Troy Brown Update … sorta

It’s just after 5 p.m., and there’s no update as of yet on the status of Troy Brown. We do know, however, that the wide receiver was in New Hampshire today, helping with a food drive. Check out the WMUR story here.

Waiting on Troy

As we sit and wait by their computer for some news about Troy Brown — Bill Belichick promised some sort of news today on the status of the veteran wide receiver — here’s my weekly “Inside Gillette” column I did today for “Patriots Daily”. We’ll keep refreshing our e-mail waiting for word on No. 80 — as soon as we know, we’ll pass the news along.

Bill Belichick Q&A, 11/26

Thanks to the good people in the Patriots’ PR office, here’s the complete transcript of Bill Belichick’s Q-and-A with the media today at Gillette Stadium:

BB: Really I don’t think there’s a whole lot needed to add from last night, just follow up from a couple of things. I think, not to take anything away from anybody else, but Andy Reid and Jim Johnson I think do as a good a job of coaching in this league as anybody. They certainly did an excellent job last night of having their team ready to go and doing things on both sides of the ball that were very competitive and difficult at times for us. The Eagles are a good football team. They made a lot of plays. Fortunately, we made a couple more than they did and that was the difference in the game. I thought the players on both sides played hard. It was a physical game. Even though it was a lot of passing, it was a lot of physical play on the line of scrimmage and also the tackling and hitting downfield into the kicking game was very competitive. It was good to come out of that game with a win and be 11-0. We’re looking at another team kind of similar to the Eagles in Baltimore with a physical team, a team that has a lot of veteran players, that knows how to play, knows how to win, has been in a lot of tough situations. I think that showed up in last night’s game on both teams with veteran players, guys that have been in a lot of tough games, stepped up and I think that same kind of situation we’ll have this weekend in Baltimore down there. That’s kind of where we’re at today. We’ll take a look at this one, correct some mistakes and move on.

Q: How much of what makes Tom Brady what he is is related to toughness?
BB: Tom’s pretty tough. That’s one of his many assets. He’s pretty tough.

Q: What was your take on the way he was able to get up after Juqua Thomas’ sack? That was a pretty hard hit.
BB: Yeah, well, as I said, Tom’s a tough kid – mentally and physically very tough. He does a lot of things well, he has a lot of attributes and that’s certainly one of them.

Q: How were the Eagles able to get as much pressure on him as they did? Most other teams haven’t been able to.
BB: Like I said, they did a good job. They have good players, they have good coaches and they had a couple of schemes that we had trouble with. There were plenty of times when they didn’t and we threw the ball pretty effectively on them. They made some plays – we made a few more than they did, but they made some plays. They made plenty of them.

Q: As the season goes on, does it get tougher to forget about the big record looming over your heads every week and try to stay focused on the next game?
BB: You guys are the only ones who are talking about it.

Q: The whole country is talking about it.
BB: You guys are the ones that are talking about it. We focused on Philadelphia all week and this week we’ll focus on Baltimore. That’s what we do.

Q: With everyone talking about it, does that make it —
BB: We focus on Baltimore.

Q: Does a game like yesterday that was close in a season when you’ve had so many blowouts —
BB: Two of the last three have been like that.

Q: Are those good for the team in the sense that you have experience fighting —
BB: Look, every game in this league is tough. Every game in this league is tough. They all are different, they all have their own elements, have their own special plays and situations and we’ve been in plenty of games like this before. Some we’ve won, some we haven’t, but it comes down to key plays at the end of the game. [You] play for a long time and it comes down to just a few plays and being able to make them or not make them. That determines who wins and who loses.

Q: Does it amaze you the expectation level that seems to be attached to your team? People expect blowouts.
BB: We expect to win every week. I’m not saying we expect to win every game, but each week we prepare for the game, we expect to win that game. That’s the way we prepare for it. You don’t go into any game thinking we don’t win it. We’ll go into this game preparing for it and expecting to go down there and play well and beat Baltimore. That’s the way we go into every game.

Q: But the fact that a lot of people on the outside —
BB: I don’t care what everybody else thinks. I can tell you what this team thinks. Right now we’re thinking about getting ready for Baltimore. That’s how we approach the game. I can’t tell you what anybody else thinks. I don’t care what everybody else thinks. It doesn’t make any difference.

Q: As productive as Randy Moss has been, what does he allow in terms of your other targets even when he’s not the primary target?
BB: Well, the passing game is team production. All of the passes don’t go to one guy, so you run the patterns based on the coverage, the quarterback throws the ball to the receiver that has the lightest coverage or has the best leverage on his defender based on the route he’s running to be open. That’s how it works. Sometimes it’s [the] outside guy, sometimes it’s the inside guy, sometimes it’s a receiver, sometimes it’s a tight end, sometimes it’s a back. That’s just the way the passing game is. It’s not like the quarterback goes back there and says I’m going to throw it to so-and-so on this play. You go back there, you look at the coverage, you see what they’re playing and you take your options based on that. That’s what the passing game is. At least that’s what ours is, unless it’s a screen pass or something like that where you just really have one receiver. I’m not talking about those plays, I’m talking about a normal drop-back passing game or even play-action passes. It’s based on what the coverage is or what the match-ups are. That’s what Tom does. That’s the way our offense is designed.

Q: I’m interested in the evolution of the 3-4. Can you elaborate a little bit on the difference now in today’s game verses the 70’s when you first came into the league?
BB: Well, there weren’t a lot of 3-4 [defenses] in the 70’s. Most of that was 4-3 and then it started a little bit with Miami with Coach [Don] Shula down there and the 53 defense with [Bob] Mathison and all of that. Then it became pretty popular though in the 80’s. You had a lot of teams running it, in fact to the point where I think even some of the Pro Bowls were – the squad was made up of a 3-4 front as opposed to a 4-3 front. So more teams were running it.

Q: The fact that more teams are running it now, how does that affect you and the way you run your defense, in terms of personnel and opponents being prepared for it. What do you have to adjust to with that?
BB: We run our defense based on what we think is best for the New England Patriots. I’m sure everybody else runs theirs based on what they think is best for Dallas or Cleveland or Pittsburgh or whoever else is running it. If teams are running it, sometimes you get a look at how the other teams is going to block it or maybe scheme it, as opposed to if you happened to catch three or four games where a team doesn’t see that type of front, then you might not have as good of an idea of how they’re going to handle those types of things. Not that they aren’t ready to handle them, you just don’t see the evidence on the film. To a certain extent, that gives you an opportunity to see how they do it and it gives them an opportunity to block that front and get their execution down, so it works both ways.

Q: Do you expect the teams you play in the future to take the Eagles’ playbook now?
BB: I don’t know, you’d have to talk to those teams. I don’t know what they’re going to do. All I know is what we’re going to try to do, and that’s prepare for Baltimore, study them, get to know them. It’s a team we haven’t played in a while. Learn their personnel, learn their schemes and be ready to play down there Monday night. What they’re going to do, you’d have to talk to them.

Q: In the past you’ve mentioned Jabar Gaffney is kind of a technician in the way he runs his routes. Was that the case last night?
BB: Yeah, Jabar is a good route-runner. He’s a versatile guy, plays a lot of different positions for us, plays inside, plays outside, is a good technique route-runner, both on man coverage, zone, finding open spots, running short routes, running vertical routes. He’s got a lot of good receiving skills and he can do a lot of different things. He’s a valuable guy for us.

Q: Have you reached a decision on Troy Brown?
BB: Nope.

Q: And that will be coming down…?
BB: Tomorrow.

Q: Having watched the tape, were they any more physical with Moss on the line than other teams have been?
BB: They play how they play. They play how they play, so that’s how they play. I think you watch the Eagles play all of the teams they play and that’s the way they play in the secondary.

Q: Was that one of the most nit-picky calls on Moss in the end zone, the pass interference call?
BB: It’s a tough call.

Q: How often did they rotate help to his side?
BB: They did it. And they didn’t do it. They mixed it up.

Q: Were their safeties a little more disciplined than others you’ve faced in terms of not biting on some of the other guys and making sure they stayed at home with Randy?
BB: I don’t know. It’s hard to compare their defense to somebody’s else’s defense. They don’t run the same defense.

Q: Would you say they made sure their safeties paid more attention to Moss?
BB: I’ll give you the same answer I just gave you: they mixed it up. They did different things. They pressured, they didn’t pressure, they played high safeties, the played low safeties, they played press-corner, they played off-corner. I mean, you saw the game. They did different things. It wasn’t all the same thing. That’s what they do.

Q: In the first half there was only one designed run called. Was that part of the game plan or was it because it became kind of a shoot-out?
BB: We had the ball three times in the first half, we took it down the field and scored three touchdowns every time. One of them got called back. We were in a proactive mode, we were moving the ball [so we] stayed with it.

Q: Would you like to see more balance?
BB: Would I like to see us score touchdowns when we have the ball? Yeah. That’s what I’d like to see. That’s what the offense is out there for, is to score touchdowns, to score points. That’s the only reason they go on the field – to score points.

Q: Where was Laurence Maroney in the first half? He didn’t play.
BB: I just answered that question.

Q: Were you surprised everyone’s not making a bigger deal out of being division champions so early in the season? Is that a sign that there are bigger things looming?
BB: Again, I can’t really worry about what everybody else is thinking or saying or what their agenda is. I just know what our goals are, what we’re about. And right now we’re going to take the Philadelphia game, we’re going to look at it, we’re going to talk about the things we did well, we’re going to talk about the things that we need to do better, both from a coaching standpoint and a playing standpoint. [There are] certainly plenty of things that we can improve in both areas on. We’ll try to correct those mistakes and then we’ll go on and start getting ready for Baltimore and go down and play Baltimore Monday night. That’s the same thing we do every week, and so that’s what we’re going to do this week.

Q: But you won the division so quickly. That’s a big deal.
BB: We play Baltimore this week. That’s the next game and we want to play well. We want to prepare well and we want to play well, so whether we had won or hadn’t won it, we’re going down there with the same objective. We’re going to take the same type of preparation this week.

Q: You act like it’s nothing, winning the division championship.
BB: We’re happy to win. I said that last night. That’s one of our goals, we won it and we’re happy that we won it. You’d certainly rather win it than not win it, you know? But right now that’s done. It’s over with, so we’re going to go play Baltimore. That’s the next step. That’s what we do next, so we’ll get ready for that and we’ll go do it.

Q: Baltimore has lost five straight games. Do you ever look at how a team’s record has been instead of how they’ve played?
BB: Records don’t mean anything. Records don’t mean anything. The only thing that matters on Monday night it how well they play and how well we play. That’ll determine who wins that game. Not who won last week’s game or the week before or what anybody’s records were. You want to go back to the Miami game from ’04? We’re 12-1, they’re 2-11. The records don’t mean anything. The only thing that matters is how you play. And coach.

Q: Any news on Roosevelt Colvin? Have you seen him today?
BB: We have no news.

Q: Last night I believe after the game you mentioned that without those two plays by Asante Samuel you probably don’t win that game –
BB: Well, again, there’s a lot of plays in the game, but certainly they were two big ones. The interception for a score in a three-point game is obviously big and the interception in the end zone when they’re in field goal range, that was obviously a big play, too. So I think those were certainly big plays in the game. When you look at a three-point game, two plays like that, they had a lot to do with it.

Q: They say really good players come up with big plays. Is he that type of player?
BB: He’s made a lot of big plays for us. Asante’s got good hands, he’s got – Again, I think that’s one of the best things about Asante or any defensive back that turns the ball over or intercepts it, is having good hands and good ball skills. A lot of guys can knock them down and that’s great. That’s great, but to be able to intercept those passes and make the plays on them, those are kind of game-changing plays. Turnovers, or in this case [a] turnover and a return for a touchdown, those are huge plays in a game. It’s hard to measure how important they are, but statistically, they mean a lot. He’s very good at that. He’s got good instincts, he’s got good quickness, he’s got good coverage skills and he’s got good hands, and if the quarterback makes a mistake around him than he usually makes them pay for it. That’s what impact, turnover players do on defense. They make the offenses pay for mistakes, whether it’s a pass-rusher that causes strip-sacks or a defensive back that intercepts passes or guys that rake balls out and cause fumbles, scoop them up and those kinds of things. Those plays are a little bit more important and a little bit bigger plays than just a normal tackle on defense. Not that those aren’t important, I’m not saying that, but those are key plays, they’re turnovers. They’re possession plays.

Q: As a point of clarification, with Colvin was it a foot or an arm? It was announced as a foot but it looked like they were working on his arm.
BB: It was announced as a foot? Then we’ll leave it with that announcement.

Q: I didn’t know if something got lost in translation there.
BB: Was that what [we] announced? If that’s what [we] announced, then we’ll stand by that announcement.

Q: Do you think Asante Samuel came this season with a little bit to prove? Last night when he was told that Rodney Harrison called him the best corner in football he said, “I believe I am.”
BB: I think Asante had a lot of confidence coming into the year, absolutely. I think he’s had a lot of confidence as he’s been here. I think he had a lot of confidence as a rookie. I think he plays with confidence. Really, that’s the way most corners are, but he has it, I think it’s legitimate. He works hard. He doesn’t walk around and talk about it. I think he’s confident in his ability to cover and make plays and play the defense, and he should be.

Q: Do you consider him an elite corner?
BB: Absolutely.

Q: Do you ever have to feed him extra humble pie?
BB: I think everybody on the team needs to…I think that’s what part of my job is, is to prepare them for what we have to face. So that includes everybody. It includes all 53 players on the active roster and all of the other players involved in the program, including guys on the practice squad and injured reserve. I think it’s important to coach all of the players and not – I wouldn’t exclude anybody from that group, in terms of being coached, whatever you want to call that.

Big numbers for Pats-Eagles

NBC just just announced that last night’s Patriots-Eagles game has drawn some big TV numbers. According to them, last night’s contest earned a 15.6 overnight rating and 24 share (8:30-11:30 p.m.), the best in Sunday Night Football history, the best on the NFL’s premier primetime package since Nov. 28, 2005 (15.8/24 for Steelers-Colts on ABC’s Monday Night Football), and a 44 percent jump over last season’s Colts-Eagles game (10.8/16 on Nov. 26, 2006). The broadcast, which featured the Patriots 31-28 victory over the Eagles, easily won the night and finished 41 percent higher than ABC’s Desperate Housewives from 9-10 p.m. ET (15.5 to 11.0).

The rating peaked at a 17.3 from 11-11:30 p.m. ET during the fourth quarter.

Here are some other notes, courtesy of NBC:

THE HIGHEST RATED “NBC SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL” GAMES (based on overnights):
1. Eagles at Patriots, Nov. 25, 2007, 15.6/24
2. Colts at Patriots, Nov. 5, 2006, 15.1/22
3. Colts at NY Giants, Sept. 10, 2006, 14.7/23 (“Manning Bowl”)

TOP TEN METERED MARKETS FOR EAGLES-PATRIOTS:
1. Boston 39.5/55
2. Philadelphia 35.4/50
3. Providence 34.9/47

Monday Update, plus a couple of links

Hey everyone … hope you all got a good night’s sleep and are ready to go this Monday. Man, what a game, huh? Don’t care if you’re a Patriots or Eagles fan–it was a great football game last night. We’ll have the Bill Belichick transcript up later this afternoon, and we’ll also have more updates as events warrant. (Just a reminder … the Patriots have to make a decision on Troy Brown sometime this week.) In the meantime, here’s my “10 Things We Learned Last Night” column for Boston Metro on the Patriots-Eagles game.

I also want to thank all the patsfans.com people who showed up at Saturday’s booksigning down on the Cape. I have another signing Saturday at the Brewster Bookstore on Cape Cod Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (I’ll post more details later this week.) Got a nice write-up yesterday from Ian Clark of the New Hampshire Union-Leader — scroll down a bit to read the review.

Postgame locker room Q&A, 11/25

Here’s more postgame Q&A from the New England locker room in the wake of tonight’s Patriots-Eagles game:

Asante Samuel, Cornerback
(On making plays when they needed to)
That’s what it’s about. Making plays in the NFL. You never know what kind of game you are gonna have. You try to help your team out, going out and playing hard for 60 minutes, and that’s what we did.

(On having multiple chances for interceptions in the last drive)
Yeah, I was kind of upset about that one. I dropped it. It [would have been] a touchdown, another touchdown. But I made up for it. They came at me again and we won the game.

(On his first interception)
[It was a] quick step, quick drop during the game. They tried to throw it out to [Brian] Westbrook and I just read it and broke on it, and I saw him behind me a little bit so I had to ease up a little bit and fortunately [the ball] came.

(On what Philadelphia did to move the ball)
It’s west coast offense. That’s all it is. They did a great job out there executing with the quarterback, the backup. He came in and we tried to blitz him and we couldn’t get to him and he was just lighting us up.

Junior Seau, Linebacker
(On the lessons that can be taken away from such a close game)
You never want to take a game for granted and they came out here and gave us some humble pie and we are definitely going to have to go to the chalkboard and look at what went wrong and how we can build on it. Something was accomplished here and we got free AFC East hats and t-shirts and that’s something we are proud of but we know we have a lot of things to work on.

(On if other teams will try to use unusual game plans)
That onside kick was a great call by them and for them to go out there and obviously have that happen was a testament to them, but we need to be ready for anything that comes our way. There is a lot of stuff about teams shooting for us but we need to change that around and start going after them and not sit and wait for them to come after us.

Jabar Gaffney, Wide Receiver
(On the hit that Brady took before the 32-yard pass play)
He (Brady) has taken some big shots before so we knew he doesn’t get rattled and he keeps a cool head and delivered and I was able to make the grab.

(On winning a game like this after blowing everyone out)
You have to win like this sometimes too. You’re not going to blow everyone out and coming in we weren’t expecting to blow everyone out and it was a perfect example today.

(On if it felt good to beat his old team)
It’s always good to beat the team that you were with, and being able to catch a touchdown and make some key grabs.

Rodney Harrison, Safety
(On clinching a playoff spot before the game)
We really weren’t thinking about that. It’s really all about the task at hand and they gave us enough, trust me. We’re proud of it. We’ll put that on the shelf and move forward.

(On trying to take away Brian Westbrook)
They made plays. I mean, we had opportunities to make plays on the ball [and] we just didn’t make them. We knock those balls down within inches and we probably wouldn’t be sitting here talking. They get paid too. They have very good players on their team. We expect them to make plays. We can’t make every play but the thing is we hung in there we were very resilient we showed a lot of character, a lot of heart and we stuck together as a team. That’s what this group of guys are, a great team.

(On how tough it is to play your best game week in and week out in the NFL)
You can’t. You’re not going to be able to play your best game every week. The thing that’s positive and the thing that is encouraging is that we were able to pull it out in spite of us not playing particularly well. Like I said, you can’t take away what they did. They came out and they handed it to us. They came into a hostile environment and they were able to make plays all over the field but at the end we were able to clinch and that’s the important thing.

Donte Stallworth, Wide Receiver
(On how it feels to have clinched the AFC East title)
It means that we accomplished something. It’s a long way to go still. We have a lot more games to play. It just shows, like I said, that we’ve accomplished something in the NFL and that’s always good.

(On Wes Welker’s performance)
Wes [Welker] played great. He played really good. I think that he’s a really good player, he knows how to play and having a guy like that on the team is fun. He’s always going to do his job and you can rely on him.

(On what he expected to see from the Eagles)
It’s never easy but I knew it wasn’t going to be one of those games that we’ve been fortunate enough to have in the past. They played really good, obviously in a hostile environment and they played well. They almost won the game.

(On the blowouts being the exception and games like this the rule)
It is, especially with the climate, not global warming but with the weather getting colder. Things are going to be a little tighter later in the season. Hopefully we can continue to play like we have been doing, which is well enough to win. We’ve got a big one coming up next week in Baltimore. Another hostile environment we have to go to. It seems like we’ve been on the road forever so this was a good time to be home. I know a lot of guys were looking around on Friday and Saturday thinking that we were going to pack our bags. Like I said, it was good to be home, the crowd was into it the whole game and we’re back on the road next week.

Tom Brady postgame Q&A, 11/25

Here’s the complete transcript of Tom Brady’s postgame Q-and-A with the media after tonight’s Patriots-Eagles game:

Q: Did you figure you would throw this much tonight?
TB: Yeah it was a bunch tonight. I thought they played really well and I thought they executed really well. I think as a team, I wish we had played a little bit better, but I give those guys a lot of credit. They’ve been in a lot of games this year. I’m proud of the way we played in the fourth quarter and overcame a deficit and came from behind and scored when we needed to and made the plays when the clock…even to run it out there at the end to get the big first down to Jabar [Gaffney]. A lot to be happy about, but a lot to learn from, and a big one next week.

Q: Was that hit on the third snap the hardest hit you’ve taken?
TB: I’ve been hit pretty good before. He got me good. He got me good.

Q: Were you clear-headed after that?
TB: Usually, when I get hit — I’m very bony, so if they hit me on my bones it hurts. If they don’t hit me on my bones I’m usually fine. I’m like Gumby, I just dead-leg everything. That’s why I just fall down when people hit me. He hit me good, but I’m proud [that] we went down and scored on the drive, so that was good too.

Q: On that last scoring drive you had you were able to find Wes Welker a lot. Is that something you saw as the game went along?
TB: [I] found him a bunch. [I] found him a bunch. He made those [plays]. He did a great job of getting open in man-to-man coverage and they really got up and challenged our receivers. They had some good pressure packages and I knew we were going to get pressure and they did a good job of disguising things. [They have] a really athletic defense, smart defense with some playmakers and they made some nice plays. They made some really good plays. We’ve got to learn from it and try to do better next week.

Q: Tedy Bruschi said that the blowouts have been an aberration and by this time of year this is the way it’s going to be from here on out. Do you agree with that?
TB: We try to play as good as we can each week. The goal is to win the game and we did that. I think everyone wished we had played better and everybody could have played better, but we won. We clinched the AFC East Championship, we’ve won 11 straight games, and there’s a lot to be happy about.

Q: Do you see any similarities between Wes Welker and Troy Brown in the way they play?
TB: [They are] very similar type players: great quickness, great awareness, smart, great hands, they’re great leaders. They have a lot of similar qualities. They’re both 5’7’’ or 5’8’’ or whatever they are. They’re very nifty in the slot and they’re very comfortable in the slot. It’s a great matchup for us and hopefully it continues to be that way all year.

Bill Belichick Postgame Q&A, 11/25

Here’s the complete transcript of Bill Belichick’s postgame Q-and-A with the media after tonight’s Patriots-Eagles game:

BB: That was about the way we expected it tonight. Philadelphia is a good football team. They played well. They did a good job. [It was a] hard-fought game [that] came down to a couple plays and I was glad we were able to make them. We won the division, which was one of our goals to start the season so that’s an accomplishment that the team should be proud of. As I told them in there, in the end they made enough plays to win the game and that’s something they should be happy about. [There are] certainly a lot of things we could do better. Philadelphia is a good football team and they gave us a number of problems in all three phases of the game. [It was a] real competitive game, but we had a couple of big stops defensively at the end and made a couple of key plays offensively when we needed to make them – [we] got the ball in the end zone and that’s what we needed to do. [We’re] moving on to Baltimore, but [it was a] tough game, hard-fought [and it was] good to win.

Q: Wes Welker was a key guy tonight. He had an outstanding game. Was the plan for him to be the one who was open?
BB: It just all depends on the coverages that they play. [You] try to get the ball to the open guy and sometimes it worked out that way, sometimes it worked out for other guys. But Tom [Brady] does a great job of that, trying to get the ball to the receiver that has the best chance, the best leverage on the coverage and sometimes that was Wes tonight. Wes did a good job.

Q: They had some success throwing the ball. Was that something you expected or the result of you guys keying off —
BB: They have a good passing attack. They have a real good offensive line. It’s hard to get pressure on them. [A.J.] Feeley did a good job, like we’ve seen him do against us before. [Brian] Westbrook is a tough guy to tackle. We missed him a few times and that’s not uncommon – so does everybody else. We have a lot of things we need to work on. There’s things we can do better, but they’re a good offensive football team. Andy [Reid] does a good job with their scheme. They present a lot of problems defensively trying to match up with them and they obviously made some plays.

Q: What specifically was it about their defense that led you to go with the passing attack, with the spread-formation hurry-up that you went with?
BB: We thought that was the best way to match up with them early in the game. I thought that was pretty productive in the first half. We had the ball three times and scored 17 points. Unfortunately we weren’t able to stop them defensively and they got the on-side kick so we lost another possession on that, but I thought that we were able to move the ball pretty well. They made some good adjustments and started to do some things on our spread formations that were good adjustments on their part, so we kind of moved out of that at halftime and shifted into a little bit of a different mode in the second half.

Q: Could you talk about the game Asante Samuel had tonight?
BB: He came up with a couple big plays. He got us off to a good start and of course on the deep ball at the end there he just had good position on the receiver. Asante has great hands, good instincts and he doesn’t let too many get through his hands. That’s really what a good play-maker in the secondary does, is they catch the ball well and they’re able to turn those mistakes by the quarterback into turnovers instead of just foul balls and batted down [balls]. He’s been very good at that since he’s been here and obviously did a good job of it tonight. Those two big plays, I don’t know if we’d have won without them. Probably not.

Q: What was your message to the team at halftime?
BB: The same thing we talked about in the second quarter of the game. We need to do a better job in the pass defense on the defensive side of the ball. We need to do a better job offensively of finishing drives. As I said, [we] went into a little bit of a different mode there in the third quarter. And on special teams, we hurt ourselves with giving up the onsides kick, obviously, and [a] penalty on the return game. Those are all things that – We need to take care of business and do a better job on all three phases of the game. We had some mistakes and they forced us into some. I don’t want to sound like it was all us. That was a good football team out there. They did a lot of things that did cause some problems and we have to coach them better. We have to do a better job coaching.

Adalius Thomas postgame Q-and-A, 11/26

Here’s a partial transcript of Adalius Thomas’ postgame Q-and-A with the media after tonight’s game:

On playing a close game…
It’s a win. They played a very good game. You have to tip your hats to those guys. They played good, but we ended up making more plays at the end. We’re happy to get the win.

What was Philly doing? Was it something you didn’t expect?
They played hard. They did a good job. Feeley came in, we had some bad things here and there, but you just have to tip your hat to those guys. They came in and played hard.

On making second half adjustments…
You always make adjustments. No more than normal, but just going out there and playing, like I said. They came in here and played hard. We have a lot of improving to do.

On Asante’s performance…
Coming up with big plays. We needed that.

How long to do you enjoy this before you start thinking about Baltimore?
Until tomorrow. We’ll look at the film tomorrow and make corrections and move forward.

On humble pie this week…
It’ll probably be casserole. It’ll probably be casserole, but we deserve it. Other than that, we’ll enjoy this, and just move forward to the next game.

Was there a sense of ‘someone will make a play’ down the stretch?
You always believe in each other. You always believe that’s someone will make a play, and we knew we had to make it. The last two drives, we made plays, and that kind of sealed the game.

Tedy Bruschi postgame Q-and-A, 11/26

Here’s a partial transcript of Tedy Bruschi’s postgame Q-and-A with the media after tonight’s game:

On the game…
There are players on that team we have a lot of respect for. We start with Westbrook, and we’ve known Feeley before when he defeated us when he was down in Miami, so that offensive line — Andrews is a good young lineman. Runyan, we’ve seen him before. He’ll really fight you in the trenches. We respected that team and knew it was going to be a tough battle. We want to win the game, period. No matter how we do it, whether it’s one point or 10 points or 20. as long as we get that victory at the end of the day, that’s all we care about.

On winning a hat and T-shirt game…
We don’t talk about it before the game, but after the game, you have to acknowledge that we have accomplished something now. We are AFC East Champs. I know it’s just 11 games, and we have a handful of games to go, but it feels good that we are division champs now, and we have a spot, we have a spot in the tournament, and that’s all we can ask for. We know we have some work to do to win some more games, to improve upon, to get some momentum rolling here in December. But we’ve accomplished something today, and we’re proud of that.

On winning a close game…
I anticipate more games like this, to tell you the truth. Coming down the stretch in December, teams start playing their best football. I anticipate all teams to play us hard and I anticipate all teams all teams to make plays. I anticipate us making plays, but I want the games to be close so we can win them in the fourth quarter. Because that’s the way it has to be, that’s the way it’s gonna be, and we have to anticipate it. Let’s take last week — is it going to be like that every week? I doubt it. I just highly doubt it. We’re going to be in battles the rest of the year. That’s what I think.

On Asante…
It’s just more of the same with him. More of the same. How many times has he come up big in the last two or three years to stop the drive to score on defense? They were in field goal range. They were in field goal range, in scoring position on the second interception, and the great play he made to stop that drive, that might have been the biggest play of the game.

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