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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 10/26

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media on Monday, October 26, 2020.

Q: This morning, Cam Newton said that he felt he's thinking too much on the field. How from a coaching perspective can you guys address and fix that?

BB: Well, we need to try to do the things that we're going to do in the game on the practice field, try to execute them better there and start with that. I think if we do it on the practice field, we'll have a better chance of success in the game. So, that's what we'll do about it.

Q: In general in the past, when you see quarterbacks that appear to hold onto the ball or appear to not be sure of their targets, what has that suggested to you to get them on a better path?

BB: Yeah, well, as you know, the timing on the passing game varies from play-to-play. So, some passes are intended to be quicker and shorter drops – or it could be in the shotgun, but whatever – other plays are more intermediate-level type plays and some are longer and then some are moving pocket design and things like that. So, it really depends on the timing of the play and how long we're holding the ball and how deep the routes are and so forth. And then, of course, what happens with the receivers and the coverage and obviously the protection, so all those variables come into play, as well. We have different timing on the passes throughout the game, and so sometimes the design is for the play to take longer and give it a chance to develop more downfield, spread the defense; other plays are designed for the ball to come out quicker. I feel comfortable with all those in our offense. We just need to do a better job with it, and we need to coach it better and we need to execute them better.

Q: How do you go about attacking the issues that this team has right now? Obviously, the team looked like it was in a good place prior to the COVID situation, but it's been different afterwards. How do you go about trying to get to where you want to go?

BB: Well, as I said, I think it starts in opportunities that we have to work together, whether that's in meetings, walkthroughs or on the practice field, which is the best time, best opportunity. So, we'll take advantage of all those and work hard to improve our performance at every level, individually and in each unit. We all need to do a better job – I mean, that's obvious.

Q: Do you feel that the team is as far off as you guys look at this point in time? Or are you confident in what you've seen in the past that this group can rekindle what it had earlier this year?

BB: I'm focused on us improving and doing the best that we can, doing better than we've done. We'll see where that puts us, I don't know, but we certainly need to improve from where we are, and we will. So, we'll just have to, like I said, do it in the meetings, in the walkthrough, in film sessions and on the practice field. Hopefully, that will translate into better performance on Sunday. It usually does.

Q: Cam Newton hasn't thrown to the right side of the field very frequently over the last couple games. Is there a specific issue that's causing him to not look that way? How important is it to spread the ball around the field to stress a defense?

BB: Well, it's important to throw the ball to the open receiver and gain positive yards when you're throwing it. Again, plays are designed differently and coverages come out differently and so forth. It's not that frequent that you know exactly where the ball is going to go, unless it's a screen pass or something like that. When you have multiple players out in the route, it depends on what the coverage is and what the matchups are where the quarterback goes. So, there's really not necessarily a lot of plays designed to go to a certain point on the field; it just kind of ends up that way. Hopefully, we just continue to have good distribution, have good spacing, do a good job of route running, find the open receiver, read the coverage and get the ball to somebody that can catch it and run with it. That's really the idea, so we'll see if we can do a better job of that.

Q: Jakobi Meyers hasn't received a ton of opportunities this season, but he was productive in his snaps yesterday. Could that afford him more playing time in the future?

BB: Of course. Good production always is a road to more playing time.

Q: Your team has 14 giveaways this year. From your perspective, what are the contributing factors to that and how might it be correctable going forward?

BB: Well, it has to be corrected going forward for us to have any success. There's nothing more important than that. We put a tremendous amount of emphasis on it. Just got to do a better job – do a better job of coaching it and have to do a better job of taking care of the ball. I think the issues have been multiple and different things have contributed to those turnovers on various plays. There have been some examples where the ball has been out, but we've been able to get it back, so those really fall into that same category where we didn't actually lose the ball but we could have. So, we have addressed all those, we'll continue to address them, but we need to start changing the number of times that the opponents are able to touch the ball. We need to cut that to zero.

Q: Cam said that he's thinking too much and he's also pressing. How do you deal with the mental side of something like that? Is it the repetition on the practice field over and over to gain the confidence that you need?

BB: Yeah, practice reps are a good place to start, Dan [Roche]. If you can do it on the practice field, then that increases your chances of being able to do it in game situations considerably. We'll continue to work through preparation off the field and then execution on the field and hope that that execution on the practice field carries over to in-game execution. That's what we need. There's no other way to do it. There's only a one-game schedule. We have to work on those things in practice and improve our levels of execution there.

Q: After the Jimmy Garoppolo interception and the penalty that was called on Chase Winovich, we saw you have an exchange with him on the sideline and then we didn't see Winovich on the field much after that. Was his decreased playing time related to that play and that penalty?

BB: No.

Q: This is the fourth time in five games that you haven't scored in the first quarter. How do you address that? Going forward, do you think you might have to change that game plan of running it first and passing more to be aggressive early in the game?

BB: Well, I think we've thrown it in the first quarter, too. But regardless, I mean, look, you always want to score and get ahead and be productive the first time you get the ball and really every time you get the ball. That's the idea of the offense is to move the ball and score points, so collectively, we've got to do a better job of coaching and playing and executing and being efficient and productive early in the game and also at the end of the game. We've had our opportunities there, as well. But, just in general, falling behind early in the game is not a great formula for winning. So, we need to score more points early, move the ball to score more points early, take care of the ball and play better defense and better in the kicking game early, as well. All those things would help, but playing from behind, that's never our goal. We'll try to improve that this week, too.

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