Patriots

Belichick: "I'm really proud of our players"

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Belichick: "I'm really proud of our players"

The following is a collection of quotes from the Patriots - Jets post game press conferences, courtesy of the Patriots media relations staff:

Bill Belichick

BB: Its good to come in here after a win against the Jets. It always is. A division game, a hard-fought game like it always is. Im really proud of our players. We stepped up and that was a great drive there offensively to answer the touchdown, field goal. I thought we played better on defense. There were some good things to build on. Weve still got a long way to go, and well see them again in a month, as well as the rest of our division teams later on this season. Its good to win and I'm really proud of our team. They had a good week of practice, they worked hard, pushed through a lot of bumps and bruises banged up and a long trip back from Oakland and all of that, but they hung in there and I thought they really did a good job this week. It was one of our good weeks of practice, so hopefully that was reinforced by what we did in the game.

What he saw from Aaron Hernandez in his return:

BB: Aaron has really worked hard the last couple of weeks to get back out there. Hes in here early, he stays late; he's leaving when the coaches are leaving. Hes getting a lot of extra treatment. He was able to come out and practice later on in the week and handle a little more each day and kept getting better, so we felt confident going into the game and he felt confident going into the game. Again, he got behind the defense a couple times, so he obviously got his speed back. I thought he had a good couples days of practice at the end of the week and was able to carry it over into the game. He's a tough guy to match up against. Hes a good player.

Q: How the defense was overall in getting the right plays without Jerod Mayo:

BB: I didnt think we had a lot of coverage problems or defensive adjustment problems where we couldnt get things lined up or that kind of thing. I think Patrick Chung and James Ihedigbo did a real nice job. James did a great job for us today in his overall communication and of course he was pretty familiar with the team we were playing. Hes a smart guy that really works hard, communicates well and practiced well this week. I thought he did a good job when he was in there, delivered a couple big hits and played well, so he helped us with the communication as well as Gary Guyton and Brandon Spikes and Rob Ninkovich. Those guys have been playing together and especially Spikes now has had a few weeks where hes been in there, and Gary and Rob, they had a good week of practice. I think its going better. Its not perfect, but were making progress and definitely getting better.

Tom Brady
Q: How impressed he was with BenJarvus Green-Ellis and how much Green-Ellis helped the passing game:

TB: He ran great, he always does. Hes a tough runner, hes a real smart runner, hes patient, he sees the holes. That was a big part of the win. I thought we were balanced. Ran the clock out at the end, that was important. We needed that win. When we call upon him, we need him and he makes the plays. That was great.

Q: How important it was to have the threat of running the ball after you didnt last year?

TB: We need to do it. We have to run the ball. If they have a lot of DBs out there, then we have to run it. If they put big guys in, we still have to run it. You just cant throw the ball every single down against these guys, they make it too tough. I thought we could have done better with running the ball; we could have done better passing the ball. Well try to make some improvements and move onto the Cowboys.

Q: Week after week being in the spotlight with the other team raising their game to go after you and the Patriots. What it's like to have your opponents be so up against you ever week and for you to be under attack every week:

TB: We dont think about it much like that, we really dont. Whoever we play, were expecting to go out there and rise up to them also. I dont think we ever have taken an opponent lightly. Every opponent is dangerous. Were going out there to play our best every week. We expect the opponents best every week too. Were not going to expect to go out there and get six turnovers a week and win by 40. You realize its going to come down to the fourth quarter and we have to make enough plays.

Vince Wilfork

Q: Stringing together three straight three and outs and how that can help the team pick up momentum and rhythm:

VW: You know, every time we did it, and the offense went out, and then we went right back on the field. I just remember guys saying to each other Hey lets do it again.' Because we knew eventually our offense was going to get back on track and put some points up. Every week we have that offense. So, I think the better we get defensively, the better this team will be. I think it is a start in the right direction. Thats one thing we are going to need to continue to build on. Especially going forward this week with the Cowboys coming to town, we are going to need another great week of practice. I think everybody can see what two good weeks of practices can do for us. I think everybodys momentum and confidence is up. We need to start stringing it together for 60 minutes.

Wes Welker
Q: Going deep and beating the Jets' secondary:
WW: It was just one of those plays where the safety was a little over-aggressive. We run a similar type play and ran the ball and so I kind of got a feel for what that safety was doing. I went down and then kind of acted like I was going to block him and then took off on it. Tom Brady made a good throw. Hopefully next time I can just finish that out.

Q: Starting to like going over the top?

WW: Yeah, I love it. Anytime you can get the ball deep and make some big plays like that, its huge for our offense. The more you can do out there, the better off were going to be. Just continue to try and make plays every time I get a chance.

Q: How much of a factor Darrelle Revis was covering Welker one-on-one:

WW: Hes always a factor. Hes a great player. You definitely have to make sure youre very crisp with all your routes and really set up him up with stuff and be smart about it. Every play is go-time when hes across from you. He does a great job with all that. Its a little game of cat and mouse sometimes with him. You just have to keep on plugging away and hopefully get some big plays every once in awhile.

Five quick thoughts: Patriots put it all together against Falcons

Five quick thoughts: Patriots put it all together against Falcons

FOXBORO -- Here are some quick-hitting thoughts on the Patriots' 23-7 victory over the Falcons on Sunday night.

1) If the Patriots attacked this game believing that the best defense is a good offense . . . they were right. 

They controlled the ball for more than 18 minutes in the first half and ran for 92 yards on 18 carries (a 5.1 yards per attempt average) with four backs sharing the load. Rex Burkhead gave the team a spark with his speed and vision in his first game back since suffering a rib injury in Week 2. The success the Patriots had running the ball had the added benefit of opening up the play-action pass game and it helped protect Tom Brady. After taking two sacks in the first quarter and a monster hit (penalized for roughing the passer) from Adrian Clayborn in the second, Brady was fairly well-protected. 

PATRIOTS 23, FALCONS 3

2) Tom Brady lamented the fact that he hadn't been more accurate in the red zone of late, but he was better in that area to help the Patriots pad their early lead. 

The Patriots went 2-for-3 in the red zone through the first half, with Brady hitting on touchdown passes to Brandin Cooks (which looked more like an end-around hand-off) and James White. Brady still had moments of inaccuracy. The pass he lofted before being croaked by Clayborn was a bad one that was intercepted. (The pick was wiped after the penalty was enforced.) He threw behind Chris Hogan on multiple occasions. He also had an odd throw float well out of bounds that was intended for Rob Gronkowski. But for the most part he was on point, completing 21 of his first 29 throws for 241 yards. 

3) The Patriots defense showed up in critical moments time and time again in this one. 

They stopped the Falcons twice on fourth down, and they allowed Matt Ryan and his offense to convert on just two of their first nine third-down plays. The Falcons coaching staff deserves plenty of criticism for going for it when they did, but with a banged-up secondary, going against the reigning MVP and one of the best receivers in the league, the Patriots responded.

4) Bill Belichick's run defense was particularly impressive in the first half on Sunday night, helping keep the Falcons from getting anything going until it was too late. 

They allowed just 30 yards on nine attempts in the first two quarters (a 3.3 yards per attempt average), with Malcom Brown, Trey Flowers, Kyle Van Noy, Lawrence Guy and Deatrich Wise all making impressive stops at, near or behind the line of scrimmage. 

5) The Patriots suffered a handful of injuries to key players that will be worth keeping an eye on moving forward. 

Malcom Brown left the game in the second half with an ankle injury. Their top defensive tackle this season, Brown's absence may be one reason for why the Falcons were able to pump up their rushing yardage to triple digits by midway through the fourth quarter. Dont'a Hightower also left the game and was announced as questionable to return with a shoulder injury. Hightower has had a history of shoulder issues and so perhaps this is an older injury that was re-aggravated. Chris Hogan also left the game briefly and was evaluated for a concussion, according to NBC's television broadcast. He later returned.

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