PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
October 25, 2023
BB: Alright, I think everyone is pretty familiar with the Dolphins, so I'll save you the recap on them. A pretty explosive team.
Q: Bill, can you just address the decision to waive Malik Cunningham?
BB: Yeah. Just doing what's best for the team.
Q: Will you try to bring him back on the practice squad?
BB: If he's not claimed.
Q: How different or similar do you see the Dolphins team now compared to what you saw in week two?
BB: I think everybody has evolved in the last few weeks. Every team has. So, they have. It's just the normal evaluation. Some injuries and transitions in their schemes, pretty similar.
Q: What did you see from Cole Strange in his return and was he able to accomplish anything like add weight or strength or anything like that?
BB: I mean, when you're rehabbing, you're limited on what you can do. So, you do what you can do. You rehab the injury that you have and still work on the other body parts, same as what everybody else does. But yeah, good to have him back. Hopefully we can build some consistency for him and the unit, you know, playing together.
Q: How important has David's leadership experience been to the line as all those changes have happened?
BB: He's done a great job. He's done a great job. He's playing well, and he really helps the quarterback, the offensive line. He's a very good personality, calm but enthusiastic, aggressive and energetic, but at the same time, there's not a panic to it. Really good, he does a great job.
Q: I think when we look at it from afar and see a veteran center next to a rookie guard like Sidy [Sow] the other day, how can he help a younger player like that during a game? What kind of communication occurs between those spots?
BB: There's communication on every play – who we're blocking and how we're blocking them, line calls, fake line calls, reminders. There's something on every play.
Q: Sticking with the o-line here, I know it's just been seven games, has this been some of the best football you've seen Trent Brown play in his career?
BB: Trent's played a lot of good football in his career. So, yeah, he's a good player.
Q: Is this among the better football? He's played a lot of good football. Is this as good as you've seen him?
BB: Yeah, I think he's playing well. He's played a lot of good football. I don't want to sound like this is a big aberration. He's a good player.
Q: Will the team stick with [Mike] Onwenu at right tackle?
BB: We'll see. We'll announce our starting lineup Sunday, if that's alright.
Q: The fact that Mac [Jones] had such a big fourth quarter the other day and led two impressive touchdown drives, what does that say for you and what does that do for the locker room and things like that?
BB: I don't know. Look, everybody works hard. Everybody wants to play well. As a team, we played well and we won. So, that's a good feeling, but it doesn't really mean anything this week. We're starting all over again. We need to have another good week and need everybody to step up – offense, defense, special teams, coaches, players, you name it. So, moving on.
Q: Six weeks into their careers in the regular season, what are your impressions of the two rookie specialists in terms of having some growing pains at their positions but also enduring conditions like last week?
BB: I mean, we can't control the conditions, so you control what you can control. We practice in whatever we've practiced in. It hasn't always been ideal, but I think that's the best training we can have. They kick in the stadium when they can, when it's available. They kick outside. Those are a little bit different, grass, turf. I think, especially on the field goals, Bryce [Baringer], Chad [Ryland] and Joe [Cardona] working together, obviously that's new. That's a little bit of a process. Kicking off and punting is more of just the specialist doing his thing. The snap's involved, but for the most part, unless it's extremely erratic, the timing on that is about the same. But, those guys have learned a lot. I think they both have a good future. We'll see how it goes, conditions, if they're challenging, if they're not, game situations. We've had some long field goals, backed up punts, plus-50 punts. We've had a variety of conditions, so I'm sure in the long run that will serve them well.
Q: What have you seen in the development of Christian Barmore?
BB: Yeah, B-More's had a really good year. He's been healthy. He had a good offseason. I'd say this is the hardest that he's trained or was able to train. Some of that's been a little bit rehab related. He's had a good offseason, good training and he's playing well. I think those things usually go together.
Q: On Anfernee Jennings, what have you seen from him? It seems like he's playing some of his best football.
BB: Well, he's had an opportunity with some of the injuries we've had at that position. He's had an opportunity to play a lot, and he's definitely stepped up. Sometimes that's what this league's about, is getting an opportunity, however that happens, and taking advantage of it when you get it – Lou Gehrig, Wally Pipp.
Q: How has Sidy Sow responded to being moved from guard as a senior, to tackle, and we saw him go back to guard?
BB: Right, well, he played guard most of his college career, played a little tackle as a freshman, played a few snaps at tackle in the all-star game, then played tackle here. So, the move from tackle to guard I think was more comfortable for him than guard to tackle, kind of why we did it that way. Start him at tackle, figured we could move him to guard, versus taking a guard and trying to move him out to tackle. He's another guy that has a really good demeanor. Works hard, tough, just tries to do his best at everything you ask him to do, and that's a good thing. Takes coaching well, obviously is inexperienced, he's learned a lot. He's certainly not arrived, or there yet, but making progress every day, works hard, learns from his mistakes. Big kid – strong, tough – but moves pretty well.
Q: I know you guys treat each game the same, whether it's a win or a loss, but do you feel an extra sense of energy or excitement this week from your team just because you guys were able to get a win?
BB: I think we felt that after the game. I think now it's time to move on to Miami. Well, it's been time. That was Sunday, a little bit of Monday, but we're down with last week's game.
Q: I think we've asked or touched on this topic every year, but around late October, I think you've expressed you kind of know what you have with your team at this point of the season. What have you learned over these last seven weeks about your team, big picture, that you didn't know the first few weeks?
BB: I think we're still working through it. There's been quite a few changes since the start of the year. So, this isn't the same team that we had at the start of the year, six weeks later. It's a little bit different.
Q: As far as the playing identity, some of the video shared by the organization, the social media team caught you saying 'We know how we've got to do it, how we've got to play' in the locker room after the game. Do you think you're closer to knowing now what that identity has to be?
BB: It hasn't changed.
Q: You also waived Trey Flowers yesterday. Just wondering if there is any plan on bringing him back to the practice squad as well?
BB: Trey's in a little different situation, so leave that where it is. There's other rules and things involved that's been a much longer discussion.
Q: What have you seen from Jalen Reagor in his opportunities? Is he someone you could see signing to the 53?
BB: Jalen's come in, been a really good scout team player for us. We've played against a lot of top receivers, and he's gotten a lot of a good opportunities with some of the routes that those guys run to kind of be featured a little bit on some of the scout team plays. He's earned some playing time, which has come from his practice time, practice performance. He's picking up the offense, and we'll see how it goes. He's got good talent, good guy to work with, glad we have him.
Q: In that same vein, on the scout team, how has Will Grier done simulating very different quarterbacks that you've played – it seems like a great variety – this year.
BB: Well, Will and Bailey [Zappe] have kind of split that. So, they've both gotten snaps with that. They're both doing well, both smart, both work hard. They've been able to give our defense the kind of look that we need from that position. Yeah, both have done a good job.