Patriots coach Bill Belichick, quarterback Tom Brady and a host of New England players commented on their Week 11 road game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Belichick and Brady said they both see an improved 49ers defense entering Sunday's non-conference clash. There were also several positive comments made about San Francisco's starting quarterback, Colin Kaepernick.
Here are the top comments from the East Coast.
(On facing the 49ers)
"I think they're getting better. You see them getting better every week. The last two weeks they've created a lot of explosive plays on offense, more than they have," Belichick said.
(On San Francisco's rush defense)
"Of course they've had some issues with their run defense but last week they went down to Arizona and shut down David Johnson to, whatever it is, under 3 yards-per-carry. He had 55 yards. I thought they tackled well. I'm sure getting (Glenn) Dorsey and (Mike) Purcell back helped as well, but that was a very competitive game in Arizona, the same kind of game we played with the Cardinals right down to the last possession.
(On previous matchup against Chip Kelly in 2015)
"I know a lot of people were talking about the same thing last year when the Eagles had lost a couple of games by four touchdowns and coming in here with a poor record and then they come in here and hammered us. So I don't really put too much credence into that. The way they played last week against Arizona is very indicative of their talent level and their ability to do things right against a good team."
(On stopping Kaepernick)
"I think one of the big differences for us in the running game is just the quarterback. That really wasn't a big factor in the game last year. They still ran the ball with a lot of success against us in multiple formations or multiple types of runs, and then you add that to, now a quarterback, which gives you another dimension in the running game. We're going to have to do a better job on what we saw last year, but in addition to that, defend the quarterback runs as well, or the quarterback keeps or bootlegs. They bootlegged with Bradford some, but not as much as they do with Colin. The whole dynamic that the quarterback brings to the offense is definitely another dimension. It's going to be challenging for us."
(On San Francisco's defensive growth)
"I think they have some very talented players, but I think they're hungry and they're trying to find ways to win. It's tough losing in the NFL, but these guys are all supremely talented. They're in the NFL for a reason. They've very competitive in the secondary. They've had some injuries at linebacker, but those guys play hard. They really can power guys in the rush. They've got some good scheme stuff, so we don't take anything lightly. We've got to put in all the preparation this week coming off a tough loss at home, so it's a big challenge. I've played in a lot of games where one team is favored, and at the end of the day, none of that ever matters. It's how well you play on that day. We've got to go out and expect to play our best game if we want to win."
Defensive end Chris Long
(On the 49ers offense)
When you look at this running back, he's one of the best running backs we'll have played. Colin, he can really beat you with his arm and his legs. They've got good receivers, two really good tackles, not to overlook their entire offensive line, but as far as offensive tackles are concerned, that pair are as good as any that we'll play.Outside linebacker Rob Ninkovich*
(On Kaepernick's strengths)*
San Francisco and New England have faced off 12 times, with the 49ers leading the series with eight wins. Here are the best shots from the teams' meetings.
"A guy that can move well. (He has) a really strong arm, can get the ball downfield. Very elusive and deceptively fast. He has a real long stride. He's moving. It doesn't look like he's going that fast, but he's flying."Wide receiver Julian Edelman *
(On returning to the Bay Area)*
"It'll be pretty fun to go back and play in front of some friends and some family. We're going to Santa Clara, I've been going to Great America my whole life. It'll be cool."