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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 12/14

Read the full transcript from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's press conference on Wednesday, December 14, 2022.


December 14, 2022

BB: Welcome to Arizona here. This has been, so far, a really good set up for us. Obviously, Coach [Jedd] Fisch has been very accommodating. Given us great access to everything, it's been great. It's a good program here. Jedd's done a really good job of getting things going in the two years and it's pretty obvious that everything they do is to prepare the players to move on the next level. Whether that's football or wherever they go from here. But it's a pro-style program on a college environment and that really fits well for us to come in here and be able to utilize all their resources. Obviously, a quick turnaround here. Vegas, it's been a while since we've seen them. A lot of the same explosive players that we saw in training camp and maybe a couple other ones that we didn't see. We'll see how that goes. Been in a lot of close games, a lot of one score games, a lot of situational football. A lot of those games could have gone either way, but I think when you look at them you see two very, very explosive players offensively and a great quarterback. Obviously, a good offensive system and defensively, well put together scheme with Coach [Patrick] Graham. Don't give up many big plays, one of the best in the league at that. Obviously, you have two elite pass rushers and a lot of other experienced players. The kicking game, we've talked about that. These two kickers are two of the biggest legs in the NFL. Can change field position. Offensively, they play on a short field. Pretty much as soon as they get to the 40-yard line, they're in field goal range, maybe in the 45. Then the return game has been good for them as well. A really well-balanced team that's just a handful of plays away from being probably in double digit wins. Impressed watching them on film and we're going to have to play well Sunday, so that's what we're preparing to do.

Q: Does the work that you did against them over the summer expedite the preparation process for you guys at all or is it so far removed?

BB: Sure, yeah without a doubt. I mean there's certainly gameplan things that have come up along the way but yeah, we're pretty familiar with them and we knew that at that time, that this was going to be a short week and to try to take a little bit extra preparation time. Not that we were going to plan then, but just in general terms. Know that they were going to show up later on to try to make sure we took advantage of the opportunity. I'm sure they did the same thing.

Q: The players have talked about liking staying here and being together to get their work done this week. How have you seen it from your perspective where you've done this a couple of times now in the regular season?

BB: I think it's a good opportunity. It could be good. It could also not be good if the circumstances didn't line up properly. But it's a great opportunity, that's for sure. It's a great opportunity. Certainly, the facilities and the setup here are really good. So, I think we're all looking forward to it and need to take advantage of it. It's good.

Q: Josh Uche was named defensive player of the week. He's been on kind of a surge here. What has allowed him to kind of pick up the pace?

BB: Yeah, as I think I've said, the biggest thing with Josh [Uche] is just him being out there. He's always put good plays on film and good plays on the practice field, and he's flashed. This year he's been able to stay out there on a consistent basis and that's allowed him to continue to move ahead and build on his repertoire, build his communication and execution with his teammates on pass rush games and communication, drops, coverage adjustments, and things like that, which he's involved in, to a degree. Just doing that on a consistent basis, day after day, week after week. That definitely piles up and makes it that split second faster. Whether it's your reactions, communication, anticipation. I think those have really been the biggest things. He's been out there since the start of the offseason program, off at training camp, and all the weeks in the regular season. That wasn't really the case the last two years. I think that's been a big thing. He's always worked hard, and always done everything you've asked him to do. He's been great to coach, but I think just his availability this year has affected his production.

Q: What impresses you about Josh Jacobs when you watch him on film? Seems like a running back but does everything well.

BB: Yeah, he does. He leads the league in rushing. Strong tough kid to tackle. Has got good contact balance. Very powerful guy, has good patience, sees the hole, sees lanes and as we saw, has breakaway speed. He's been able to go the distance and create some explosive runs, not just five and six yarders but he's had some home runs too. He's got that kind of ability, runs inside, runs outside, and has good vision. Again, good contact balance. He gets a lot of two, three, four extra yards after the first guy hits him, just because of his ability to play with a good pad level and play strong. Has good ball security, that's another great thing about him is he takes good care of the football. As their entire team does, I mean they don't fumble. All year you can barely find a fumble on film.

Q: Do you anticipate starting the IR clock on Christian Barmore?

BB: We'll see, that's a possibility.

Q: Jake Bailey same thing?

BB: Yeah, we've got a few guys that are kind of in that category here. We'll take a look at them a little bit before practice and see where we think they are.

Q: Besides making kicks, what has Nick Folk brought to the organization since he's been here?

BB: Yeah, Nick's a really consistent player. A really consistent guy, you get the same guy every day when he walks into the room. He's very confident but he's got a great deal of humility, too. He's a great teammate. He supports everybody. No matter how big the situation is, he's got a real calmness about him. That's I think a good thing, calm but confident. He doesn't get too high or too low. He's very consistent and he knows what's important. He works on the important things, doesn't get distracted by a lot of stuff that in the end doesn't really matter. I think that's a good influence too. Sometimes, that can be a distraction, getting caught up in something that doesn't make any difference. For him, he's on the important things. But he's a great teammate and there's a ton of respect for him in that locker room and in our organization.

Q: You came out here earlier. What's it like to be in the house that Nick [Folk] and [Tedy] Bruschi and Gronk [Rob Gronkowski] helped build on this trip?

BB: Yeah, I've been here a couple times before, but it's great. It's a college campus stadium and there's quite a few names up there that I've coached. Probably have got to be 10 or 15 of them up there at various points along the way. Some of them you kind of forget that they were wildcats, but we've got J.J. [Taylor] and Nick obviously on the team now, but there's quite a few guys up there. There were other guys that would come down here and worked out, John Fina and guys like that that we spend a lot of time with that I didn't end up coaching. But, then obviously, the coaches that have been here as well. It's is a good connection. Good, nice setup. Up by the hotel, just the surrounding area is pretty spectacular.

Q: As you prepare to face the Raiders, obviously a familiar face in Josh [McDaniels]. I was curious as when we stand here today just making the transition without Josh offensively, how much harder or how hard has that been relative to maybe what you thought it would be?

BB: Again, we've talked about that. We've been in this transition every year.

Q: Has this one been harder than others in the past for you?

BB: Every year is a different year so they're not hard, they're not easy. You take it as it comes.

Q: You had Jedd Fisch in your building for about a year or so, did you see any traits in him that would lead you to think that he'd be a successful head coach, and if so, what were some of those traits?

BB: Yeah, I've known Coach Fisch for quite a while. He asked me to support him on this which I did, I spoke to the president. Yeah, I support him very strongly here. I think he's got a great background, knowledge base. He understands all the things about football, not just the x's and o's, but he's a great teacher. He understands how to put a team together and all the things that go into that. We've had long conversations about that. He's helped me a lot because he's been with other organizations, seen other things at different points in his career both college and professionally. Our friendship's been great. It might've benefited me more than it benefited him, I don't know because he's got a good perspective on things, the places he's been and some of the people that he's been with. I don't know, I probably ask him more questions that he's asked me. I think he's very well, not only qualified, but has a great deal of experience in every aspect of the game from preparing players for going to the NFL, to recruiting, to developing players, to developing a staff, to creating energy and enthusiasm for the team and the community. Some of the other social aspects that go with it, families, and that kind of thing especially in college recruiting. I think he's always done a good job of that. Every time he was in college, and I asked him about players, he knew everything about the kid's family, his parents, his coaches, what kind of system they ran in high school and so forth and so on. He was very involved with that. Not just a recommendation about the guy's skillset, it was way deeper than that. I've always been very impressed with him and followed him here the past couple years. He's done a really good job of putting this program in a competitive position.

Q: Cameron McGrone was elevated the other night but ultimately inactive. Can you just talk about what went into that decision and what you've seen from him at practice the last few months when we haven't been able to watch him?

BB: Yeah, Cam's had a good year. He missed a little bit of time at the beginning of the year and then had a good stretch there. Then missed a few practices about a month ago or so somewhere in there. Then kind of started to reclimb from there. He's definitely on a positive track. We weren't sure how it was going to go there, and we wanted to protect ourselves on that against Arizona, but he's done a good job for us. If he can continue to stay out there and work hard and improve, then maybe he'll get an opportunity here before we're done. Alright, great. Alright, thank you.

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