Head Coach Robert Saleh, 10.28

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Opening Statement:

Just the one injury. Corey (Davis), he’s not going to practice today. He’s going to be out. Everyone else should be good to go.


Connor Hughes, SNY: I think you said this Wednesday, but Elijah (Moore) is going to play?

Yeah, he’s playing.


Brian Costello, New York Post: What does the loss of Corey do in terms of shuffling positions in the receiving room?

It doesn’t from a shuffling standpoint, they’ve all done a really good job. They understand their roles and what they got to get done. Losing him, all the different things he does. I know from a fantasy standpoint, people don’t see production, but he is by far our most productive guy with what he does in the run game, how violent he is in his play style, and all the big catches he’s made this year.


Brian Costello, New York Post: When we talked about (Denzel) Mims last year, one of the things you said about him not getting on the field was he needed to know every position. Has he done a better job this year of learning each spot? 

He’s done a much better job. Credit to him with all the things that happened to him during Training Camp, obviously well-documented. He’s showed up to work and done what he’s asked to do. Now, he’s going to get his opportunity. So, hopefully he takes advantage of it.


Antwan Staley, New York Daily News: Mac Jones has been declared the starter. Just talk about the challenges of facing him?

Very challenging, obviously. Last year, going against him, he’s a very talented young man. He’s a great decision maker. He’s accurate with the ball. You can tell he understands what’s being asked of him, and it’s very, very clear, he has enough mobility. He showed it last year in New England, he can get out of the pocket and scramble for first downs when we were there a year ago. I know he’s dealing with that ankle, but he’s a very talented young man.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Whenever the Patriots face a young quarterback, they always show the graphic of Belichick versus first, second year guys. What is it about him and his defense that is so tough with young quarterbacks?

They just don’t give you space. Everything is very sticky. All the windows are very, very tight. I’ve talked about it up here before. When you come from college, me to you is covered. In the NFL, me to this thing right here is wide open. That’s an adjustment that is hard for quarterbacks to make to understand that little bit of space you got to be a quick decision maker and sling the ball and get rid of it. When you watch their defenses, they take away space as good as anyone in football.


Connor Hughes, SNY: As a guy who’s kind of grown up on the defensive side of the ball, how have you seen Bill’s defense change over the years? He’s been coaching I don’t even know how many decades, and it seems like his defenses are always so good and no one has been able to crack the code. 

One, it goes back to that he has a philosophy. That’s my opinion, I won’t speak for him. Just looking at it, there’s a clear philosophy of what they’re trying to do, both front and coverage wise. They’re so convicted in their schemes and all the different things they’ve been able to do. They know every single snake that arises from the schemes that they teach — a snake being all the issues, the way teams attack them. They’ve done it for so long that it’s easily coached. The players have been there for so long, even the veterans could teach the young guys. It’s just a constant pool of coaching where everyone is aware of all the issues that come with it. So, you got to earn everything against it. You can’t scheme up a cheap play because they’re so disciplined in what they’re asked to do and they’re so well-coached. Part of that is longevity in how long they’ve been there — credit to them. From a continuity standpoint, you can see it all over their tape. They’re all in sync.


Connor Hughes, SNY: Is defense a little, just a quickly follow up on that, they obviously like, with defense, is it a little bit different than offense in terms of like you see different types of schemes pop up in offense, kind of every single year whether it was like, remember with Robert Griffin and they were running so much, and then Colin Kaepernick the same thing, but then it seemed like defenses have kind of figured that out and then it’s like the next trend of offense. With defense, when you have a scheme that works like that, is that one that kind of withstands the test of time? Like is defense different than offense that in regard?

That’s a really good question. I was asked earlier this week about our defense and Wink (Martindale)’s defense and how different they are, but you can have success many different ways. I still think it goes back to what are you convicted in, and can you understand what you’re coaching enough to be able to adjust with the trends of the League because yeah, offenses are always going to try to evolve and find space and move people to create space. Defensively, do you understand how they’re trying to move you and how you can refill the spaces they’re trying to find and all the different things we do. So, I don’t know if it matters so much about what scheme you’re running, it’s do you understand it enough to be able to make the adjustments with the offense as they go.


Brian Costello, New York Post: How has (James) Robinson come along?

He’s coming along good. We’ll see today and tomorrow with regards to where he is from a comfort level and the offense, and we’ll make a decision.


Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: (Taylor) Embree was saying yesterday that earlier this week Michael Carter took over a film session because Embree had to go home and tend to his kid. Have you ever had a second-year player who’s like taken on such a leadership role like how Michael has? I mean I can’t imagine that’s common.

No, he’s been great. Michael (Carter)’s been great, because it’s not easy. You go into the offseason, you’re expecting to be the lead guy, and then you see another guy come into the room as a drafted young man in Breece (Hall) and you see kind of a split happening, but he is a very, very important piece to this offense and a big reason why we’re going to have success for years to come, his character, his off the field, the way he does things, the way he studies, the work he puts in, and his thoughtfulness in everything he does is why we love him, and then on top of it, he’s a pretty damn good football player too. Really pumped for him just to be able to have the confidence to do that and congrats to Taylor and his wife too to have the baby.


Connor Hughes, SNY: He doesn’t have the “C”, but did you guys look at him as a captain in Michael Carter?

Yeah, we got our three captains every week, we give it to someone else for game day. We nominate a four captain as voted by the coaches and we see him in that light. We also have a leadership council representative from each position group, and he represents the running backs, so he’s viewed as a leader on this football team.


Antwan Staley, New York Daily News: Before you drafted him, did you have an idea that he was going to be like a natural leader the way that he is?

Yeah, all part of the character studies we do and just trying to see where they are and how they fit in. He split carries with (Javonte) Williams, who’s also a really good running back at North Carolina and so you kind of knew he was selfless in that regard and just talking to him through the pre-draft evaluation and talking to his coaches and teammates, you knew you were getting a guy of high character.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Robert when we asked about (George) Fant on Monday, you said he’s back in the building. That kind of triggered something, did he have a procedure or anything?

No, it’s new, I guess it’s a new common place in the NFL now where guys, if they go on IR they go do some treatment somewhere else and then come back. So, it was more therapy and treatment than anything.


Brian Costello, New York Post: (follow up) So, how far out do you think he is from returning to practice?

We’re taking it week-to-week. We’ll see next week, and then hopefully after the bye week.

Brian Costello, New York Post: When you’re talking about the Patriots defense, and how they’ve coached it for so long. They’ve gone through some turnover on offense, with Josh (McDaniels) gone, obviously they changed quarterbacks a few years ago. What differences do you see offensively from them now?

I feel like schematically it’s very similar, obviously they call the game differently, and they’re doing a great job with it. I know from a yards per play standpoint, explosive plays all those different things. Handling the different quarterbacks with the injury to Mac (Jones) and the lack of continuity in that regard, so there’s similarities, but you can tell that they put their flavor onto it.


Brian Costello, New York Post: Do they run as many gadget plays as Josh (McDaniels)?

Yeah, that’s still part of what they do. Fully expecting all of it.


Jeane Coakley, SNY: Your shirt?

Oh, yeah, so we’re recognizing Todd Romano, Caldwell High School. Actually, the rival of our team president, so took a little bit to get this one through, much respect for West Essex though. Caldwell has gone 23 wins in a row, it’s the longest current streak in Jersey, had a big win last week. (Todd) graduated from that high school in 2001, where he was a linebacker and running back, and it’s their first playoff game tonight, so good luck to you all.


Jeane Coakley, SNY: Are you excited about being home finally?

Yeah, you know I mentioned it earlier, to the fans, fireworks are going to go off an hour before kickoff, that is a sign to you guys to pack it up and get in the stadium, and let’s see if we can get this thing loud. Heard that over 30% of the fans missed the Sauce Gardner safety at our last home game, let’s see if we can get it to where there is 100% viewage, if we make a play.