PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
October 11, 2023
BB: Vegas, this is a team we certainly have a good level of familiarity with – eight guys on the coaching staff, five scouts, nine players, whatever it is. A lot of guys that have been here that I've worked with, we've worked with. Josh [McDaniels] has done a good job here molding the team together here, great tradition, great franchise with the Raiders and that organization, going back to Al [Davis] and all the success that they had throughout their storied history. I'd say the Raiders have probably five, at least five, of the top players in the league at their position. The two specialists are really outstanding – [Daniel] Carlson, maybe behind [Justin] Tucker, but that's about it. This guy's a tremendous kicker and [AJ] Cole, a tremendous punter, so two specialists that are as good as anybody we'll see. [Maxx] Crosby, a very, very disruptive guy, causes a lot of problems in the running game and the passing game, led the league in TFLs last year, just a very disruptive guy. Offensively, [Davante] Adams is certainly a Hall of Fame receiver. He's ready for it. This guy's had tremendous production – touchdowns, receiving yards, catches, you name it. [Josh] Jacobs, 2,000 yards from scrimmage last year, leads the league in receiving this year with running backs. So, he's had a little more production in the passing game this year than in the running game, but he's been very productive, hard guy to handle. Then, they have a lot of good complementary players to go with them, but those five guys are really dynamic players that show up in every game and you have to have a way to deal with them. Josh has done a good job with the offense. Jimmy [Garoppolo], as usual, has a high completion percentage, can make all the throws. Defensively, they're strong against the run, haven't given up very many big plays. They got the turnovers last week against Green Bay, and that was a big difference for them. Obviously, ball security will be a high priority for us. It always is, but needs to be this week as well. Crosby caused a lot of those problems, but they have, obviously, [Robert] Spillane, [Marcus] Peters, other guys back there are ball-hawking, too. Kicking game, field position-wise, they're as good as anybody we'll see. So, obviously, in a dome, good conditions, it'll be a big challenge for us to try and neutralize the field position that they usually have a good advantage in. So, that's where we're at.
Q: Will Mac Jones be starting on Sunday?
BB: Yeah, we're not making any changes.
Q: What were you able to accomplish yesterday?
BB: Worked on some of the things that we think will help us in the game, help us play better football.
Q: Was that more of a walk-through or more of a standard practice?
BB: Yeah, we practiced.
Q: You used the phrase 'starting over' the last time we spoke with you. What has that specifically entailed the last two days?
BB: Yeah, what I just said – fundamentals, things that will help us play better.
Q: Is that just on the players? Is that coaching staff starting over?
BB: Yeah, all of us. We're looking at everything.
Q: Is there self-reflection in that, too? What can the coaching staff and everyone do better?
Q: What have you seen from Jakobi Meyers, and after the success he had here, what went into the decision to not bring him back?
BB: Well, he was a free agent and signed to the Raiders. There's a lot of guys who leave and change teams in free agency. But, yeah, Jakobi looks like he looked here.
Q: Does starting over offensively, would that entail any sort of streamlining of what you guys do offensively, just cutting down on maybe some of the volume that you guys have?
BB: It could.
Q: How important will the running game be as you guys start fresh here?
BB: Yeah, well, everything's important. These guys have one of the best run defenses in the league, but we'll see how it goes.
Q: Does starting over entail changing any sort of gameday responsibilities for the coaching staff?
BB: As I've said, we're working on fundamentals and things that will help us play better. That encompasses anything that falls into that category.
Q: Kind of an unrelated note, Ernie Adams obviously no longer here, Matt Patricia not here, who are you kind of relying on, maybe upstairs in the coaching booth, to help you with video and decision making and things like that?
BB: Yeah, we have a good staff. We're well staffed. We have a number of people that have different game day assignments.
Q: Do you feel like you still have good guidance from up in the coaching box?
BB: Yeah. Look, we all need to do a better job. Coaching staff, the head coach, players, all of us. We're all included in that.
Q: Is there anything specifically you need to tell your guys to keep their confidence up? Because, you haven't started 1-4 in a very long time.
BB: Right now, we're focused on doing what we need to do to play better, coach better and beat Las Vegas. That's what we're focused on.
Q: You had J.C. Jackson back on the field for his first game back. What did you think on Sunday and what's it like having him back?
BB: It's good to have all the players that are out there, out there. It's one week, we've got a long way to go, a lot of things to work on, but J.C. is working hard. He's getting back into the way we do things. It's a little bit different than the way they did them at the Chargers. It's a process, but he's working hard at it. I'm glad we have him and he's doing well.
Q: Bill, how important is it for the locker room to be on board with whatever decision you make at quarterback? Does that even factor in for you?
BB: I think we all need to just focus on what each of us need to do. So, that's what I expect everyone will do. That's what we all need to do.
Q: Matthew Judon is still on the roster right now. How much of that is tied to, you know, you have some PUP and IR windows that are still open and that you are leaving him on there knowing that he might end up on IR with people coming back?
BB: Yeah, it's a possibility.
Q: What has led to some of the issues you guys have had running the ball?
BB: Every play is different. We just need to be more consistent.
Q: Bill, one of your assistants mentioned yesterday that Jakobi separates really well at the top of his routes. Are you seeing enough of that from your current receivers?
BB: We could be better in every area.
Q: I asked Bill O'Brien this yesterday, but you don't think that Mac could maybe benefit from a mental break or something after the last two weeks?
BB: Look, it's a part of the game. You play every week.
Q: When it comes to young players and getting them time, how do you weigh the risk of the mistakes that young players are warranted to make than actually getting them those live reps and kind of just working through it?
BB: Every situation is different. I just try to do what's always best for the team. It's as simple as that.
Q: I believe that Mac has been the most pressured quarterback in the league this year. Understanding that everything could be better, do you feel any responsibility, as a coaching staff, for that statistic?
BB: Yeah, I'm not sure about that stat. There are times we are under pressure, and there are times we're not under pressure.
Q: Is there anything you can point to with JuJu [Smith-Schuster] and his lack of production here compared to what he's done in the past?
BB: We haven't been very productive offensively, period. I'd be hard pressed to single out one guy.
Q: Bill, is there any reason why Jakobi Myers wasn't more of a priority in free agency?
BB: He was a priority. We talked to him.
Q: Do you feel like you were ever close?
BB: Relatively, yeah. But free agency is free agency.