HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
January 4, 2018
Q: Devin McCourty spoke about the job Brian Flores has done as the defensive red zone coordinator. How would you assess his performance in that role?
BB: Yeah, Brian does a good job, works hard, has a lot of experience. He does a good job of analyzing what we do, what our opponents do, trying to put it all together. He helps Matt [Patricia] and the defensive staff. I think that's kind of the way it is on most staffs. The coordinator is obviously in charge, and then each person on the staff has a different area that they kind of do a little extra research in – red area, goal line, short-yardage, third down, big plays, however you want to break it up.
Q: Is the red area coordinator usually the same as the goal line coordinator?
BB: No, I mean, it could be. But no, not necessarily. A lot of the time the goal line and short-yardage is the offensive or defensive line coach. But, it could be however you want to do it. It's just hard as a coordinator. You look at everything. You put everything together, but say, like right now, to go back through a whole season, let's say, of the Jets and look at all their short-yardage plays or all their red-area plays – that's pretty time consuming – all of their third-down plays, all of their big plays, all of their negative plays. Again, however you want to break it down. One of the other people on the staff kind of breaks that up and then they come back to you and say, 'OK, well I've looked at 60-70 plays of X, red area, 15-yard gains. Here's the theme. Here's what we got to do,' or 'Here's what they've had trouble with,' something like that. The same thing on the offensive side of the ball. It's just kind of a way of getting more detail on it. Early in the year maybe it's going back and looking at all of last year's stuff if you haven't done that in the offseason; something like that.
Q: How important is it to maintain poise and composure on defense once a team reaches the red zone? Does it require a certain mindset to hold firm there?
BB: Yeah, look, the game changes on every play, so field position, down and distance – those all change. Once you get into the red area it's a different game. It's a different emphasis. There's different plays. We have different defenses. The way you defend the field is different because it's different. It's changing your mindset to what's required down there, whichever side of the ball you're on – offense or defense – it doesn't matter. It's just things change. They're different down there. You've got to treat them differently.
Q: How do you feel this group has handled those situations in the red area?
BB: Well, I mean, look, it's a long year. We've had our moments where we've done things well. We've had other moments where we could've been better. Again, it doesn't really matter. It's what it's going to be the next time we have to do it. We'll always try to learn from the good things or the bad things to reinforce them or correct them and be ready for what comes up next, or sometimes the situations sort of grey into each other, so maybe this is one situation that we actually experience but if it were a little different it would be what the differences would be. We talk about that, too; the hypotheticals of say the ball being on the 8-yard line. If it was on the 4-yard line or if it was on the 2-yard line, maybe there's something that needs to be modified somewhat.
Q: Can you put into context what Nick Saban has accomplished as he goes for his sixth national title next week?
BB: Yeah, I mean, I think I'm pretty well on the record on what I think of Nick and how much respect I have for him and his greatness as a coach; head coach, position coach, coordinator and his expertise in all areas of the game. I've never coached in college so it really is probably not – I'm not really qualified to speak specifically about the college part of it. But, I mean, Nick's in a class by himself and I think that's pretty well [documented]. I've talked about that a lot.
Q: Has anything about the college game ever intrigued you?
BB: Yeah, sure. I'm just not a part of it; that's all.
Q: Will you spend more time with the medical staff next week trying to assess if some guys that are banged up are able to return now the season is in win-or-go-home mode?
BB: Well, we do it weekly. When you only have 16 games they are all big. We try to stay on top of that on a weekly basis. But sure, it's a part of it now.
Q: Do you talk to some of the players who don't have playoff experience about the added pressure now that you're in the postseason?
BB: Well, I don't know about pressure. It's a one-game season, so I don't know how much more pressure you can get than that. We're all living in it. Yeah, I mean, I talk to the team about the situation that we're in, what we expect going forward, what to expect, how to approach it. It's different. There's no other game on the schedule. It's a one-game season. It's not like that during the rest of the season. We're in a different season now. We've definitely talked about that, but it really applies to everybody. You can talk about players that have or haven't. I don't think that really means anything. It's more about how we individually and collectively perform and how we prepare to perform. We all need to do a good job of that regardless of whether we have or haven't experienced any of this before. I don't think it really matters.
Q: Is there anything you can take away from watching the playoff matchups live this weekend?
BB: Well, I mean, we watch some TV tape. Some; more coach's tape, but the actual real time that the TV covers it in is sometimes pretty relevant, situationally. Yeah, overall, I mean, TV scouting is limited. I wouldn't say it's zero. It certainly gives you the flow of the game and you don't get the flow of the game on the coaches copy, especially if its broken up to offense, defense, special teams, which is usually the way you watch it. Sometimes you watch just continuous plays, but usually, particularly at the beginning part of the week when you're trying to learn as much about the team as you can, it's easier to compartmentalize it and just look at certain sections, whether it's offense, defense or maybe it's first and second down, third down, red area, two minute and try to separate those out so you can get a little clearer picture of what they do in those situations. So, sometimes if you just watch it continuously – I don't want to say it runs together – but it can and you end up looking at things that, 'Well, yeah, they did this but it was because of the situation. It's not what they normally do. The situation kind of overrode it.' But, watching the game live certainly gives you the flow of the game. Again, there's some real time things that happen in a game that override, I'd say, the X's and O's part of it.
Q: When you send a scout to one of these playoff games...
BB: Well, every team in the league sends scouts to every game of the next team that they play.
Q: What do you gain out of that?
BB: There are a lot of things that the scouts look for. They have a checklist of probably – I don't know – 100 things. Some have application. Some they can say, 'Well, it didn't come up in the game or you couldn't evaluate it. It didn't happen.' All of the things that they could see that would be helpful to any of the three coordinators, any operational things, any things that might be helpful to me. Again, there's a long checklist of things that they look for. The game itself can get broken down in a lot more detail by running plays back and forth and all that, but the live view gives you some things in-between plays or where the camera isn't focused, whether that's the live game camera or the coaches camera isn't focused, sometimes you can see things that are relevant that the person at the live game can see and can show you.
Q: How much does a day like today show the accountability of your team given the weather conditions?
BB: I don't know. Every day is a work day.
Q: Is there a bigger emphasis given the tough conditions outside?
Q: How much thought did you give to practicing outside today before inside the practice bubble? When did you make that decision to change?
BB: When I felt like that was the best thing for us to do today.
Q: Do you like practicing outside in conditions like this? Is it good for your team?
BB: Well, I like to prepare our team for the game the best that we can. So, there are a lot of things that go into consideration on that. We take them all in and make the decision that's the best for our football team. That's what I try to do.
Q: How much pride do you take in developing young coaches here?
BB: Well, I take the most pride in winning. The things that we do to help us win, the people that help us win and their contributions – those are all of the things that are important. Other things come with that. But, really this program is geared towards winning, so if it's about winning then it's important. There are other things that are subsidiaries of that, but that's the most important thing. That's what we're here for.
Q: How has Kenny Britt acclimated to what you've asked him to do?
BB: Good. He works hard. He's in tune to what he needs to do. I'd say on the daily you see him spending extra time working on things to try and do his job better. I totally respect that.
Q: Does the coaching staff ever get together to watch the opening weekend of the playoffs together?
BB: Yeah, we have. I wouldn't say it's a big prerequisite; no. Probably not very often, but yeah, we have at times.