HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
Wednesday, November 13, 2019
BB: Big week for us here with the Eagles. Obviously, a great football team, great organization and they've done a tremendous job. They continue to do it. They're really good in everything, all three phases of the game. They have a lot of good players, a lot of guys that are hard to stop in all three phases of the game. They make you work on really everything – there's no plays off. They're solid all the way around, a very explosive team. Some young players, but a pretty veteran team, very experienced, seasoned and they know what they're doing, they know how to play. They're well coached, got a lot of experience in all three areas of the game. Good situational football team, can play and win close games, well-balanced. We're going to have to do everything well down there Sunday and need a good week here. Need to be ready to go against a good football team. It looks like they're getting healthier, finding their rhythm. They've played well recently.
Q: What similarities, if any, do you see between yourself and Doug Pederson?
BB: I don't know. Good question for somebody else.
Q: How relevant is the game film from the Super Bowl two years ago?
BB: There's some similarities in matchups there. There's quite a few differences, but it's worth looking at.
Q: What have been your impressions of Carson Wentz and the quarterback play he's had this year?
BB: He's a good quarterback. He can do it all – good arm, athletic, can extend plays, tough kid, can run if he needs to, can make all the throws, get the ball down the field, gets the ball to all his receivers. Uses the backs, tight ends and receivers based on who's open, his route progression. He's good at reading defenses. They give him a lot of responsibility at the line of scrimmage to change plays or adjust plays. There's some checking going on there and so forth. So, looks like he's pretty good at everything – a pretty accomplished guy.
Q: Are there any evolutions that you see in their scheme on offense from the Super Bowl to what they're doing this season?
BB: There's always some new things. They have different players. But fundamentally, it's the same.
Q: With how aggressive Doug Peterson is, does that add layers to your defensive preparation in terms of two-point conversions and fourth downs?
BB: Yeah, we have to be ready for that every week. It's something we don't have any control over, so we have to prepare for it every week. Certainly saw a lot of it last week.
Q: How big of a challenge is Zach Ertz? Have you seen him continue to grow and get better?
BB: Yeah he's pretty good. He's really good at everything. In the passing game, man routes, he can get open against a variety of defenders. He's a tough guy to match up against. He's got a good feel in zone coverage for spacing and when to do the right thing – when to slow down, when to speed up, when to go behind or in front of, how to adjust his routes and so forth. He's a really good player. They move him around a lot. He's in a lot of different positions. Until they come out of the huddle, it's hard to really know where he's going to be. He lines up in the tight end traditional location, but not a high, high percentage of the time. He's in different spots. They use a couple different personnel groups, so you have to find him within each group. But he's really, he's a good player.
Q: Is the organization planning to have someone at Colin Kaepernick's work out on Saturday?
BB: That's something to check with Nick [Caserio] on, I'm not sure.
Q: Do they use their RPOs more or it depends on if it's working or not? Carson Wentz can still run but we don't consider him a runner as much as a passer.
BB: He can definitely run. The RPOs – there's a couple different versions of them – they use both and they have. They incorporated it into their offense several years ago and continue to use them. They mix it in there. You're going to get them in every week. As you said, it might be more or less depending on how it's going, but you have to prepare for them and you're going to have to defend them. They'll definitely run some. But they have a couple different varieties of it; it's not just one way of doing it. They have a couple of different looks, so it's a challenge to the defense that way.
Q: How much does Jim Schwartz rely on pressure on defense for the Eagles?
BB: Jimmy will mix it up, it's hard to say. He'll do it and then he won't do it. Depends on the game plan and how things are going within the game, but we certainly have to prepare for it. He's not afraid to use it. It's at his discretion and he usually makes pretty good decisions on when to do it. If he wants to come after you, he'll come after you. If he wants to do something else, he'll do something else.
Q: What would you say defines their special teams under Dave Fipp?
BB: They're aggressive. They're a good kick blocking team, punts and field goals, they always have good returners. They have some good core players. They're definitely solid in that unit. Protection is an issue, coverage is an issue. They have, like I said, a solid group of core players that you have to handle.
Q: Do you expect N'Keal Harry to play on Sunday?
BB: We'll activate the players that we feel give us the best chance to compete against the Eagles.
Q: Where is he in his development? Is he on track or behind the curve?
BB: I don't know what the track is. Go out there every day and try to get better – he's done a good job of that. He's worked hard. He's improved like all of our players have that are out there working. It's what we do expect, but he's done a good job of that. He's a lot better than he was earlier in the year, even two weeks ago.
Q: Is Carson Wentz more dangerous on move-extended plays or equally dangerous inside and outside the pocket?
BB: He's a good quarterback. He can throw from anywhere. The longer the play extends, the harder it is to cover, but he can make all the throws in the pocket too. I think that's an issue.
Q: Philadelphia's defensive front gets a lot of pressure on the interior. How do they do that, especially without sending extra rushers? Also, how difficult is Brandon Graham in particular to handle? He's had some productive games against you.
BB: They're all productive. They have a good front, they're aggressive. They have their way of doing things and they're very good at it. They have good players. It looks like they've gotten some good players back there. [Tim] Jernigan played last week – add him in there. They were able to play with power, they have good quickness, good edge speed. They forced the quarterback to step up, they have good inside rushers – forced the quarterback back. They do a solid job; they always have. Jimmy's [Schwartz] always been good on defense – he did it at Buffalo, he did it at Detroit, he did it at Tennessee. They had a lot of success down there. He's consistently played his scheme at four different organizations with a high level of success at each of them. They've had multiple players and gone up against a lot of different types of offenses and so forth, and they continue to perform well. Everything's a problem, but it's not all four-man rush they challenge you with some other schemes as well – zone, man, combinations, blitz – so you've got to be ready for all of it.
Q: How much does the bye week provide the opportunity to work on big picture stuff for guys that are newer in the program, especially Mohamed Sanu?
BB: It definitely gives those guys a chance to catch up a little bit. There's no game plan, per say – getting a better foundation on terminology, fundamentals, some nomenclature, some basics. It's a good chance to go back and get those, and it's a little bit less of a cram than it is on a regular weekly preparation schedule where it's Wednesday and it's blocks on Thursday, and then blocks on Friday and Saturday, and then you get to the game and you start over again. It's a little bit of a chance to catch up, but you can't put 14 weeks into four days either. It's good, but there's still a long way to go. But he works hard at it and he's a smart kid. He's picked up a lot in a short amount of time, so that's been good.
Q: How to the Eagles use Dallas Goedert and what makes their offense a challenge when he is on the field?
BB: I think they play two tight ends more than any other team in the league. Those two guys combined play a lot. It's usually Ertz in 11-personnel but not always. Goedert plays in there a decent amount too, and obviously they're both on the field when they go to 12. They're, I would say, interchangeable. They're able to move guys around to different spots. I'd say he plays probably a little more tight end than Ertz does, but they both play it and they can both extend outside and in slot, play off each other as well as – [Nelson] Agholor is a little bit part of that too, as well as the back. They're versatile, they're obviously smart. They can do, like I said, several different things and run the same play from different formations and different looks, so it's the same but it doesn't really look the same to the defense.
Q: How different are Miles Sanders and Jordan Howard as backs in their offense?
BB: Sanders is used more in the passing game, kind of like [Darren] Sproles. I'd say it's more Sanders and Sproles are more similar. They're both explosive players, certainly can run the ball and they can run inside, run outside, make explosive plays, catch the ball, screen passes, turn check-downs into long catch-and-run plays, things like that. Howard is a tough downhill runner. He plays in the passing game too, but I'd say those guys show up more in some more explosive plays – wheel routes, seam routes, some plays down the field that are pretty challenging for the defense. They can put five good receivers out there, whoever they are, whatever personnel group they're in. They/ve got five good guys on the field and a good quarterback and a good offensive line, so they're a good offense.
Q: Does it change how you schedule your time around the bye when the team you're playing coming out of it also has a bye?
BB: Normally on a bye week, if the team played on the weekend, you would add that game and that's the most recent game, so there would be some importance, probably, and relevance depending on who they played and so forth. There would definitely be some importance to it because it's the most recent game. In this case, there's no new information after last weekend. Nothing new happened this weekend from a game standpoint, so whatever we had last week, there's very little to add to that. I guess it's a little bit unusual. Like when we played Cleveland, Cleveland had a bye week prior to our game so whatever we had on them two weeks before our game was the same as what we had on them one week before the game. We didn't have our bye, but it was the same preparation in that you just don't have that last game the week before to add. There's usually one or two games like that every year in the schedule.
Q: There's just eight on the practice squad still. Is that because you feel that you're getting enough at practice and you don't feel like you need to fill that out?
BB: It's eight, it might be nine, it might be 10, it might be seven. We had a couple of guys taken off our practice squad a couple weeks ago. Had that not happened we'd probably be looking at a different number. Both those players have been released. We'll see how it goes. We'll look at it week to week, but we're not married to anything, other than we can't go over 10 – we know that. I don't think we're married to a number, so if it's the right fit and something that helps us and we feel it's worthwhile, then we'll do it, and if not, then we'll see what comes along.