Patriots coaches and players comment on their 36-20 win over the Las Vegas Raiders at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, September 27, 2020.
HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, September 27, 2020
BB: I will, first of all, just on a personal note, just like to express my sincere thanks to everyone for the words and condolences and notes and e-mails and messages and so forth that I've received over the last week. It's very moving, touching, and much appreciated. On behalf of Steve and Brian, Amanda, and Linda and her dad, we've received an outpouring of support from really all different levels, certainly our family, Mr. Kraft, the entire Patriots organization.
I really can't say enough about how much I appreciate how much everybody helped this week and how hard they worked when I wasn't able to fully pull my weight here. So really give the team and the organization a lot of credit.
We still continue to send our thoughts and prayers out to James and his brother, his mother, and the rest of his family. Thinking about him.
All that being said, in terms of the game, I thought it was a real good effort by our football team, really proud of the way they competed all week. It was a tough week, but they really battled through it. The Raiders are a good football team. They're well-coached. They have a lot of good players, a lot of talent. I thought we really stepped up and competed hard today.
We ran the ball well. We got some good blocking in there, but our backs and receivers, especially the backs ran hard. They made a lot of yards on their own. They broke tackles and made a lot of yards with the ball in their hands. We made some big plays in the passing game as well. Scored enough points to win.
Defensively turned the ball over, and I thought that was a great sequence we had there about five minutes ago in the game where we scored, made the tackle, had him back up inside the 10, and strip sacked him. Had a good complementary sequence there with our defense, with our offense and special teams, and then the defensive score.
We had a lot of contributions from everybody. We played a lot of people. The offensive line, after we kind of shuffled that a little bit, they worked well together. Certainly, there's a lot of room for improvement all the way across the board. There's a lot of things that we need to do better and need to work on, but I thought we made progress every week, and hopefully we continue to do that on a fundamental level in our overall execution.
As the other teams continue to get better as well. As we continue to play good teams, we'll have to improve in order to keep pace or try to catch up them. Look forward to getting ready for the start again this week, but we're definitely going to enjoy this one.
Again, give all the credit to the players and assistant coaches. They did a great job with the game plan. I thought we competed hard and did enough things to deserve to win. So we'll take it.
Q. So just wanted to start off with Sony Michel had a great day today. I wanted to get your thoughts on his performance in both the running game and the passing game and blocking and all that stuff.
BB: As I said, I thought the backs ran well. They made a lot of yards. With their running, breaking tackles, or cutting back and avoiding guys in the secondary. We had a couple longer runs there.
Rex and Sony, J.J., Cam had a good run for us there. The receivers ran well, N'Keal after the catch, Julian. Those guys all kind of got what was there, and then they got more on their own with good running skills.
The offensive line, like I said, we had some moving parts in there. Shuffled things around a little bit this week, but generally speaking, we got a hat on a hat. We didn't have a lot of negative plays. We didn't go backwards. Then when we had a chance to break a tackle or get into space, then the backs created some extra yardage on their own.
Josh did a great job of mixing it up between running inside, running outside, some zone scheme, some gap scheme, some misdirection. But it was pretty well executed for the most part, and the players really performed well.
We're in good condition. We're able to have a few no hole sequences there and seemed like we were able to press that for a little bit of an advantage at times as well. So it's definitely something for us to build off of.
Q. Just kind of to follow that up a little bit, your thoughts on that offensive line and how difficult it is maybe to see Joe Thuney shift to center, and then Onwenu follow him in going to the guard's spot and even Herron contributed a little bit today. Just the maneuverability of the offensive line and the coaching of Popovich and Bricillo that they did along with Josh, and you guys seemed to get better as the game went on, running the football especially.
BB: Yeah, I agree with that. As I said, there were some moving parts there, and as the game went along -- I would say, as the week went along in practice, there were things that, through repetition and seeing things a second time and even having to make adjustments to handle certain blocking schemes. We had a couple blitzes there that the Raiders ran on us. But for the most part, we, as I said, got a hat on a hat, got everybody blocked, and we were able to make some positive yards. When we were able to get through the line of scrimmage, the backs added some yards there on their own.
But Cole and Carmen, Nick Caley and the tight ends, Ivan and the backs, of course Josh did a great job, and Cam did an excellent job of managing the running game. There were a couple plays that he got us out of or got us into that were -- gave us an advantage on the play. It was a good complementary group effort there, and a lot of credit goes to everybody.
When you run the ball out 250 yards, it's not all one guy. You have a lot of people doing things well, and they did. The receivers blocked well. We have more blocking downfield, and we got some extra yards on that too by keeping the corners and safeties out of some of those plays.
Q. Chase Winovich with a forced fumble today. How would you assess his performance today in the early going of the season here?
BB: Again, overall, we'll have to look at the film and see how everything went. We had some -- we hit the quarterback and made a couple -- got a couple turnovers there. We didn't play some of the runs very well in the first half, played it better in the second half. So there's some things to work on. But we got good contributions from all those guys up front: Chase and Shillique, D. Wise, Adam, Lawrence Guy, Byron.
We had a lot of guide plays there from our front. We gave up, obviously, the two two-minute drives, but otherwise, defensively, there wasn't a lot of points scored. They had trouble converting third downs. We did a good job on third down until the very end of the game.
There were some good things there to build on defensively, but still 20 points is 20 points, and we want to try to keep it to a little less than that.
Q. You had said that Darren Waller is pretty unique, kind of a different guy, a guy you haven't seen for a long time. How did you do to him what you did to him defensively today, four targets and two catches with the first one coming with about four minutes left in the game?
BB: I thought the players did an excellent job. When we had opportunities to jam and reroute him, we tried to do that, but he's a tough guy to match up on. The Raiders took advantage of that with some plays to Renfrow and spreading the ball around to some other guys as well.
They tried to use the back there early, a couple, two or three angle routes to Jacobs. I don't think it's, for them, all about just throwing to one guy. If one guy's covered, then they use their other receivers, and they've got a good group of them and tight ends. Moreau got us on the touchdown pass. They're tough to cover. They're tough to match up on.
I thought the guys competed against Waller good. A couple of different guys matched up on him depending what the coverage was, and there was some zone coverage in there as well. He's a good player and a tough guy to defend. I'd say part of it, though, we played zone against them, so it wasn't all man-to-man matchups.
Q. After the Raiders scored that touchdown late in the first half, you guys responded by shutting them down in that scoring. How important was that response?
BB: That was big. Yeah, that was big. We kind of lost a little momentum there at the half. To give up a touchdown with 30 seconds to go is just not good coaching on my part, start with that, and we just didn't play the situation very well. But the players really responded and came out at halftime and kind of took it as a 0-0 game or as a three-point game. Went out and played their best 30 minutes of football in the second half, which is what we needed from all three units.
So that was big for us, but it was a big response by the defense at halftime to step up after that disappointing drive at the end of the first half. They showed a lot of mental toughness and competitiveness. They didn't get down about it. They just went back out there and responded to it, and that was really important for us.
Q. Two offensive line questions for you. I'm sorry if these are repeats. The first was Isaiah Wynn jumped out of the game for a series. What went into him missing that series? And the second was Joe Thuney, Pro Bowl guard moving over to center. How did you feel he played at that position?
BB: We played a lot of people on the offensive line, so we've been doing that. We had a chance to play Justin today, so that was good. Joe's a great teammate. He'll do whatever he can to help the team win. Filling in for Dave, that's a big job. We just felt like that was the best combination we had for this particular game.
We'll see how that goes going forward. We'll just take it week by week here. Collectively, the offensive line certainly held their own and did a good job here today. I'll have to look at the film and take a look at each play and so forth.
Any time you gain 250 yards rushing and give the backs the opportunity they gave them to make explosive plays, which the backs took advantage of a lot of those, then a lot of credit there to the line, the tight ends, the fullback, the play calling, and Cam's ability to direct the running game at the line of scrimmage.
Q. Bill, with 12 minutes and 16 seconds, you called a time out in the third quarter, and then after that, they only had six plays, which really got them nothing, plus a missed field goal. H
BB: Look, any time you can slow the Raiders down and keep them off the board -- I mean, they're averaging 34 points a game in the first two games against a couple of pretty good defensive teams. So we were just trying to keep them from getting big plays, stop the run, get off the field on third down.
It's tough. They're very well coached. They have a good team. They have a lot of explosive players. You've just got to get in there and battle with them. They made some plays, but fortunately, we were able to control the scoreboard for a majority of the game and get enough points to win.
They're tough to stop, but we hung in there and just, like I said, gave up a bad touchdown there at the end of the first half, but played competitively the rest of the way.
Just sign off by saying good luck to Brad and the Celtics tonight. We'll be pulling for them.
QUARTERBACK CAM NEWTON
Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, September 27, 2020
Q: The phrase next man up is something we hear in football all the time, and I'm sure you've heard it. How did you feel about the way like a Rex Burkhead today? I know James White wasn't here with you guys. So what did you think about the way he stepped in? That notion of like the next guy up and just overall what Rex was able to do today?
CN: Burky had a game. He had a day. Those guys was teasing each other in the locker room with Sony. Sony did a lot of heavy lifting. For the most part, guys -- I wouldn't say it's more or less like that because we practice to maximize our role. I think that's what you got guys doing.
When you come to guys like Small Fry, Burky, Son Son, and everybody else, it doesn't matter if it was at the running back position, which was highlighted today, or anything else we're looking for.
Q: Several players today just talked about James White being a motivating factor for them and for the team. How much could you feel that leading into this week? And just how much was that on your mind as you prepared?
CN: James, he's a captain for a reason. The thing about it most is we have a guy like that, we empathize with what he's going through. You don't necessarily feel it per se, but you feel it emotionally. We just want to reward him and put him in good spirits, and I know, if he's watching this or if he did watch the game, we're excited like heck to hopefully get him back here soon. We've been praying for him, and we need Sweet Feet back.
Q: Cam, just curious, your thoughts on what you've seen so far through the first three games. The different game plans to attack different teams, it's one of the staples of the Patriots. They adjust week to week. First week it was you run for a couple of touchdowns, you throw for 400 yards last week, and then the running game and company take over this week. What's that like from your perspective to watch it unfold week to week? Is it pretty cool to see the game plan when you get it in your hands the beginning of the week?
CN: Yeah, that's exactly what we want to do. We want to put defenses in fits knowing that we have so many different ways to beat you and a plethora of different type of schemes, a plethora of different type of -- we want to run downhill. We want to run on the edge. We want to throw it deep. It doesn't matter.
I think that's been our biggest edge, for the most part, just having that ability to attack the teams in so many different ways and to still be successful.
Q: So back to the next man up topic, Joe Thuney played center today, so I'm just wondering how you'd assess the performance of him. You talked about the importance of a clean snap. What was the sense of urgency like going into this game to get ready for that?
CN: We didn't have no issues, so it was great. Smokin' Joe is a person who is very reliable on this offensive line. The moment wasn't too big for him to step right in to fill the shoes of Dirty Dave. So I was just excited that, to have anybody be replacing somebody, you'll want that transaction to be what it was.
Q: Last week I asked you about the running backs and you picking up the slack a little bit for them. This week it seemed like you leaned on them, not just in the running game, in the passing game, Rex led the team with I think seven receptions. What does it mean to you to be able to rely on them in a game where maybe you really need them?
CN: It's just another different asset to attacking the defense. Like I said, Burky had a day, and who knows who it could be next week?
Q: Cam, there's a funny clip going around with late in the game, N'Keal was talking to you, and you slid down off the bench. I was curious if you could clue us in on what led to that reaction, and just how having positive chemistry like that really helps you guys on the field as well.
CN: I'm just going to keep that discussion on the field. We can just go from there. I don't think anything good -- I just think it's better that people wonder what we were talking about rather than actually knowing, and to be honest with you, I don't even know. I was trying to read his lips, you know what I mean.
Those guys have just did not great. Doughboy is growing up by the game, and obviously having the leadership of Jules, you know, he's done a great job for us, and we expect him to keep pointing upwards with his production.
Q: You had that run in the fourth quarter, looked like a design pass. You dodged like three guys in the pocket and picked up 21 yards on the scramble. I wonder if you could just take us through what you saw on that play.
CN: The play before, I just remember we had another play action pass, and I missed Byre, and I seen it on the replay, and he came back with the big eyes. I was like, man, I know I missed you. Look, bud. Coming back, I knew that would have been a touchdown, so we had to make for doggone sure that this drive wouldn't be capped with just a field goal. We wanted to make sure we did a score.
So when I seen the run like open, they did a great job defensively with having a spot, and I realized they didn't have a spot that specific time. So I just tried to do what the defense gave me.
Q: Cam, we're only three games in. You've got a month longer than that. What do you like about this group?
CN: Just finding ways to win. That's it. We've played three different teams, three different type of teams, and each game there's been 100 percent consistency in the feel of knowing that we're going to be in the best situation to win and still having the opportunity to win.
You're back with guys who play for each other, play for the common goal, and that's what it's all about.
Q: You mentioned Doughboy growing up before our eyes. I'm curious, the timing on the play was 23:13 with a 27 yarder down the sidelines. Is that, to you, a signal of quarterback and receiver being on the same page and growing together in this offense?
CN: What clip are you talking about?
Q: It was the 27 yarder down the sidelines. You hit him on, I would say, the deep comeback.
CN: Yes, I know what you're talking about. You see, for him -- every young receiver feels like, if I'm not catching the football, then I'm not productive, and for him, he has such a productive game because he was setting the edge for us in the run game, and he did such a great job, and that still keeps you in the game.
So that play happened, if I remember it, it was in fourth quarter. Any time before that, he probably had a checkdown or something like that, which I know I remember vividly watching him in college, it's just a different type of ask of what we're asking him to do in this particular system. For him, he has to stay in the game -- and he's been in the game, making sure that he's doing his job, whether that's from finishing blocks, setting the edge, getting the force defender, running guys off, doing his job with the passing game. So for him, still being relatively young, for him to still be in the game when it's time for him to catch a ball, it works hand in hand.
So I told him on the sideline, man, I'm extremely proud of him and his growth because it is tough, mentally for than anything, for a young guy to come in here and try to thrive in ways that they don't always ask for you to thrive with just catching the football, and I think that's the biggest misconception for receivers, especially coming into this league.
Q: What kind of confidence does it give you to be able to dial up a run game or a pass game when you need to? You were talking about finding ways to win. What does that do for a team's confidence?
CN: Well, I'll tell you what, with it being a lot of speculation with the offensive line, those guys really accepted the challenge this week. Coach challenged us all from finishing the play, and finishing the play isn't just being penalty free, it's taking your guy and making sure your guy doesn't make the tackle.
I think Sony made a couple people miss in the open field, just as well as Burky and those guys. For us to be able to attack and stay on the attack all game, it's something that doesn't just go unnoticed for us. We understood we had a pretty good passing game last game. We had pretty much of a mixture the first game, which we would kind of prefer, as well as this game was kind of a slow start, but at the end of the day, we find ways to win.
When you're able to do that as a team collectively, as Coach said, playing complementary football, then things will be ascending for us as far as success.
Q: Cam, I know the running game was really productive. I'm curious, did you put any pressure on yourself to make things happen in the passing game? It just looked like there are a few throws that you tried to get into some tight windows there. Was there anything the Raiders were doing to kind of force you into those spots? How would you sort of assess how some of those pass plays went where you were trying to maybe squeeze some things in to your guys?
CN: It's just a game. Every read is not going to be ideal or perfect. I've just got to do a better job with protecting the football. That inexcusable interception was completely my fault. Trying to extend the play, kind of pressing a little bit too much. Yet at the end of the day, those type of games will happen, and we did what we needed to do, and I think that's all that matters.
Q: Cam, could you just comment on the way that you guys finished the game on both sides of the football, the drive with obviously your emphatic first down run on that drive, and also the way the defense finished as well, and how that bodes for this team moving forward.
CN: Prior to that drive, Mickey Ds, Coach McDaniels, came to me, as well as Jules, and kind of challenged us to not let our foot off the gas. We've had a relatively interesting practice this week, knowing that the tempo was extremely high, the expectations was extremely high coming off the loss. This was kind of different for me being in the building and seeing how people react differently to losing. It wasn't acceptable to me, and I know it wasn't acceptable to a lot of others in this building.
So we knew we had to finish with the ball in our hands as well to create some type of cushion, with that kind of centerpiece drive, so to speak.
We had plays that was called, and we try to execute as much as possible, and I think we did a great job of that, outside of one or two specific forced. But at the end of the day, we had a couple of those answer drives this year, and I'm extremely pleased with our team with how the way they handled it, defensively as well as offensively, and when you got that type of chemistry early, it only builds great habits here moving forward in the latter part of the season.
Q: Just to follow that up, how good is it to see you guys had that drive, but then coming right back, the strip sack and the touchdown by the defense, complementary football? Then just a final thought is from Mickey Ds, the twin number 1, number 2, Dirty Dave, to everybody, do you have a nickname now for everybody on this football team now, including the coaching staff?
CN: That's just the steze, guy. You know what I'm saying? You've just got to keep it fun. I just appreciate the guys for just rolling with it, man.
One thing I did, kind of from walking in day one, there's an aura that you get when you play as a member of the New England Patriots, and that aura can sometimes be like grrr, you know what I'm saying? The Patriot way, to a degree, from the outside looking in, but from the inside looking out, these guys really enjoy the process, as well as myself. And me being a member, I'm just lucky to be here.
Any time I can lighten the mood in some way, shape, or form, I hesitate not.
RUNNING BACK REX BURKHEAD
Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, September 27, 2020
(On his mindset coming into this game)
"Just coming in with a tough loss last weekend against Seattle, we were just looking to bounce back as a team and establish the run game. The offensive line did a tremendous job all night of course, and the receivers out wide – N'Keal [Harry], Julian [Edelman], D-Byrd [Damiere Byrd], just really finishing blocks. The blocking for us at the second level was tremendous all night and when other the guys do that, it makes our job easier."
(On if the running backs fed off each other with their play)
Definitely. J.J. [Taylor] definitely had some great runs and Sony [Michel] of course as well. One of my favorite plays in the game was Sony on a pass protection, just dumping the guy at the end. That was an unbelievable job by him because the guy got into the backfield so quick. But yeah, we fed off each other. It always helps us out, we love competing but we root for one another when we're out there making plays.
(On his contributions over his time playing for the Patriots)
"There's a lot of factors there. Really just trying to do whatever role is given to me to the best of my abilities. Coach [Josh] McDaniels does a great job of that, putting us in positions to succeed. So anytime I get my number called, I just try to do that. When you have great teammates on your side like we do, it definitely makes your job easier."
(On James White)
"For James, it really is tough. A lot of us, we think about him every single day and just his situation. He's an unbelievable person, player and leader of this team. And so the situation him and his family are going through, it's sad. We just try to go out there, we try to play for him and give it our all and try to focus on what we can. Of course, a bunch of guys have been reaching out to him, just hoping he's doing okay given his situation. But it's rough, it's tough. He's a brother to me, another running back on this team of course, so I really feel his pain in this whole situation. It is tough."
(On if he felt like he was in the zone)
"I've learned in my career and in my time in the NFL, you can't relax. Even if you may be in a zone or whatever – as a competitor, of course you want the ball in your hands, but at the same time you've got to do what's best for the team. So really my mindset is to stay humble out there, and stay the track and stay focused on my job and my keys out there every single play."
(On the sideline's reaction to the defensive touchdown)
"It's a team game. Shilique [Calhoun], he's one of my favorite players on the team, I just love his personality, his mindset. Every single day he just has a great attitude. And so for him to force a fumble and for Deatrich Wise – another one of my favorite guys on the team, we grew up kind of in the same area in Texas – So to see those two come up with a big play there was tremendous. Really kind of a footprint on the end of the game there."
(On how the offensive line played with some new pieces up front)
"For Joe [Thuney] to switch positions to a position where you've got to make a ton of calls, and for him to step in right away and do it with ease was unbelievable. He's one of the smartest football players I've definitely ever been around. One of the best linemen in the game. And for them to do that and to set the tone from the get-go in the running game was outstanding."
(On how it felt to score three touchdowns for the first time in his career)
"It feels good, but it feels better we got the win and bounced back after last week."
(On playing for a team that uses his whole skill set)
"It's been great, I love it here. Versatility is something I've always taken pride in, something my dad has preached to me from a young age. So to get in a place where they really use that has been fun, it's been a blast. This is such a program, an organization here that really takes pride in being able to use your skill set to the best of your abilities. I just love it here, competing every single day to get better. Never resting on what you've done, just continue to grow and understand there's always a challenge ahead."
RUNNING BACK SONY MICHEL
Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, September 27, 2020
(On the running backs playing for James White)
"Throughout the week, especially with him missing practice, we're always thinking about him. Especially I can speak for myself, thinking about him a lot, just texting him, making sure he's good, keeping high spirits. The rest of the running backs did the same thing and we all kind of came together and played hard. That's what James White does. He doesn't complain, he goes to work every day. He's one of those guys – I'm sure you hear it all the time, but it's who he is."
(On the play of the other running backs pushing him to play better)
"Their performance, it motivates me, it excites me to see those guys succeed because I see how hard they work in practice. Everything they do in the games, they practice on the practice field fundamentally. They work hard without complaining. It's a big up for Rex [Burkhead] taking a big workload and J.J. [Taylor] coming in there and performing well."
(On what he saw on his two long runs)
"Just kind of reading my keys, seeing how the defensive linemen were playing, reading the end, the guys trying to block off the outside. The offensive line did a great job holding on to their blocks and to kind of crease it through the gaps, and it broke open for me. The offensive line, they don't get a lot of credit most of the time for our success, but those guys, they work hard. Those guys play every play without complaining and I think that's huge."
(On Joe Thuney's performance after moving over to play center)
"He came in there and did a great job. He practiced as hard as he could all week. Came in, stepped in at a new position. Sometimes in this game and this sport, you have to adjust and I think that's exactly what he did and he did it well."
(On the team having success running the ball)
"That's our goal. Coaches say all the time, in order to win games in this league, you've got to be able to run the football, stop the run and cover kicks. That's something we take pride in as an offense, try to run the football as best as we can. All 11 guys on the field just doing their job to get the job done."
(On how it felt as an offense to have a strong showing)
"Every week is a motivation to our team, to our offense and we want to play the best we can each and every week. Obviously last week wasn't how we wanted it to go, but we have to move forward and build our identity, who we want to be as an offense and I think we're working towards that. I think our guys do a great job of working hard in practice, coaches putting us in a position to succeed, and all we have to do is just prepare and everything will take care of itself when the game comes."
(On the way the team finished the game against the Raiders)
"That was huge. Las Vegas has a great team and our defense was out there playing hard, fighting for every down and every inch. I think we played good complementary football today."
(On his role in pass protection)
"Pass protection is huge. I think to be a running back on this team and to be a running back in this league, you've got to be able to protect your quarterback. You've got to be able to do your job and protection is part of the job – so not only as a running back be able to run the football or catch the football, you've got to be able to block guys who come your way and who you're supposed to block. I think our guys in our room take pride in blitz pickup each and every week."
WR JULIAN EDELMAN
(On the moment of silence for James White and if the team was playing for him today)
"I mean, we were. One of our brothers is hurt and it puts a lot of things in perspective. James White being the man that he is – an outstanding guy on the field, in the locker room, off the field – to go what he's going through this last week, our thoughts and prayers have been with him. And it did give us motivation to go out there and play for him because you know for a fact the kind of guy James White is, if something like that happened to one of us, he would do the same thing. So, it's been tough. It's been a real tough situation and my heart and my prayers, my love and everything goes towards him and his family. So, he's definitely a huge motivating factor for this week."
(On Joe Thuney playing center)
"Thun is just showing everyone why he's one of our most dependable players. To be able to go in and play center and switch it up and show his versatility and contribute in a huge way, that's Joe Thuney. I mean, knock on wood, but the guy's done it since he came in."
(On Cam Newton's leadership)
"I mean, he's a very energetic guy that leads in different way. Everyone leads in their own way and it's been awesome to see another way. Cam has been outstanding at getting guys and getting the energy up, especially without having fans. You know, it's just so different out there without the crowd and the noise. But, I tell you right now, No. 1, he brings that energy, he brings that confidence, that swag, and it trickles off to everyone in the huddle. It's fun playing with him, for sure."
DB DEVIN MCCOURTY
(On keeping momentum from the Seattle game)
"Like every team, I think when you lose a game you want to get back out there and win. And that's something we talked about all week. We don't really care about the moral victory or any of that from Seattle – like we needed to get back out there and get a win. I think Bill said it after the game, it feels good at the end of the week when you end with a win. We'll obviously dissect the film and break everything down on mistakes and try to get better from that. But it's just a good feeling. That feeling getting back on a plane after Seattle, even though it's a hard fought game like it just doesn't feel good. You don't enjoy that. I think it was good to just get a win and, you know, it was a rough week last week with everything we went through as a team, and it felt good to go out there and get a win today."
(On how the lack of crowd reaction after big plays affects the momentum)
"I don't know, I think that's the one area, when we do make big plays like that and turnovers, that the crowd noise really hasn't mattered. I think our energy, you see guys yelling and jumping around – you know when we do those things in practice, those are big deals. So, I think the energy is brought when we do that and I even feel like the offense taking the field after a turnover is excited, ready to go. And then you get excited anytime you score on defense. So, that play that first was a safety and then turned into a touchdown, we had to calm guys down a little on the sideline, tell them they had to go back out there and take the field. So, I think that is one area, the big plays, where our energy is there and not having a crowd really doesn't affect us as much in my opinion."
(On how much the defensive front and pass rushers did in helping out the total defensive effort)
"Oh, it's huge. I think Bill even said it after the game, talked about complimentary football. Our offense goes and scores, the kickoff team does a great job tackling them I think it's like inside the 10. Then there's a penalty, then the pass rush goes and we get a strip sack with a safety. I think that is how we want to try to play and there's no good secondary without a good pass rush, I don't care who you are, what guys you have back there, it all goes hand in hand. There's no good pass rush without a good secondary. So, that's something consistently we got to work on and it has to be game in and game out of doing that. And we'll have a huge test next week with [Patrick] Mahomes' ability to buy some extra time and them having a lot of skill players who can either go deep or do a great job underneath. Guys like [Travis] Kelce and Tyreek Hill's a guy that whether he's going vertical or horizontal, and [Mecole] Hardman the same thing. So, we'll have our hands full going into next week and we'll have to really continue that pass rushing coverage, marrying it up."
WR MATTHEW SLATER
(On Joe Thuney moving from left guard to center, what does it say about him and the level of his play…)
"Well, I'll say this, it certainly takes a special player to be able to do that. We ask a lot of our centers and for him to be able to bounce over like that was big for us. You know, Joe is such an unselfish guy. He's really always been about putting the team first from the first day he got here. And he is such a joy to be around. He's a great kid and we are really lucky to have him. You talk about a guy with a lot of football IQ who physically has a great skillset. Those are some of the things that really enable him to do that. And certainly we appreciate him being able to do that."
(On Rex Burkhead, Sony Michel and Julian Edelman saying that the team was playing for James White today…)
"Yes, and I will echo what those guys said. We certainly played for James, and not just James, but his entire family. This has been a difficult week for all of us. Obviously, James has been thru so much this week and most of us can't even begin to imagine what that must have been like for him and what it continues to be like. We want him to know that we love him and that he has our support. And certainly for us, as a team, it brings perspective beyond the game of football. Life is such a fragile thing and anything can happen in any point in time that could change your life, people you love, changes their lives. So we look forward to James getting back, so we can just support him, put our arms around him and let him know that we love him. We know what he has to do to be with his family. We will continue to pray for his mom, his brother and his entire family. We will be supporting him all year long."
(On the way they played today and how different guys were able to contribute, adding confidence…)
"Certainly, it's nice to know you can win in a variety of ways. You know, we don't think we are a one-dimensional team. Whatever we've got to do to scratch and claw and eek out a win, we'll do. And we had a number of guys step up today. It was great to see the backs perform the way that they did, the offensive line perform the way that they did, and certainly the defense and how they perform the way that they did. And that's the way it's going to be for us. We just have to find ways to win. Every game presents itself differently, the demands are different, what we need to do to win the game is different. And hopefully we are a team that will be able to rise up and meet the challenge week in and week out."
OL JOE THUNEY
(On how he has not played since center in a while, so what was it like for him to be snapping in a game)
"Yeah, it was alright, just tried to get a snap first, then communicate the whole time. You know, just tried to do what centers do and try to play well. And yeah, my teammates helped me a lot. Cam [Newton] was great. Dave [Andrews] and James [Ferentz] throughout the week were great, so you know, just tried to do what I could."
(On how different it is to play center than being guard)
"Yeah, you got to definitely worry about the snap first and then you are a little closer in line to the D-line. And you've got to communicate too. It's a little more responsibility, but like I said, my teammates have been great all week. Everyone has been talking which has been great. Yeah, they all helped me out, so it was great."
(On how important it was for the team to get what they got out of the running backs)
"Yeah, as an offensive line, you always want to run the ball. You know, the backs always do such a great job of having great vision and making great cuts. It's fun blocking for all of them. You know I'm not really sure who's back there, but I have absolutely all the faith in the world in all of them. You know, guards and tackles played great too. Yeah, it was a good game."
(On communication differences between playing left guard and center)
"Yeah, center you usually communicate, you know, with right side/left side usually. Left guard is mostly talking to the left tackle and center. So yeah, it's across the board. But like I said, the guys, the guards and tackles, everyone has been locked in all week on the game plan. And everyone's been on the same page, so they made it a lot easier for me. So that was great."
(On if the communication and making calls at the line of scrimmage came naturally to him)
"Yeah, kind of, though practice and repetition helped. Yeah, just making sure everyone was set and knew where they were going."
DL CHASE WINOVICH
(On his performance and the ability to force turnovers)
"Obviously anytime you can get a turnover, it's a huge opportunity in terms of momentum and helping the team win and it's something that any good defense, in my opinion, constantly emphasizes. We always talk about it from an offensive perspective, you know, certain defenses especially are really taught to go after the opposing team's, I don't want to say ball, but try to create turnovers, whether it's a fumble or an interception. Ball disruption, basically. So, yeah, it's definitely a point that is emphasized, but really we're just having fun trying to play fundamentally-sound defense and play technique to the best of our ability.
Before we continue, one last thing I'd like to say is shout out to the guys in The Breakfast Club, as I call it, We're always coming in early, getting extra pass rush work in. [Director of Skill Development] Joe Kim and Deatrich Wise, You know all those guys. Nick Thurman. Yeah, there's a whole crew of guys but it's huge.
(On his level of concern after giving up some yardage on the first few Raiders drives)
"No, I don't think we were all that concerned. I think the coaches do a great job of making sure that we're prepared for anything and if we got we got rattled off of one or two good series, then we aren't the team I think that we are. So, I think we're more mentally tough than that and it's a matter of going out there and showing it. Today we did.