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Replay: Best of Patriots.com Radio Thu Apr 18 - 02:00 PM | Tue Apr 23 - 11:55 AM

New England Patriots Postgame Quotes 9/10

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and select players comment on their game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, September 10, 2023.

HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK

POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE

SEPTEMBER 10, 2023

BB: Obviously a disappointing finish here today. We had our chances today. Got off to a slow start. Made it competitive, but just couldn't make enough plays here, or the ones we needed to make. So go back to work here, try to correct some of the things that we obviously need to do better and just move on from there.

Q: Can you just speak to how you thought Christian Gonzalez did in his debut tonight?

BB: We'll take a look at the film on everybody. I'm sure everybody had some good plays and had some plays they would like to have back. That was probably the same for every player and coach that participated in the game.

Q: Bill, I believe career high pass attempts for Mac Jones tonight. What did his performance and the success of the passing game show you in terms of confidence in his ability to lead the offense and be someone who can carry the offense in the passing game?

BB: We have confidence in all our players and confidence in everything we do. Running game, passing game, special teams, defense, we have confidence in all of them.

Q: Early fourth quarter, fourth and three from the 17. You opt to go for it instead of kicking the field goal. What went into that decision?

BB: I felt like it was the best decision for the team.

Q: In hindsight do you wish you had kicked more field goals in this one?

BB: Made the best decision we could at the time. Didn't know we would be down there multiple times. Six minutes to go in the game. I don't know. If we had kicked it, I'm sure you would be asking why didn't we go for it.

Q: You guys dug yourself a hole tonight, but then you were able to get out of it pretty much, and your team came back. What did you learn about your team and their ability to try to come back tonight, obviously falling a little bit short?

BB: That we didn't play good enough to win. Did enough things to make it competitive, but not enough to win. Got to coach better. Got to play better.

Q: Down two starting offensive linemen, one of the best pass rushers in the NFL, and Mac Jones did not get sacked until the final three minutes of the game. How do you evaluate how the offensive line played overall today?

BB: Again, I think overall we played competitively. We had some good plays, and then we had a couple of plays that, you know, could have been better obviously. A couple of holding penalties. We had some key penalties and obviously the turnovers, so just need to do a better job.

Q: Bill, what's your upshot on offensive execution in the game, and what do you not like about what you saw?

BB: And what? Sorry.

Q: Offensive execution in the game, upshot on what you saw.

BB: A lot of things we need to work on, do better, be more consistent.

Q: It seemed like offensively some things came into place in the second quarter. What did you see that allowed the offense to have more success in that second quarter?

BB: Just better execution, better timing.

Q: Bill, the hit that Jabrill Peppers landed to get you guys the ball back at the end of the game, what did you think of that play?

BB: A great contact play. Pep is an explosive player. You know, it was a great hit. Ball popped right out. Really just great tackle. I thought for the most part we tackled pretty well tonight, but I mean, always room for improvement.

Q: Bill, it seemed early on a pretty conservative offensive approach. Also, in time with the weather being at its harshest. Did the rain and the conditions affect the way the offense was called early on? It appeared to push the ball more downfield.

BB: I don't think so. I mean, you are right. We didn't launch a lot of deep balls. There weren't a lot of those anyway. Yeah, it was a little bit of a factor early in the game, yeah.

Q: Kendrick Bourne seemed almost to be a lifeline for Mac Jones tonight. Two huge touchdowns. Is bringing him back into the fold more and more something that you're looking to do this season?

BB: I thought all of our skill players were productive. So I thought all the receivers, the tight ends, backs, Ty [Montgomery II]. Good production from all those guys.

Q: What did you see from Christian Gonzalez tonight?

BB: That was asked earlier.

Q: My apologies.

BB: No worries.

Q: Bill, Hurts averaged about 5.2 yards per attempt. Struggled to run the ball as well. Just the overall job that you did on him, I know gave up essentially a score because of the offense and another one after the turnover, so you had to be pretty pleased with that crew?

BB: Yeah. I mean, it was competitive. Some things we could have done better, but yeah, got a touchdown on a short field.

Q: Bill, on offensive fourth downs, did you have a question about that one?

BB: We hit some. We didn't hit some, so...

Q: You guys were 1 of 4, so I just wondered – it felt like you were facing long situations, and how did you guys feel like you executed in those?

BB: You go for it on fourth down, you need your best execution, so...

Q: I know you rotated the receivers throughout the game, and all those rotations are made in the best interest of the team. Specific to the last drive, Kayshon Boutte and Demario Douglas playing over JuJu Smith-Schuster. What was the thinking behind that move?

BB: Yeah, again we had different groups, different rotations, so we're good with whoever is in there.

QUARTERBACK MAC JONES

POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE

SEPTEMBER 10, 2023

Q: Mac, what do you think contributed to the slow start to this game, and how proud are you of the way you responded despite that slow start?

MJ: Yeah, I think just working through some things. I really didn't throw any good passes on the first drive, so definitely a slow start, and it starts with me. Just got to watch the tape and clean it up, but definitely felt like we fought hard. Rookies played really well. The offensive line played really well. The skill players played really well. So, definitely let the team down tonight. Couldn't score early, and we just fell behind because of me, and I put it on myself.

Q: The defense got you the ball a couple of times late in the game with the possibility of getting the ball in to go ahead. How would you sum up those two drives that you just weren't able to finish it off?

MJ: Yeah, not good by me. They gave me the ball twice to win the game, and I couldn't do it. I just got to go back and watch and see what I can do better, but as a quarterback, that hurts; right? You get a chance to win the game twice and can't do it. You just got to learn from it. You only get so many opportunities in the NFL to do that, and I felt like I definitely let the team down.

Q: Starting with the offensive line, played down two starters. How do you assess how the protection was and how those guys executed overall today?

MJ: Yeah, great. I think starting two rookies on the offensive line is tough, and they played really, really good all night. Didn't really feel the pressure at all against the best defensive line in the NFL. I felt like they did an amazing job. Couldn't thank them enough for the job they did tonight and just have to grow and continue on. Those will be some of the best guys we'll go against all year, but in the NFL everybody everyone is good; right?

So they know that. They're working hard. Everybody. David [Andrews] is doing a good job leading, and Trent [Brown] and some of the older guys. Been really proud of those guys, and definitely felt like I let them down a little bit at the end. I didn't play my best game so definitely just got to keep working.

Q: Then also to be in that two-score hole, what did it say to you about the team the way you responded as a whole?

MJ: I loved it. I think they kept fighting just play-by-play. Don't look at the scoreboard, and Coach Belichick did a great job explaining that to us. Just play each play for what it is and definitely had too many bad plays versus good plays for me. Just have to watch it and see what I can do better, but everybody around me played a great game, and just have to be better.

Q: Mac, we speak a lot about leadership. You yourself are hard on yourself. You just talked about it, and you could have come back in that fourth quarter. But down 16-0, that was the time that looked like any team could fold. Your team did not. What does it say about you and your growth here in this third year and being able to lead your team back in that way?

MJ: Yeah, I think the defense obviously played great, and special teams had some good returns and stuff so honestly just have to watch it and see what I can do better from a schematic standpoint. I felt like in the most critical times, I played my best so I just have to go back and look and see what I can do about either better. All you can do is learn. That's what you do as a good quarterback. You go back and learn. When it's the hardest, that's when you need to play your best. I definitely can do it. I know I can do it. I've done it before. Just have to be better, and definitely came back and had a chance to win the game a few times. Just felt like I let the defense down, and I'll have to live with that.

Q: Mac, the offense was stagnant to start, and then you had that run there. The touchdown drives in the second quarter added more of a vertical element to the offense at that point. What really settled you guys in and made you comfortable at that point?

MJ: Yeah, I think Coach O'Brien just doing his thing, calling the game how he knows how to call it. He did a great job preparing us all week. We knew what we were getting. It was just a slow start kind of, first game. But definitely wanted to have a better start. I felt like we did some good things, but it wasn't consistent enough. Definitely just him just keeping calm, just talking through with the offensive line and us and the quarterbacks and everybody. I felt like we had a good plan. Kind of like the game declared. We knew what they were kind of doing. So came up with some plays that we liked, and just need to execute a little better in those critical points.

Q: Mac, you're being hard on yourself. Question, though: In terms of things that you don't like what you did, was it a decision-making standpoint that you didn't like or just physical ability, something you didn't do physically in terms of not making the play?

MJ: I'll have to go look. I felt like there was definitely a couple of times when I probably didn't throw it to the right guy. Just have to watch the film, sometimes when you are out there, it's going fast. Just trying to stay neutral and don't go up and down, which I tried not to do tonight. Yeah, just have to watch it from a schematic standpoint. I do think I have the ability to make all the throws. It's not that. It's just doing it at the right time. Like you said, just trying to watch the film and make it work.

Q: How would you describe your relationship, your chemistry, or confidence in Kendrick [Bourne]? Obviously a big target tonight. Had the miscue early on where it seemed like the pass went off his hands, but no hesitation to keep going back to him. How confident are you with Kendrick to bounce back from that kind of stuff and when the game is in an important situation that he is going to make the play?

MJ: KB [Kendrick Bourne] is one of my closest friends, and I know that he is going to run as hard as he can on every play and fight for the ball, and our receivers have been doing that very well. That one I threw too high, and the rain was -- that's going to happen. It was a bad throw. Yeah, he kept fighting, and I know that about KB. We've kind of been in these situations far too often where we're behind, and I know that's my go-to guy and the other guys, too, they were all open at some point in the game, and we just have to hit them, and sometimes we did, and the line gave us great time all night, so that was never an issue.

Q: Mac, what was your reaction to watching Jabrill [Peppers] lay that hit on Jalen [Hurts] and getting the ball back for you guys, another chance to go?

MJ: That was a great play. Pep [Jabrill Peppers], he is the man. He told me to go win it, and we couldn't, and that hurts me. They gave me back the ball to win it multiple times, and Pep always brings that energy to practice, and it feeds through the team. He is going to continue to make those plays, and we talked in the locker room, and I feel like we're on the same page. Just got to do better on my part, you know. When the defense holds the best offense to that few points and gets the ball back, just got to be better.

Q: Mac, the old saying in the NFL, "you have to learn how not to lose," you guys played well on offense today, but there were just a couple of mistakes kind of sprinkled throughout the game. Is it getting frustrating kind of learning these lessons in losses, I guess?

MJ: Not really. I think -- I mean, it's hard; right? You are trying to win every game, but you have to learn. If you don't learn, you'll never end up winning. I do think that losing is not fun. Never has been. Never will be. But just trying to move forward. If we score a few more points on offense, that would be a different story. So we're not far off, it's just trying to just do better.

Q: Mac, it seemed like the offense started gaining momentum when you were using bunch and stack formations to create some miscommunication. Why was that something you thought would be an advantage heading into this matchup?

MJ: Yeah, that's a great question. I think really with the defense and all the coverages that they play, it felt like we needed to do that and spread out the formations and also bring them in tight. I'm not really picky about it, I just want the play to come in fast, which it did, and then get up there and execute. I felt like our tempo was good. When we use the tempo plays, you have to make the tempo plays work or else there's no point in running the tempo plays. We had a few out of bunch. We had a few out of stacks and stuff like that. But, yeah, that's a really good question.

Q: Can you speak to what you have seen from Hunter Henry and what your relationship is like with him?

MJ: Yeah, Hunter is awesome. Him, Mike [Gesicki], Pharaoh [Brown], everybody, Matt Sokol. They have a great room over there. Really proud of those guys and the way they had a good camp and carried it over to the game. He is definitely a great teammate, just always positive, and I'm just disappointed that I let him down. We couldn't score there at the end. We're going to keep working. Hunter is real positive. Mike is real positive. They've played a lot of football in this league, and I can definitely lean on them as some of the veteran leaders.

David Andrews, C

(On how the offensive line played)

"Yeah I mean, look, you've got to be your best at the most crucial moments. Penalties, different things throughout the game – you know, clean up. But we have to be better. That's kind of on us. Hats off to them, they're a really good football team, really good football team. But it's hard to beat a good football team when you're trying to beat yourself, and we did a little bit of that."

(On what he learned about the team today)

"Yeah, look, there's no moral victories. There's really no moral victories in life or anything like that. Really, you've got to execute at your best against a good football team when it counts the most, and that's what it comes down to. That's how you win close football games against good teams; it means you've got to do that, and we've just got to do better at that. Like I said, we had penalties the first few drives. I don't know when it was, but we were going toward the Optum Club, and we had two penalties on that drive getting into the red zone, Rhamondre's [Stevenson] big run, different things like that and then some crucial ones late. So, clean those up, and the game looks a lot different. But that's part of it."

(On Atonio Mafi and Sidy Sow's play as two rookies)

"I think the last time, I guess, that would have happened was 2016 with [Joe] Thuney and [Ted] Karras and then maybe me and Shaq [Mason] in 2015. I thought they did a good job. They got a lot of reps all summer, I think that helped them. You've got to learn the hard way, right? So, you learn by going out there – we all do, right? By taking our licks and bumps, getting beat and things like that. So they'll have a lot to clean up, we'll all have a lot to clean up from this game. I'm proud of the way they competed, the way they answered against a really good defensive football team and arguably one of the best fronts in football. But, like I said, we've just got to be better when it counts."

(On getting the team focused as a leader)

"I mean, that 16 points, a lot of that was on us. Pick-6 – what, did they get a field goal off of the other fumble? It was a touchdown, sorry. So, now you're saying 14 points that we kind of accounted for. So yeah, we knew we had a chance. We knew we had to just clean it up, and I think the big thing is, 'Next play.' You've got to have that next play mentality. You can't sit there and dwell on the past – good, bad or indifferent. The defense played their ass off, special teams played really well I thought. We've just got to clean up some opportunities that we have offensively, and we'll do that tomorrow morning.

(On Tom Brady coming back)

"I've got a lot of memories with Tom. He means a lot to me. He taught me a lot about this league, and I credit a lot of my success to him because he pushed me a lot. He was really hard on me my first few months here, my first few years. He taught me a lot about the game, a lot about what it looks like to be a champion. So, I'll always appreciate that. He was a great friend; he was always great to me, my wife, anyone."

Ja'Whaun Bentley, LB

(On the mindset of the team after going down early)

"Our main thing was just playing a full 60 minutes. We knew there was going to be some ups and downs in the game, but we just had to make sure we played the whole 60 minutes and then look up at the scoreboard when it came down to the fourth quarter and situational football. I thought we did a good job of that. We had our chances but shout out to Philly [Philadelphia], they did a good job today."

(On how he felt the team did defending Jalen Hurts)

"I thought at the beginning of the game, they came up with a good scheme, as far as different quarterback runs and things like that. I thought we did a good job of correcting some things and coming to the sideline, making adjustments, and then coming back onto the field and making some stops in some big-time situations. I thought we made the sideline adjustments very well."

(On Christian Gonzalez's preparation and play on the field)

"Attention to detail. I would say that was the thing across the board, especially when you get down to the nitty gritty of the game, when it comes to two-minute situations and fourth downs, the situational football. Him as well as Te [Marte Mapu] when he was in the game, just having attention to detail and kind of knowing what we're trying to get done and what Philly wants to do, just doing well in those situations, I thought he did a solid job today."

(On how much pride the defense can take away with the stops and turnovers)

"I would say as the game comes down to it, especially in the fourth quarter, it's real key that we are all just doing our job. There's no secret potion to it. It just comes down to everybody being on the same page, understanding the situation that we're in, as far as third down or fourth down, and just recognizing what Philly gave to us. I thought we did a solid job of that. Obviously, you want to come out with the win, but I thought we put ourselves in a great position."

(On how the crowd and weather played a role in making a late push)

"I thought our fans did a great job. I think Tom [Brady]'s celebration party helped us out with that. I thought the atmosphere was great, so shout out to our fans for that. As far as the rain is concerned, here in Foxborough we practice in all of it. So, none of that weather stuff really matters to us. We've practiced in the rain a few times already. So, we kind of just took that approach, whatever it is, it is and that's in Bill's [Belichick] voice. We just go out there and try to adapt to it, put on the right shoes and all that stuff. I thought we responded well."

(On evaluating the defense as a whole)

"As a defense, we don't do any moral victories around here. We always look to come out with the win. We had our chances to make some plays, and in some instances we made them and in some instances we came up short. So, now we just have to go look at the film, make the corrections and come back next week ready to go. Like I said, we always look to end up on the upside of everything. So, shout out to Philly, they played a solid game today."

Hunter Henry, TE

(On what he learned from the team today that he didn't know before)

"I'll say this, I loved the way that we fought as a full team. It obviously didn't start the way we wanted it to start, at all, but for no one for back down, and continue to compete play after play after play. I mean, that's a great football team over there; it really is. You know, they beat us today, but I was proud of the way that we competed and just continued to fight. We didn't come out with the result that we wanted, but I was proud of that fight."

(On his one-handed catch on fourth down)

"That's a play that we've run a lot. Me and Mac [Jones] have had a lot of repetition on that, and it was a moment that we needed a big play and I was able to execute that in a good way. I mean, Mac threw a good ball, and I got hung up a little bit by the linebacker coming over, so that kind of slowed me out of the break. He thought I was coming out a little bit faster, but I was able to make a big play in a big moment."

(On what he saw from Mac Jones tonight)

"I'll just say this about Mac, man. I'll go to battle with number 10 any day of the week. I love competing with that guy every single day, and I'll go to war with him wherever it is, man – conditions cold, rainy, beautiful day, a hot day, whatever it is. The dude's a competitor, and it's fun to go out there and play with a guy like that.

(On if the offense felt different than last year)

"Yeah, I mean, it was good. When we were rolling, we were rolling. We just had to get things going. Conditions were tough, like I talked about, but you've just got to forget all of that. We kind of just dipped our toe in the water too early, and you can't do that against a good football team. You can't do that in this league at all, really. It just wasn't good enough. We put ourselves behind the 8-ball. We were just playing from behind for way too long, and we can't do that."

(On the message from the captains to the team while behind in the game)

"When you're in that moment, you just take it play by play. We had so much time ahead of us. We got down – you blinked, and we got down 16-0. It's obviously not how we wanted to start the season; that wasn't our plan at all. We got smacked in the face really early. But, it was just 'execute each play at the highest level that you can. Even if you get beat, just shake it off and go to the next play.' I feel like to end the first half like that, we've got a resilient bunch, for sure. We could've tucked it in and let them kind of run all over us, but we didn't. Obviously, we didn't come out in the second half very well and execute. We've got to be better there, but I loved the fight and excited to continue to get better with this group.

Matthew Judon, LB

(On the plan against Jalen Hurts)

"I believe that we just know what our defense can do. We know how we can move pieces. Everybody's interchangeable. Just making him have to read our defense. We're not trying to let him or any other offense dictate the game. We're trying to dictate the game; we're trying to be aggressive. So, we're moving, we're dropping in and out of different coverages; we're not just sitting in one coverage. We're not sitting in Cover 1; they have great wide receivers we had to get our hands on and just mix up the look for them."

(On the performance of rookies Christian Gonzalez, Marte Mapu, Keion White)

"It's a, 'Welcome to the NFL.' We knew when we drafted them, when we got them in here and actually put pads on that they were really good players. I think for Gonzo [Christian Gonzalez] to go out there and play the way he played, for Keion to get in and play how physical he played, Marte was in the game, him making plays just kind of all over the field. I don't really know Marte's background too much; I watched highlights and stuff, things like that. But, for him to be able to play linebacker, safety and outside linebacker, that's kind of unbelievable. As a rookie, those three guys had a lot of big plays. They handled it tonight exceptionally. They went out there and played their butts off.

(On Jabrill Peppers' forced fumble)

"Jabrill hit him. Jabrill walks around the weight room and the locker room shadowboxing, so we know he's a physical guy. You're going to hear him regardless. Last year, it was unfortunate that we couldn't get him on the field as much. Last year, we were kind of in the same situation and he told me, 'Go out there and make a play.' Today, I told him that, and in the first down, he got us the ball back. That's what we needed, and I think we're going to see a lot more of those type of plays: big hits, big spot. It was just a good play by a great player.

(On what he learned about the team tonight...)

"I didn't learn anything I didn't already know. That's for y'all. Y'all learn what we have in this locker room. Y'all learn what it's going to look like on Sundays or whenever we play. That's what y'all learn. We didn't learn anything new tonight."

PLAYERS IN THE LOCKER ROOM

Mike Gesicki, TE

(On confidence going forward after a loss)

"I think the cliché thing that everybody is going to say is we're not here for moral victories, but at the end of the day, when we were on, it felt good and guys were clicking and offense looked good, defense played lights out. They were unbelievable so we have to tip our hat to them and have to help them out."

(On how his first game as a New England Patriot went)

"It was great. Gillette Stadium was rocking exactly how I anticipated it. It was awesome and just wish we could have finished it off with a win."

(On if there was confidence in the final huddle that they were going to close the deal with a win)

"Yes, absolutely. There is a lot of confidence on our sideline, both offensively and defensively and in the kicking game. Unfortunately, offensively we couldn't finish it the way we wanted it there in the fourth quarter and go score that last touchdown. That would have put us ahead but there is a lot of stuff for us to learn from."

(On what it says about Mac Jones that he was able to put those first drives behind him)

"Mac played great all day. He was locked in and was putting the ball where it had to go. I love having 10 back there as our leader. He was locked in all day from the first down."

(On what he heard about Tom Brady's leadership as a New England Patriot)

"I mean obviously his resume speaks for itself. Obviously, the success he had but also the way people talk about him in terms of leadership. I wasn't here when he was here, but you just know what kind of guy that is and how he leads and how guys follow so it was a great day for him to celebrate and he deserves it."

(On what changed in the second quarter when the offense started to find its rhythm)

"When I'm out there, I'm just trying to have fun and enjoy myself so at that point we were kind of flat and picked up the first down so we had a right to be excited and I think we ended up scoring on that drive but it was the start of us getting rolling and if I have to be the energy guy, I'll do it."

Jalen Mills, DB

(On challenging Jalen Hurts)

"Our D-line did a good job. Also on the back end in coverage as well, mixing up our looks, mixing up our disguises, and just trying to make plays on the ball. That's the kind of stuff we pride ourselves on, our versatility in the back end and in the linebacker group as well."

(On giving the offense opportunities in the fourth quarter)

"It's definitely a good feeling, but at the end of the day, there are no moral victories. Us as a defense, us as an offense, us as a special teams, we all know that, at the end of the day, it's about getting a win."

(On rookie teammate Christian Gonzalez's performance)

"He played really well. Everything is always a learning experience, whether you play good or bad. But Gonzo, he is a guy who comes in, puts his hard hat on every day, and works hard, so to see him out there and play well, that's good for him."

Adrian Phillips, DB

(On challenging Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts and improving on defense)

"We mixed up the looks and took advantage of the plays to get them to second-and-long and third-and-long. When they did the quarterback run, it was a couple of times that he started running through us, so we have to be better on those. But I thought overall, we did a good job knocking [Hurts] off track. I think where we have to be better is at the beginning of the game and coming out of halftime. They had those two drives that ended up in field goals, but at the same time, those are points and those are tone-setting drives, and we have to be able to win those."

(On eliminating explosive plays)

"We disguised with our safeties and made sure we were deep enough. We know that they like the 50-50 balls, they like to throw it up to [A.J.] Brown, they like to throw it up to 16 (Quez Watkins) and 6 (DeVonta Smith). We just made sure that our rush had to get there, [Hurts] couldn't have time to sit back there and we were always showing high with our safeties to discourage that. On top of that, they had a little different gameplan than what we expected of last year, when they did have those big shots, a lot of deep balls, a lot of seams. They didn't run that many today so it's two-fold, we did a good job disguising and they had a different gameplan than what they showed last year."

(On sensing when Jalen Hurts was affected by the defense)

"Ultimately, our defense is very multiple, and we do a lot of different things. What you see on film might not be what you do, and I think that's hard for a quarterback. When you have as many safeties and linebackers as we do, that are able to play many different positions and roles, it makes it difficult on a quarterback."

(On the presence of rookies on defense)

"It's more of a calming effect, we know that when this guy's out there, he's going to make a play. Gonzo (Christian Gonzalez) almost had a pick today, he had a couple great tackles. Keion [White] doing what he did up front. Te (Marte Mapu), he's 'see ball, get ball,' he's going to get to the ball. Just knowing that they're out there, we've seen it in practice, so we already trusted them. Then, when we get into the games, it's kind of a calming effect. They get their first hit out of the way, their little 'Welcome to the NFL,' then it's just time to play ball. Those guys are ballers, so I'm not surprised."

Kendrick Bourne, WR

(On how he stayed locked in during the game)

"Just keep playing. I think our team did a good job, just kept playing. Weather conditions, Bill [Belichick] does a good job coaching us in different situations. Rain, making the balls wet at practice and stuff. I feel like we did okay in it but could have been better. But just staying focused and kept playing."

(On the how the game started after the first half)

"I don't remember exactly when, but I remember feeling it. Getting that first touchdown drive, that's when it was like 'okay we're in the game.' Our defense played great, just got to play complimentary football. Offense matching the defense. Vice versa. Doing better in that area."

(On how to stay focused on the night of Brady's return)

"Just an honor to be part of a team that he's a part of. It's cool to see him come back and say some words. Just playing in front of him, I think we did a good job. Fun game, exciting game, very entertaining."

(On if the team is encouraged by how they played offensively)

"We definitely feel like we can play with any team. Just keep improving every day. Not feeling like we've arrived, just feeling like we are playing our game, playing within the scheme, making the plays when they come. I think that will make us better."

(On how the offense can improve)

"Just making the plays. Executing. I think it comes down to that as a group, from everybody. Making the play work. It's a big down. It's cool that we're going for it on the fourth down, it shows our confidence. I think it puts pressure on other teams, like you guys are confident that they'll get it. I think we'll do better in the next situations."

Jabrill Peppers, DB

(On his hit on Jalen Hurts that forced a fumble)

"There wasn't much time left, so we knew that when they were empty they like the QB draw. He's a cut back kind of runner. I just took my leverage and tried to put my face mask on the ball. Get the ball out."

(On giving the team a chance to come back)

"It always means a lot when you can do something to help the team win. I pride myself on being an aggressive guy. I try to be as controlled aggressive as I can and do whatever I can to help the team win."

(On the challenge the Eagles present the team with)

"We're always up for the challenge. Everybody knows if you're out there, you're capable. We expect you to do your job, the standard. We all know the standard. I think we played pretty close to it, but it wasn't good enough to win, so you have to do better."

Christian Gonzalez, CB

(On if his first sack felt like a 'Welcome to the NFL" moment)

"I mean it was cool, but I was never out there for a 'me' moment. It's kind of a team. We're a team, so you know we never want to take one play and celebrate as 'you.' There's a whole scheme that went into it and a defense that led to me being able to get that play."

(On the difference between preseason and regular season games)

"Speed of the game, tempo of the game. Atmosphere, the atmosphere out there was great. Came out, showed out, so it was real fun."

(On going against AJ Brown)

"They're great receivers. Everybody in the league are great receivers. It's my job to come out and try to do what I do, play what the defense needs me to do, have fun and learn."

(On having earned the team's trust as a rookie)

"It means a lot. There's still so much we've got to gain. Just being here, ever since the spring, preseason, all that. Them knowing we can go out there and do it, and going out there and proving it, just trying to learn day in and day out."

(On if he feels that he has proven he is a physical player)

"I'm not really out to prove anything wrong, like I was talking about earlier, just a team game. Going out there and doing what the defense needs me to do, what the coaches ask me to do, come in and learn from it. The big thing is learning from it and there's so much I can learn from today."

Calvin Anderson, OL

(On the team's comeback)

"It's a testament to the guys we have on the squad. We never believe we're out of a game. None of us believe in moral victories. I love the way guys fought back. We have to regroup and get ready for next week".

(On how the offensive line competed against one of the best defensive lines in the league)

"Credit to them. They are obviously a really talented group. I love the way our guys collected together. We have some really tough minded guys up front and it starts with DA (David Andrews). We've got a bunch of tough minded guys ready to get prepared for next week. I'm happy about that and we have to carry it forward."

(On building on a loss in a positive way)

"That's what makes a great player, is being able to learn from the losses opposed to getting down. The O-line is a special group, we all have to work cohesively and collectively. I think this is a group that can build off of that and we definitely did some good things, not enough to win. We have to tip the scale next week and do enough to win."

Rhamondre Stevenson, RB

(On Ezekiel Elliott's Patriots debut)

"He's been taking in a lot of information over these last couple weeks to a month. Proud of him. He played very hard, ran hard and he's looking to build off that."

(On the performance of the offensive line)

"Solid. We all need to progress. It's Week One so we all need to watch the film and see what we can do better."

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