How Did The New England Patriots React To Beating Tennessee?

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Dec 20, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots defensive end Akiem Hicks (72) reacts after recovering a fumble and returning for a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans in the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Duron Harmon

(On Joey Iosefa today)
“Me and Joey, we’ve done some tackling drills out there in practice for the last four to five weeks. He’s really been a player that has helped me work on my open field tackling. It was really exciting to see him go out there today, run the ball a little bit, and run hard. I was really cheering for him. He’s a load, man. He runs through people and he’s really, really strong.”

(On playing without Devin McCourty)
“It’s different, but you have to find your own. I wasn’t out there with him to lean on so communication had to come a little bit more from me today, me and [Patrick] Chung. I thought we did a good job at that, so just keep going. Get better from here.”

(On how the team responds to injuries)
“It talks about the depth. You’ve got to look at Coach [Bill] Belichick. He creates this team, and the depth that he’s created has put us in positions where guys go down and other people step up.”

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Akiem Hicks

(On his fumble recovery)
“I lost one in Denver and [Matt Patricia] gave me a talking to about losing those and just diving for them. Chandler [Jones] had that great play and I was just trying to finish it for us. You’re watching that ball spin around and you’re a bigger guy like, ‘OK, I’ve got to make sure I’m with it.’ And then you jump on it and grab it. You never know where the ball is going to spin too, but that’s just a testament to our defense and how we’ve been trying to bring pressure all year. This has gone by quick for me. I came here Week 3 and I’m just happy to be here with these guys and I love my teammates.”

(On the success and camaraderie of the defense)
“[Chandler Jones] is a great outside rusher. Rob NinkovichJabaal Sheard. Even the interior guys are bringing pressure. You’ve got [Malcom] Brown, [Alan] Branch, Sealver [Siliga] as a unit, and then those things don’t happen unless you have a great secondary. Logan [Ryan] covering all day. Malcolm Butlercovering all day. Jamie [Collins], [Dont’a] Hightower. It’s a great team and I’m honored to be here.”

(On his progression with the team)
“Just like with anything, the more reps you get at it, the better you get acclimated and you start to learn more. It starts to work better for you.”

Joey Iosefa

(On how it felt to run over a defender)
“I was just trying to make a play. That’s all I was trying to do. When I have the ball in my hand, I try to make the best out of it.”

(On playing in cold weather)
“I’ve played in cold weather before, even when I played in Hawaii. We traveled to the east coast, so I’m used to it and know what to expect.”

(On getting the ball 10-12 times)
“I was just doing whatever the coaches asked me to do, just doing my job.”

Chandler Jones

(On the strip sack)
“It was a great play for our team. It helped contribute to the win, so any time you can contribute, that’s good. It was a bit of déjà vu because my first game [as a rookie in 2012 against Tennessee], I had a sack-fumble and [Dont’a] Hightower picked it up for a touchdown. And in this game, I had a sack-fumble and Akiem [Hicks] picked it up for a touchdown, so it was a bit of déjà vu and it was coincidental that it happened to be against the Titans.”

(On getting to the quarterback on the strip sack)
“I beat the guy with a bull rush. He was a little bit light and I beat him with a bull rush. I actually didn’t see the quarterback. I was just reaching and happened to tip the ball. It was a great play for us and we capitalized off it.”

(On the differences between Marcus Mariota and Zach Mettenberger)
“Mariota is obviously a run threat; he’s very fast. Mettenberger is a guy who has a strong arm, but he doesn’t run as much. We practiced for both quarterbacks and did a good job of executing against both of them.”

Jabaal Sheard

(On how effective the pass rush was today)
“[We were] just doing our job. Everybody out there executed doing their job and when you have a nice secondary it gives you time to get there.”

(On how he stays motivated each week)
“It’s football. Every game we play to compete. Every game you want to win. You just focus in on that one team. I think Coach [Bill Belichick] does a good job of getting us mentally prepared for each and every game and getting us focused for each and every team, just like the [New York] Jets this week. It’s a conference game and we’ve just got to focus in on them.”

(On if reading the offensive line allows him to excel at reaching the quarterback)
“I think it’s just the whole defense playing well together. Obviously we’ve got to stop the run and get them to third-and-long. Once you stop the run and force them to pass it’s a lot easier to rush. Our secondary can play pass and we can rush.”

Matthew Slater

(On Keshawn Martin‘s return)
“It was a big play for us and we’ve put a lot into that this year. It’s nice to reap some of the benefits of your hard work. Keshawn hit it like you have to hit it, Nate [Ebner] and those guys had some great blocks inside and it was a big play for us in the game.”

(On the fumbled punt)
“I think we could have responded a couple different ways. We could have started yelling, screaming, and pointing fingers. Danny Amendola is one of the best punt returners in the NFL, so I’d put him back there 100 times out of 100. That’s fine by me. Those things happen and we just continue to play through it. There was no panic and I think overall, we played well today so I was happy with it.”

(On how the injuries will affect the team further)
“Only God knows. We giggle about it but it’s obviously tough. We always think, ‘Oh the injuries, how are they going to affect the Patriots? How is that going to affect them moving forward?’ Well I’m more concerned with the guy, the individual. That plays with your head when you get hurt and it’s tough because you put so much work into it. We’re more concerned about the individuals and their well being. Trying to take it one day at a time. We still have to play and there are games still on the schedule. We just have to go out there and compete because no one is going to look and be like, ‘Oh the Patriots are hurt. Poor them.’ So, we have to move forward as a team and try to be the best that we can, but at the same time, we feel for those guys on a personal level.”

James White

(On gaining confidence with each game he plays)
“The more you get out there, the more confident you can play, so I’m just trying to play with confidence every week and do whatever I can to help the team.”

(On how disappointed he was to have a big catch-and-run play called back due to penalty)
“The refs are going to make their calls. It would have been a big play for us. It’s just unfortunate it got called back.”

(On the importance of gaining Tom Brady‘s trust and getting more reps with the offense)
“You go out there during practice and you just try to work on it during practice and then execute out there in the game. That’s what I try to do and if I get the ball in my hands, I just try to make a play for my team and keep the ball secure.”

(On his 30-yard touchdown catch-and-run in the second quarter)
“It was a screen. I caught the ball and just tried to be patient and let the offensive line get their blocks. They got them and I just found room. Joe [Iosefa] had a great block down the field and that’s how we scored.”

(On his ability to make defenders miss)
“When you get one-on-one in the open field, as a skill player, you have to make that guy miss and that’s what I try to do every time I catch it.”

(On if he’s getting more comfortable when the ball is coming his way)
“I just try to play with confidence. If I get the ball in my hands I’m going to be confident with it and protect it.”

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(On Joey Iosefa‘s running today)
“Joey’s a great player. The guy is going to run hard as you can see. I was happy for him that he was able to get out there.”