HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
VIDEO PRESS CONFERENCE
November 19, 2021
On what he saw on the team's third-and-one stop late in the third quarter:
BB: The third-and-one sack, they [the Falcons] looked like they were trying to take a shot into the endzone, hit an explosive play there, and probably go for it on fourth down, but Kyle [Van Noy] got in there and made a good play. On third-and-one, as usual, when you stop them in short yardage, it's all about penetration. We got some good penetration on both plays.
On what Kyle Dugger has improved upon the most this season:
BB: I'd put everything down there. He's a good athlete. He's a smart kid. He learns a lot. He's playing with some experienced players, especially with Devin [McCourty] and [Adrian] Phillips, but other guys in the secondary, other guys at linebacker, too, [Dont'a] Hightower, Kyle [Van Noy], Jamie [Collins], [Ja'Whaun] Bentley and those guys. He's in there with a lot of experienced players. I'm sure he's learned a lot about everything; keys, matchups, run force, pass coverage, blitzing. He soaks it all in.
On Carl Davis and Davon Godchaux's importance to the defense:
BB: Huge. They really do a good job, and to have more than one of them so that you can have somewhat of a rotation, keep them fresh, and attack the middle of the offensive line, whether it's run or pass from the guard to the guard-center gap to the center in different ways, it can be very disruptive. You have to block them on every play. It's not like a corner or an outside linebacker; somebody you can run away from or work the other side on. Those guys in the middle of the formation, the defensive tackles, the middle linebackers, they've got to deal with them on every play. The depth and the ability to have more than one guy do that has been huge. They've all done a good job.
On if a coach can teach a player to be a ball hawk like J.C. Jackson:
BB: I don't think I've ever said it couldn't be improved, but there's certainly some players who have more skill in certain areas. Some are very special with ball skills, speed, explosiveness or whatever it happens to be. I do think you can improve all those skills, but J.C. has natural hands and tracks the ball well. He has great hand-eye coordination. There's no doubt about that.
On the chemistry of this year's team in comparison to that of teams of the past:
BB: The relationship with the players is always a very special one. It's not something, as a coach, that you can orchestrate. I think it just has to happen. Hopefully, you put players together that will be able to form those kinds of relationships, trust, camaraderie, and all those things, but it's not anything you can legislate. It just kind of has to happen. I'm glad it's happening, and I'm glad they do have that feeling because I do think there's a chemistry that goes with communication, anticipation, knowing what the other guy's doing and him knowing what you're doing and being able to play aggressively with all that. It's a good thing. I'm glad they feel that way, and I'm glad that's developing. It takes time. It takes some success. It's not something you can talk about, and it magically happens. You need to back it up with some results that reinforce what you're doing, what they're feeling.
On the defense's success on short-yardage situations:
BB: I think it's a real mentality and source of pride for the defense that we're going to fight for every yard, every inch, and make you earn it. When you make goal-line stops or short-yardage stops, we've had a couple examples of that this year, it not only gives you a confidence, just as a defense, as a unit, you say to yourself, "We're going to fight for every yard, and they're going to have to earn it." Like I said, we've done that a few times this year, but I think the players take a lot of pride in it. The goal-line stand in the Dallas game, the stops last night, those are real building blocks for that. It's an area we weren't really good at last year, so it's good to see that improve some too.
On if the team factors in a player's locker room presence when evaluating free agents:
BB: We try to see what kind of person the player is on another level, how committed they are to football, what kind of worker they are, what kind of practice player they are, what they bring to the team, both on and off the field, and so forth. Each one of us has our own style, strengths, weaknesses and all that. It's not like one size fits all. That's definitely not the case, but, fundamentally, you try to bring people in that you feel like would be a good fit for your team, whether they're rookies, free agents, trades, or however you acquire them. That's what you try to do. It doesn't always work out that way, but hopefully it does. That's the intent.