HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
December 13, 2019
BB: Alright, so we're winding things down here in preparation for the Bengals. As I said earlier in the week, this is really a good football team. They do a lot of things well. Certainly done things better in the last few weeks, and there's a lot to get ready for – a lot of pressure on defense, a lot of skill players on offense, solid in the kicking game. So, hopefully we can go up there and play our best game. That's our goal.
Q: You talked about Geno Atkins on Wednesday and said that there have been players like that at his position. How would you describe his style?
BB: Yeah. I mean, the quick, athletic three-techniques – [John] Randall. Yeah, I mean there's a bunch of them.
Q: How much do you see Scott O'Brien's influence when you're preparing to go against a Darrin Simmons special teams unit?
BB: It's line an inter-squad scrimmage. They have all our calls, we have all their calls. The way they handle situations is probably, fundamentally, the way we would handle them. Not that we always do it the same way – you might have two-or-three options, but you would see similar strategic positioning, or strategy that either we would use or have used type-thing.
Q: This Sunday is the last game at the Oakland Coliseum. What are your favorite memories of playing games in that stadium and in front of that fan base?
BB: Pretty intense fans. It's like Halloween every Sunday there. So, yeah. I mean, it's a great environment. Baseball stadium, so it was configured that way, which you don't see that much anymore. You know, we've had some great games out there. When I was with the Broncos, of course we played out there, so that was – especially at that time in '78, if I get that right – I'm pretty sure the Broncos won the division that year. We were right there with the Raiders. It was the Raiders-Broncos. It was a very intense rivalry, so there was a lot of – there was the game, and then there was all the other aspects of the game. So, that's kind of how it started. We played there a few times since then. When I was in Cleveland, we played them and they were in the [Los Angeles Memorial] Coliseum. So, when you say the Raiders, it's not always Oakland. There's some L.A. in there, too, that you kind of have to flip back-and-forth on. But, yeah, the Oakland crowd was a lot more intense than the L.A. crowd, and we'll miss it. We'll miss it.
Q: Would you ever dare to venture near the black hole as a visiting team?
BB: Yeah, well you kind of have to. I think we kind of warmed up down there, so it's not really where you want to be as a visiting coach. Tell the players not to stand too close to them in case they throw something and miss.
Q: Any thoughts on it being the end of an era for multipurpose stadiums?
BB: Yeah, sure. Yeah, you see a lot of those. I mean, for me it was Memorial Stadium, Baltimore. But yeah, the Coliseum. Yeah, it's just not – but, that's – life moves on. Yeah, it's definitely the end of an era.
Q: That's all I've got for you.
BB: OK, thanks. I appreciate it though, Ben [Volin]. Thanks, yeah. Press box – that was another spacious spot. Along with the locker room.
Q: Tom Brady posted on Instagram today and quoted a music artist, saying "whole team about to figure it out." Do you feel like the offense is kind of on the cusp of figuring things out?
BB: Every week we try to prepare to play our best on Sunday. That's what we've always done. I don't see it any differently. You'd have to ask Tom about that, I don't know.
Q: Before Thanksgiving, you were asked what you were like to watch a football game with, and you differentiated Army-Navy with any other game. What are you like to watch the Army-Navy game with?
BB: Yeah. I'd love to see it, but we'll be traveling. So, unfortunately I'll just have to keep up with it in some other way.
Q: When you can watch it –
BB: Root for Navy. Yeah, root for Navy.
Q: Are you watching it like a coach, or are you watching it like a fan, yelling at the TV?
BB: Well, when you're watching the game on TV, you can't coach it. So, yeah, you're a fan.
Q: Is attending that game something that will be high on your bucket list to do once your coaching career is over?
BB: Yeah, we'll see. I don't know. I mean, I have tremendous appreciation and respect for the game. I have no idea what the future holds or anything else. So, right now just try to get ready for Cincinnati and travel out there tomorrow. Wish Navy well – time for them to start winning again. But, that's always a competitive game and records don't mean much. That's a game unlike any other, so I'm sure it'll be great.
Q: Last season, right around now is when you started to peak. What can you take from that run going into this year's late-season stretch?
BB: Yeah, I don't know. Last year is last year. We'll see what happens this year. Just keep doing what we've been doing, try to work hard, try to improve, try to play our best football each week. So, this week it's Cincinnati. Hopefully we can play our best game this Sunday. That's our goal.
Q: How have you seen Mohamed Sanu blend in with the team off the field?
BB: Yeah, great. I mean, he's a great guy. I think he gets along well with everybody – coaches, players, offensive teammates, defensive teammates, he's involved in the kicking game. So yeah, he's a guy that is easy to get to know, easy to talk to and seems to fit in pretty quickly. Yeah, good teammate, definitely.
Q: Were you aware of Pete Frates and his Ice Bucket Challenge to benefit ALS, and that he passed away this week?
BB: Yeah, well we did that several years ago. But no, I wasn't aware that he passed away, so thank you.
Q: You guys brought in Josh Gable this week. What did you see in him that made you want to work with him?
BB: Yeah, we had a spot available on the practice squad and it gave us an opportunity to look at a younger kicker. But, I mean, we're going with Nick [Folk], so that's not really – we'll worry about that next year, but rather than just come in and do a workout, we were actually able to kick with the team and put him on the practice squad for a couple days. So, put that in the bank and maybe it comes up later on at some point in time down the road. Maybe it doesn't, I'm not sure. We'll see how it goes.
Q: The Patriots are not really popping up on Pro Bowl voting. Has that been something that's occurred to you?
BB: Honestly, I wasn't even aware of that. So, I mean, I'll take your word for it, but I don't know. That's not something I followed.
Q: Cincinnati has one of the best red zone defenses in the league. What stands out about them?
BB: They just play a lot of tight coverage. They mix man and zone, but their zones match pretty quickly. So, when you try to run man-beater routes, you run into zones, and if you run zone routes, they're matched kind of like man. They do a good job of it. They mix in some pressure as well, so you have to be aware of your pickup, as well as the conventional seven-man coverages. So, they do a good job of mixing it up. Obviously, they have a good front, so you don't have a lot of time to make decisions in the passing game, and they do a good job of stopping the run, so it's hard to run the ball in. So, they kind of do all of those things well. But again, it's one of many things that they do well: red zone defense, two-minute offense, special teams coverage, so forth. So scoring on them, they make it hard. Like you said, they're one of the better teams in the league.