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New England Patriots Postgame Transcripts 9/30

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick and select players comment on their 38-7 win over the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, September 30, 2018.


Postgame Press Conference
September 30, 2018

BB: I thought we got what we needed from our team today. The players, coaches, did a great job this week – the coaching staff. We got a lot of good leadership from our players and they responded today. We got contributions from pretty much everybody, every unit, every phase of the team. It's what we need and what we needed. Give them all the credit. We made enough plays to win in all of the areas. Now we're looking at a short week here. We'll have to go back and try to do it again, but it's good to see our team respond the way that they did today. I thought they really played hard, played well. Hopefully we can do it again.

Q: Devin McCourty just told us that the coaching staff preached all week about flying around with more energy on defense. What kind of energy did you see from the defense early in this game?

BB: Yeah, there were a lot of good things. We played the running game fairly well, created some long-yardage situations, played third down fairly well, played third down offensively well, ran the ball offensively. All of those things played into positive situations that we were able to take advantage of. Yeah, we had good effort. Again, Miami's got a lot of speed. They have a lot of weapons on the field. I thought our defensive players did a really good job of handling that and pursuing and trying to keep some of those fast guys to limit the space as much as possible.

Q: What did you see from Josh Gordon in his debut with you today?

BB: Yeah, as I said, I thought we got contributions from a lot of people; everybody. It's good to have all of the guys out there and good to have them all contributing.

Q: What differences did you see in Sony Michel's performance today that allowed him to have success versus his contributions in the previous games?

BB: Well, we did a lot of things better today than we did the past two weeks, so I think it's a combination of everything. Each player, all of the other players with them, our overall operation functioned as a unit. We just all performed at a higher level, which we needed to do.

Q: As a coach, do you appreciate seeing your team respond to adversity? Does this show you what kind of a foundation you can build with this team?

BB: Yeah, sure. Look, every team is going to face adversity over the course of the season. It's going to be more than one time, too. We'll all get challenged on this. We'll get challenged again. I'm sure it'll probably be many times. Certainly have a big challenge this week with the short week and Indianapolis and all that, but we'll have to respond a lot. Today was a good example. There were some not-so-good examples earlier in the year. We'll see how it goes.

Q: How good was it to see your team both stop the run and run the ball well today?

BB: Yeah, that's always good to see that. Gets us out of some long-yardage situations offensively and then created some long-yardage situations defensively that made our third-down defense a little bit – well it made third-down conversions more difficult for Miami. So yeah, that's always a good thing.

Q: Offensively, you were outstanding on third down and in the red zone today. Was that a big emphasis this week?

BB: It's a big emphasis every week, but yeah, we did a good job on it this week. But yeah, I mean believe it or not we emphasize it every week. I know it didn't look like it at times in the past. Yeah, again, trying to keep those situations to not third-and-double digits is always a good thing. Our offensive line did a good job. This is a very good pass-rushing team. We had receivers get open. Tom [Brady] made some great throws, some good catches, ran after the catch, broke some tackles, made some yards after the catch. Just overall it was a higher level of execution and it's what we needed. Those guys did a good job.

Q: With respect to the run defense, how do you explain that higher level of execution from what you've seen the previous weeks?

BB: We performed better; yeah.

Q: Can you talk about the contributions of James White and Sony Michel today and how those two complement each other well?

BB: Well, we've had good backs around here. We have good backs. I think they can all be productive. [Kenjon] Barner had a few carries. Rex [Burkhead] has been productive for us. We've had production from those guys this year and in previous years, so we'll see how it goes. But yeah, it's great when we can everybody contributing, which we had today. We had a lot of different people make errors running the ball, make errors receiving, blocking, playing defense, making tackles, covering kicks, returning kicks and so forth. It was a good complementary game. Again, we got contributions from every unit and just about every player.

Q: Can you talk about Cordarrelle Patterson's touchdown? What did you see on that play?

BB: It was a great call by Josh [McDaniel]; well-executed. They were in man-to-man coverage. There was traffic on the play. Cordarrelle was open. Tom made a great throw and Cordarrelle is very hard to tackle in the open field and made a great run. It was a timely call against the right situation. It was well-executed. Great players make great plays. Cordarrelle is a great player with the ball in his hands. Tom saw it and put it right on him. Tom made a great throw to James White for the touchdown. I mean, great players make great plays so we had a few of those today.

Q: After a big win like this, is it easier to move on with a short week coming up as opposed to coming off of a loss?

BB: We try to do it the same every week. There are always things to correct that happened in the game to talk about. Either re-inforce the good things, correct the mistakes, whatever it is and then turn the page and move on to the next team. So in this case we just have to move on quicker but there are still some things that came up today that we need to address or they'll come up again and we'll move on to the next challenge, which in this case is the short week and the Colts. It's a team we don't know very well at all. They have a lot of new players. This is a new coaching staff with a lot of new players from the last time we played them. There's hardly anybody that's on that team from the last time we played them. We'll have a lot of work to do there. As you said, it's a short week. So that's our challenge this week. I don't know about harder or easier or whatever it is. It's hard to be preparing for the Colts because we don't have much time and they're a good team and we don't know them very well. That'll be a big challenge for all of us.

Q: What did you do this week to set a tone with the team? The players praised the way that you reset and helped them move forward.

BB: Yeah, the credit goes to the players. We've got great leadership on our team. Like I said, everybody stepped up in all of the different phases. They went out there. They made the plays. They did it on the field today. They deserved to win. They deserved to win because of the way they performed, and so I'm fortunate that we have players like that that were able to take that challenge and respond the way they did on the practice field and the meeting room and then put it out on the field on Sunday. We have a group of hard-working, tough guys and they showed that today.


Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, September 30, 2018

Q: James White and Sony Michel both had 112 total yards today. Was there an effort this week to get James more involved?

TB: I think both those guys did a great job – Sony, and James always does a great job. You know, he played a big role today and it was a big win today. We needed it, and hopefully we can build on it, gain some confidence in some things. You know, it's a quick turnaround, so it's good to win and we've got to get ready to go again here shortly.

Q: Did you even see your touchdown pass to James White? You threw it so high.

TB: I know. I knew where he was running and I knew I didn't have much time to wait for him to get there, so I just tried to flip it up there to the back corner. Right when I let it go, I thought, 'We've got a shot.' And I kind of looked under some legs and saw him put his arms up and make a great catch. So, it was pretty sweet. Those are fun ones.

Q: After a 1-2 start, did you have extra urgency to win this game when you showed up today?

TB: Well, obviously, we haven't played well the last two weeks and we talked a lot about the things we need to do better, and we need to carry them over from week to week. So, this game's great, but you've got to turn the page once you learn from it and you get focused on the next game. You build on things you didn't do well, you understand what they did well, and some other teams are going to see that too. It's a long process. It's a long season. We've only played four out of the 16. Hopefully, we're a lot better in October than we were in September, and we're going to need it because we face some good competition. This was one that we really talked about and tried to get on track and got off to a fast start and played from ahead, which most teams that play from ahead end up winning.

Q: What did it take to get Josh Gordon on board for today's game?

TB: He's put in a lot of work, a lot of time trying to understand where to line up and what to do, and he came up with some big plays today. He kind of got us going in certain areas. Everyone played pretty good who was out there today, so it was great to have him out there.

Q: What was it like having some of the newcomers, like Gordon, Michel and Cordarrelle Patterson, have a big impact today?

TB: Yeah, that's what you need. I mean, if you lose guys, you've got to get the guys who come in to make plays and impact the game. They did that. C.P. made some plays, Josh made plays, Hogs [Chris Hogan] didn't have many opportunities but made some, Phil [Dorsett] didn't have as many opportunities but made some. The backs did great. So, it's going to take everybody. I mean, it's a long season. Everyone's going to have to play a big role.

Q: What did you think of the way Sony Michel ran the ball today?

TB: I mean, really hard and broke some runs out there. I mean, that's a stout defense, and we needed the run game to break some of those. So, I thought the line did a great job up front making some holes and it was a great day.

Q: Did you feel that the way the defense played, especially in the first half, allowed you to get on track offensively?

TB: Yeah, they did a great job and I think they didn't give up many third downs – maybe one or two today. I mean, any time you play like that – I mean, we've been on the other end of that the last couple weeks where we didn't do well on third down and we're not out there and the other defense is out there, and I mean, that's tough to play that way. But, they made some great plays when we needed it, too, and it was great to see them play that way. And, you're right. Complementary football is what we've always tried to play here. You play smart, you get a lead, you play field position when you can and make the most of opportunities when you get them. That's why we came out victorious.

Q: How excited are you to have Julian Edelman back tomorrow?

TB: You know, it will be great to have him. I mean, we haven't seen him in four weeks, but I know he'll be ready. And it's a short week, so I'm sure he'll be in here ready to go. Everyone loves Jules and loves having him back.

Q: On the first interception today, what happened on the pass to Phillip Dorsett? Were you surprised to see Bobby McCain switch on that route?

TB: Yeah, that was a really good play. I mean, I haven't seen that happen in a long time and just got to learn from it. But, it was a good defensive play.

Q: The last two weeks, you have said that you need to not just talk about playing better but actually execute better. Did you continue pushing that message this week, and if so, what do you think got it through?

TB: Well, I think it's more than – you know, obviously, you can talk about a lot, but it's what you do. What you say is important, but what you do is more important. And, I think we've got to do more doing and less saying and just get the job done. We did a good job of that today. This team was 3-0. They played well, and big division game for us at home. It was great to win it.

Q: When you were 1-2 and not playing well, is it a confidence thing?

TB: Well, I think anytime you're not playing well, you've got to gain your confidence back. You get it from doing it and building trust in each other, and Josh [McDaniels] talks about it lot – you know, building one play and being in the right spot and learning from it. When those build up over the course of a practice and over the course of a week and into a game, I think that everyone gains confidence. So, today's a big one to build on, and it's a short week and we've got a quick turnaround and get ready to try to go beat the Colts.


Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, September 30, 2018

Q: How important was what you guys did early defensively to allow Tom Brady and the offense to get started?

DM: Yeah, I said that during the week. It was just time for us to play as a team. We get a three-and-out – even though we only got three points but the offense being on the field, driving down, taking time off of the clock allows us to sit on the bench, talk about the first drive, what happened, what we need to do, what we expect and then we get back on the field, we get back off the field, they get – So we get a turnover in their territory and we score right away. It allows you to not play great but to complement each other and take advantage of that where we go score before the half, we get the – all of those little things add up I think to playing good team football.

Q: What have you seen from Josh Gordon lately and were you surprised by his performance today?

DM: No, hard-working guy. He's come in, he's quietly just gone out there and worked every day. Kind of just does whatever he has to do to get on the field and as far as being surprising, I mean I saw him in another jersey and he was tough to play against so he's one of those guys that when you get him, you're happy he's on your team.

Q: Talk about squaring things off and getting back to basics this week and also the play of your brother, Jason McCourty. I thought he looked really comfortable out there today.

DM: Yeah, I think that's been the key to us. No panic. Tom [Brady] just said as he was going into the shower, 'It's a great feeling to be 2-2.' You don't come in expecting or wanting to be 2-2 to start the season but I thought the way we just battled the whole week. Guys coming out, Bill [Belchick] talked about practicing harder, flying around, guys not feeling sorry for themselves and I thought we did that and I thought that led us to coming out here and playing well defensively. I think the more we play together, the more comfortable we get. I thought – like you said, the same thing last year in the secondary. The more we play together, the season went on, we looked a lot more comfortable, flying around, making plays. Short week, we've got to turn around and get that done again Thursday night.

Q: How much was this a statement game for the AFC East and for yourselves?

DM: I thought it was more for ourselves to go out there and get a win. We talk about playing Patriot football, we talk about complementing each other and we just, we weren't doing it. I think you need that as a team to go do it and know that we're playing well, we can do this and I think that's big for us. I thought we did a good job of starting fast and then just keep going and playing hard.

Q: A lot of criticism after last week's game was the defense looked slow. Did you think the defense looked slow today?

DM: I guess you guys will watch it again and evaluate and tell us if we were fast or slow. But I think we did a good job of playing how we wanted to play today. Each week it will be like that. We'll have to different things to stop what teams do well. This was a team that had a lot of speed on the field, we had to try to match that and play fast. So it was a good job. But I'm sure by Wednesday, you'll have something for me if we played fast or slow.


Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, September 30, 2018

Q: Can you talk about the performance of the running backs today?

JW: We wanted to come out, start fast, get the run game started. Sony [Michel] was running hard, the offensive line opened up good holes and we just wanted to start fast and play a four-quarter football game. I think we did that pretty well today.

Q: What element does Sony bring to the offense when he's really clicking?

JW: He's a tough runner, he can catch the ball, he can block, he can pretty much do it all. I mean, he missed preseason, so he didn't get a lot of those reps. So, the more he plays, the better he'll get, and he wanted to come out there and attack the day from the first play. He played really well.

Q: He runs with a lot of power, doesn't he?

JW: He does. He may not look like the biggest guy, but he runs with his pads down and he gets those extra yards.

Q: How was the message of getting off to a fast start delivered all week? We heard it after both of the last two games. Was it Tom Brady or someone else that pushed that message, and why do you think it got through?

JW: I think everybody just attacked this week with a sense of urgency from the first day of practice, from watching the film from the previous week, and I think guys just had energy in practice and it carried over into the game. I mean, that's what it's supposed to be like.

Q: Can you talk about the importance of the chunk plays you guys got today, especially on the run?

JW: Well, you definitely have to make those chunk plays. It's hard to drive the ball with 15-play drives every single time when you're playing against good defenses. So, when they give us the opportunity to make plays down the field or in the running game, you've got to make it, get through the hole and make the safeties miss and make big plays. I think we had a couple of those today.

Q: Can you take us through the 22-yard touchdown run? It's not too often that a running back goes untouched from that far out in the NFL.

JW: Just a little power play from the gun. Just followed [Joe] Thuney, there wasn't really a hole there, I kind of just peaked left. It was just Robert Quinn standing there. I made him miss and Josh Gordon had a good block blocking the corner and made just a good play.

Q: Was there an emphasis in practice this week on being more physical off the line and the running game, in particular?

JW: There's always an emphasis for us to be the toughest and most physical team out there. I think guys just wanted to do that today. Like I said, it started with the run game. The offensive line did a great job being physical against a good defense that is playing very well this season. So, I think, hopefully if we can just keep that going.

Q: Your touchdown run came immediately after Kyle Van Noy's fumble recovery. It seemed like the defense, especially in the first quarter, gave you guys time to get going offensively. Did you see it that way?

JW: Yeah, they definitely played a great football game. When they get those stops, we have to turn them into points. When they get turnovers, we've got to turn it into points. We played a complementary football game – something that we stress every single week – and like I said, hopefully we can continue to do that.

Q: This was a big division game. How big of an opportunity for you guys was this to show what you're made of?

JW: It was good for us to come out and play a tough, four-quarter football game against a division team that is playing very well. I mean, we'll see those guys again. So, I think we had a good performance today. We'll watch the film, correct it. It's a short week to get ready for the Colts, so everybody has to heal up and get ready to go again.

Q: Can you take us through the touchdown pass from Brady?

JW: Yeah, I mean, just a good play call by Coach [Josh] McDaniels – got the proper route. I mean, I think Tom got hit pretty hard on that play, but he just put it in the perfect spot. I just found the ball, made sure I got my feet down. Just a great play call. We've been working on that and then good to see it executed.

Q: You and Sony both had 112 total yards today. Do you feel like you could be a special 1-2 combination?

JW: I mean, it's not just us. Even when Rex [Burkhead] is in there and Kenjon [Barner] is in there, we have a good group of guys that are very versatile, can catch, block and run the football. So, I mean, one week it may be one of us. One week, it may be two of us. I mean, you never really know how it's going to go. We just try and make the most of our opportunities and try to help this offense go.


Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, September 30, 2018

Q: How good did it feel to get on the field today, and what did it take to get to the point that you were ready today?

JG: It took a lot of effort and time and work put in studying. All around, just a concerted effort from the training staff and what I could do on my end and try to make it work. But, it was an awesome experience and I really enjoyed it and a great opportunity.

Q: How welcome is this opportunity for you after what you've been through in Cleveland? How convinced are you that you're going to be able to keep things moving forward as they were today?

JG: I have no doubt I'm going to take advantage of this opportunity. I'm more than blessed. I'm extremely grateful to be put in this scenario. I think the only thing right for me to do is take full advantage of it. I'm loving it, I'm enjoying it, the guys here are great, it's a real home environment and I feel as comfortable as ever here. It's awesome.

Q: You caught that 19-yard pass from Tom Brady, and Tom came over and celebrated with you. How did that feel?

JG: I mean, it's awesome, just period, catching a pass from Tom at any point in time. He's been rooting for me, and it's been awesome to have his support and his love, as well as the rest of the teammates and staff here. You know, Tom's a passionate guy and I love that, and I love the game of football and I think we're going to mesh just fine.


David Andrews, C

(On the game)

"We left a lot of plays out there, so there's a lot we can get better on. There was a couple of penalties there and that's never how we want to play football. At the end of the day, we executed what we needed to do and put together some good drives."

(On the running game)

"We expect to [run the ball well]. We hold ourselves to a pretty high standard and unfortunately we haven't been doing that the past couple of weeks. We put a lot of work in this week in practice and all of that came to a head today."

Adam Butler, DL

(On Miami getting forced into third and long situations)

"That felt really good. My role is mostly on third downs, so it felt really good to be out there and help us get the win."

(On his deflected pass at the end of the second quarter and the importance of taking away momentum)

"It's very important, it's key. You don't want to give up anything. Not defensively, you can't afford it. If someone would have been behind me and caught the ball, they could have run for 80 [yards], they could have run for five [yards], you never know. So plays like that are always good to have."

Phillip Dorsett, WR

(On his touchdown catch right before halftime)

"We called the play, and I knew we were going to get one-on-one backside. And it was a route I'm very familiar with, a route that I like to run. I kind of knew it was coming, and once I saw the ball I just made my best effort to try to catch it."

(On getting the monkey off the team's back)

"I wouldn't say we needed to get the monkey off our back, but we just needed to go out there and play Patriots football, and I think we did that today. I think we left some plays out on the field but like I've said before, everything is fixable and we knew that. So we did a good job at fixing some of those things, but we still got to keep going. It is a long season."

(On if the offense is getting back to where they can be)

"Yeah I mean we've got a long way to go. We see the potential honestly, and we can keep clicking. I feel like a lot of people got involved today, and we needed that. That's what makes a good offense, when the ball is just going everywhere and we needed that. We've got a long way to go, and we can keep going."

(On James White)

"We all know it's no secret that he's an integral part of this offense. When we get him going, and get everyone going, it just opens doors for everybody and makes it kind of tough to pick where the ball is going."

Trey Flowers, DL

(On people starting to count out the Patriots and how they respond)

"We ignore the noise. When you've been hearing it for so long, we know we're all we've got and we understand the guys in here and how hard we work. So we have confidence in how hard we work and the production that we'll put out on the field."

(On making a statement today as a team)

"I think we prepared well as a team, and we were able to come out and execute well and execute the game plan."

(On the importance of early downs on defense)

"It's very important. To get them behind the sticks, get them in a situation where they become one-dimensional and we know what they're going to do. You put them in a backed up situation where it's maybe an obvious pass, we can execute the game plan better."

Duron Harmon, DB

(On why the Patriots played so much better defensively)

"I just think we didn't put ourselves in holes. We were better on first down, and we were better on second and long. The previous games we weren't as good on first down and second and long we weren't good at all, we weren't even making them get to third down. We did everything we talked about doing this week. We controlled the line of scrimmage, the secondary played good, and it helped us get the ball back in our offensive end."

(On if this performance was needed)

"I'd say it was a good start. We'll go and watch the film and there will be some stuff that we need to improve on, but it was definitely a good start to where we want to get to, and where we are headed."

(On the importance of seeing the team's ability to bounce back)

"It's definitely important. You don't want to go out there and play with some people who go into a tank, that's never good. You want people who are mentally tough and can withstand adversity. We have those type of guys here, we were never in a panic mode, we just knew we had to play better and that's what we went out and did today."

Chris Hogan, WR

(On the team's mindset heading into the game)

"We knew that we had to play better, so everyone really worked really hard throughout the week. We were focused on doing our job, the game plan, just getting back to playing Patriots football and firing on all three phases. I feel like today we did that."

(On Josh Gordon's performance)

"Josh is working really hard. He's a good football player with a lot of great skills and he's working really hard at trying to do his job. He's holding himself accountable to learn this offense as quick as he can so that he can go out there on the field."

(On the running game)

"I think that all of the [running] backs did a great job today. Our offensive line did an incredible job up front playing physical. Our backs were able to take advantage of the opportunities that they had. Getting our running game going helped us a lot today."

Shaq Mason, OL

(On game execution)

"We definitely executed better but there is always more room for better execution. Today we liked the results but again we can always be better."

(On today's win)

"Definitely excited but we have a quick turnaround Thursday so we cannot really live on it, we have to go back into it and improve even more."

(On what was done differently this week compared to previous weeks)

"We really honed in on execution. We recognized what we did that was bad and tried to fix it moving forward. This game we knew we were clicking and we had bad plays as well so we definitely have to watch the film and try to execute those aspects better. We felt that we were clicking a lot better than we have previously."

(On the importance of toughness in the game)

"We definitely wanted to establish toughness out there and get the ball rolling fast and start differently than we have previously."

Sony Michel, RB

(On his performance today)

"It's always great to go out there, just play football and the ultimate goal is to go out there and get a win. That's why we play the game."

(On the team getting out to a fast start)

"It started all in practice. Our guys made a good emphasis and coached talked about starting fast. We had to do it in practice and I think we as a [team] did a great job starting fast in practice throughout the week. We did a good job executing our plays and it translated over to the field today."

(On his confidence)

"My teammates do a great job of complimenting me to keep my confidence up. I'm around a great group of guys, so it's amazing. I'm blessed to be around guys like James White, the offensive line and Tom [Brady] and them. It's amazing."

Kyle Van Noy, LB

(On the strip sack)

"I just ran to the ball and got kind of lucky. I guess I wanted it more than he did. I just try to be a heady football player and get to the ball."

(On practice)

"It is a testament to the guys we have here that just work. That is our mindset here and we did that as a team. We are going to do that again moving forward. This is what we like and what we want. Today we got a win, we played good team defense, we played good all around on all three phases and that is what Patriot's football is all about."

(On the sense of urgency improving this game compared to against Detroit and Jacksonville)

"I would say so. I think it is just a mindset and we had the right mindset today."

(On Miami's offense)

"I think we just executed better than they did today. I think they were just frustrated and I would be frustrated, too."

(On the short week prepping for the Colts)

"Rest and recovery all goes into effect. I think we have a veteran group here and we'll be able to help the young guys out. I think we will be alright."

Deatrich Wise Jr, DL

(On defensive improvements)

"Well we stopped the run and stopped the pass. Adam Butler did an awesome job today, not only stopping the run but got a set."

(On playing well)

"It was the energy; the fans brought the energy today. They really came out loud and we came out rolling. We really played together as a team like the Patriots do."

(On how opinions affect the game)

"When we listen to what others say, it really is just noise. Everyone in this locker room stays together and we keep in mind what we have to do. Week in and week out, we start on Monday strong and that's what lead to this game starting strong then finishing strong."

(On the feeling after a win)

"Not so much a sense of relief, but a step in the right direction. We are looking to carry this energy into Thursday's game."

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