PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK"As disappointed as we are that the season is over, I remain very proud of this team."
HEATH EVANS, RUNNING BACK
(On the frustration of having an 11-5 record and not making it to the playoffs)
It is definitely a little different. I think you come out four straight games in December where you've won and you have won in a decisive fashion. It is tough, but you look at all the good things that came out of the season, everything we overcame from week one and then losing Rodney [Harrison], losing Adalius [Thomas] and losing Laurence [Maroney]. I am proud of this team. I am proud of this coaching staff. We would love to keep playing, but you have to [hold] your head high and just keep going.
(On when the team found out it was official that they did not make the playoffs)
We were all watching. The plane has the little TV screens on it and we saw the Jets not helping us out.
(On updates on the 4 o'clock games)
I think the course of the game as you saw the statistics roll by each and every 5-10 minutes and you started to see it go downhill. The Baltimore game got out of hand so fast. But, this is the game we play. Hopefully we will get better from it somehow, some way.
(On having other teams with worse records make the playoffs)
It is the way the system is set up. People complained about the BCS for years. I don't think there is going to be a cure. You are going to have different division winners with different records. The AFC East was a tough division this year with some good teams. You can't say enough about the Dolphins doing what they have done this year and coming so far in a year. So, hopefully they will represent this conference well and the division well and go far.
(On if you can compare last season to this season)
No. Definitely not. I think week one we lose Tom [Brady] and Bill [Belichick] said we were going to ride Matt Cassel this far. Obviously, you never expect to be 11-5 and sitting home in January, but that's the case. Every season is so different and you try to compare an 18-1 season to an 11-5 season, that's not a good comparison.
(On being proud to be a member of the Patriots)
Always. Always. I am glad to put that helmet on week in and week out. I am glad to be under this particular coaching staff from Bill all the way down. We played a way down the stretch that I think every Patriot player could be proud of and we did what we could do and that's all you really can do. 11-5 is a great year in the NFL. It is hard enough to win one game much less 11.
SAMMY MORRIS, RUNNING BACK
(On disappointment that the season is over)
It's just that, it's a disappointment. Toward the end of the season, we did our part. I wish we could have won some [more] games earlier in the year, but it is what it is.
(On being 11-5)
Guys fought hard all year. We had tons of injuries and we were pretty much able to overcome those, but, again, it's not quite enough.
(On the amount of injuries the Patriots suffered this season)
Obviously injuries are a part of the game. I don't remember this many to that many people over the course of the season, but regardless of what it is, we understand that it's part of the game and that's something we have to overcome.
(On the 11-5 record)
11-5 is a good record. Obviously not good enough. It is what it is. We had a pretty good year, but not good enough.
(On whether there is more pride or disappointment)
Both. I think at the start of the year everyone's goal is to win the Super Bowl. I don't think we started off saying we wanted to be 11-5 or whatever. We want to win the Super Bowl. 11-5 on paper is a good record, but, again, it's not good enough.
*(On being stunned *
It's been kind of a rollercoaster of emotions winning that game and getting out of the shower and having to get on the plane and wait to see what happened with the Jets game. It was kind of a high and a low in a matter of hours.
*(On the team not being able to control their own destiny) *
It's difficult. The last part of the season we did our part. [We were] undefeated in December. That's when playoff teams really make their push. We did our part toward the end, but that is part of having to rely on other teams.
Lamont Jordan, Running Back
(On the team's performance down the stretch and how the running game came together)
I am definitely happy with how we finished down the stretch. The biggest disappointment is looking back on the games that we lost and me being injured so much. I kind of feel like I let the team down, looking back on it. That's just me being a competitor. We finished strong. After our last lost, we knew that we needed to win the rest of our games to even have a shot. We knew if we lost one more game we would be finished. I think it showed the focus of the team. I think it showed how committed we were to wining.
(On the offense)
The offensive line did a great job all year long. I think you have to give Josh [McDaniels] a lot of credit as well, just the way we mixed up so many different runs and the way we kept teams off balance. Things didn't end the way we wanted, but we finished strong.
(On his first season with the Patriots)
Before I came here, I began to grow a great deal of respect for the organization and just how the guys were so consistent in how they played. Now, wearing this uniform, sitting in meetings and being part of this organization, I know why they have the Super Bowl rings that they have. I know why they went undefeated last [regular] season. As a guy who's been in the league for eight seasons, this organization is one that I have a great deal of respect for.