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New England Patriots Postgame Transcripts 8/31

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick and select players comment on their game against the New York Giants on Thursday, August 31, 2017.

Bill Belichick, Head Coach

BB: I want to give a little shout out to Houston. We had a great experience down there in February, a lot of great relationships with the Texans and the University [of Houston] down there. We've got some players with some family down there, so we just want to let them know we're thinking about them. It was a competitive game tonight. I thought our guys competed hard, especially in the second half. It was good to see. We'll take a look at the tape here and make our final evaluations in the next couple of days and then start getting ready for Kansas City. But I thought it was a competitive effort tonight. We'll see how it looks on tape.

Q: When evaluating Jacoby Brissett's performance tonight, do you look at it from the standpoint of how he did and what he did as opposed to just who he did it against?

BB: Yeah, we'll evaluate everything that we can. He can't control who else is out there. There's nothing he can do about that. There's nothing they can do about who we have out there. It is what it is.

Q: Is there anyone specifically down there in Houston that you are thinking of at this time? I know you have a lot of connections down there.

BB: Yeah, there are a lot of them.

Q: What type of things do you see out of wide receiver's coach Chad O'Shea? It looked like he had some play-calling duties tonight.

BB: Yeah, Chad does a good job. He works hard. He's got a lot of experience. He's done a good job for us. Chad's family is from Houston, too.

Q: A lot of the veterans seemed very invested in pulling for Jacoby and the team as they started to mount a comeback tonight. How important is it to foster that type of environment where guys are pulling for each other and ultimately want to see each other succeed?

BB: Right. Well, that's, I think, a tribute to the respect that each guy on the team has for his teammates and vice versa. It's not something you can legislate. It's not something you can mandate. It's just spontaneous and that's the way it should be.

Q: With roster cuts looming and you perhaps having a good idea of what your roster will look like, are you fully focused on Kansas City now and preparing for the opening night?

BB: Well, that and taking care of the roster, which I'm sure that will be something that will be in transition for a while. It's not all going to happen in one day. I'm sure there will be player transactions in the first week or two of the season like there always are. We'll just have to see how it goes. I don't know.

Q: Cyrus Jones left with an injury tonight and had been the only one returning punts for the team thus far. How difficult or easy is it to assess a guy's ability to perform punt returning duties during camp as opposed to live game action?

BB: I don't know. It would depend on the player and the situation and what we had to work with. I don't know.

Q: What have you seen from Will Likely in that role during training camp?

BB: Yeah, he's been out there every day. He's been doing it every day. He returned a few punts today. We'll see how it goes. We'll see what Cyrus's situation is, take a look at that. I just don't have enough information really to answer the question.

Q: We got a long look at the tight ends tonight, James O'Shaughnessy and Jacob Hollister in particular. Did anything stand out between them that could separate them from each other while trying to earn a roster spot?

BB: Yeah, I'd have to go look at the film and look at everybody, which we'll do. We'll do that. I can't sit here and evaluate 40 players.

Q: What does James O'Shaughnessy have going for him as a football player?

BB: He's got a little bit of experience. He's still a young player, fairly new to our system but he has picked it up well. He's missed a little time, but he has been out there most of the time. We'll see how it goes.

Q: Is this the toughest time for you in training camp to make these looming roster decisions given how hard each guy has worked throughout the spring and summer?

BB: Yeah, it's always hard to have to release players, yeah. Personally, that's always tough. Guys gave you everything they got and, I mean, we have 90 players and we have to get down to 53, so it will be hard to tell whoever it is – I don't even know who it's going to be – but whoever it is, it will be hard to tell some of those players that we won't be able to keep them. We all knew that situation at the beginning. There's nothing new with that. It's just hard. Guys put a lot into it and they give it their best and it can't work out for everybody. But I've been on the other side of the table, too.

Q: How fortunate do you feel to have the apparent quality depth at the quarterback position?

BB: Yeah, like I said, I thought the players all competed well tonight and they went out there and played hard in all three phases of the game. I thought they all did, but we'll see. We'll take a closer look at the tape and do what we feel is best for the team.

Jacoby Brissett, Quarterback

Q: How did it feel tonight to go wire-to-wire? What is your assessment of the way the game went?

JB: That was fun. It makes you feel like a kid again. It's hard to explain the words. You know, you wish the results were different, but that was fun. That was a lot of fun.

Q: You're in an interesting spot with two quarterbacks in front of you. How do you feel about what you did with your opportunity tonight?

JB: I think that was a great opportunity for all of us to go out there one last time in preseason and just make the most of our opportunity. A lot of the guys, we're out there, we didn't get a lot of the game action last game, so it was a good time to just go out there and make the most of our opportunity. I think we played a good game, complementary – offense, defense and special teams – and, like I said, that was a bunch of fun.

Q: What was the adrenaline like as you led the team back in the second half?

JB: You know, you get lost in the game. It was fun. You're just in the locker room talking to a couple guys. It makes you feel like you're in middle school again playing football. You know the plan, you know what they're going to do, you know what we're going to do, they know what we're going to do, so it's just about executing under pressure and just having fun. 

Q: Did you get frustrated throughout the preseason about the number of opportunities you had? Was it tough to wait to get your chance?

JB: That's out of my control. I can't structure practice around me, so just going out there and when we do get reps and when we get an opportunity to go out there and practice, just make the most of those opportunities. Today was a good job of you seeing a lot of guys that don't get as many reps but put in a lot of work after practice, before practice and throughout practice and making the most of those opportunities, and it showed on the field today. 

Q: I remember you saying after the first preseason game that you had too much adrenaline. Did you feel better in that regard tonight?

JB: Definitely. I mean, it's like a little kid – just having fun, playing, you're in the huddle. I mean, I kind of felt old being in that group, but you see a lot of young guys and they're just playing football. 

Q: From your view, what happened on the interception?

JB: You know, I've just got to throw it over the guy. That's that.

Q: What about that touchdown pass?

JB: It was four of them. I'm just messing.

Q: On the touchdown fade in the corner, what did you see there?

JB: You know, we knew the pressure was coming. They didn't want us to score. It was just [Devin] Lucien made a great play. We just made a good job up front giving me enough time to get the ball off, so I think it was just all a credit to those guys on that one.

Q: Shortly after the interception, you went 4-for-4 on a drive that ended with a touchdown. Why is it so important to bounce back right away after a bad play?

JB: Because you learn that the game is so long and you can't harp on the bad plays. A lot of guys did a good job of stepping up. Anytime we had a bad play, we bounced back from it. I think that is a testament to those guys. They just came out there and [we] just played our butts off.

Q: Can you assess your preseason and training camp as a whole?

JB: Just got better each day, and that's all I can ask for and that's all I can control is me and getting better and doing my job every day.

Q: Talk about the juke move you had at the goal line.

JB: I probably didn't need that, honestly. You know, I just saw him coming in so hard and I was just like, 'This would be cool if I juked him.' So I just tried it out. I was going to dive if he did anything else to me, but it was just a good job of the offensive line clearing them out and giving me some room to step up. 

Q: Did you notice that your teammates were excited on the sidelines when you were driving late in the fourth quarter?

JB: No, you can hear them. Even when we were on the sideline before we went out, they're just going crazy. You know, that's so fun to see. You get kind of caught up in it's the NFL so you've got to kind of, not not have fun, but it's just so serious. And then you see a lot of the guys that you look up to in the locker room, you see the Tom's [Brady] and you see the [Devin] McCourty's and you see Duron [Harmon] and things like that and you're just like, 'Man, this is fun.' Like, you know, you're going out there and just playing football.

Austin Carr, Wide Receiver

*(On what he hopes the coaches see out of his performance) *
"I hope they see consistency, a guy that worked hard, a guy that executed, did his job and built trust with his teammates."

*(On Jacoby Brissett's performance) *
"Jacoby was incredibly composed, in control and he didn't get too frantic out there. He hit his check downs when he needed to and he was a good communicator. I wasn't in there as much, I think K.J. [Maye] got a lot more reps at the slot, but the plays I was in there, he was a great leader. You saw that on offense, he executed."

*(On what he anticipates cut down day to be like) *
"Emotional. No matter what, there's going to be highs and lows. It almost feels like draft day all over again where you don't know where you're going to end up. Again, I'm praying and trusting God. I know that I left it all out there and I'm hoping for another shot."

D.J. Foster, Running Back

*(On the game) *
"It felt great. It was a fun game, obviously we didn't get the outcome, but it was fun going out there and competing. We had a really good week of practice and we worked hard. The guys that were out there and the guys that were playing that game, we came together and it was a fun week. We prepared hard and it was fun to go out there and compete with everybody."

*(On his emotions during the game) *
"The excitement, a lot of guys haven't got that opportunity to start a game like that. It was fun to go out there and start the game, play and see everybody give it their all. You know, it was the last game and you put up maximum effort."

*(On the film that he put together over the course of the preseason) *
"I brought it every day, worked hard, tried to show everything I could show. Whether that's receiver or running back, whatever the coaches called on me to do, I left it all out there and it was a blessing to be able to play here and spend this time in training camp."

Jacob Hollister, Tight End

*(On his experience this preseason) *
"Every game was just a learning experience. The past couple of games I spent a lot more time on special teams, but you have guys like Rob [Gronkowski] and Dwayne [Allen] going in there who you can just learn and watch. Every single game that I've had is just such a learning experience and it's been awesome."

*(On playing special teams) *
"I did a lot of it [in college], but just not in games because I was playing so many reps at tight end for our team. I was always experienced in that area and it's something that I love to do. It's something I look forward to doing a lot more of… as a tight end in general, if you're not that top guy you really need to make it clear that you're good on special teams. I feel like that's something I can do and I look forward to it."

Ted Karras, Guard

(On playing in the fourth preseason game)
"That's part of the job. This time of the year is hectic, but we're paid to play and when we're told to play, we play, and everything else is out of our hands, so that's how you've got to approach it. If you start doing mental gymnastics in your head, you're going to drive yourself crazy.

(On the play of QB Jacoby Brissett)
"Man, I love playing with Jacoby Brissett. He's a guy who comes to work every day and he's a guy I respect a great deal. We're in the same class, we've worked a lot together and I'm really happy for him."

*(On the game) *
"We all worked really hard tonight. It didn't swing our way at the end, but that's a fun game. That's pretty good entertainment for the fourth preseason game for everybody so I'm happy about that."

Devin Lucien, Wide Receiver

*(On his performance) *
"I thought it went OK. It's that time of the season where you start to figure out the reality of the situation. They [the NFL] pushed back the cut date, so you get kind of lost in everything, thinking that you're going to be here the whole time, but you really don't know. I hope I was able to put on a good performance this last game."

*(On if he thinks he did enough to make the team) *
"That's up to Bill [Belichick]. That's a Bill question. I hope I did. A lot went into this game. A lot went into this preparation. I was able to have a good game. Jacoby [Brissett] put the ball there, the line did a great job of blocking – a lot went into me having the kind of game I had, so hats off to all of those guys. I hope they make the team just as much as I do."

*(On his time on the practice squad last year and what that experience has taught him) *
"I was able to learn a lot. I played with Malcolm Mitchell, Julian Edelman – what happened [to him] sucked. Danny [Amendola], I got to play with those guys and I got to learn from them for a year and that really helped my game. Going through this game, it started kind of slow for me and Danny was always there saying, 'Just keep patient, everything is going to work out.' It ended up working out and I'm just really blessed."

*(On what he hopes coaches will see in his game film from tonight) *
"I just hope they see someone who improved throughout camp. I was able to put together some good practices and it just never really clicked in the game for me for whatever reason. Hats off to the coaches - they called a great game, too. I'm just happy I was able to do my role. We didn't even come out with a win though, so that's the biggest part of us playing. People get caught up in getting cut and we help ourselves for staying here by winning the game, too. That didn't get accomplished."

*(On Jacoby Brissett's progression from last year to this year) *
"I think that has a lot to do with him being here [learning] under Tom [Brady] for a year. I think that had a lot to do with that. Not only him, all of us got better throughout the year. D.J. [Foster] made strides in his game. I feel like I was able to make strides, Jacoby [made strides], all of us were able to work with what we had to do last year and all of us got better. I was excited about it."

James O'Shaughnessy, Tight End

(On his performance)
"Every preseason game, especially with the time I missed, is important. Every rep matters, every play matters. I like the strides I made, but obviously there are things I need to improve on. Overall, I'm very happy I got a chance to play this preseason with the Patriots. I learned a lot."

(On the importance of playing special teams)
"I think anybody who's a fringe player knows how important special teams is. If you're not a major contributor on offense or defense, you've got to make your mark somewhere in a game and contribute to the team somewhere and usually that's in the special teams realm. I'm very fortunate I've had success there. I need to continue to improve and get better in that facet and keep being an asset."

(On the team chemistry)
"[Austin ] Carr and Jacoby [Brisssett] played a great game, [as did] Devin Lucien, our whole offensive line and D.J. Foster. We had a good week of preparation so we felt good about the game plan and felt good about the guys out there working with each other. We had great chemistry out there tonight. Unfortunately, we didn't get the win, but did some really good things out there."

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