POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
December 29, 2013
DM: Obviously one of our goals coming in was for them to not force a turnover on us, which I thought would have been one of the keys for us to being successful, along with the rush. When you look at ways to win the game, I thought at times, you know they were able to make plays, we were able to battle back at times during that game. But then we really needed to step up and make a play, and you know, we couldn’t do it. And give credit to New England. They were able to make those plays. You know, the kickoff returns, whether it was a run or a pass, or anything like that. I thought our offense answered pretty well. You know, at times, we had some drops that could have extended it. You know, both teams were about 30 percent on third down, in the low 30s. You know, we could have extended a little more at that. So, again, obviously it is disappointing to come in here and not turn the ball over and really not make a play when you need to. And I think that’s how I feel about that game without going back and really looking at it in more detail.
Q: Two kickoff returns, after you had done good things on offense. What do you think went wrong?
DM: Well, you know, the mis-tackles is what happened. I think when you put the film on, you know, you’ll see going down [the field] there. One time, on one of them, we got collapsed; we missed a tackle in the hole. There were a couple problems on that one. You know, obviously, you get knocked out of your lane. The second one, there were three missed tackles. You know, they were in position to make it and you have to make that play. And we weren’t able to make it. Their kid had an outstanding game, you know, running the football and kickoff returns. He had, not even sure, probably 300 yards of offense. My hats off to him, that’s difficult to do in this league.
Q: I know you are going to go back and look at it, but from our perspective, special teams have been a problem all year, you’ve had some horrendous games: the Cleveland game and now this one. And here and there, there are just spots where you are broken down. Is that a key issue moving forward for you?
DM: I think, honestly, going into it, trying to establish a core of special teams players has been difficult. So, I would look at it this way: I think you could take things – offense, defense and special teams – and say there were things that we haven’t done well enough. ‘Spotty play’. I don’t disagree with that; neither would Coach [Danny] Crossman disagree with you. But I think going forward, one of the things we have to do, when you see the teams that have these special teams – I think when we have good specialists, [returners] back there returning, but you have to have a core. That’s one of the things we need to improve on. That’s one of the things we will address in the offseason.
Q: You had to discipline [Marcell] Dareus again. What went on there? Why didn’t you just not play him at all today?
DM: Well, I think for me, I have a schedule in my mind in how I handle players, you know, with team violations. Obviously, it was a team violation that was broken. I sat down with him again and we talked about it. We are both going to continue to work through it and move forward.
Q: Does it hurt to not have him out there?
DM: I think it would be naïve for me to stand up here and say no. I mean, obviously we know what type of player Marcell [Dareus] is and the more we can have him out there and playing, the better we are.
Q: You mentioned mis-tackles on special teams, was that a big part of the problem in the first half in terms of the run perspective?
DM: We had some mis-tackles, but a lot of it was cutting back. You know, they had some space and found a hole and were able to get the ball back on us. Overrunning the play on that one…
Q: You have tried to change the culture on this team, but is Marcell a guy who has to get with the program here? And understand that the rules are the rules?
DM: I think, I mean, to answer your question, does he have to get with the program? I mean, obviously, he made a mistake and there are consequences. You do it and you move on from it. You know, we all make mistakes and we have to push for each other and pull for each other.
Q: How shocked were you a day after he sat, he’s late again.
DM: I never said what the violation was, but again, it is something that we are working through. I can’t explain it as anything else. It’s a situation that if he wants to talk about it, he can. It is a private situation; I always have felt that way when it comes down to that. I can tell you, there is not a conflict as far as what we are trying to accomplish. I think it is very clear. He’s obviously clear on it. And we are working together to move forward so it doesn’t happen in the future.
Q: You know, the offside on the field goal too, that was Marcell. I mean, what can you say about that?
DM: I think you just can’t do that. You think about it,
Q: With the two back-to-back unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, talk about that.
DM: Disappointing. I mean, obviously I always take that as a reflection on me. You know, and the discipline of the team. We showed a lack of discipline there and that’s my fault. I take full blame for that.
Q: How disappointed are you when you wanted to lay a foundation late in the year, to have it end this way: no EJ [Manuel] and to have your defense getting run over. That’s not what you had in mind, is it?
DM: No, I actually had in mind coming in here and winning the game. I really did. I felt really good about coming in and winning this football game. I really did. I felt that we had good plans. I felt that we had a good formula for what we needed to do to win. I think it was explained well during the week. I think all the players understood it. You know, we went out there and didn’t execute. To say, how we ended this season? I think obviously I think it would have been much different if we ended on a three-game winning streak. I think this game kind of burst that bubble – you know what I am saying – or balloon. But I also know, moving forward, that I am going to use this as a feeling of what it is like. And I told that to the players afterwards – what it’s like and how hard it is to win, doing all the things the right way. You know, really for me, the players are going to have some time to get away. Tomorrow we will get started, but I promise you, as soon as Tuesday starts, we are already working ahead on 2014. We’ll look back in a long process of things we have to get done. Yes, I am disappointed in our record. We had an opportunity to accomplish some things today; win in Gillette Stadium, which we haven’t done, in in the division, which I thought was important, and I really meant that when I talked about it during the week. And there was a lot on the line. And we left it out there.
Q: Doug, you have said and we know the Patriots have been the standard in this division for more than a decade now. Do you feel, after your one yea], that you are any closer to them than when you started the year? Do you feel, team-wise, any closer to them?
DM: I don’t know probably because I have been out for four years. Meaning, I think the teams in this division, defensively, are very good football teams. You know, I look at that side more, even though I look at all three phases. You know, we’re where we are and if I get up here and start talking about closer and this and that... You’ve got to go out there and do it at the end of the day and we haven’t done that. I am part of this and I have to get this thing corrected. To say that you are closer or anything like that, you know, until you win, you really don’t have a leg to stand on. I know that we split with New York and Miami twice, we lost twice to New England in games that were close and that’s how it is. I don’t know if I can answer that question from the past. Do I feel that, you know, we can beat them? Yes, I do. But today we didn’t. And the first time we played them, we didn’t.
Q: You are the same spot [record] as last season, are there things you can point and say we have made progress?
DM: Yes, but right now I am pissed. You know, at the game, not at the people in this room. You know, I am upset. So yeah, I’ll be able to talk about those things when we have that, you know, [meeting] at the end. Does that make sense? I mean, I am mad. I have to smile because that’s what I have to do. That media training…
Q: What can you tell us about
DM: I know it was an ankle.