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New England Patriots Postgame Transcripts 9/18

BILL BELICHICK, HEAD COACH

BB: Well, it's always good to win at home, good to win in the division. I thought our team did a lot of things well today. Obviously, there was a big momentum shift there at the end of the third, start of the fourth quarter. But in the end I thought we made enough plays to win just barely, but we'll take it and move on. Obviously, [we have] a quick week here for Houston coming up. We know they're a real good football team. I think today we got a lot of good performances from a lot of different people; our offensive line, our running game, receivers, both quarterbacks, four turnovers on defense, made some big plays on special teams for field position. I give Miami credit. They certainly fought hard and came back but in the end we were just able to make enough plays to win. [It's] good to get this one and we'll move on.

Q: Can you talk a bit about the fast start that your offense got out to?

BB: Yeah, we had good complementary football. We drove the ball down, scored, and then we had plays on defense, got the ball back, set up good field positon for the offense. They took advantage of it, so we worked well together as an entire team. [We] played off of each other and that's the way that we want to play. We did a good job finishing in the red zone which we didn't do as well last week, so being able to get those balls in for touchdowns, to get those drives into the end zone for touchdowns was of course big for us, like it always is.

Q: How did Jacoby Brissett perform coming off of the bench and how will you proceed on a short week handling the uncertainty at the quarterback position?

BB: We'll do whatever we think is best for the team. Yeah, Jacoby - look, he's been working for this for a long time, all the way back into the spring, all the way through training camp. He's gotten a lot of reps. He did a good job; pressure situation, played two and a half quarters and he did a good job for us.

Q: What did you see on the play where Jimmy Garoppolo got hit by Kiko Alonso?

BB: Not much.

Q: Can you talk about Martellus Bennett and his efforts today playing with both quarterbacks?

BB: Yeah, I mean he obviously made some big plays for us. I think probably the best thing he did was block. We were running outside quite a bit, running to the edge, and he did a real good job on that. [He] made some plays in the passing game; catches, run-after-catch, and blocking. He did a real good job for us.

Q: How would you have proceeded at the quarterback position if Jacoby Brissett had gotten injured?

BB: We would've done what we thought was best depending on the situation maybe.

Q: What are your thoughts on the offense's final drive where they were able to kill some clock and put you into a position to potentially add another score?

BB: Yeah, they chewed up a lot of time. They chewed up timeouts. They put us in position to make it a two-score game. But we had to take the ball away at the end there to secure it, so we didn't quite get the execution that we needed across the board.

Q: What is your reaction to the injury that Jimmy Garoppolo sustained?

BB: Yeah, I don't know yet so we'll just take it day to day.

Q: What are your thoughts on the tempo and what Miami was able to do in the fourth quarter?

BB: It's about what we expected. We expected them to go mainly 11-personnel and be pretty much in their two minute offense, which is what they did. We need to play better on defense, obviously. It goes without saying. Coach better, play better.

Q: What stood out to you in the second half that may have contributed to the struggles that your defense had?

BB: We've got to coach better and we've got to play better. We've just got to do a better job.

MATTHEW SLATER, WIDE RECEIVER

Q: Can you give us a feel for what the mood is across the team after this victory?

MS: Anytime you can win a game in the division, you're really excited about it. We knew that this team was going to play us tough for 60 minutes. Obviously, we jumped out to a lead, but they played hard and fought themselves back into the game. We're just happy to come away with the 'W' and our focus has to shift quickly to Thursday night's game against Houston. 

Q: How do you think the guys responded to Jimmy Garoppolo going out with an injury and Jacoby Brissett stepping in?

MS: Obviously, it was a tough situation, but I think Jacoby [Brissett] handled the moment well. I think he's done a great job of preparing himself, and he got in there, he was able to make some plays with his legs, he was able to move the chains, and I think that the front played well. Marty [Martellus Bennett], the [offensive] line, James Develin, Clay [Harbor] - they all blocked well and we were able to run the ball there at the end and run some time off the clock. LeGarrette [Blount] played well, carried the ball well, so I think it was a good team effort across the board. You hate to see Jimmy [Garoppolo] sustain an injury, obviously, but we had to do what we had to do. 

Q: How good is this receiver group as a whole in regards to run blocking?

MS: I think it's something that Chad O'Shea, our receivers coach, has done a great job of instilling in our games. We're going to go out there and compete in the run game, and every guy that we have in that room is willing to go out there and get dirty and block hard because we know it's best for the football team. Whoever it is that's out there, you're going to give max effort, you're going to stick your nose in there and try to do what's best for the team, and I think we did a good job of that today across the board.

Q: What have you seen from Jacoby Brissett during your time with him as a leader and as a player?

MS: I think Jacoby [Brissett] has a great deal of maturity for a young player. Maybe it's the position, those guys tend to be a little bit more on top of things when they first get in the building, but I think he's done a great job of learning. Coach [Bill] Belichick has said from the start, we understood the situation with Tom [Brady], and he said Jimmy [Garoppolo] and Jacoby [Brissett] both have to be ready. Obviously, we didn't foresee it happening like that, but he was ready to go when his number was called, and as I said earlier, I don't think the moment was too big for him, and I think that's a tribute to the way that he's prepared himself from the time he stepped in this building. He's spent a lot of time with our coaches, and they've done a good job getting him ready.

Q: Can you play quarterback and how does the team get ready in four days with one quarterback?

MS: I absolutely cannot play quarterback, so we'll get that clear, even though I was 1-for-1 in high school. But that's something that Coach [Bill Belichick] is going to have to handle. That's his role, as far as what our plan is moving forward. We just have to get ready with the guys that are in there. Obviously, Jacoby [Brissett] has to be ready to go. We're praying for the best with Jimmy [Garoppolo] hoping that he can bounce back, but our coaching staff has done a great job of preparing this team over the years. I've seen it time and time again, so hopefully we can rise to the occasion and be ready to go on Thursday. 

Q: Can you talk about the reps you've been getting at wide receiver despite predominantly being a special teams player?

MS: I really appreciate the faith that Coach [Bill] Belichick and Coach [Josh] McDaniels and Chad O'Shea, and all the offensive position coaches have placed in me over my time here. Obviously, it's not mystery what my role is on this team and that's obviously my number one priority, but as I've said over the years that I've been here as a professional, you have to be ready to go. I sit in that receiver room and my role is limited over there, but when they call my number, I have to try to be ready to go. I've always prided myself on knowing the offense and going out there and practicing hard when I get the opportunity. As I said, I'm thankful that Coach Belichick and Coach McDaniels have enough faith in me to put me out there.

Q: What kind of emotion do you see in a situation like Jimmy Garoppolo's when he sustained an injury after stepping in for Tom Brady and playing as well as he did?

MS: It's very tough. I know Jimmy [Garoppolo] has worked so hard to get himself ready to go and he's put himself in a great position to seize his moment, so to speak, and it's tough to see that, so you really feel for the guy. I think any time you're on a team and have a personal relationship with a guy and you know the work that he's put in, and to see a guy sustain an injury, it's tough. It's tough. I think that's something, as you said, you kind of take for granted; injuries, injury reports. But that's a guy that's dealing with a situation he's got to deal with day in and day out any time you sustain an injury, and there are a lot of emotions that play into that. We're praying for Jimmy, hoping for the best, and he definitely has our support. 

Martellus Bennett, TE

(On Jacoby Brissett's first career completion to him and his stiff arm run after) 
"I talk to Jacoby a lot, you know? I actually rode here with him today. I was just trying to make plays, really. I feel like one of the best things I do when I get the ball in my hands is making things happen. We ran it earlier; we took a shot down the field and kind of got the same result. We came back to it later on in the game and it was still open again and that one we were able to complete and get moving down the field."

(On catching the touchdown pass) 
"I'm a blue collar football player. Whether it's a 5-yard pass and you break two tackles and get 8 yards, whatever it is, that's what I do so. Man, I'm just here to play football and have fun. I'm just having a lot of fun right now with these guys. I love my teammates. I love the coaches. I love this environment and these fans and, for me that's all it's really about, just going out there and doing the things I love to do, and have fun doing it. I haven't had this much fun in a long time in the NFL and I think it's making a big difference for me. Because when it's fun, it's much easier to go out there and play."

(On being a multi-faceted tight end) 
"Yeah, I mean, one of the things they say is the more you can do, the more they'll use you on the field. So I just tried to show them that I could do everything whether it's pass, block, pick up blitzes, you know, catch the ball, outside inside. Whatever it is, I just try to show them that I'm able to do every single thing that I can possibly do to so that way I could be on the field."

LeGarrette Blount, RB

(On carrying workload after Jimmy Garoppolo injury) 
"I just try my best to work hard. Make sure I seize every opportunity that I get. Do everything I can that is going to work out best for the team. And I made sure I did my job. The offensive line played amazing, they're going to continue to do that, I'm sure. They opened up a lot of big holes for me to run through."

(On the hurdle down the left sideline) 
"I mean, it's not magic, you know? It's just instinctive, you know? If a guy is going to hit you in your legs, you know I'm a big guy. You're going to either have to go over them, or go through them. Obviously, I can't get as low as he can, so…"

(On the team's great job offensively on the ground) 
"My offensive line did an amazing job. They're great. They worked hard. They've done everything they've needed to do to make sure they can go out there and perform and do their assignments correctly and when they do that, it's easy to run behind them."

Jacoby Brissett, Quarterback

(On if today was a good example of why it is important to prepare as a starter) 
"Definitely.  Preparation is the key for us going forward."

(On how he felt out there today) 
"I felt prepared and did enough for us to secure the win."

(On preparation with Jimmy Garoppolo during the last few weeks) 
"Just preparing since I got here, when I got drafted, and just taking one day at a time."

(On reaction to seeing Garoppolo injury)
"He's a great guy and I hope he's well but you just got to, when it's time to go, you just got to make sure you're ready to go and hopefully get him back."  

(On reflection of his performance)
"You know, did enough to win and obviously got to get better, but enough to, we did a great job on all phases of the game that helped lead to this victory."  

(On quick turnaround for game on Thursday)
"Just got to go and prepare and go out there and do my job."  

Julian Edelman, Wide Receiver

(On the reaction to the win)
"It's a good team win. Any time you get a divisional win, it's big. We'll have to see them again. We've got a short week ahead of us, so we've got to turn the page and get ready for Houston."

(On the injury to Jimmy Garoppolo)
"It's unfortunate, but Jacoby [Brissett] came in and he handled it pretty well. It's great to see that when we had to score and we had to get some points and we had to move the ball, we were able to do that. We could have done a little better on third down and we have to take care of the football. But thankfully our defense got some turnovers for us."

(On preparing to come into the game as the fourth-string quarterback)
"Nah. I was just focused on catching the ball and getting my eyes dialed in."

Chris Hogan, Wide Receiver 

(On Jacoby Brissett playing well) 
"Shout out to our offensive line, you know, for handling all those guys out front. That was a big part of our, you know, going into this week, was handling those guys up front and those guys did an incredible job all day, you know, and I think that we were moving forward the entire day and LeGarrette [Blount] and James [White], they all ran the ball really well today and that was a huge part of our success."

Chris Long, Defensive End

(On the tempo changing during the 3rd quarter) 
"I mean sure, they're a good football team. They're capable of getting out there and playing fast and changing up the tempo. And that puts stress on a defense. Any time a team like that with playmakers is able to push the tempo, I'm sure, you know, it makes things a little tougher. But, I though guys at the end of the day, we made a play to win the game. And that's the bottom line is like, it's really hard to win football games and especially with a great team like that on offense that has a lot of weapons and putting that pressure on us with the tempo and we responded at the end and made a play to win the game."

(On the talk of the defense after Jimmy Garoppolo went down) 
"It's next man up and our offense was doing such a good job and they continue to do a pretty good job. I mean, Jacoby Brissett did a really admirable job filling in, that's tough on a young kid like that. But, he just had a mentally and a mindset and he's had a mentality and a mindset preparing that he's ready to play. So we were confident in him and we just had to go out there and hold up our end of the bargain and we didn't always do that. But we'll fix those things and it's a short week and we got to fix them in a hurry.

Devin McCourty, Safety

(On reserve players filling in for starters)
"We've got a lot of guys that are chomping at the bit to get out there and show they can play, so it's always a next-man-up mentality and guys showed that today."

(On the team's performance despite losing players to injury)
"That's why it's a true team game, complementary football. Even the drive at the end of the game, we didn't get any points, but that was big. We got them to us all their timeouts and we moved the ball down the field, so it showed up big at the end of the game."

(On whether the team let up in the second half because they're human)
"We're not humans, we're robots [laughs]. We've got to play better. I think for us defensively, it's our mentality [that has to get better.] You never know. You come out here some days and the offense will be hot, other times we have to step up and make some plays. That shows by going out there and being consistent. When you get into touch games, you can rely on consistency. To come out in the second half and not play well shows that it's September and we've still got a lot of work to do."

Joe Thuney, Offensive lineman

(On the performance of quarterback Jacoby Brissett)
"Jacoby is a good player. He came in, had a lot of poise. We play with a next-man-up mentality." 

(On the performance of the offensive line)
"We always just want to go out there and work together and be a physical bunch. We tried to communicate and work together and I think we did that well. The O-line always has a lot of pride when the running back goes over 100 yards, so it's great news. We just want to be physical out there."

(On watching the last play of the game)
"I was just trying to support the defense and trying to do the best I could supporting them. The whole team had their back."

Nate Solder, Tackle 

(On the game) 
"It was good to be a part of that group.  I felt like we did some good things but we're going to have to watch that film because we got a really tough opponent coming and we got to be ready and it's not going to be easy."

(On Jimmy Garoppolo getting injured) 
"You know what, we were all business.  When Jacoby [Brissett] came in and called the play we got to the line and played it as we always do… Well you know you just got to be good, you got to play good, you got to like always, you got to protect, you got to run the ball, we got to do the things that we need to do and I think a little more weight fell on our shoulders for that." 

(On playing for the first time in 11 months) 
"It was very special.  I have a lot of fun playing this game and it's not easy to get out there and I've been through our own struggles but I was really happy to be out there and it was a lot of fun."

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