HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
September 10, 2018
Q: You were pleading your case with the officials late in the game, first on the 5-yard defensive holding call on Stephon Gilmore with about four minutes left and then with about 2:30 left after Deshaun Watson was tackled. What were those two issues about?
BB: Just really the mechanics of the way the play was handled.
Q: Was it clock-related or spot-related?
BB: No, I mean, it was just – there’s a set of mechanics between the officials and the coaches. Just felt like they – just didn’t think it was done properly, so I talked to them about it.
Q: How has James Develin worked on his role in the passing game as a receiver?
BB: Well, James is a very dependable player for us. Pretty much whatever we ask him to do, he does a good job of, whether it’s blocking, playing in the kicking game, catching the ball, fighting for extra yards in tough, short-yardage situations, whether that’s after a throw or a catch. You know, he’s just a dependable guy that works really hard at his job, does whatever he’s asked to do and does it as well as he can. That’s really important to have a lot of players on your team that do that, and he’s as solid and dependable in his role as probably anyone we have in a situation like that, a role like that.
Q: In talking to Deatrich Wise after the game, he was discussing the challenges of trying to get to the quarterback but also not over-pursue. What growth have you seen from him in that regard to know when it’s time to go and when it’s time to bend back and defend the B gap?
BB: Yeah, Deatrich’s done a really good job of that. He’s adjusted his pass-rush techniques and awareness and so forth over the last year, year-and-a-half. He’s done a real good job of that. So, yeah, there’s a fine line between just going all-out for an elusive player, whether it’s a quarterback or any player, really, and then him juking you and you missing in space and then it’s even more trouble for everybody else. So, just have to make good decisions on that and keep good leverage, and it just comes from a lot of practice and working against players that are like that, trying to understand what each of our individual strengths and weaknesses are and how they match up against other players and how to maximize those opportunities.
Q: Do you have any sense of the severity of Jeremy Hill’s injury?
BB: No, not yet.
Q: On the interception by Tyrann Mathieu, it that just one of those plays that Angelo Blackson makes a good play to get his hand in the passing lane? Or is there a different technique Shaq Mason should be using in that situation?
BB: I wouldn’t tell Shaq to do anything differently than what he did.
Q: So, it was just a good play by the defense?
BB: I mean, yeah. He got his hand on the ball.
Q: What did you see from Trent Brown, particularly in pass protection?
BB: Yeah, well again, when we talk about that, it’s really a team thing. It’s about pass protection, it’s about receivers getting open and the quarterback getting the ball out and all of it done on timing. So, if any of those things break down, then you don’t have good plays and so everything needs to be working together for it to be effective. So, I thought our line competed well against a very good defensive front. Our receivers and backs and tight ends did a good job of, for the most part, giving the quarterback somewhere to throw. Tom [Brady] did a good job of getting the ball to them. I mean, again, there’s a lot of things we need to work on – I’m not saying that – but we had a decent day throwing the ball. I mean, it was 275 yards or something like that. But, yeah, all three of our tackles, those were big assignments out there on [Jadeveon] Clowney, [J.J.] Watt and [Whitney] Mercilus, but it really comes down to the team operation in the passing game. It’s just not one guy.
Q: It looked like there were a few pretty effective cut blocks on edges by your guys. Is that strictly something you want to use when you want to get the ball out fast to get the defensive players hands down, or can that be almost a change-up of sorts for those linemen when they’re pass protecting?
BB: Yeah, well, I don’t think you want to hold the ball too long when you’re cut-blocking. These guys are very athletic, they’re quick, they get up off the ground in a hurry. So, if you get them down, that’s good for that period of time, but it’s not going to last too much longer than that. So, it has to be coordinated with the rest of the passing game and where the quarterback’s trying to go with the ball and what you’re trying to do.
Q: It seemed like the kickoff coverage unit struggled a bit more than usual. Would you also assess it that way?
BB: I think I said after the game, I thought there were a lot of areas that we did well in, a lot of areas that we need to work on and a lot of areas that we can improve. So, you can put almost everything into that same category – every unit, every group on the field. There are some things that are good and there are some things that were either inconsistent, or in some cases just not good, and we need to work on those, and that goes for everything.
Q: Would you say that there was any thought put into kicking the ball out of the end zone after the Texans had some big returns? Or were you just sticking to the plan of kicking it near the goal line to get them to return the ball?
BB: Well, first of all, I think when you have kickoff coverage, you can’t count on touchbacks, especially kicking into the wind that we had yesterday, which was significant coming from the lighthouse end. So, yeah, I mean, I don’t think that’s really the answer. I mean, if you can’t kick it out of the end zone, what are you going to do? You’re not going to kick it out of bounds.
Q: What did you see from Ja’Whaun Bentley yesterday and the way he handled his responsibilities? What did you see from him over the summer that led you to giving him a starting nod and asking him to play a significant amount of snaps?
BB: Well, all the players that play earn the playing time that they get. So, that’s up to them. Again, it’s the first game and, again, he did a lot of good things out there. There are some things that we talked about during the game, some things he’ll improve in. So, we just need to keep working as a team and individually, collectively, to try to get better in every area. We have a long way to go. It’s good to get the win yesterday. It was a good start, but we have a long way to go as a football team in all areas, from the coaching staff, to the players, every unit, all the way across the board. We’ll just keep grinding through it and try to make progress every day.
Q: From my limited time with him, it seems Bentley is a mature individual. He seems to have quickly understood that this is a job and a business. Is that something you’d agree with?
Q: Any sense of why that is?
BB: Well, I think that’s the player. I think you can go back to DeMatha High School and see that, Purdue – I mean, he started as a freshman at Purdue. This kid’s been productive at every program he’s been in almost as soon as he’s been in the program. I mean, I don’t see it as a big shock.
Q: Ryan Allen came in as a rookie free agent and won the job in 2013 and then this year beat out another punter in camp. What does that say about his mental toughness and the way he responds to competition that he not only won the job again but was also accessible to Corey Bojorquez in the process?
BB: Yeah, I think Ryan had a very mature attitude about the competitiveness of his position. I mean, I think, look – it’s not a secret in this league. There’s 31 other teams out there. Everybody on the field is in competition with players that are on our team and players on other teams. So, everybody knows there are other players out there, and so you’ve got to go out there and do the best that you can all the time. That’s the National Football League. It’s pro sports. It’s like that in every pro sport. But, I think Ryan has responded well to the competition and he’s a good teammate. He does whatever he’s asked to do. He handles a lot of situational punting. He has worked very hard on that. It might not show up in the individual stats, but it shows up in the team stats and it helps us win, and that’s very important. As a holder, other things that he does during the week that just part of the whole team environment and process are all positives, so he does a great job in all those areas. It’s definitely a credit to him, how consistent he is. I mean, every day he’s ready to go, he gives you great effort and helps the team in whatever way he can.