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Belichick: “Go Back to Work, Do Better” and More After Patriots Lose to Saints in Week Three

The Patriots head coach met with the media to discuss the team’s performance following their 28-13 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

The New England Patriots fell to 1-2 on the 2021 NFL Season with a 28-13 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday at Gillette Stadium. The story of the day for the Patriots was their inability to execute when it was needed most. The Patriots were largely ineffective on offense, showed a lack of consistent aggression on defense, and made mistakes on special teams, as well.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick met with the media, both postgame on Sunday, and again on Monday morning. Here are some of the highlights from Belichick’s meets with the media:

Post Game, Sunday, September 26

Opening Statement:

“Give the Saints credit today. They were certainly the better team. They just did a better job than we did in every area and deserved to win. We've just got to play more consistently. We've got to play with more good plays out there and not as many that aren't good. That's what we have to do. We had some chances, but in the end, we just couldn't get it done. It's disappointing. There's no magic sauce here. Just have to go back to work and do better.”

On trying to keep the ball away from Saints’ punt returner Deonte Harris, following a 25-yard return:

“Of course we weren't trying to give him return opportunities, no.”

On Sunday’s disappointing special teams performance [i.e. allowing a blocked punt, kickoff out of bounds]:

“We've got to be better in every area, including special teams.”

On his assessment of the offensive line from the first three weeks of the season:

“Again, just today we were inconsistent in every area. We've just got to do a better job. Go back and look at the film, make some corrections. Obviously, New Orleans has a good defense, but we've got to move the ball better than we did today. Play better in the defense. Play better in the kicking game.”

On whether he had a chance to see James White either at halftime, or after the game:

“Yeah, I saw him at halftime. We'll see.”

On how the wind was a factor in Sunday’s game [relating to kicking and punting strategy]:

“It's about what it was in Miami and Washington.”

On what he saw from Mac Jones’ interceptions:

“Well, probably the same thing you saw.”

On Losing James White and the potential ‘domino effect’ it had on their game plan:

“We have contingency plans for everybody. Unfortunately, that's part of the game. Everybody has to have a backup. Brandon [Bolden] stepped in there and Damien [Harris] and J.J. [Taylor, and those guys are all good players. They'll get in there and compete.”

On the physical toll on Mac Jones under pressure and taking numerous quarterback hits:

“When you're having to throw every down, it's never a good position to be in. We don't ever want to be in that situation.”

On the challenge posed next week by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the return of Tom Brady:

“Obviously, they're a good team. Right now we're just focused on New Orleans. Look at the film, make the corrections on that, then we'll move on.”

Monday, September 27

On why New England was not as good of an option for Tom Brady as Tampa Bay:

“I’m not going to go back and rehash all of that [referring to his appearance on WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show on Monday morning.] We're going to focus on the game here. I have so much respect for Tom and everything he did here and for our team. But we are focusing on the game here, and we are going to prepare for the Buccaneers team.”

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On whether he is surprised by Tom Brady’s success in Tampa [i.e. throwing 61 touchdown passes, etc.]:

“Tom is a great player. Nothing surprises me with what he does.”

On whether the reduction in snaps for linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley was due to injury”


On subbing-in Jahlani Tavai for Dont’a Hightower in some packages on Sunday:

“We’ve been rotating our defensive players and we felt that was the best way to manage it.”

  • Follow-up on why:
    • “For a lot of reasons..too many to mention here, or this would be a much longer conversation.”

On making the Patriots a better option for Brady to return:

“I think we’ve already covered that”

On the Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

"It's a very talented offensive football team and a very talented defensive football team. That's why they're as good as they are. They've got a lot of good players…they are well-coached.”

On the Pats’ pass protection on Sunday vs. New Orleans:

“We threw the ball 55 times, There was pressure on a few plays. Overall I wouldn't say it was bad. There were plenty of times where we had good time...You throw the ball 55 times you're going to get some pressure on the QB.”

On Mac Jones’ handling of adversity:

“I think that Mac’s handled everything well. He’s seen a lot, He’s seen max pressure…max coverage. I think he’s done a great job with it. Like every young player there is room for improvement, but he’s done a great job for us.”

On the potential return of N’Keal Harry, this week:

“It’s a possibility. It's definitely a possibility. We'll see where he is today. He's been making progress. We’ll know more within the next 48 hours."

On filling the void of James White, and whether J.J. Taylor or Brandon Bolden could be the main option:

“Well, Brandon has by far the most experience in that group…that’s a role he’s had in the past. When he has done it, I think he has done a great job. He handled a lot of blitz formations. J.J. has been good for us too. We’ll see.”

On special teams personnel and whether a change may be needed to spark improvement:

“We just need to do a better job in all areas…offense, defense, special teams, coaching. That is what we are going to do”

On drawing from experiences from working with Tom Brady when working with Mac Jones:

“Yeah, sure. That’s true any time you work with a young quarterback. Tom didn't play in his rookie year, but his second year was like a rookie year. We also have had Rohan [Davey], Jimmy [Garoppolo], Jacoby [Brissett]…we’ve had a few young QBs here. You learn from the experience of all those guys. Some are different…but there are common threads. The one common thread is that it is our offense. There may be guys that have players in other environments, but we try to keep our stability there. That's really what we can rely on. What we can do to help the process is what we will do.”

On the final drive for New Orleans on Sunday, specifically the attempt to stop at 3rd-&-7 from the Saints’ 28 with 8:22 left.:

“They had mixed in some protection…we pressured the first third down and the second drive. They protected that and picked it up and hit [Marquez] Callaway on the side. They handled that well.. Sean does a great job about picking that up. So I wasn’t too excited about running that again.”