The New Orleans Saints head East to take on the New England Patriots in Week 3 on September 26, 2021.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston
Sept. 26, 20021
Q: What was the mind-set going into the last drive? You kind of struggled the three preceding drives.
JW: Finish. That was simple. Just finish and get the win.
Q: When you're playing across from a defense that's having the type of day y'all did today, does that affect how you approach some of these situations, not putting the defense in a disadvantage position is probably going to be enough?
JW: Yeah, we just knew that we just had to protect the football. We were going to come out winning this game.
I think we ran the ball really well. I think our defense played really well and we protected the football. That's the formula to win a game in the NFL.
Q: How often did you hear that message this week from you and just the whole team about that turnover ratio in New England?
JW: I mean, I think it was our key to victory. We knew we had to come in and do that, and we did that. That's why we won.
Q: Can you talk us through your decision to throw the TD pass to Marquez Callaway even though you were kind of wrapped up?
JW: That was all God. I felt zero. I checked it. That was all God. Like, I was trying to throw that ball away. Marquez went up there and snatched it, so... Touchdown, good guys.
Q: What was the message to you after that throw? Don't do it again but good throw?
JW: If you are throwing it away, make sure you throw it away. I said, Coach, that's all God. Can't get in the way of God's plan (smiling).
Q: Did you know it was a free play or were you just going for it?
JW: No, I did not know it was a free play.
Q: On the last drive, how clutch was Deonte Harris, especially on the third down play, to keep that drive going?
JW: He was excellent. He created some separation, got open. It was delivered to him.
Q: How excited are you to be getting a chance to come back to New Orleans? What have you learned about this team the past three weeks?
JW: Man, I'm more than excited to be able to prepare to play a team in our home stadium. I think we all excited for that. We're excited to get out of Dallas, excited to come home, man. We did it for this city. We knew we needed to get a win. We knew everybody was going to going to be coming ready to represent anyway. It would be a better taste in our mouths and in the city for us to come up and get a good win in Foxboro.
Q: You played in this league awhile now. Can you put into context what it means to come into this stadium with that head coach on the other side? Not a lot of teams come in here and win in this place.
JW: Yeah, you know, I'm playing for my head coach. Our head coach, he has a lot of accolades as well. Again, we definitely revere Coach Belichick, he's definitely a Hall of Fame coach. I'm happy we were able to come in as a team, defense dominated, offensive line did their thing, dominated the line of scrimmage, AK (Alvin Kamara) had a heck of a day, we made plays in the patting game when we needed to. Taysom (Hill) stepped up huge. (Indiscernible) on that last drive. We played Saints football. That's how we're playing right now. We protected the football and got a great win. We're excited, man, to come back home and let other teams feel the wrath of our fans.
Q: Communication was a big key this week, the protection. Seems like the offensive line, they were able to step up and continue to protect you. How did you feel your communication was better this week and the protection from the offensive line?
JW: I think we did a better job communicating. Yeah, an incredible job, Landon (Young) coming in filling in, James (Hurst) being resilient. We're going to see the details on Terron (Armstead). We would love to have him back at speedily as possible. These guys have been resilient. Every week I say I got the best offensive line in the whole league. For two weeks we lose Erik McCoy, Cesar (Ruiz) and Calvin (Throckmorton) come in, they pick up the load. They did an excellent job today. Then we lose Terron today early. James Hurst picks up the load. It just talks a lot about that room, how important it is for those guys to have continuity and be together. I'm just happy those guys were able to persevere today.
Q: Obviously people know you have the big arm, the ability to go vertical. You said 'Saints football'. Is that now efficiency and physicality up front?
JW: Saints football has always been efficiency and physicality up front. Those are the only things I knew, so... That's all I know. They win up front and they play tough. That's what we did here. I think the best thing it's so challenging to win in this league. Any way you do it, you do it to the best of your abilities. Obviously, I know I got to get better at the quarterback position, and I'm continuing to do that. But I'm happy we got this win.
New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones
Q: Mac, I just wanted to ask you how you felt. You obviously took a lot of hits today, how you're feeling. I was just curious what prompted taking the knee brace off, if you could just share any of that or why you did that.
MJ: My body feels good. Obviously, it wasn't our day. We didn't play as well as we wanted to. On the knee brace, I just slid and it kind of came loose, so I just took it off.
Q: I know you always want to score, but on these long drives that you have, how hard is it to just take three when seven is right there?
MJ: I think it just goes back to execution. I can do a better job just sticking to my reads and being patient and letting things develop. I didn't do a good job of that today. We'll get better, and we've made it a point of emphasis. Today it didn't show, but we're going to just flip the page and continue to work and try to find ways, whether it's creativity or whatever. It's really not my job to call the plays. Josh (McDaniels) is going to do a great job coming up with ways to improve that. I know he will because he's a competitor just like all of us and we're all wanting to score points. It's not like we're all happy with just kicking. We want to score as much as we can.
Q: Obviously, it was a tough day, but to have comforting words from your teammates maybe coming up to you after interceptions, how much does that maybe really soothe out that you have their support even if it's a bad play?
MJ: I think interceptions are a part of the game. You obviously don't want to throw them, and sometimes they're bang-bang plays and sometimes they're things you can control. I just have to learn from those errors. Everyone did have my back. It seemed they were very supportive. For me, I've worked a lot on just playing the next play, and I felt like I wasn't lingering or thinking about the last play at all and neither was any of our team. Yeah, we can definitely get better there, and I appreciate everyone supporting me, and I've got to get better. So I will.
Q: Can you speak to the role that James White has had in helping you get accustomed to this offense? And what impact did his departure from the game have on the game itself, and as a team, if you're going to be without him for any long period of time?
MJ: I think James is a great player, but he's also a good person. He does everything right all the time. It seems like he just goes about his business. He comes into work every day. It's not like he's cutting any corners short because he's an older player and knows it all. He continues to work. That definitely sucked to see him go down. We're all behind him 100 percent, and he's a team leader, and he's a great team leader, and he's a great Patriot. We all want to be, if we can, like James. He's a big role model for me. I hope he's OK, and thoughts and prayers to him and his family.
Q: On the third-and-one handoff to Brandon Bolden before the half and a couple of the other red zone runs, were those called runs in the huddle, or are those plays that you kind of get a little bit of an option there?
MJ: In the red zone, I think just improving throwing the ball. I need to just improve that. When I have a chance to, I need to take what they give me, but also take some chances. A lot of the plays, I could have stuck with them instead of changing them or whatever, and I'll get better at that. We'll improve the red zone. We have to improve. We've got to put points on the board. We can't just continue to not do that. We've just got to flip the page on today and learn from it, watch it, and just identify the problem because you just have to fix the problem and try and find ways to make that better.
Q: Taking the cue on flipping the page, this happens fast. You'll make the corrections and then turn the page. Along those lines, have you ever had any contact with Tom Brady, and what are your thoughts on the Buccaneers coming to town as you flip that page?
MJ: I think we're just going to focus on learning from the tape. I think that's most important. It definitely stinks to lose, but you can learn from it, and it definitely eats away at you when you lose, but you've got to learn and move on. That's what a lot of the older guys were telling me, just keep my head up. Obviously, no one likes to lose here, and the Patriots have done nothing but win for a long time. We've got to get back to that. It just happens through everyday grind, every day work, and not focusing on the results. Play each play. Play each day one day at a time. If we can do that, then I think we'll see progress, and we'll just go from there.
Q: Was there anything that the Saints did that forced you to hold on to the ball a little bit longer than you would have wanted? And was there anything you could have done differently on that first interception?
MJ: No, I think, obviously, they have a great defense, the Saints do. They did what they did. But it's more about us and me just executing our plays. I can do a better job of that. I don't like to assume anything. I just like to watch the tape and look at it from a bird's eye view and don't be emotional about it. Just look at it and learn from it and then flip the page. I'm sure there's plays I left on the field. I know there are. And I'm sure that the offense as a whole, we can all play better together, and we will.
Q: What missing with the connection of the timing with Jonnu Smith?
MJ: I think Jonnu has done everything right. He's out there running. He's out there blocking, doing what he's supposed to do. Me and him, we're not always going to have perfect days. Nobody is. I think it's more about just getting that connection in practice and the timing. That comes with reps. We've kind of been together for a few weeks now, and we've just got to keep growing and turn the page on some of the bad things we did but also learn from them. There's always good conversations that come out of bad plays or bad days or bad games. You just have to talk through it and look at it through a positive lens. That applies with everybody on the team, so I think that's what we'll do.