Bill Belichick, Head Coach**
BB:I just want to apologize to everybody. I didn't want to hold anybody up here today. I had to spend a few minutes in the training room after the game – nothing serious, just a little thing to look at with the trainers and a doctor. Like I said, I didn't want to hold up everybody's story and all that. This game was an opportunity for us to give some guys that haven't had a lot of playing time an opportunity to play a little bit. You never know how that's going to turn out in the games ahead: who we'll need or when we'll need them. So, get them a little game experience and we also obviously competed against a good team. It was a competitive game. We just couldn't make enough plays, really at any point in the game – the beginning or the end, in any phase of the game to ever really take control of it or be in a position to win it. [I'm] looking forward to moving ahead this week to work on things that we need to work on. Once we find out who we're going to play then obviously we're looking forward to the postseason. We just have to take it as it comes, but certainly there are things that we can do this week that will help us in the long run so we'll try to hit on some of those.
Q:Is it possible you could expand on why you had to go see the trainer?
BB:It's no big deal. I don't want to get into it.
Q:Did the trainer say you were OK?
BB:I'll be all right.
Q:What was your biggest takeaway from the way the first team offense played with Tom Brady in there and two starters missing on the offensive line?
BB:I'd just say overall offensively we just couldn't make enough plays. We missed some opportunities and dropped some balls, had some negative plays, penalties. [We] just didn't really do enough in any area to consistently move the ball. We had one good field position situation that we weren't really able to totally capitalize on. We were three-for-eight on third down in the first half, so that's pretty much – six first downs pretty much sums it up.
Q:Just to clarify – was the training room about you or a player?
BB:No, it was me.
Q:Why is it important to keep Nick Caserio around for as long as you can?
BB:I think Nick does a great job for us. He probably does more than any other person in his position in the league in terms of his amount of responsibility, the number of different things he does on the coaching and the scouting level. He's really a valuable guy that has great working knowledge of really everything that we do on the scouting end and the coaching end. So he's able to really interface with everybody and not only evaluate players, but has a great understanding of our schemes and the coaches and coaching points and so forth – what would fit those, to be able to identify the type of fit that guys have coming in here, or lack of fit as the case would be, whatever it happens to be.
Q:Your team has been trailing at halftime in four of the last five games. How concerning is that to you and what do you think you can do about it to get things going?
BB:We always want to try to get off to a good start and play from ahead. That's the goal every week. Sometimes it works out that way, sometimes it doesn't. It's a 60-minute game. You have to be able to play for four quarters, no matter what happens early in the game, good or bad, but you always want it to be good. We've had times when it has been. We've had times when it hasn't gone quite the way we wanted it to. [We] always have to be play 60 minutes. We'll just keep trying to find a way to get off to a good start and finish strong.
Q:What did you think of the way Jimmy Garoppolo handled the offense in the second half?
BB:I thought Jimmy competed well. He was under some pressure. Some things were good; other things could have been better. But I thought he competed well. Some of the opportunities where he had to make plays, he made them. There are definitely some positive things there. There are also things to learn from and build on.
Q:Was the decision to sit Rob Gronkowski today an effort to keep him safe going forward?
BB:We had some guys that have played a lot of football for us. We felt like today would be an opportunity for us to have some guys who haven't played as much to get an opportunity to play. That's kind of the way we managed the team. We tried to create opportunities for some guys that the experience I think will benefit them going forward. Based on that, that's how we handled the playing time and the inactives.
Q:Have you gotten a chance to plan ahead for this week? Are you looking at a normal schedule or more rest?
BB:We'll try to figure that out a little bit tomorrow. My understanding is we should know tonight our schedule for when we'll play our next game – not who we'll play, but when it will be. Based on that we'll work backwards a little bit and figure out exactly what we want to do this week, both in terms of scheduling, practice, emphasis and so forth.
Thank you. Again I apologize for any inconvenience here. I hope I've taken care of everything for you.
Tom Brady, Quarterback**
Q:How tough was the week in general already knowing your fate and where you ultimately stand and knowing who was not going to be part of the game plan and maybe not game planning the way you might normally?
TB:Yeah, I think we tried to go out there and give a great effort. They're a good team. They make it tough on you. They made it tough on us down there when we played them and they made it tough today. They've got a good team, but we're looking forward. It's tough – we always hate losing, absolutely. We didn't make enough plays to win, but hopefully we make them in a couple weeks.
Q:It's not like you're not trying; you're trying to have success offensively. It looked like you had a little frustration with some of the protection. Where is your comfort level with the protection you're getting heading into this postseason?
TB:I think everything works together and the protection and the routes and the throws and the catches – offensive football and scoring points is about great execution. If it's anything less than that, it's hard to score unless somebody makes really a spectacular play. So if you have a breakdown on a throw, if you have a breakdown on a block, if you have a breakdown on a route, usually it doesn't result in a good play. And I think obviously in the first half, we didn't have enough good plays to score enough points. We're trying. Hopefully we do a lot better job in a couple weeks. That's what it's going to take.
Q: How concerned about the offense should we be? It didn't look great against the Jets and today is a little different given the situation, but how concerned should we be?
TB:We're confident. We have a lot of confidence as an offense. We've been able to score points against a lot of good teams, a lot of good defenses. Nothing that we've done this past season is going to help in two weeks from now. What's going to matter is how well we prepare this week and how well we prepare next week and how ready we are to go whenever we play. We'll have a lot of confidence. I'm not worried about us lacking confidence going out there and executing. We've got a lot of good players.
Q:When you guys go back and look at the film from this month, are you guys not executing offensively or are teams adjusting and taking away some things that were working for you earlier in the season?
TB:That's a good question. I think it ultimately comes down to how well we execute. I think we've played some pretty good defenses and defenses that really challenge you. We'll be challenged in a couple weeks. Hopefully we're ready to meet the challenge. I'd expect us to be at our best. That's what this time of year requires. We'll be playing a great football team, whoever it is. I think we've got a pretty good team. We'll see where we're at.
Q:You guys had quite a few starters inactive. How important was it for Brian Tyms? It looked like you were in a little bit of a groove with him.
TB:Yeah, he made a couple good plays there early. He's done a good job since he's gotten here trying to understand the offense and what he needs to do to really incorporate himself and find a role. It was good to see him make some plays today. We're going to need it in a couple weeks. Hopefully Gronk [Rob Gronkowski] is ready to roll and Jules [Julian Edelman] is ready to roll and all the guys up front are ready to roll. That's important. It's good when you have your very good football players out there. We had a lot of good players out there today that made some plays. We just didn't make enough of them today. We've got to be able to go out and do it in a couple weeks and make a lot of good plays.
Jonathan Casillas, Linebacker
(On the roughing the passer call)
"It was a tough call. I've been hit with that one time prior – it was with Russell Wilson he's a little shorter. I thought I was okay but you can't really do too much to the quarterback nowadays which is the game we play now. It was a tough call. I think it was a bang-bang call. I've got to know to get my aiming point lower because they do focus on quarterbacks."
(On the significance of his playing time today)
"It was huge. I think it was huge for myself personally and also for the team as well to kind of see what you've got. Myself, Darius Fleming, Duron Harmon, a lot of younger guys – I'm not that young, but I'm young in this team basically just getting here a month and a half ago – it adds value to the team going deep and showing that the team does have depth. I wore the [communication] dot today later in the game. I think if anything does happen to either guy – Jamie [Collins] or I – hopefully god forbid anything does, you've got to have somebody that has played in the game. I've got some experience and I was able to wear the dot today and I think it went pretty smooth."
(On his performance today)
"I didn't play that well today. I think I missed a couple routine tackles that I should have made. [Fred] Jackson is a great player; he's played a lot of football in this league. They are routine tackles that I missed, and then the roughing the passer really hurt the team. I can't do that. I can't put our team in bad situations like that. We [were] looking to stay undefeated at home and that didn't happen today. I'm a very prideful person and I feel like my play didn't help us today."
(On wearing the green communication dot)
"I felt like I did a pretty decent job at that. That's my first time actually wearing the dot. I mean in practice I've had it, [it was] my first time in the game. It's definitely a learning experience. I think I did decently communication-wise in getting guys lined up and getting the calls out and everything."
Jimmy Garoppolo, Quarterback
(On playing in the game)
"It was a good experience – getting out there and actually getting in [instead of] a preseason game and getting some live reps will only help going forward."
(On if he takes pride in his ability to run and scramble)
"If I have to do it, you have to do it. It's one of those things, you never know on a play if you're going to have to or not, so you just have to be ready for either one."
(On if he has to think about whether to run or stay in the pocket longer)
"It's kind of instinct. It's something that just kind of kicks in during the game. If you think about it, you're going to get hit."
(On how he rates his performance)
"You know, there's plenty of room for improvement – there's some good things, bad things, and things to learn from and it will only help me going forward."
(On how much more comfortable he felt in comparison to the preseason)
"There's not - no comparison really. Having so many weeks to learn, and progress in a good way, it definitely helped me."
(On adjusting to the speed of a regular season game)
"You have to get acclimated fast. You get tossed in there and that's my job as a backup to be ready to go whenever and the speed is what it is. You just got to play with it."
Brandon LaFell, Wide Receiver
(On if the offense can take some positives from the game)
"We didn't play too good; it was the offense last week, so we tried to come out here and get into a rhythm and get some plays, get some momentum, and convert some third-downs and just move the ball and get into a rhythm going into the postseason. So, we did a little bit of that, but, also, we left a lot of plays out there; dropped a few passes, got a couple of penalties, and got in our own way and got to give credit to those guys – that's a good defense."
(On how different the offense plays without tight end Rob Gronkowski in the lineup)
"Man, it's a big difference. You know that the middle of the field is not so much open when you go across and Gronk is not there. It's a lot of double-teams, a lot of sitting back in zone, trying to wait and catch us, instead of a guy or two over the top of Gronk or Gronk getting doubled-teamed, so it's a big difference."
Devin McCourty, Safety
(On the game)
"It's football. We're working to get better, trying to do whatever we've got to do, stick to the game plan and play good football. We fell short today, so there are definitely some things we need to work on going forward because, like I said, it's all about winning now."
(On if the team developed any bad habits)
"I don't really believe that you can get bad habits in football. I think everything is all about preparation each week. You do everything great one week, it doesn't mean next week you created good habits and it'll happen again. We'll have to regroup, have a good week of practice this week coming up and then go from there."
(On Jimmy Garoppolo)
"I think Jimmy has worked extremely hard this season to keep getting better. It was good to see him out there and be able to make some plays. But I don't think his play surprises anyone around here. He's been working hard, he's been getting better each week, and it was good to see him out there."
(On what the team will take away from the game)
"We'll break down the film and see. Right now it's, 'We lost the game,' but we'll break down the film and see the things we need to work on, the things we can do better and then focus on it from there. It changes now. It's all about winning the rest of our season. We definitely need to take what we need to take from this film and then focus on what lies ahead."
(On if going into the bye week with a loss changes things)
"No. I think as a team we understand what the playoffs are, so I don't think if we'd have won, it would've been any different. We understand that if we want to have a chance to win going forward, we need to fix all the things that coaches come in here with us for this week coming forward because whatever they bring to us and say, 'This is what we need to work on,' it's probably going to be the difference between winning and losing going forward in the playoffs."
Rob Ninkovich, Defensive End
(On if there are any worries the team doesn't have the right momentum heading into the playoffs)
"It's a new season, so we're just going to start over. Everyone starts over. It's a new week. Buffalo's over; we don't know who we're playing yet. I'm going to relax and sit in a hot tub and get myself ready to roll."
(On if he's looking forward to the bye week)
"Yeah, again, that's a huge thing there, getting an extra week to recover. Like I said, hot-cold tubs, massage, get my body back; find out who we play and go."
(On what some of the younger players need to look for during the playoffs)
"I would say the preseason to regular season is a big jump in play and then when you go from the regular season to the postseason that's another big jump in play. So everything is magnified, everything means that much more and it always come down to a play here, a play there for the outcome of these games. So, it comes down to execution. The best teams are in the playoffs and you got to really work hard during the week and prepare well to know who you're playing and understand the things that they do well. It all comes down to studying."
(On Jamie Collins strip-sack)
"Another good play. He beat the back, I think they had [C.J.] Spiller in there, he was able to toss him away and I think it was a missed tackle, then a strip sack for recovery. That goes down as the ultimate play there."
Darelle Revis, Cornerback
(On the game)
"It wasn't good. All three phases, it wasn't good. Buffalo had a lot of energy coming out at the start of the game and we just didn't play to our standards. I can't think for everybody or what everybody is thinking about, but at the same time it's a game where we let it slip by, but most of us weren't out there. There were so many things and so many variables of today's game: guys not dressing and guys not playing."
(On the play of the backups in the second half)
"I think they did great. Buffalo didn't score again so that's something good. They got off on third down numerous times as a defense. At that point, my job is just to be a leader and help my teammates out."
(On if this game slipped by because of the team's playoff situation)
"No I don't think that's our mindset. Our mindset is to go out there and win every game. That's how we look at it. Like I said, there were so many situations in this game, guys not dressing and guys getting pulled. You have to take that into account too and go from there."
Brian Tyms, Wide Receiver
(On his overall play today)
"It always feels good to be out there. I just try to take advantage of every opportunity. I missed some opportunities and I have to go back and watch the film later on tonight and go over that so I don't make the same mistakes when we come into practice."
(On the extended playing time for certain players)
"Like I always say, this game is about opportunity. When your number is called, you have to be ready and I tried to be as ready as I could. We have to execute better. It was plain as day out there. We left a lot of plays out there. We dropped a lot of balls, missed blocks. We just have to go back over the film and get better as a group."
(On playing the Bills for the second time)
"It felt like an eternity since we played them. But for me personally, every week I erase what happened and who we played, and I'm on to the next person. They didn't forget me though, because they always kept a safety over the top. I really wanted to go deep, but sometimes it doesn't work like that."
Ryan Wendell, Offensive Lineman
(On what the team was able to accomplish despite the loss)
"You always want to win, so a loss never helps."
(On the problem with the offense)
"We just didn't play very well. We just didn't do our jobs."
(On the team's ability to move past this loss considering the team has a first-round playoff bye)
"We'll have a bad taste in our mouth until we get a chance to play again."
(On if there was anything the team was able to get out of today's game)
"Yeah, I mean I'm sure there were some plays that were good plays, but I think we will have to learn from the plays that weren't."
(On the team avoiding injuries and getting healthy for the playoffs)
"I don't think anybody ever goes out to try and avoid injury. Nobody's looking to get injured, but guys just play hard and injuries happen when they happen."
(On how difficult it is to get the team's emotion up for a game like this when nothing is at stake)
"I mean there were guys sitting, but there were guys that got a chance to play that normally don't get a chance to play, so I think those guys bring a lot of excitement at their opportunity. I think as a whole things even out."
(On how difficult a game like this is on the offensive line when players are going in and out)
"It was a good opportunity to get some other guys some reps. We're going to need everybody moving forward. You never knew who's going to get called up, so a game like this was a great opportunity to get a lot of those guys more reps that they normally don't get."
(On quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the offensive huddle)
"I thought he did a great job. I'm no quarterbacks coach, so I don't know how it will grade out or anything like that, but in the huddle I thought his demeanor was excellent. I thought he had command of the huddle, command of the plays and as far as his execution, you'll have to talk to [offensive coordinator Josh] McDaniels about that."
(On the offensive struggles and if there was ever any rhythm today)
"I think it's obvious that we didn't really find a rhythm. We didn't string too many plays together too often. Why? I don't know. We'll go back and watch the film and try to figure out exactly what happened."