Bill Belichick still did not want to discuss the Josh Gordon trade, informing the media that the deal still had yet to be finalized despite the fact that it appeared on the NFL’s transaction wire on Tuesday.
“We’ll talk about it when it’s done, if it’s done, when it’s done,” Belichick said.
The coach said there were still some details to be worked out in order to “finish the trade.”
“There are terms that have to be met before the trade is finalized, and when those are completed then we’ll have a completed trade. And, until they’re completed, then I’m not going to get into it,” he added.
Despite that Gordon was on the field at practice and otherwise it was business as usual on Wednesday at Belichick press conference.
He talked about the challenges going against his former pupil, Matt Patricia, and the Lions in general.
“This is a team that’s a very explosive team,” Belichick began. “Obviously, we have quite a bit of familiarity with [GM] Bob [Quinn] and Matt and several other people out there, players as well. But, there’s quite a bit of continuity from what they did last year with their kicking game and offense, the coordinators and some of the schemes that they’re using defensively, things are a little bit different – similar, obviously, to what we did, but certainly not the same.
“I think that we can – you can definitely see how competitive the Lions were last week. With the interception that got called back, that would have obviously changed that game around. A tough, competitive team, very explosive, can score in a hurry, in the kicking game, offensively and turn the ball over on defense. We’ve got a lot of work to do on this team, and so we’ll start working our way through it here today.
“We’re going to have to do a good job offensively of identifying the many variables that Matt will put in front of us, and defensively, in the kicking game, defending two of the most explosive groups that we’ll face all year. So, those will both be challenges for us this week.”
Here are some highlights from Wednesday’s press conference.
Dangerous downfield threat – Matthew Stafford is a gifted passer and leads one of the more productive passing games in football for the Lions. He’s been piled up a lot of yards through the years thanks both to a deep group of weapons and his own ability to get the ball in their hands.
Belichick was asked about the deep passing game in general and how dangerous Stafford can be getting the ball downfield.
“As good as there is in football. He’s got great weapons,” Belichick said. “He does an excellent job of seeing down the field in all situations. No matter how much pressure he’s under, he seems to find guys down there. Sometimes it appears that they’re covered, but he can put the ball where [Marvin] Jones in particular, but also [Kenny] Golladay, can go up and make plays on the ball.
“He’s very accurate and he’s got a strong arm. He can stand in there and make those throws, with or without a rush, in or out of the pocket, stationary or on the run. He’s extremely dangerous – one of the very best in the league for sure.”
Seeing double – Patrick Chung missed the second half of the Jaguars game due to a concussion, which dealt a blow to the secondary. Belichick was asked about the challenges of replacing such a dependable player.
“Pat’s a versatile player,” he said. “He does a lot of things and sometimes when a player has that much versatility for you, there’s two or three people that would fill that role between, in his case, defense and the kicking game. So, yeah, it’s unlikely that you have – look, we’re fortunate that we have one Pat Chung. To have two Pat Chungs would be pretty much impossible, so it would be multiple people to do all the things that he does.
“And, we have a number of other players like that. I mean, I’d say every team in the league has players like that that are guys that there’s just – teams have one of those players, and if he’s not there, you just don’t have another one like that.”
Tackling Tate – One of the Lions most versatile and dangerous weapons is Golden Tate. The wideout is adept at freeing himself in the slot and running after the catch. The latter trait gave the Patriots a lot of problems in Jacksonville, and Belichick was asked about the challenges of getting the elusive Tate off his feet.
“Golden’s excellent with the ball in his hands. He’s good without the ball in his hands, too,” Belichick said. “He gets open a lot, runs very good routes, he’s a hard guy to cover, but then once he touches the ball, he’s strong, he runs through contact, he’s fast, he’s quick, he changes directions well and he has good vision, so he sees openings and space in the field from his punt return background, kick return background and so forth.
“When he gets the ball, he can get into those spaces, and he runs through tackles. He has good balance. So, yeah, all those – I mean, Jones does it, too, Golladay, obviously the backs. They have a lot of good run-after-catch players, yards-after-contact players. The backs are good, Tate’s good, Jones is good, too. His quick screens, plays like that, it looks likely to gain 2 or 3 yards, he ends up with 15. So, that’s a big challenge. It’s not just covering him but getting him on the ground.”