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Transcript: Bill Belichick Conference Call 11/30

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media on Monday, November 30, 2020.

Q: After reviewing the game, what did you see on Donte Moncrief's 53-yard kickoff return that helped create that return?

BB: I'd say it went about the way we worked on it. We had good double-teams. Jak [Jakob Johnson] had a block that the defender was kind of reaching out and trying to make the tackle on Moncrief and he showed strong running and ran through it. [We] did a good job of getting a hat on a hat and forcing an arm tackle or forcing a tackle in space, and Donte did a nice job of running and we finished our blocks and got good field position out of it. 

Q: On your challenge in the fourth quarter, are you looking at the feet on that or whether the possession was maintained throughout the catch?

BB: Yeah, obviously, it was a bad challenge.

Q: After watching the film, how important was Adam Butler's pressure in helping your secondary out with their coverage?

BB: Yeah, we got good inside pressure at times. We were able to create some, I would say, advantageous rush situations. I thought we rushed competitively. When we were trying to play everything, obviously that slows down the pass rush, but Adam did a good job for us with the penetration where he was able to get some pressure on the quarterback but also he created some space so we could have other guys work off of him and create some pressure, as well. Yeah, he did a good job. It was a productive game for him. He really helped us. 

Q: Yesterday, Denver went into their game without any of their quarterbacks. Would the old single wing ever work in today's NFL for an offense if they had no quarterbacks?

BB: Well, essentially, that's what the wildcat is. The wildcat's just a version of the single wing. I think that's what, in terms of the running game, it gives you an extra blocker and it's kind of the advantage of that formation, which teams use from time-to-time these days. Whether it's single wing or wildcat, it's basically the same thing, the same idea. 

Q: On the illegal blindside block, how do you coach a young player or any player in that situation?

BB: Well, I think that the question was asked yesterday to the referee, to Bill Vinovich. I think the way he answered it is really – that's the answer to the question. I mean, it doesn't really matter what you think or what I think. We've got to play the game the way it's being called, and that's what we'll do. 

Q: We saw J.C. Jackson leave the game late with what appeared to be an injury. Is there an update on his status or condition?

BB: Yeah, well, you know we're in a little different situation this week here with the change in protocol and so forth. So, we'll evaluate everybody. Again, a lot of times it takes a day or two to get a good evaluation of where everybody is after the game, but we'll have the injury report on Wednesday based on the information that comes back the next couple days and then what their availability is on Wednesday. But, those questions are always really dependent on time, and with a little more time, you always have better answers to the questions. So, we'll see where we are on Wednesday. 

Q: You started Mike Onwenu and Jermaine Eluemunor at tackle yesterday, both of whom might have been more viewed as guards in the past based on their body shape. Is there something recently that has made you more willing to use shorter players or players without as much length at the tackle position?

BB: I don't know. I mean, a lot of people thought [Matt] Light wasn't long enough to play there, and he had a pretty good career at left tackle. To me, it's more about – the same thing about [Isaiah] Wynn. A lot of you guys talked about him not being long enough to play left tackle. I mean, I look at good players and what's important to me is how good the player is. I mean, obviously, there's prototypes and so forth, but there's guys that can play a position and there's guys that's can't. We've had some great players, like Kevin Faulk and Troy Brown and Matt Light, who may be undersized for their position or whatever, but if they're good football players, they're good football players. 

Q: Moncrief said yesterday that he hasn't returned many kicks since his rookie season. What led you to the decision that he was the best guy to handle that role?

BB: Well, we made a few changes last week. I mean, obviously, our return game hasn't been producing much the first 10 weeks of the season. So, we did some things differently yesterday and the players did a good job and we had better results. So, that was one of the changes that we made. 

Q: What adjustments do you have to make with the new protocols and shutting the facility down today and tomorrow? How much of an adjustment is it and what's it like for you guys to go through this process?

BB: Well, we've been through it before, so a lot of the things that we're doing here are what we've done at some other point during the year in some shape or form. There's some other things that are – some other less noticeable things maybe to people outside the organization, but internally, there's some other adjustments that we've had to make, as well. But, I mean, look, that's where we are this year. There's going to be things we've done differently all year, and I'm sure there will be more somewhere along the way. So, whatever they are, they are. We'll work it out. But, the virtual meetings and some little things we have to work through logistically internally with the players, travel – there's a number of different things. Some affect you today, some affect you when you travel, some affect you on game day, some will affect a number of people in the facility, etcetera. So, whatever they are, they are. We'll take them as they come. 

Q: Have you had your practice squad quarterback, Jake Dolegala, separate from the other three quarterbacks to avoid a situation like the Broncos had?

BB: Yeah, well, I mean, that all sounds good. I don't know how you teach two different rooms of players that play the same position. Look, we separate people as much as we can anyway. There's a certain element of players that play the same position being together. I mean, I think that's unavoidable to a certain degree. Could you set it up differently? I guess you probably could. I'm sure there's a lot of different ways to do it. We'll continue to do what we feel like is best and safe. Obviously, if we didn't do anything at all, we'd be safe, but I don't think you can really practice and play very well doing it that way. So, at some point, you've got to meet, prepare and play. I'm sure if we all just sat around in a bubble, then maybe nobody would get anything, but I can't imagine we'd be a very good football team. So, just try to strike the best balance we can to prepare, practice and play, so that's what we'll continue to do.

Q: Yesterday, you mentioned Ja'Whaun Bentley scraping on that goal line stand at the end of the second quarter. When you watch the play again, did anything else on that particular play stand out to you that led to the good result for you guys?

BB: Yeah, we had good penetration inside. Adam had some penetration that might have forced the ball over there, and LG [Lawrence Guy] had a good charge there. I think [Kenyan] Drake went where he had to go – I think that's where the spaces was. It was really a good, strong tackle by Ja'Whaun that kept him out. I think we've all seen those plays where the back's able to get hit on the half yard line or whatever and get into the end zone. That was one of those yesterday where he got hit and he didn't get in. But, there was one later in the game, a similar play that they scored on, where he had contact in there around the 1, maybe the half-yard line, and the back punches it in. I think really a lot of that play just came down to the tackle, the contact and the tackle, and honestly the play before where John [Simon] and Adam Butler were able to keep [KeeSean] Johnson from getting into the end zone. His knee went down just short of the goal line. After they'd ruled it a touchdown, they decided on the review that he was just short. So, again, it's just a couple of inches there, but you fight for every yard, every foot, every inch. In this case, it came out in our favor.

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