PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
October 21, 2022
BB: Alright, good afternoon. We're plugging away here. I'm kind of glad we have a little bit of extra time here on the Bears. A team that we don't know very well, but we're getting to know pretty well. It's been helpful. We'll see how it goes here today and just keep stringing them together, get ready for Monday night.
Q: What did you see yesterday from Mac [Jones] at practice and were you encouraged?
BB: Yeah, it's good to have all of the players out there, that are out there. Some are doing more than others. We'll see how it goes.
Q: Since we haven't been able to talk to him, how eager is Mac to return to game action?
BB: I'm sure all of our players want to play. That's their job. That's what they're here for. Everybody wants to play.
Q: Has the decision been made about who's going to be the starting quarterback coming up?
BB: We're just taking it day-by-day.
Q: What has allowed Jahlani Tavai to kind of flourish and expand his role in your defense?
BB: Well, I think Jahlani [Tavai] has a few things going for him. One, he's a pretty smart kid and he's played both inside and outside in college, and then with Matt [Patricia] in Detroit. So, when we got him last year, he had a lot of familiarity with our system and a lot of techniques with things that we did and so forth. Just overall, he kind of has that skillset that he can play on the end of the line, play off the line, has some pass rush ability, plays on all four phases of the kicking game. He's a pretty versatile player and can plug into a lot of different spots which is helpful, because not everybody can do that or has to be able to do that. But, somebody has to be able to do it. He kind of fits that. He's got good size, runs pretty well, got good playing strength, and he's smart.
Q: Was he on your radar coming out of [University of] Hawaii?
BB: Yeah, I worked him out at UCLA. We spent a day together out there at UCLA. Matt [Patricia] drafted him in the, what, second round? Yeah, second round. We didn't really get a shot at him. But, we always get our man, not always, but usually. Sometimes, we get our man, the second time around.
Q: How about [Raleigh] Webb that you signed off the Baltimore practice squad? What did you see from him and how can he help you?
BB: Well, we'll see. One day of practice here, but we will see what he's ready to do, if anything this week. May potentially do some of the, you can't replace Cody Davis, but maybe off-set some of that. Depends on how it goes.
Q: How much was that week three game? (When the Patriots played Baltimore)
BB: Yeah, I think he's been active a couple games this year and then preseason obviously. So, he matched up on a couple of our guys.
Q: Bill, you said earlier this year that September is, in a way, an extension of the preseason. Do you feel that now that we're in October, that you're sort of in a place where you sort of have a better idea of what the team does best and you can sort of game plan accordingly?
BB: Yeah, no question. We know a lot more than we knew in September. Without a doubt.
Q: Coach, what have you seen from Kyle Dugger this year? It seems like he plays a bunch of different roles in your defense. What's allowed him to get to that point?
BB: Yeah, we're fortunate we have pretty good depth at our safeties. We've been able to utilize really all of those guys and they've all been productive for us. They all are versatile. A.P. [Adrian Phillips], Kyle [Dugger], Pep [Jabrill Peppers], and then of course Devin [McCourty]. They all can do multiple things. Kyle [Dugger] as we know is one of our most physical players. Runs well, tough, smart kid. He's been good in coverage. Has a lot of range. He gives us a lot of speed in the back end. That's always good to have. He's a pretty good tackler, but I mean Devin, A.P, Pep, they all have been good. It gives us a way to matchup, I'd say more on our terms, how we want to do it. The times we've played more safeties against receivers. The time's we've played more corners against receivers. We've been able to play some three-safety defenses against regular people, against bigger people. Even thirteen, some of those formations like Cleveland gave us. It's good to have that kind of flexibility. He's a big part of it.
Q: When we were walking up the stairs to practice yesterday, we heard the Monday Night Football theme. I'm curious, when you hear that, what comes to your mind?
BB: [Howard] Cosell, [Don] Meredith, [Frank] Gifford. Saw a lot of that. Monday night highlights, that was big. Honestly, that was before Boomer [Chris Berman] had his, whatever it was, wrap up or whatever. Yeah, before that, that was really the highlights. That was kind of your only chance to see what the highlights from the weekend were. It was always kind of a thing to be home Monday night by halftime. Which was like, the game started at nine, that seemed like that was like 10:30, 11 o'clock at night. Usually you waited up till halftime, watched the highlights and then went to bed. At least that was my routine, if you could make it that long. Great part of the development of the National Football League and football. Certainly, put a lot of excitement into Monday night, that probably wasn't there before.
Q: When you have a primetime game as opposed to obviously an early kickoff, the schedule is different, routine is different. I guess, how do you generally approach things with your team in terms of keeping them engaged, but at the same time, making sure you're consistent with the routine that you have week-to-week?
BB: We always try to work backwards. Whenever the game is, then we try to make everything as much the same as we can, from that point, backward. Especially the last two days, right? The day before the game and then two days before the game. Travel, there's always some variation, but generally that's what we try to do. We have a little bit of a four o'clock routine and then an eight o'clock, whatever that routine is. We generally do the same thing in most of those games. Again, travel could affect that, but in the, call it, the I don't know, six hours before the game or so, we try to make that the same every week, as much as we can. So, that part of it's routine. So, if there's something that's out of the routine, it's earlier and then when we get into the end of the week, everybody kind of knows how much time they have for what they need to do to be ready to go. Whether that's meetings or treatment, or getting warmed up, or so forth. Try to work backwards.
Q: Bill, you said last Friday that Mac had done considerably more that Thursday prior to the previous Thursday, did he do more yesterday than he had last Thursday?
BB: Yesterday was a Wednesday, in my world. He did more yesterday than he did the previous Wednesday. Yeah, that would be fair. Yeah. Today's actually Thursday.
Q: Bill, what stands out to you about DeMarcus Covington as a coach and what kind of growth have you seen from him since he got here in 2017?
BB: DeMarcus [Covington] does a really good job. I met him at Chattanooga and kind of got to know him there. Able to, actually, we hired him that spring after that, if I remember correctly, later in that spring. He's coached linebackers, coached defensive line, really understands the entire defense. I'm sure he could coach a lot of positions on defense. Young guy that's really smart, works hard. Has worked with, again, a lot of different types of players, even on our defensive line. That difference between our interior guys and our outside guys is quite distinct. Pass rush, pass coverage, interior run play, so forth. We played a number of different fronts, as we know, some odd fronts, some even fronts, so forth. Pass rush, multiple fronts there. It's a lot of different techniques to coach. He's very well versed in the fundamentals and schemes. He does a good job. Really glad we have him. I mean, we have a good defensive staff, but he does an excellent job and he's had multiple different roles over the few years we've had him. We keep stealing the defensive coaches, but also on offense, Billy Yates and Ross Douglas.
Q: Bill, you mentioned getting more familiar with Chicago this week, or appreciating that extra time. How has the role of an advanced scout changed, maybe in the last five to 10 years, considering the volume of data and film available to you? They might not be mining for things in the same way that they were. What does that job now entail basically?
B: Well, it's a lot of the things that you can't see on film. The game operation, kind of things that happen in between plays. Obviously updates on injuries or substitutions or just maybe the way the game is run from the sidelines by the opponent. Things in the kicking game as well. Sometimes you don't get as good a look on those. Again, the plays that you see on film are only the ones that obviously come up in the game. If a team doesn't have any field goals, then all you see is extra points, then you don't really get a sense of maybe what the kicker's range was in pregame. Same thing with a punter maybe. Again, not that you can't see it in other games, but it's always good to see it in person, in the actual game conditions. Especially a place like Chicago, where you have a lot of wind or here, where wind's more of a factor than kicking in a dome. I'd say special teams, substitutions, injuries, game management, game operation, how quickly they operate and how they substitute and so forth. Those are things you just don't see on film. It's good to be aware of.