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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 11/24

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media on Tuesday, November 24, 2020.

Q: Was the decision to elevate Donte Moncrief on Sunday made in order to give Isaiah Ford a little bit more time to get comfortable in the playbook and go with a guy that has been here a little bit longer?

BB: Right, yeah, we'll continue to work Isaiah, Moncrief, all the receivers and we'll just have to go based on which player is the most ready and the most ready to help us that particular week and see who can take advantage of the opportunities – who can earn the opportunities and then take advantage of them in the game.

Q: What has it been like working with Isaiah Mack the last few weeks and how did he show up in the 11 snaps the other day?

BB: Yeah, Isaiah's been good to work with. He's a sharp kid, has a good understanding of football and has been able to pick things up pretty quickly. He had a few snaps against Texans and was in on a tackle, had a few positive plays. Certainly, some things that he needs to work on and will need more reps at, but we'll keep working with him.

Q: How explosive is this Cardinals offense from what you've been able to see as you've started to study them?

BB: Yeah, very explosive. They are as explosive as anybody we've played. They have a lot of good players – experienced offensive line, some good speed players in the passing game from [Christian] Kirk to [Andy] Isabella, a couple of great receivers with [DeAndre] Hopkins and [Larry] Fitzgerald, [Chase] Edmonds and [Kenyan] Drake are dangerous, and the tight ends, that's an explosive group there as well, plus the quarterback. So, they have a lot of guys that can make big plays, that run well. And, Kliff [Kingsbury] does a good job with the offense of getting the ball into space, getting the ball to receivers – or whether it be backs, tight ends or receivers – but getting the ball to somebody in space where they have an opportunity to make big plays. So, I think they probably make as many as anybody. They are hard to defend. They do a good job.

Q: I wanted to ask you about the character of the leadership of your players and also your coaching staff in how you've gone about responding to adversity this year. Obviously, when you're winning, it's easy to show up and work hard and do all those things with the momentum of success. But in this season, have you gained more respect for coaches and players in the way they've handled this adversity?

BB: Yes, definitely. These guys, everybody comes in here and they're ready to go and they work hard every day. I feel like we've continued to get better. Obviously, we've come up short at times and that's disappointing for all of us, but come back with a determination to try to improve that and start over again the next week. So, I have a lot of respect for the players and the staff. That's been a consistent theme all year, all the way back to the spring – the work ethic, the competitiveness, the willingness to do extra things, to put in time, to work harder to get better. It's been a good group that way.

Q: In historical terms, where do you see Larry Fitzgerald in the context of great NFL receivers?

BB: I mean, he's on the top 100 team. So, that puts him pretty high up there.

Q: I want to ask you about your recollections of Kliff Kingsbury in the year that he spent on injured reserve in the organization and some of the work that you might have done behind the scenes, getting his start in a sense on the coaching path. What do you remember about that year in particular?

BB: Yeah, well, Kliff's a smart guy. Had a really good football background. Played a different style of offense than what we had here, but very willing to learn. Did a lot of extra things, learned our offense, studied film, studied opponent defenses, just learned a lot about football. He did some projects for us and things like that. He was very good at those and you could tell he's smart and understood the game, understood concepts. He was not a guy you had to tell anything more than once, and he picked up a lot of things on his own. So, he was very, very good to have around on the team and work with.

Q: Is that reflected in what you see in his offense, today?

BB: Yeah, I mean, what we were doing offensively is quite different than what they do.

Q: In terms of his acumen, his knowledge of football, do you see it having evolved to this point in his coaching career. Is it reflective of the intelligence he showed early on?

BB: Yeah, no doubt, yeah his work ethic, intelligence and overall understanding football are good, very good. But we do, what we did then and what they do now are quite different. You still get back to fundamentals and things like that, but schematically it's quite different.

Q: Kyler Murray is at a height that used to almost disqualify you from playing NFL quarterback and he certainly is making it work. Given his game, especially his scrambling and rushing abilities, is his height almost a benefit to him being smaller and tougher to tackle?

BB: Well, I think he's elusive and hard to tackle because he's quick and he's fast and he's a very instinctive player. When you're running the ball, you're out in space. I don't know how big of a factor height is. He's got a very good arm. He throws an excellent deep ball. He's quick, but he's fast. He can he can get away from most everybody. So, you have to maintain leverage and take an angle on him or have an angle with him with multiple people that just limit the amount of space that he can work in. But, he's very dynamic player.

Q: What about as a passer? You'd look at a quarterback of his height and assume that he'd have a lot of passes batted down and things of that nature, but how does he make it work for himself in the passing game?

BB: Well, he moves in the pocket. He can slide and find space and I think we've seen plenty of examples of that – Drew Brees, [Doug] Flutie going back a ways, guys like that. They don't get many passes batted down, no more than anybody else. So, it's really about vision and quickness and being able to find a clean throwing lane. Murray can definitely do that and then he gets out of the pocket some, too.

Q: You referenced some of the projects that you had Kliff Kingsbury doing with you guys. How much can you learn about a young quarterback by how he responds to and completes those types of projects?

BB: Yeah, again, those things are a lot more for him learning than us learning. I'd say most of the things that he did we already knew. But, as part of the process, it was beneficial for him to look at certain things in more detail to help expand his knowledge and experience, and he did a great job of that. I mean, we all went through that, whether it's coaching or playing, whatever it happens to be. There's a period where you learn things that you don't know. You learn those by doing and you also learn them by observing and talking to other people who do know. Whether that be Charlie [Weis] or whatever the case might be – myself, other coaches on staff, Dante [Scarnecchia], Ivan [Fears] and so forth. So, it's just you see somebody that works hard at it, that really puts in a lot and applies the opportunity, I'd say those are the things that really stick out – Kliff's intelligence, his work ethic, his love of football, background in football, and ability to understand and apply concepts.

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