HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
VIDEO PRESS CONFERENCE
November 15, 2021
On Christian Barmore:
BB: Christian's a strong player. He's also got good length, so a combination of those two things can create some power and leverage against the offensive linemen. Cleveland's got a pretty big group. Their guards are pretty long. Two of them are 6'5", some of the longer guys in the league, but Barmore is a powerful player, and he's really been kind of doing that all year for us.
On N'Keal Harry's blocking:
BB: I thought he did a good job for us. N'Keal's got good size, a competitive blocker. Cleveland played a lot of loaded fronts there with the safety [Ronnie] Harrison down in the box. For the receivers, somebody's got to block those guys. Multiple players have to do it, but N'Keal had a number of opportunities to block them, and I thought he blocked competitively.
On his teams traditionally peaking at the right time:
BB: Believe it or not, we try to play well all the time. Maybe it doesn't look that way, but we actually try to. This week, it'll just be about getting ready for Atlanta, another NFC team that we don't know very well. We'll do our best that we can to prepare and familiarize ourselves with the players as well as the schemes and be ready to go on Thursday night, so we're trying to peak on Thursday this week.
On knowing his team better as the season progresses:
BB: Of course you know more about your team in October than you know in September. More in November than you do in October. As things declare, as you get more experience with your team and your players and how they all fit together, and then along with that, sometimes, you have some lineup changes, whether that could be a player coming back, a player who is not in the lineup who was there earlier that you have to make adjustments or some kind of compensation for. That's all part of weekly coaching, game planning in the NFL. That happens all the time, but you learn more about your team as you go further down the road. I think each year has its own dynamics. Each team develops its own unique way. Sometimes there's carry over, sometimes there isn't, or there's similarities. Sometimes I don't know if you know that until it's all over. Sometimes you just have to take it week-by-week, try to figure out what that specific year, this year's team, what we need, what we need to do. Things that we're maybe fairly good at that we want to try to build on. Things that we're not so good at that we need to improve or maybe get rid of and do something else. I think, really, it's something that you kind of have to take week-by-week, and, whenever you add it all up, you can add it all up and look back on it. It's a lot more in the moment than it is us thinking about, "Well, this is where we want to be five weeks from now". God, I don't even know who we play five weeks from now. I don't even know who's going to be playing five weeks from now. A lot could change between now and then, so it's kind of hard to look at it that way, but you do want to keep improving every day, every week, and certainly at a later point in the season. Hopefully, some of the work that we're doing now will pay off.
On Ted Karras' improvement over the years:
BB: Ted was pretty consistent for us and still is. I think that's one of the great things about Ted Karras. You get pretty much the same person, the same player, the same level of communication, aggressiveness, play, every single day. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday. Whatever it is we're doing, you're going to get Ted's best, and you're going to get a consistent level of play. It's not always perfect, like it isn't with anyone, but it's pretty consistent, and he's pretty dependable. He's going to give you his absolute best in every situation. He's been like that for quite a while, probably since his first or second year, once he understood everything that we were doing and was familiar with all the calls and adjustments and all that. It's been pretty consistent since then.
On if the team's receivers have the option to change their routes post-snap:
BB: Well, we have option routes in our offense, probably like most teams do. Any time you have an option route, you've got to have space for the option runner to go, so that takes into account the other parts of the pattern. You don't want to give a receiver an option and then have him beat his guy to run right into somebody else. That's not really good for anybody, the quarterback or the receiver, so if he has an option route, he would have it with space so that whichever way he wins on the option, that it's clear, and then routes where he doesn't have options, he or any other receiver would need to go to the general area of their route. The technique may vary based on the leverage or the coverage that the defense is playing, but they have to go to their route because there's somebody else that's occupying a space or is going into a space that they need to clear out. You have a player on the right side going out. You have a player on the left side going in. You can't give the guy on the right side an option to go in or they'll just run right into each other. There are plays for both, and, generally speaking, if a team plays inside leverage on a certain coverage, then you have an out-breaking route on one side they should win and an inside breaking out on the other side that they should out-leverage. If the team is playing outside leverage, then vice versa. They should win the outside leverage, although, the receiver is still going to run a technique to beat it, but on paper, the defense should win on outside leverage if you're running outside, and we should win inside leverage if they're playing outside. Sometimes, there are other players that help, like dropping in the middle and creating an extra presence in there to help the outside leverage players. Then, that goes to some other concept that you would need to be able to defeat that, whether it's a double inside or something that gets across the help or something like that.
On the process of building the team with so many new players:
BB: Every year is a challenge. Every week's a challenge. I think that's always going to be there. The formation of this team is a little different than some other teams we've had recently. In the end, football is football. You ultimately want to try to get your team, coaches, players, offense, defense, special teams to perform in a certain way, and, as your team develops, again, as we said earlier, some things you do better than others and you always want to try to, I would say, focus on those, but not to the point of being easily predictable so that the other side of the ball can take advantage of it, so you have to create some type of balance somehow. You can't just keep doing the same thing over and over in this league for very long. Whoever the players are, wherever they came from, whether they were here, not here, whatever it is, each year has its own development, both as units and individually. How that comes together and how it happens is unique, but we just take it as it comes and try to make the best out of it that we can and try to help the players continue to improve and help our units improve.
On if it is gratifying to see most of the team's free agent signings this past offseason and rookie class succeed on the field:
BB: Again, we'll see. I think that's probably a later conversation. Right now, what would be gratifying is to play well and beat Atlanta, and that's really what we need to do. Whatever the rest of it is or isn't, I don't know. We'll see. We'll see how it is against Atlanta. I don't know.
On Cordarrelle Patterson and if he knew Patterson was capable of being a dual-threat player:
BB: Yeah. Absolutely. CP [Cordarrelle Patterson] is capable of really, with the ball in his hands, pretty much anything on the field. He's a tremendous player. We certainly saw that when we were here. He's dynamic. He can break the game open on kick returns, catching the ball, and running the ball or a combination of both. He did that for us. He's done that for every team he's been with in the league. He's tough. He's a very competitive player, and he's got a very good and explosive skill set. He's a problem. When you talk about Atlanta, it's Patterson and [Kyle] Pitts in whatever order you want to put them in. They both touch the ball a lot. Really, Patterson touches it more than Pitts does, but they're both really good, and, when they get it, they're a big problem. CP is having a tremendous year. No play he makes really surprises me. I've seen him make those before. He runs by guys on go-routes. He takes short runs or passes and explosively breaks tackles or busts through a hole and chews up 25, 30 or more yards in a hurry. He's got excellent hands, big hands. He's a big guy. Hard to overthrow or hard for the quarterback to miss him, and [Matt] Ryan doesn't miss many anyway. He's an excellent target with good hands and a strong, powerful man that's very hard to tackle. He's a really good football player, and him and Pitts have given the Falcons a lot of offensive production, and they've also created, I'd say, a lot of opportunities for other players because you're so focused on them. With [Mike] Davis in there too as the third guy, all those guys are guys that see the ball a lot and they're all a big problem when they get it.
On how he prepares his team for Thursday night games:
BB: It's really about, for the coaching staff to the players, learning about your opponent. You have less time to make decisions. From a coaching standpoint, you need to make good decisions. You need to make them quickly. If you give the team a poor game plan or poor direction, then it's really hard for them to overcome that. There's pressure on both coaching staffs to do that, and, again, Atlanta is a hard team to get ready for. They do a number of different things, both offensively and defensively. You have to make a decision, whether you're going to put your chips on, "They do a lot, but this is what we think they're going to do" Or, "Cover everything and be light on something they end up doing a lot of." Again, from the players' standpoint, today's Thursday for us really for a Sunday game, and we haven't even been given the scouting report yet. It's a lot of information for the players to absorb of the individual players, the schemes, and then situational football; again, another thing that Coach [Arthur] Smith and the Falcons are very good at, so familiarizing ourselves with situational players that really different from, let's call it normal plays, that's something we'll have to really study hard too. Both teams have the same schedule, so it is what it is. It's just cramming a lot of information in a short amount of time and making good decisions that you don't want to clutter things up, but at the same time, you don't want to be unprepared. That's the fine line of it.