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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 11/29

Read the full transcript from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's press conference at Gillette Stadium on Friday, November 29, 2019.


November 29, 2019       

BB: Well, we're pushing through it here. Obviously, big challenge going down to Houston. Good football team. [They] do a lot of things well, we've talked about that. Kind of accelerate and put things together here today. Couple leftover items from yesterday and then moving on to our normal Friday and day-before-the-game type preparation. Go down there and just try to be ready to go. 

Q: How is the kicker situation? You guys just announced releasing Nick Folk and signing Kai Forbath.

BB: We'll do introductions so you can get to know everybody. Yeah, we'll see how it goes. We worked Kai out earlier this fall – I don't know, three or four weeks ago, whenever it was. So, we'll see how it goes.

Q: You often say, "It's the National Football League, you can lose a player at any time." How would you describe the kicker situation relative to what you've experienced in the past? It seems like it's been a challenging situation, to say the least.

BB: It has, but again, other teams in the league have gone through it. We've gone through it at other positions. It's not what you want, it's not ideal, but we'll keep going.

Q: What do you think of the work that Nick Folk did?

BB: Good, yeah we were making progress in terms of the timing and overall operation. But yeah, not bad.

Q: Is the intention to bring Nick Folk back once he's healthy?

BB: Well, right now we're going to go down and play Houston, try to go down and beat Houston. That's the intention right now. That's our goal. So, we'll worry about next week next week.

Q: Some of the guys in the locker room have said they've never seen anything like this in terms of player illnesses. Has that affected preparation?

BB: Yeah, we've had some guys miss. So, we'll see how they are today and reevaluate it after today. Would have been hard if we had played yesterday, I'd say that.

Q: When you are dealing with a situation like that, is the tougher thing being able to get through practice or making contingency plans not knowing what the next few days will hold for those players?

BB: It is what it is. We have players on the practice squad, we have players on our roster. So, if we need somebody to step in to a spot, then hopefully they're ready to do it. We'll see.

Q: You've had a couple of coughs just now, are you sick yourself?

BB: No, I feel good now. No, I think just something kind of went down the wrong way. No, I'm good.

Q: Was your coaching staff affected by this?

BB: I mean, look it's kind of hit everybody a little bit, so we'll see. We'll start doing injury reports on coaching staff. That will be the next thing.

Q: What have you noticed about the way Jake Bailey and Joe Cardona have handled the situation working with different kickers?

BB: Yeah, they've been great. Joe's got a lot of leadership, obviously ,and more experience, but Jake's mature beyond his years. He's handled everything as well or better than I could imagine anybody at his age and his experience level handling it, from the punts to the field goals to the holding to the kickoffs. He's done a great job for us. They've both played great.

Q: How much of an impact is it for them to have a good relationship and good chemistry with the kicker?

BB: It's an important relationship. We've been fortunate. We've had a lot of continuity through the years where we've been able to keep a snapper, holder and kicker together for multiple years at a time rather than switching them out every year, back and forth. Now, we've had some transition, I'm not saying that, but we've had sustained periods of four or five years where there hasn't been a lot of change. Unfortunately, there has been this year, but I think those guys are doing a great job in minimizing the amount of movement and change. Certainly, having those two guys being consistent makes it a lot easier for the kicker to come and execute.

Q: Is his maturity something you noticed about Jake Bailey during evaluation periods?

BB: I don't think you really know about those types of things about players until you actually have them and you go through enough with him to get a full sampling. You hear what other people say and so forth, but with all due respect to them, they don't know what a person was in one situation, what he is in another situation. It's not always the same thing. Sometimes the standards are different, sometimes the degree of difficulty of the situation is more or less easy or hard, depending on how it goes. So, I don't think you really know. I don't think people are trying to mislead in any way, one way or the other. But, their view of the player and our view of the player may not be the same just because of circumstances and the situation. So, we kind of reserve judgment on that – not saying we discount what's being told to us, but you kind of take it with a grain of salt.

Q: How has the team reacted without Jack Easterby this year and do you try to replace the elements of what he did? How has that role manifested itself this year without him?

BB: Without getting into a lot of specifics, whenever a person has a job and they leave, then somebody has to handle those responsibilities. It could be one person doing the same responsibilities, it could be a redistribution of the responsibilities, it could be a reorganization of how responsibilities are handled, or it could be some combination of the above. Depending on each situation, we've had people leave here every year and new people come in every year. So, each year, depending on who those people are, what their experience level is, what the position is, who the other people associate with those positions, what kind of experience level and competency and what they can do, then I would structure it based on all those circumstances.

Q: Have you noticed that locker room interactions have changed as people have gotten more involved with their phones?

BB: How could you not notice it? Unless you've been under a rock for the last two decades, it would be hard to miss it. It's the society we live in.

Q: Does it make things like team building more difficult?

BB: I mean look, its 2019. You can't turn the clock ahead 10 years, you can't turn it back 10 years. It is what it is. 2010 was 2010, 1999 was 1999, I don't know. So, you are where you are. You work with what you have to work with.

Q: Tom Brady has thrown the ball away more this season than any year before except for one. Do you see any trend or driving force behind why he's thrown the ball away more often this year?

BB: I think we look at each play, try to break it down individually and whatever the comments are on that play – the critiques, criticisms, reinforcements of positive actions on the play – then that's what we do. As far as breaking down overall trends and all that, each play is different, so I wouldn't try to lump them all into one category.

Q: Is the transition to Kai Forbath on Sunday easier or more difficult because you're playing indoors?

BB: I don't know. Wherever the games are scheduled, we play them. We don't have any control of that. Whatever it is, it is.

Q: What have you seen from John Simon's development since he's been here?

BB: Yeah, John's done a great job for us. Came in, learned very quickly, got up to speed in a few days, really. Played a lot of different roles for us, defensively and then those roles have expanded this year quite a bit, I'd say maybe a little bit surprisingly because it looked like he had quite a few roles from last year and then starting this year. But, as the season has progressed and we've emerged to where we've emerged a little bit to defensively, schematically, his roles have, I would say, expanded not contracted. Smart guy, has a lot of different skills, he's very comfortable doing a lot of things, whether it be in-line play, end-of-the-line play, coverage, special teams. He's a really smart, tough, dependable player, shows up every day, works hard, does a good job. A guy you can count on – whatever you ask him to do, you can count on it. He's going to give it to you every day, whether it's Wednesday, Friday or Sunday. That's a good thing

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