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Belichick: “Proud of the Way the Team Has Bounced Back” and More Following Patriots Victory Over the Jets

The Patriots head coach met with the media to discuss the team’s performance following their 54-13 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday.

The New England Patriots returned to the win column the second of two meetings between the AFC East Divisional Rivals, New England’s Mac Jones completed 24 of 36 passes, compiling 307 yards with two touchdowns. Running backs Damien Harris and J.J. Taylor would contribute two touchdown runs each as the Pats dismantled the New York Jets 54-13 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

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:

Postgame: Sunday, October 24

Opening Statement:

“I thought our guys did a real good job today. Players were ready to go. Had a good week and came out and started, got off to a good start, played from ahead. Had a lot of production offensively and made some big plays on defense, a couple turnovers, stops, and the kicking game was solid, too. I thought we covered well and returned well on the opportunities that we had. The punt return and kickoff return, both of those got us started, and had good balance offensively, and made big plays in the passing game. It was just some good, solid plays, and then had 150 yards rushing, so that's always a good thing. You know, proud of the way the team has bounced back here. Hopefully we can string another good set of days together and head out to LA.”

On getting off to a fast start, specifically, the pass from Kendrick Bourne to Nelson Agholor for the touchdown. [Was that play in there that just happened to present itself at the time within the first series or was it in there maybe to try to ignite a fast start?]

“Yeah, no, I think it was just kind of the right situation. I mean, Josh [McDaniels] does a great job of mixing plays in to take advantage of the defense's overaggressiveness, whether it's pursuit or run force or whatever it happens to be. It was a great call by Josh, and honestly very well executed by everybody. You know, Nelly, it was just kind of the right timing of getting the defender to come up and then get behind him. Obviously KB made a great throw. That was like a quarterback pass. It was a very well-executed play. That's always the key. Timing and play calling are great, but it always comes down to execution, and those guys really executed it well.”

On how much of a ‘confidence-booster’ this game was to his team:

“I don't think we lacked confidence.”

On Brandon Bolden’s role, especially since James White’s injury:

“Well, Brandon is somebody that's always been ready, always done well for us. He's been an outstanding special teams player, just hasn't really had a lot of opportunity. James has been one of our most dependable and durable players. Of course Brandon didn't play last year when James missed a little bit of time. We're very fortunate that we had Brandon be able to step in and do the things that he does, maintain his role in the kicking game and give us some quality plays offensively, especially on third down. He's good with the ball in his hands, and he's very smart, handles a lot of assignments, third down, blitz pickup and those type of things are – they're not easy. He does a good job of that, and as I say, gives us a lot of solid plays in the kicking game.”

On holding the Jets to 62 rushing yards on Sunday, after allowing 187 rushing yards to them in Week Two:

“I thought the Jets really did a good job in the first game. They had some schemes that were tough, and put us in some tough spots. It was well designed. They've blocked us well. They have good backs. [Michael] Carter and Ty [Johnson] and those guys, they're hard to tackle. They get some yards on their own. They read the plays well and have good patience there. But I thought up front we tried to not let them be able to get those six-, seven-yard gains and just hand the ball off kind of when they wanted to like they did in the first game. We got them in some longer yardage situations. [Ja’Whaun] Bentley and our defensive line had some stops for little or no gain that created some second and longs, or when they ran on second down it created some third downs and we were able to convert on some of those. But yeah, I thought our run defense has improved here in the last three, four weeks. But that's always a challenge anytime you see a great back like these guys or [Austin] Ekeler, whoever, it's always – [Ezekiel] Elliott, whoever it happens to be, they're one play away from a 70-yard touchdown. Let's keep working on it, but it was good to be competitive, and then of course the score kind of took them out of the running game most of the second half. I don't know if we really got the full test of what – I'm sure they would have wanted to run it more than they had the opportunity to, but at least we were ready for it early, and that helped us get ahead.”

On the development of Kyle Dugger and Adrian Phillips, after Devin McCourty left the game:

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“I mean, we're fortunate we have three really good safeties. Devin has certainly quarterbacked the secondary for a long time back there. But those guys practice and they rotate through there, so Kyle and AP are both very good players in their own right and both smart players, so they handled things. Myles [Bryant] also stepped back in there and played some safety, as well, in a couple of our different defensive groups. Yeah, I thought defensively it was not a perfect effort but a solid effort, and once we kind of say in the fourth quarter got the pass rush going a little bit, that helped us. We tackled well, turned the ball over, had some turnover opportunities, took advantage of them. JC [Jackson] made a great catch on the sideline. Kyle [Dugger] made a great catch on a low ball there. Both of those are big-time plays, and then we punched the ball out there at the end. Just the secondary working together, we played Justin [Bethel], played Joejuan [Williams], had some different combinations in there, but those guys really worked well together and held up well.”

On his thoughts on Kendrick Bourne’s pass to Nelson Agholor as it happened:

“Well, it is if it hasn't gone well in practice, but usually when it goes well in practice, you gain confidence in it, they gain confidence in it and you call it. When you don't do it well in practice, then honestly it usually doesn't get called. Now, sometimes it's a little different in the game because the aggressiveness of the defense might be different than what the aggressiveness is of the scout team, and so sometimes some of those plays are designed to really get everybody up and then get behind them. You don't always get that reaction in practice. Again, generally speaking, some of our kind of one-time plays, misdirection or double passes, things like that, those guys are executing pretty well in practice, so I have confidence in them. And you want the guy that has the ball to have – you want to have confidence in the guy who has the ball that if something goes wrong you're not going to turn the ball over. If it's not there, then you just throw it away and go back and line up again, run another play.”

Monday, October 25

On Brian Hoyer’s contributions to the development of the team’s quarterbacks, specifically his prowess on the scout team:

“Brian does a great job of that. He’s been in the system longer than anyone. What he brings, you can always try to coach. But, having a player…someone that has actually played it…is an asset. Brian has been extremely good with Garrett (Gilbert), Jarrett (Stidham) and Mac (Jones) with giving insight, coaching points, cadence…helping to move the important stuff up to the top. He provides a great deal of value to our offensive game plan.”

On the rotational usage of the team’s running backs:

“We have confidence in all of our guys. We started the year with five backs, obviously James [White] goes down with the injury. Brandon [Bolden] has stepped up his role, and had a good day for us yesterday. Rhamondre and J.J. are both young, but they have been solid contributors, each does things well that help us out a lot.”

On Hunter Henry, and his emergence in the offense:

“Hunter is a smart player, he can do a lot of things…he has a great skill set and has been good in a lot of ways. One of the best plays he had yesterday was on the opening kickoff. We had to flip the return based on where the kick was and he came all the way over from the right side to make a key block. It was the key block on the play, and Hunter had to go the farthest to make it. He also drew attention away from Jonnu on the screen pass he ran. Jonnu made a great play, and Hunter really helped there as well. It’s those things he does that become big things. He’s a pretty experienced player. That goes all the way back to high school at Pulaski Adademy in Arkansas under Coach [Kevin] Kelley, and then what he did with the [Los Angeles] Chargers…very smart player, very instinctive. He just instinctively does the right thing.”

On his opinion of Chargers’ quarterback Justin Herbert and what makes his such a solid professional quarterback:

‘Because he’s really good…Yeah, Justin is really good. I thought he was outstanding coming out of college…really athletic..great arm…a lot of poise. He played well at Oregon…he can make all the reads, completes his plays, and his skill set fits the pro game so well. I don’t think you are going to find anyone better than him. I have a ton of respect for him. He will be one of the top quarterbacks in the league for years to come.”

On the growth of Mac Jones, week-to-week:

“Mac’s been steady; he’s learning and continuing to improve each week. It’s just [taking it] play by play day by day. Stacking those together & building on the experience he’s had. I don’t think there has been one particular moment that has changed his development or progression. It’s just been a collective effort to get better each day.”

On the emergence of Christian Barmore:

“Christian has done a great job of improving all of the phases of his game. He has played 5-technique, 3-technique and has also played on the nose. He lined up in types of formations, made different blocks and he has improved all the way through. He’s durable and keeps learning from the snaps he takes on a daily basis. He keeps working hard, and that is so critical for someone at his position. I’m glad we have him…he’s made a lot of progress and I think he’ll continue to get better.”