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New England Patriots Postgame Transcripts 10/9

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick and select players comment on their game against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, October 9, 2016.


Opening statement:
"I thought today was a good team win. I'm proud of the way our team came prepared this week. It was obviously a disappointing game last weekend, but I thought these guys prepared really hard this week. We played good complementary football in all three areas today. There was good field position from our team again. Our offense went out and got some points early. I thought it was good to play from the hip. Defensively, we played well against the run. It was good to come here and win on the road. I give Cleveland a lot of credit. Those guys played hard. I think (Head Coach) Hue Jackson has done a great job with that team. Obviously, they're having a rough time at quarterback, but I give them a lot of credit. They're a touch bunch. We just have to turn a page here and get ready to stand in this division over the next couple weeks. It's good to come out here and get a win. It was a lot better than the last time we were here."

On how the offense played today:
"It was good to have (Patriots QB) Tom (Brady) back, good to have (Patriots TE) Rob (Gronkowski) back. We moved the ball offensively. There were some things we could obviously do better in that area. Overall, our offensive team did a good job."

On his expectations for Brady coming back:
"Our expectation was to come out here, perform as a team and win. I'm talking about the whole team. That includes everybody. What else would we come out here for? I think Tom works hard. He's always worked hard. I don't think there's any question about that. I think there's a lot of things he needs to work on. There are a lot of things we all need to work on as a football team. There are things we need to improve on. That's all of us - players, coaches, everybody."

On TE Martellus Bennett today:
"He made some big plays for us. He and Rob both had big plays, got the ball in the end zone, made a tough catch right there on the goal line, made a good effort to in the end zone on the play down the sideline where he jumped over a guy in the end zone. All of our guys made some good effort plays. I thought we competed well today."

On LB Eladon Roberts's performance:
"He's worked really hard and gets better every work. He and (Patriots DL) Woody Hamilton both played a decent amount defensively. We'll see how it looks on film. They're a couple of young guys who came in and played and showed up. Everybody just keeps working to get better, and when they get an opportunity, they show up and make the most of it."

On what is most challenging for Brady coming back:
"You really have to ask him that. I'm just trying to get the team ready to go. You'd have to ask the individual players what their situations are. I can't really speak for them."

On the Patriots fans today:
"It seemed like there were a lot more here than the last time we were here, I'll tell you that. It was good. It seemed like there were a lot of Patriots supporters today."

On the third down execution:
"We were sporadic. We were a lot better in the first third of the game than we were in the last two-thirds of the game offensively. It's good to get the points up there sooner than later. It was a little bit of an up and down performance. I give the Browns credit. They stopped us on the goal line. They hit some passes to (TE Gary) Barnidge, and they hit some passes to get down the field and made some plays defensively. It's not easy against them."

On if today's game was different emotionally for Brady:
"He prepares hard every week. I think he prepared hard this week. He plays hard every week."

On Patriots CB Cyrus Jones getting ejected:
"It's their call. I didn't really see the play. I was on the other side of the field. It's the official's call. I'm not going to argue with that. They're in charge."


On how he felt playing:
"I thought the team played really well. It was fun to be part of it. It's been a fun week to get ready to play and be back doing what I love to do. I'm just proud of the way our guys played. Our line played so great. We hit some plays down the field with (Patriots TE) Martellus (Bennett), (Patriots WR Julian) Jules (Edelman), (Patriots TE Rob) Gronk (Gronkowski), (Patriots WR) Danny (Amendola) made some plays. We were close to breaking a few runs there, but 4-1 is a great place to be right now."

On how emotional it was to come back:
"I was trying to focus on my job and what I had to do. It felt like a normal week for me once I got into it. It's fun to come out and play and come out and win."

On rushing for a first down play:
"I don't run much so I was a little excited. I was just glad we got the first down."

On if he felt rusty at all:
"I think there was plenty of rust out there. I could do better in a lot of areas. I think it was a good win today. It was one game, and like I said, 4-1 is a good point to be at for us. We have a long road ahead so we have to stay focused."

On TE Martellus Bennett:
"Marty played great. He's played five great weeks of football for us. He's been so productive with everything we've asked him to do running, catching, scoring touchdowns. Him and Gronk at tight end has been a tough matchup for other teams. We just have to keep doing it, keep putting pressure on the defense. I think we did a good job with that today.  We missed some opportunities we could have taken advantage of, but it was still a good win for us."

On the fan support in the stands:
"It was awesome. We have amazing fans and so much support. For a long time we've been at rallies where there are millions of people, training camp where there are 27,000 people at practices. Our fans, I think we have the best fans in the world. They showed up today and it was great to hear them. Hopefully, they'll be with us for the rest of the year."

On the personal support from fans:
"I want to do the best job I can for the city, for all of New England and for my team base and my family. With all of these players, you put a lot into it , and there's a lot that goes in, you have to make certain choices in your life in order to play this game. You need a lot of support from your family and friends to do that. I love running out in front of 70,000 people that are cheering for us. I love running out to 20,000 fans that are cheering for us and 50,000 are against us. We're just going to run out and play. If I have a chance to run out and play, I'm going to do it."

On finally being able to play after suspension:
"I was just thinking about today and what I had to do and just focus on what my job is."

On if the suspension motivated him more today:
"This isn't the time for me to reflect. I'm just happy we won today and I'm happy when we win anytime we play. I have a job to do and there is no point in looking back at anything, whether we won Super Bowls or lost championship games. The last four weeks, none of it matters."

On what he missed most about the game:
"Everything. It's a great game. I think just being with my teammates and just being out there with them and celebrating with them after a great win. Last time we were here, it didn't go so well, so I'm glad it went better today."

On if he played angry today:
"I tried to go out there and do the best I can do. That's what I try to do every week. It's what I always try to do. I know my teammates expect that of me, and that's what I expect out of them. I expect them to be focused and be able to do their job and focus on what they need to do. That's what they expect out of me."

On Deflategate:
"I'm just trying to move on. I'm just trying to play a good game today."

On not getting points in the red zone later in the game:
"We got off to a good start, and then we slowed down there a bit. We didn't get it in. We were second-and-goal on the two, third-and-goal on the one and then fourth-and-goal on the half-yard line. Then we got the ball down there and had the opportunity for a field goal and didn't get points on that drive. We have to be able to finish drives off. When you get down that far, you have to be able to take advantage."

On if he believes it will change:
"I hope so. (Head) Coach (Bill Belichick) always talks about the process and trying to do the right thing every week and prepare the right way. When you have the right opportunities in a game, you have to take advantage of them. We're still going to prepare. Our coaches do a great job. We just have to go out and execute. Sometimes you get the looks you're expecting and sometimes you don't. That's when you try to rely on your experience and get you into the right play or find the right read or make the right decision. "

On if there were mistakes to improve:
"Absolutely. There's definitely a few of those. Those are the ones you learn from and try to work on for next week."


On having QB Tom Brady back:
"It's super great. He's our leader. He's our guy. He came out here on fire and we did what we had to do all week as an offense as a whole. At practice, we started there at practice on Wednesday. We came out there and executed as on offense and got a team win. It was awesome.e's our leader. "

On how Brady feels:
"I'm not Tom so you'll have to ask Tom about his emotions throughout the game. He's always playing high. He's always playing intense. He did a great job out there today.  The whole team did a great job today."

On if he saw any rust with Brady:
"Did you? Me neither (Laughter)."

On how it felt being back to play:
"It felt a lot better out there this week. Just throughout the weeks, there's been improvement every single day, every single week. Now, I'm getting back to my old self so it feels great. I love going out there and love playing football when I'm back to myself. It feels great being back out there with the boys and doing what I have to do to help the team."

On TE Martellus Bennett:
"He's a great player, great dude and a great teammate to have out there. You learn a lot from a guy who has about nine years in the league. We've been waiting for this moment since we got together to both get out on the field both healthy. It's great working with each other, and we just have to keep improving every week and keep helping each other out."

On the fan support:
"There was a lot of support. You have to love away games when you have you have a good part of New England at the game supporting us like it's a home game, especially when it was the fourth quarter and we got the victory. Just to see all of the New England fans there chanting out 'Brady!' coming off the field, it was great to see that. It was unbelievable."

On how Brady intensified the team:
"Everyone was intense today. Everyone was amped up. Tom always brings that to the table. We were just excited to get out there and get back on track and get a win."

On how good the offense could be with Brady back:
"As an offense, we just have to take it one day at a time. We just have to go out to practice and we stick together and work together and just take it one game at a time. When we go out to practice this week, we have to work together and stick together with the chemistry."

On Bennett's performance:
"He did great. He's a great dude to work with. We've been waiting to get together and he healthy together. He had three touchdowns, I think that's the first time in his career that he had three. It's great working with him and playing with him, too."

On if he noticed the opportunities for Bennett to score due to being double covered:
"Yeah, it was great, that's why it's a team game. The two defenders come to me and leave Marty in the red zone one-on-one. So it gives other people opportunities to capitalize on them. That's why it's such a great sport to play because it's such a team sport."

On getting a touchdown on the opening drive:
"That's how you always want to start a game. You want to start the game with a touchdown to get ahead. It was a good start to our offense and that's how you get on a roll."

TE Martellus Bennett

On playing with Patriots QB Tom Brady:
"It was very fun to go out there and compete. It was fun to have him back out there. He was fired up. We were fired up and we were just trying to make plays for him."

On coming back into the game after getting injured:
"You lay down for a second and feel sorry for yourself, but then you remember all of the people who are counting on you and you just kind of find a way to suck it up and go out there and play for those guys. I didn't want to let my teammates down. A lot of stuff we worked on in practice so I had to figure out a way to get back out there and play with my teammates."

On communication with Tom Brady:
"Communication is huge. Just knowing what he expects, what he wants, and try to do that correctly. That's what it's really about. There is a lot of stuff that Tom communicated earlier in the summer during practice and one of them came up on the second touchdown." 

On playing with TE Rob Gronkowski:
"I love playing with Gronk. I'm very excited for him. It's pretty dynamic with both of us out there today and he played very well. I expect him to continue to play like that. That's what Gronk is. That's what Gronk does. That's why he's the 'Gronkinator'."

WR Julian Edelman

On the game:
"We had a lot of fun. We tried to go out and get a good team win like we did against a conference team on the road. It's a good win."

On playing with Patriots QB Tom Brady:
"You play with a guy for a long time and you build a friendship. You get excited for guys who haven't been around for a while."

On the momentum during the first quarter:
"He knows the system. I mean, it's Tom Brady so you don't except anything less."

On playing in front of Patriots fans in Cleveland:
"It was awesome. I played football here in Northeast Ohio, and they're very passionate about their team. To see a lot of Patriots' fans out here tells you something."

WR Chris Hogan

On his long catches:
"We knew that we were going to see a lot of man coverage on the outside, and I'm always going to be running my hardest. He found me a couple of times, and we just had to take advantage of our opportunities and make plays."

On the difference in preparation with Patriots QB Tom Brady back:
"I don't really think there was a difference this week. We are always going to go about our business throughout the week. The coaches do such a great job preparing us for who we are playing each week, and this week was no different."

DE Rob Ninkovich

On his return to play:
"It felt good. I hadn't tackled anyone since the AFC Championship Game so it felt good and my arm feels good. I really worked hard this week and tried to get as many reps in as possible, even on scout team to try and get the football feeling back."

On stopping the Browns' rushing attack:
"You have to give credit to them. They have done a great job running the ball this year. They really run hard and do a good job in the rushing attack."

On the quick defensive start:
"You have to start fast in this game. There are a lot of great football players out there, and we knew they have a good football team so we prepared well and executed today."

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