PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
October 27, 2022
BB: First back-to-back session of the year? Good. So yesterday we spent the day in the bubble going through at a slower pace here. All three phases of the game here – offense, defense, special teams. We got a lot of looks and a lot of reps here. Getting ready for the Jets today. We'll go out and hit it at a more regular practice tempo. So it will be good to get out there and get that. Mac [Jones] took a full workload yesterday. I expect him to be fully available here for the game, ready to go. So that's really it for that. We have a couple of other guys that were limited yesterday. So we'll see where they are today and move forward with them. But that's what we really need to do is have a good out there today. Get ready for a good Jets team. A team that plays a little differently than some of the teams we've played here the last couple of weeks. Very San Francisco based offensively and defensively going back to what we saw from the 49ers back in '20. Of course, Coach [Brant] Boyer, this is whatever seventh year with the Jets. So that's been very continuous on the kicking game. But the offensive and defense systems as we know kind of came in from San Francisco last year. Obviously, they've built on those and had a lot of success with them this year. So that's what we need to see.
Q: How important is it for you to be able to see Mac get a full workload in?
BB: Yeah, he's ready to do that. So that's what he needs to prepare for the game, and that's what our offensive unit needs, is everybody working together. So we'll get that this week.
Q: Is that what you needed to see yesterday when you told us to wait?
BB: Yeah. Like that's the decision. That's where we are now. If we had been at that point yesterday, I would've told you that yesterday. But when we were at that point, then we let you know that.
Q: Thank you.
BB: Yeah, no not all. Just trying to be helpful
Q: Appreciate it.
BB: Oh don't mention it.
Q: In the situation did you have to tell Mac he is the starter? Or is it kind of understood since he did get the full workload?
BB: Yeah, I talked to all the quarterbacks. So everybody knows where we're at.
Q: So that's the plan for him to start Sunday?
BB: That's what I just said. He's going to have the full load. Yeah.
Q: I just didn't know fully available. I know sometimes you need to spell it out for me. When it comes to the plans moving forward, is he able to...
BB: I've just - that's where we're at. Okay? So like don't give me - I don't want to go through all the hypotheticals. That's not where we're at. We're getting ready for the Jets. That's where we're at. Period.
Q: You can't say for the whole season?
BB: I can't give you, no. You're going to give me a bunch of hypothetical situations. I don't know what those hypotheticals are. So we're not going to get into that.
Q: I'm trying not to ask a hypothetical but...
BB: It's hypothetical. Like here we are today. We're practicing for the Jets. It's Thursday getting ready for the Jets. That's where we are. Anything that happens beyond that, it's not current. I'm not going to get into it. That's as helpful as I can be.
Q: How important is it at that position to get the full workload in practice?
BB: I think it's more important when you haven't played in a while. Put it that way. It's always important. But when you've been out for a while, getting that timing and execution back is important for you and your teammates, at any position.
Q: Following up on that, is there a time period he has to get back into the flow of things kind of like a reacclimation period for him to have success on game day?
BB: I don't know.
Q: James Robinson is with the Jets now. What challenges does that bring since you haven't seen him with the Jets offense? He's been in the league a couple of years, and he's shown he's a solid guy.
BB: Yeah for sure. They used quite a bit of a two-back system there with [Breece] Hall and [Michael] Carter. So whether that will be the case now with Robinson or not, I don't know. It's going to be something that we'll have to be ready for. Again, they didn't do it a lot, but they did it enough. They had some successful plays out of it, for sure. They had a couple big, explosive plays. Out of a one-back set, well whether you have both backs in the back field or one back in the back field and use the other back as a jet-sweep counters, passing game, plays like that. So that's something that we've prepared for. We saw with Hall and Carter and now, it appears with Robinson, too. Obviously, another good player that is going to be a part of their skill group that we're going to have to be ready for.
Q: What's been the Jets biggest areas of growth compared to last year?
BB: The biggest difference in their record and their season is the fourth quarter. They've outscored their opponents by 54 points in the fourth quarter. So that's a good place to start. They played well in those critical situations in the game, in all three phases of the game. It's one of the reasons they have a good record. They're solid. They've improved in every area of the game. But that's where you win games when you outscore your opponents by that much in the fourth quarter that's going to get you on the winning end, in the winning column. That's when it's done.
Q: How about the way they've protected the ball? In the short time Adrian Phillips was on the radio interview, he said that he's seen growth in Zach Wilson. He's not freelancing as much. Taking care of the ball at quarterback this year, as opposed to maybe early last year?
BB: I think that's fair. Again, in a lot of the games, close games, and playing from ahead that always plays favorably into ball security, the decision making and that kind of thing. I think some of the stats last year were a little skewed with the come-from-behind, trying to get back in the game, pressing things, that type of thing. There's been a lot less of that this year. Part of that's because there's been less bad plays in the beginning of the game to get behind. But they play good defense. They don't give up a lot of points. They move the ball offensively, have a lot of good skills players. They've played well in the kicking game. They've punted well. [Justin] Hardee and [Brandin] Echols are two outstanding gunners. They've created a lot of strong field position there. In exchange of punts. So [Braxton] Berrios is the top of the league in kickoff returns, and near the top of the league in punt returns. So the overall field position differential in the kicking game has been favorable. So all those things play in to good complementary football, and the quarterback is certainly a part of it. All those things help him. He helps the other areas. Kicking game helps the defense.
Q: Is the decision to make Mac the quarterback for Sunday, is that fully related to Mac's health?
BB: Yes. He's ready to play. He was ready to play last week, just didn't feel as the full game. This week, it's a different situation. That's it. We'll take it from there.
Q: I was just curious did Bailey's [Zappe] play on Monday have anything to do with it?
BB: That's it. No that's it. We'll take it from here. Take it from here. Don't keep trying to trap me into stuff down the future, because I can't - today's today.
Q: I'm not trying to trap you. Just wondering about the decision-making process because Bailey played well for two games, and he played a lot the other night. So I was just curious if how he played on Monday had anything to do with the decision?
BB: We started the game the way we wanted to start it last week. We talked about the way it ended up. So this week's a different week. It's a different situation. Mac will be our quarterback.
Q: Trade deadline next week. Do you already have a pretty clear picture of what you'd like to accomplish by then?
BB: Yeah, honestly I haven't spent much time with that. Our personnel department, Matt Groh really handles that and Eliot [Wolf]. So if there's something that's relevant then we'll talk about it. So I don't know. We'll see.
Q: What has allowed C.J. Mosley to be so disruptive for so long?
BB: He's a really good player. He's as good a linebacker as we've faced in all areas. There's a lot of linebackers that don't have the coverage skill that he has, both man and zone. A lot of that is instincts and awareness. But he reads and diagnoses plays very quickly. Screens, draws, misdirection plays, things like that. The degree of difficulty plays, he really plays those well. He's a good tackler. He runs well. He's got good playing strength and explosion. Just a really smart football player. Controls their front. But he just makes right decisions on almost every play. Runs, play-actions, misdirection's, tempoing and leveraging on the ball. He's a solid tackler. He gets the runner, gets the guy down. Sometimes behind the line of scrimmage, but when we can get there, he makes the play. But he's very good at diagnosing and being in the right spot. He's a hard guy to get out of position. You have to be really careful throwing the ball around him. You have to block him in the running game or you're not going to go very far. So he's a guy we have to control. He's a really good player. As good as any middle linebacker we've played against all year.
Q: Not saying they're the same players, but when you faced Seattle in the past, they had [Bobby] Wagner, with San Francisco [Fred] Warner. Mosley, the importance of a player like that in that system. Do you see comparable traits, comparable value in those players in terms of what [Robert] Saleh asks them to do?
BB: Yeah, like I said, he's as good as anybody we play. Just all the way across the board. He can blitz. He doesn't blitz a lot, but he can and he does, especially in some of their third-down packages. He can cover. He's a very good zone coverage player. Reads patterns well, reads the quarterback well, does a good job in that. Can play man-to-man. Very good in the running game. Very instinctive. Good at taking on blockers. Good tackler. Again, keeps a good tempo on the running backs. So he doesn't overrun plays, or take a poor angle, that type of thing. He's really good at all those things. Obviously, quarterbacks the front seven. It's a team that runs quite a bit of movement, line games and that type of thing. I'm sure those coordination and those calls come from the middle linebacker. I don't know that for sure. I'm assuming it does, like it does at most teams. So he's probably a big part of that, too. This kid's been a good player out of college, at Baltimore, and at the Jets. Missed the one year with the injury. But shows up, plays every week, plays every play, is out there in all situations, no reason to take him off the field. He's a really good player.