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New England Patriots Postgame Transcripts 10/5

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick and select players comment on their game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday, October 5, 2017.


Postgame Press Conference
October 5, 2017

(Opening remarks)
"I'm just really proud of our football team tonight. Coming off a tough game on Sunday and going on the road Thursday night, I thought they really responded with a great effort this week in preparation and getting ready for the game. Obviously, I thought both teams played hard and I was proud of the way our guys played. I thought defensively, we responded to a good offensive unit with a lot of good skill players, a good offensive team, I thought we played really competitively. Certainly there's a lot of things in all three areas of the game that we can do better and need to do better, but good to come down here and win. I thought our team really gave a great effort on a short week, so I'm really proud of them for that."

(On what stood out from the defensive performance)
"Pretty much everything. They had 100 yards that first half, but they moved the ball some. We made some plays and they made some plays, but there were a lot fewer points. You got a chance to win giving up 14 points when we couldn't score much. It was one of those games where you got to do what you got to do to win and we did enough to do that."

(On the decision to kick a field goal late in the game)
"That was a tough decision. It was really a tough decision. First down ends the game and we don't have to play anymore. It was a long kick, 45 yards or something like that. The wind was challenging, it was a crosswind. Steve (Gostkowski) hit a great ball, but yeah, I definitely thought about if we could pick up fourth-and-three, the game would be over and that would be it. One play would have ended it, but I felt like the percentage play was the field goal. Steve came through and our defense came through. That's one that really could have gone either way. Honestly, punting was an option there too. If it had been a couple yards further out like earlier in the quarter and try to put them down inside the 50yard line. A field goal would have won, but [they were] out of timeouts. If we could have executed it well, we could have put another 20-30 yards on the drive. That was one of those that there was some options and it was a tough decision."

(On matching up Stephon Gilmore with Mike Evans)
"Yeah, that's what it was. He was on Evans and Malcom (Butler) was on (DeSean) Jackson most of the day."

(On how Stephon Gilmore responded to criticism)
"I thought he responded good. I'll look at the film and see how it goes. I mean Evans caught a couple of outs. We were in three deep zone. I thought Stephon competed well. I thought our whole defense did. (Devin) McCourty was involved in a lot of plays and (Patrick) Chung was involved in a lot of plays. Those guys did a good job. That's a good group of skill players – receivers, tight ends, quarterbacks; those guys are pretty good."

(On his assessment of Jameis Winston)
"I mean getting ready for him, yeah, he's had a lot of production. He's an impressive guy."

(On importance of having a reliable kicker)
"I think as a coach, any player you put out on the field, you have confidence in and you think that they're going to be able to do the job that you ask them to do, otherwise you don't put them out there. If at some point you don't feel that way, then you probably need to put somebody else out there. That's really true of every position, I wouldn't single out anyone. If I don't feel confident in putting the guy out there then, you know, I should have somebody else do that – at any position. That's the way I feel about it. If I put them out there, then I have confidence that they will do their job. I think Dirk (Koetter) does a great job. He's done a great job with this team and I certainly would not in any way second guess or criticize or comment on any of the decisions that he makes; I'm having enough trouble coaching my own team. We got enough things that we need to work on and there's a lot of things that we can do better. I'm certainly in no position to critique anybody else's team. That's not the answer that I was giving. I was speaking for myself."

(On if CBA rules are affecting offensive line performance)
"I'm sure there's a lot of things that go into it. I don't know. I know that as a football team there's a lot of things we need to work on in every position. The lineman, the skill guys, the special teams; I mean the list is pretty comprehensive. Coaching, playing, fundamentals; there's a lot of things we need to work on. I wouldn't single out one group."

(On how Rob Gronkowski's status affected the game plan)
"I think Josh (McDaniels) did a great job on that, as he always does. Josh had the game plan today ready with or without him. We played a lot of four wide receivers and some other personnel groups probably more than we would have played if Rob had been in the game. It's one of the things Josh does a great job of is having some breadth to the offense with different personnel groups and different people and utilizing different combination so that if he needs to move from one to another he can do that pretty easily. I thought he did a great job of that. I thought Josh called a great game and did a great job of handling the change of personnel as it evolved this week."

(On cleaning up amount of penalties)
"Two weeks in a row, we've had far too many penalties. Whether it's not being coached well enough, we have too many mistakes in that area. I got to do a better job and our team has to do a better job. We can't keep giving opportunities to good football teams. We're continually having to overcome penalties, so I got to do a better job of getting that corrected."


Postgame Press Conference
October 5, 2017

(On the Patriots defense)
"They played a great game, they really kept us in it all night. I wish we could've scored more points, offensively, but defense really held their own. You know, we battled, just couldn't get enough done to ultimately get the ball in the end zone but I'm glad we won."

(On if this Patriots team will be lower-scoring than their traditional high-powered offenses)
"I hope we can score more points than we did tonight. We just didn't get the job done. Hopefully we just keep finding ways to win. I have been a part, I said the other day, a lot of teams that we didn't score many points and we won the game anyway and there's games we score a lot of points and we still got a win, it's just that is what team football is all about. Offense isn't always going to have a great day; defense always isn't going to have a great day but in the end, you just have to figure out how to get a win and we did that today."

(On how Danny Amendola played with the absence of Rob Gronkowski)
"Danny [Amendola] played great, he always does. He has had such a great year and I am just so proud of him. He is so tough. I've got such a great group of teammates and Danny is someone I just love playing with. I know Gronk [Rob Gronkowski] was trying to go, he just didn't make it on this short time frame but hopefully with the long break, he can be ready next week."

(On if it was difficult to prepare with game plans with and without Rob Gronkowski)
"I think we were working the game plan all the way until this morning. Gronk, like I said, he was trying to go but it is one thing too, you can have everything planned out and then the second play of the game someone gets hurt, then you have to change the game plan on the sideline, so that's tough to do too, but, Josh [McDaniels] always does a great job. He is such a great coach, he always finds a way to help us create some space. We made some really good plays tonight, some really good plays, but we just made a couple that we wish we would've had back."

(On if there was debate on the sideline to go for it on fourth down on their final drive)
"It was up to coach. I think we made enough yards where Steve [Gostkowski] is so clutch and he banged it right through so that was big, that was a big score, obviously. They got right down to scoring range so I am glad that he came through, as he always does, and defense came through for us at the end."

(On staying down a little longer than usual after a sack in the first quarter)
"Just football, I'll be there next Sunday."

(On if national anthem protests are over)
"I'm not sure. I think we just made a decision as a team last week what we were going to do. I think it is up to every player and team to decide, but I'm glad we're unified in what we're doing. I think that's the most important thing for us.

(On reaction to young players like Jameis Winston idolizing him)
"I feel that same way about a lot of younger players too. I watch those guys and try to learn from them. I was young and I learned from the older guys and now that I'm older I'm trying to learn from the young guys, it's just the way it goes. He [Jameis Winston] is a great young player and he obviously led the team back tonight and they were very close. I got a chance to say hi to him before the game but he's got a great future."


Postgame Press Conference
October 5, 2017

Transcript to come.


(On the overall team performance)
"It's a lot better. We're communicating better. We went out there and played with good confidence. As a group, we just had a good week of practice. It was short, so we just went out there and got it done."

(On whether having a short week helped)
"I think it helped us focus more because we knew that we didn't have much time to prepare, so you know, it was a sense of urgency."

(On if he thought the defense had something to prove tonight)
"Yes sir, I do. They played a lot better."

(On what he believes the team did particularly well at tonight)
"Playing with confidence, going back to the basics and just playing good football, complimentary football. "

(On what they wanted to do as a defense)
"We do what we do. We do what we've been doing and that's playing man-to-man, just hustling out there. Whatever the cause is, whatever it is, go out there and just handling business."


(On if it feels good getting a win on the road)
"Yeah, absolutely. That's the name of the game – come out, get a win and really play together as a team. We had to fight for this one, but we ended up with the last punch, so it's all good."

(On what the defense did well tonight)
"Just played better. It's as simple as that. I mean, [we] tackled better, communicated better, just really doing the things we practiced and bringing it to the game instead of just coming into the game like we haven't practiced. We played a little better, we still have a lot of things to take care of, but [in] the end, it's good."

(On the secondary talking about their play in the first four games and how they wanted to play tonight)
"The same thing, man. Just play better. Play for each other. It's us out there on the field. Coaches coach, players play. They make the calls and we have to go out there and execute the calls that they drew up for the week. Kind of just playing together and being brothers – going out there and doing our thing."


(On getting a win tonight)
"It's a great feeling to come in on a short week, play a good game as far as team. It was huge for us to show that mentality, that character and now we get a few days to rest and get back at it."

(On what worked in the second half to help establish more drives)
"I think it was just more about playing our game and stop letting the little things bite us in the foot – play detailed football. So, I think that's what the second half ended up being about."

(On how it felt to be able to make some big plays)
"It felt great."


(On if he felt the game should have not been as close as it was at the end of the game)
"You usually have to play it out whatever position you end up in you have to defend it. I think we did a good job of defending the lead and coming out with a victory."

(On minimizing Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston's production in the first three quarters, but allowing him to get hot in the fourth quarter)
"I think we just have to look at it and see what we did wrong and look back and continue to improve. I think this is a step in the right direction. Next week, we'll look at the film and, like I said, continue to build and move forward."

(On committing 12 penalties but still getting the victory)
"You take the win any way you can get it, but like I said, it's still early in the season. You have to look at those mistakes and continue to get better and improve – limit the mistakes and the penalties as you continue because it's only going to continue to hurt you."

(On if there is an explanation for the penalties)
"No, just a lack of concentration. We have to do our jobs."

(On if it is harder to concentrate on Thursday games)
"No, I would just say we have to show up, concentrate, look at the film, see where we went wrong and continue to do our job and improve."

(On what the team did well tonight)
"I think we were able to hold it together, play together and come out with the win. I think most importantly tonight, we wanted to limit the yardage, get back to playing our defense, get back to playing our game and I think we were able to do that."


(On whether he believes there is such thing as an ugly win)
"I mean there is such thing as an ugly win. I mean, a win is a win. That's a good football team that we beat in a tough environment. I mean there's a lot of things to correct, but it's a lot better when you have a win."

(On the benefits of securing a win on the road during a short week)
"Oh, definitely. Like I said, it's definitely good to get a win, definitely coming off last week. Like I said, we just want to continue to try to get better. We know we have a lot of things to work on, but it's good to get a win off a short week."

(On how the defense stepped up)
"They played great. We tried to play complimentary football as an offense. We could've helped them out a little bit more and put more points up on the board. Today they played a lights out job and like I said, we just have to be better as an offense to help them out."

(On obstacles coming into this game)
"Yeah, I mean we knew it was going to be tough battle playing a good football team, on offense and defense and special teams. We knew it was going to be a tough battle. It was going to be a four-quarter game and it came down to the last play. That's kind of what we expected."

(On how someone can survive these type of games)
"Oh yeah, I mean it came down to the wire. We had to play some situational football. We tried to do a good job of that. That's a good football team that we beat."

(On the defense)
"Those guys played great. I mean, we have a good group of guys. We stick together no matter what. They just wanted to come out today and play a good football game and that's what we did."

(On the amount of penalties from both teams)
"I mean, we can't let the refs control the game. We just have to play better, be smarter and not put it in the refs' hand to be the big difference maker in the game. Like I said, just applying corrections and improve off of this. We have a lot of time to recover, so we will be ready for the next game."

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