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Transcript: Bill Belichick Conference Call 12/22

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media on Tuesday, December 22, 2020.

Q: Jake Bailey was just voted to his first Pro Bowl. What are your thoughts on the type of season he's had?

BB: Yeah, he's had an outstanding season. He does a great job of really everything – kickoffs, holding, been part of Nick's [Folk] consistency, as well – and of course his punting. He's got the big leg and the ability to change field position, but also situational punting, like he had in the Miami game. The kickoff, the punt – I mean, he does a lot of little things that are really, really important to the success of our special teams units and he's had an outstanding year. The punting is obvious, but there's a lot of other little things too that he does a great job of.

Q: He's the first Patriots punter to be voted to the Pro Bowl since Rich Camarillo in 1983. What do you remember about Camarillo from his career, which continued into the 90s with some other teams after he left the Patriots?

BB: Yeah, big leg. He could boom it. I don't remember facing him a lot, I mean other than again, just the recollection of the power that he had kicking the ball.

Q: Matthew Slater was elected to the Pro Bowl for the ninth time. Steve Tasker had been a seven time Pro Bowler, so Matthew has the record for most Pro Bowls for a special teamer. As you've watched Matthew grow since 2008, what are your thoughts on his place in the game as a special teamer and his impact in the bigger picture in the NFL?

BB: It's got to be at the top. I can't think of anybody that's done more than he has and that's done it over a very consistent period of time at an extremely high level, in addition to all the other qualities that he brings off the field – leadership, just doing the right thing, just the person and the human being that he is. But, his competitiveness on the field, he's a great teammate – just outstanding in all areas. It would be hard for me to imagine anybody going ahead of him. We've had some great players here and I've had some great players through my career – in Cleveland, going back to the Giants – but, he's certainly the very best that I've ever been around and that we've had to play against, as well. His consistency is outstanding, but he factors in on a lot of plays.

Q: Carl Davis's clock to come off of IR started last week. Is that clock going to keep going, or is he maybe going to get shut down based on something that happened after he came back?

BB: Once the clock starts, they have a three-week window. So, when that expires, then it will have expired. Until then, it will keep running.

Q: What did you think of Sony Michel's performance on Sunday and how encouraged are you by the depth at that position going forward?

BB: Yeah, we've had good depth at that position, and as we all know, that depth can change in a hurry, like it did in 2018. But, yeah, Sony did a nice job, ran well, made some good reads, good cuts and showed good power, was productive. It was great to have him back. He really did a solid job with the ball in his hands. 

Q: After missing the entire season last year due to blood clots, what does David Andrews' performance on the field this season say about him?

BB: Yeah, David's one of our most dedicated and again unselfish players. He adds a lot to our team, both on and off the field – again, his consistency, his toughness. Last year, one of the most impressive things about last year was how he really never missed anything. He was in every meeting, he was at every practice, at the games – obviously, the home games because he couldn't travel – but was really a part of everything we did and added a lot even though he was unable to play. So, I think that really speaks to his unselfishness and commitment to the team. He does an awesome job.

Q: Isaiah Wynn has been eligible to come back from IR since last week. Do you expect him to return at any point over these final two weeks?

BB: Yeah, well, we will just take it day-by-day here and see how it goes. He works hard every day. He's definitely making progress and we'll just have to – last weekend, after the guys got a couple days off over the weekend after working through the week, then we'll come back in and reevaluate them on the beginning of the following week. So, that would be now, and we'll see how that goes.

Q: What have you seen from J.C. Jackson in terms of his overall growth as a defensive back and a coverage player?

BB: Well, J.C.'s a very instinctive player. He's got a good knack of being able to cover his man and still watch the ball. He gets some good breaks and makes some good plays on the ball. He does a great job of locating the ball when he turns around when his back's to the ball and turns around and can find it and locate it. He's got very, very good skills in that area. So, he's done a good job of improving every year, and I think he's still got a lot of good football in front of him.

Q: Looking ahead to Monday's game, since Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane got to Buffalo in 2017, what has stood out to you about their program and what they've put together there?

BB: Well, I'd say they've really gotten better every year. They've moved some players, they've kept some players and they've brought in plenty of guys, whether it be veterans like the safeties or [Stefon] Diggs, or whether it's been guys they've drafted, like [Josh] Allen and [Devin] Singletary and Gabriel [Davis] and [Tre'Davious] White and the rest of them. So, they've constructed a very good team through a combination of drafts, trades, signings, and it's fit together very nicely for them. They have good quality, good depth and they don't make very many mistakes. They're a smart team that plays hard and they don't do many things to hurt themselves. They force the opponents to go out there and execute well for 60 minutes in all three phases of the game. They've really put together a strong club.

Q: Did you have any background with Kevin Greene? He passed away yesterday at 58, and I didn't know if you had any connections with him through shared football history.

BB: Yeah, no. I mean, obviously, we saw a lot of him when I was at Cleveland, and some of it was in our backfield. Yeah, he was really a good, strong football player. He had a lot of power on the edge and that was impressive. He did a good job. It wasn't just the pass rush. I mean, he was a strong player that was hard to block on the end of the line. I'm sorry to hear about his passing. I wasn't aware of that.

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