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New England Patriots Postgame Quotes 9/26

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and select players comment on their 13-28 loss to the New Orleans Saints at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, September 26, 2021.


Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, September 26, 2021

BB: Give the Saints credit today. They were certainly the better team. They just did a better job than we did in every area and deserved to win. We've just got to play more consistently. We've got to play with more good plays out there and not as many that aren't good. That's what we have to do. We had some chances, but in the end, we just couldn't get it done. It's disappointing. There's no magic sauce here. Just have to go back to work and do better.

Q: We saw after the first punt, after Deonte Harris, after he had the 25-yard return, that Jake Bailey put an emphasis on keeping the ball away from him, whether through the end zone or at the sideline. Was that something you had as an emphasis coming into the game, or did that change after that first punt return?

BB: Of course we weren't trying to give him return opportunities, no.

Q: What happened with the special teams today? Allowing a blocked punt, kickoff out of bounds. How disappointing is the special teams performance today?

BB: We've got to be better in every area, including special teams.

Q: What have you assessed about the offensive line the first three weeks of the season?

BB: Again, just today we were inconsistent in every area. We've just got to do a better job. Go back and look at the film, make some corrections. Obviously, New Orleans has a good defense, but we've got to move the ball better than we did today. Play better in the defense. Play better in the kicking game.

Q: Have you had a chance to see James White at all either at halftime or after the game? Just how is he hanging in there?

BB: Yeah, I saw him at halftime. We'll see.

Q: The wind -- how much was the wind a factor? We saw a kickoff go out of bounds. We saw the time-out at the end of, I think, the first quarter maybe to make them kick to the open end there. How is that a factor in the decision-making or the game today?

BB: It's about what it was in Miami and Washington.

Q: What did you see on Mac Jones' interceptions?

BB: Well, probably the same thing you saw.

Q: Losing James White, did that have a domino effect in terms of what you wanted to do with the game plan going on after you lost him?

BB: We have contingency plans for everybody. Unfortunately, that's part of the game. Everybody has to have a backup. Brandon [Bolden] stepped in there and Damien [Harris] and J.J. [Taylor, and those guys are all good players. They'll get in there and compete.

Q: What did you think of just kind of the beating that Mac took in terms of maybe how he bounced up all the time or also just concern going forward that those hits take a toll and maybe he gets a little bit more -- I don't know if gun shy is the right word, but it's a lot to take.

BB: When you're having to throw every down, it's never a good position to be in. We don't ever want to be in that situation.

Q: The Bucs are next on the schedule. What kind of challenge do they pose next week and the return of Tom Brady?

BB: Obviously, they're a good team. Right now we're just focused on New Orleans. Look at the film, make the corrections on that, then we'll move on.


Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, September 26, 2021

Q: Mac, I just wanted to ask you how you felt. You obviously took a lot of hits today, how you're feeling. I was just curious what prompted taking the knee brace off, if you could just share any of that or why you did that.

MJ: My body feels good. Obviously, it wasn't our day. We didn't play as well as we wanted to. On the knee brace, I just slid and it kind of came loose, so I just took it off.

Q: I know you always want to score, but on these long drives that you have, how hard is it to just take three when seven is right there?

MJ: I think it just goes back to execution. I can do a better job just sticking to my reads and being patient and letting things develop. I didn't do a good job of that today. We'll get better, and we've made it a point of emphasis. Today it didn't show, but we're going to just flip the page and continue to work and try to find ways, whether it's creativity or whatever. It's really not my job to call the plays. Josh [McDaniels] is going to do a great job coming up with ways to improve that. I know he will because he's a competitor just like all of us and we're all wanting to score points. It's not like we're all happy with just kicking. We want to score as much as we can.

Q: Obviously, it was a tough day, but to have comforting words from your teammates maybe coming up to you after interceptions, how much does that maybe really soothe out that you have their support even if it's a bad play?

MJ: I think interceptions are a part of the game. You obviously don't want to throw them, and sometimes they're bang-bang plays and sometimes they're things you can control. I just have to learn from those errors. Everyone did have my back. It seemed they were very supportive. For me, I've worked a lot on just playing the next play, and I felt like I wasn't lingering or thinking about the last play at all and neither was any of our team. Yeah, we can definitely get better there, and I appreciate everyone supporting me, and I've got to get better. So I will.

Q: Can you speak to the role that James White has had in helping you get accustomed to this offense? And what impact did his departure from the game have on the game itself, and as a team, if you're going to be without him for any long period of time?

MJ: I think James is a great player, but he's also a good person. He does everything right all the time. It seems like he just goes about his business. He comes into work every day. It's not like he's cutting any corners short because he's an older player and knows it all. He continues to work. That definitely sucked to see him go down. We're all behind him 100 percent, and he's a team leader, and he's a great team leader, and he's a great Patriot. We all want to be, if we can, like James. He's a big role model for me. I hope he's okay, and thoughts and prayers to him and his family.

Q: On the third and one handoff to Brandon Bolden before the half and a couple of the other red zone runs, were those called runs in the huddle, or are those plays that you kind of get a little bit of an option there?

MJ: In the red zone, I think just improving throwing the ball. I need to just improve that. When I have a chance to, I need to take what they give me, but also take some chances. A lot of the plays, I could have stuck with them instead of changing them or whatever, and I'll get better at that. We'll improve the red zone. We have to improve. We've got to put points on the board. We can't just continue to not do that. We've just got to flip the page on today and learn from it, watch it, and just identify the problem because you just have to fix the problem and try and find ways to make that better.

Q: Taking the cue on flipping the page, this happens fast. You'll make the corrections and then turn the page. Along those lines, have you ever had any contact with Tom Brady, and what are your thoughts on the Buccaneers coming to town as you flip that page?

MJ: I think we're just going to focus on learning from the tape. I think that's most important. It definitely stinks to lose, but you can learn from it, and it definitely eats away at you when you lose, but you've got to learn and move on. That's what a lot of the older guys were telling me, just keep my head up. Obviously, no one likes to lose here, and the Patriots have done nothing but win for a long time. We've got to get back to that. It just happens through everyday grind, every day work, and not focusing on the results. Play each play. Play each day one day at a time. If we can do that, then I think we'll see progress, and we'll just go from there.

Q: Was there anything that the Saints did that forced you to hold on to the ball a little bit longer than you would have wanted? And was there anything you could have done differently on that first interception?

MJ: No, I think, obviously, they have a great defense, the Saints do. They did what they did. But it's more about us and me just executing our plays. I can do a better job of that. I don't like to assume anything. I just like to watch the tape and look at it from a bird's eye view and don't be emotional about it. Just look at it and learn from it and then flip the page. I'm sure there's plays I left on the field. I know there are. And I'm sure that the offense as a whole, we can all play better together, and we will.

Q: What missing with the connection of the timing with Jonnu Smith?

MJ: I think Jonnu has done everything right. He's out there running. He's out there blocking, doing what he's supposed to do. Me and him, we're not always going to have perfect days. Nobody is. I think it's more about just getting that connection in practice and the timing. That comes with reps. We've kind of been together for a few weeks now, and we've just got to keep growing and turn the page on some of the bad things we did but also learn from them. There's always good conversations that come out of bad plays or bad days or bad games. You just have to talk through it and look at it through a positive lens. That applies with everybody on the team, so I think that's what we'll do.


Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, September 26, 2021

(On what James White means to the Patriots offense)

"It is a tough part of this game and we don't really know what happened, but you hate it and for a guy like that, who really does give his all to this team, day-in and day-out – The world could use some more James Whites."

(On what he has to say to Mac Jones after today's game)

"Tough kid and there are not a lot of answers. We can't go back and change anything, so we just have to come in tomorrow and get back to work. Unfortunately, I have been a part of these games before and that is just part of it in this league and the only thing there is to do is just go back to work. We can't change anything now, so we just want to come in and correct it, then move forward."

(On if he thought this team would come together faster than it has so far)

"We just have to come together and keep improving each week. It's a long season but we are definitely not good enough right now and not playing good enough."

(On what he saw in Mac Jones' performance during the second half)

"Poise, keep going out there, keep throwing punches by him. It is our job to stand up for him and he is standing back there and delivering the ball, so we have to help uphold our end of the bargain and the entire team has to hold up our end of the bargain better. We just have to play better overall."

(On what happened with the offense running the ball)

"We just didn't do enough things right as a whole. This is a team game and we just have to be better a team. On offense, it takes 11 guys every play for it to go so just stringing together drives and continuously moving the ball. It takes 11 guys each play and we just didn't have enough of that."


Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, September 26, 2021

(On his touchdown catch)

"Just transitioning through the catch. I can't get it with my body slowing down so I just had to get there as quick as I can and we practiced that throughout the week and it hit pretty well then and showed up in the game. Practice reps make game reps and like I said just running through the ball and catching it in transition instead of stopping and trying is what makes the play big."

(On if having so many new faces this year has made it tough to bring everything together quickly)

"Yes, just building that chemistry, each and every week. Practice makes perfect so things that we don't do well in practice hardly show up in the game so I wouldn't say everything in practice was bad but some plays we really want back and you can tell, we kind of beat ourselves. It was just that kind of game."

(On James White)

"I have always been a fan of him from just watching football throughout my life. I've seen James since I was young and then meeting him in person, it was like, "Wow he is who he looks like on TV." So, to lose him is crucial, he is a very important guy on third down – really on all downs but especially on third downs. He is a problem for defenses and they have to watch him. We have some other guys who can help take his place so we can hold it down until he gets back but praying for him."

(On Mac Jones and if he noticed Mac take off his knee brace before throwing the touchdown to him)

"I think Mac played with poise even through adversity. He still was relaxed and didn't looked rattled in the huddle and when he took off his brace, it just showed how tough he is. You can tell he is just here to make plays and the brace can't stop him and he has the "nobody can stop me but me" mentality and that is what you want to see out of your quarterback. But it just didn't go our way today and that is just kind of the game."

(On how it felt scoring his first touchdown in a Patriots uniform)

"It felt good but you know it is not enough. I always want to win and am just focused on winning and just want to have another opportunity to make another play. I don't brag and boast on what I did, I just try to think of what is next because it didn't get us to win so it is more about winning and what I can do next to help the team get passed the next hump."


Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, September 26, 2021

(On how he feels the team has gotten after the quarterback)

"Well, I think. We generated a lot of pressure and we stopped some running backs, but we got to do it with consistency, consistently and when it's needed."

(On what he thinks the defense can do better to close games)

"We've just got to execute. We were executing most of the second half and then they strung together a drive. It just seemed like third down after third down they converted and when that happens, it's just execution and so we've just got to execute better than them."

(On if he anticipated the Saints going QB power to the right side when Taysom Hill was taking the snaps)

"I think that's just how they run and where they wanted to run it that game. They do it to both sides, but I guess today they wanted to run behind those guys over there. We've got to just do a better job of stopping it and playing stout up front."


Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, September 26, 2021

(On if this is a situation where you have to change what you're doing three games in)

"Yeah. I mean, we talk about those things. We've got to do it. Slate [Matthew Slater] kind of told the team that at the end of the game. It's coming down to the point in the season, like you've got to do it. When we talk about a lot of different things each week, we kind of live off of what the Patriots have done in the past with the fast starts and all of that. But for this team, we've got to go do those things and we've got to stop talking about it and getting it done. So, obviously we'll have a huge test Sunday coming in, we'll have Tampa coming in here who'll be ready to go. They're undefeated and I don't know when they play this week, but we are going to be playing a good team. Those guys are coming here as defending champs, so all those things we talked about – you want to have a test and see if you can get it done. We'll definitely get that Sunday night."

(On the focus being on making corrections as opposed to getting lost in the narrative that Tom Brady is coming back)

"We're not good enough to get lost ahead of us, so we better focus in on what we need to do and watch them from an X's and O's standpoint. Watch them as an offense, defense, special teams and lock in on that. We can't worry about anything else."

(On adding a lot of new players this season and if that shows how hard it is to make things gel)

"Yeah but I wouldn't say that has been like a new guy problem. It's not like we would be doing well if it wasn't for the new guys, you know what I mean? So obviously, building a team and coming together, it's not always easy to do, especially adding new guys like you said, but I wouldn't say that's our issue. We've just got to play better in our situations. It's stuff that we go over every week. We've got to start getting that done. But you know, some of those guys have played good football for us. They've come out here and done their job, but it's collectively us as a whole. It's not one guy here, one guy there, it's 11 guys at one time having a good play and then stringing those together. Whether it's third down, whether it's at the start of the game, whether it's a red area, that's the things that we've got to do better."


Brandon Bolden, RB

(On his thoughts when James White got injured)          

"Same feelings when anybody get hurt, but when it's one of the guys you run with, one of the guys who you train with, one of the guys that you bleed and sweat with, it kind of hits a little different, so prayers to him and hope he gets through it."

(On if he was able to talk to James White after the game)

"No, no, no, no. Y'all actually holding me up right now. I'm going to go check on him after this."

(On what he thinks is holding the team back right now)

"I don't know. You'd have to ask Bill [Belichick]. My job is to go out there and try to execute, and we didn't execute to the best of our abilities, and we'll come in tomorrow and try to see what we're missing at right now."

(On if he is surprised the team hasn't come together as quickly as they might have hoped)

"I mean, this is a good team, but like I said, we've just got to get everything in order. We have to play complementary football on offense, defense and special teams, and that's what we're working for. That's what we're trying to do, and as long as we stay on the grind, I'm sure it'll probably all work out in our favor."

(On if he thought the Saints were doing something different schematically in the second half to get to the quarterback)

"I couldn't tell you. I really couldn't tell you. All I know is the two times I did have a blitz pickup, I was in on my assignment. It's a lot bouncing from offense and special teams, so trying to get all corrections from everywhere, so until we get in and get to the film, I can't answer that question."

(On if he was surprised how much of a role he played on offense today)

"No. When one of our guys goes down, it's all hands on deck, so I was there ready to do whatever they asked me to do."

(On if he and other players went over to Jonnu Smith to console him after the game)

"We try to pick each other up no matter if it's a good play or a bad play. No matter what, somebody is going to come be in your ear about it. Just hold each other accountable. That's what teammates do, and I'm sure somebody did go over there and give him some encouragement."

Hunter Henry, TE

(On talking with Jonnu Smith about today's game)

"I mean it was tough, we all had a tough game, and it wasn't just him. It was all of us. He doesn't need to hang his head, it's time to pick it back up and prove, and have some mental toughness. I know we all have to get better. It wasn't just on him, it was all of us."

(On Mac Jones taking a lot of hits)

 "It's not good enough. We've got to be better and it wasn't good enough. We have to keep him upright, and when he is upright he is making some good throws. We have got to be better."

(On Mac Jones handling the adversity)

"He handled it great. Obviously we got thrown a lot of adversity, not playing great early, getting behind, and I felt like he handled it well. I think as a complete offense, we just need to be better, protection-wise. For the protection by the tight ends, we have to continue to strive to be better this week."

(On if the Saints defense did anything with their pass rush that surprised them)

"With the pass rush, I haven't really seen it yet, sometimes I was in the route, or jam protection, and then got out, so I haven't seen that. I think they brought some blitzes, and maybe some pressures. Props to them they out played us and beat us today."

Jonathan Jones, DB

(On the Saints' touchdown pass at the end of the first half)

"Yeah they came out, threw the ball up, and he [Marquez Callaway] came down with it. It was one of those plays I have to make, and they got me for a holding. But just got to come down with it, got to make that play."

(On if tomorrow is more important than other Monday in terms of finding out what kind of team they are)

"Yeah it is a reality check for us. At this point we need to find out who we want to be, what team we want to be. Are we going to come together or just lay down? At the end of the day that is up to us to decide."

(On if it feels strange being on a Patriots team committing so many penalties and turnovers early on)

"It's not what we do, it's not what we do to win. That is something that is up to us to fix. It is not going to get fixed by anybody but us as players. That is on us."

(On Jameis Winston's performance)

"I feel like he did enough for them to win. Did not make mistakes. They did enough for them to win."

(On if Alvin Kamara did what they expected in the game)

"He is a good back. They had a couple good runs downhill. Not a lot of space plays so we limited that. Like I said they made enough plays to win."

Jakobi Meyers, WR

(On the first half)

"As you know they are a pretty big run team. They were over the ball and they played well on the back end and played well on the front end. We just need to come out and execute better, honestly. I think we definitely played a part in beating ourselves, and that is something you can never do if you really want to win."

(On how tough it was to bounce back after seeing James White go out)

"It is going to hurt, because he is a great guy on the field and off the field and a lot of guys look up to James White. I know I do. So just seeing him laying down there and seeing him get put on the cart, it kind of makes your heart jump a little bit to your stomach. I mean we know we have to keep playing but losing someone like James White definitely hurt a little bit"

(On playing through the mistakes)

"We know that errors are a part of football, but we have to focus a little bit harder. When the play call is for us, we have to go out and execute that play no matter who it is. We have got a lot of good players in this room so I'm not too worried about it being a habit. Like I said we need to focus a little bit more and that's as a unit – you know the whole offense, everybody all eleven guys have to go out there and make good plays. Like I said we need to focus a little more and we will be all right."

(On the Jonnu Smith play that resulted in an interception)

"We have all been there before, we are all professionals, and we get paid money to play this game, so we understand the good comes with it just like the bad comes with it. He is a great player and that one play doesn't define his career, and definitely doesn't define him as a man. Like I said there is nothing to say to him, because I know he will bounce back and I know whatever happed today won't affect him going forward."

(On the play in the red zone)

"It is the hardest part of the field to actually call plays in, and execute plays in. That goes back to the focus thing and if all 11 guys are doing their job including me, because we got done there and I wasn't 100% on all my plays. If all of guys go down there part and all eleven will be ok and we will figure it out."

(On Mac Jones needing a confidence boost)

"You saw him there but you really didn't see him in the huddle. He is trying to get the guys going, with 10 seconds left on the clock he still feels like we had a chance. I mean it is good to see that in your quarterback, the guy your supposed to follow, he was just out there fighting to the last possible second even with the pick, he still out there trying to score. I am not going to sit and say what Mac needs, because Mac went in the first round and he is a great player for a certain reason and knows how to handle himself. I am just happy to see him go out there and fight even if we were losing by a lot."

Kyle Van Noy, LB

(On the loss)

"Disappointing. They played a good game, we didn't. They came ready in all three phases and we didn't. They out-executed us and we've got to get back to work and get after it."

(On if he thought everything would come together quicker than it has this season)

"I think we've just got to continue to work, continue to just do more. We know what we have, and guys aren't willing to quit. We need to just continue to get better in every single way."

(On what was different defensively on the last drive of the game when the Saints scored versus the previous three drives when the defense got stops)

"I think they just extended the drive on the long third downs and were getting big chunks in the run and then easy third-and-shorts. I believe there was two of them with a QB sneak on both of them, and they got them. So that just extended the drive."

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