wanted to be here since I was five years old, so just every opportunity is a blessing. It's a blessing to be out there.

Q: How much more fun was this to have fans in the stands?

JW: It was really fun having fans back. Felt the energy, we were able to feel the energy, feel the crowd and I just loved having Pats fans out there. It's always the best, especially night games. So I loved having them out there and I can't wait for them to be back out here during the regular season.

Q: How was the communication back there for you guys with players moving around and playing different positions?

JW­: We're in the preseason, it's just about working every day to continue to build that chemistry every day. So that's what it's all about, just about continue to work and build chemistry and go from there.


August 12, 2021

Q: Can you take us through the deep ball in the end zone, how close were you to catching that and what you saw on that play?

KW: It was a great ball by Mac [Jones]. I have just got to adjust better to it. I have got to do my part. So I just have to go watch the tape and see what I can do better. I could run the defender off better or make a better catch.

Q: When you are a guy trying to make the team and when you have a play like that, do you have to shake it off to stay in your process, to stay in your preparation, and not wonder "What if" when a play that does not go your way?

KW: Yeah I just try to go 1-0 on every play and just forget the last play. You can't dwell on the last play because it's over. Even if it is a good play, you can't think about it.

Q: How was it to go into no-huddle at the start of the second half and practice that in a game tonight?

KW: It was good. We work on that every day so just getting it pre-conditioned. I took it as a challenge and tried to catch every ball and run every route correctly. Do the fundamentals right while they are tired. Took it as a challenge and tried to do my best.

Q: You had six catches and a good number of targets tonight. What do you feel that you were doing well in this offense and does it feel a little different this year compared to last year?

KW: Just doing what the coaches coach in the classroom and having good fundamentals out there. Doing all you can do. The ball will come if you do the right things and make the right plays, so hopefully I can keep on doing that.

Q: How would you describe Mac Jones as a leader in the huddle tonight as the game was progressing compared to what you are used to in practice over the last couple of weeks with him?

KW: He is confident and I love him as a leader, so I'm glad to be his teammate and be a receiver playing with him.

Q: Regardless of the quarterback, how important is it for you guys in these live reps to get an opportunity to work on timing? I know Jones had a back shoulder throw to you there. How valuable are these specific game reps versus practice where there is not as much contact?

KW: Every rep is critical so you have to handle it the same way – live game or practice you have got to treat it the same way. So you can't switch it on and switch it off.

Q: On one of your catches at the end of the second quarter it was a little crossing route that went for eight yards. You guys were empty on that play and it looked like Jones was doing a little bit of communication before the snap there. Did he change the play at the line? How did that break down because it looked like a lot was going on before the ball was snapped?

KW: We just ran the play that was called honestly. I do not know if changed it or alerted it or not. We just ran the play to execute it, and I guess we did.


August 1, 2021

Q: What was working during the team's first two offensive drives?

JW: Well the first drive, I mean definitely don't want to go three and out to start a football game. I think everybody responded on that second drive and trying to get off to a fast start on first down. Damien had some good runs. The line was blocking. The receivers were blocking. Just kind of got in the rhythm a little bit. The screen play's a team play. It takes everybody for those plays to work. Quarterback, o-line, running backs, receivers, and that was a big play for us. I mean we didn't get into the end zone, but it was a good drive for us. Definitely when we get in the red zone, we definitely want to score.

Q: What did you see from Mac Jones tonight and his overall progression?

JW: He's working. He's coming in ready to work. Learning from everybody. He's attacking it. It's not easy being a quarterback in this league, and he's willing to learn and willing to work. All those guys who compete with him, Cam [Newton], [Brian] Hoyer, we need confidence in all those guys, and they're coming in ready to work each and every day.

Q: What was it like to see the sideline's reaction to Rhamondre Stevenson's 91-yard touchdown?

JW: I was just hoping he wouldn't get caught. That's the reaction. That was a great play call. First of all, offensive line did a great job blocking, receivers, fullbacks. It was an impressive run for a guy his size. He had a good performance out there today, and hopefully he can keep it going.

Q: Can you explain the running backs' celebration of Rhamondre Stevenson's first touchdown?

JW: Yeah it was definitely a bonding moment. We cheer for one another. We compete with one another during practice, and you definitely want to see all of us go out there and have some success on game day. Put all that hard work in during practice, and you go out there and you want to perform. I think everybody, especially the guys in the running back room, today wanted to go out there, execute, pass protect, catch the ball and just do everything we need to do to help the team.

Q: How does it feel to have Bill Belichick's trust?

JW: Definitely don't take it for granted. That's for sure. I learned from a lot of guys in this locker room being here for my eighth year, seeing guys like Matthew Slater, Devin McCourty. Guys coming through this locker room and seeing how they put in the work each and every day and kind of help guide the team. I'm not the most vocal person as you guys probably know, but I'll see things and things need to be said, but I just want to put in the work. Show the young guys what it takes to work in this league. Take care of yourself. This isn't necessarily the easiest place to play. It's going to be hard each and every day you step in this building, but if you give your best effort, you're going to be just fine. So that's kind of my role as a leader. I kind of try to lead by example and speak if things need to be said.

Q: What have you learned about Rhamondre Stevenson?

JW: I mean today I learned he's pretty fast. He's a young guy coming in ready to work. Competing. He's got a lot of talent obviously as you guys can see. I said each week we all just want to continue to progress and get better and learn. Obviously still things that he can learn, and I can learn as myself. I think that's our job as a group, to push one another to be the best players that we can be.

Q: Why did your role his one screen play not work?

JW: Defensive end, Chase Young there really rushed on that play, so it kind of screwed up the timing a little bit. We still find a way. Obviously to get better, to work on it. I think we did a decent job in the screen game, but like I said, it takes everybody for those plays to work, and we'll continue to progress and get better.

Q: Is it difficult trying to build chemistry with two quarterbacks?

JW: No it's not difficult. It's always going to be multiple quarterbacks on your football team, and you're going to work with each and every one of them. It's just practice repetitions. We work with each and every quarterback each and every day of practice. You'll learn the more you're out there at practice.

Q: Can you talk about the versatility of the running back room?

JW: I would say each and every one of us can run the ball, catch, block and kind of do whatever coach needs us to do. They can call any play with any one of us in the game, and like I said, I was happy for each and every one of those guys that stepped on the field today. Everybody competed, everybody tried to catch the ball, block, run hard. That's what we need to do to help this team win football games.

Q: What Cam's Newton message in the huddle at the start of the second drive?

JW: Just get it going, you know what I mean. We pretty much said we're better than a three and out in the first drive. I think we all know that, and I said to everybody attack that second drive with a little bit more confidence, and a little more sense of urgency, so definitely want to start with that on the first drive. Definitely want to have a fast start, especially when you're playing against good football teams.

Q: What was it like getting reacclimated to getting hit?

JW: It depends how you get hit I guess, but I mean when you practice, and we don't necessarily tackle all the way to the ground in practice, but you get the good contact and get kind of a feel for a game-like feel out there at practice, but a game's a tad bit different. You get tackled and you kind of ready to go out. Your nerves probably get a little bit going before you get hit that first time, and once you make that first contact, you're back going again.

Q: Can you talk about the competitiveness of the team's running backs?

JW: Anyone in that room can do anything the coach needs to be be done. We know how talented each and every one of us can be, so we want to push each other to get the best out of one another, so we all know we're not going to be out there for 60 plays throughout the game, and maybe 10 plays one game, maybe 30, maybe 60. You never really know, so we all just want to be ready for when our number's called, and like I said, that comes from us pushing each other in practice and on the games.

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