|Chandler Jones: ‘Whenever you can get the ball into [Tom Brady's] hands good things will happen’||09.17.14 at 5:57 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Winning the turnover battle is one of the biggest keys to winning each week in the NFL, regardless of the opponent.
Since 2000, the Patriots are 116-12 when winning the turnover battle, compared to 27-37 when they don’t. Even further, New England is 97-5 since 2003 when having a plus turnover margin.
The Patriots have won the turnover battle in each of the first two games this season and are tied for the lead the AFC with a plus five turnover differential. They are also tied for second in the entire NFL, with only the Panthers having a better differential at plus six.
“We try and emphasize on just getting the ball,” defensive end Chandler Jones said. “Turnover differential, turnover margin, we just have to win always. We try and get the ball back into our offenses hands and whenever you can get the ball into Tom’s hands good things will happen.”
Although Jones didn’t have any of the four Patriots turnovers against the Vikings, he did have a monster game. Jones blocked a 48-yard field goal attempt and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown to give New England a 24-7 halftime lead. He also finished the game with eight total tackles and his fifth career two-sack game. For his performance he was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week.
“Our defense played very well, but there is always room for improvement,” said Jones. “As far as the Player of the Week thing, that’s our defense. It’s a defensive effort, it’s all 11 men on the field. We play hard out there and the biggest thing is moving forward to Oakland.”
The defense enters Sunday’s home opener against the Raiders ranked fourth in the NFL in total defense. They will have a chance to build even more confidence as the Raiders come into the game with the second-worst ranked offense in the entire league.
After allowing 33 points in Week 1, the defense rebounded nicely only allowing seven last week against the Vikings, partly because of the team’s preparation leading up to the game – something they are already hard at work on getting ready for Week 3 and the Raiders.
“I feel like we went out there and we saw the results of buying into what the coaches said and doing our job — executing, paying attention to detail, the little things that coach said trying to dot the I’s and cross the T’s,” Jones said. “It definitely showed out there when we go out and execute.”
FOXBORO — Chandler Jones had the best all-around game of his three-year career on Sunday in Minnesota. On Wednesday, he was rewarded with his first AFC Defensive Player of the Week award.
Jones sacked Matt Cassel twice (matching a career high), had eight total tackles (six solo), hit the quarterback three times and recorded three tackles for a loss. The Patriots allowed a touchdown on the opening drive but held the Vikings scoreless the rest of the day in a 30-7 win.
Jones also blocked a field goal attempted and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown just before halftime. That play would fall under special teams recognition, not defense.
While this is Jones’ first Player of the Week honor, it’s not the first time he’s been recognized. He was named AFC Defensive Player of the Month for November last season.
Last season, the Patriots earned two AFC Player of the Week honors (QB Tom Brady in Week 12 and RB LeGarrette Blount in Week 17) and two AFC Player of the Month honors (K Stephen Gostkowski — Special Teams Player of the Month for October and DE Chandler Jones — AFC Defensive Player of the Month for November).
|Bill Belichick on D&H: ‘Fortunate’ to coach great players en route to 200 wins||09.15.14 at 6:23 pm ET|
With the win, Belichick became the seventh head coach in league history to win 200 games. Belichick credited those he was able to coach as he reached the landmark win total.
“That means I coached a lot of good players, that’s what that means,” Belichick said. “Those guys are the ones that win them. They go out there and they’re the ones who make the plays. I’ve been very fortunate to coach a lot of great players.”
Continued Belichick: “When I got into coaching, it certainly wasn’t for the money. It was because I enjoyed the game and the competitiveness of it and all that goes with football. Twenty-five dollars a week, that isn’t why you do it. But things have worked out well financially since then, so I have no complaints about that. But that’s not why I got into it. As a head coach you just try and have the best year you can have each year. I don’t think in 1991 I was thinking about 2014. I probably wasn’t thinking about 1993 too much either. I was probably thinking about 1991. That’s kind of what our job is, year to year and week to week. So right now I’m just thinking about Oakland.”
The absence of running back Adrian Peterson from Sunday’s game forced the Vikings rely on backup tailbacks. Belichick said the change did not affect the Patriots’ defensive scheme in any way.
“They still have good quality backs,” Belichick said. “I think that Norv [Turner], the system that he runs is still pretty much his system. I think it would have been no different if a player got hurt on the first series or first quarter of the game. They would probably do what they would kind of normally do with the other 10 guys. It’s really hard to change an entire offense or defense when one guy goes out. It’s easier to try and replace whoever that person is and work around it the best you can.”
|Chandler Jones on MFB: ‘Guys were just flying around yesterday, and it was just fun being out there’||at 12:25 pm ET|
Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones, who had the highlight of Sunday’s 30-7 victory over the Vikings with his return of a blocked field goal for a touchdown, made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB and recounted his run to glory. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Bill Belichick noted after the game that the team works on blocking field goals every day in practice.
“Coach Belichick was right, we work on that every day. We work on it week in and week out, no matter who we’re playing. That’s one of the things we try to take pride in here in New England,” Jones said. “The biggest thing was, with blocking that kick, that was a team effort. A lot of people probably don’t understand — everyone thinks Chandler Jones went out and blocked that kick and stopped and scored — but that was 100 percent the 11 men on the New England Patriots, that was all of them. I feel like what people don’t understand is that other guys have to get penetration. Once everyone’s getting effective penetration, certain gaps opened up.”
Aided by his teammates on the outside making a charge, Jones burst through the middle to swat the ball down.
“That’s exactly what it is — guys on the outside giving 110 percent off the edge and it’s opening up things on the inside, and my gap happened to be open. Now as far as me scooping it, that was just a lucky bounce, I feel like. I blocked it right into my running lane as I was attempting to block it and the ball just one-hopped right in front of my hands and I just started running. Devin McCourty threw a great block. It was a great 11-man team effort.”
Jones said he wasn’t sure who was running alongside him, so he just kept the ball and ran as hard as he could.
“I had an interview yesterday and they asked me what was going through my mind as I ran down the field,” Jones said. “First of all, I didn’t know it was that long. I didn’t think it was that long. What was it, 58 yards? It didn’t feel like 58 yards. Our coaches do a great job of conditioning us.”
Added Jones: “What was going through my mind was just, ‘Don’t get caught. Don’t get caught.’ Because I just know when I come into the meetings Monday and we put that up on film the whole team’s probably going to laugh at me if I’m running too slow or if I get caught by a placekicker. … That’s what was going through my mind, just, ‘Don’t get caught, don’t get caught, don’t get caught, don’t get caught.’ And then I crossed the line and I said, ‘Yeah, I didn’t get caught.’ ”
|Chandler Jones, Dont’a Hightower fined for illegal quarterback hits||09.12.14 at 8:44 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The illegal hits by Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower on Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill will cost them in t he pocketbook.
Each were docked $16,537 for their roughing-the-passer penalties in Sunday’s season-opening 33-20 loss to the Dolphins.
Jones was penalized twice for getting his hands up in the head area while Hightower was flagged and fined for driving quarterback Ryan Tannehill into the turf in the first half.
“I just have to do better,” Jones acknowledged Friday. “Being a defensive end, when you get a shot at the quarterback, it’s a dream. You see the quarterback there, your eyes kind of get big, it’s an opportunity for you to make a big play for your team. I feel like that’s where you have to tone it down a little bit and lower your pad level so you can get a clean and legal hit on the quarterback. You have to adjust.”
This comes on the heels of Thursday night’s game in which Ravens defensive lineman Courtney Upshaw pulverized Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the first quarter.
“I did not see it,” Jones said.
The three Patriots penalties were among the 11 “roughing the passer” penalties called in Week 1.
“We just have to do a better job of coaching it and being disciplined in doing it,” Bill Belichick said when asked Friday about it. “The rule is what it is. You have a strike zone to hit, you have to hit in that strike zone. That’s the rule. And you can’t lead with your head. Below the shoulders, above the knees, can’t lead with the head — we have to find a way to hit the quarterback without doing those things. Every team in the league has to do it, that’s what we have to do and we have to do a better job. We have to coach it better; we have to do it better.”
|Bill Belichick says Patriots ‘have to do a better job of coaching’ how to hit the quarterback||at 11:11 am ET|
FOXBORO — Bill Belichick knows he could complain until he’s blue in the face about the NFL’s flag-happy approach to hitting the quarterback.
Most watching the Ravens-Steelers game Thursday night couldn’t believe that the Steelers were penalized for a first-half hit on Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. But they were.
And part of the reason Belichick might not be as vocal as one would expect is the obvious – the rule is there to protect quarterbacks like Flacco and Tom Brady from taking any undue hits over the course of a game. But it’s when his own defensive players appear to have a clean hit and a flag is thrown for driving a quarterback into the ground that Belichick has to bit his lip.
Last Sunday Dont’a Hightower and Chandler Jones combined for three roughing the passer penalties, two from Jones. While Jones appeared to get his hands too high, Hightower was called for driving the quarterback into the ground after tackling Ryan Tannehill just as Tannehill was releasing the ball.
“We talk about it a lot. We work on it,” Belichick said. “Obviously, speaking for us, we’ve got to work on it more. We’ve just got to do a better job of coaching it and being disciplined and doing it. The rule is what it is. There’s a strike zone to hit and you’ve got to hit in that strike zone. That’s the rule.”
Belichick wasn’t complaining, rather reminding his team that the Patriots will only hurt themselves in the long run if they continue to hit the quarterback illegally.
“You can’t lead with your head,” he said, before adding what he and his staff teach in practice. “Below the shoulders, above the knees, you can’t lead with the head. You’ve got to find a way to hit the quarterback without doing those things. So that’s what we have. Every team in the league has to do it. That’s what we have to do. We have to do a better job. We have to coach it better. We’ve got to do it better.”
|Chandler Jones on MFB: ‘Got to get better when I get a shot at the quarterback’||09.08.14 at 1:22 pm ET|
Defensive end Chandler Jones checked in with the Middays with MFB crew on Monday to recap Sunday’s 33-20 loss to the Dolphins. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Jones twice received penalties for hitting quarterback Ryan Tannehill too high. He could be seen arguing with the official, but he said he understands why he was penalized.
“For the most part, on both of them I was a little bit high,” Jones acknowledged. “I’ve just got to get better when I get a shot at the quarterback, just lower my pad level. Because on both of them I think the problem was I was a bit high. Hopefully I can just work at it, do some tackling drills.”
While Tom Brady was sacked four times, Tannehill only went down once for a loss.
“They did a good job. Credit goes to them. They did a good job of stopping us. Me personally, my goal is to get pressure. I felt like I could have got more pressure than I did. So, it’s something that I just have to work on for next week. They’re short-lived. We went out there and lost, credit goes to Miami. But you’ve just got to get ready for Minnesota.”
Added Jones: “Miami just did a good job of executing plays. We went out there to play against those guys and they just did a good job of crossing their ‘t’s, dotting their ‘i’s. They did a great job. So, like I said, hat’s off to them.”
Running back Knowshon Moreno had a big day for the Dolphins, rushing for 134 yards and a touchdown.
“Knowshon is a great player, He has very good balance, very good vision for a running back, has been in the league for a while now. As far as the scheme that he’s running, he does a good job in the scheme. So, hat’s off to him. He had a great game. Hopefully we can contain him next time.”
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