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Patriots Postgame Quotes - 8/19/2010

New England Patriots players and head coach Bill Belichick comment on their preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on Thursday, August 19, 2010.

Bill Belichick

Opening Statement

"We had a good week down here. We've had really good work against the Falcons on Tuesday and the whole process helped our team. We got to run a lot of plays and added some more to it tonight. We had a chance to really cover some things as a team the last couple of days. We got a few things accomplished this week. Overall it was a good trip. Players stepped up and competed well tonight. The Falcons are a really good team at home. We knew that they would have a lot of energy, which they showed on that first drive. But fortunately we were able to keep them out of the end-zone. We made enough plays to stay up most of the game. It's good to get this one behind us. We move onto more of a regular week, with St. Louis and our last two pre-season games. Overall the players stepped up and played competitively tonight. We had a good effort and again a good week. A good three days, we got a lot done. But we still have a lot to do. However, I feel good about the way the players work and what we got accomplished this week."

Q:How did RB Fred Taylor look out there tonight?

"All the runningbacks ran pretty well tonight. When Fred hit that draw and bounced through there, it was good to see. But all the runningbacks had long runs at one point or another tonight. Fred has had a good camp and he has been out there everyday. He has worked hard and he is in condition. He looks like he has come a long way."

Q:How important was it to get WR Wes Welker some real action?

"It was the next step but he still has a ways to go."

Q: Did you want to get the ball in WR Wes Welker's hands?

"You can't control that in the passing game. Big thing was to get him in there and let him play a little bit. We talked what was the next step for him this week and he felt good about it. So we put him in there and he played a few plays."

Q:What did you see TE Aaron Hernandez's touchdown catch?

"I couldn't see much because a lot of people were blocking my view in the end-zone."

Q:What have you seen overall from the tight-ends and them helping the team's balance?

"They have a long way to go. Clearly TE Alge Crumpler is the most experienced and he makes a lot of good decisions. He has been through the ropes. He just has to acclimate himself to our system. TE Rob Gronkowski and TE Aaron Hernandez both have shown flashes of good things, but they still have a ways to go. They are working hard to make progress. Like most rookies they are improving from last week to this week, which is good."

Wes Welker, WR

Q: How did the first game back feel?

WW: It felt good getting back out there and making some plays and doing some things out there. It was good to finally get out there.

Q: It was a little bit like rapid fire with you getting three passes in a row.

WW: Yeah, absolutely. I wasn't sure if it was going to happen like that or what, but getting out there and getting to catch the ball and get hit and things like that was good to have and good to see that everything held up all right.

Q: In your mind does this put you past the injury?

WW: It's a step forward. I don't know if we're all there yet or anything like that, but it's a step forward. We got some plays out there and got some contact, which I haven't had this whole time, so it was good to have out there.

Q: Were you a game-time decision or did you come down here knowing you would play?

WW: We didn't really talk about it until the day before the game and even then, we didn't have anything set in stone. But I really wanted to play and really wanted to get out there and get the ball in my hands and try and make some plays out there and kind of get everything out of the way - getting hit and things like that.

Q: Would it be safe to say you are still on target for the season opener?

WW: Whatever the doctors and coaches have planned for me...that's kind of a goal of mine and I want to make sure that I'm giving myself every opportunity to get out there for week one. But at the end of the day it's up to the doctors and the coaches to make sure that I'm ready for all of that.

Q: On the passing attack in general with Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Taylor Price, Brandon Tate and yourself and Randy - that's a lot of weapons. Do you feel confident in the number of guys you can put out there?

WW: Yeah, I think I do feel confident and I think consistency is going to be the main thing for us and going out there and making plays and making sure that we're hitting on all cylinders and everybody is trying to make plays and every time we get the ball in our hands everybody is trying to do something with it. I do feel like we have some weapons but I feel like we have a long ways to go with some of these weapons and making sure that we're going out there on a consistent basis and making plays.

Q: Were there a different kind of pre-game jitters than you've felt before going out there tonight?

WW: It was a little bit different. It's just the uncertainty of, 'All right, here I go. I'm going back out there.' You're hoping for the best and there are some worries in your mind. But once I got out there, all that went away and I was just out there playing. It was good to see.

Q: The hit you took on the screen looked pretty rough. Did that do anything for you as far as, 'Ok, I got hit. Now I'm really playing again?'

WW: Yeah, I think that one looked a little worse than what it really was. He caught me pretty good, but it wasn't too bad. I think the first catch I had was probably the worst of the hits I got tonight. It was good to get those.

Q: At game speed, do you notice the knee brace more?

WW: I mean, it's there. I think it is what it is and I'm working the best I can with it. I will be excited to have it off. I think it does the job it needs to but I'm ready to have it off.

Q: When you say 'have it off' does that mean that's on the horizon?

WW: I don't know. There's no time limit on it or anything like that. Eventually I plan to not be wearing it, but don't know when that's going to be.

Q: What was the route you ran on your first catch that you said was the hardest hit you took?

WW: That was just a little hook route and they played Tampa Two so [I] just turned inside and set in a little hole and proceeded to get hit from about four different directions, so that was nice.

Q: And what was the second one?

WW: That was just a pop pass so we had the run fake there and just trying to wind that corner and get in there and try to get the first down on that play.

Q: How significant were the six plays that you had tonight, in your mind?

WW: I think they're really significant. This is something I've been really working towards and really trying to come back and get back out there on the field. To be able to do it here in the second preseason game is kind of a milestone for me and something I've really been looking forward to and something I worked my tail off to get to this whole offseason. It was pretty significant to get out there and get those reps out there.

Q: Were there days when you said, 'Darn, when am I going to get there?'

WW: You know, I don know. I never really have that mindset. I never really thought like that. There were bad days, but it was never like, 'I'm never going to get back out there' or 'I don't know when this is going to happen.' [I never] really got down on it or anything like that. I kind of just took it one day at a time and the next day it would feel better. You just kind of roll with it and push through those hard days and make sure that you're still working it and ultimately you will get to where you want to be.

Q: After two practices with the Falcons, did that make you more comfortable going out there tonight?

WW: I think anytime you can get out there and get work in you're going to feel more comfortable. I think that was the case this week in being able to get those two practices against these guys and really kind of get comfortable out there and get to go against some different competition. Seeing them in live game action was good for us.

Q: Did anyone say anything to you in the huddle before you went in? I know Tom Brady sometimes says some things in the huddle.

WW: Not really, no. It was just kind of business. It was strictly business and going out there and doing our job and calling the play and everything like that. There weren't any inspirational moments or [anything] touchy-feely like that. It was just playing ball.

Q: Was it important to use the preseason to get over some of the mental challenges guys coming off injuries can face?

WW: Yeah, absolutely. Anytime you get out there in live game action and get those butterflies going, get that feeling, it's good to kind of get in your routine and things like that. The preseason is kind of good for that, even if it is [only] a few plays. It's good to have.

Jerod Mayo, LB

On the play of the first team offense...

"Well, we feel good about ourselves, but there's always room for improvement."

On holding the Falcons to a field goal...

"We did some good things, and there's some things we need to work on. We'll go and watch the film, make the corrections, and then make whatever adjustments we need to against the Rams next week."

On where the defense needs to improve...

"Any time you let a team drive the ball down your throat like they did on their first possession, well, you need to be concerned. There are things that need to be corrected. Those guys did an excellent job of moving the ball. Matt Ryan is a solid quarterback. We watched a little film on him, and we got to see him up close earlier this week. He's a great pocket quarterback."

Brian Hoyer, QB

On his performance:
"Good. It was good to practice for a couple of days and then actually play in a real game and compete against a good team like Atlanta."

On the touchdown pass and the rookie tight ends in general:
"They (Gronkowski and Hernandez) are doing great for young guys. Gronk (Gronkowski) is a big physical guy and he has good speed and can use both to get open. Same thing with Aaron. They are different type guys but I thought they both did a pretty good job tonight."

On using all three tight ends:
"I think that Alge Crumpler has been a great mentor for both of those guys. You see him talking to them all of the time and they are really taking it in and learning from him. Camp is still not over and we still have a lot of stuff to get through. The young guys have a lot learn and mature as they go but you see them making strides all of the time. Its one thing to do it in the practice but to come out here and do it in the game is good to see."

On feeling comfortable in the offense:
"Definitely and I hope that I would be after a year. It's so valuable to go out and do it in a game. It's one thing to practice it and learn from Tom (Brady) and Coach O'Brien and another to go out and actually do it."

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