PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
November 4, 2022
BB: Alright, good morning. Happy Friday. How's business?
Q: Good. Great.
BB: Good. Kicking, great.
Q: Mac's [Jones] ability to run has kept some plays alive and moved the chains. How much has that been, I don't want to say a revelation, but is that something that has grown since he's been here or is it something that's always there?
BB: Well, I think he's got a pretty good feel for that. A lot of it is just really feel and decision. Some of its athletic ability too, but a lot of it is just seeing it through the right time. Tom [Brady] did a good job of that. He didn't run very often, but when he did, like last year against us, he got us on that third-and-four or whatever it was. [Peyton] Manning same thing, didn't run very often, but he catches you at the right time, those guys can hurt you. The guys that are really good runners, you know about, and the guys that aren't, it's just decisions and recognition of the situation.
Q: Is he sort of in the middle of those categories still? I feel like he runs fairly well, he was sub-five in the 40.
BB: Well yeah, I mean again there is varying degrees of all that, size, speed, athleticism, quickness, running skill. Lot of shades of grey in there, I don't know.
Q: In watching RPOs, are there elements of the wishbone there, thinking pre and post snap decision making, quarterback right at the line of scrimmage with the ball in his hands?
BB: In terms of three options that's exactly what it is. Sometimes it's two, sometimes it's three, right? So, in the wishbone you had the fullback, the quarterback, the pitch. Now you have the dive, the quarterback and instead of the pitch, it's some type of pass pattern to a guy in the flat or a bubble screen, or that type of thing. Sometimes it's run or throw but then there are times when it's run, quarterback reads the end as part of the run and then either he runs or he throws. So, there is a dual element to the RPOs and sometimes there's really a three-way decision. Teams are doing the inside, outside, where they're doing the sweep to one side and RPO, or keep, or whatever counter-play back to the other side. And then, teams like Baltimore. We did it with Cam [Newton] too, where you have the outside play, and the quarterback keeps it inside. As an outside to inside, instead of inside to outside, just reverse that. Who are you RPOing? Are you RPOing the end or are you RPOing a three technique? So, there's multiple versions of that. Another element of that in the RPO is the hiding behind the coverage, right? So, you can RPO it inside to outside with a blocker or you can run a play and then have somebody come in behind them. So, if the linebacker comes up, you throw it to the guy behind them, if the linebacker drops off, you hand it off, that kind of thing. So, there's multiple varieties of that. The Colts have really shown all of it. It was only one week, but they did it all against Washington. They had the three-option plays and they had multiple two-option plays. The play they scored on was the sweep, right? But then they also had the shuffle pass. So had the defense widened, then they would've shuffled it inside to the tight end. Which we saw that from Pittsburgh. They did a similar thing, multiple times. It doesn't really involve the quarterback running, right? So, he either gives it to the sweep or he pitches it into the shuffle guy. So, two and three options.
Q: How much growth have you seen from Jonathan Jones as a leader now that's grown into one of the longest tenured guys in the secondary on the team?
BB: Yeah, [Jonathan] Jon's [Jones] always been great. He started off in the kicking game, worked his way into roles defensively, and now is on the field a lot defensively. But, I mean it's been since pretty early, maybe his third year, he always had leadership in the kicking game and then defensively, that's kind of grown as his play time and his role has grown. But yeah, he's great, he's tough, well-prepared, smart kid. Multiple positions inside and outside. He's also played safety for us. Played in every, except for the field goal team, he's been on every special teams unit, big four, field goal rush, good rusher off the edge. His playing strength for his size is good. Speed's very good, instincts, quickness, good tackler. A good player and really good off the field preparation and communication. Myles [Bryant] has done a good job inside there too which that's helped allow Jon to play more on the perimeter with the emergence of Myles as an inside player.
Q: I know you've got a few former players on your staff right now. Is there anyone on the current roster that kind of jumps out to you as a future coach?
BB: Yeah, I don't know. You know a lot of that is what the player wants to do. Honestly, I think, most of our players right now are probably thinking about playing. Then when the time comes, then see where those paths take. Some of those are family related, location, lifestyle and so forth. So, I don't know. It's a good question.
Q: On Monday Matthew Slater was talking about your communication skills as being one of your major strengths and the ability to communicate with the different generations of players as you've obviously gone through your career. What do you see as being kind of the key to changing and meeting players where they are while maintaining the kind of consistency that we see from you on a daily basis?
BB: Yeah, I don't know. It's a flattering comment, but look, I just try to help the players and team however I can. So, whatever that is, that's my job, that's what I try to do. Whether it's a technique thing, whether it's an awareness thing, whether it's a situational thing, whether it's some type of training or professional football lifestyle. I have seen a lot of different examples of all different aspects of professional football. I've coached a lot of different players, positions, situations, start of career, mid-career, end of career, injuries. Not too many that I haven't seen. So, if I can help a player then I'll try to help them.
Q: Are there key differences now in how you coach this generation of players versus previous generations of players?
BB: Yeah, well what do you think? It's no different than society. We just have a slice of those players on the football team. But in the end, the most important thing is the importance of football and the commitment to football. If you're in the NFL and you want to be a good football player and you want to have a football career and that's a high priority for you, then a lot of the football things come to the front. Different personalities, different lifestyles, different things going on socially with kids that age now then from 10, 20, 30, whatever, how many years ago. But once you get to football, there's a lot of football that a lot of it's the same. That's changed too but a lot of it's the same. But again, my job is just to try to help them, help the players, help the team anyway I can. Whether that's a coach, a player, group of players in whatever aspect of that is. If I can help them, then I try to help them. It's good for the team.
Q: Have you seen technology and new phones has changed the dynamic in the locker rooms or meetings, whether it be the way people interact and even their attention spans?
BB: Of course. It's no different than what we deal with outside of football, that part of it, yeah. It's totally different. We're all different there. Alright, thank you. Thanks. See you Sunday.