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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 1/1

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media on Friday, January 1, 2021.

Q: As you look back on the NFL product this season, have you noticed a decline in the quality of play on the field, given the lack of practice time and in-person meeting time?

BB: Again, I really don't study the whole league like you do. I mean, I'm more focused on the team that we're going to play and all that. So, I don't know. The more that the players, especially young players, can see things on the field in practice and execute them, the better they're going to be. There's just no substitute for that.

Q: The other day, you talked about players like J.J. Taylor and Myles Bryant who came a long way from the start of training camp to contribute to the team. In that same context, what did you see from Justin Herron over the course of the year?

BB: Yeah, well, Justin's done some good things and he's a good player to work with. Look forward to working with him. He still has work to do, like all rookies do, and things that he needs to improve on and get better at. But, I think he has, again, a lot of tools to work with and so hopefully those things will all fall into place in time.

Q: You claimed Jack Cichy on waivers and he ended up on the practice squad, and now you're a little banged up at linebacker. What was it about Jack that made you want to work with him?

BB: Well, Jack had a little experience, has played in the kicking game. We had a spot and wanted to take a look at him. Then there were some other transactions, and so he ended up on the practice squad. We've been able to look at him there.

Q: What have you liked about the production of your running game this year and how Sony Michel has bounced back the last couple weeks after the injury?

BB: Right, well, I think that there have been some positive steps in the running game. We've put a lot of emphasis on it. We've been able to develop some things that were more complementary in the running game with that additional time and emphasis on it. So, we'll see how all that goes moving forward. But, yeah, I think that's one of the things that we've done this year that's a little different or a little more involved than we've done in the past and we have some results to show for it.

Q: How do you feel the process went for your team and the NFL as a whole this season, having to change and adapt to the protocols in order to conduct some semblance of a normal season?

BB: Yeah, again, that's another bigger picture question that's really hard for me to evaluate. From our standpoint, the Patriots' standpoint, we tried to adapt to the situation the best that we could. As I said, Robert [Kraft] and the Kraft family spent a lot of money and resources on trying to provide a safe environment for us. I think they did a good job of that. I think the players did a good job of being responsible in their actions, both in and away from the facility, and the staff. There were some of those areas that we worked with that I thought we did with them, tried to do the best we could. It wasn't perfect, but we all tried to the best that we could. At least we were able to play. So, there was some disruption, but it wasn't prohibited by any means.

Q: Julian Edelman came back to practice a few weeks ago and hasn't been back out there since. Is there any insight you can share on him?

BB: Yeah, he's not going to play this year.

Q: Did he suffer a setback?

BB: I wouldn't say that, no. I would just say he wasn't ready to play and won't be ready to play.

Q: He's under contract for next year. Do you envision him being back with the team?

BB: Yeah, I think it's way too early to start talking about next year.

Q: Did he have any role with the team while he was on IR?

BB: Yeah, he was around regularly. But, he did a good job of using his experience to help other guys in areas that he was familiar with and could give them benefit from his experience and some guidance. Yeah, definitely.

Q: What has your experience with Adrian Phillips been like this year, a guy that's come in and played an awful lot for you? From the outside looking in, it feels like he's been here a lot longer than a year.

BB: Yeah, I agree with that. That's a good observation. Adrian's been great to work with. He's a very smart football player. He works hard, he's got good instincts, he's able to do a lot of different things for us, both defensively and in the kicking game. He's been a very valuable player this year. I'm glad we have him and I'm excited to continue to work with him. I think he will help us. He has helped us a lot this year and I think he will continue to. He's been really a pleasure to work with. He's very team-oriented, good communicator, again understands concepts and understands multiple positions and roles within the defense and within the special teams units. So, yeah, he's been great.

Q: Cam Newton spoke to the media yesterday and was pretty open about his experience this year. He indicated that he wished he had more time in the system and maybe the results this year for him could have been a little bit different. I know you just said it's a little early to start thinking about next year and we know what Cam's contract is, but based on what you learned about him from being with him this year, is he somebody you would consider working with in the future?

BB: Yeah, well, again, I agree with what Cam said. I wish we had more time together. I wish as a team we had more time with our team and with a lot of guys, especially new players. So, yeah, I agree with that. Yeah, I mean again at this point, just trying to do the best I can to help our team prepare for the Jets and finish the season on a good note. Again, these guys have really competed well in practice this week. They've tried to get ready, like they have all year long, and I want to do the best that I can to prepare our team to give us every opportunity to perform well on Sunday. So, all your questions about some other year and going forward and all that, we'll deal with that in due time. But, right now, I really want us to try to go out and perform well on Sunday, and that's really what everybody's trying to do here, which that's what I want and that's what I expect and that's what I respect about this group is the way they approach things like that.

Q: Terez Hall has been out there a lot this year getting elevated from the practice squad. What have you noticed about Terez and maybe the progress that he's made this season?

BB: Yeah, I think Terez has made steady progress and just had a solid two years with us. I don't think it just spiked in one week or one brief period of time. I think he's gotten better in so many areas since he came here. Jerod's [Mayo] done an excellent job with him, spent a lot of time with him. Terez has a lot of responsibility as a middle linebacker – running game, passing game, adjustments, line calls and so forth. So, he's improved in all those areas. He had an opportunity to play a little bit in the preseason last year, but this year, we didn't have those opportunities, but then they started. He had an opportunity during the season this year and I would say, to his credit, he really jumped in, took advantage of it, played well, was aggressive. He had some impact plays and impact hits that got everybody's attention and showed that he can compete on this level. So, I'm very glad to have him on the team. His improvements have been, as I said, steady but significant. And I think he still has room to get better, but it's a good story about a player who's put in day after day after day, after two years of hard consistent work, and it's paid off all the way through. He's gotten better on a consistent basis and got an opportunity to play and go in and show that he was ready to take advantage of that opportunity. It's a great lesson for all of us and I'm happy for Terez that he was able to get the opportunity and have a chance to show how much he has worked and improved.

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