HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
August 9, 2019
Q: How do you view Jarrett Stidham's play last night as a representation of his overall development?
BB: I think there were several plays that dawned all of the categories really. Quick throws where the read was clear and the receiver was open and then maybe a secondary read, and then there were a couple of times where he scrambled and extended the play. He ran a couple times and completed a pass to – I think it might have been the tight end, [Andrew] Beck or [Ryan] Izzo – but anyway, there was a little bit of everything there. The most important thing for the quarterback is not to turn the ball over, make good decisions, and throw accurately, so he did all of those at times.
Q: Did Ja'Whaun Bentley's time around the team last year help his progression for this year, despite his injury?
BB: Yeah, of course. I think it was good for any player that was around the team. I think anyone would benefit for that. Even though they weren't a full participant, there were things that they could do, and hopefully those were helpful. Ja'Whaun's a very hard-working kid and he does spend a lot of extra time. He has a lot of other responsibilities at that position, from pass rushing to pass coverage, playing the run, defending play-action passes and so forth. He's got good instincts and he's been a productive player in the opportunities that he gets the chance. It's one preseason game, so we'll keep going and see how it goes.
Q: How did you feel about Joe Judge's influence in the receiver room showed in their performance last night?
BB: Joe does a good job. Joe has a lot of responsibilities, and he does them very well. There are things for all of us on the coaching staff that we need to work on, and we'll just keep working on them. That's what preseason games are for, and training camp and so forth. We'll just keep working individually and collectively as a staff to be more efficient and do a better job.
Q: Is Jerod Mayo calling the defensive plays, or is it a collective effort? How does it work at this juncture?
BB: We'll always do what we feel is best for the football team, Tom [Curran]. That's what we always do, so I don't see that really changing.
Q: Is he calling defensive plays?
BB: We're doing what's best for the football team.
Q: It seemed like players were jumping on loose balls quickly during and after plays. Since this is something you always emphasize, is it a good sign to see them executing this at such a high rate, so early in the preseason?
BB: Well, it's definitely something that we want to do. Hopefully we'll always do it. We'll see going forward, but yeah, it's something we want to do for sure.
Q: What was your feeling on the contact during the longer passes to Maurice Harris? Do you feel like you should have thrown a challenge flag? Do you feel that Maurice should have caught the passes anyway?
BB: Yeah, well, again, challenges definitely fall under the category of doing what's best for the football team. So, that's what we'll try to do, whether we challenge or don't challenge. Look, there's a lot of tight plays. The Lions are a good coverage team. They're well coached, they have a good secondary, and I think their corners cover well, so there are going to be some tight throws. We'll get as many of them as we can. Realistically, we're not going to get all of them, but we had some, and there were some we didn't get with both the tight ends and receivers.
Q: Is Braxton Berrios' route running ability, specifically on the fourth-down conversion, one of the ways he is improving?
BB: I think he's had that. I think his improvement has come from his training, understanding the offense, and timing work with the quarterbacks. Those are things that he didn't have as much of an opportunity to do last year, especially early in the season, in training camp, and then later on he was able to train more. But, he still wasn't able to work with the team, so this year he's been able to do all of those and there's no question that that's helped him, and helped our team.
Q: Did joint practices help you better prepare for Detroit, and will it do the same for Tennessee?
BB: Better prepared than what?
Q: As opposed to just flying out there and just playing without holding joint practices?
BB: Well, it's a different type of preparation. When both teams practice together, then both teams have an equal opportunity to practice against each other, get familiar with each other. We're running plays off cards, the other teams actually do what they do. There's also a familiarity with them as well as competing against them. If you don't do that, then both teams prepare separately without that type of preparation, competitive preparation, and then play the game. There's just two different ways of doing it. I don't know if one's worse. They're different and this is one of the only opportunities we'll ever have to do this because we don't do it during the season. So, we got a lot of good one-on-one work, we got a lot of good individual work and we got a lot of good team work for three days. It was really beneficial to do that against the Lions, but we won't be able to do that very frequently, so we'll certainly have to learn how to prepare a different way.
Q: What were your impressions of Jake Bailey last night?
BB: I think our specialists performed pretty well. There's always room for improvement, but in our return game and in the kick game and punting, I thought there were some good things. There were things that could have been a little bit better. Conditions were good, so that's good, but there will be other conditions that'll be a little more challenging. So, that's part of the process, just one part of the evaluation, but I think those guys – the punters and the kicker – they've worked hard, they have a number of different skills. Punting, holding – Jake did some kickoffs last night – we'll see how it goes, but I think it's definitely competitive.