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New England Patriots Postgame Transcripts 8/10

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick and select players comment on their game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday, August 10, 2017.

Bill Belichick, Head Coach

BB: Alright, well I thought tonight was an opportunity for us to finish off a good week. We saw a lot of players get experience, saw a lot of guys get a lot of playing time. We'll evaluate how all that goes. There were probably some good things out there. There are a lot of things we all need to work on, so we'll just keep grinding it out and try to have another good week next week, keep getting ready for our goals this year, regular season, the opener and then our 16-game regular season schedule. We'll just keep grinding it out. I thought we competed well. We'll look at the film, make those corrections and move on.

Q: How valuable is it to get a look at how both Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett handled the two-minute offense tonight?

BB: Well, whatever situations come up, come up. We can't control what they are. Once they come up, we try to do the best we can with them. We're not full throttle in a lot of situations at this point. The ones that come up, come up. The ones that don't, don't. 

Q: How do you think Jimmy Garoppolo specifically handled the hurry-up offense and the tempo on his drives?

BB: I think tonight it's all about the same story. There are some good things. There are a lot of things we need to work on.

Q: Jimmy said he took a hit tonight on the sideline that reminded him of the hit that injured him in Week 2 against Miami last season. Did you have a similar reaction to tonight's hit and what does that say about the work he has done to bounce back from that?

BB: Yeah, I think he, obviously, is the right person to ask about that, so I'll defer to him on that one.

Q: Cody Hollister seemed to make several tough catches tonight. Is that something you have seen from him throughout the first two weeks of training camp?

BB: Yeah, again, I think there were probably good plays from everybody, and then there were plays that weren't so good, things we need to work on. We'll go back and look at the film, break it down and get through the corrections tomorrow and point out the good things and point out the things we need to work on. I'm sure that's the way it was across the board.

Q: What were your impressions of Jacksonville's rookie running back Leonard Fournette?

BB: We'll look at the film and take a look at everybody.

Q: The Jaguars had some big plays on third-down tonight. What was it that your defense struggled with in that aspect?

BB: Well, there's a lot of things we need to work on; offense, defense, special teams. There are things in all areas. Again, there were some things that were good. Some things we didn't do well. Some of that is our fault. Some of it is good plays by our opponent. Like I said, we'll just have to break down each individual play, and go through it with the players, and make the corrections and move on.  That's what we do at this time of year. We do that in practice. We do that in games. That's the mode that we're in.

Q: How do you evaluate the performance in a preseason game differently than you evaluate what you've seen through the first two weeks of practice? Does it vary by position whether or not the game reps are more valuable than the practice reps?

BB: Well, for some positons it probably does; yeah. But they're all important. Everything is important. Practice is important, the games are important. I would say the rate of improvement in the players is the most important thing. If a player is making a big jump in improvement, then that's a good thing. If he's not, unless the level is high enough without improvement, then it's probably not a good thing. It will just depend on not only what the player is doing, but what kind of progress he is making, how quickly he's improving. We have to try and gauge where that's going to go. Is it going to keep going or level off? So the more practices, the more games we have, the more time we have to evaluate, then probably the better of a decision we'll make.

Q: We saw Cyrus Jones play some deep safety tonight. Does he have familiarity with that from either college or in practice here in New England?

BB: Yeah, again we have a lot of players having a lot of different responsibilities, playing in different spots. We went into the game with three safeties and they weren't all able to finish, so that's part of it, too. But the more things a player can do, if he can do them at a good level, then the more value he adds to the team. It wasn't something we really planned on but it worked out that way. We'll take a look at it and evaluate that.

Jimmy Garoppolo, Quarterback

Q: It seemed like a little bit of a slow start, but things started to click for you and the offense at the end of the second quarter and beginning of the third. What started to go right?

JG: Yeah, definitely a slow start. Not the way we wanted it to go at all, but I think [we] just came together, made a couple of adjustments and everything and we went out there and executed, really. I mean, it wasn't anything special.

Q: Talk about Austin Carr and Jacob Hollister's performances today.

JG: Yeah, I mean, all those skill guys – Austin made a tremendous catch on a touchdown. I mean, he really went up and got that one for me. Jacob – you know, savvy player, performed very well. I mean, all those skills guys, just the young guys especially, came out and played well, and we needed them to. We were limited with guys tonight and they did a good job.

Q: The last time you started a game and played deep into the third quarter was the season opener last year. How nice was it to get that extended work?

JG: Yeah, I mean, it's always good. With Coach [Bill Belichick], you never know if you're going to play the first quarter or second, whatever it may be, so he always keeps you on your toes with that. But, you know, taking that first hit, getting back out there and getting in the swing of things, it's always nice. Getting in the rhythm kind of felt good.

Q: What's the key to bouncing back from hits after having no contact in months?

JG: I don't know. As a quarterback, you're in the red jersey all practice, so getting that first hit out of the way – I know it sounds weird – but it's a nice feeling. Take the hit and bounce back from it. You know, I think the O-line did a great job. I messed up a couple times with them and hurt them, but overall, those guys did a real good job up front.

Q: One of the hits you took was almost the exact hit you took against Miami last year. Did it feel good to pop back up from that one?

JG: I actually, as I popped up from it, we completed it and I actually thought about that. So, yeah, just kind of a confidence boost, but just making sure the shoulder's all good. It felt good tonight.

Q: You proved last season that you can play at this level, certainly in the regular season. So what are you hoping to prove tonight in a preseason game?

JG: Yeah, you know, I don't think there was one specific thing trying to prove. I think we try to go out there as an offense, put up points, move the ball. We didn't complete all the drives like we wanted to, but there's plenty of room for improvement.

Q: After the two-minute offense to score before halftime, you had the chance to come back out and start the second half. How important is that to have that opportunity to pick up where you left off in the first half?

JG: Yeah, like I said before, Coach always has us guessing. You don't know if you're going to play a little or a lot. When he put me in, I was happy to get back out there with the guys. That's nice. You don't get to simulate halftime in practice, so getting that live rep like that, it's very beneficial.

Q: There has been some talk in the media about your performance in training camp practices. Did you feel like you had something to prove tonight?

JG: No, not really. I go out the same way every day, since I've gotten here, since I've started playing football. I love doing this. I love getting out there with the guys. I wish we would have pulled out the W tonight, but I think there was a lot of good things, some things to improve on, and we'll work on those going forward.

Q: How do you explain the discrepancy between your practice and game performances?

JG: It's not on purpose. I don't know. I try to go out there and practice well every day with the guys. I mean, you're trying different things in practice sometimes. You're working with different guys. But, I don't know. I don't think there's really a rhyme or reason to it. It's football at the end of the day. 

Jacoby Brissett, Quarterback

Q: What were you hoping to get out of your opportunity tonight?

JB: Just to go out there and make the most of the opportunity. You want to come back and win at the end and give them a chance at the end, but just to come out, get a good operation and just make the most of the opportunity that was handed to me. 

Q: Bill Belichick said before the game that he was hoping to give players that didn't get many reps in practice this week more playing time in the game. Did you feel like this was an important performance for you given that?

JB: Definitely, you know, it was an opportunity to go out there and put something good on film, an opportunity to play an NFL football game, which is a dream come true. You've just got to go out there and make the most of it and, I think, just learn from this.

Q: How much more comfortable did you feel out there tonight compared to the game situations you were in last preseason?

JB: I felt a lot more comfortable. You know, you get to do a lot of things a lot faster, and that was one of my goals going into this was just to go out there and have a faster operation than I did last year.

Q: How was the adrenaline going into that final possession?

JB: It was, I mean, you're trying to go win the game. That's probably why I sailed it 10 yards out of bounds, so I've got to control that a little bit.

Q: Did you find that to be an issue throughout the game? It looked a couple of your incompletions were a little high.

JB: You know, I just go back to my mechanics and work on that. Next time that opportunity comes, just make sure I hit it.

Q: Is it good to see some of these new guys making plays, especially Austin Carr and Jacob Hollister?

JB: Definitely, you see those guys and you know they're working hard. I remember being a rookie one day. And still being young in the game, it's good to see them happy and enjoying the moment because, at the end of the day, we're still kids and we're playing a kid game. So, it was good to see him make plays, K.J. Maye make plays, [Jacob] Hollister – you know, a lot of those guys came out and I think played really well. 

Q: How challenging has it been to throw to some of these guys that are still really new to the team, some who signed the day training camp started?

JB: You know, it's a work in progress. It comes with hard work and just staying after and getting as many throws in as we can and talking through a lot of things – ball placement and stuff like that. I think it definitely comes with hard work, but definitely more improvement to come. 

Q: What are your thoughts on Jimmy Garoppolo and his play tonight?

JB: I mean, I can't evaluate his game, but I think he did pretty well. He came out, gave us a smooth operation, put some points on the board. You know, I think he's been good since I've been here. 

Q: During the two minute drive at the end of the first half, what do you gain from watching how Garoppolo executed during that situation?

JB: Like you said, the operation of it - going out there, seeing what we need to do, what the situation was. You know, you look at all two-minute situations and you try to learn something from each one of them - see how his went and see the coverages and things that they played to that and what did they do and why certain things worked and didn't work – and try to implement that in my two-minute drive. 

Austin Carr, Wide Receiver

*(On his touchdown catch) *
"It was a scramble play. It's never how you draw it up, but we do that drill every week and Jimmy [Garoppolo] threw a great ball and I was able to go up and get it."

*(On his ability to stay inbounds on the touchdown catch) *
"As I was coming across the end zone, I was trying to make sure I didn't get pushed out [of bounds]. The [defensive back] made a great play on the ball. All of the [defensive backs] on the Jaguars had a great game, but I was able to pull that one down."

*(On the rapport established with Garoppolo in the second quarter) *
"I think overall the offense got into a rhythm. Up front the [offensive] line was getting a good push. We were getting good gains in the run game. I think at wide receiver we just got into a rhythm. Jimmy, a great communicator, a great leader. So is Jacoby [Brissett]. It really showed in the second quarter."

*(On playing in his first NFL game) *
"I was talking with the guys and I just wanted to get my first catch, my first hit, my first tackle and it's all done now. It was tons of fun, I love this game. Nights like tonight, being able to play in front of a home crowd, it's kind of what you live for. Tons of fun."

*(On proving himself in training camp and the preseason) *
"It's a grind day-by-day. I've said it before and I'll say it again. The [veterans] are very selfless. They're coaching us up on the sidelines. It's very difficult, obviously, to make it in the NFL, but having the kind of system here and the kind of support in the wide receiver room and with the coaches really sets you up for success."

*(On what it's been like working with the wide receiver group) *
"It's been amazing. It's a very selfless environment. Guys are sharing information on the sidelines. The [veterans] aren't just in their own huddle. They're coaching rookies, they're talking with us and helping us get better. That's the kind of culture I think that leads to winning here."

*(On Jimmy Garoppolo) *
"I can't say much about comparing him, I'm a rookie and I don't know a lot. I will humble myself by saying that, but he's a great leader and I think that really showed in the second quarter especially. A great communicator on the field and very composed. I think it showed on the offense."

Kony Ealy, Defensive Lineman

*(On feedback from veterans) *
"Just positive energy. We're moving in one direction and getting better every day. I love it here. I love being around the fellas. I'm learning from them on and off the field." 

(On the energy of Gillette Stadium)
"The fan base here is great. Obviously they're a big part of the game. I actually like loud stadiums so I look forward to hearing more."

(On the goals for the next three preseason games)
"I'm just trying to continue to get better. I've learned as much as I can throughout training camp and it's been great so far, so I just want to continue to excel and get better in everything, on and off the field."

(On whether he feels like he has to prove himself)
"I believe you have to come in and work hard every day and that's what I'm trying to do. We're doing that collectively as a group."

Jacob Hollister, Tight End

*(On having a productive night) *
"I was just trying to do my job tonight and just a product of the coaches getting me ready and feeling good. Everybody did their job for most of the night. Still made a lot of mistakes, but looking forward to getting better."

*(On having butterflies in his first NFL game) *
"I definitely was having butterflies, but after getting through the first couple of plays I started getting into a rhythm and started feeling good. It's an NFL game, so definitely had some butterflies going into it."

*(On taking some big hits throughout the game) *
"I think I needed a couple of those hits to get me going, [especially] those first couple of big hits. I got riled up both times."

*(On earning trust from the quarterbacks) *
"I think that's one of the most important things, just getting trust from the quarterbacks. Trying to make it obvious to those guys that I can make plays and make them feel comfortable throwing to me. I'm just doing what I can for the team and showing all of my teammates I can be trustworthy."

*(On whether his performance today is his style of football) *
"I wouldn't necessarily say that. I would say I do whatever the team needs me to do. I have always been a more versatile kind of guy. I just do whatever I need to do. That's really my plan going into it, just doing whatever I can for the team to win ball games."

Dion Lewis, Running Back

(On the playing time of the running backs)
"I just work on what I have to do. I can't control what anybody else does. I just focus on what I've got to do, which is come here, work hard every day and try to get better." 

*(On quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's performance) *
"He put some drives together for us and got us some points so I definitely think he worked hard and improved." 

(On the operation of the two minute drill before the end of the first half)
"We were just trying to get something going. It's always good to score points, especially at the end of the half. We got some things rolling and made a good drive."

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