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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 12/15

Read the full transcript from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's press conference on Wednesday, December 15, 2021.


December 15, 2021

BB: This has given us a good opportunity to really take a close look at the Colts with, obviously, the extra day involved. It's really a well-balanced football team that Chris [Ballard], Frank [Reich], and their staffs have put together. Good on offense. Good on defense. Good in the kicking game. Good at all levels of all of them. They put a lot of pressure on you, obviously execute well, don't turn the ball over, do a good job of taking it away, and play good situational football. Bubba [Ventrone] has done a good job in the kicking game. They have a really good core group of players, explosive returners, and, again, well-balanced on offense with a running game, passing game, and, defensively, same thing. They play the run, rush the passer. They have good players at all three levels of the defense with [Kenny] Moore, [Deforest] Buckner, and [Darius] Leonard, obviously, leading the way. It'll be a big challenge for us. It's a team we don't know very well that we haven't played in a little while here, so still got a lot of work to do, but we're gaining on it here and will be ready to go on Saturday night.

On if he is putting more emphasis on Covid protocols with rising number over cases around the league:

BB: Yeah. The league's put out some new things. We'll be in compliance with them. I feel like it's been an emphasis all year.

On what has impressed him about Frank Reich:

BB: What I just said. Yeah. They've done a good job of, like I said, balancing out the offense. They're a well-balanced team.

On Kwity Paye:

BB: He's a disruptive player, plays primarily on the edge, and does a good job. They have a lot of disruptive players on the front, but very athletic guy, good playing strength, instinctive. He doesn't drop into coverage much, but they do it every now and then just to keep you honest and that's a problem. He can definitely do that. He's good football player, a young guy who's playing with a lot of other good players in a good scheme. He's got good size for a defensive end, runs well. He's very athletic.

On Demaryius Thomas:

BB: That's a very sad and unfortunate situation. We talked about him on Tuesday. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. This is a great kid that didn't have an easy start to his life, but really embraced every opportunity ahead, had great relationships with everybody from the top on down to the lowest ball boy or whatever teammates, always had on a smile on his face, worked hard, great team player, and a very passionate and compassionate individual. He did everything you asked him to do. I think everybody has a ton of respect for DT. Of course, Josh [McDaniels] knew him well and knew him better than anybody in this locker room, but we had a lot of people that had relationships with him and they're all positive. I don't think anybody could ever find a bad word to say about him. When you think about all that he went through, what he accomplished in his life, and what he had to overcome, what a person. He's a great player. He's a better person.

On Darius Leonard:

BB: Again, they have a lot of good players. He's fast. He's instinctive. He's around the ball a lot. Obviously, he leads the league in causes fumbles and leads the league in interceptions over the last however many years amongst linebackers, high into tackles. Both those guys have a lot of tackles [Darius Leonard and Bobby Okereke]. Again, they have a disruptive front in front of them. They help them. The line helps the linebackers. The linebackers help the line. They play well as a front six or front seven, however you want to call it. Then, where you want to bring [Kenny] Moore into as the nickel back, he's kind of involved in there a lot too at times. Yeah. He's fast. He's long. He's instinctive. He's around the ball a lot, causes a lot of negative plays and turnovers.

On Nyheim Hines:

BB: They're both a big problem [Nyheim Hines and Jonathan Taylor], totally different, but both a real big problem. Hines is really good in the passing game. He's, obviously, very fast, a very explosive guy, can get through holes, or can get the ball and get into space quickly and make big plays, excellent in the passing game in terms of route running and his ability to attack all three levels of the defense. He can run by corners, not to mention linebackers. He's a good route runner, catches the ball well, and very explosive with the ball in his hands, whether it's a running play, jet sweep, pass play, punt return, they get it to him multiple ways. He gets to top-speed quickly and he's a shifty guy, good football player, and then there are times where he and Taylor are in there together, which is just another way to attack the defense.

On if Bubba Ventrone's special teams schemes are similar to New England's:

BB: Yeah. Some of the fundamentals are. He's spent a lot of time with Coach [Brad] Seely through his career and I think you see some evidence of Brad's schemes as well, but yeah. Bubba's a good, fundamental coach. His players are well-prepared. Obviously, they play hard, physical. He's got a good core group of players. He's got about seven or eight players that are on every team. It's a good combination of size and speed. [Ashton] Dulin's really impressive and [George] Odom. Then, you've got a big group of linebackers in there, so it's a good group, and the returners are explosive, Rock Ya-Sin and [Nyheim] Hines. Those guys don't need a lot of space. They can do a lot of damage.

On Ja'Whaun Bentley's leadership ability:

BB: Ja'whaun's a smart kid with natural leadership ability. I think we saw that early when he got here. He showed up at DeMatha [Catholic]. He showed up at Purdue. He showed up here. I think he impacted all those programs right away, freshman, sophomore years-type things. He has good command of the defense. He's a verbal guy that can make calls and adjustments on the line of scrimmage. Everybody's got a lot of confidence in what he does because he's well-prepared and he knows what he's doing. He's tough, plays hard, physical player. He can do a lot of different things for us in terms of playing the run, pass coverage, recognizing screens and misdirection plays, things like that. He's a smart, instinctive player.

On how Frank Reich highlights the strengths of Carson Wentz:

BB: They have an offensive system that they've run now for four years, however long he's been there. They run their offensive system. It's very similar to what they did at Philly when Reich was there under Pederson. Wentz was there. I don't think they've changed their system too much. No reason to. They run the ball. They throw it. They lead the league in rushing. They're a good passing team. They can make explosive plays and use multiple players, tight ends, multiple backs, a good group of receivers. Not having Parris [Campbell], who's another good player, they haven't had him, but they've still been productive and, obviously, the record speaks for itself. They've lost a couple close games, close game to Tampa, overtime to Tennessee, overtime to Baltimore, they're right there, even the couple of games that they lost.

On Joshua Bledsoe's potential role:

BB: We'll see. Josh got a late start, obviously, because of the situation he had in the spring. That was unfortunate, but when he got an opportunity to practice the last two and a half weeks, he'd done a good job and showed up out there positively. Will he have a chance to contribute this year? We'll see. I don't know.

On his thoughts about the Colts' ability to overcome slow starts every year under Frank Reich:

BB: I have to go back and study those years more carefully. I haven't really done that. They're pretty consistent. Again, I'd say even a couple of the games they didn't win this year, you see a lot of good football there. They could've easily won those games. They're a pretty steady, solid team, as I said. They're good on all three phases of the game, so it's not like they just rely on one thing or one guy. They've got multiple guys on offense, multiple guys on defense at different levels. The offense and the defense, obviously, they've invested heavily in the O and D-lines in draft choices and free agency, things like that. That's really a solid foundation for their team, linebackers, DBs, receivers, tight ends, running backs, got a lot of guys in the kicking game. It's a very good core. It's probably right there up there, the top of the core groups that we've seen, plus two explosive returners. I think when you have that kind of balance and that kind of depth, you're going to win your share of games.

On how the Colts use the RPO:

BB: I think Frank [Reich] has talked about it. They run it a handful of times every game. You know you're going to have to deal with it. It's just another way to attack the defense and for the defense to have to deal run plays that also could be passes and another set of reading their keys and doing it right, getting the right assignment. They have multiple ways of running. They have about five or six different concepts that go with either the pass that goes with the run and two or three different running concepts that they package with it, so you can't just count on one thing or two things. They have multiple ways of doing it.

On if Mac Jones will have to look for shorter passes against this Colts defense:

BB: I don't think you know exactly what they're going to do. They mix it up pretty good. They haven't allowed a lot of explosive plays. I don't know if they will or won't. I think we've just got to read the coverages, do a good job with our pass protection, run good routes, have good spacing, run good routes against man-to-man coverage and read the play out. Wherever the coverage tells him to go, I think that's where he should go with the ball, which is what he's trying to do and what we're trying to get him to do. We'll see how it goes. It depends on how certain plays match up against certain coverages and how they're played, so we'll have to see.

On if he is especially happy after Navy's win over Army this past weekend:

BB: Good to see Navy win. Yeah. That's a big win for them. Always good to beat Army.

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