Patriots Postgame Quotes (Week Eleven)
Head Coach Bill Belichick
Well, great team win for us today. The Jets are tough, like they always are. We knew it was going to – expected this kind of a game. They’re the best fourth quarter team in football. We knew it was going to be a battle there all the way to the end. Great ending there with the punt return. We came close on a couple of punt rushes, blocked a punt last week, so a combination of rushing and returning is a good weapon to have. Obviously a big day for us defensively, 100 yards total offense. That’s a great job by the staff, the players and all the units that played, running game, passing game, pass rush, coverage, third down. We played well on defense, as did the Jets. We moved the ball. We had 300 yards of offense but only three points. So did a poor job of finishing our drives, getting the ball in good field position into scoring range or getting the ball in the red area into the end zone. We’ve got to find a way to do that better, but it’s good to do it from a win. Quick turnaround here, get ready for Minnesota, and get ready to go out there and go on Thursday night.
Bill, can you teach a player to become a good punt returner, or do they have to have a certain instinct, and is Marcus Jones possibly one of those players with that kind of an instinct?
Yeah, Marcus is really quick. I think Troy Brown has done a great job with him. Where Marcus was when he got here and where he is now are – they’re an ocean apart. Troy has really done a good job with the ball handling, ball catching, making the first guy miss, ball security, setting up blocks, having vision on the ball, the gunner, playing the wind, so forth. Marcus – we didn’t feel like he was quite ready at the beginning of the year. We went with Myles [Bryant]. Then as Marcus got better and gained more experience and confidence and then performed well, then he’s handled all the return game for a number of weeks now. Yeah, certainly there’s some innate skill that goes with that. There’s certainly a developmental aspect. We saw [Julian] Edelman who never returned punts, lead the league in punt returns and be a great punt returner here. Compared to a guy like Troy Brown who came in as a very good returner and continued to be as good as anybody we’ve ever had. But yeah, Troy has done a tremendous job with Marcus. Marcus has worked hard and he’s really improved. He’s had a number of big returns for us, but obviously today going to the house, might have been the first one in the league this year, I don’t know. Obviously a huge play in the game, and great execution by the punt return team to get Marcus started and then handle [Justin] Hardee, who’s a good coverage player, Hardee, [Brandin] Echols and [Ashtyn] Davis. Those three guys make a lot of tackles for the Jets. If you can get them blocked, get it started, then you at least have a chance. Then he did the rest. Well he didn’t – there were some other good blocks in there, too, but it was good. But our combination of rushes and returns, we try to keep the pressure on their punt team, and it paid off for us today.
Mac completed, I think 85 percent of his passes or so, but obviously like you mentioned the offense struggled with points. How do you evaluate his performance between those two and obviously many other factors?
Yeah, we’ll take a look at the film here and see, but we moved the ball. We had some good plays but not enough and not enough consistency, and we weren’t able to get the ball in the end zone or get the ball close enough often enough for what our opportunities were. Had too many negative plays, holding penalties, sacks, and that was a combination of things. We’ve got to do a better job.
I know it’s probably not the best time for story time, but just a game like that we don’t see too often with no offensive touchdowns where a special teams touchdown breaks it at the end. Can you recall a game in your experience where it ended like that in the final minute where offense wasn’t happening?
Nope, not off the top of my head. But my memory is not that good. So we could probably find one, but yeah.
You mentioned that Marcus Jones got off to a bit of a slow start, what did you see in him at Houston and in the pre-draft process that compelled you to draft him?
He was a good player at Houston.
What specific qualities did you see?
He’s fast. He’s quick. He returned punts and kickoffs down there. He also played some offense. He was converted to receiver. He was an explosive playmaker that ended up moving to defense, played inside, played outside and returned kicks. He did all those in college. He’s a good player.
Prior to the punt return for the touchdown, Kyle Dugger came up with a big play there on third down. His game was pretty good today.
Yeah, again, I thought we played good team defense. I’ll have to look at the film and see how each guy did and all that, but Kyle [Dugger] had a number of good plays that I noticed, tackles, coverage plays, but there were also some plays where he was able to do his job and help out on somebody else at the same time and just be a physical presence and a factor in there. Also gave us some plays in the kicking game. It’s good to have Kyle back. We didn’t have him in the first game against the Jets, but it’s always good to have any of your good players back there, and certainly having Kyle back was great.
You guys got into the stadium after the last practice of the week that we had a chance to attend as media, I think on Friday, and I know the conditions today were not exactly the same, but how helpful was that to be in the stadium, particularly when you look at somebody like Marcus Jones who’s got to handle the ball in conditions like he did today?
Right. Yeah, well, it was the Marcus [Jones] play, it was Jonnu [Smith] on the squib kick, just in general the balls went to their boundary or their sideline, the Jets’ sideline and that’s the way we practiced on Friday.
The wind was stronger today than it was on Friday, but we had the general idea on Friday about the way the ball was going to go and how we would call certain returns based on whatever the situation was, the distance, the field position and the wind and so forth. It kind of did play out. It’s not always like that sometimes. The conditions changed from Friday to Sunday and the wind changes direction or velocity or whatever, which it did, the velocity changed today. I’d say the tough thing today was just the gusting. When Nick [Folk] went out there for his field goal it was pretty still, and then when he kicked it, it was really gusting up and it hit the cross-bar and didn’t make it, but that ball probably was affected by, I don’t know, five, six, eight yards, whatever it was, just on that. It was a good kick, really close, but just a little bit of a difference there kicking into that open end. That was definitely a factor. But yeah, it was good to get in there, good to get the specialists to kick and good to get the returners – not just the returners but the guys blocking to anticipate the direction of the ball and how the return was going to be set up based on where the wind was going to carry it.
Trent Brown had started every game for you guys this year at left tackle and wasn’t on the injury report this week. What went into the decision to sit him until Isaiah Wynn got hurt?
Yeah, it was a coaching decision.
Question about your punting unit. This time you have a new punter and with this kind of a weather condition, is there any particular adjustment you have to make, especially shifting from Jake Bailey to Mike Palardy, from a righty to lefty?
Yeah, sure, anytime you change a position like that, there are some adjustments in the punting game, righty to lefty, and just overall timing certainly for a snapper like Joe [Cardona] or you try to put the ball on the right hip for a right-footed punter and left hit for a left-footed punter, so it’s a little bit of an adjustment there, but then also Michael [Palardy] did the holding on the field goals for Jake and then Nick did the kickoffs for Jake. There were multiple adjustments with Jake not available today that both Nick and Michael had to make, and in addition Joe Cardona. The rest of it’s everybody else kind of – their blocking assignments and coverage responsibilities and all that are pretty much the same. But certainly the direction of the kick, the hangtime of the kick and the way the ball is kicked, Nick’s kickoffs versus Jake’s kickoffs, there were definitely some differences there that we had to adjust to, but that’s what you have to do. You always want to play to the strength of your specialists. We tried to play into that.
Do you feel like your offense and Mac Jones are close to a breakthrough of cleaning up those mistakes and getting the points you want or are you concerned that from this point on it’s going to be a slog and a fight for this offense?
Yeah, well, again, we moved the ball. We just didn’t have enough points. So we’ve got to do a better job of scoring more points when we get down there, and when we get close to scoring points, 30, 35-yard line, get the ball closer to get some points on the board. It wasn’t like we couldn’t move the ball. We had several good opportunities, but we just – penalties, negative plays, dropped the ball, missed opportunities. Just have to do a better job there. And again, give the Jets credit. Coach Saleh and his staff and their players, they have a really good defense. We all know that. But we’re going to see good defenses for the rest of the year, as well, so we’ve just got to coach and play better.
Mac, on one hand obviously a super-efficient day for you, but on the other hand, you guys got into the red zone and couldn’t get into the end zone. How did you feel about your personal performance?
Yeah, I mean, we won the game. I think obviously we moved the ball pretty well today, so that’s a fact. We’ve got to be able to move it through that fringe area better, and we’ve got to watch the tape and see what we can do better, but I thought we stayed together as a unit, didn’t lose our cool and worked together to try to win. Obviously Marcus’ [Jones] return was the icing right there on the cake, but that’s a good football team in a tough environment. They played really well, and got to give credit to them, and happy that we won, and that’s a great divisional win. It’s a good start there to this little run we’re going to make here. Got to just watch the film and see where we can get better.
Thoughts on Marcus Jones’ return and how much of a relief it was to not have to go into overtime and gut one out there and the atmosphere on the sideline and how that was for you guys?
Yeah, I think that was great. I think that shows why football is one of the greatest – it is the greatest team sport. It takes 60 minutes to win games in the NFL. You see that every week. Really proud of our team and offense, defense, special teams. I thought we came together, and at the end of the day in tough conditions like that you’ve just got to find a way to win. We did that, and that’s something to be proud of. We’re excited about this one, and like I said, we’ve got a quick turnaround, so going to be a lot of improvement to be made, and we know what we want to improve on, so we’ve just got to do it.
You told us earlier this week you did a full self-audit and it was reported this morning that a lot of that audit was just about your timing of your drops and then syncing with the routes. If that’s true, how much was that improved today, and do you feel like it contributed to more of an efficient passing game?
Yeah, I think a little bit. Definitely improved on that. Talked about it. Any offense, timing, spacing, all that stuff, drop depth, everything. Definitely going to look at the film and see how it looks, but for the most part I felt like it was good, and like I said, tough conditions to play in, 20-, 25-mile-per-hour winds. So proud of the guys for catching the ball and doing all that stuff. The linemen did good. I think some of those sacks are coverage sacks, and it kind of is what it is. That’s football, right? You’re in long yardage, and they have good players on the defensive side of the football, and that team specifically with the defensive line. Did some good things. Definitely want to get through the fringe and score more touchdowns.
I just wanted to ask you about some of the play action passes you guys were able to hit today for big plays and what you thought of those? And it seemed like you were trying to get the ball to the running backs on the check-downs maybe a little bit faster today and they were able to make some plays with it.
Yeah, I think play action pass is a good part of every offense, and you want to be able to get the linebackers to come up and the safeties and all that stuff. Definitely want to expand on that. Something we’ve done really well here in the past, and just try to do that and match it up with everything we’re doing. Like I said, there’s quick throws, medium, long, play action, RPOs, screens, all that stuff. You want to be able to do whatever you want, whenever you want. We want to be able to do that as an offense, and made some strides there today. And then in terms of getting the ball to the backs, I think that defense played more zone, like take away the deep stuff coverage. Going to have to watch the film and see it, but for the most part when they do that you have to take what the defense gives. If they give you the deep ball, take it. If they give you the short one, take it. That’s all there is to it. You can’t chase plays, can’t make up plays in your head. You’ve got to just operate the offense how it’s supposed to be operated.
As you mentioned earlier you were able to move the football pretty well today, but kind of 30, 35 yards in, you struggled with execution. Is there a particular reason you can put your finger on as to why it’s been problematic executing in that area of the field?
Yeah, I think it’s super disappointing. We put too much work in to get that result. I think it starts with us, the execution part, and then obviously trying to figure something out here, just make it work and get through that, like you said, 35-, 40-yard line and just see if we can get through that and see what happens. Every time you’re moving the ball towards the goal line, it’s good. When you’re going backwards for whatever reason, it’s not. We want to be able to create those explosive plays, like the Damien [Harris] long run, for example, and then finish off those drives. We need to do that in the red zone. We need to do it in the open field. But it comes down to execution and watching the film and seeing what we can do better.
It seemed like especially in the first half you and Jonnu Smith had a good connection going. What did you see from him today and what about that connection was working for you?
Yeah, Jonnu is a great player. He’s a great teammate. Does what he’s supposed to do on every player. Him and Hunter [Henry] do a great job. Really happy to have those guys. Want to be able to give them the ball as much as possible. I like throwing to those guys, so any way we can. Jonnu has got unique speed for a tight end and also unique strength for run blocking and things like that. Definitely want to use those guys as best we can, and he did a good job.
You mentioned wanting to go on a run. How close do you feel the offense is to getting over this hump?
Yeah, I think it’s a game-by-game thing. I think today was us against the Jets and really us against ourselves. We want to do better. We want to obviously score more than three points. It’s not good enough. Got to look at it and see what we can do better. It’s kind of the same story here. We’ll figure it out, but it takes time and execution. That’s what it comes down to. Putting points on the board and not turning the ball over is important, which we didn’t do today, so that’s how we win games 95 percent if we don’t turn it over.
Mac, you just got David Andrews back and now it looks like you might miss him for some time down the road. What kind of a loss would that be if that comes to pass?
Yeah, I think David is a great player, great teammate, great leader. Definitely tough, but I think James [Ferentz] does a great job when he’s in there. He’s a very smart football player, plays with a lot of effort. Obviously, you’re going to have to shuffle some guys around. We had some injuries again. But that’s football. Those guys are fighting every play, so that’s all you can ask for is their attitude and their effort, and I’m pleased with that group, and we just want to score more points and get through that fringe area, and the story might be a little bit different.
(On the defining characteristics of the defense right now)
“I would say we pride ourselves on being able to adapt to anything, so versatility for sure which I think showed today. One minute we have our cornerback playing corner, the next he’s returning for a touchdown. Just the versatility of everyone, no one is stuck in a certain position, you just do what the team needs. It’s always beautiful when you have guys on the team who don’t really care who gets the credit as long as the job gets done and we pride ourselves on doing just that. We look to do that and we look to progress. Obviously, we had a good game today but there are also some things that we left out there that we would like to have back so always some things to clean up and I think that is the type of thing that keeps us going, the motivation that we could be perfect.”
(On how prepared the defense is to take on the Vikings)
“They have a big-time team for sure, so obviously we’re going to watch the film on what we did today and watch the good, watch the bad and get that out of the way so we can turn the page. We have a quick turnaround for Thursday which we are excited about and are looking forward to it. We don’t consider it a challenge, we consider it an opportunity, so like I said we’re going to watch the film tomorrow and get back to it.”
(On the defense’s performance today)
“It was cool to see practice moments in the game and making it a reality. That is kind of what we preach around here and seeing it play out was special. We are always looking to just keep progressing.”
(On Mac Jones’ performance)
“Mac does a great job. He stays poised. We control what we can control. If the linemen are struggling or if the wide receivers are struggling, we all just stick together. You’ve got to control your job and what you do to help the 11 make the play work.”
(On the receiving corps being an elite blocking group)
“We emphasize it as a group. Playing when we don’t have the ball. That’s one of the big things is to help those guys be productive. That’s a team thing. Being a team player. All of us wideouts understand we are more than just pass catchers, we’re blockers, we’re role players and must do things that help our teammates get open and make the runs better.”
(On the mindset when it feels like you’re just a play away from winning the game)
“Lock in tighter. Communicate more. Whatever you have been doing in the game, try to really tighten it up and tighten the focus up. Make sure you’re doing stuff and doing what you’re supposed to be doing at the highest level because like I said, any small error can change the game when it’s that tight. So really just lock in tighter and communicate and focus.”
(On how excited the team was to hold the Jets to three points)
“It’s definitely always great to be able to really, really have an effect on the game defensively. We always do. But when the offense is kind of out of the picture in a sense it definitely feels good and let’s you know that it’s not forgotten. As a matter of fact, you’re needed and very depended on. So I think it’s great.”
(On how the defense made it hard on Zach Wilson)
“We definitely know those pre-snap disguises are huge. We know that he’s going to take what he sees and have an idea what he’s going to do already in his head. So we definitely made sure that we were disguising heavy so that post snap he would have to think a little more, take a little longer and our D-line can do what they do. So definitely pre-snap disguise was big for us.”
(On what he has seen from the Vikings and how big of a challenge they will be)
“They’re offense is explosive. They have a lot of explosive players. They have the ability to do it from the run, pass, in a lot of different ways. So they’re versatile. So I just think that we have to make sure that we’re ready to watch our film, lock in and do everything we’re supposed to.”
(On finishing the game strong)
“Coach talks about it all the time, we have to play a full 60-minute game. Regardless of what happens throughout the course of the game, we have to play a full 60 minutes and finish out the game, that’s what it took today. It was a hard-fought battle by both teams, tough game, it was a really gritty, nasty game. We just played a full 60-minute game and came out on top on the last play. Credit to our team, credit to our guys, we fought until the end, coaches coached their tails off until the end, we played until the end and it wasn’t pretty but we were able to walk out of here with a dub.”
(On seeing the special teams get a touchdown)
“Everybody went out there and competed hard today, offense, defense, obviously special teams with the play to win us the game on really the last play of the game. It was a hard-fought battle but it was definitely great to see special teams go out there and make a crucial play that really changed the outcome of the game.”
(On watching the last play live)
“We were all tuned in because offensively we wanted to see where we were going to get the ball compared to how much time we were going to have and see what we were going to be able to do with a two-minute drive at the end of the game. He started running and he kept running and he kept running and the next thing I knew the whole team was in the endzone. Shoutout to Marcus [Jones], that was an incredible play. Shoutout to the whole punt return team, that was an incredible play. Really thankful that they pulled that off for us.”
(On if he has ever seen a play similar to the game-winning punt return)
“Never. Never seen a game end like that. That’s an all-timer right there, it was such a grinder of a game and it’s kind of hard to find a rhythm at times, we have good plays here, and not so good plays here, but on the last play of the game you’re fighting for 60 minutes and to walk off a win like that, it was incredible.”
(On why it was difficult to get an offensive rhythm)
“We were playing a great defense, great players, great scheme, great coaches. Obviously, there were things we could have done better, and we know that. Tomorrow we will come in here, watch our tape, and make our corrections.”
(On if he saw Marcus Jones’ touchdown)
“I’m watching him, Marcus takes off, he goes inside of me – he took off and once I saw him go across the field, I knew it was over with, it was a touchdown. I was watching him, and we made eye contact, he took off and it was over after that.”
(On beating the Jets twice in three weeks)
“They’re a tough team. They came and made some adjustments from the first time. We knew they would, and we were able to make some adjustments as well and come out with a victory.”
(On Marcus Jones’ performance)
“He’s a game-changer when he gets the ball in his hands, that’s our job to block and once he gets the ball in his hands he’s dangerous.”
(On the special teams’ performance)
“We’ve always prided ourselves on complementary football, and when special teams can make a play and win that phase of the game, it makes the team’s job of winning easier.”
(On the conclusion of the game)
“That’s a movie script. At the end of the game, I couldn’t see anything like that. It was amazing.”
(On what he was thinking when he caught the punt and returned it for the game-winning touchdown)
“My first thing was ball security, so making sure I track the ball and everything because the wind was going crazy out there. That was the main thing and just staying within the scheme. Without my teammates on that play, that would have been a hard play to make.”
(On his emotions now minutes after scoring the game-winning touchdown)
“It’s one of those situations to where I’m happy, definitely for the divisional win. That’s the main thing and now I’m on to the next week. I’m one of those people.”
(On when he realized he would be able to score a touchdown on that play and if he was surprised they kicked it to him instead of out of bounds)
“My main thing is I thought they were going to let him try to kick it out of bounds due to the time on the clock. But the first thing was trying to make sure that I followed my teammates’ blocks. Then I saw the punter and I was like, if I make him miss, then I should be able to go the distance.”
(On if having a game-winning kick return in college gave him the confidence he could make a play like this one)
“The main thing is definitely confidence being back there and staying within – trusting my teammates most of the time because the punter was definitely trying to hang it up there for a little minute and everything. So just getting underneath it and following my teammates.”
(On if he had a sense this game might come down to a special teams play)
“Coach is just telling us day-in and day-out, ‘we’ve got to make a play on special teams.’ So that was the main thing that we always try to enforce, especially this game, because it was offense, defense, you know, things like that. So he definitely told us it would come down to a special teams play.”
(On the importance of special teams to the New England Patriots)
“Special teams is definitely a big role. It’s longer than an average offensive and defensive play and usually you’re out there for one play and most people give it their all every single time they go out there. It’s very important for the field position aspect of the game.”
(On if he’ll allow himself to enjoy what just unfolded)
“Oh definitely. Whenever I see my teammates, the excitement of like I said, a divisional game. Also my parents actually came to this game so seeing them and everything will definitely be a good thing.
(On if his parents have been to other games at Gillette Stadium this season)
“This is their first time coming – both, together, coming to this game. Just excited for them to see the atmosphere of this place and just having a good time watching the game.”
(On his performance)
“It’s my teammates. The guys that sit here in this room with me. They push me, they challenge me every day. When we go out there, they have so much confidence in me to get the job done. They run a lot of games and a lot of stunts for me to free me up. It’s not me, it’s really not. It could be anybody in this situation, it’s really my teammates.”
(On if they put Zach Wilson in an uncomfortable position)
“I think whenever you put pressure on a guy like that and get five sacks, he looks and instead of having his eyes up, kind of more down. I think that’s just the combinations that they were running, route combinations, where it wasn’t that many guys deep, it was more a spacing game. Probably because of the wind, he didn’t want the ball to get affected by the wind, loft it up there. I think that’s what they were running honestly and we just had to defend it.”
(On how they disrupted the Jets’ offense)
“Disciplined rush from everybody, don’t get up the field behind the quarterback, just make him beat us from the pocket. Make him throw the ball instead of using his legs. He’s a very athletic guy, athletic quarterback, and like we’ve seen he can pick up twenty yards, get out of bounds, and not be hit, so let’s keep him in the pocket and make him throw.”
(On having the most sacks in the league and the importance of timing for sacks)
“Timing is everything, but if I could get them on every play, I would. My timing is good, but I think everybody’s just rushing, everybody’s doing it. Mack [Wilson] came up with one, [Deatrich] Wise came up with one late, so when you can do that it’s just energizing. I think that third down sacks are the biggest thing. Third and second down sacks right, because you put them in third and long. You take them out of their game plan. Second down, they try to get back on track for third down, so when you can get sacks like that, it really helps the defense.”
(On preparing for the next game)
“I think you enjoy every win, in the NFL it’s hard to get a win. There’s a lot of good players, a lot of good teams and a lot of good talent. You enjoy it but you have to understand you have to focus. We have a game in four days and we have to get on these guys. We have to understand what they like to do, understand who they are, understand their go-to plays. And we don’t have a lot of time to do it, and we also have a travel day. That’s difficult, but it’s the NFL. You get paid to do that, so enjoy as much as you want to do tonight, but hopefully we start watching the Vikings and getting on them because that’s a good team.”
(On the team leading the league in defensive stats)
“I didn’t even know that. I think that we’re resilient. We have some games that it looks like we’re all traffic cones, and we have some games that we didn’t play well. But over the last few weeks, we’ve been coming to work, we’ve been talking, we’ve been communicating, and we’ve just been gelling. We’re in a groove right now, but we have to force that. We have to come back to practice, we have to come back to meetings and focus and lock in and execute. And then when we see something in the game that we didn’t see on film, we have to come to the sideline and adjust and prepare for that. As easy as that sounds, it’s hard to do. It’s hard to do, especially when offenses every week come out with a new wrinkle and they want to run at you a different way and they want to hit you here. So, what we do is we’ve just got to focus and we’ve got to lock in and execute and not worry about the stats for real.”
(On how big special teams was in a quiet game offensively)
“Yeah man, that was clutch. Coach Belichick mentioned it earlier this year, when you have a guy that can return the ball it makes everyone want to do more. You saw guys out here, Jon Jones, I don’t know how many plays he played on defense but he is playing on defense. We have other guys out there that are playing in their other roles on the team and giving just one hundred percent effort because we all know if you make a couple blocks, Marcus [Jones] can do the rest. To go out earlier in the game and come back and just be ready to go, locked in, biggest moment of the game as a rookie. Everyone always talks about experience. It’s being ready to go, it’s knowing what you’re supposed to do, and it’s executing. Marcus did that and it was a huge play for us, I’ve never been a part of anything like that. Great feeling, great team win.”
(On if he thought the game was going to overtime and the energy from the defense)
“Yeah we had overtime preparations going, I think as a defensive unit that’s what we have to do. We have got to be ready for going to overtime and what is going happen next. I think what was great today was the defense continued to remind each other. Remind each other of plays we had not seen yet, of different things that they could do, and just kept the energy throughout the game. It’s tough to go out there each time and play against a unit, this unit was productive playing against Buffalo, another really good defense. So to continue to just play, play well, and execute is something we talked about. At this time of the year, we have got to do a good job executing. We did that today and now we have got to use this to spring forward and continue to execute throughout the season.”
(On Matthew Judon)
“I would really like to take a lot of credit with Judon and Marcus Jones, they sit by me every day in the squad room. I have been teaching these guys how to be pros. Judon needed a lot of help last year when he came in to be a pro, Marcus Jones is a rookie so he is going right on stride. I think with Judon the level of preparation, energy, work ethic, he comes in here every day since he got here a year ago and just tries to outwork and outcompete everybody. Whether it’s running up the hill, whether it’s running and conditioning, whether it’s pass rushing, turning and running. Him and [Deatrich] Wise [Jr.] are always running around the field in practice and it shows up, [Josh] Uche same thing. I think with Judon’s leadership and just going out there and just having a mindset each week that he is going to have an impact on the game. I talked to him about that earlier in the season, that he has that ability for us as a defense to impact the game, each game, early in the game. To go out there and do it really sets the tone for the defense. The way he’s rolling, I think we are all just trying to follow his lead.”
(On getting ready for the short week right away)
“Yeah you have just got to realize that tonight is Wednesday, it’s Wednesday already. Whatever you would normally do, you can’t do after a game. You want to hang out, you want to stay up, we can’t. We have to reset and realize this is Wednesday. I am going to try and get ahead and watch some film tonight. That is the gift of being 35 and being old, so just sit at home and watch a couple of games. It’s huge, I think the hardest thing in this league sometimes is dealing with success, to get a big win today. I think now at this point in the year, each win makes the next game even bigger. So it was great today to come out and get a win the way we did but we are going to go play a tough team on the road, Thanksgiving. They’re at home, I’m sure it’s going to be rocking in there. They have been on a heck of a streak this year winning football games so we are going to need our best game going into Minnesota. That’s what I plan on bringing and trying to lead the guys in. We will have a tough week, a short week, not as much practice time. So it will have to come from watching the film and working together and then being ready to adjust within the game.”
(On how the defense played Zach Wilson)
“I think those dudes were in his face so much that it was really hard for him to go through his reads. That’s kind of what we want. If our pass rush can do that, then we get opportunities to make plays on the ball. We had two dropped interceptions. We wish we could have those back. But like I said, I give the credit right now to our pass rushers. They’re crazy.”
(On if the communication being in sync through all three levels was something to focus on during the week)
“Yes indeed. It was all about over-communicating. Even when we were in the meeting room, [Jerod] Mayo was preaching that. We’re going through the film. We’re going through walk-throughs. We know the defense. Everybody knows the defense. But overcommunicating, we’re all communicating, nobody will ever be wrong.”
(On how he would describe the defensive performance and how they were able to build throughout the game.)
“Sometimes you get those types of games where it’s a defensive game. Then at the end of the game you get the special teams. Most of the special teams is defensive players as well, too. So just having that mindset and that attitude that regardless of whatever happens, it’s the next play, it’s the next drive. We have to go out there and dominate.”
(On what stands out about Matthew Judon and the defensive line)
“Judon is one-of-one. He’s a guy who, yeah y’all see him on Sunday, but we see him throughout the week, practice, every day working hard, working on his technique. Doing those things to where when we come back out on Sundays it’s secondhand nature.”
(On Marcus Jones getting the opportunity and having the team execute in such a special way)
“It’s special. It’s one of the hardest-working groups I’ve been around in terms of a special teams unit. They really play for each other and I really feel like we love each other. It’s a good mixture of young and old and we go out there and play for each other. It’s nice to see that monotonous work that we put in pay off in a situation like that.”
(On playing in these weather conditions)
“It was really tough, the conditions were tough. I really think Michael Palardy did a tremendous job in handling the conditions in his first game with us. One of Nick Folk’s kicks, I felt like it was going in and then the wind pushed it out. Just a tough game to kick in, tough game to handle the bal,l but I really felt like our guys did a tremendous job on being locked in and playing every play as its own. We executed when it needed it most.”
(On how Friday’s practice benefited how they played in today’s game)
“It was huge for us. Marcus [Jones] got a chance to handle the ball in the wind, Mike [Michael Palardy] got to go out there and kick in the wind and things like that so I think it was a good call by Coach [Bill Belichick].”
(On what today’s win means for the team)
“It keeps us alive. I don’t like to put too much emphasis on any one game but it keeps us alive, it gives us a chance to keep competing and fighting. We realize this next game is going to come up quick, so I hope we keep playing with conviction. We just have to keep taking things day by day.”
(On if he’s ever has won a game like today)
“Never like that. I never have won a game like that at any level of football so just when you thought you have seen it all, you are in year 15 and see something like that, it’s just awesome.”
(On his positive takeaways from the game)
“We’ve moved the ball down the field. We don’t have any trouble moving the ball. Once we get past the fifty-yard line into their territory we don’t do well. That’s something we need to work on.”
(On the running backs’ productivity in the passing game)
“We were heavy on being physical this week. The pass game has been coming for me the last couple of weeks. Practice has been like it always is. Recognizing the defense. That was a big thing this week. We’ve played them before, but game day is always different.”
(On his third and 19 conversion)
“Picking up a third and 19 is hard to do. Especially on a check-down route like that. Just having the willpower to get the first down and keep the offense on the field.”
(On elite blocking from the wide receivers)
“It’s very important. I talked to KB [Kendrick Bourne] and all the boys about it in our film room. That’s a touchdown block. You’ve got to make those blocks downfield to help me and Damien [Harris] out. They’ve been doing a great job at getting physical with the defensive backs.”
(On the Jets defensive line)
“It’s a task blocking them, boys. I saw my lineman working all night trying to block 95 [Quinnen Williams] and 91 [John Franklin-Myers]. They’re awesome guys, dogs up front. It was a task for sure.”
Mack Wilson Sr.
(On if having a physical advantage on defense was a point of emphasis in today’s game)
“It’s just what we try to work on being every day at practice. We just work hard at practice and hold each other accountable throughout the week and when we get to Sundays we just line up, play fast and have fun.”
(On the overall defensive effort)
“I mean 103 yards is great. Our goal is to hold offenses under 200 yards so that is great defense in my opinion.”
Deatrich Wise Jr.
(On how big of a factor the pass rush was without having to blitz too frequently)
“It was very important. We wanted to stop the run today, that’s one thing that we knew they wanted to establish. We wanted to stop the run and then once we were able to stop the run, affect them in the pass, and that’s kind of what our game plan was.”
(On his emotions as the game ended on the punt return)
“It started right here, and it went this way. I think that is, like I told somebody else, how the game ended, it was phenomenal. I think it was almost like a movie script in a sense. I think out of all the football movies, Rudy, Any Given Sunday, and Remember the Titans, this beats it. The way it ended was phenomenal.”
(On what only allowing 103 yards means to him)
“Complete domination. That’s kind of what we wanted to do and wanted to establish that this game. We left some plays out on the field the last time we played them. Coming off the bye, we knew what we were going to get and going to this game, like I told this fellow here, we wanted to stop the run and affect the pass and I believe we did that.”
(On how important it is to turn the page physically and mentally to prepare for Minnesota)
“So, for us, turning the page is very important. We did a great job today, but we have a game on Thursday. We are going to celebrate today and come back tomorrow, watch what we did right, watch what we did wrong and then head onto the Vikings.”
(On how important it was to trust each other and stay within the plan with a tied game until the end)
“Really, it’s almost like a chess match. It’s like, last man wins, it’s kind of what that is. When you’re in a game like that, you have to make sure your fundamentals and techniques are clean across the board and you can’t look too far back or too far forward. You have to be right there, in the moment, each play. In the beginning we had a few here, one on my part I think and that’s kind of it. But after that, even myself, I’m like, ‘you know what? Like what Coach [Belichick] said, just do our job.’ Every play, if everybody just does their job and worry about their job, then it plays out. You can’t worry about making a play happen, you have to allow plays to come to you. So, in games like that, we need to make sure we’re not playing timid, we’re not playing soft, we’re playing very aggressive and allowing plays to come to us.”