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Patriots-Texans Postgame Locker Room Quotes, Jan. 13, 2013

Locker room quotes from the Patriots and Texans following New England's 41-28 victory over Houston in the AFC Divisional Round game at Gillette Stadium.

PATRIOTS LOCKER ROOM

January 13, 2013

Wes Welker, Wide Receiver 

(On where he thinks the offense is at this point in the season)

“I think we are just where we are. We made a lot of good plays, had a lot of good drives out there and then we had some bad ones too. So it’s kind of back and forth. We played well, but I feel like we can be a little bit more consistent.”

 

(On what it means to go back to the AFC Championship)

“It’s one step forward in the right direction. It’s one thing done that we have taken care of and now we’re moving onto the AFC Championship and [we’ll] get ready for that.”

 

(On losing Rob Gronkowski to injury)

“It’s unfortunate, but guys have to step up. Guys have got to come out, make plays and make up for his absence.” 

 

(On if there is a silver lining in the fact that players stepped up when Rob Gronkowski missed time earlier in the season)

“I think we’ve shown that guys can step up and play that role. Everybody kind of upped their game and knows that we’ve got to step up.”

 

(On what he expects from the Baltimore Ravens next week)

“It’s going to be a tough, physical football game. They’re a really good team. They really battled in that game against Denver. So it’s going to be a tough, physical game and we’ve got to get ready for it.”

 

Rob Ninkovich, Defensive Line

(On his interception)

“It was just good execution on the play; me coming inside, reading the quarterback, dropping back into coverage. It was just a good play overall. (Jerod) Mayo made a good call, telling me to do that. I’m happy it worked out for us.”

 

(On adjustments made at halftime)

“You come in, see the things (Houston) did well because they will go back to that. So come in, settle down, try and stay under control since you have another two quarters to play, then go out there and play tough.”

 

(On the quick turnaround for next week)

“Pretty much, come in tomorrow, get a workout and look at some of the things we didn’t do well. We are able to have home-field advantage so it’s good for us.”

 

Shane Vereen, Running Back

(On whether he expected to play as much as he did)

“I don’t come into the game knowing how much anyone is going to play. I come into the game ready to go and if my number is called I do my best for the team.”

 

(On losing Danny Woodhead to injury)

“We hate to lose Woody. He is such a key part of our offense, but at the same time all of the running backs hold ourselves accountable to be able to step up when somebody does go down.”

 

(On whether he gets excited to match up against a linebacker)

“Yes and no. I knew that the matchup was in my favor. But at the same time they are great defenders as well. So I have to do a great job at getting open. ”

 

(On playing the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship)

“It is going to be a great match up. It always is between us and the Ravens. We are going to have to go to work this week and get ready to play a great team.”

 

Matthew Slater, Wide Receiver

(On the big returns by the Texans)

“I guess we have to go look at it on tape and see what was happening, but it’s disappointing. The defense bailed us out. The offense bailed us out. If we keep playing like that we’re not going to get very far, we’re not going to be playing a lot more football. We can’t give the opposing team field position like that and all, so we just got to look at the tape and see what’s happening and see where our breakdowns were and try and get it fixed.”

 

(On if the breakdowns were due to Danieal Manning having a hot day)

“I’m sure that was part of it, but we’ve been too good all year. We’ve played a lot of good returners and we know Manning is a good returner, but we’ve got to play better than that. We got to go look at the tape and see what was going on.”

 

Jerod Mayo, Linebacker

(On the forcing timely turnovers today)

“It was huge. Obviously anytime we can get the ball back in our offense’s hands, we’re stealing possession for a great offense. Tom is really leading those guys and they are putting a lot of points on the board. So it was huge for us.”

 

(On playing the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship)

“Great team. These are the two teams that deserve to go to the AFC Championship Game, Baltimore and us. They are a great team, a lot of good players on both sides of the ball. It will be a challenge for us.”

 

(On the team mentality regarding overcoming injuries)

“Obviously we have that next man up mentality, no matter who gets hurt. My rookie year Tom (Brady) got hurt and we won 11 games. It’s always been that next man up mentality no matter who it is.”

 

(On the possibility of losing Rob Gronkowski to injury)

“Anytime we’re not at full strength and we don’t have all of our guys that we want on the field out there, it’s obviously disappointing. But at the same time, like I said, we have other guys who are waiting to get an opportunity to play. Hopefully those guys step in and fill in nicely.”

 

Sebastian Vollmer, Tackle

(On if the Patriots were surprised by J.J. Watt)

“I don’t think we were surprised; we kind of know what he is. Obviously, he is a good player and he’s an impact player. I think he had some plays today and you know to try and contain a guy [like him]– give him credit as a player, he’s special.”

 

(On the big touchdown drive to open the second half)

“I think it’s very important. You obviously want to score every time you go out there. You never know what’s going to go, so once you have a lead you want to keep that cushion, but it obviously doesn’t always work out that way, but today it kind of did, so I think it was good.”

 

(On the performances by running backs Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley)

“It was great. I think they both ran pretty well. Once again, they didn’t disappoint. They kind of do what they do and all have different talents. Again, I think they played a great game.”

 

(On if we was surprised by Shane Vereen’s performance)

“Not exactly. You practice certain things, so you know the qualities of the runners you have. Once again, I’m happy for him and I think he produced today and we see that at practice.”

 

Logan Mankins, Guard

(On if he was excited to play the Texans)

“We’re always ready for who we line up against, but anytime a team says, ‘they want you again,’ we’re always up for the challenge.”

 

(On if the game plan changed after the injuries to Danny Woodhead and Rob Gronkowski)

“Well, I think we did a few things different than if it was the whole clan, but [Michael] Hoomanawanui came in and did a great job replacing Rob and we still put up 41 [points], so I think the offense did pretty good.”

 

(On the performances by Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley and the confidence he has in both)

“We have a lot of faith in those guys and they did a great job. Vereen had some nice runs and that awesome catch – that was a heck of a catch. You see Ridley how hard he was running in the fourth quarter trying to move the pile, trying to get first downs, so those guys did a good job.”

 

(On the Texans defensive line and J.J. Watt and if the offensive line must perform as a unit)

“They move Watt around everywhere; he’s an end, he’s a tackle, he’s on the left, he’s on the right. Whoever draws that card has to do a good job on that play. I don’t know what his numbers were, but I think for the most part we did a good job.”

 

Aaron Hernandez, Tight End

(On tonight’s win and heading back to the AFC Championship)

“It’s an honor. We still have one more to go to get to the big dance. So we’ve got to keep playing and come to play next week.”

 

(On losing fellow tight end Rob Gronkowski to injury)

“It’s hard to replace a player like him because he’s a freak of nature. Everyone has to step up and everyone has to keep making plays so we can keep it rolling.”

 

(On how Rob Gronkowski’s presence on the field helps him)

“It definitely helps me out because so much attention is on him. But like I said, everyone has to step up. It’s a big loss and you can’t replace a player like him.”

 

(On how much he was impressed by Shane Vereen)

“He’s done it in practice and he’s the person that works hard and does his job. When his number was called, he made a play and showed what type of player he is tonight.”

 

Nate Solder, Tackle

(On making the AFC Championship game in his first two years in the league)

“As a guy two years in the league, I guess I just assume it happens every year. But I know that’s not the case so I feel honored and blessed to be here.”

 

(On the teamwork displayed by the Patriots)

“Well it’s all about teamwork. The line has to work together because I feel like I let my part down several times and guys picked me up and my teammates helped me out.”

 

(On facing the Ravens in the AFC Championship game)

“[The Ravens] are a great team. They beat two tough teams to get to where they are now and it’s going to be a great challenge for us.”

 

Steve Gregory, Safety

(On the challenges that Houston brought to the table)

“It’s tough, [the Texans] are really similar to our offense. They have a lot of multiple tight ends and different formations and things like that, some great receivers. Obviously [Arian] Foster in the backfield, he’s a heck of a back. They have a lot of different threats and a lot of weapons on that side of the ball.”

 

(On Aqib Talib matching up one-on-one with Andre Johnson for the whole game)

“It’s great, it’s great. When you can get someone who can line up with a number-one receiver and you know he’s going to play well and compete against that guy, it’s great to have a guy like that on your team.”

 

(On holding Houston to a field goal on the opening drive)

“[The Texans] opened up with a big kick return and our motto was just to hold them to three. They got down there but we did a good job of buckling down and holding them to a field goal, so it was good for us.”

 

Aqib Talib, Cornerback

(On how much fun he had chasing Andre Johnson the whole game)

“I had a lot of fun tonight. Probably the funnest game I’ve ever played in. Thus far, this is definitely the funnest game that I’ve ever played.”

 

(On if the thrives on taking on the opponent’s best receiver)

“Definitely. If you’re a cornerback and you don’t want to go after their best receiver, you’re in the wrong business.”

 

(On how excited he is to be on a team that’s making a run in the playoffs)

“Oh man, this is what you play football for. You don’t play football to play 16 and go home. You play to get in the tournament and try to get the trophy. We’re just going to go one week at a time and Baltimore’s on the agenda tonight.”

 

(On if he lobbies to match up against the opponent’s best receiver like Ty Law used to do)

“Nah, I’ve been here for two months [laughter]. I’m definitely not in Ty Law’s shoes. Whatever Bill [Belichick] asks me to do, that’s what I’m going to try to do to the best of my ability.”

Michael Hoomanawanui, Tight End

(On the team’s play against Houston’s defensive line)

“Their whole front line is obviously filled with playmakers and we were able to neutralize them as best as we could. (J.J. Watt) is still going to give us plays like he did tonight, but overall I think we did a good job and came out with a victory.”

 

(On if he has nerves in a playoff game)

“No. If you have jitters then you’re going to be a step behind, so just treat it as another game. Obviously everything goes to the next level but you can’t think about that. To us, it’s just another football game. You’ve got to execute offensively, defensively and on special teams.”

 

(On how he and Shane Vereen stepped in for injured players)

“It was a great team effort. Whether it was guys going down and another one stepping in, our job (entails) some guy going down and the next guy being able to step in and perform.”

TEXANS LOCKER ROOM

January 13, 2013

 

J.J. Watt, Defensive End

(On the game)

“We didn’t play a good game and they played a very good game. They are moving on and we are not. We came in here at halftime feeling pretty good obviously the long field goal by Shayne (Graham) was a heck of a kick. We came out in the second half and didn’t perform and it is plain and simple. We just didn’t do the things we needed to do to win. We needed to create turnovers on defense and we didn’t do that.”

 

(On the most frustrating thing)

“Losing, I can’t stand it. I can’t stand any aspect of it. The taste in your mouth is terrible. We lost, we are going home and we are not moving on. Congratulations to them (Patriots) and they deserve all of the credit and it is frustrating.”

 

(On Tom Brady and the future)

“He is a very good football player and a heck of quarterback.  Obviously he is one of the best for a reason. We needed to hit him and we needed to knock some balls down and we didn’t do that and we lost. Obviously all we can do is move forward. We learn from this season and I am proud of all of the guys in this room and I can’t wait to get back to work.”

 

(On the end of the season)

“It is really frustrating because we have been here before and you don’t just want to get back to where you have been before. You want to move on and you want to get better and move forward, we didn’t do that. We are going to look at it and we are going to figure it out. We are going to come into next season extremely strong and we are not going to wait to get back to work.”

 

(On reflecting on December)

“We are going to look at the whole season and we are going to look at everything, every aspect and we will learn from it. Obviously that is the only way you move forward. I had a lot of fun this season. I love my teammates and they made me look good all year. I appreciate them and everything they have done for me. In the end we didn’t do enough as a team. It is a team game and it is never about just one person. I didn’t do enough today and we didn’t do enough today. We needed to do more. For the season, I appreciate everybody and I love all my teammates and I can’t thank them enough for how good they made me look.”

 

Andre Johnson, Wide Receiver

(On the turning point of the game)

“They just made more plays than we did. That’s pretty much it. It’s about making plays. We had some plays in the first half that we didn’t make that maybe could have that kept drives alive and we didn’t do that. When you don’t do that at a time like this, you don’t win. So, we didn’t.”

 

(On the mindset heading into the second half)

“In this game you have to play until there are all zeroes on the clock and we felt good about where we were at. We felt like we left some plays out on the field in the first half. But, you can’t worry about that; you have to move on from it and just keep playing. In the second half, we just didn’t make plays we needed to make.”

 

(On winning the first playoff game but losing the second two straight years)

“I feel bad, especially for the older guys, including myself, because you don’t get too many shots at this. Me and Kev [Kevin Walter] were just talking about it at our locker. You don’t get many shots. It took nine years just to get two shots. I don’t know. We just have to keep fighting and keep working and keep banging on that door. Hopefully it will fall down.”

 

(On getting to the next level as a team)

“We just need to make plays. That’s what it came down to today. Like I said, we left some plays out on the field today. That’s pretty much it.”

 

(On the momentum shifts in the second and third quarters)

“I don’t know. Things were just going so back-and-forth. We’d do something good; then something bad would happen. Then in the third quarter the momentum had kind of swung back to us, and they go back out and make plays. That’s the thing when you play against a team like this: they’re capable of scoring every time they touch the ball and we knew that. We knew that we had to come in and score points as an offense. Not kick field goals, but scoring when we got in the red zone. Like I said, they made more plays than we made and they won the game.”

 

(On the personal disappointment after the loss)

“It’s frustrating. Words really can’t describe it because you work so hard to help this organization, yourself, the team, everybody, the city back home – you want everybody to be a part of something special. For it to end like this, it’s painful, man. We want to win; we want to keep playing. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work out today.”

 

Duane Brown, Tackle

(On the loss)

“It’s disappointing, this is hardly acceptable, that this is it for us. I take my hat off to every guy in the locker room we fought hard. Unfortunately what we put out there in the second half, and the forth quarter, wasn’t there in the first half. They got up on us and it’s hard to get yourself out of that hole against that group. Everybody fought hard and I’m proud of them.”

 

(On what happened in the first half of the third quarter)

“You know, you’ve got to make plays. We had plenty of opportunities, you know, they’re still on the field.  They just made more plays than we did.  You keep giving that team opportunities it’s going to bite you.”

 

Owen Daniels, Tight End

(On his thoughts after the game)

“Whenever the season ends, no matter when it ends, it’s really, really hard. The farther along you get, the harder it is to take. It’s one we wanted to win really bad. It’s tough to swallow right now, but, we fought hard all season and all day today, but one team gets to have a smile on their face at the end of the season and its not us this year.”

 

(On going into halftime with momentum)

“We felt we had kind of swung the momentum to our side. Felt good going into halftime being down four, you can’t ask for more than that in this type of environment and this game. That third quarter just didn’t go very well for us. We were right there and even when we got down, we kept fighting back, but its hard when you get that far down and be productive on the field and get the big plays.”

 

(On what happened in the third quarter)

“Oh man, I think that was the quarter that we didn’t make very many plays and they made a lot of plays. When you play a team like that in their home, you’ve got to make all of them and we didn’t.”

 

Danieal Manning,  Strong Safety

(On if they felt positive coming into halftime)

“Yeah for the most part, we knew we were still in the ball game.  We cut the lead down to four and we felt our defense had some momentum. We felt like we could go make some more stops and get our offense the ball.  Then they end up driving the ball down and scoring and we started playing catch up after that.” 

 

(On if they aggravated that Shane Vereen was the player who seemed to do the most damage)

“No, they were using all their personnel.  He was just one of those guys that was able to make the key plays at the end. He had three touchdowns, and they were going to him, but they were throwing the ball to everybody.”

 

(On how frustrating it was to settle for a field goal after his 94-yard kickoff return to open the game)

“That’s football. They were able to make plays and we felt like we made some plays there, but

it is what it is, we got down there and got some points out of it. We had to make more plays than they did.”

 

(On what it means to him to have a big day in the kick return game)

“Right now it doesn’t mean anything. Maybe later it will, but right now it doesn’t mean crap.”

 

Glover Quin, Free Safety

(On the game)

“We really wanted to win this game and move on. We had our opportunities and we just didn’t get it done. It is really tough to end this way and the season is over. We just have to start back over next year and it is tough… you either win or you don’t and we didn’t.”

 

(On coming out after the half)

“We felt like the game was right where we wanted it. They came out in the second half, in the third quarter and made a couple of plays on the first drive and got a touchdown. They made a few plays and scored a touchdown.  We took a step forward and the organization took a big step forward the right direction. We are heading in the right direction. We just have to come back and keep building and get it next year.”

 

Connor Barwin, Linebacker

(On the game)

“I don’t think there was any one point where it (the game) got away from us.  They made more plays at the end of the game and throughout the game than we did.  To beat a team like that on the road you got to make all the plays and we didn’t make them.   They didn’t do anything offensively that was surprising.  They did everything we worked on.  They just made some plays and we didn’t.  They execute very well.  Their offense is efficient.  They can do a lot with that two tight end set as far as running the ball and passing the ball and setting up play action.  Their offense is definitely a challenge and they do a good job.”

 

(On the season)

“Yes, this was a successful season.  Obviously we wanted to continue it and go farther than we did last year.  You can’t say that it wasn’t a successful season. We won 13 games and another AFC South championship.  There was a lot of good, but not enough. ”

 

Barrett Ruud, Linebacker

(On the game)

“There were a couple swings.  We took a couple shots in the first half but we rebounded and got it to within four at halftime.  I think the start of the second half was big.  The fact that they had that quick score, you know, that was tough.  Every time we kind of got close they had an answer for us.  That was the biggest thing.  I think if the times we did get close we could have had better answers on both sides of the ball I think we would have been in the game until the very end.  They do a lot of unique game planning stuff so we knew they would do something different but there wasn’t anything that necessarily caught us off guard.  They have that fast pace and they execute it so well that if you are not completely on your stuff they are going to beat you and that is what happened.”

 

(On the season)

“Individually this is the first year I ever won a playoff game.  I enjoyed that.  As a team we are ready to take the next step.  We are ready to get to where New England is.  We have been in the second round twice now and it is time to find a way to get over that hump.  I think that is the mood of the team right now.”

 

Jonathan Joseph, Cornerback

(On the game)

“They just had a couple times where they made a couple of plays.  We just kept battling all day and we weren’t able to get back in to it.  I think we competed and challenged them all day but there was a couple plays where they had some scores and we weren’t able to respond they way we were supposed to.  All in all we battled all day but didn’t get over the hump.  I would say it was a game of runs, but it’s like basketball.  It is all about momentum and things like that.  You have got to match fire with fire.  They got a couple unanswered points.  As a defense you have got to minimize those and try to get it back to offense in a reasonable position.  It is all the same, you never want to lose the game, whether you are in the championship, first round of the playoffs or first opening season game.  It is all the same but right here it is just the end.  Any time you don’t win the big games you are in the same boat as everybody else.” 

 

(Asked if the season was a success)

“Absolutely.  We ended up finishing in the same spot as last year in the second round of the playoffs but I think this team took a step forward in terms of progress with the younger players and things like that.”   

 

Bradie James, Linebacker

(On the game)

“They just out scored us.  We didn’t stop them.  We gave up too many touchdowns.  That is where it got away from us.  They came out and ran the no huddle very efficiently.  They get you when you are trying to communicate and they run the play.  That is definitely an advantage that they have, especially playing at home.  We had an opportunity this week but we didn’t achieve it.  Guys fought until the end.  We played as hard as we could but they made more plays than we did.”

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