PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
October 2, 2023
Q: When it comes to quarterbacks who aren't on the field out of the gate, the phrase 'preparing like a starter' gets thrown around a lot. What have you seen from Bailey [Zappe] in terms of his preparedness to get thrown into a game, mid-game?
BB: Yeah, Bailey works hard. He's in here early, stays late. He spends a lot of time looking at film, studying what we do, what our opponents do, and he prepares very well.
Q: Do you expect any of Tyquan Thornton, Jack Jones or Riley Reiff to return to practice this week?
BB: Yeah, we'll see how that goes. That's a possibility. As players come into that range of being eligible, then we ramp up the activity that they do to see how close they are and how well prepared they are. So, some of that will depend on how things went over the weekend and how things go Monday and Tuesday here before Wednesday's practice for players like that. So, we'll see how that goes. Maybe.
Q: When it comes to Mac's [Jones] decision making yesterday, obviously you preach, he preaches complementary football, making good decisions. What did you see from him? Was he trying to make plays that weren't there? How would you define his decision making yesterday.
BB: Well, I mean, everything gets highlighted by one or two plays, one way or another. In general, I think he makes pretty good decisions. He sees things well, but obviously, as a team, we can't win turning the ball over three times in a game, two for touchdowns. We've got to do a better job of that. That's everybody's responsibility. The quarterback's part of it, so is everybody else.
Q: You mentioned yesterday that your team is not what you showed. What do you feel your team is at this point? Has the schedule been challenging? Is that indicative of your record? Where do you think you're at, basically?
BB: What I said yesterday is I feel like we're better than what we played yesterday. I definitely believe that. That wasn't our best game. So, we're capable of more than that. We've got to work to do better than that.
Q: Going back to Bailey, is there a scenario where Bailey gets a more significant look for first-team reps in practice heading forward after this week?
BB: I doubt anything would change significantly. But, we'll talk about that. I don't know. We haven't gotten to that point yet.
Q: After the playoff loss to the Bills a couple of years ago, you said was that who we are, or was it just one bad night? Is it a similarly tough question after this game? Was that just a bad night or an accurate reflection of where you guys are?
BB: Well, I guess we'll find out going forward. So, that's really what will determine it, not anything that gets said or doesn't get said. Our performance will be what we are.
Q: On Matthew Judon and Christian Gonzalez, I assume there's not much of an update. Obviously, there's been some reports out there. Is there anything that you can add to their statuses or what they sustained yesterday?
BB: No. We generally follow the same protocol every week. There's really nothing particularly different here. If a player gets injured during the game, especially when we're on the road, it's always better to get a little better, more definitive evaluation the next day, after the adrenaline has settled down and the hype of the game is off and we get a chance to look at whatever tests the medical people need to do, whether that's scans, MRIs, X-rays, post-evaluation – somewhere between 12-24 hours after the incident occurred – and just find out more. So, rather than speculate and guess and throw a bunch of stuff out there, we'll try to get a more definitive answer before we do anything or say anything. I'm not going to try to pass along a bunch of misinformation. That's why they do the extra, as I said, MRIs, scans, X-rays, whatever it happens to be. That's why those are done, is to get a more definitive answer, and we haven't done that yet.
Q: Just how important of a week for the team if there is something of substance there, given how important those guys are and how significant Judon is in the locker room in terms of bringing guys together after a difficult loss and with the potential for those injuries being substantial?
BB: Yeah, well, we'll control what we can control. If players are available, then they're available. If they're not, then they're not. I mean, that's a situation that's really beyond anybody else's control. It's whatever the particular player has and what he's dealing with and whatever he's cleared to do or what he isn't cleared to do and so forth. Those are all medical decisions, and once they're made, then it becomes a coaching or football decision.
Q: I was wondering what you thought about your defense's performance after the benefit of film review in a pretty tough situation last night?
BB: I thought we competed well defensively. Obviously, we had some breakdowns. Certainly wasn't perfect, but there were some positives in the red area and in the running game, minus [KaVontae] Turpin's long run. But, again, we just have to play collectively better complementary team football, and that includes everything – offense, defense, special teams – and that's what we're going to work to do.