HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
November 29, 2021
On if he has seen any patterns over the team's six-game winning streak:
BB: I think each game has got its own kind of dynamics. I'd say it always starts with if we don't turn the ball over and we can take the ball away from our opponents, that's always a good thing. Field position in the kicking game, that's always a good thing too. Each game is a little bit different. I don't know. There are things we need to do better from yesterday, and we did some good things. I think that's true of the other games all year honestly. Some of the outcomes are what they are. We'll try to focus on correcting things we need to correct and doing them better, coaching them better, reinforce some things that we did well, and try to continue to do those.
On Kendrick Bourne's first quarter and third quarter touchdowns:
BB: I think, firstly, it was really just a good concentration play. They blitzed us. Mac [Jones] did a good job of getting the ball out. There was a free rusher off the edge. They brought six. We only have five blockers in there. We had to get out. He did a good job, made a tight throw, and KB went up. It was good coverage, but he was able to stay with the ball. Good concentration and came down with it. On the touchdown run, it was a good run-after-catch. He made a nice play avoiding the first tackler, then Jakobi [Meyers] screened off the second tackler, and then he stiff-armed [Jayon] Brown going into the endzone, so it was a good finish on the play. KB's just got to keep working. He's improved in a lot of areas. There are still things, whether it's our system or from a technical standpoint, but like all receivers, there's always the need to work on timing and execution with the quarterback and other receivers in the route pattern, so on and so forth. We'll just keep doing that.
On Kendrick Bourne's coachability:
BB: I think he's been very coachable. We can see some improvement in the things that he's doing on a number of levels throughout the course of the year. I think if he keeps working hard and continues, which he has, he is a hard-working kid, if he continues to work hard and pay attention to little details, that there's still a lot of room for improvement as well. I really respect the way he's tried to do what we've asked him to do. It's certainly gone in the right direction.
On Jamie Collins' injury status:
BB: We'll see how it goes. He wasn't eligible. We'll see where we are this week. He's working hard. He does everything that he can every day. I'm sure he'll be out there as soon as he can.
On the team's emphasis on forcing more fumbles over the past few games:
BB: We hadn't gotten any fumbles out in, I don't know, however many games it was. We went back and looked at a lot of things and tried to address it. We were losing the ball as well, so we just tried to address things as a team. I think we've done a better job of coaching. The assistant coaches and myself, I think we've all done a better job of coaching it. I think the players understand what we're trying to do. There's much more evidence of them doing what we're asking them to do, and they're having better results. If we had probably coached it better at the beginning, we might've had better results in the beginning. I don't know.
On if the coaches teach the players moves to help them gain more yards:
BB: Yeah. Absolutely. We work on all that. We work on gaining extra yards. We work on preventing extra yards. Stiff arm is a good tool for a runner, and we have to defend a stiff arm defensively. We'll see plenty of runners that will stiff arm us and in the kicking game. That's another technique. I think there's a way to do it, and that's how you want to try to do it on both sides of the play. We talk about all those; runners that stiff arm, runners that spin, runners that drop their pads, runners that jump cut, and we do it as well, obviously. Running and tackling are two of the most important fundamentals in the game. We talk about them all the time and so is ball security. There's not very long that goes by in any conversation where one of those three things don't come up: tackling, running, and ball security.
On how valuable Cody Davis has been in the kicking game:
BB: Really valuable. He plays a lot of key roles for us, starting with personal protector on the punt team, but he's involved in everything as are several core players in that area. I thought the special teams was really a big jump start in the game. First play, Cody gets held there by, I think it was [Nick] Dzubnar, so that put them back. Then we followed that up with a sack. They had about a 60-something yard net punt, but their two penalties on the play, one was an illegal formation, I think it was [Khari] Blasingame, and then the gunner was in motion on the gunner motion, so that turned into a re-kick, which Gunner [Olszewski] handled, and I think we got about 30-something yards of field position on that exchange, 33, 35. I forget what it was. During the kickoff coverage, the punt return, well the re-kick, the punt return set the offense up in good field position there to start the game inside the 40, whatever it was. Those kicking plays were really important there. Hopefully, we can continue to get those, and it's always critical, especially this time of year, and it seems like they just pop up more frequently.
On when the coaches can tell if a player will have a high motor in the NFL and J.C. Jackson's punch out fumble:
BB: Sometimes you can see that in scouting a player. Regardless, it's something we always emphasize, and I think our players do a good job of that, playing to the whistle and playing all out. It was very similar to the Jon Jones-[Nick] Chubb play in Cleveland. Number one, those plays all start with speed, so if you're not fast enough to catch the guy, then there's not going to be a punch out. Most of those punch out plays are from the back side or strips, depending on how they do it, what the technique is. Both are effective. It really comes down to the player having more speed that the guy who's running with the ball, those from-behind plays. Then there are plays where you're coming from the side or in front, the ways to strip the ball out, but that one in particular starts with speed, and the guys who are faster players know that that's something that they can really work on, and they can really utilize that tool because they're going to be able to do that. Now sometimes the defensive linemen and linebackers, guys like that, there's an ailment of those plays. Sometimes it's tackling a receiver as he's catching the ball, which is a coming-from-behind situation, or it's a defensive lineman or a linebacker coming from the back side on a running play as a runner is going through the line of scrimmage. They kind of have that same opportunity. It really comes down to the player's awareness and decision-making. A lot of times it comes in just a fraction of a second of, "Can they make the tackle? Can I also get the ball out? Has somebody else already made the tackle so I can just dive for the ball because I feel confident the runner's already in control?" Those very quick decisions they have to make. We try to instruct them all on that and practice it the best we can. I think they do a pretty good job of that. A lot of times when the runner leaves the ball away from his body, sometimes it kind of reminds the defender, "Hey, I have a chance here." That's happened to us on the other side of the ball a couple times as well. We've got to keep reminding ourselves it's not the guy you see sometimes. It's the guy you can't see. Ball security is important twenty-four/seven, not just on the guy that you see in your vision.
On how much the team relishes the opportunity to compete in Buffalo for the top spot in the division:
BB: Of course. It's a huge challenge. We know that. When the schedule comes out, it's always going to be tough in New York, Miami, Buffalo. Division games on the road are always challenging. We look forward to every game: home, away, neutral site. Wherever they are, we'll be ready to go and be ready to compete. Buffalo's a great team. Sean [McDermott] has done a great job with his team, being with the organization, team building, so forth. We have a lot of respect for Buffalo and what they've accomplished, what they are, how they play. We're going to have to play our best game. We know that. That's what we're going to prepare to do.
On Jalen Mills' ability to fit into the team's program:
BB: Jalen's kind of the defensive Kendrick Bourne. High-energy, always ready to go, very durable, tough, out there all the time. He has a good, physical style of play, generally tackles well in the running game, jams receivers and has good instincts. He's around the ball. He's done a nice job for us. It's a different system than what he played in in Philadelphia, but I think he's adapted to it well. He's a good all-around football player. He's good in all areas and continues to learn a little bit more about the system that he's in and also working with teammates like Myles [Bryant] as opposed to Jon Jones earlier in the year. Myles has done a good job, but it's just a different player there, and so there's a little bit of getting familiar, getting comfortable with the communication, bunches, stacks, crossing receivers, things like that. That's something that I'd say all of our defensive backs have embraced. Myles has done a good job for us, and they've all kind of fit together, communicated pretty well. Generally, decent coverage. Obviously, we'll be tested this week against Buffalo's passing attack, but Jalen's been a really solid addition for us. I'm glad we have him. I love his versatility and his overall play style.
On Jonnu Smith:
BB: Jonnu's been a good player for us all year. He brings a level of toughness in the running game and explosiveness with the ball in his hands. Even when he doesn't have the ball in his hands, he's still an explosive player in the passing game that the defense has to respect, and if they don't, he'll big-play them. If they do, a lot of times that creates space for other players. I thought his in-line blocking, which is something he's always done very well, continues to be a strength for him and us. When he has the ball in his hands, he's a fast player that's big, explosive, and hard to tackle. Love to see him with the ball in his hands in space. He have us some big plays early in the game to kind of help get us going there, which is always a good thing.