Quarterback Tyrod Taylor
Q: Is there anything on film that explains how the Patriots have gone from the team that gives up the most points to one that doesn’t give up more than 17?
A: Just discipline. They’ve had some injuries on their side of the ball, so they’ve been dealing with that all year, but watching them in their most recent games, they’re a disciplined group. Bunch of talented guys guys on that team and it’s definitely going to be a challenge for us.
Q: What’s the toughest part about going up against a Bill Belichick-coached defense?
A: Like I said, they’re just very sound and disciplined in the things they do; give you multiple looks, but you can count on those guys being in the right place at the right time. You’ve got to be able to sustain drives and put up points, finish with 7’s of course, because their offensive side puts up a bunch of points week in and week out.
Q: Have they given you different looks each time that you’ve played them?
A: It’s been game-plan specific, but this is a new staff, a new coordinator, so some things are going to change. We’ve just got to be ready for everything that they throw at us.
Q: What about sustaining drives and how do you go about doing that given the fact that there’s been inconsistencies with your offense at this point?
A: You keep working on it; staying on schedule.
Q: Is there any part of Tom Brady’s game that you look at and, obviously he’s the gold standard for quarterbacks, do you try and look at anything that he does and implement it into your game?
A: Great quarterback - one of the best to ever play. Definitely somebody that I admire. Our games are totally different, but just the way he passes from the pocket, the way he gets the ball out of his hands, rarely gets touched, definitely something that you can take from his game, but two totally different quarterbacks.
Q: How much of a sense of normalcy has returned to you being the starter now two weeks in a row as opposed to what it was like before then?
A: My mindset has been the same and it’s going to continue to be that way preparation wise, in the classroom, also as far as just taking care of my body. I’m a leader first and foremost, and I’m going to continue to be the same person day in and day out.
Q: Tyrod, Jordan Matthews this season, I know he’s had a couple injuries that have kind of hurt him integrating with you, but how much of a struggle has it been to get him really involved? That was a guy in [Philadelphia] who made a lot of catches. Just talk about the struggles of getting on the same page with him this year.
A: We’re working on it. It’s something that’s ongoing week in and week out. Like you said, he’s dealt with some injuries, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that he’s a great player. We have to utilize him more and get him the ball, but we’re working on it.
Q: After a tough start to the season, Zay [Jones] has played a lot better the last few weeks. Do you see the confidence growing in him game in and game out?
A: Yes, he’s a confident guy, very talented young player. He’s going to be a great player in this league for a while. As far as his slow start, [we’ve] never seen his confidence waver on the practice field, him just walking around. You knew that the time was coming for him to go out and make plays. He’s definitely a guy that we count on to go out there and make big plays for us.
Q: Is there a comfort level that you’re starting to get with him as you keep playing with him?
A: Definitely. Like I said, the more reps I get in the games and practice with him, that confidence level between each other, between us, definitely grows.
Q: Speaking on the pass rush, it’s something their defense had trouble with until last week, when they had seven sacks; delayed guys coming late in the play. Was last week just a one-game aberration, game-plan specific where they just had Miami’s number, or have they turned a corner there with their pass rush?
A: They have a bunch of talented guys up front. It’s my job to get the ball out; don’t hold onto it and put the stress on the offensive line. Take what they give us and, like I said methodically, move the ball down the field.
Q: How do you interpret what Sean McDermott says - on one hand, he’s not naming you a starter beyond this weekend, on the other hand, he says I have all the confidence in Tyrod. How do you interpret that?
A: I don’t really look into that. Like I said, my job is to focus on winning games, preparing myself and getting this team ready, especially this offense ready to go out there and compete at a high level on Sundays. I don’t necessarily put my mind on those comments.
Q: The first two years you were a starter, you guys really took the top off the defense a lot. Not as much this year, is that more because of what defenses are doing to you, or is it more because of the philosophy of the offense this year under a new coordinator?
A: We’re working hard each and every week to get those looks to go down field. It’s still a new offense for all of us. We’re still learning each other. You really can’t compare this year to last year; two totally different offenses, two totally different [set of] athletes on the field. I don’t really see or feel the need to compare this year to the previous two years.
Q: You’ve seen teams, they know you throw the deep ball very well; you’ve had some great numbers the last two years. Do you think teams are playing you a little differently because of that threat that you have, that you hadn’t seen, maybe an offseason of saying this is what we have to guard against when Tyrod’s the quarterback?
A: They definitely want to take away the deep ball. We have athletes to go do it, we’ve been able to connect a couple times throughout the year. Definitely, big plays are part of our offense and we have to get back to making those.
Q: What kept you coming back to Zay Jones even when he was struggling, you kept targeting him? What led to that and how important was that to get him going?
A: I have all the confidence and belief in him. I see the type of work that he puts in week in and week out. Whether he’s catching it or not, like I said, he’s a playmaker for us. [In] the offense, I have to give him the opportunity to make those plays. Like I said, his confidence has grew over the past couple of games and it’s going to continue to keep growing, and I’m going to continue to keep looking for him to get open.
Q: Did you go into this game, knowing how good their offense is, they’re going to score points, do you have to have a mindset that you have to be aggressive? 16 [points] is not going to do it this week, is that the mindset going in, you have to be more aggressive?
A: We have to score points, and whatever that means. Whether it’s being more aggressive [or not]. First and foremost, staying on the field on third downs and finishing in the red zone with 7’s versus 3’s. Like I said, touchdowns are definitely going to be key to beating this team.
Q: Tyrod, as you go into this game knowing how good their offense is and they’re going to score points, do you have to have a mindset that you’ve got to be aggressive? 16 is not going to do it this week. Is that the mindset going in?
A: We have to score points and whatever that means, whether it’s being more aggressive – first and foremost is staying on the field on third downs and finishing in the red zone with sevens versus threes. Like I said, touchdowns are definitely going to be key to beating this team.
Q: There are a lot of new guys on this team. I’m sure they all know about the Patriots dynasty and what that’s about, but you guys have to live in it, and deal with them twice a year. What do you tell them, veteran to rookie, about how you beat this team and how you deal with this rivalry?
A: It’s a big game for us, of course, just as every week is. Great team, Super Bowl champs, but as far as the approach and the mindset, you have to take it week by week and continue to focus on the things to get better throughout the week. Trust the process and go out there and play ball on Sundays.
Q: You’re doing a good job as a leader to not make this personal but what would it mean for you, personally, to beat Brady and the Patriots at this point in your career here?
A: As a team, this is definitely a big game for us and we want this win for sure. We have to pour all of our time and energy into preparation to go out there and give us the best shot to beat this team. I’m looking forward to the matchup. It’s not necessarily about me and him, but as a team, we’re eager to go out there and play.
Q: Tyrod, do you recall how often the Patriots have used a spy on you? Would you say a little bit [or] a lot? Has it changed from the different times you’ve faced them?
A: They’ve mixed it in. It hasn’t been every time but they’ve mixed it in in the past four games that I’ve played them.
Q: I know you’re a guy that gets here early and puts in a ton of work. How do you avoid, is it possible to watch too much film in a game like this, leading up to such a big game and kind of outthink yourself?
A: That’s one thing you don’t want to do, is outthink yourself. I think, like I said, you’ve just got to continue your routine. Yes, it’s a big game, a very big game for us, but every game in this league week in and week out is a big game. That approach ash to be the same week in.
Q: What’s your relationship been like with Stephon [Gilmore]? Just some thoughts on playing him for the first time, you’ve seen him in practice every day for two years up until this year?
A: Great player, a very confident player. I actually haven’t talked to him since he made the move. I congratulated him, maybe like the day that he signed or something like that. It’ll be good to see him, but on Sundays, [it’s a] competition.
Q: What have you noticed about Shady [LeSean McCoy] behind the scenes? It seems like his production in the running game hasn’t been what he wants it to be, what have you noticed about how he’s handled that behind the scenes?
A: He’s still the same person; full of personality. Confidence-wise, he has all the confidence in himself, just as well as we believe in him. The opportunity for him to go out and have big games are definitely going to come, and he’s ready to go out there and make it. He’s working hard, just trying to fix some of the things that we need to fix, and get him to have [more of those] explosive games.
Running Back LeSean McCoy
Q: LeSean, how have the Patriots kind of gone from worst in the league defensively through the first month to now best over the last five or six games, at least in terms of scoring? What have you seen change for them defensively looking at the film?
A: Looks like, I think up front they’re playing a lot better against the run and actually playing a lot of man coverage and playing really, really well. A little bit on tape, you’ll see some guys out of gaps or some guys not in the right coverage. That’s kind of changed up; looks like they’re all more comfortable, I think, with the scheme. Added some new players, but they look good.
Q: Knowing the quarterback on the other side, how are you guys approaching this week? I’m sure that you’re happy to get the win last week in KC [Kansas City], but are you guys looking at it as 16 points to get it done this week?
A: Yeah, we have to capitalize. A lot of plays last week we left some meat on the bone and we didn’t get the total amount of yards we should’ve got on a lot of plays. This week is going to be the same thing as far as capitalizing on the plays. Stay on the field, convert, make the downs early manageable, second and five, second and six, things like that. They’re a good team. They know they’ve got Tom [Brady], so he bails them out a lot. If we can just, as an offense, stay on the field, keep the clock up a little bit, I mean have him on the benches, playing good defense.
Q: A couple of weeks ago before you guys played the Saints, you mentioned Drew Brees as a guy you watch. You named a couple other guys, and Tom Brady was one of those guys. Where does he fall as far as guys that you really kind of watch and you’re kind of in amazement of how good his career has been?
A: Yeah, I mean, he’s for sure one of the best, if not the best quarterback of all time. His work ethic, the time he puts in, you can see it. I’m sure I’ll watch him a little bit. Hopefully, we’re making plays on him, sacking him, but it’ll be a good game. We’ve just got to go in and just focus. Can’t make a lot of mistakes, not a lot of penalties. It’s hard enough playing against him, so we’ll need the extra help.
Q: I know down in distance impacts this, LeSean, but in the four times you’ve faced them with the Bills, how much, how many eight-man fronts have they thrown at you? Majority of the time, half the time, less?
A: They play a lot of man coverage. They play some zero, they’ll play on bare fronts to stop the run, and they’ll put a lot of pressure on their corners to play man and get an extra guy in the box. I will say this, they’re one of the teams where they won’t change much. That’s what they’re going to do. Just sometimes they’ll let guys will go all the way up the field and drive on them, and kick three points knowing that Tom Brady will get seven. It’s one thing to actually like finishing, getting down there, moving the ball, getting yards, but then getting seven points. That’s the biggest thing, because they’ll come in there and try to stop the run, and they’ll come in there and play man coverage.
Q: Last week, they dropped some blitzes late. How does that kind of impact you and your job in pass pro, because that’s tough; those guys come late, they look like they’re dropping, and then they’re not?
A: Yeah, that is tough. We struggled with that earlier against the Jets the second time around. A good way of kind of containing Tyrod [Taylor], because you can kind of account for him, and then they delay blitzes when they come. We’ve just got to, I think the wide receivers and the backs have to beat man coverage, simple as that. [I’m] sure we’ll get some delayed blitzes. We’ve also got to be patient and wait for the guys blitzing.
Q: LeSean, your former teammate in Mike Gillislee, he’s been a healthy scratch for the last three games. Just knowing him, obviously, are you surprised to hear that?
A: Well, we’ve been talking. We haven’t really talking really football, just see how he’s doing, he’s checking in with me. Good friends with him, and Dion [Lewis], so I’m not sure what they’ve got going on over there as far as who’s playing or why. You never know. Sometimes, guys get hurt and they don’t really let the world know about it, or something’s going on in the locker room. You never know.
Q: LeSean, now being in the division with Brady, is it amazing, frustrating, in what regard at 40, he’s still doing the things he was doing at 30?
A: That’s just a blessing. Some guys at 21, 22 can’t play that good. It’s actually something that’s amazing to see. You’re witnessing greatness.
Q: How much of a difference in preparation or whatever does it make that you’re catching a division team so late in the season? You’re going down to Miami, too.
A: I don’t think it matters. We’ll play them early, late. It’s kind of cool for Miami, because you play in that good weather around this time.
Q: How has the season compared to your expectations coming in of where you are statistically and just your performance this season?
A: I could be more consistent; up and down, I think. Some games [I was] lights out, and other games, it’s kind of ‘ahh’. Some plays, I’m doing really, really well [and] some plays I’m not. So, it’s not really consistent. I would say solid. In that last game. I made some plays, but I could’ve finished some plays a lot better. Some of those things is just frustrating. You know the plays you can make and it might be a good play to a regular, other guy, but you know what you can do. The good thing is we’re still in a shot for playoffs. Team wise, that’s the most important [thing]. We control our own destiny as far as we can just keep winning. We’ll see what happens.
Q: LeSean, I know this is an every week league, one week at a time -
A: Yo, you know what? That’s right, though. That’s the best way to put it [for] your question [referring to previous question]. It’s week to week. It’s like you have three great weeks, and then the next week could be awful and it kills your whole vibe. I think it’s just week to week of kind of being more consistent.
Q: Has that ever happened before in your career? That sort of week to week where you don’t know if you’re going to get 5 yards or 100?
A: No, I mean like your attitude. You’ll have two great weeks and feel good about yourself and then next week have a bad week and feel terrible; like a death in the family, you know what I’m saying? Not that bad. It’s the feeling of it. You always want to kind of - you don’t want to go up and down, you want to stay the same, but you could play good one week and then next week you can be off and you feel it.
Q: It’s safe to say [that] you’re still confident?
A: Oh man, yeah. Yeah, for sure.
Q: Does this week have a different feeling? I know it’s a game by game approach, but it’s the Patriots. I mean they’re a -
A: Yeah, it is. I think it’s different week. I think we have the same mindset of coming in, preparing hard the same way, practicing hard, and making the same game every week. I think it’s something a little special. You ask the local neighbor about the Patriots, they’ll say that it’s a must win type of game. That feeling that they want to beat them. It’s always, I think, something special with the Patriots no matter where you’re at I think.
Q: You talk about losing your vibe if you have a bad game after a couple good ones. How much did this win restore the team’s vibe going into this game?
A: It meant a lot. Actually, going on the road and getting a win against a team that is really good. Teams that struggle for a couple of games, you know a win is coming sooner or later. I was happy that we weren’t that team that gave them that extra courage, that extra momentum. That was big to go down there and get a win. Big for us, too.
Q: Is this the type of game that can change a season completely? A win?
A: I think so. Yeah, really. A big team, a good team, a winning team. They’re 8-2, is that right? 9-2. They’re a tough group. Got a lot of good players on that side. I think that win would be big for us. It really would.
Cornerback Tre’Davious White
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Q: Do you guys care about what he’s [Tom Brady] done in the past here? In 29 games, [he has] 26 wins, does it matter to you at all?
A: I don’t care about it because I wasn’t here. I wasn’t on the team then, but most of the guys weren’t on the team; [except] Kyle [Williams] or E-Wood [Eric Wood], guys like that. We pretty much have a new core of guys including myself. We’ll see how it goes.
Q: What do you see from that wide receiver group?
A: Those are sharp, quick guys; guys that can go vertical: Brandin Cooks, then they have Gronk [Rob Gronkowski]. They have guys that can spread the ball around well. Those guys, they do a great job of getting guys in space.
Q: Did you get to know Brandin at all when he was playing down in New Orleans when you were at LSU, or watch his game at all?
A: No, I watched him at Oregon State. He had one of the best college highlight reels that I’ve ever seen besides Tavon Austin.
Q: When you were growing up or in college, do you remember at all watching Tom Brady play and being impressed at what he had been doing?
A: Yeah. Most recently, it had to be that Super Bowl last year, from coming down, from what, what was the score? 9 to 28, something like that. That was one of the most legendary games ever.