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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 11/18

Read the full transcript from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's press conference on Friday, November 18, 2022.


November 18, 2022

Q: How significant has the construction affected things in the kicking game?

BB: It's affected it. Yeah, it's affected it. We haven't had a lot of big wind though. A little bit in Indy but not much earlier in the season. It's pretty calm, but we'll see. It sounds like we could get some on Sunday.

Q: Has it been different week to week depending upon where things are with the construction?

BB: No, I think it depends on where the wind comes from.

Q: What does [Michael] Palardy on the practice squad, the punter, what does he have going for him as a punter? What does he do well?

BB: He's been a good punter, a good athlete. High school quarterback, kicked off, punted. It was good to have him here last week with getting ready for [Matt] Haack.

Q: Does he hold?

BB: Yep, a high school quarterback. He's done it, and he's kicked. So, this a pretty athletic kid.

Q: Historically your team is usually pretty good coming off a bye. How important is it for you and your staff to get that extra work in for that week to make sure they're ready to go coming off of two weeks?

BB: Yeah, I hope we are better than we were last year. So, just take it year by year.

Q: Can I ask you about Raleigh Webb and when he first came on your radar, and what you've seen in his transition to New England?

BB: He played against us. I think he was active twice, but one was against us and matched up against, obviously, a couple guys that we have. So, after Cody [Davis] got hurt we thought that he would be able to give us some depth in that position in the kicking game. Obviously, he's an offensive player, Cody's a defensive player, but neither one of them have played that much in either of those spots. But in the kicking game, he gives us a little bit of depth for where we lost Cody. So, he came on our radar more after we saw him. Watched him in pre-season, then we prepared for him, then saw him in our game. Then didn't really have a spot but then when we had a spot, then things changed.

Q: The schedule sometimes works out like this where you see a team in this case the Jets just a couple of weeks ago. Just wondering how much the first game influences the second? Do you just call upon that and remind your guys things or is there a lot of new teaching to do about this team, given what you have seen in the week between?

BB: Yeah, I think you start your preparations all over again. We put everything we had into the Colts game. That game's done so start all over again. Get back to the keys and tendencies and things that the Jets do. Forget about the Jets and then move on to the next team. It's hard to play a team and remember all the things that you did a week or two weeks ago. Yeah, there are some basic things that come back to you. All the little details that you spend the whole week on, you kind of forget those and apply them to whatever those things are to the next team. Then when that's over, you forget those and move on. So, obviously some things carry over. I'm not saying that. But they don't carry over team to team. I mean its new players, new, different matchups, different ways that utilize their people and so forth. So, it's new every week.

Q: Kind of going back to the special teams theme here, some of the inconsistency that it looks like there's been with the punt game for you guys. Is there anything you've been able to kind of put your finger on when it comes to Jake [Bailey]? Is it Jake the individual? Is it the operation there that's led to maybe some of the up and down nature of what we've seen there?

BB: Yeah, I mean it's been good and then it hasn't been consistent. So, it's not like it's all bad, not like it's all good. It's just – it's inconsistent so I think there's a number of areas we can improve in, we've got to improve in. But each person's got to do – obviously, it starts with the specialist but there's other things that we need to improve in. Punt team and kickoff coverage as well. Although, I think he's kicked off fairly well this year.

Q: Is there something that he and Joe [Cardona] specifically could do to be more consistent?

BB: Joe Cardona?

Q: Yeah.

BB: I mean again, it's just like any technical thing, a golf swing or a punter or whatever. There's mechanics and consistency and execution of it. Again, there's plenty of talent there and there's been some rainbows out there like there always have been. So, work harder and make it more consistent.

Q: Another special teams one for you. You were describing Palardy and his athletic ability. How important is athleticism over all? Being a place kicker, I think about the early days of soccer style kickers and thinking of Garo Yepremian trying to throw the ball in the Super Bowl. It seems like it's changed with these guys who've played multiple positions in high school and are overall much more athletic. Is that a fair assessment and how important is overall athleticism for you?

BB: Yeah, some are, and some aren't. I mean the most important thing is the ball goes through the uprights. That's number one. Then kickoffs are number two. Then probably athleticism, and all that is number three. So, if a guy's putting it through the uprights all the time, you're probably pretty happy with him. If you have a guy that can also be a good kickoff, then whatever that is whether that's distance, direction, hang time, however you want to define it. But if he's good in that area then you're probably pretty happy with that, too. And anything on top of that is probably a bonus. I mean you don't keep a kicker because he's a good athlete and he can't kick a ball through the uprights. That doesn't make any sense.

Q: You've described your kickers in the past as football players, Adam [Vinatieri], Stephen [Gostkowski]. I mean Nick [Folk] seems to be one of those guys who fits in well to the fabric of the team. How important is that as specialists creating more as team members as you will?

BB: Yeah, I mean it's a good team dynamic. It hasn't always been the case. But I'd say the thing about Stephen and Adam, was like in the offseason program they worked out with the other players. It wasn't just a specialist workout kind of thing. Which I've been in those where honestly some of those players weren't capable of doing what our mainstream guys will do. So, modify it down to more like what I'm doing. But yeah Nick's training has really – he's really put a lot into it since he's been here. I can't speak to what it was or wasn't before but in talking to him I think it's definitely more intense than what it was. He thinks it's helped him. I think it's helped him. He looks good. He's produced well. I bet Adam worked out with everybody. Stephen did, too. Those guys have ended the conversation sometimes in the offseason program awards which is at least representative of competitive offseason training. So, punters, I'd say their athleticism is usually a little bit more involved than the kickers because they actually have to handle the ball. They're I'd say more involved with the snap, and the kicker doesn't have to handle the ball, so his hands don't have to be an issue. You know, a punter without good hands is problematic, especially around here, not playing in a dome. So, then a punter's ability to hold also relates to the hands. Not every punter holds, but if he doesn't then you have to get somebody else that can. That guy plays the position then that could be somewhat problematic, too. So, I'd say the athleticism of a punter I would put higher on the priority list than the athleticism of a kicker in general.

Q: You mentioned late in the summer that you felt that the team was as healthy as a team it's ever been at that point. How healthy is the team now relative to the past years as you see it?

BB: Well, you get to the middle of the season, nobody is 100% healthy. Everybody's kind of banged up and all that. But we've got a lot of guys out there, a couple guys dealing with things, but overall not bad.

Q: Bill Murray was elevated from the practice squad a few weeks ago. What kind of progress have you seen from him in the move to offensive line from where he was in training camp to where is now?

BB: Yeah, good. Good. It's unfortunate that he wasn't able to put a full training camp and even regular season together. It's kind of been in spurts. But lately it's been good. You know his training's good. I mean he looks great physically. And of course, our practices are cut down now, one padded practice a week and that kind of thing. So, the opportunity for those players developmental O and D-lineman, linebackers, tight ends is just limited. In the line of scrimmage blocking and pass protection, you know all those kinds of things. Receivers and DBs can run routes and cover and that but the development of the bigger guys in the interior part of the line is just limited. So, Bill does all he can. Nobody works harder than that kid and he's again, physically, he looks great and was impressive. His training's very impressive. But like a lot of young guys what they really need are snaps, and so he gets as many as he can. So, making progress.

Q: We've seen I don't know maybe the past couple weeks the tight ends be used in the backfield a little bit and I know sometimes that's out of the shotgun so it's not necessarily like a traditional fullback I think by any means. I know in the past I think we've heard you say that sometimes the fullback and the tight end, their blocking rolls are similar even though their alignments are different. Would you feel comfortable using Hunter [Henry] or Jonnu [Smith] like in more of a traditional fullback role at times?

BB: They're both pretty versatile players. Yeah, they could probably do that. I think they're tight ends not fullbacks but could they line up in the backfield and do some of the things that a fullback usually does? Yeah, I would think so.

Q: Is that like a demeanor thing for a tight end to be? Obviously, there's a physical skill set involved too that you need to do to take on that role but is there something about their approach, their demeanor, that would allow them to do some of that stuff?

BB: Yeah, I think their demeanor is fine. It's just you see the game from a different point of view, that's all. Instead of being six inches away from the guy you're five yards away from him, or it could be a little more and then there's a lot of stuff that's happening in front of you. When you line up six inches away from the guy there's not too much – the other guy is outside or he's inside. He might move a little bit when the ball is snapped but he's not going to be lined up over the center and up over the tight end. By the time you get to the line of scrimmage, like a linebacker could flow for a fullback or things like that. There's a spatial element to it. You know, it's just a little bit different. There's certainly a lot of physical similarities I think when you look at fullbacks and tight ends. Tight ends are usually taller, a little longer, usually better in the passing game. Fullbacks are usually a little stockier and more compact type guys. But you know there's a little bit of variation in that. But just generally speaking, that's a profile similar. Weights are similar. A lot of times they have similar roles in the kicking game, play similar positions in the kicking game. I'm saying throughout the course of the league. If you look at a cross section of those guys throughout the league, some tight ends play in the backfield and some fullbacks play on or close to the line of scrimmage. Yeah.

Q: I know you're working on the Jets here.

BB: Right, we are. Yeah, we are.

Q: I'm sure you saw the Bills Browns game got moved to Detroit because of the weather. I'm wondering in your experience, have you had any games moved for teams you've coached due to the weather in specifics and what memories do you have of those?

BB: I don't think so. Yeah, I don't think so. I mean one year we went to Pittsburgh a day early for the playoffs when we felt like traveling the day before the game was going to be problematic. But yeah, I'm really not that familiar with it. I don't know. I can't remember the last time I've heard a forecast for six feet of snow or whatever it is, I don't know. So yeah, I'm worried about the Jets.

Q: Are you going to wear your shorts out at practice again today or is it getting too cold for that?

BB: Wasn't bad yesterday. Thick skin. Alright great, thank you. See you Sunday.

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