HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
October 30, 2019
BB: This is a big week for us, obviously, playing the Ravens, one of the best teams in the league, an organization I have a lot of respect for with what Steve [Bisciotti's] done down there since he's taken over the team, and Ozzie [Newsome], obviously, did a fabulous job building the team. It's kind of turned over now as he stepped aside. I don't know if he has stepped aside but whatever, but it's got a lot of his fingerprints on it. The job Coach [John] Harbaugh and his staff have done. They've had a lot of turnover and they continue to be one of the top organizations in the league with changes in the personnel department, changes in the coaching staff, coordinators this year, some of the players that they've lost or exchanged, however you want to look at it. The quarterback [Joe Flacco], [C.J.] Mosley, [Terrell] Suggs – you can go right down the line, and some of the great players that they've brought in like Earl Thomas, [Mark] Ingram, guys like that, as well as their draft. It's a very good football team. They do everything well, good on defense, top of the league in special teams, top of the league in offense, they're a very physical team, play very good situational football, win a lot of close games. Just do everything well, they're very fundamentally sound, tough, don't turn the ball over, play well in the kicking game, play good defense, can run the ball, can stop the run. It'll be a great atmosphere down there Sunday night and a big challenge for us. We have a lot of work to do this week but looking forward to the opportunity.
Q: You've faced some mobile quarterbacks this year but does Lamar Jackson's ability take it to another level?
BB: Yeah, he's very fast. Yeah. He's had great production.
Q: What do you see out of him from the passing game?
BB: Good, yeah. He's good.
Q: Does he remind you of any specific quarterbacks that you've faced in the past? How do you go about containing such a dual threat?
BB: Yeah, he's a major problem and everybody's had trouble with him. It'll be a big challenge for us. Yeah, he can do it all. He can run, he can throw, can throw on the run, can extend plays. He's tough.
Q: Is there any carryover from the time you spent with him pre-draft that could help you this week? Maybe something that you analyzed that could play a factor now that he's established himself?
BB: He runs their offense. We didn't even talk about that.
Q: How unique is their running game compared to other teams that you guys play?
BB: It's different, but I mean, it's Coach [Greg] Roman's running game, what he did in San Francisco, what he did in Buffalo. It's that running game.
Q: Are there any major departures from what he did in Buffalo or San Francisco with the run game?
BB: Well, they're a game plan offense, so they dress things up a little differently each week. Some of the things that we're working on now, I'm sure we're not going to get, and there's some things that we're not working on that I'm sure we're going to get. He does a good job of changing things up. They have a core, certainly a base core of plays, that they run but they also have some complimentary plays to those and their core plays that they can run a lot of different ways, so they disguise them, they put you in different positions and change the run force and force you to handle it differently with different personnel groups, so I'm sure we'll see that. It's what they do every week.
Q: What have you seen so far from Nick Folk?
BB: We'll see how it goes. We haven't seen much so far.
Q: What did you see from him in your time coaching against him?
BB: I mean, look, yeah, he's had a very successful career, but we'll see where we're at.
Q: What went into the decision to part ways with Mike Nugent?
BB: We thought we needed to make a change.
Q: What have you seen from N'Keal Harry's progression this week as he continues to work his way back to potentially be eligible for the active roster?
BB: Yeah, well, we'll see how it goes. He's been out there for a couple of weeks and we still have more time so we'll take it day by day and see where we're at.
Q: Is it challenging trying to find balance between staying big enough upfront defensively to stop the run game while also keeping enough speed on the field to contain Lamar Jackson's mobility?
BB: Yeah, that's a huge problem. You hit it on the head. That's it. Yeah, they have a very good inside power game and they have, obviously, very much a lot of speed on the perimeter and in passing situations against the pass rush. Yeah, that's definitely a problem. That's definitely an issue.
Q: How has Earl Thomas fit into their defense and the role that they've asked him to perform there?
BB: Yeah, Earl's a great player. A very instinctive player, one of the most instinctive players in the league. They had another one down there that was pretty good, too [Ed Reed]. Yeah, but he plays the defense, he's a very good player but he also can anticipate and react very quickly and make plays that probably most other guys in the league couldn't make playing that position. He's a really good football player. They've made a couple of additions here as well. Picked up [Marcus] Peters and then it looks like [Jimmy] Smith's coming back, so that's a couple of good additions to the secondary right there. But yeah, they're very solid on defense and Thomas is just an outstanding player.
Q: How significant was Nick Folk's kicking in the Alliance of American Football league to just sort of keep him as a viable option to you?
BB: I don't know. We worked him out. I'd say that's probably more important than the world league, or whatever it is.
Q: What allows your defense to be successful in those spots where you bring extra pressure but are able to maintain the coverage in the secondary despite perhaps having fewer guys in coverage there?
BB: Well, we have a lot of confidence in our secondary. There's a give and take with the rush and the coverage, so the more guys you have in coverage, the fewer guys you have rushing. The more guys you have rushing, the fewer guys you have in coverage. I mean, it's pretty basic so you try to do what you think is best in a particular situation or against a particular team and the matchups that you have. There's an element of changing it up, but ultimately it comes down to that decision – do you want to rush more and cover with less, or cover more and rush fewer. There's middle ground there. We've done all of the above and I'm sure we'll continue to do that, like we always have. It'll just depend on the situation, the team, so forth.
Q: How difficult is it to simulate the speed with which they execute given the uniqueness of their offense with Jackson at quarterback?
BB: Yeah, it's a huge problem, Bob. Yeah, of course. There's not another quarterback in the league like this. How do you get one? Yeah, that's some of the things that we'll have to work on. I'd say that's a problem every week. Usually, to some degree there's some player that they have that you don't have anybody like that guy. It is what it is. You do the best you can to replicate what they do and who they do it with, but ultimately that's not going to be quite the same as what we'll see on Sunday night.
Q: Is yesterday a busy day for you with the trade deadline even if you don't end up ultimately making any deals on that day?
BB: No, it wasn't for me. No. Nope, I spent the whole day on the Ravens.
Q: Is it busy then for Nick Caserio and his staff?
BB: Yeah, I mean, probably. I don't know. I didn't spend the day with Nick, but Nick works hard every day. I'm sure if there was anything to do there, he was doing it.
Q: How much do you trust him with decision making and negotiation and all of the challenges that come with that role?
BB: Yeah, Nick's done a great job for us and continues to do a great job for us.
Q: John Harbaugh went into some detail on his conference call about his first interactions with you when you were in Cleveland and he was coaching at the University of Cincinnati. Do you remember anything about those first encounters and the impression he left on you?
BB: Yeah, I mean, look, you meet a lot of coaches in this business and you go out and scout and you go out and go to the combine and workouts and so forth. You're going to meet a lot of people and developed a relationship and friendship with John and, ultimately, it's carried us to where it's carried us to.
Q: What kind of challenges does Baltimore's tight end group pose, in particular a player like Mark Andrews?
BB: Yeah, it's a good group. Andrews is an excellent receiver. He's their top target on third down. He's got the most production of any receiver, but they have a good receiving group overall, tight ends as well as receivers. But he's big, he's athletic, he has very good hands, he catches the ball well, he's got good instincts. [Hayden] Hurst is another athletic guy, obviously, a first round draft pick. Runs well, has good size, catches the ball well. [Nick] Boyle is kind of an all-purpose guy, does a little bit of everything, is a good blocker. They have a good receiving core also with [Marquise] Brown, obviously, and [Willie] Snead. Brown's given them a lot of explosive plays. I know he's been out for a couple of weeks so I'm sure he'll be back for us. Between Jackson, Brown's speed, Andrews inside, the running game – it's a lot to defend. It's hard to get them all.
Q: How would you describe Don Martindale and his defense? Is it a defense that resembles the Ravens of the past?
BB: Yeah, they're a very good run defense. They have good run players, they have several disruptive players up front, guys that are hard to block. They mix up their coverages. They mix up man, zone, there's some pressure in there. In the end, it's hard to block those guys, and when they have all of their coverage players out there, they're very good at matching up but I'd say it's a multiple defense. They're not just going to sit in one thing all day. You're going to have to figure it out to a degree and deal with different problems – man, zone, blitz zone and different combinations of package. They have, as I said, a very good run defense, but they can get to sub, they can get to transition defenses in-between. They give you a number of different problems, as they do in all three phases of the game. They're a hard team to prepare for on offense, on defense and in the kicking game. It takes a lot of energy, work, effort, preparation to be able to play a 60-minute game against them. They stress you in every area, so that's one of the reasons. They have good players, they're well-coached and they kind of do everything pretty well so that's why it's tough.