PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
October 15, 2018
Q: It seems like Sony Michel's patience has really improved at the line of scrimmage. Would you agree with that assessment?
BB: Yeah, that's probably fair. Sony gets better every day. He gets better every week. He's still got a long way to go, but he does a lot of good things out there. We'll just keep trying to get him more experience and get him more reps and opportunities to see different things. The defenses that we've seen the past few weeks from Miami to Indy to Kansas City last night were quite different, especially on the line of scrimmage, even going back to Detroit. Kind of a new thing - in some ways - new things every week even though it might be the same plays but the way that they play it and what they do up front is quite different; has been quite different from week to week. But yeah, he's certainly improving in all areas and he's running hard and taking care of the ball. Those are good things.
Q: Can you speak to Chris Hogan's work ethic and how he has kept his focus over the past couple of weeks when he wasn't getting as many looks his way?
BB: Yeah, Chris is one of the hardest working guys on our team. He's got really good stamina. He can kind of run all day and works extremely hard. Also, last night he was in on a lot of kicking game plays, too. He was able to help us in a number of different areas. He's a tough kid that really competes hard and, as I said, has good stamina to stay on the field for a long time.
Q: Is it one thing to have stamina but another to be able to still execute at a high level when playing so many snaps on both offense and special teams?
BB: Yeah, to execute but also be able to keep your speed. You can be out there and take up space, but to not be able to play at the top speed then it's not really quite the same player. Sometimes those players can't do it for a full 60 minutes. They have to be out for plays. I'd say Chris has a good ability to keep his speed and because of his stamina he can stay out there for quite a while.
Q: What about your matchup with Kansas City's offense last night lent itself to more three-corner nickel defenses as opposed to the big nickel set with three safeties?
BB: Well, we've played both quite a bit this season. I would say it's certainly not 100 percent of the time, but probably a majority of the time when there's three receivers on the field, it's more three-corner nickel and when there's two receivers on the field it's more two-corner nickel. Now that's not 100 percent, but I would say that's, for example, against Miami that was frankly all three corners. It would depend on the situation. It would depend on who the receivers are and kind of what the overall game plan is and what our depth is. If you don't have depth at corner then you're in a three-safety situation, and if you don't have a lot of depth at safety you could be in a three-corner situation. There could be an overriding factor there. Certainly we can do both, so it could be a combination of all of those things. Who their players are, what we're trying to do, who we have available and who we want to do it with.
Q: You mentioned last night that a lot of Tyreek Hill's production in the second half came on what you called a scramble play on that 75-yard touchdown. What about that play put it into the category of a scramble-drill play for your defense? Was it him having the ball for that long and moving up in the pocket?
BB: I'd just say that was just bad defense, bad coaching, bad playing, bad everything. It wasn't really an extended play. No, it wasn't a scramble. The one to [Kareem] Hunt was more of a scramble play, which that was more of the same - bad coaching, bad playing, just bad defense.
Q: Is one of the challenges of those scramble plays just the timing in terms of everybody seeing it at the same time and understanding that the rules on the play have changed?
BB: Every play is a little bit different, so there's no necessarily cut-and-dry rule, but depending on what you're in we have rules that we follow based on what the call is and so forth. So we obviously didn't do it very well in a couple of instances, so it's got to be coached better, it's got to be executed better. It's not a mystery. Almost every quarterback we've played has been a scrambling quarterback, so it's not like we haven't seen one before or it hasn't come up before. We just had a couple of breakdowns last night. It was more than one play, but there were a couple of breakdowns that just ended up in bad plays which we've got to do a better job. We've got to coach it better and we've got to play it better.
Q: On Stephen Gostkowski's successful 50-yard field goal last night, was that about as close to the limit as you were thinking there for that situation given the direction he was kicking and the circumstance of the game at that point?
BB: I'm not sure what would've happened if it had been longer or what the situation would've been distance-wise and so forth. But on the first drive it would've been a 57-yarder I think, so that's more of a punt or go-for-it situation on the first drive. But yeah, on the 50-yarder we felt pretty confident in it. Steve hit the ball well in warmups, hit it well all night. Again, sometimes you take a guy like Steve for granted. He just goes out there and bangs them through consistently from short and long. He's just done a really good job for us and last night, as many points as there were in that game, you don't really think of three points as being that big but they really were, as you pointed out. Steve came through for us with five big kicks.
Q: On the Tyreek Hill run that you challenged the spot of, was that an easy call for you because it basically happened right in front of you, or is that difficult because you never really know what the officials are going to be able to see on that? Do you know what I mean by that?
BB: Yeah, I sure do. Yeah, well again, it goes back to the replays and some of the replay issues we've talked about before. I would say on that particular play, it was right in front of us and I think we all felt like he didn't get the first down, that he stepped out of bounds before that. The official on the sideline there kind of had to get out of the way because of the angle that Hill was running at, and so he was kind of behind the play and the other official was further down the field. When they came and marked the ball it appeared like they marked it further ahead than where he really went out based on the live look. I asked the coaches for a look upstairs and there wasn't really much up there. I think they only replayed it once and it wasn't a clear-cut shot. We were all pretty sure from the view that we had that he was short, so I challenged it and in that situation I think you've just go to hope that there's an angle that backs up what you think you saw, which sometimes there is, sometimes there isn't. It's kind of like the [DeAndre] Hopkins catch in the Houston game. I didn't think it was a clean catch. I thought I had a pretty good view of it, but when it was reviewed it was upheld so maybe I didn't see it the way I thought I saw it, but it was a similar situation on that play. There wasn't a replay view that just showed, "OK, this is a play you've got to challenge." It was kind of an on-the-field view of it that you hope would be substantiated by video evidence but you're not sure that it will or won't be. I thought that was a big play in the game. We had a chance to stop them there on fourth down. In a game like that, I think you want that opportunity. That's the way that one turned out.
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