HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
VIDEO PRESS CONFERENCE
January 7, 2022
On the evolution of film study over the course of his coaching career:
BB: That's kind of the reality of it. You can really get to everything, between the different angles, the TV copy, and so many different ways to look at plays. Before, when I came into the league, you had the film. You had one, kind of look at it. If you want to cut out plays, like short yardage, third down, or something like that, you could do that. It was a little bit of trouble, but you could do it. The concept now of looking at… you want to look at all the plays when [Mike] Gesicki and [Jaylen] Waddle are in the game together or whatever it is, this back and this receiver, these two receivers, this combination of linemen, whatever it happens to be, it's really limitless the way you can put all that together and how quickly it can come together, so it gives you a lot of options. You're right. You can get caught in the weeds with so many little details and all that. I think you've just got to be careful that you don't miss the big picture. It does provide for some very detailed analysis. If you want to watch a certain player against another certain other type of player, if you want to watch a certain tackle against two or three speed rushers on pass plays, you can pull those plays in ten seconds. That would've taken a month to do when I first came into the league. It is interesting how detailed that can be. With a larger staff, we kind of divide that up so we can get into it a little bit deeper look, a deeper dive into some of that. Again, the archives that you can keep are pretty amazing as well. If you want to look at all the reverses in the last 10 years, they'll be ready for you in a very short amount of time. It's a great resource and figuring out the best way to manage it, use it, is really the challenge.
On how he keeps himself accountable to get to work on time on a snow day:
BB: Like everybody else, you've just got to leave enough time, try to do the right steps, and do the right thing. I tried to come in early this morning. It took a half hour to go four miles on Route 3, so you never know. It's always interesting traveling in the snow, but it's part of New England, so you must just embrace it.
On any specific traits that stick out to him about this year's Patriots team:
BB: The team has a good work ethic and they've been competitive. We've, unfortunately, started a lot of games slowly. Some, we've started well. Others, we've started slowly. We've fallen behind. For the most part, we've put ourselves to be competitive and have a chance to win at the end of the game. That's a good thing. The bad thing is to start as slowly as we have at times, but I'd say, from a competitive standpoint, we've answered the bell in every round. It hasn't always been good, but it's always been competitive. It's the same with coaching. We've had our moments where we've felt good about the coaching. There've been moments where it's hard to feel good about it, but through it all, keep persevering, keep grinding, and keep getting better. We have improved a lot. We're a much better team than we were at other points in the season. Even though I thought we had a good training camp, we didn't perform very well in the early part of the season in any area. A lot of that's improved. I think we're in a competitive position. We'll see what happens here going forward. Hopefully, we can play our best football in the coming weeks.
On if yards after catch are more important for running backs or wide receivers:
BB: That's a really interesting question and there are a lot of different ways to look at that. We've had discussions, especially on the scouting end of it, of how those yards are tallied and what they really mean. There are yards after catch. There are yards after contact, so I'd say yards after contact puts a little more ability on the runner to gain yards on his own. Right? Whereas yards after catch, you can be wide open and run for another 25 yards. That doesn't really have anything to do with your running ability. It's just an open field situation that you just are able to capitalize on. Now, there are some players that can gain yards because they're faster than everybody else, guys like Tyreek Hill or somebody like that that it's not contact. He's just fast and there is no contact. He just runs away from them. The bottom line is, whether your run the ball or throw the ball, I'd say for the most part, whatever the play is blocked for or whatever the play is thrown for, there's a certain gain that you have there, and then the ability of that player, whoever it is, to take whatever the play is blocked for or whatever the pass is thrown for and then add on to it is really the value of that player. That's really a value added thing; a guy that can take a five-yard pass and turn it into 12 yards, that's really seven yards that really belong to him. If you or I caught it, I would've been a five-yard gain, but this player was able to make more out of it, whether it's his size, his quickness, his running ability, his speed, whatever it happens to be. The same thing with running backs. You block the play and the runner gains four yards, that's when the contact comes and he's able to turn it into an eight-yard gain, then those four yards are really his. Which one's more important? Is it speed? Is it power? Is it quickness? It's some kind of combination of all those and the more yards a player can add on his own, then the more value he has when the ball is in his hands. Now, that is only half the question too, because the other half of it is, especially in the passing game, you've got to get the ball to him. He's got to get open. He's got to be a good route runner. He's got to catch the ball. A guy that can't get open and drops the ball, there are not many yards after the catch, unless you can hand it to him or get it to him in a way that you kind of work around those other, call them, deficiencies. It's a really interesting question. There are a lot of different ways to look at it. The backs are involved in the passing game have more opportunity for that. The backs that are just basically runners, they have to get their yards running the ball. Some of that is a function of how much space there is for them to work with on running plays. You can take all the great backs and run them all on plays where there's no hole and there's nowhere to run, they're not going to make any yards either. It's an interesting question. I'd say there's no real simple answer to it other than just trying to put some type of a value on what you feel like the player's ability is to create yards on his own. However they do it, it's a great attribute.
On where his consistent messaging stems from:
BB: That's a good question. I try to keep things concise. You have to get into details to get certain things done, but in terms of team messaging and all, I think if you don't get the big picture, then a lot of times, the details don't really matter. They get washed away. I thought my dad did a good job of that. I thought that Coach [Wayne] Hardin and Coach [George] Welsh did a good job of that at Navy when I observed them. Certainly, Coach [Bill] Parcells was outstanding at that. I think that's one of the best things. He has a lot of great qualities, but I would put that near the top of the list. Bill could really identify, in very simple terms, what needed to be done, whatever the situation was, whether it was team building, a practice, a play, a technique, whatever it was, he could identify it in a very simple way. If you did that, you were going to be alright. If you talk about 10 other things and you didn't do the one thing he was talking about right, you probably aren't going to have much. I'd say Bill is probably as good as anybody I've coached with at that and I learned a lot from him on that and tried to look at things in a way, from a big picture way, that he looked at them, not the exact same thing, but the process of identifying things and the picture, making sure you get the big things right, identifying those properly, and communicating those to your team, individual player, or whatever it'd happen to be. Make sure you get the things right that you have to get right and then go to the next layer there. I'd probably put Bill and my dad at the top of the list.
On D'Angelo Ross:
BB: D'Angelo is a really smart player. On scout team, he plays basically every position in the secondary. He has a really good understanding of what to do and techniques to do it in. He's gained a lot of confidence of the coaching staff and his teammates based on is work ethic, his consistency, and dependability on a daily basis. A lot of times, we get into a situation, maybe, where a player can't practice or only practices for part of the day and we need somebody to take some reps, but you don't want to move everybody around. You go from corner to nickel. You go from safety to corner. You just put one guy in and everybody else stays the same. When that player returns, then everybody stays in the same spot. He does a good job of that and, as I said, a really smart player, so game plan adjustments, even though he might not be active for the game, he knows them, he can execute them, and really stepped in and did a great job for us in the Buffalo game in the red area when J.C. [Jackson] was out for a few plays. He just came in and, like I said, stepped up and really took advantage of his opportunity, which we expected, but it's nice to see that. He's, again, got a good background and competency in our system and has developed a lot of confidence with his teammates and his coaches. That's why we trust him in there.
On Brandon Bolden:
BB: I love Brandon. He's been a really good player for us in a number of different roles. He's been super dependable and consistent. We were aware of this situation [Bolden's cancer diagnosis]. It's not something he talks about a lot. We all try to be supportive, but don't want to bug him about it because he doesn't really want to talk about it. It's a personal choice. We respect that. I think he has to balance, like we all do, but with his circumstances, he has to balance his own life, what's best for his life, and the decision to opt out last year, he always is a great teammate and does everything that he can to help the team, but there's a point where you have to take care of yourself too. He's got unusual and serious circumstances, like Marcus Cannon had. We've had other guys deal with things like that or similar to that. I think he does a great job balancing it. He's one of the most respected players on the team for, not only what he's don't on the field, but how he carries himself off the field, his upbeat personality, and energy that he brings to the team.
On Hunter Long:
BB: He's getting more and more opportunity here recently, so yeah. We have noticed him. We saw a little bit of him during preseason. He wasn't a big factor in the game, but I think he starting to factor in a little more in their offense. They've used him more. I'd say there's a little more variety in what he's doing, so he's, obviously, gained the trust of Coach [George] Godsey and the offensive staff. George coached the tight ends when he was here, so I know George has a real good appreciation and understanding for that position. I'm sure that they like the future of him. He's got a couple of pretty good players in front of him, with [Durham] Smyth and [Mike] Gesicki. It's probably not real easy to get playing time over there and they don't use a lot of 13-personnel like Cleveland did. They're more of a 11 team, but they've really become more of a 12 team. They probably use more 12-personnel than any other team in the league. Some of that's probably been their wide receiver injuries, but it's been productive for them and he's starting to work his way in there. I think this is a guy that, down the road, we're going to see a lot more playing time from him. Rookie year is tough for everybody, especially when you have good players ahead of you with Gesicki and Smyth in particular, but he's starting to work his way in there, which is impressive.