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New England Patriots Postgame Transcripts 8/26

BILL BELICHICK, HEAD COACH

Opening Statement
I thought our guys competed well tonight. I was proud of the way that we came down here prepared for the game. We had a good week of preparation. Being the first week that we have done it like this, without practicing against a team that we played, so I thought we had a good week up in Foxboro, and the guys came down and really played hard tonight. Carolina has a really good football team. Well coached. Very fundamentally sound. Not much easy against them. You have to earn everything that you get. Like I said, I thought we came down and competed well on the road, and made a few plays and did some good things in the kicking game, other than obviously the missed field goals. Took advantage of a couple of opportunities offensively, field position, turned the ball over on defense. We still have a lot of things to work on a lot of things that we can obviously do better but I thought there was some progress tonight, and we can build on it and make some corrections and build on it for New York and then turn towards Arizona. Good warm day, night rather, conditioning was good. We needed that. I think we learned a lot tonight and hopefully we got better as a football team. 

Thoughts on the performance of the defense tonight?
I thought they competed hard. It's a tough group to play against. They have big receivers. They have a big quarterback. They run the ball well. They are physical up front, but I thought we competed very well. Obviously we didn't finish the game very well, defensively but we played pretty tough for three quarters. 

On the strategy in using Tom Brady off the bench and rotating quarterbacks...
Just thought it was the best way to run it. 

On Cyrus Jones as a returner and special teams contributions...
I think it's the same thing as with any returner, if you can just get them started, most guys can make some yards on their own with the run skills, and Cyrus certainly shows the ability to do that. He's done it, and he did it tonight. In the other games as well, he's always made a couple guys miss he just couldn't quite get enough space to get started, so I thought the vice guys, the guys on the gunners, did a good job of keeping them off him really all day and letting him get a chance to get started. And in the end that was probably one of the key plays in the game, the field position gave us an opportunity to tack on that extra touchdown, which as it turned out we needed. It was a good run, but really good blocking by the return team as well. You have to give them a lot of credit as well. I thought we covered kicks well. This is probably the best coverage game we've had, again against a good team. A physical hold-up team, and Ginn is obviously a good quality returner, so that was a good test for us. 

On Chris Hogan's touchdown catch...
Carolina doesn't play a lot of single coverage, single-high coverage. They do it a few times a game. They play a little quarters coverage a few times a game, so when you get those opportunities, we talk about trying to go up on them. We did a couple times, and that's one we hit. It was good to see us take advantage and convert that. We hit one last year to Aaron Dobson. It was on the outside, but a similar kind of play. When they give you that kind of opportunity, and you don't get many of them against these guys, then you have to make them count. It was a good throw, good catch. 

What has Chris Hogan shown from the start to now?
He works hard. He's tough and he's smart. He's moldable, good position player. He has position flexibility, inside and outside, as our other receivers do so we can move guys around a little bit in the blocking and running game. He can play in the kicking game. We haven't used him there but he's done that so he gives us some versatility.

On Barkevious Mingo...
I think he'll help our team. We'll spend some time and try to get him to go next week against the Giants. I'm glad we have him. I think he'll be a good addition, so we'll see how it all turns out. I don't know exactly how that's going to go. He has some position flexibility as well. He's played a number of different spots on all four downs so we'll see how comfortable he is doing different things and where we need him and so forth and play him some next week. 

What have we learned about the progress of Jimmy Garoppolo?
I think all of our players have made progress and they all have things they need to work on. We've moved ahead in a lot of different areas, but we're certainly not where we need to be. I don't think any player is, I don't think any coach is and I'm sure no team is at this point, but we're all making progress and that's good. We just have to keep our foot on the gas and try to make it as quickly as we can. The same goes for everybody. 

On his impressions of DJ Foster's play...
We played a couple guys that haven't gotten much playing time, so we got a chance to look at them. DJ is one of those, so we wanted to give him a few opportunities to handle the ball because he hasn't done it this year. I thought he did some good things. There are a couple things that he could do a little better, but we'll look at the film and see how it goes. He did a couple things with his chances out there. 

On the progress of Chris Long and Trey Flowers...
Tonight was a tough night. It's always tough at that position against Carolina. They have big pad holes, and their quarterback is so hard to get. A couple of times they didn't block us, and we still couldn't get him down. It's hard to fight off those tackles and get to the quarterback and then get him to the ground and not lose contained but rush aggressively, so it was a big challenge for those guys. I thought they competed well. It's not easy but I thought they were waiting on us, but Trey and Chris stayed after it and made it a little uncomfortable for them back there, but this is a tough team to rush against with their scheme and their quarterback at that position. You don't want him outside, you don't want to run past him, but you can't run through the tackles either, so you have to keep working and stay on the move and keep fighting. It's a tough battle against those guys.  

On Devin McCourty's interception...
He was in coverage. There were a lot of guys in coverage on that play, probably about six guys and the ball still went there. He got his hand on it and got it up to somebody who could run with it. It was a good move. Devin (McCourty) got a good return and Duron (Harmon) got a return on his ball so it's not two big turnovers but we gained some field position after we got the ball. 

On the play of Terrance Knighton...
Some new techniques, some new things, some different things than what he's been used to doing. We played the younger guys tonight so we didn't get as much of a look at him as some of the other players. He played a little more last week. I think there's good competition at that position. We just have to see how it all plays out. 

JIMMY GAROPPOLO, QUARTERBACK

How was the road performance for you tonight?
Ups and downs, it's the little things here and there we needed to get corrected and we will take care of it. 

What did you see on the throw to Julian Edelman on the first drive?
It was just a little miscommunication between us. I can't make a throw like that, I can't put it in the linebacker's hand, give him a chance like that. I just have to be smart in the redzone like that. 

Is that a result of not getting that much practice time with him based on his absence?
No, it's my fault. I can't put it in the linebacker's hands like that, that's just bottom line. I just have to be smarter down there, tight windows, tight throws and just have to finish with some touchdowns. 

Do you have enough time to get things fixed before week one?
We will do our best to get them there. We have two weeks until then and we will work our tails off to get to that point. We will get there. 

Can you explain your approach coming in for the first three series, Tom Brady come in and then you come back in?
It's different, but you don't know what to expect or when you are going to play or when you are going to be taken out. You just have to react to it and respond to it in the right way. 

On his performance in the game...
Like I said, it's little things here and there. Overall there were some good things we did tonight, but we have to get the little things corrected or we're going to bite us in the butt. 

Were you aware that this was how it was going to be played out with you starting and then being relieved and then come back in?
No. I found out I was going to start. That's coach's call, that's not my call. I just have to react to it I guess. 

Unlike last week when you found out suddenly before the game that you were going to start, how much notice did you have this time?
It wasn't as close to game time as that was but he did it again, yeah so a little more lead time that last time I guess.  

Do you try to stay away from Tom Brady in terms of he's not going to be here?
I wouldn't say I try to stay away from him. We are always interacting, all of the quarterbacks, Jacoby Brissett included. We are all talking on the sidelines, what did you see, what did I see type of thing. It's a healthy relationship that we have. Obviously he is not going to be here once the regular season comes but you just have to go about your business as usual. If you start thinking about all of that stuff you start to cloud your head and get you all confused I guess. 

On being turnover free during preseason...
That's the first step as a quarterback you have to make decisions everything, that's pretty important. If you don't turn the ball over you give your team a good chance to win. When the defense is playing like they played today, three interceptions like that, it really helps you in field position and really every aspect. 

TREY FLOWERS, DEFENSIVE END

On the starting defense holding the Panthers scoreless...
Our main thing coming into this game was starting fast. We had a lot of turnovers in the first half which was one of our main goals. 

On the pressure applied by the defensive line...
We just keep working hard and continue to get after the quarterback. We know that in order to be a good defense up front, we have to continue to come out here and try to do the best that we can.

On how difficult it was to tackle Cam Newton...
He's big, athletic, strong and hard to get down. So you think your task is done when you defeat the offensive blocker, but you've still got the job of sacking Cam Newton. So we just had to keep on going after him and hope we got him.

JAMES DEVELIN, FULLBACK

On why he thought he played so well...
Just keeping my calm and hearing the play call and doing everything that I can to stick to the fundamentals of being in the backfield and stuff. And my coach, coach Ivan [Fears], did a great job of keeping me mellow and keeping me in the game.  

On being back in the game...
Yeah, I felt good. I got to be back out there on some punt returns and special teams and I enjoyed that. It felt great to be back out there with my teammates. 

CYRUS JONES, CORNERBACK

On playing against Cam Newton, Jay Cutler and Drew Brees in the first three weeks of the preseason...
I just think they're so smart and they're so precise. They know exactly where to go with the ball
and they make split decisions. You just don't have time for error. You've got to be technically
sound at all times. Just play your responsibilities of the call and just be ready to make a play
when it's time. Put yourself in position and just go out there and do your job because you never know when it's going to be your time to step up and make a play.

On his 60-yard punt return...
Yeah I just, first and foremost, focused on catching the ball and just getting my eyes up field. I had great blocking on that play and just tried to make a cut and get up field as quick as possible.

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