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New England Patriots Postgame Transcripts 10/1

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick and select players comment on their game against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, October 1, 2017.


October 1, 2017

BB: Alright, well it was, obviously, a close, hard-fought game. In the end, we just didn't make enough plays that we needed to make to win. We've just got to do a better job all the way around. It just wasn't enough.

Q: Was there any thought after Jonathan Stewart's first down run and the 5 yard penalty on the final drive to use a timeout to try and get the ball back after their field goal attempt?

BB: No, I mean, I thought it was going to be a long kick. It looked like the way they were handling it was it was going to be a long kick, so we tried to force as long of a kick as we could.

Q: Where did the decision to have the unified message during the national anthem come from?

BB: As a team, we do what we felt was best, so that's what we did.

Q: Cam Newton did a lot of damage in the second half. Do you see a big difference in his play this year?

BB: No, he's a good player.

Q: Is there any explanation for how some offensive players can go unaccounted for on certain plays?

BB: Yeah, we didn't do a good job.

Q: This is the third straight home game where you've trailed in the fourth quarter. Is there any similarity between these games?

BB: I don't know. They were all different teams. We've just got to play better, coach better. We've just got to do a better job. It just wasn't good enough today.

Q: It seems like there are some miscommunication issues in the secondary that are leading to big plays for the opponent's offense. What is the difference between this year and last year in that regard?

BB: Yeah, well, look, we made some mistakes. They made some plays. We've just got to do a better job. We've got to do a better job of coaching, a better job of playing. We need to do better in all three phases for 60 minutes. It's just too inconsistent.

Q: Are some of the mistakes in communication the same week-to-week or are there different looks each week that are causing different problems?

BB: Well, look, whatever they are, they are. OK, I mean, we play a different team every week. Nothing's quite the same, so in the end the team we play against we've got to do a better job of defending. We've got to do a better job of attacking, got to do a better job of field position in the kicking game. We just need to do a better job in every area, so that's what we'll work on.

Q: How would you assess Stephon Gilmore's adaptation to learning your defensive scheme since his arrival here?

BB: I think collectively as a total team - offense, defense, special teams - we've all got to just do a better job. We've got to coach better. We've got to play better, got to play together as a team better. We've just got to do a better job.

Q: Do you view the communication problems in the secondary as more of a coaching problem or a communication problem?

BB: Collectively, we've all got to do a better job. We've got to coach better, players have to execute better. We've all just got to work together and do a better job.

Q: Is there a thought to simplify the defense when there are communication issues?

BB: The thought is always to do what we feel is best for the team, what's best in that situation, what the team can do. That's what we always try to do.

Q: What is your assessment of Dont'a Hightower's performance today?

BB: Yeah, I'll have to look at the tape. There's a lot of guys out there playing. It's good to have him back, but I can't critique every player that played in the game.

Q: Are the communication issues more troubling than any physical limitations that would limit the defense?

BB: Well, everything's important, so you need to do a good job in every area. If any part of it is not right then against a good team, good quarterback [and] good receivers then you pay the price in this league. Everything is important. We've just got to do it right. We've got to be more consistent.


October 1, 2017

Q: Due to the defense's struggles, do you feel you and the offense are carrying an extra weight to do your job perfectly in order to win games?

TB: No, I don't feel like that. I feel like we can do a better job, and we've got to do a better job all the way around. We left some opportunities out there on offense and [that] came back to get us.  

Q: You went to Danny Amendola in several third and fourth down situations. How strong is your confidence in him?

TB: Yeah, I have a ton of confidence in him. You know, I always have. It's just, it always keeps growing. I mean, we've played together for a long time, and he's such a clutch player. He made a great catch there at the end, really got a lot of separation from the safety and that was a play we needed at the time. He played great all day.

Q: Did you see something different in their defense on your last two drives that helped you move the ball down the field?

TB: Yeah, it was better execution. I thought we did a good job all being on the same page. It was just a good defense. I think they've got a good rush, got some really good linebackers, very sound in the secondary, so we just wish we had scored more points. 

Q: What were some of the biggest adjustments you made offensively from the first half to the second?

TB: I think we've got to do a better job staying on the field on third down because we didn't have the ball as much as we would have liked. That really comes back to us converting on third down and playing great complementary football. So, we scored in all the drives except one in the first half and then didn't have the ball much in the third quarter – kind of our fault – and then put together a couple good drives in the fourth quarter, but it just wasn't enough today.

Q: Was the team trying to send out a message unity and positivity during the National Anthem?

TB: Yeah, I thought it was very well-thought out and happy we responded that way.

Q: How difficult is the quick turnaround to prepare for Tampa Bay on Thursday?

TB: Well, we'll get the plan in and then figure out who's out there and then walk through it and get on the plane Wednesday. But, it's a quick turnaround and everyone's going to deal with it at some point this year. I wish we'd have won today. It would have made the week better, but we didn't. So, got to figure out how to go down and beat a good football team in Tampa.

Q: As competitive as you are, is having a Thursday game something you look forward to in order to move on from a loss as quickly as possible?

TB: Yeah, I think, really, whenever you play - Thursday, Saturday night, Sunday night, Monday night, Sunday day - it's just part of the schedule. You've just got to get ready to go. Like I said, every team has a Thursday night game, and we've got to figure out how to win this one.

Q: How much has James White emerged in this new look offense as a guy who comes up in third down and other key situations?

TB: Well, he always does a great job. Ever since he really started playing, he's got the ball to him a lot. So, he's done a great job. He's so consistent, dependable, and we've just got to keep getting him the ball.

Q: How disconcerting is it to have lost twice at home this season, or is it losing in general that's bad?

TB: I think it's in general. Yeah, I mean, there's no guarantees and every year is different. We just haven't done a good job at home. At the end of the day, I mean, it's not really where you play. It's how you play, and road, home, night, day, 1 o'clock, 4 o'clock - it's really how you play. We just haven't done a great job putting together four quarters of football.

Danny Amendola, Wide Receiver

*(On today's loss) *
"Tough one. It came down to the last play of the game. We fought hard. Hats off to the Panthers, they played well."

*(On the offense's performance) *
"We didn't play well enough because we didn't win the game. That's the ultimate goal. We want to win the game at all costs. I thought we played hard, but we just didn't get it done."

*(On the game's final drive) *
"It came down to a penalty on third and long. That kind of switched the momentum. I've got to look at film and see the whole game, but it was a rough one."

*(On the team losing two games at home early in the season) *
"We just have to play better regardless [of playing at home or away]. We've got to win. That's the goal each week. We put the work in each week to prepare to win the game, so that's our focus."

*(On if he's disappointed the offense didn't get a chance to answer Carolina's game-winning field goal) *
"Of course. We play to win, so I'm not happy."

*(On how quickly the team needs to turn the page to Tampa Bay on a short week) *
"We're going to watch film and see where our mistakes were, correct them and get better for next week. They're [Tampa Bay] a good team. We have to have a good week."

*(On the team's confidence following a 2-2 start) *
"We take it one week at a time, one game at a time. I have a lot of confidence in our team. We have a tight-knit group and we just have to play better."

Malcolm Butler, Cornerback

(On the defense)
"It's not where it needs to be. We've got to play better. We're beating ourselves. We lost the game ourselves. It was nothing Carolina was doing. Basically, we beat ourselves [with] penalties. We've just got to do better overall, everywhere and every area."

(On the communication issues)
"Basically, everybody's not on the same page. We've just got to stick together, keep working hard and keep communicating. It starts in practice. We'll get it done." 

(On how long it takes to form chemistry)
"It takes time with everything. But there needs to be a sense of urgency right now because a quarter of the season is gone away already and it's time to pick it up. It's just time to pick it up."

Brandin Cooks, Wide Receiver

(On the referee's call against Stephon Gilmore)
"We did a lot of things in the beginning to bite ourselves in the foot, so yes the call was frustrating, but there was still time on the clock and we were confident that our defense would stop them. We have to play 60 minutes and start fast. We didn't do a very good job of that today."

*(On what the Patriots didn't do well)  *
"We didn't do a good job executing and we didn't do our job."

*(On the offense) *
"We didn't do a good enough job because we lost. We didn't put enough points on the board to win the game."

(On what the Patriots could have done better)
"There are so many things as a unit that we could have done better. We can't necessarily pinpoint one specific play."

Stephon Gilmore, Cornerback

*(On If he was surprised about the penalty called on him) *
"I was surprised, but I was playing aggressive and I don't know what else I could do."

*(On Panthers' players being wide open) *
"It was communication. We got to get better on communication. I got to get better on communication. I got to get better on communication right now."

*(On the team's chemistry) *
"We're close. We're close as a group. We just got to get better and we can't let that happen."

(On adjusting to playing with different guys)
"It'll take time. We know what we got to do. Like I said, we just got to do it and it was our fault. Tomorrow, we're going to go in there and fix it."

Stephen Gostkowski, Kicker

(On the 58-yard field goal)
"You just try to be ready to go when you get a chance like that. It's one of those kicks where it's like you have nothing to lose. You're not expected to make it, so you kind of have a different attitude going out there. It was set up nice, the wind was behind my back and it was a nice day, but it kind of feels like a foul ball though because we wound up losing. It took the wind out of my sails."

(On the kickoffs)
"We have a really good kickoff coverage team so we wanted to make them [Carolina] try to gain yards. Our guys work too hard for me to just blast the ball out of the end zone. Every kick is a different situation. The coach on the sideline tells you kind of what to do. Sometimes, you try to kick them and you get a touchback and sometimes you try to kick a touchback and you don't. But we work real hard on our coverage team, so it's nice to get those guys an opportunity to go down there and make some plays – try to get them inside the 25 and not give them those extra five yards."

(On if you were aware it was a 58-yard field goal attempt before the kick)
"It's hard to tell, especially when you're on the paint, but you can tell afterward. I try not to think about that stuff going out there, especially on a day when the ball is flying. I'm not too worried about having enough leg to get there. I'm just trying to hit it straight enough to have a chance. I try not to think about anything when I'm out there, but that's easier said than done." 

Rob Gronkowski, Tight End

*(On the last drive) *
"Obviously we want the ball on a final drive like that, but it is what it is. We wish we had the ball to go make the final drive, but it is what it is."

*(On if the offense did enough putting up 30 points) *
"No, obviously not. We got to put up more points because we didn't win. As an offense, we want to put up points every time we have the ball. As an offense, we just got to execute. I mean we had two great drives in the fourth quarter, but we got to be doing that the whole game."

*(On playing from behind) *
"You always want to play ahead. We started fast, got a field goal on the first drive. We just got to put drives together every single time. When we're in the red zone, we got to finish every time. We got to get touchdowns; those are big plays every time. Together as an offense, we got to put up points every time we get the ball and that's our goal."

Duron Harmon, Defensive Back

*(On communication being an issue) *
"It's obviously something we need to work a little harder at. Obviously what we're doing is not good enough, so we need to go take a look in the mirror tonight and just look and realize. Are we doing enough to win? Are we doing enough to be good on defense? Are we doing enough to be a sound football team? Today we weren't, especially on defense."

*(On his level of frustration) *
"Just being here, especially on defense; in my five years here, we've prided ourselves on being a smart and tough football team, especially defensively. We're just not doing it. It's frustrating because we do put a lot of work into it, but like I said obviously it's not enough. We need to go really look at ourselves tonight and we need to come in with a better attitude tomorrow. An attitude to work and do more."

*(On if he thinks Stephon Gilmore is to blame for defensive issues) *
"Gilmore has been trying to do the right thing since the day he's been here. It definitely wasn't all him. I tell him that the whole time. You might have a mistake, but we all had mistakes, we all didn't play the way we needed to play. It takes 11 [players] to play great defense."

Devin McCourty, Safety

*(On the lack of communication) *
"It's bad. We're letting our team down and not playing good football. If we can't play somewhat decent defense; it's going to be hard to win games. Our offense played great last week and bailed us out and they played great again this week, and we [the defense] let them down."

*(On concerns about the Patriots' level of play)  *
"You have to be concerned. Today was on us in the secondary. We didn't make plays; we gave up plays. What's frustrating is we work hard in practice but it's not showing on Sunday. We have to do our job on the field. It's that simple."

(On seeing the offense convert, but not seeing the defense making plays)
"We've been putting our offense in a shootout every week. It's almost like they have to get seven or three points on a drive; so I'm sure they must be frustrated with our defense." 

Nate Solder, Left Tackle

(On not being able to get the ball back at the end of the game)
"Yes. When it's out of your control there's nothing you can do, but we missed opportunities and didn't convert early in the game."

(On losing two home games)
"It's always frustrating to lose. Our goal is to always continue to improve, but while trying to improve it's always important to pick up wins along the way. The Panthers did a great job today and we have to be prepared to play better against good opponents."

Deatrich Wise, Jr., Defensive Lineman

*(On the play in the last drive where the defense though it had a sack, but a penalty was called) *
"It was tough. I was very excited and then I found out I didn't and I wasn't [excited] anymore."

*(On the last drive) *
"It wasn't really a happy feeling seeing the last drive. I was hoping we were going to stop them a little bit so they wouldn't get into the field goal drive, but it didn't happen."

*(On if Cam Newton looked different today compared to the film they studied) *
"We tried to do a good job of keeping him in the pocket and making him use his arm more. He didn't look any different than what he did on film."

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