HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
October 23, 2019
BB: Alright, we've started on a short week here with Cleveland and certainly a lot of explosive players to worry about with this team. They've got a lot of weapons on offense, defense and special teams. They make a lot of big plays and certainly cause a lot of problems. Coach [Freddie] Kitchens is a very aggressive coach offensively. They do a good job of attacking defenses and creating a lot of explosive plays in all areas of the game. They have great runners, receivers, quarterback, experienced offensive line. Defensively, they do a good job of turning the ball over, creating negative plays and long yardage, three-and-outs. And special teams, they have two good returners – good return game, good coverage players, big kicker, punter. So, solid team with a lot of talent that John Dorsey and Coach Kitchens and their organization have put together, so it will be a big challenge for us Sunday. It's a short week here to get ready for these guys. They play competitively. They do a lot of things well. They cause a lot of problems.
Q: On the trade for Mohamed Sanu, what traits does he have that you look forward to seeing how he fits here with you guys?
BB: He's a very experienced receiver. He's had a lot of production. We're excited to have him, and we'll see how it goes.
Q: Have you had much background with him, like meeting with him coming out of Rutgers?
BB: Yeah, we go way back.
Q: Are you serious?
BB: Yeah, we saw everybody at Rutgers.
Q: Similar question with Justin Bethel. What led you make that transaction?
BB: He was available. He's a good player, excellent player. He's had a good career. I've had a little background with him. I feel like he's going to help our team.
Q: What's that background?
BB: People on our staff have been with him and have played against him. He's a tough guy to handle.
Q: Freddie Kitchens has been an offensive play caller for like half of last year and half of this year. Do you have a good grasp of what his system is and they try to run?
BB: Yeah, they have probably the second or third most highest number of explosive and big plays of any team in the league, so it's pretty obvious – a lot of catch-and-run plays. They're very aggressive. They get the ball down the field and they have a variety of things they do and they create explosive play opportunities and have players that can make them.
Q: What have you seen out of [QB] Baker Mayfield this season?
BB: Smart player. They give him control of things at the line of scrimmage. He's got a good arm. He can make all the throws. He can get the ball down the field; [he's got] good touch. He extends plays. He can move around. He scrambled for a touchdown against Seattle so he can hurt you running the ball. I wouldn't say he runs all the time but he can extend plays with his legs and his athleticism and make all the throws down the field and throws well on the run.
Q: Mohamed Sanu has mostly played in the slot his entire career. You've had some big receivers like Brandon LaFell and Chris Hogan who played a lot in the slot before they came here and primarily played outside in this system. Is that something that would take an entire offseason to see if he can fit outside or is it just a wait-and-see process?
BB: Yeah, I mean we haven't even been on the field yet, so we're a little far away from all of that.
Q: Is there something about bigger slot receivers that you guys like that you can move outside?
BB: You've watched us play a lot. We've moved receivers around for 20 years, so sometimes guys play in one spot, sometimes they play in different spots. It depends on the formation, the game plan, the play, the personnel and so forth, so we'll see how it goes.
Q: With Sanu, is there at all any carry over from what he was doing in Atlanta scheme wise that you'll have him do here?
BB: Yeah, he's been in a couple of different systems, so we'll have to see how that all comes together.
Q: I want to ask you about Jarrett Stidham and just check in and see how his progress has been almost halfway through the year. You guys did have three quarterbacks on the roster for a little while and now back to two, so how has he done with the reps? We've seen him get a few reps in games, but how has he done with reps in practice as well?
BB: Yeah, good. Jarrett is a smart kid. He picks things up very quickly. He has a good grasp of the offense given where he is in his career. He's handled everything we've thrown at him. In practice, he does a good job. He gets a lot of passes on our defense and when he has the opportunity to get the offensive snaps, he's prepared and does a good job of those. But you know, it's always different in the game. I think he's doing all he can do.
Q: Is it a challenge to manage the practice snaps with only two guys versus three?
BB: Yeah, it's easier to manage it with two than three. But there's really not that many snaps in the regular season. It's easier with three probably in training camp, maybe four depending on how they are and who needs what and so forth, but two is fine.
Q: How big of a challenge is it for the secondary to cover Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry when they're both on the field?
BB: Yeah, they have a lot of good players and you mentioned two of them and there's plenty of other ones too – the running back, the tight ends and the other receivers, however that goes – [Rishard] Higgins to [Antonio] Callaway. So yeah, again, they move their guys around some so you don't always know where he is, but he's an explosive playmaker. You saw that in the Jets game and many other games. He makes acrobatic catches, good quickness, good after the catch and he can throw. He's had a couple of passes as well, so he's a little bit of a threat to run with the ball or throw it if he gets behind the line of scrimmage. He's a good player. They use him a lot of different ways and he's one of the many weapons they have. It's hard to just key on one guy because they have so many guys who can get you.
Q: Have you seen Damien Harris progress?
BB: Yeah, Damien has gone a good job for us, too. He does a good job in practice and has continued to work hard in his roles – offensively on second and third down and the kicking game. It was good to see him get a little action against the Jets. We have pretty good depth at that position, so we'll have to see how that goes, but he's done a good job. I'm glad we have him.
Q: Having worked Josh Gordon and Antonio Brown into the offense within the last 13 months, does that experience as a staff and an offense benefit you in any way of bringing Mohamed in to provide a new template, or are you kind of starting from scratch with each guy as they come in?
BB: I think each player is a little bit different and really it's more about the game plan right now than it is starting on day one going through the installation schedule. It's really what we're doing this week, what the Browns do, what their coverages are, what our game plan is, what our assignments are, what adjustments do we have to make, and so forth. You can go back and talk about things that happened earlier in the year. There's a time for that and we certainly have a lot to catch up on, but most important thing for a player coming onto the team is the immediate game, the upcoming game, so we'll focus most of our attention there.
Q: With their defense, how much does it schematically resemble what you've seen from Carolina?
BB: Some resemblance of it. They do a good job, they're very aggressive and disruptive. They bring guys off the edge and run games inside and that kind of thing. Their linebackers are aggressive and run through. [Joe] Schobert has a lot of production and the ends are obviously good. [Sheldon] Richardson is good, the corners are good. So, they have a lot of good players and they keep you moving. They just don't sit in one thing all day. They make you make adjustments and do enough pressure on you that if you miss somebody or if you take a bad step or get out of position, they have guys take advantage of it – Olivier [Vernon] and certainly [Myles] Garrett. I said Richardson and Schobert, those guys have a lot of production as well – tackles for loss, disruptive plays, sacks, so forth. They get a lot of negative plays with a lot of three-and-outs, a lot of short drives. If you get a negative play on the offense, it's second-and-11 or third-and-long, so they win on one of those two downs, then third-and-long is – I think they've given up only one third-and-long all year. So, they get you in third-and-long, they pretty much get you off the field. So, that's a certain area we want to stay out of always, but especially against these guys.
Q: With Michael Bennett coming back from suspension, do you feel like you've moved past it and have regrouped?
BB: Yeah, we're onto this week. We've moved past a lot of things this year. We're onto the Browns.
Q: I know James Develin is on IR, but he's at all the practices and all the games. How much does that help having a guy like that who's been around in a leadership role?
BB: Yeah, James has done a great job for us; so has David Andrews. Both of those guys have really been outstanding with the off-the-field leadership that they can give. They both have a lot of experience they can relay to the guys. They've played against a lot of these individual players who are on some teams that we've played against and have been very helpful there. They've been very helpful to me just as another kind of perspective on where we are from what they see. They see things. They're very mature. I wish they were both out there on the field, but they've done all they can do and contribute a lot on a daily basis and I'm personally very appreciative of what they do for the team and what they've done for me personally.
Q: Just to follow up on James Develin, do you view him as a guy who might be able to come back this year?
BB: Yeah, we'll take it week-by-week and see how it goes.
Q: Is it any better to play for the Browns but not have to play them for Jamie Collins?
BB: I'm not following you.
Q: Well, he used to be on their defense, now he's on yours.
BB: I don't know, it's the National Football League. Guys move around all the time. So, yeah, it's great to have Jamie on our team. No doubt.
Q: Going back to Develin, how instrumental has he been helping James Ferentz and Elandon Roberts to prepare for fullback?
BB: Yeah, you're right, there's two guys that really didn't play that position that played it last week so that's an example. But there's a lot of plays where – it could be in the kicking game, pass protection, running game and so forth – with how a certain guy will take on blocks or how they'll react to certain things that happen that, when you've played against a guy and have had that kind of experience against him that you can impart that experience to a teammate. Look, there's a lot of little things. There's a million different conversations over the course of the day that those guys have that I'm not a part of, but I know in general the feedback is very positive. For what they give us and what they put into it, they're not in the way, they don't try to do too much, they're a help and they are. They're very helpful.