HEAD COACH BILL O'BRIEN
"Before you guys get going with questions, we turned it over too much didn't play real well on third down, especially on offense. Defensively, we did a nice job on third down. Other than the last punt that the Patriots muffed, we didn't do anything with turnovers when our defense got a takeaway, we really didn't do anything with it. Red area wasn't very good on offense. So, there's a lot of room to improve. Everybody in the building knows that. It's one game out of 16, and look, I really believe in this group and I know we're going to respond. But, we have a lot of work to do, obviously. In the postgame press conference, I just want to clarify something. When I was asked about the two-minute drive at the end of the half, one thing that's made clear to the head coach on the sideline is that (you) put your red flag away. So, I hand my red flag to Mike Parson, and they tell you that everything that's reviewable is subject to a booth review. So, when (Rob) Gronkowski made the catch, upstairs, our guys said, 'Hey look, I can't really tell.' It looked to me from the field that he made the catch. I don't really have the benefit of nine different angles. The clock was running down, I basically wanted the Patriots to operate and see if they could do what they needed to do, relative to taking a timeout to allow New York more time to review. I very much realize that I can take a timeout there. I decided not to because I felt from my vantage point that it was a catch, and that's what I went with. They didn't buzz down in time, OK. I do realize that I can take a timeout, I just didn't make that very clear. I didn't answer that question very well last night. For that, I just wanted to clarify that. That was my decision based on what I was told from upstairs and then what I saw from the sideline and that's how I decided to handle it. Hindsight being 20/20, with the benefit of eight different angles and all those things, surely I would have taken a timeout to see if they would at least buzz down to take a look at the play. But, they didn't, and I didn't do that. So, that's exactly what happened and we ended up giving up a touchdown at the end of the half that didn't help our cause, obviously. So, that's kind of the way I saw that. So, with that, I'll open it up to questions."
After you went back and watched TE Rob Gronkowski's catch, do you think it was a catch?
"You know, on the coaches film, I really do. He went up, he caught it, he kept both hands underneath it. Now, relative to some TV angles and some other video angles that I've seen, maybe it was questionable. But, from the coaches vantage point on the coaches tape, it looked like a catch to me. The (DeAndre) Hopkins catch on the pop-pass to Hopkins, I wasn't sure if that was a catch. Coach (Bill) Belichick challenged that, they ruled that a catch, so, I just felt like that was a catch. The clock was running and I felt like I did not want to take a timeout there. I felt like we still could hold them to a field goal in that situation."
Do you have an update on T Seantrel Henderson's injury?
"Yeah, Henderson is out for the year. Significant ankle injury. He'll undergo surgery on Tuesday."
What's the next move at tackle?
"So, we have a couple different things we could do. We have practice squad guys, we have obviously, Kendall Lamm on the 53, we have practice squad guys to replace that on the 53, and then we'll also probably work some guys out and see what's going on with that. So, I think we're in the process of kind of deciding what to do with all that."
How tough is it to lose T Seantrel Henderson after you rebuilt your offensive line?
"Yeah, it's tough. He was playing well in the game. I will say this, I think that Martinas Rankin went in there and did a nice job for a rookie and I think he's going to be a really good player. He just needs to keep improving every day. But, I think he really did a nice job, but obviously that hurts your depth when your starting right tackle goes down."
How'd T Julien Davenport do considering he'd been at left tackle?
"He did a decent job. I think everybody has things to improve on. I think we all do. Obviously, every time we lose, I say that and I know people hear that all the time from me, but that's the truth. We all need to improve, but I think there were some really positive things in the game, and to go on the road against a team like New England and not play very well, due to a lot of the things that they did. Give them all the credit in the world. They did an excellent job. But, to have a shot at the end – small shot – is encouraging to me."
Was there no mention between the staff in the booth or you to call a timeout?
"Obviously, I know that I can use a timeout there, and I just decided not to. So, there didn't need to be a mention of that. I already knew that I could use a timeout, but they felt like, 'Hey, look, it looks like this is a catch' was the first response. Things happen pretty quickly and I felt like it was a catch from my vantage point on the field. So, that's what I decided to do."
What would have been the downside of using a timeout there?
"It's a fair question. I think the downside to me at that point, which, what I said after the game, which I was clear about, was if I take a timeout here and it is a catch, it gives (Tom) Brady, Josh (McDaniels) Bill (Belichick) a little bit more time to figure out what they want to do next from whatever it was, like the 30- or 25-yard line. And, I felt like I didn't want to do that. I wanted to let the clock run down and that's what I decided to do. Right, wrong or indifferent, that was my decision."
What did you see from QB Deshaun Watson and what does he need to do this week to be better for your offense?
"We all have to do better. We have to put them in better positions coaching-wise, he has to make better reads, make better decisions. Again, it's only I think his seventh game as a starter in this league. He hasn't played football in a live game, a regular season game, in a while. (He) played in the preseason but not in a regular season game. There's a little bit of rust involved in all of those things and I know that he will improve. He'll work very hard to improve but there's a lot of work to do."
Are you hopeful that WR Will Fuller V will be back?
How is CB Kevin Johnson doing today and will he have to miss a significant amount of time?
"Yeah, that's right. I think he will definitely miss a lot of time. I think he's doing better today. I haven't seen him personally. Just from talking to our trainers, I think he's doing better. I saw him on the bus last night. Like I said last night, any time a guy has a concussion – two of them fairly close together – it's concerning. So, he'll be out for a while."
How do guard against QB Deshaun Watson trying to do too much?
"That's a big thing. I think that has to do with the coaching, too. I think that we have to be on the same page with what we're asking him to do and then what he's actually doing out there and how he's processing it. So, that's a big part of how we have to improve this week. Take it one day at a time, starting today with the film, and then try to progress every day this week up until obviously, game time."
What do you think was the key to RB Lamar Miller having such a good game?
"I thought that the line blocked well. I thought when we got into a rhythm in the running game, it was good. I think Alfred Blue ran well too. So, I think both those guys ran well. Deshaun (Watson) had some good running yards. I think he rushed for 40 yards. So, we rushed for almost 170 yards, which was obviously one of the highlights for us on offense. I thought that Lamar ran hard. Lamar's a good pro, he does a good job of reading the runs and getting us good yards. He had a good game."
Could you talk about RB Tyler Ervin and P Trevor Daniel?
"Yeah, I thought the kickoff returns were good. I think that we blocked well. I think the blocking was good and Tyler was able to see some cuts. I even think there were probably more yards out there. When Tyler sees it on film, he'll see that too. I thought Trevor punted OK. I think that's a tough first assignment for any rookie punter up in New England with the wind and kicking against them, but I think it was OK and I know he'll get better. He'll improve. I thought that when we had to cover, the coverage units were good. We gave up a block. That's not good. We gave up a block punt, it was tipped across the line of scrimmage but it was still blocked and that's not good. So, we have to fix that, but I thought overall, our special teams was definitely improved."
How do you go about getting the offensive tempo back to where it was last year?
"Yeah, that's what we're talking about this morning. We've got to get back to basics. doing what we do well. We start the game off with the fumble. That's just horrendous. To give the ball on the 15-yard line or whatever it was, 20-yard line, going in first play of the game, that's no way to start a game. So, it starts there. We have to look at it as a staff. We're all in it together. We have to improve and the players have to improve."
It seemed like QB Deshaun Watson held the ball a little too long, do you think this is a byproduct of the game speed of preseason reps and him needing more regular season reps?
"I think you have to give the Patriots a lot of credit. They did a good job covering. It wasn't like there were guys open all over the field. There were times where there were guys open and we've got to do a better job of getting those guys the ball – maybe we did hold it a little bit too long, we have to read the play better whatever it is, but there were a lot of times where nobody was open. They were doubling (DeAndre) Hopkins and somebody else has to win. So, it's always going to be, in this league, the way it should be on the head coach and the quarterback, that's just the way it should be. I get that, but when you look at the quarterback position, there's so much that goes into it. The blocking, the route running, what the defense is doing. Give the Patriots credit in the passing game. They did a decent job at times of making it hard on us."
Are you excited about TE Jordan Thomas?
"Yes, and (Jordan) Akins. I thought our rookie class played pretty well, I think, for their first game. I thought Akins and Thomas, and Peter Kalambayi made a nice play on a kickoff coverage, and Justin Reid did some decent things on defense and on special teams, Trevor (Daniel), he's going to get better. There were some decent things out there and I think there's a lot to build on for that rookie class. A lot of young guys played for us."
Will CB Kayvon Webster be coming back any time soon and will he be a part of the rotation when he's back?
"I don't see him coming back this week but I think he's trending in the right direction and he will be a part of that rotation."
Do you have to reinforce the importance of moving on from a Week 1 loss with a divisional game in Week 2?
"We have to get this stuff corrected this afternoon. We'll meet with these guys in about an hour and get this stuff corrected. Then we have to move on. We have a really – the one thing, it's hard because you're not in the locker room with us, but I could tell yesterday (even though) it didn't go very well, obviously, but we have a really resilient bunch. You look at the guys on defense, J.J. (Watt) in the second half, Tyrann Mathieu, J-Joe (Johnathan Joseph), Kareem Jackson played a good football game – we've got a lot of good leaders over there and it's a resilient bunch. That was a game that, let's be honest, could've gone south, real south. It was 21-6 at one point in time, offense wasn't doing much and we hung in there and we had a shot at the end. The Patriots did a great job. Again, give them all the credit, but there's a lot to build on. So, we have to build on it, we have to get things corrected, but we have to have a good week of practice and get ready for a very tough opponent."
Do you grade on a curve when evaluating how players played due to playing on the road against the Patriots?
"No, I think all road games are tough. I think, obviously, they're a very successful franchise and they've done a great job. Great head coach, great assistant coaches and an awesome quarterback, tight end. But, I think at the end of the day, there were so many things that we could've done better that we need to do better on our sideline to give ourselves a better chance to win in a game like that. Those are the things we have to improve on. That's football. Football's not perfect. There are 16 teams today that are not happy. We have to figure out how to be a happier team next week."
Would you consider moving S Kareem Jackson back to cornerback following CB Kevin Johnson's injury?
"That's a possibility. There's a lot of possibilities as we move through the next 48 hours because we have tomorrow to be able to look at some guys, maybe, but that's a possibility and that's why it's good to have a guy like Kareem. The issue there is that Kareem played well at safety. To move him over to corner, that's not the easiest decision to make because he played a heck of a game at safety yesterday, him and (Tyrann) Mathieu played good."
What is it about S Tyrann Mathieu that allows him to find the ball so often?
"He's got good instincts. He's a good, instinctive player. He's a smart player, he studies tape, he's very competitive. He's a heck of a leader. His leadership has shown already. He was elected a captain after only being here for a few months. He's a good football player."
Were you encouraged by what you saw from S Justin Reid's first game?
"Yes. He's improved daily. He just needs to keep that going, just like all of those rookies. They just need to take it one day at a time and continue to improve."
What was the thought process behind punting with four minutes remaining?
"Where the ball was at that point in time, how our defense was playing at that point in time, timeouts left – that was a tough decision. There were a couple fourth-down decisions that one could argue could have gone either way. We had a 4th-and-1 on our own 37 after a 3rd-and-12, Lamar (Miller) gained 11 on a checkdown. Really thought about going for it there. Decided to punt it there because I felt like 37-yard line, if we don't get it, you're giving Tom (Brady) the ball right there on the 37-yard line going in. Didn't think that was the point in time to go for it. So, those are decisions that we communicated about on the sideline and then made the decision."
You have three inside linebackers playing really well. Is there a way you can get them all on the field at the same time?
"It's tough. It's tough to do that. There are times when you can do it. They are playing well. (Benardrick) McKinney, Zach Cunningham and Dylan Cole all played well. It's an opportunity to rotate guys in. Tough to get them all on the field at the same time but we have packages where we can do that, but it's not easy to do that."
Was the pace following the muffed punt late in the fourth quarter something that QB Deshaun Watson and you will work to increase moving forward?
"The pace wasn't very good yesterday. So, I've got to get better with the pace. That's on me."
T MARTINAS RANKIN
Have you watched the tape from yesterday's game?
"I've watched it about two times already."
What have you seen on the tape?
"A lot of stuff I have to work on, just technique, understanding the scheme. Building chemistry is probably the No. 1 thing with the guys because I hadn't gotten many reps with them. So, that's going to be the No. 1 thing."
Did G Senio Kelemete help you a lot yesterday?
"He did. He's a guy that I've looked to since day one. He's helped me a lot to get through this process, a guy that I talk to a lot, so we're going to get this thing rolling quickly."
What made you feel like you belonged out there?
"That's just what I had to tell myself out there, to have no fear even though I was thrown into the fire with a guy going down like that. Just telling myself, 'No fear. I belong here. They brought me here for a reason and I'm going to represent this organization the best I can.'"
Do you think you're going to stay at left tackle or move to right tackle?
"Really just see where it goes. That's where you get the reps in practice. I'm pretty sure (Julién Davenport) we'll both be getting some opportunities at both sides, so we'll see how it goes."
Do you have a preference playing left or right tackle?
"Really I don't. I just want to get out there and play ball."
How would you describe your style of play?
"Just a ball player. A guy that loves to be out there, a guy that has a lot of passion for the game, loves scoring touchdowns, love winning games and love being with this group of guys that I'm blessed to be here with now."
What's different about protecting for a mobile quarterback like QB Deshaun Watson?
"I've always been around mobile quarterbacks, so really it's nothing different. The one thing I can say about him is he doesn't always look to run right away. He looks to see if he gets something downfield. That's something new for me so that just tells me I have to keep protecting until the whistle blows for sure."
Do you think the team will be able to put the loss behind you and move forward?
"This team, we know we have something special here. We just have to keep fighting. With all of the mistakes we made yesterday, we kept on fighting. Nobody got down on each other. Everybody just kept building strong and doing what we had to do. We're going to build off this loss and we're going to put it behind us. We're going to watch the tape today and see what we need to correct and make sure that it doesn't happen again."