HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
November 26, 2021
On if he had a good Thanksgiving:
BB: Yeah. About five pounds heavier.
On if Ted Karras' versatility playing multiple positions on the offensive line has helped the team:
BB: There's no doubt about that. In an ideal world, both your guards can play center, and then that would really give you the communication because there's a lot of pressure on the center to handle the communication on the line of scrimmage. Kind of like the quarterback, you want to handle it from the middle of the formation from the inside out. Somebody's got to make the decision, but when the guards see it the same way as the center, when they have that kind of experience, when they can recognize it in sync with the center, and then that moves the communication to the tackle and the tight end much more quickly and smoothly, and, again, if the line stems or something happens late, a lot of times those guys are the ones who really have to make adjustments if the center can't see it, or it's too late for him to do anything about it, they have to do it. Having Ted as a second center in there, that helps in a lot of areas with both recognition and communication. That's been good for us. We feel good about all the players; Shaq [Mason] and Mike [Onwenu] aren't centers, but they're good players, and that's good too. It's good to have Trent [Brown] back out there, [Isaiah] Wynn. We'll see how it goes. Ted's done a good job inside with the communication, toughness, and just playing the way Ted plays. He plays with good edge, and he's done a good job for us.
On Mike Vrabel saying the Patriots have the best rushing attack in the league:
BB: Mike's really tossing the bouquets, huh? Well, he should know a good running attack because they [the Titans] have led the league in rushing down there pretty much since he's been there. The running game is great if it's effective. Everybody likes to call running plays, but if you're gaining a yard, two yards, how many can you call. You can't just be 2nd-and-10, 2nd-and-9, 3rd-and-8 all day. The running game's great if you're making yards, and if you're not making yards, then it's hard to keep going. I think it's really a factor of production, and certainly having balance in that your attack makes it difficult for the defense to just stop one thing. You don't want to be a one-dimensional team, unless you're just so, so good at it that even though you're one dimensional, it's unstoppable. That's hard to do in this league. As long as we can run the ball productively, I'm sure we'll keep calling them. Whatever point that doesn't happen, like the Tampa game, you can't just keep calling runs and being 3rd-and-8 every down. That's disheartening to play offense that way. Backs want to run the ball. Line wants to run the ball. If we do it well, then we'll keep running it. If we don't, then we're going to have to do something else.
On the team's defensive identity:
BB: I'd like for our identity to be winning. What we need to do, we went up to Minnesota against the number one defense in the league, got in empty, and threw the ball all day. We played against Pittsburgh in the opener in whatever year that was, '02, lined up in empty, and threw the ball all day. Sometimes you've got to do things that you feel like you need to do to win. Hopefully, you have the team, ability, and enough breadth in your offense or defense or special teams to be able to do what you need to do in order to be able to handle what your opponents do well or what you need to do to stop them. I think that's really the part of it that it's hard to just go out there and run the same play all day in this league and be successful. There are just too many other good players and too many other good coaches. There's a way to stop everything. It's when you have to kind of handle everything, those are really the bigger problems. Hopefully, we can keep working to the point where we can still do that. If the defense takes something away, we can do something else, and, defensively, we're able to stop whatever it is that they have, whether it's a mobile quarterback, a good tight end, a good receiver, a good running game, a good downfield passing game, a good screen game. Whatever it is, hopefully we can match up, and we have enough schemes to be able to handle whatever it is we need to handle.
On Richard Seymour and Vince Wilfork's cases for the Hall of Fame:
BB: As I've said before, Hall of Fame is out of my control, and since there's no criteria for the Hall of Fame, it's really hard to even have a conversation about it because it's not based on anything. It's your opinion of a great player, my opinion of a great player, somebody else's opinion of a great player. I don't know what that means. Is it how many years they played? Is it All-Pros they had? Is it how many championships they won? Is it individual stats? You can make it whatever you want to make it. If there's no criteria, you can make a case for everybody. Ultimately, the voters have to decide what they're going to weigh. For me, those are two best defensive linemen that I've coached. Vince was a phenomenal player, and he was quite different from Richard. Richard was a phenomenal player and quite different from Vince, but both very dominant in their own way and kind of in their own position, even though Richard played nose his rookie year and Vince played end his rookie year. Vince is really an inside player and Richard is a three to a five-technique. Richard's almost impossible to match up against, but in a way, Vince is impossible to block in the running game, and, in the passing game, there are some guys that matched up against him, but his overall strength and athleticism for his size was pretty impressive, and because we have players like Seymour, there was less of a need to use Vince on third down. Although, we used him on third down. He had some huge plays on third down, like in the AFC championship game against Baltimore. He really won that game with his fourth quarter pass rush on [Joe] Flacco up the middle of the pocket. I think it's an interesting question. Again, in my Hall of Fame, those two guys are there without a doubt. When you start comparing apples and oranges and Vince's style of play compared to a guy like John Randle or somebody like that, they're just completely different players. Which one? Who do you like? With no criteria at all to work with at any position for any player, it's just what flavor you prefer and what flavor somebody else prefers. That's really what it comes down to. I don't know. When you're asking about judging somebody for the Hall of Fame, it's hard. I can't really make a say on that. I just think it's so much a personal perspective from the voters. The only other thing I'd add to that, relative to those two players, Vince and Richard Seymour, I think that Rodney Harrison one hundred percent belongs in the conversation. I've coached safeties that have been enshrined in the Hall of Fame, not taking anything away from them, but certainly Rodney Harrison belongs in that conversation, and he certainly belongs in the conversation with other players that are already there. Again, all that's out of my control. I'm just focusing on the Titans.
On if Rodney Harrison is in his personal Hall of Fame:
On Joe Cardona saying that Nick Folk is the epitome of a professional:
BB: I'd agree with Joe [Cardona] on that. Nick's really the ultimate team player. He's done whatever we've asked him to do. He's always ready to go, prepared, mentally tough. When he was dealing with some stuff in training camp, wasn't able to kick, he was really helpful to Quinn [Nordin] and even [Riley] Patterson when he was here the last couple weeks; just signed with Detroit. Again, very professional. He understands, at a very high level, his job, his role, and some of the other things that go with his role: the holding, the snapping, placement of kickoffs for kickoff coverage. Things like that. The wind and how it is in different stadiums, what adjustments he needs to make and things like that. Nick's really at a very, very high level of understanding the things that surround his position, and as a teammate and team member, he's as good as it gets. The role is the role. There are only a few plays that those specialists play in every game. They're not out there all the time. When they're out there, they're all critical situations, and the role really gets magnified for that particular play, but day in and day out, whatever you need him for, whether it's helping the offense, the defense, or handling his roles out there, he's always there. He's helpful, and, again, very, very knowledgeable. I've learned a lot from Nick Folk. I'll say that. I've learned a lot. He's really taught me a lot of little things that, honestly, I hadn't really thought that much about, and once he pointed them out, I was kind of disappointed in myself that I didn't put a little more importance on it earlier. Yeah. He's really good.