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New England Patriots Postgame Quotes 9/17

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and select players comment on their game against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 17, 2023.



SEPTEMBER 17, 2023

BB: All right. Well, not too much to say after that one. You know, tough loss. But got to learn from it. And, you know, just keep working harder and move on. So there's really not too much to say.

Q: Bill, on the last play with Cole Strange, did you get a good view of the play and how close Cole came? And did you get an explanation from the officials on what they saw to be able to overturn the call?

BB: Yeah, you should talk to the officials. I'm sure they'll do a pool report on that.

Q: Bill, what can the team learn from this game?

BB: We learn from every game. We'll learn from all of them.

Q: Seems like the slow starts are – you know, well, two games, but both games slow starts. To what do you attribute that – the slow starts?

BB: Can't turn the ball over.

Q: Bill, what went into the decision to keep Demario Douglas off the field after his first quarter fumble?

BB: Yeah, we played all of our skill players. They all played.

Q: I don't think we saw him take another offensive snap after that play.

BB: Look, we had a lot of production on offense. [DeVante] Parker had a good day. [Mike] Gesicki had a good day. Hunter [Henry] had a good day, JuJu [Smith-Schuster], KB [Kendrick Bourne]. So, you know, a lot of good players. Can't play everybody.

Q: Bill, the Brenden Schooler blocked field goal was perfectly timed. Was that a designed thing? Did he come in from the sideline? Was he flexed out? Because the TV camera didn't show where exactly he came from.

BB: Yeah, he timed it up – timed it up and hit it well. Made a good play, made a really good play on it.

Q: Bill, was the plan to not use Demario Douglas after the first half on offense?

BB: He returned punts.

Q: Well, on offense –

BB: We played all of our – yeah, look, we could talk about this every week. And there will be somebody that played less than somebody else. We've got a lot of skilled players.

Q: That seemed real – he didn't get on offense after the fumble, though.

BB: Yeah, okay.

Q: Bill, it seemed defensively you guys sold out to kind of take away the deep pass and they didn't connect many deep ones. But underneath, how difficult was it controlling their speed with the underneath stuff tonight?

BB: Yeah, we could have done a better job on some of those. So, yeah, I mean, they hit a few of them. And it was possession passes.



SEPTEMBER 17, 2023

Q: Mac, for the second straight week, you guys had a chance to win the game on a last possession or tie the game on a last possession. Do you view that as a positive in terms of coming back and getting a chance to do it or as a negative that you didn't actually get it done?

MJ: Yeah, I think 90 percent of the games in the NFL go into the fourth quarter and a one-possession game. So just trying to learn and get better from that. And it just wasn't our day. Hasn't been our day for the last two weeks. So we've just got to learn from it and get better.

Q: Mac, we saw a lot of guys in the locker room, obviously, looking very defeated after this one, yourself included. I know it's only week two, but how do you kind of make sure this doesn't spiral into something more?

MJ: Yeah, I think about past experience and my rookie year when we didn't really start off too hot and then went on a really good winning streak. So, for me, that's all I can do, is look back on experiences I've already had in my life and hopefully the guys on the team can respond. Definitely got to play better and learn from it and, you know, be here early and leave late and do it together. I think that's the biggest thing. If a couple guys are doing it, it's not good enough, clearly. So we've got to put more into it and get more out of it.

Q: Mac, when Hunter was talking to David about close -- the word close kept coming up.

MJ: Yeah.

Q: How frustrating is it to be close but not break through and get that win?

MJ: Yeah, I think in the long run, it's going to help us at some point during the season or, you know, when we all play together. So I think, obviously, it sucks. But, really, when you're close, you just have to do more, I think. Weight room, film, practice. Like, everyone just has to do more. And hopefully if you do that, I mean, you know you did everything you could do, right? So at that point, some of it's out of your control. Some of it is luck, some of it's other things. But for us, just got to do more.

Q: Mac, what can you say about your defense, giving you guys opportunities when the offense is struggling to get things going?

MJ: Yeah, they're great. Our defense has continued to do a great job in the games. And we saw it firsthand in practice all offseason. So they've just got to keep doing their thing and we've got to figure it out on our side.

Q: Mac, the touchdown to [Hunter] Henry, is that, like, a designed play for him to release on the route or was that just kind of playground football at that point?

MJ: Just trying to make a play and he made a good play.

Q: Hey, Mac. What was your reaction to Demario [Douglas] not playing any offensive snaps after the fumble?

MJ: Yeah, I think Pop [Demario Douglas], obviously, a young player and just trying to keep him encouraged. Obviously, one of my close buddies. So it's going to happen. Young players, you know, there's going to be mistakes. But for him, it's a learning experience for all of us. And myself included with the interception. You can't have the turnovers. Got to work on it, address the situation, and then get better at it. So for him, you know, I told him, just keep your head up and, you know, just practice every day holding onto the ball, people hitting at it, things you can do to get better.

Q: Mac, you keep repeating everyone has to do more. Obviously, a result of the close losses. Was there anything during the week that you saw and thought, Okay, we could be doing more before the game?

MJ: No. I think once you have close games like this, it just keeps popping up. That's all I think about, how can we operate better in the crunch time? And it takes all 11 and starts with me. So got to be better on offense and we will this week.

Q: Mac, what did you see on the final fourth-down play going to Mike [Gesicki] on a pretty short route? And then following -- watching Cole [Strange] after the pitch, how close do you think he got on that play?

MJ: Yeah, I think the biggest thing is just go through my reads and execute the play. When it's fourth down, you know, everyone is trying to throw beyond the sticks. But we had two option routes on that play and just tried to make a play. But, yeah, just didn't go our way.

Q: Mac, I just wanted to ask you about the challenge of playing from behind. We focus a lot sometimes on those final drives. But you played from behind early in both games. Just overall, what's the challenge and is it different just with the challenge -- how hard is it, what you guys have done to yourselves?

MJ: Yeah, biggest thing is just we're close. We drove the ball pretty well, just didn't get it in. Last week, we were behind and kind of scored some touchdowns. You know, and if we can combine those two things, move the ball and then get it in the red zone, I think everyone would be smiling right now. So that's the biggest thing, just watch the tape and see how we can get it in, make it easier on the defense and special teams.

Q: Mac, what's the key to not letting this fester and just get worse from here?

MJ: Really, just stay positive and try and work together and find solutions to issues or problems. That's all you can do, is just come in each day, arrive early, leave late, and grind with each other.

Q: Mac, how can you guys get a little bit more maybe out of your down-the-field passing game? And how challenging has it been with maybe some of the moving pieces upfront with the offensive line?

MJ: Yeah, I thought it's tough, right? You got three new guys on the line. Those guys came in, played really hard. It's a tough front to go against. So sometimes it's a part of the game plan. Coach [Bill] O'Brien, obviously, wanted to throw it downfield, but you got to kind of take what the defense gives or -- you know, and things like that. So tough, tough day on the yard. But I definitely want to find ways to get it down the field more to help our defense.



SEPTEMBER 17, 2023

(On the offensive line's challenges)

"Look, it's just part of it. It's part of this business. There's injuries, there's different types of injuries. Guys here a week, gone a week, things like that. It's just part of it. You've got to take advantage of your reps in practice; whatever you get, take advantage of every opportunity. I appreciate Cole [Strange]'s effort tonight coming back and really battling out there. It's part of it; there's other teams in the league that have injuries. It's a physical game and you've just got to battle, you've got to play. Whoever's shot you've got or whoever is out there, me included, we've got to be at our best every Sunday. You only get 17 of them."

(On the message to the locker room)

"We've got to have better discipline all around. We just couldn't finish. We can't beat ourselves: turnovers again, penalties in crucial moments. We've just got to do a better job when it matters the most and stop playing from behind. It's two weeks in a row playing from behind. It's hard to play catchup in this league when you're playing good teams, good defenses. It's not how you want to play the game, playing from behind. It's hard, very hard."

(On the team)

"We've all got to play better. It's a team game. I appreciate everyone's effort and things like that, but it's not good enough. We've all got to be better. We've all got to strive for perfection. Perfection is an endless chase and you never catch it, but you've got to strive for it each week. We're not doing that right now. We're not doing it consistently enough. We've just got to be better, and it starts with us. The things we can control, we've got to control those and stop beating ourselves." 

(On helping the team believe it can come from behind)

"I don't think the belief is the problem, to be honest with you. I think you look at that the last two weeks, right, we didn't lay down and quit. But belief only takes you so far. You've got to do it at some point, right? It's more about execution than belief. I think the belief and the faith in each other, in the team, I don't think that's a problem. When you look at that, we could've laid down and quit when we down there by two scores. We didn't. We kept moving, kept battling, put ourselves in a chance to win right there at the end. But I think it's more of execution than it is belief."



SEPTEMBER 17, 2023

(On his message to the team)

"We need to be a lot more disciplined. We've lost two weeks in a row, two close games. We fought back and had a chance there. We're putting ourselves in positions too early in games by turning the ball over both on their side of the field. Two big turnovers, and that's big. Going against an offense like that, it's tough. We're putting our defense behind the eight ball, and we've got to be a better offense than that."

(On being close but still 0-2)

"It's very frustrating because you put a lot of work into this. This is the NFL, man. You play a lot of close games, you work and all that. There's so many plays. Obviously, you look at the plays at the end of the game. Everybody likes to highlight those, and we need to be better at the end of the game for sure. But there's so many other plays that we need to be better within the game to not put ourselves into that position. So I think that's something we've got to focus on, is a fast start. I mean, we're moving the ball, but we're killing ourselves with the turnovers, penalties, stalling on drives and just certain situations where we could get points."

(On David Andrews talking about belief vs. execution)

"That's wise from a guy that's been here, played a lot of football and won a lot of games, too. He's seen a lot of success here, so I'll back him 100% on that. We need to be better execution-wise, discipline-wise and we all need to be better. I need to be better; there's a lot of plays that I need to be better on. I know everybody will look themselves in the mirror, and we've got a chance to do that this week. We'll just continue to keep grinding." 

(On Mac Jones)

"Steady Eddie, man. He doesn't get wavered. He just continues to operate. I love going out there and competing with him, and I know that he will continue to get better in those situations; we all will. I know it's tough and everybody likes to point the finger, but we all need to be better. It's not just him."



SEPTEMBER 17, 2023

(On starting slow in the first two games)

"I think we just have more things. We have more games. We have more life in us, and we don't know what can happen from here, but something's got to happen. Something's got to give. We're not just going to be a pedestrian team that lets people score on us and we don't score. We're going to bow up. We're going to have a backbone."

(On if he knows the reason why the team has started slow)

"No. We've got to correct it. We've got to get it right. I think when you come out, and you make a big play or something, something happens – turnover, whatever. Everybody's waiting on somebody. You can't wait. You've got to prepare to be the best player on the field. You've got to make the play. Everybody has got to look inward and go out there and be motivated to make the play, to get the ball rolling. We can't look to one another to do it. Everybody's got to do their job, and everybody's got to go out there and make a play."

(On if the speed of the Dolphins offense overwhelmed them early)

"I don't even think they ran a whole bunch of speedy stuff. They've got the same guys from last year, honestly. Everybody knows how fast Tyreek Hill is. Everybody knows [Jaylen] Waddle is the exact same speed, and everybody knows [Raheem] Mostert. They are a fast team. We talk about it, you see it, and it's different on the field because we're on the field, but that's the only thing. We know how fast they are."

(On if the comebacks prove the team has what it takes)

"Nah. It just proves that we didn't lay down. That's all it is. It's just y'all. Y'all are like, 'well, they came back. At least they did something.' We don't want that. We want to win. So, if it's close, if we lose by a blowout or we lose by one point, we still lost. So, it doesn't matter."



SEPTEMBER 17, 2023

(On how he feels about the team after two weeks)

"I feel like we're a great team. I feel like we've showed great things these last two games. We've showed great plays, great attributes. We've showed really promising things. We just need to keep working, keep trusting the process, keep putting it together, and things are going to turn around."

(On the defense adjustments in the second half)

"They were a pretty fast team, wanted to hit off edges a lot. We wanted to, pretty much, set the edge, stop them from running the edge. We kind of just widened out our guys a little bit and made sure we had more force on the edge, and that's what we did."

(On Brendan Schooler's field goal block)

"That's a testament to our special teams coaches – Joe Judge, Joe Houston and Cam [Achord]. They are very brilliant guys when it comes to that. They know all the schemes and how to put plays together on special teams to make plays. We ran it in practice. We knew it was going to work, and he did a fantastic job executing it well."

(On how to make the mental shift heading into the next game on the road)

"No matter if we win or lose, we always have to come the following week and prepare for the game. We know what we did in the past. We know what we did good, and we know what we need to work on. For us, our mindset is, we either win or we learn. We're learning right now, and it's time for us to win. So, that's kind of our mindset, giving everything that we have once again, refilling our tank. Keep working, keep working on our fundamentals and techniques, and keep staying close as a family – because we are close as a family – and we'll go out there hand and hand in New York."


Mike Gesicki, TE

(On facing his former team)

"I'm happy to be a New England Patriot. I'm happy to be in this locker room. We have a lot of resiliency, a lot of heart, a lot of hard workers, and everybody in this locker room will walk out of here with their heads high. We just know that we're going to come back here and get to work tomorrow. We have a lot of football left."

(On his reception and lateral on the team's final offensive play)

"Yeah, it was obviously fourth-and-three, and I caught the ball. I felt like I came back to it, so I had a feeling I was short. I also was on their sideline and heard people cheering as if it was short, so right then and there, I was like, 'I can't go down with the ball.' I knew if I could toss it back to somebody, and I just saw one of the biggest people on the field in our offensive line, and it ended up being Cole [Strange]. I threw it to him, and I thought we had it, but unfortunately, we didn't."

(On his sideline reaction at the end of the game)

"There is a lot of work that goes into these, and you only get 17 opportunities. Two of them are gone now. But we've got 15 to go, and we've got a lot of football ahead of us. We have a lot of hard workers, a lot of great coaches. This is a great organization to be a part of and we have to get back to work tomorrow."

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR

(On concerns with early-game offensive production)

"It's not concerning. I think we have so much growth in this offense. As you can see, we can definitely move the ball down the field. We just have to be able to finish the drives."

(On why he maintains confidence in the offense)

"I've seen it, we've been doing it. These past few games, I will say this, one thing I've learned about this group is that we don't quit. We're down and the odds are against us, we're in the corner – we're not quitting, we're going to fight back, either down to another situation like this and a situation like last week. We just have to be able to win on our side of the ball, instead of them."

(On how he has assimilated into the offense)

"I feel pretty good. I'm happy with the gameplan that [Bill O'Brien] brings every week, I'm very, very happy with it. I'm just happy to be a part of it. We're obviously very special, and we don't quit, and it seems like we play better when we are down. We have to learn how to play ahead and keep that momentum."

Kendrick Bourne, WR

(On how Mac Jones has been playing)

"I think he's doing good. Just like last week, there has been a lot of adversity and I think he fought through adversity. Football is up and down so being strong in the moment when were down and still sticking to what we do best. We had a chance and that's all we can ask for at the end."

(On what final part is missing in their chance at winning)

"We have to finish and execute in crucial moments. It's that simple. Just executing when we have that chance."

Brendan Schooler, DB

(On his blocked kick)

"As soon as the ball was snapped and I felt myself in the momentum, carrying, I just knew I was going to get there and just wanted to make sure I got a hand on the ball or something where I could stop the ball and hopefully one of us picked it up and get the offense spark going."

(On Matthew Slater's advice to him ahead of his block)

"When we called the play going on the field, he said to me 'you are going to go block this and just trust in what we practiced during the week.'"

(On the importance of having different plays every now and then)

"I don't think I would have come up with that play, so it's a testament to our coaching staff because when they drew it up and told us what we were doing I thought to myself, 'I trust them but I haven't evert seen anything like this before.' I mean it was awesome to see the new innovative plays that they come up with and then to go out there and execute it and make a play for your team."

(On where special teams stands as a unit this season)

"I feel we are making strides in the right direction right now and there is a lot to improve on but we have come a long way. I am proud of the guys and the coaching staff and how they expect a lot out of us. We are taking strides in the right direction."

Christian Gonzalez, CB

(On his reaction to being 0-2)

"Like you said, no one wants to start 0-2 but now it's a new week. So, we will come in tomorrow and just learn from our mistakes and just keep pushing. It is a long season and we just have to get to work."

(On shadowing Tyreek Hill in the second half)

"It was just whatever we had to do on our side of the ball to try to take away what the Dolphins were trying to do."

(On adjusting plays in the second half)

"We just looked at the pictures on the tablets and communicated as a defense. We just communicated and tried to play out the play."

Jabrill Peppers, DB

(On if there was anything the defense could have done better)

"I'm my hardest critic. So, whenever we lose a game and I know I could've done things to help us win and make those plays. I'm going to be the first one to say it."

(On how they defended Tyreek Hill)

"Offenses that are explosive like that, you want to make them snap the ball as many times as possible. Offensive coordinators are not patient enough to keep taking five- or eight-yard gains. They want the big plays, especially when they've got guys who can make those big plays. We didn't do a good job of stopping the run. We didn't do a good job of setting the edge. Missed too many tackles. That's what the game comes down to."

(On the Dolphins' speed)

"They are fast but that wasn't really what beat us tonight. We didn't make them beat us tonight. We came out sluggish. We've got to do better across the board."

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