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New England Patriots Postgame Transcripts 10/4

HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK

POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE

October 4, 2018

BB: I thought our guys did a really good job this week coming off the Miami game and turned the page quickly and getting ready to go. It was far from perfect, but we certainly played well enough that we deserved to win, so that's good. It's good to get this one behind us and turn our sights to Kansas City. I thought we had our moments here in all three phases, but just lacked some consistency to make it better than what it was. There were some big plays in all three areas. Hopefully we can build on the positives and still keep working to get some things fixed that we need to get fixed.

Q: What were your thoughts on Julian Edelman being able to step back in and pick up where he left off tonight?

BB: Yeah, well, it's good to have him back. I think we have a long way to go. We do have a long way to go. He had a role in the offense. Certainly not a full one. We'll see how it goes. We'll figure it out next week.

Q: I know you're team-oriented when talking about players. Can you just talk about what it means for Tom Brady to have thrown 500 touchdown passes?

BB: Yeah, it's tremendous. That's a lot of touchdown passes to a lot of different guys, too. There's no quarterback I'd rather have than Tom Brady. He does a great job week-in and week-out, year-in and year-out, all of the situations. He does a great job.

Q: Tom Brady gave credit to Josh Gordon for how hard he was worked throughout the week. Is his touchdown catch tonight a reflection of his work ethic and ability to receive that kind of trust from Tom?

BB: Yeah, well, it was an extended play. It wasn't really the way we drew it up, but it ended up being an extended play with two great players making a great play. Josh has worked hard. Tom has spent extra time working with him and really all of the receivers, backs and tight ends, as well. It's good to see that hard work pay off.

Q: Can you talk about how well of a job Julian Edelman does of just taking what the defense gives him and not overthinking things with the ball in his hands?

BB: Yeah, well that's the mark of any good player. You try not to force things. Try to take what's available and make the best out of it. If it's not there, then sign off and go somewhere else or cut your losses and move on to the next play. Really I think that's all players. It's good advice for all players. But yeah, Julian does a good job of that.

Q: You only had two running backs active on the roster tonight. How important was it for Sony Michel to step up and be a contributor tonight both in the running game and the passing game along with James White?

BB: Yeah, those guys did a great job. Both of them did a great job. We were dependent on them for quite a bit and they came through. They both carried a heavy load and very productively. They did a great job with ball security and making the plays that were available, and also making some plays on their own. They made some guys miss, broke some tackles, gained some extra yards. I thought it was a great job by both of those guys. They really came through for us.

Q: Some of the blocking from the interior offensive line makes it seem that they are now working in-sync very much with the speed of Sony Michel and they're getting used to each other. Are you detecting that at all?

BB: Well, I think we hit a couple of big runs. Overall, we had, I'd say, probably too many runs that weren't that productive but that was offset by some big chunk runs. I think there's more yards that we could make there, but they're good up front. They have a good front. They're hard to block. They stunt a lot. They got us on a couple of stunts, like they do with everybody. They lead the league in tackles for loss. Whatever it is – second in the league in sacks. So they've got a good front. There's no doubt about that. They're a challenge to block both in the run and the pass. I thought our guys hung in there, but I think we left a few out on the field, too.

Q: You guys allowed 298 yards in the second half and allowed the Colts to get back into the game. Were you concerned at all by what you saw in the second half?

BB: Yeah, I mean look, they're a good passing team. They can throw the ball as well as anybody. Good quarterback, good receivers, good tight end, good backs, well-coached. They've thrown it against everybody. They lead the league in third-down conversions. Could we have played better? Yeah.

Q: What sense did you get from Julian Edelman about what it meant to be back out there in a meaningful game for the first time in 20 months?

BB: I mean, Jules [Julian Edelman] was with us all through training camp. He was here for all of the preseason games. He was here for a whole offseason. He's been attacking it very aggressively. Then at the end of the spring when he found out about the [suspension] – got the news on that, then when he came to training camp he came in with a strong purpose and worked really hard in camp. I mean he wasn't here for a while, but every day that he's been here all year he has put a lot into it.

Q: But it has been a long time since he played in a game that counted. Isn't it still different?

BB: Yeah, but I think the question was, 'When did I see him work hard?' Or, 'When did I notice how hard he was working when he came back?' I'm just telling you he's worked hard all spring. He worked hard all through training camp. He worked hard this week in the short time that he had to get ready. I mean that's what Julian does. He's very consistent about doing that so it didn't just start happening a couple of days ago is what I'm trying to say.

Q: How pleased were you with the turnovers that you got on defense? In particular, on Devin McCourty's takeaway?

BB: Yeah, I think you always like to see the turnovers on defense that you cause. Sometimes the offense just makes a mistake and you get the ball when you really don't cause it, but when you cause the ball to come out those are – I think defensively you take a lot of pride in those. That’s really taking the ball away from the offense as opposed to them just giving it to you. We had a couple of plays like that. We had a couple of other opportunities that we didn't capitalize on, but it’s always good when you take the ball away from the offense. That's the defense's goal and we did that a couple of times tonight, so that was good.

Q: Tom Brady got his 226th win tonight to tie Adam Vinatieri for the most all-time. How much have those two guys meant to this organization throughout the years?

BB: Yeah, a lot. There's a lot of people who have meant a lot to this organization, but certainly nobody more than Tom Brady. Adam – the time he was here was fabulous. He made some of the biggest kicks in the history of the game. Certainly one of the toughest, but he made a lot of them. We wouldn’t' have won a lot of the games that we won without great players like that or some of the other guys that have been out here the last couple of weeks. [Matt] Light, [Willie] McGinest, Ty Law, so forth. We've had a lot of the great players back here the last couple of weeks so it's great to see that. But yeah, Vinatieri, I can't imagine a kicker more deserving of whatever the highest accolade you could get than him and the same is true for Tom. His records are incredible. With that I'd just like to wish the Red Sox well in their playoff series. We're pulling for them.

QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY

POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE

October 4, 2018

Q: Did you have any idea that you’d ever be able to throw for 500 touchdowns?

TB: No.

Q: What does that mean to you?

TB: Well, I think all these things like that, milestones and so forth, there are so many people that contribute. So, I just think of all the people that have really worked hard. You know, a quarterback doesn’t throw them to himself. He needs people to catch them and block and defenses make plays and coaches to coach. These are all great team awards. So, pretty cool.

Q: What was it like to see Julian Edelman sprint out of the tunnel and then connect with him on the first pass of the game?

TB: That was great. I mean, we wanted to get him involved and he made some great plays. Just good to have him out there. You know, I’m sure we all want it to be perfect every time we go out, but I was really happy to be out there with him. He’s a great player, and obviously, the more great players you have out there, the better we’re going to move the ball and score points. You know, I’ve been playing with Jules for a long time and really happy to have him out there healthy and having fun.

Q: You were 9-for-9 on the first drive, which would seem to indicate that you and the offense had a rhythm. How important was that in terms of getting off to a good start?

TB: Yeah, that was good. That was good. You know, I think all of us just would love to keep that going the whole night. Good first half – we had a couple plays there in the second half that we’d like to have back – but just a good win on a short week and to be 3-2 when we were at 1-2. So, we’ve got a huge game coming up a week from Sunday.

Q: Now that all the pieces are in place, do you feel like this offense is only scratching the surface? You had the touchdown pass to Josh Gordon and are finally getting everyone involved. Do you feel like there’s more to come?

TB: That was a great play Josh made, you know, jumping over the top of two defenders. That tells you the kind of confidence I have in a really short period of time. You know, he’s earned it and happy to see him make that play. Cordarrelle [Patterson] made a great play on the one touchdown. James [White] made a great play on the one that he caught. So, we’re working there. I mean, this week, we actually didn’t even have any practices; we just had a bunch of walk-throughs. So, still a lot of football left. We obviously have a lot of room to make improvements in a lot of areas, and that’s where we’re going to focused on. We play a great team in Kansas City coming up. So, hopefully we can learn from the first five weeks and move forward and play a lot better football.

Q: In the second half, you seemed to be getting fired up when you had consecutive drives that ended in turnovers. What’s the mindset when you have those self-inflicted errors when it’s really just a ball bouncing off a guy’s hands like that?

TB: Well, I mean, a part of it’s that those things come up and they happen. You know, ultimately, I think everyone’s frustrated that we just missed opportunities, and I think that’s what we always look at – you know, if you have a guy open down the field, that we connect, if we have opportunities in the red area, we score. You know, we look at those. And, fortunately, we came out ahead, but I know we’ve had too many turnovers and we’ve got to eliminate those because we have a 93 percent chance of winning when we don’t turn the ball over, and that’s pretty good. So, we all need to do a better job taking care of it.

Q: How do you feel the offense is doing overall? Especially with the turnovers and lack of downfield passing, are you concerned about where the offense is right now?

TB: Well, it’s really not about those things to me. It’s about points. And, the turnovers, obviously they keep you from scoring points. If they’re going to guard deep, you’ve got to throw it where they’re not. So, ultimately, we’ve got to score more points, and we had more opportunities out there. We scored 38, which is great, but we have more in us this week. Last week, we scored I think 38. I think we have more in us, and I think that’s what we’re looking at. So, we’ve got a lot of room to grow, and we need to make a lot of improvements in a short period of time.

WIDE RECEIVER JULIAN EDELMAN

POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE

October 4, 2018

Q: I’ll preface this by saying I know you would have rather been here playing but is it possible that the four weeks that you had to work out and get yourself conditioned made yourself a stronger player entering the season right now then you would have been?

JE: I mean, I definitely took advantage of the time coming off an injury. I had a good routine going, Brian from the Edge, I had [Rob] Ninkovich out there, Harvard was very generous to let me use their facilities, Boston College, Rivers Academy, Foxborough. It was pretty cool to see all the support from all these people and these organizations and these places so I definitely took advantage of it. But I still can get better.

Q: I see you wearing a Celtics jersey. There’s a report out there that you worked out with the Celtics, is that true?

JE: I worked out in Brighton with some tall guys so I’ll leave it at that. And tell Gordon [Hayward] easy on the ping pong talk. He’s got a special paddle. He’s got a special paddle. I didn’t bring my paddle to the facilities so we’ll leave it at that.

Q: How was it connecting with Tom Brady?

JE: It was great. There’s some things that obviously we have to work on but it was good to get out there and catch some rocks and go out and make some plays and be with the fellas. I haven’t played football in – I think it was like 405 days or something like that so it was good to be out there in front of the crowd. They were rocking, they were awesome. Seeing all them was amazing. So, it was just great to be back.

Q: How close did you feel to being the player you’ve always been?

JE: I feel like I’m the best me right now. I’m living my best life, Tom [Curran].

Q: When you came out on the field, just the full sprint and that emotion, what was that moment like for you?

JE: I mean that’s something that gets me fired up and you get to share it with the people that come out and support you, get them riled up and it – I remember when I tore my ACL and I was sitting back and during the rehab, you’re just sitting there and can’t wait to run out of that tunnel. So it was great to get to be able to play with the fellas, it was awesome to get the team win. Obviously we could do a lot better but anytime you go ahead and beat a team in the conference, it’s always great, especially the Colts. We’ll leave it at that.

WIDE RECEIVER JOSH GORDON

POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE

October 4, 2018

Q: Your touchdown catch looked like it might have been a broken play. What was your perspective on that situation?

JG: I think after seeing the rush, him get out of the pocket, just kind of goes to sandlot football scramble drill – you know, go the opposite direction of what you were going. And I kind of wanted to head towards the end zone and we made eye contact, he threw it up there and it was a perfect ball. So, I had to try to make a play on it, and that was pretty much it.  

Q: Back in 2013, you had a great year statistically and were a large part of the offense. When you look around this offense and see players like Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, James White and Sony Michel, is it comfortable for you to be a part of the machine instead of the whole engine?

JG: Oh yeah, most definitely. It's a relief, if anything. I mean, you kind of get to sit back a little bit and watch everybody do their own thing, but make sure not to forget that you're also a part of this. So, when my opportunity presents itself, when my number gets called, I'm going to go out there and give 100 percent, just like everybody else. 

Q: You were on the receiving end of Brady's 500th touchdown and were the 71st player to catch a touchdown from him, which is an NFL record. What does it mean to you to be a part of that history?

JG: I mean, similar to what I said last week, to catch any pass from Tom is amazing, let alone some history-making catch or pass. You know, for him, I told him congratulations, and I know there's many more for him to come. Hopefully, he's got a lot more left in him – I'm pretty sure he does – so I'm looking forward to that. The next history point to make for him, I hope to be a part of it. So, it was awesome.

PATRIOTS PLAYERS

Patrick Chung, S

(On the importance of consistency) 

"That is huge; inconsistency is the worst thing you can have in football. We need to continue to be consistent, continue to play hard and execute."

(On the interception) 

"Our job is to get the offense the ball; we were able to do that today and had a couple of big plays. Hopefully we are able to keep doing that."

(On interception celebration) 

"It really is just spur of the moment, sometimes we think about it but if you don’t play well then you don’t have these moments of celebration to begin with. That happened to be spur of the moment and it worked."

Rob Gronkowski, TE

(On the low period when the Patriots had trouble moving the ball) 

"It was basically the third quarter and we just weren’t doing our jobs. That one [pass] that they got the interception off my hands, I just have to bring that in. Mistakes like that definitely put the offense down and give the other team a chance. So I just have to correct those mistakes and play hard."

(On relishing now having time off) 

"Oh, it’s huge. Whenever you get some days off you have to take advantage of it. We’ve got an extra 10 days now, have to get the body healthy. You’ve got bumps and bruises all over the place, especially playing two games in five days. Just have to relax, get right, and get back at it next week."

(On having Rob Gronkowski, James White, Julian Edelman, and Tom Brady all on the field at the same time since November 2016)

"You can take us away from each other for 10 years and we’ll come back and be the same. We’ll just have to knock off the rust with a couple practices. It just shows that we’ve been together for a long time and we all understand each other. We all understand how we play, which is great to have that comfort level."

Duron Harmon, DB

(On celebrating Chung’s interception with him) 

"As soon as Chung got the kick he looked up and was trying to find me, and I was coming from the back trying to find him. We didn’t even rehearse, it was off of the top of the dome, and it was a great time."

(On winning) 

"It is obviously good, in the end we finished where we wanted to. We always feel like we can play better and put ourselves in a better position but for us to basically go out there and be in control defensively for a while. It is something we can build on and now we have a little time to relax and take a step back to assess everything. We know we have a challenge coming up so it is good to just know we are heading in the right direction." 

(On preparing for next game) 

"I will probably start on Sunday by watching the game between the Jaguars and Chiefs. Then Friday night I will start to break it down a little more so by Monday I can really get into it. The next game is going to be tough, the Chiefs are a good football team with a dynamic, explosive offense."

Devin McCourty, DB

(On his forced fumble) 

"I’m just tackling him up high, and as I’m tackling him I feel like the ball is a little loose and I’m just ripping at it as we’re going down. Got lucky, got the ball out, big play for us I think. Just turning the ball over always helps with our offense, they’re always going to score points."

(On the challenges the Colts tight ends presented) 

"I mean [Eric] Ebron is a good player, we know that, very athletic guy. All those guys, I think they just did a good job. And we have just got to do a better job once the game turns into a two-minute type game at the end. Pass plays, just being able to recognize routes and doing a better job."

(On how team has responded the last two weeks) 

"It’s good I think, but for us that is kind of just expected. You face adversity, you lose two games. If you want to be a good team you just can’t go into a tank. I think we expected that, to put our head down and just work. When you do that and get the good results, you learn that this is what we have to do. So now it’s up to us, to continue to put the foot on the gas." 

Jason McCourty, CB

(On playing outside cornerback) 

"I don’t care where they put me. I just want to go out there and try to help this team win. Whether it’s at cornerback, safety, inside or dime. Wherever they put me, I’m going to try my hardest to learn whatever it is and go out there and execute it well."

(On his journey getting to the Patriots) 

"Last year my defensive back coach, coach DeWayne Walker, talked to me about karma. We were talking about no matter what’s going on outside, be positive and be who you are and do what you’re supposed to do. I think here we talk about mental toughness as the same thing. For me, that’s what it’s been. No matter what the situation is and whatever the circumstances are, I’m just making sure I’m handling whatever I’m supposed to handle as far as being on time for meetings and practicing as hard as I can. At the end of the day, you do everything you can, you leave it up to God and whatever happens, happens."

(On Devin McCourty’s turnover)

"I think as a captain on this team and for someone that has been here for a long time, those are the plays that we expect him to make. When the team needs a play, we go to him and make sure he’s lining people up. He just does a great job communicating, keeping everybody level-headed throughout the game and throughout the ups and downs." 

Sony Michel, RB

(On his touchdown) 

"The field was wide open. The offensive line did a great job executing their assignments, everybody did. It was just wide open; anyone could have run through that hole. Just had to make one guy miss and then get in the end zone."

(On being in tune with the offensive line) 

"They’re going to block their guys, and it’s all about running backs reading the hole. [It is about] me being patient and letting it develop. I have so much trust and faith that those guys are going to do their job."

(On being more comfortable in the offense) 

"I wouldn’t say comfortable, you never want to get to the point where you’re comfortable. You always want to get to the point where you can play and recognize how to get better. I will say we did a great job executing today as an offense. We probably left yards on the field once when we go back and look at film, but today was a great team win."

James White, RB

(On Tom Brady) 

"He does a great job distributing the ball around and throwing to who’s open. There are a lot of guys involved in the game, so that’s what it’s going to take to win."

(On the fourth quarter) 

"We were just going out there and executing. That’s all it really was. It started off with a play to Josh [Gordon] for a 20-yard gain or so with a little pop pass and it got everything rolling. We just have to start better to start the game."

(On the offense) 

"We have a lot of talented guys, a good offensive line and a great quarterback. We have a lot of pieces that can help us get wins as long as everybody goes out and does their job on each and every play."

(On Tom Brady throwing his 500th career touchdown pass)

"That’s a whole lot of touchdowns. He’s the greatest, so he goes out there and plays his tail off each and every week during practice and in the meeting room. You definitely want to play hard for a guy like that."

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