HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
November 10, 2021
BB: The Browns are an impressive team to watch here. Defensively, they've held over half their teams to under 16 points, and the two guys on the edge, it's hard to imagine them being better than what we saw last week, but they probably are. [Myles] Garrett's about as good as they get. [Jadeveon] Clowney, we know what he is, so it starts there. They really do a good job defensively. Coach [Joe] Woods has a very disruptive defense at all three levels really; the front, secondary, obviously, [Denzel] Ward. They create a lot of problems on defense. Put it that way. Offensively, again, it's a lot of outstanding players. Certainly, the skill players, with [Nick] Chubb to [Jarvis] Landry to the tight ends to [Donovan] Peoples-Jones, [Anthony] Schwartz, good depth at running back, [Baker] Mayfield, and then a good line with [Joel] Bitonio, certainly one of the top guards that we've played against, and they're good across the board there. Special teams, another good group of skill players. They've got three big guys, three linebackers, [Mack] Wilson, [Elijah] Lee, and [Sione] Takitaki that are really as good as we'll see. Well-balanced team. Coach [Kevin] Stefanski is a very aggressive coach. 18 fourth-down snaps this year. Something like that. Whatever it is, it's a lot of them. We have to be ready to go on every down, every field position. Very good running team. They've really dominated the running game for most of the season, which has let them dominate time of possession, field position and so forth. It's been a major edge for them. They turn the ball over a lot less than when we saw them a few years ago. A lot different there. Good football team. Well-balanced on all three phases of the game. Well-coached. Coach [Bill] Callahan, [Mike] Priefer, Woods, Stefanski. Real good staff. Experienced staff. Those guys have a lot of good experience. I've competed against all of them in the past, and they all are outstanding, especially Callahan. He probably does as good of a job as anybody we face. He's put together a real good group of players, and they execute very efficiently. Very good fundamentally. Excellent running team. Good pass protection team as well. Big challenge for us this week. We'll try to get off to a good start here today and then build some momentum through the week.
On the team's mindset when an opponent is dealing with a COVID-19 situation among its players:
BB: We can't control anything anybody else does, so we let's try to control what we do and get ready to go. It's like that every week. People are questionable. They might play. They might not play. Nobody's been ruled out, so we'll be ready for whoever's there.
On if Cleveland changes up their style of running depending on the player that is in the game:
BB: They do a good job each week with the running game. Some of it depends on their opponent. They set things up to be in advantageous matchups or blocking angles and so forth. Coach [Bill] Callahan does a great job of that. All their backs are good. They've all been productive. I don't know. We'll have to see what they come up with. I'm not sure.
On how much Cleveland varies their running attack:
BB: They've got gap plays. They've got zone plays. They've got the midzone plays, outside plays. The backs are really good. The point of entry could be one place, but that could end up somewhere else. You've got to do a good job across the board, and they usually get a couple guys to win on their blocks, so there's just space in there somewhere. Tight ends do a good job. All of them. They use all three tight ends and a fullback and 11-personnel, so they kind of run wherever they can attack you, wherever you don't match up well with them, and they'll exploit that.
On if Cleveland's offensive line is the best offensive line they will face this year:
BB: Each line is a little bit different. What they try to do is different. These guys are good.
On what Jarrett Stidham brings to the team:
BB: Well, he practiced the last three weeks, and I think that's trending in a good direction, so we'll see how that goes. Depth at that position is always important.
On if Byron Cowart will be coming off the Reserve/PUP List soon:
BB: He won't be.
On what makes Myles Garrett so effective:
BB: Everything. Power. Explosion. Speed. Instincts. He can do it all. He's got a tremendous skillset. Smart player. Very instinctive player. Reacts extremely quickly. He's as tough a matchup as there is in the league.
On if Cleveland will deploy three-tight end sets on Sunday:
BB: Yeah. A lot. More than anything. That's their lead formation.
On if it is difficult to prepare for Cleveland's three-tight end sets:
BB: I agree. Sometimes it plays like 13 [personnel]. Sometimes it plays like 12. Sometimes it plays like 21. Sometimes it plays like 11. There's a decent amount of empty [formation] out of it. They do a lot of things with it. They don't just sit there and line up everybody right next to each other. Well, they'll do that some. Some of those close formations they can go from one open to two open to three open to five open, so you have to be ready across the board. All their tight ends can run and catch. They use some fullback in there, call it 22, but sometimes 13 plays like 22 with [Harrison] Bryant in the backfield. Lot to get ready for.
On what challenges the Browns present in the screen game:
BB: Really good screen team. Yeah. Screen to everybody. Screen to the backs. Screen to the tight ends. Probably the most tight-end screens we've seen. Screens at receivers. When [Demetric] Felton was in there, he was a big part of that, too; screens, RPOs, bubble passes. Same ideas. Not sure what his status was, but he's another guy that is part of that type of offensive attack. When you combine it all, it shows up multiple times every game in some fashion.
On Jadeveon Clowney:
BB: Big. Long. Powerful. Disruptive. He's a hard guy to deal with. Always has been.
On if the team will bring in more depth at the running back position from the practice squad:
BB: We'll monitor it. See how it goes.
On if the league is following a trend of investing more in the tight end position:
BB: I think it's been going that way for quite a while. If you have them, they give you more formation versatility than any other position. If you don't have them, you can't manufacture them. It's a hard position to find, but if you have them, they create formational problems and they create mismatches in the running game and the passing game. They give you a lot of formation options, a lot of protection options, a lot of play action options, a lot of blocking combinations, schemes. Even on zone plays, there's still an extra guy there. He builds another gap, however you form it. I doubt there's too many offensive coaches that couldn't use a good tight end or wouldn't use them.
On if he has been pleasantly surprised by the production of Brandon Bolden and Dont'a Hightower this season after both taking last year off:
BB: Brandon's had a good year for us. Hightower's had a good year. They've both come in and done a good job. Glad we have them. They've really made big contributions to the team. They're both versatile, and they can handle a lot of different things; Hightower on all three downs and Brandon on all four downs. They contribute in a lot of different ways. Glad we have them. They've both done a good job.
On what skills make J.C. Jackson so good:
BB: I think his ball skills and anticipation are pretty good. High-end. Yeah.
On what he means when he says J.C. Jackson has good ball skills:
BB: It's everything. It's when to look, picking up the ball. A lot of times his back's to the ball when it leaves the quarterback's hands, like the interception he had against the Jets. Plays like that, where a receiver comes out of his break and you're a defender trying to cover the receiver, and then find the ball, be able to catch it, get his feet down in bounds. Plays like that. That was a pretty good play. He tracks the ball well in the deep part of the field. Anticipates well.
On how Mac Jones has responded to offensive dry spells:
BB: I think Mac's well-prepared. Things come up in the game. Sometimes you have to make adjustments or changes. He adapts to them pretty quickly. There are 11 guys out there, so trying to get everybody to do the right thing, to move the ball productively, that's not the easiest thing to do in this league, but that's what we have to do. Sometimes you run into problems and you have to work through them, whether it's at every position. All of them. Sometimes, there's a play calling adjustment you have to make or blocking scheme or protection adjustment whatever. There's a lot of moving parts there. Ultimately, you try to get as many of them working as consistently and efficiently as you can. If there's a problem, then you try to fix it.
On if Mac Jones has improved his ability to make in-game adjustments:
BB: Yeah. I think he does a good job of that. We do that in practice. We don't have any pictures in practice. We just run plays and talk about them. We have to fix them. That's part of coaching is to be able to recognize what happened and communicate it to the player. The player hears it, understands it, and executes it better the next time. That's what coaching is. That's what playing is.
On what made him feel like last week was their best week of preparation this season:
BB: It was a collective thing. Just, collectively, how they went about it; meetings, practice, before and after things, on the field, off the field. I just felt they put a lot into it, and there were some good results that went with it. Not one individual specific thing, but collectively. That's really what you need is everybody doing it. One guy could do it. It might help him. It would help him, but when you multiply that by a big number, then that's where you really see those kind of results.