HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
Monday, October 7, 2019
Q: What makes the Giants a special organization to the league?
BB: Yeah, there’s so much history there. We try not to think about that. But, of course, the Mara family – single ownership. They’ve certainly been through all the phases of the league, and not only have done things very professionally and for the good of the game on the field, but present everything well off the field as well – their family and their organization and just the way they do things. So, that’s a storied franchise and it goes way, way back. I was very, very fortunate to be a part of that great organization for 12 years and I learned a lot there from so many people, some who are still there, most of whom aren’t. But, they put together a tremendous group there in the ’80s starting with Coach [Ray] Perkins, so I was very, very fortunate to be a part of that. It’ll always be a big part of my life and my career.
Q: How did that provide a foundation for you moving forward?
BB: Sure, you learn something everywhere. You learn something every day; you learn something every year. So, Baltimore, Detroit, Denver, but the Giants, that’s really where I learned so much about really everything – special teams coach, defensive coach, defensive coordinator, got more involved in scouting. Just responsibilities that Coach [Bill] Parcells provided me with and the leadership that he provided. The players that I learned from there, so many great players on both sides of the ball. Of course, it was [Lawrence] Taylor and [Carl] Banks. Go right on down the line on defense, but it was also [Mark] Bavaro and [Phil] Simms and [Phil] McConkey and guys like that on offense, and [Dave] Jennings and [Sean] Landeta in the kicking game and so forth. So, those players had a wealth of knowledge in their area and I learned a lot from them, as well as coaches that were there, like Al [Groh] and Romeo [Crennel], Mike Sweatman, Charlie [Weis], so forth. So, it was a lot of – Jerry Angelo, a lot of other great people in the scouting department as well that taught me a lot and helped me along the way. So, those are lifelong friendships.
Q: How do you prepare for a quarterback who doesn’t have a lot of film in Daniel Jones on a short week?
BB: You know, Jim [McBride], we saw him in the preseason and in the preseason games that he played in, so we had a little bit of a background there. We did some work on him in the spring as well; he visited here and spent some time with us. He’s a very impressive young man and I’ve gotten the chance to see him play in the last few weeks here. So he’s a smart kid, has a good football background, very athletic, runs well. He’s fast, he can get out of the pocket and he’s a hard guy to catch. And so, similar to – maybe we saw a little bit with [Colt] McCoy. When he was out of the pocket yesterday, he was able to outrun us and pick up some yards or buy some extra time to throw. He’s in a very good offensive system that Coach [Pat] Shurmur runs, the West Coast system, and so the timing and being able to see the field and utilize all the receivers and multiple combinations in both short, intermediate, and deep routes, and play action, misdirection, all that. It’s a very diverse offense, and it looks like Jones has handled it very well. He does all of the things that they do, including the RPO’s and so forth that it looks like have been included in the offense, have been added in the last couple years. So, he has a pretty complete playbook for his level of experience and he handles all of those things well. He’s an accurate thrower at all three levels. He’s shown a lot of poise in the pocket. He’s taken some hits and had people around him back in the pocket, but he has a lot of poise and toughness and just stands in there. And you’ve got Eli [Manning] too, so I mean, you’ve got two very good quarterbacks there. Whichever one’s in there, we’ll have our hands full. We’re sure of that.
Q: What were your impressions of Julian Edelman’s effort yesterday, having the kind of game he had with the injuries he’s dealing with and the punishment he’s taking on the field?
BB: Yeah, Julian’s a tough kid, always has been. He showed that in college, showed it his rookie year here and all the way through his career. So, he fights for every yard, he’s a competitive blocker, he’s got excellent playing strength and plays bigger than what his size is because of his leverage, pad level and just overall physical and mental toughness. So, he’s done a great job for us, continues to do that and he’s one of the most competitive players I’ve coached.
Q: He’s often overlooked in the scope of great wide receivers around the league because of his play style, but I can’t think of another wide receiver who would have been able to do what he did yesterday.
BB: Yeah, Troy Brown.
Q: Given the shortened week, would you rather have a shortened playbook this week and do those plays well, or have more plays and not run them all as much in practice?
BB: Yeah, that really goes right to the heart of the matter, Mike [Petraglia]. That’s really the question that we’ll have to answer in the next 24-to-48 hours, and it’s a balance that you have to strike there. Hopefully, things line up that you want to do things in the game plan that you’ve been doing or are a part of your system. That’s really not – repping a play isn’t really an issue because you know how to do it, and hey, it wasn’t in last week’s game plan, but it’s something that you’re familiar with. So, when those things line up, that’s relatively easy. The hard part would be they do something that forces you to do things a little bit differently or maybe there’s an area that you want to try to attack, but it’s not part of your normal system. So, do you step outside the box a little bit and spend time to get that ready in a short week, or do you say it’s too much and we just won’t be able to execute it? Or, maybe you have three or four ideas like that and you pick out one or only two of them because you just run out of time and opportunity to prepare for them. So, that’s really the question and we’ll have to pull that together. When you do a normal game plan, you kind of chop it up into some sections on offense and defense: early downs, third-down, red area, two-minute. So, something could come up in any one of those, and you add it in and it’s not a big deal. When you’re getting ready for a game like this, you have to kind of put it all together at once or maybe two sections, but it’s not the normal time frame that you have. And then if you start piling on, “Oh, well we’re going to do this in the red area, do this in two-minute, and do this on third down, do this on early downs,” and before you know it, the volume can accelerate pretty quickly. But, the Giants give you a lot of problems and they’re very well-coached and they have an excellent schematic plan, and there are some things they do you just have to be able to handle. So, you’ve got to try to figure out how to work all that in, but it’s definitely a challenge.
Q: Does the preseason help?
BB: Sure. I think there’s a familiarity with the players. Yeah, schematically not really, but you can see some similarities. You know, go back to ’18 and see some things that were in place there, but some of that’s a little outdated. Some of it I think is relevant, but we’ll just – certainly the personnel familiarity though, even though a lot of the starters didn’t play in the preseason game. You know, we saw them through the first three preseason games and we knew we were playing them on a short week here in the sixth game of the season, so we took a little extra time to watch their development of the team through preseason.
Q: Tom Brady said that this defense is playing as well as any defense he’s ever played with. Is that a fair assessment from Tom?
BB: Yeah, I’m not going to argue with Tom on that one. If that’s his opinion, I wouldn’t argue with him on that. If that’s the way he feels, then great.
Q: How do you feel about it?
BB: Yeah, I’m not really thinking about ranking anything. I don’t really care about some defense five years ago, 10 years ago or 15 years ago. I mean, I don’t think any of that’s very relevant. What’s relevant to me is getting ready for the Giants and correcting the things that happened in the Washington game that we need to fix, both on a coaching level and a playing level, game planning, and getting ready to play the Giants. That’s really what I’m worried about, not some defense from 10 years ago. I mean, I don’t really care about that right now to be honest with you.
Q: What are your impressions of Eli Manning’s career overall?
BB: He’s had a great career and certainly had great games against us. So, he’s a class kid. I’ve known Eli; I have a lot of respect for him. Having coached at the Giants for over a decade, I know some of the things that go with being the quarterback in that franchise. I certainly saw it during my time there, and I think he’s handled a lot of things both on and off the field very professionally. The high character person that he is and with class and professionalism, but at the same time with a high level of competitiveness and a high level of performance. So, I have a ton of respect for Eli and all that he’s done. I wish he’d done a little bit less in a couple games against us, but I have a lot of respect for Eli.
Q: Do you think he belongs in the Hall of Fame someday?
BB: I’m sure he’s going to be part of that conversation, absolutely.