PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
October 18, 2023
BB: Obviously, Bills, solid team here. Brandon [Beane] and Sean [McDermott] have done a really good job putting the team together, strong in every area. They replaced [Nyheim] Hines with a good returner. [Tyler] Bass, I know he missed a couple against the Giants, but he's been kicking really well. Offense is a lot of the same guys. [James] Cook's kind of emerged for them, but obviously Gabe [Davis], Stefon [Diggs], [Josh] Allen, those guys are all tough. Defensively, really good front, very disruptive up front. [Ed] Oliver, he's as good as anybody we'll play. A lot of turnovers on defense, so ball security will be a top priority for us this week.
Q: Another Tuesday practice, aside from playing better and coaching better, specifically, what was kind of the emphasis yesterday on the field?
BB: Yeah, we played on the West Coast, so we went out there on Tuesday instead of Monday.
Q: Fixes from Sunday or was this kind of little bit of a look ahead to the Bills?
BB: Pretty much our normal day after the game, but it was two days after the game.
Q: This is obviously not the way that you guys wanted to start your season. What's your message to your team as you try to keep them motivated and staying positive to try to change the narrative of your season with back-to-back division opponents?
BB: Yeah, get ready to play Buffalo.
Q: Calvin Anderson, how close is he back strength-wise to where he was in the spring before his illness?
BB: Pretty close.
Q: Has he made it back to where he was?
BB: I mean, the in-season numbers are different from the offseason numbers for everybody, but yeah, I'd say so.
Q: For Riley [Reiff], was his setback last week from what he was coming back from or was that a separate thing that held him out this past week?
BB: Was what a setback?
Q: So, he had played two weeks ago and looked pretty good, and then didn't play this last week, so I didn't know if he had a setback from what had been coming back from.
BB: No, it was a different injury.
Q: On Kayshon Boutte, just what have you seen from him this year and is he kind of getting closer to maybe being able to play on some of these Sundays since he hasn't been in since the first week?
BB: Yeah, we'll see.
Q: On Monday, you said that it was too early to talk about the next game, but is Malik [Cunningham] going to be Mac's [Jones] backup on Sunday?
BB: We'll work our way through the roster situation as we go through the week. We're not going to talk about how we're going to play the game.
Q: What can Conor McDermott bring to the team?
BB: Yeah, Conor was with us in training camp, and then we did an injury settlement with him. So, it's good to have him back.
Q: As the trade deadline approaches, will your philosophy change based on your record?
BB: Right now, I'm just thinking about Buffalo.
Q: You pointed out all the strengths of the Buffalo offense. What about their defense stands out to you?
BB: Yeah, good, lead the lead in turnovers, best pass rush in the league, probably most disruptive defensive lineman in the league – or certainly one of them, we haven't seen them all, but put Oliver up there. It's not just him, it's [Greg] Rousseau, [A.J.] Epenesa, [Leonard] Floyd, they've got a whole bunch of them.
Q: Have you noticed a difference in Sean's play calling defensively compared to Leslie Frazier?
BB: It's the same defense. They run the same defense. How Sean calls it from game-to-game, play caller, it was his to start with. It still is. He's just calling it.
Q: With Malik, would you feel comfortable playing him close to a full complement of reps, if it came to that, at quarterback?
BB: I mean, look, he's a young player, so he's improving. We'll see how it goes.
Q: But, if he was the number two and something happened early in the game, you'd be okay with him coming in?
BB: If he was the number two, that's what it would be.
Q: Aside from – you mentioned Sean and Brandon kind of building back their program the last six, seven years, however long it's been – aside from Josh Allen's unprecedented development, from your study of them, how have they built that program back from last in the division to now winning it?
BB: Well, I mean, you're talking about a period of years here, but right now, they're really a well-balanced team. They have a good kicker, a good returner, couple good special teams players – [Siran] Neal, [Tyler] Matakevich, disruptive front, turn the ball over on defense. And, they have a lot of weapons on offense, starting with [Stefon] Diggs, but other receivers, drafted a tight end, running back. I mean, they brought basically the same team back two years in a row. They haven't made a lot of changes in the last two years. Most of those players have returned. Not all, but most.
Q: Bill, I asked Bill O'Brien yesterday about quarterback reps, obviously it seems like there is a limited number in practice. He said there is things after practice maybe that you can get a look at some guys. How important are the real practice reps to get a look at someone like Will [Grier] who is relatively new and still developing here?
BB: Yeah, well, there is never enough reps for the quarterback. One quarterback takes all the reps and that's still sometimes not enough for him. He could go longer. It's just, you have to manage the rest of the team. When you start splitting that up with other players, then there's not enough reps for them either. Quarterback is a position that can – assuming that the quarterback is healthy – they can probably take more reps than any other player on the team and a plethora of reps. It's just a question of how many the rest of your team can take. So, that's the way it always is. I don't think there's any change.
Q: Is it realistic then to be able to say 'Hey, we'll be able to know what Will Grier is and can be in our offense' in the near future?
BB: Yeah, look, I don't know. We do the best we can to evaluate all the players that we have. That's all I can tell you.
Q: Jack Jones was back out there yesterday. What does he bring to the team?
BB: We'll see. We didn't really do anything yesterday, so we'll see.
Q: Coach what are the keys to picking up line games along the offensive line?
BB: There's a number of them. Awareness would be one, stopping penetration is two, not letting somebody get in between two linemen, really. As long as they are in front of you, they're in front of you, once they're in between you then you get picked and there's some grab games and things like that going on in there. So, there is definitely some awareness on that. But, good technique, good fundamental and all the linemen working together in terms of the depth of their set and the way that they punch. So, that way there's a wall, not an imbalance of one guy up, one guy back, one guy up, one guy back. That creates gaps in the protection. No different than on defense. Once you create gaps in the defense then there's running lanes. Once you put everyone on the same level then there's generally less space to run, it's just a wall. So, same thing that we're trying to build on offense.
Q: I know we asked you a lot about Josh Uche last year with his traditional statistics jump. Have you seen a big jump, or any jump, from Josh from year three to now here in year four?
BB: Yeah, I think Josh looks good. He's been productive. He's been out there. I think he's playing kind of at the same level as he did last year.
Q: Bill, 1-5 is never a place that you've lived as a head coach. I am just wondering if there is a different way that you speak with your players when you're in this situation compared to where you've been in past years?
BB: Yeah, we're just focused on Buffalo.