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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 11/6

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media on Friday, November 6, 2020.

Q: What have you noticed from rookie left tackle Mekhi Becton as you've studied the Jets?

BB: Yeah, he's impressive. He's got tremendous size, good feet, moves well. He's got some devastating blocks. So, very talented player that you see him getting better every week, but he's got pretty special ability.

Q: Watching a left tackle of that size, does it bring you back to anyone in the past that stood out to you from a pure size standpoint?

BB: Yeah, I don't know, but he's big and athletic.

Q: Obviously, you've never coached him, but have you had much connection with Frank Gore over the years?

BB: Yeah, tremendous amount of respect for Frank. He's had a great, great career – incredibly durable, tough, consistent. He has a great playing style. I know he gives great leadership and toughness to the teams he's been on – I mean, that's really legendary. But, yeah, I have a tremendous amount of respect competing against him. He's had one of the great careers at his position in the National Football League. Just very, very impressive.

Q: Did you ever get a chance to catch up other than like on the field after a game? Have you ever had much time to connect with him, whether it be like a Pro Bowl or anywhere around?

BB: A little bit. Not too much.

Q: With a run of injuries at the tight end position, is there any thought to flip Rashad Berry from defensive end to tight end, based on his history at Ohio State?

BB: Yeah, definitely. He played that position for two years at Ohio State. Rashod's a very willing player, willing to do whatever he's asked to do. So, yeah, I mean, at this point, when you have to try to create depth on your roster, those are the kind of options that you'd want to look at.

Q: What have you seen from Sam Darnold this year? How have you seen him grow since he's entered the league, and what are some of the physical tools that he has that make him a tough guy to defend?

BB: Yeah, he's got a lot of physical tools – big, strong guy, hard to tackle. Like a Josh Allen, kind of – big, strong player like that. He had some impressive runs, impressive scrambles, like in the Denver game. He shows a lot of toughness. He'll hang in there and throw the ball. He's obviously well-coached and they do a lot of different things in terms of audibles and changing plays and things like that. I mean, he shows a pretty good awareness at the line of scrimmage to make the right check to get out of a bad play or to get into a good play and that type of thing. So, yeah, I think there's been a lot of growth with him, and I think Adam [Gase] has done a good job with him. He's steadily improved from an execution standpoint and understanding and so forth, but he has quite a bit of physical talent. As I said, can make all the throws and is hard to tackle in the pocket, or out of the pocket, for that matter.

Q: How have you seen Michael Onwenu continue to develop here in his rookie season and build on his great play?

BB: Yeah, Mike's a hardworking kid. He takes coaching well. Whatever you ask him to do, he tries very hard to do it and is a real smart kid that can correct mistakes and pick things up the second time around. It might be something he hasn't seen that he doesn't maybe react to as quickly to the first time, but after he's seen it and after he's had a chance to gain some experience – which he's gained a lot of experience both playing guard and tackle – his awareness and physicality, technique. Just he's a good football player and he's shown the versatility to play two different spots, guard and tackle – which, in this league, as a rookie, different sides of the line, it's really been impressive.

Q: You talked about the need for practice time to develop the type of continuity and consistency to bring results on Sunday. As you've gotten more practice under your belts here, do you feel that you're heading in the right direction in that realm and is that continuity being developed amongst the group?

BB: Yeah, absolutely. Nothing helps a football team more than practice. So, that's really where we have the best chance to improve and we are improving and we're working hard to do that. So, we need to work hard in all areas – players, coaches, all three units and so forth. So, absolutely, practice is extremely beneficial to making progress and getting things done better than the way we were doing them or the way we are currently doing them. That's how you improve. So, that's been very important, and I'm glad we've had the opportunity to get back to doing that more recently. Hopefully we can continue that. We certainly need to.

Q: Devin McCourty talked yesterday about the respect that he has for Adrian Phillips and Patrick Chung in their ability to step into a linebacker role out of their typical secondary spots. When you're putting those players in that position, what are you looking for from them? What allows for them to have success going up against guys that may be bigger and stronger in those roles?

BB: Well, it's really a level of comfort and instinctiveness with those players. Some players are very good in those situations and make good quick in-line decisions of where the ball is, where the blockers are and where the responsibility is and so forth. Other players see the game better or maybe differently from a different location, whether it's a corner deeper in the field and so forth. So, yeah, both those guys are good players in the box. They make good decisions. They recognize things quickly. They're tough, they're aggressive. At times, they're overmatched in terms of size, but in terms of quickness, they certainly have an advantage over the bigger linemen when there's a little more space involved. So, it just really depends on what the situation is, who might have the advantage there. Yeah, Adrian's done an excellent job for us. We've asked him to do a number of different roles, as well as play close to the line of scrimmage, and he's done a nice job for us.

Q: It seems from watching Michael Onwenu that he's pretty adept at the combination blocks How difficult and impressive is it that he's been able to master that technique while playing both sides of the line?

BB: Yeah, Mike's not only a good player in terms of having position flexibility and the intelligence to handle different positions and different assignments and be on a different side of the ball, but his fundamentals and techniques are very good. So, really, anytime you have a double-team block, it's really not a true double-team block. You're starting off on two guys on one, but ultimately, you want to end up with two guys on two guys. You just don't have enough guys to double team and get a hat on everybody. So, really the key on those double teams is to successfully block two for two. Again, that takes timing, practice, execution, and a lot of different situations that border into gray of who's going to take the guy on the line, who's going to go to the next level and how quickly that may or may not happen. So, it's a lot of teamwork and decision making and cooperation between the two blockers in involved. But, as you mentioned, whether it's the guard and center, tackle-guard, tackle-tight end, depending on what position he's playing and who the double team and combination is with and so forth. Again, overall, he's done a real good job of executing those, but they certainly take a lot of work and a lot of timing and good fundamentals for them to be successful. He does a good job of that, but I mean across the board, that's the kind of thing that the more we do it, the better we get at it. We've had a lot of plays that have been good and we've done that well on. Just striving for a higher level of consistency.

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