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New England Patriots Postgame Quotes 8/22

Read full postgame transcripts from Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick, Quarterback Tom Brady and Safety Devin McCourty following New England's 10-3 win over the Carolina Panthers.


Postgame Press Conference
Thursday, August 22, 2019

(opening statement)

BB: Alright, well, I think we took another step forward tonight. Still, obviously, have a long way to go, but I thought we had a good, competitive effort out there. Carolina's a good football team. They've got a lot of good players, so it was good to compete against them and the schemes that they run. Another week here – the Giants – this will be a good opportunity for us to continue to make some progress and be ready to go here in a couple of weeks. I think we're moving along. It's good to get out there and have a good, competitive night.

(on the decision to not play Brian Hoyer and give all of the second team reps to Jarrett Stidham)

BB: Yeah, we do what we think is best for the team, take a look at everybody. Brian's played a lot of football.

(on Gunner Olszewski's performance in the return game)

BB: Yeah, we'll take a look at it on film. Gunner's an aggressive kid. He's done a nice job of handling his roles in the kicking game and offensively. He's a very competitive kid.

(on the decision to not play Patrick Chung)

BB: Pat hasn't played the whole preseason.

(on Brandon King's condition)

BB: No.

(on players becoming injured during the preseason and how it effects who rests and who doesn't)

BB: We never want to see anyone get injured. Of course not.

(on reconsidering whether to play injured players in a game)

BB: I think we have to do what's best for the team. We have to prepare our team to play.

(on making Jake Bailey the punter over Ryan Allen)

BB: Yeah, I think we felt like it was time to make a decision so we made it.

(on what Jake Bailey has shown during his time with the team)

BB: He's done some different things for us. We feel like he was the better punter, and he also kicks off and he holds. We'll see how it goes.

(on the news about Patrick Chung)

BB: Yeah, I think we released a statement on that.

(on Ryan Izzo's performance during the game)

BB: Yeah, look, I can't keep track of every player out there, so we'll go back and look at the film. I think everybody's competing, everybody's getting better. Ryan's certainly done that. He's had much more of an opportunity to play this year because of his health, his good health. We'll just evaluate him along with everybody else.

(on the performance of the defense as a whole during the game)

BB: You know, I thought we played competitively. We still have a lot of things to work on. There's a lot of things we can improve on, so we'll just go back to work this week and just keep grinding away. We've got a long way to go. We're making progress.


Postgame Press Conference
Thursday, August 22, 2019

Q: At the start of the second quarter, on third-and-3, your Madden speed rating obviously showed up there. Take us through that play.

TB: Yeah, they played a zone defense, and I tried to work an underneath pass there to Jacoby and there was not much space. So, I usually don't get too many yards. So, third-and-short – I can usually make a couple of those. But, if I can make one of those a game, I think that'd be good for our team, if they're going to do that. But, there's a lot to do. I mean, I think there was a lot of good things. There was obviously a lot of things that we need to do to clean up – a lot of long-yardage situations, too many penalties. Yeah, we've got to get back to work.

Q: What are your overall thoughts on the offense, especially some of the younger receivers stepping into that role?

TB: Yeah, I think those guys are all working really hard. They've played a lot of football this preseason. You know, they really haven't had many veteran guys out there to show them the way, so they've just been kind of learning on the fly. But, I'm proud of the way they competed. We're just going to keep working together. We've got one more game to go, and then we'll see what happens after that. 

Q: On the skinny post to Jakobi Meyers on third down, is more of a learning process type of thing for him?

TB: Yeah, I think for all of us, you play with guys that are maybe new to the offense and so forth. Sometimes they think they're not part of the route, and then a team plays a certain coverage and they're part of the route. Early in the season, that's part of this time of year. We don't have the full week to prepare. We're kind of putting things together on the fly. Yeah, those are learning moments for all of us. Again, I think the most important part is to get in there, get to work, see what you need to do, see how you feel out there, real, live action, and then get back to work as quickly as you can and try to make some improvements. 

Q: I know you were itching to get out there the first two games and finally got some playing time tonight, but does your mentality change at all when you see your teammates go down with injuries? What's that like seeing guys get hurt and have to leave this game?

TB: Yeah, it's always hard to see, and we've had our fair share over a lot of years of watching these games, being a part of these games. Guys that you think are going to play a big role over the course of the year, and then in one play, it doesn't happen that way. So, it happens in the regular season, too. I mean, I think this is a contact sport and it's a physical sport and injuries are certainly a part of the game. Other guys are going to have to step in and fill big roles.

Q: You seemed to find Phillip Dorsett quite a bit tonight. Was that a matter of familiarity or of him getting open?

TB: Yeah, I think both. Phillip is a guy that I've played a lot of football with, and I have a lot of trust in – experience is a great thing in football if you use it well, and I think our experience together pays off. I read his body language. I think the great thing about Phil, he takes advantage of his opportunities. A lot of guys have been injured this preseason. Phil plays all three wide receiver positions, remembers all the coaching points from all the times we've talked about certain things. Even though he may not have done it, he goes in there and does it the way that Coach wants it done. I love playing with Phil. He's been a great contributor to our team, and he had a great night. 

Q: Regarding the Eric Reid hit on Ben Watson, not too long ago Rob Gronkowski received a one-game suspension on a similar play. Do you think Eric Reid should face a similar punishment for the hit tonight?

TB: I didn't even see the play. 

Q: What was the velocity on that throw that you delivered to Ryan Izzo?

TB: I had a little heat. I had a little heat on that. It's nice when you can be decisive and make a good, decisive throw. So, for me, anticipation and decisiveness are so important. That comes from experience and trust. So, when guys are in those spots, you feel like you can cut it loose because you have all the decisiveness to do that. So, that was a good throw, and I've got to make a lot of those this year. That's what I've been working hard to do, and the team expects me to make all the throws that are there. That was a good play. Ryan made a great catch. 

Q: You got to play behind Isaiah Wynn a little bit tonight. What have you seen since he's come back and do you have faith that he can protect your left side yet?

TB: Yeah, I think he's taken advantage of his opportunity. I think everyone expects him to be a high performer for our team. He's getting opportunities and he's going to have to take advantage of them. You know, nobody's out there playing perfect tonight. I'm sure we've all got a long way to go – he does, I do – but we've got to get out there and practice and get a lot of guys back in there and find some rhythm. 

Q: Though you weren't on the field with Hjalte Froholdt tonight, can you talk about what you've seen from him since he joined the team?

TB: Absolutely. He's done a great job. You know, they're really well coached, that whole group of offensive linemen. Dante's [Scarnecchia] a very demanding coach. He's not, I would say, the easiest coach to play for. But Hjalte's done a great job. He's fighting and competing every day he's been out there – tough, durable. He's played a little center, played a little guard, and he's done a good job.

Q: To finish with the running play that we started with, how important is it for you to show that you still have the ability to keep plays alive with your footwork as you go into another season?

TB: Yeah, it's got to be, and I think those are important plays. To get a first-down conversion on me scrambling, I'm sure the defensive coordinator is like, 'What the heck? This is not – you know, we've got to stop [Julian] Edelman, we've got to stop [James] White, we've got to stop the run game, we've got to stop these great players.' And all of a sudden, Brady for a scramble. That's got to piss him off pretty good. So, I revel in that. Hopefully, I can do that once a game – I think I'd be good with that – and if they give me an opportunity, I'll take it. It's just, I don't think it would be much more than 4 or 5 yards.


Postgame Press Conference
Thursday, August 22, 2019

Q: What was your reaction to hearing the news of Patrick Chung's indictment?

DM: No, I don't have one. I'm like all of you guys. We'll see what happens.

Q: Talk about how the pass rush has looked after three games.

DM: Yeah, it was great. I think today we talked about getting off to a good start against a team that was very high-powered on offense. You talk about Cam Newton, [Christian] McCaffery, [Curtis] Samuels – all of those guys – [Greg] Olsen. They're very tough to stop once they get going, so I thought we did a good job of first stopping the run, and then getting a few good rushes in there to mix it up. We've got a lot of players out there that play good football, either here or other places, so it felt good for all of us to get out there and start to put it together.

Q: Can you think of an instance where you held the opposing offense on their own side of midfield for the first half?

DM: We might have, I'm not sure.

Q: You guys did that tonight. Have you guys ever felt that sort of dominance at this stage of the season?

DM: I'm not sure, I don't remember. It might have. It all kind of scrambles together. But, I think that we took the right mentality. The one thing that we want to improve is getting turnovers. That's something that we know we need to do during the season to just make it easier on ourselves. One thing walking away, even though it was a good first half and really overall a good game defensively, is just trying to take the ball away. It'd be a big difference for us on defense.

Q: From your experience with the new pass interference rule, do you guys have any idea how this is going to go, or is it just a cross-your-fingers moment?

DM: Not really. So far, I've liked that they're not trying to watch it in slow-motion and call if your pinkie touches the receiver a second early. We all know when things are in slow-motion, it just looks totally different. We got two today, two from looking at it looked like two good defensive plays, and it stood. Hopefully, but I think that's one of those rules that you're going to have to see how it goes really game-by-game. Just seeing some of them throughout the league in the preseason so far I've thought were obvious and have been changed, so I feel like you really never know week-to-week.

Q: Have the referees done a good job of giving players examples of what they're looking for on the new rule changes?

DM: I'm never a fan of those meetings. I feel like they go however we ask the question, and then once we get in the season you might as well throw that whole meeting away. So Bill always says it the best; week-by-week. We have to go how the game is being called, and we have to adjust to it.

Q: Is it players' performance in preseason games or their performance in practice that earns them a roster spot?

DM: Yeah, it's all of that. From my time being here, it's practice then we go on the road two weeks in a row, you get some joint practices in there and then the games. Overall, as a player I think you just have to keep getting better, keep improving. Each guy will be in different situations, but I think Bill even told us this week, "Overall, each guy on the roster has to improve." Day-by-day, week-by-week, game-by-game, you just have to improve. It's a tough time for everybody. Coach [Bill Belichick] is just trying to evaluate everybody. I just try to tell all the young guys, "At the end of the day, just try and play your best football. Have fun out there. Do that, and I think you can feel good leaving a situation." But, it's every day. You can't just focus on the games because then you don't get better in practice or your game. So I think it's day-by-day, just taking whatever that is. If it's a practice, if it's a walkthrough, just doing whatever you can to show the coaches that you know what you're doing and that you're going to play hard.

Q: What are your impressions of Terrence Brooks?

DM: Just a veteran guy that's come in and tried to learn everything. I think for him, in the spring he had gotten the chance to be out there with numerous guys, so each time he's in with a different guy, he has to play a different role. I think that's given him the opportunity to be well-balanced and be well-versed in multiple roles in our defense. You guys know that we've got guys like my brother [Jason McCourty] that plays in the box sometimes, plays corner, plays nickel. So the more guys can do, and I think that T. Brooks has definitely fit that role. I think being a special teams player probably helps. He's able to do a bunch of different things, he knows a lot of roles on special teams as well. So I think he's done a good job during camp, just for one, being a veteran, bringing that type of leadership and then being able to be versatile.

Q: Through the first sessions of joint practice through tonight, are you getting an idea of how special this defense could be if you guys are all playing well and communicating?

DM: Yeah, but I'm probably the bad guy to ask. I feel like that every year. But like I said earlier, we've got a lot of good players here and it's about putting it together. I think one of the best things about going away for two weeks is you get to spend a lot of time together in the hotel, after meetings, eating, hanging out. As a group, the better you know somebody, the better your relationship is. I think you put more pressure on yourself to be accountable to that person, to know your stuff, to play for that person. So I think we've been really building as a defense and as a team overall, so it feels good when you put in all of the work during the week and you come out and have a good performance. But as you know, in this league it's a week-by-week thing that you've got to put that work in each week to have those results that you want.

Q: Did you feel that this game was as physical as a regular season game?

DM: Yeah, and we knew that. This is probably the fourth or fifth time we've played against Carolina since I've been here in the preseason, and then you count the regular season. They're a physical football team – downhill, they want to run, offensive lineman, big guys. So we knew that was the type of game it was going to be, and those are always good challenges. Last week going to Tennessee, they're a downhill, want to run the ball team, two tight ends. So we got a little bit of that here tonight, and I think that's a good challenge for us to try to play different teams and different styles, and I think that helps us prepare for the regular season.


Michael Bennett, DL

(On his role in this system as opposed to other systems)

"Same, just trying to get to the quarterback as fast as I can. Just trying to beat the man in front of you that is all it comes down to."

(On formation looks)

"It still comes down to execution. We can confuse them, but it comes down to just how well we can execute in pressure situations."

(On preseason success)

"Preseason is just figuring how to execute as a group and new players, that's what you really want to see how guys come in and execute. I think the real test is the regular season because the competition level jumps up tremendously. That's what you play for on Sunday when the games are for real; the money is on the line, when the game is on the line the competition ramps up to a high level."

Adam Butler, DL

(On feeding off of the defensive momentum)

"We have to. It's a long season and there's nobody else in this world that's going to give us any energy, so we have to give ourselves our own energy."

(On his sack)

"It was just effort. I got back up and everyone else did their job. If somebody didn't do their job, that wouldn't have happened. The credit goes to the [guys in the back end], because if the running back gets open, [the sack] doesn't happen."

Phillip Dorsett, WR

(On catching the ball)

"It is my job and something that I take pride in. I work hard every day in practice and I am always working on my hands or working on my routes so whenever the ball comes I just do my best to catch it."

(On the preseason)

"Every game and every practice is an opportunity to go out there and be who you are and put your best foot forward. I wake up every day trying to get better. I am always working on my weaknesses and my strengths and that is what I look forward to when I wake up."

(On confidence going into new season)

"I would say I am definitely feeling a lot more comfortable but I think that comes with studying the playbook each day and practicing. Offense continuously evolves and there will always be something to chase in front of me."

(On importance of trust with Tom Brady)

"It is definitely important to build that trust. If the quarterback trusts the receiver then he knows where you will be and can just throw the ball without even thinking. Every day I go out there and continue to build that trust, think like him and be who he wants me to be."

Duron Harmon, DB

(On the defense)

"Obviously we have a talented group, a group with a lot of depth, and a group that still has to continue to grow and play together. We know that we have a lot of talent and depth on this team. It really comes down to working hard each and every day, creating a brotherhood, just going out there and playing good football each and every week and being consistent."

(On the team's positive performance this preseason)

"We know that it's a step in the right direction. We know that at the end of the day that these games don't count for nothing more than just opportunity to get better and continuing to grow as a group. We like where we are at and we like where we are heading. We have to continue to work and never get complacent. We just have to continue to keep grinding."

Ryan Izzo, TE

(On how big last year was being in the system)

"It was huge being able to stay here and stay up on the meetings and get a year in the weight room, it's been a real help."

(On his 18 yard reception)

"It felt great. Tom [Brady] throws a great ball. I was just happy I was able to make the play."

(On the run game and blocking)

"It felt good. You know you always have to go back and look at film, but you know, right now I'm happy about it. But, still got film to watch tomorrow."

(On his opportunity with the team)

"The opportunity is always there if they put me out there. You know if it's run game, pass game again or special teams, I just want to make the most of those opportunities."

Jakobi Meyers, WR

(On playing with Tom Brady)

"Tom has played for a long time so when he wants to sit down and talk, you sit down and talk with an open ear. I am just trying to listen to everything he says, soak it up and get better."

(On his performance today)

"All I can do is learn from tape and get better. I was not completely satisfied with it but I am happy I was able to push through."

(On difference between college football and the NFL)

"It is definitely a change of pace, it isn't college anymore. They get paid to play the game and so I have to pick up my game so I can give the rest of the team my best every day."

Sony Michel, RB

(On his feeling after today's game)

"Every day is a process and a day to get better. Today was one of those days and it helps with confidence and looking into what we all need to improve on."

(On the team's performance tonight)

"There are a lot of areas that we can improve on as a team. Yes, we want to minimize penalties but it is all apart of a process."

(On his relationship with the rookies as a second year player)

"Be a positive influence, it is their first time playing and first time really getting to play some NFL football. It comes down to being a positive impact and feeding off of one another."

Jarrett Stidham, QB

(On the level of competition this preseason)

"Whenever you're playing, the level is going to be high. These guys are professionals for a reason and I thought that there's a lot of things that we can do better. I know there's a ton of stuff that I can do better. I'm really looking forward to watching the film tomorrow and learning."

(On his performance this preseason)

"I think there's a lot of room for improvement. This is the third game and I'm really looking forward to getting better and continuing to learn from Josh [McDaniels], Mick [Lombardi], Tom [Brady] and Brian [Hoyer]. I'm just taking it in as much as possible and I'm just learning. I think there's a ton of room for improvement."

(On his connection with Jakobi Meyers)

"It's been great. He's a heck of a person and heck of a player. He's been doing a great job. My job is really easy when I can just get the ball in his hands, let him do his thing and let him make the plays."

(On the coaching that he has received this season)

"It's taken a lot of hard work. With the coaching staff, especially with Josh [McDaniels] and Mick [Lombardi], I've been learning a ton from those guys. Whether they are talking to me or not talking me in a meeting, I'm just trying to take in every single word that they say. That's been my biggest thing and I think that it's been going good. I just want to continue to learn as much as possible. That's my biggest thing right now."

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