HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
Friday, December 16, 2022
BB: I'll just start with a comment on Coach [Mike] Leach. I probably should've done this on Wednesday. But just on behalf of our team, condolences to Coach Leach's family and the Mississippi State program. He's been a real pretty big figure in college football from [Texas] Tech to Washington State. He's coached a lot of great players and developed a lot of players that have played in the National Football League. I know he's very close to several people particularly Kliff [Kingsbury], obviously. So just wanted to express our condolences. Funny guy. He was a funny guy. He's got some press conference highlights that are about as good as they get. But anyway, kind of moving along here for the week for us. Again, it's been a really opportunity for us here. Again, our appreciation to President [Robert] Robbins, Coach [Jedd] Fisch and all the Arizona people that have accommodated us with such great hospitality. Another good day of preparation out here, and then head up to Las Vegas tomorrow and be ready to go Sunday in a 1 o'clock game. We've had some night games, now we're switching back to the afternoon schedule. So good opportunity to be ready to go on Sunday afternoon.
Q: Regarding Coach Leach, how would you summarize the influence that his offense has had on all levels of football over the last 20 or so years?
BB: Again, being in the National Football League it's not really involved that much in the college game. But certainly he's produced some great passing teams, great teams period. So I'm sure that he's had a lot of influence there, and in some of the people that have worked with him that have moved on and taken those ideas and so forth. He certainly had a big – but this is really the college game which is probably not my strong suit here. I don't want to speak out of school.
Q: The dynamic of the practice squad has changed so much. A guy like J.J. Taylor wouldn't be on the roster for this trip 10 years ago because he already exhausted his two years. How would you categorize how that's benefitted players like him as well as coaches and the dynamic of being able to manage rosters having unlimited years now?
BB: Well, you're right it's changed things. Like a lot of other things that change, you just role with those changes and try to maximize them to help your team. But with more players comes more opportunity. Players that, as you said, wouldn't be on a practice squad are now on one. I think if you look at the activations over the course of the year, there's a lot of practice squad activations. That gives a lot of teams an opportunity to play more people, and more players to get an opportunity to play and show what they can do. It keeps the game more competitive. So when we had fewer players, there were fewer people to manage. Sometimes players are able to work into more versatile roles because you had fewer people. You had to have more versatility. Now you can carry, say a little bit more specified depth. Two kickers, two snappers, two punters. Guys like that who only play one position, but sometimes you're able to carry an extra guy, I'd say is pretty rare going back to the six-man practice squads, things like that. But all of that is beyond our control. So whatever it is we'll just try to take advantage of it and use the opportunity. But J.J. is a great addition to our team. He's a great kid, comes to work everyday. He's been awesome to have as part of the program.
Q: Wanted to follow up on something that Matt [Patricia] and Joe [Judge] were asked about earlier this week. They were asked about Mac [Jones] showing some frustration on the field. Both actually said 'we like seeing the emotion.' Where do you stand on those kinds of emotions?
BB: Yeah I already talked about that Phil [Perry].
Q: I might have missed that
BB: I'm sure we can get you the transcript. But I've talked about that.
Q: Are you aligned with those...
BB: I mean I keep repaving the same road here. How many layers do I need?
Q: You're sort of known as being that kind of stoic guy. Is there benefit for players?
BB: Again, we've already talked about this Phil. Just going to move on.
Q: What have you seen from Christian Barmore the last couple of days? Is he tracking toward maybe getting in the lineup?
BB: Well we didn't do a whole lot on Wednesday. We had a good day yesterday. So we'll kind of see how he's doing today after that. It's usually the next day. A lot of times guys go out there the first day and they haven't been doing – well they've bene rehabbing but then they go out and practice, which they haven't been able to do. Then the real test is how they are the next day after that workload. Is there a setback? Is there an opportunity to move ahead? What do we have to manage? And so forth. So today, tomorrow will be days how we determine how that process is going. Which is normal, it's not anything different for him than anybody else. So you know how it is Mike [Reiss] when you haven't done something for three or four weeks, you come back out there and do it. Moment of truth is the next day, not the day you do it.
Q: Like me going back to the gym after this trip?
BB: That's going to be all of us. Yeah that's right. So we'll see over the next 24 hours or so. See how it is today and see how we are going forward. But again, that's just the normal I would say procedure. I think it's come back the first day, feel okay and then the second day sometimes you feel better, sometimes you don't.
Q: I know this was a practice four or five months ago whatever it was. But what do you remember from Devante Adams performance when you guys were having your joint practices in mid-August?
BB: Good. Really good. Really special to see him up close, I mean on the practice field. Obviously saw him at Green Bay that was a breakout game to get his career started there. But great ball skills, really smooth, very crafty runner, slick, good length, does a really good job of changing speeds. He's just a really hard guy to cover, with elite ball skills and elite intelligence and savviness if that's a word. Look that one up but something like that. Yeah, savvy whatever, thank you.
Q: How do you see Josh [Jacobs] if at all, obviously the focal point in some plays, but how does Devante open up things either intentionally schematically or effect defenses to create opportunities for some of the other players?
BB: Yeah there's a definite attention to him. Double 17 type calls. Or you just see the awareness of teams like the Chargers or Denver that play him regularly, or have played him twice, like the Chargers have played him twice. You can just see the awareness that they have towards him, where he is. Because he moves around a lot. He plays some X. He plays some Z. He plays in the slot some. Sometimes he's in motion. They're all different personnel groups too, right? So they use 21, 11, 12. So where he is, who else is in there with him, and all that is all part of I would say just a general awareness to him. But you better have it or yeah, he'll kill you.
Q: Offensively, you've used a lot of shotgun over the course of the last month. Maybe it's over the course of the entire season. But I think it's about seven percent shotgun over the last month or so. Why has that been the best approach for you guys offensively?
BB: Well those decisions are just game-by-game, game plan. Those type of questions of 'this happened the last couple of weeks,' if you shuffle the schedule around it would turn out differently. I think we're comfortable under center, in the gun. We have a variety of things we can do from either of those locations. Try to do what we think is best.
Q: Does it have anything to do with the offensively line? I don't know if you're able to get the ball out more quickly when you're working out of shotgun as opposed to under center.
BB: Quarterback gets the ball pretty quickly under center. It's about as quick as you can get it. So if you want to get it out quickly, it's in his hands about a tenth of a second after the ball moves. But again, regardless those kinds of things, I think if you take any two or three games at the end of the year and group them together and say, 'oh this guy got a lot of targets in this game. This guy blitzed a lot in that game. We played a lot of odd-front in these other couple games.' Well if you group them together, then it looks like that's a big trend. I would say more likely, it's the way the games happened to fall if you will. If we played Miami two weeks ago, instead of 12 weeks ago then what happened in the Miami game would have looked somewhat similar to what it looked like when we played Miami.
Q: How have you seen Josh [McDaniels] use Jakob [Johnson]? Is it the same as he was kind of playing here? Or does he move him around a little bit more?
BB: It's pretty similar.
Q: How have you Jakob play this year?
BB: He does a really good job in his role. I think with a couple of the injuries they've had, with [Darren] Waller being out and [Hunter] Renfrow being out, it's probably trend a little more towards 21-personnel. We'll see what happens when those guys come back. Earlier in the year, I mean they both haven't played a lot together. But Wall played I think the first few games, the first three or four games, whatever it was. Then he was out. Renfrow missed a little time. So haven't really had all of them together, [Devante] Adams, Renfrow, Waller. Those guys haven't all been together very much this year. But I'd say most recently with both of them out, the last four or five games, there's probably been an uptick in the 21-personnel. I think due to probably some of those circumstances. I can't imagine that Waller and Renfrow wouldn't have played if they had been healthy.
Q: When you spoke on Wednesday, you spoke about looking up into the rafters and all the names of guys you've coached or been associated with. Maybe one of the more prominent ones, Tedy Bruschi. What conversations did you have with about this trip here this week? Overall, what did he mean to you as a player in the organization?
BB: Well Tedy would be one of the all-time great Patriots. Of course, he's in the Patriot Hall of Fame, which he should be. Tedy and I, my first year at the Patriots was Tedy's first year at the Patriot in '96. Then of course, I left and came back. So I was there for his rookie year. I was there when we drafted him. One of the most, let's say unusual draft choices. Three-technique in college, Pac-12 Player of the Year, going to move him to linebacker. There was a lot of 'how's this going to go? What's he going to be? Are we going to pass rush him? Is he going to cover kicks? What's it really going to be?' But all that being said, it all worked out. He was a middle linebacker, really a backup middle linebacker in 2001. Now he played, I'm not saying that. But then after Ted [Johnson] and Bryan [Cox] got hurt, then we were in more of a four-man line the rest of the year. Played great, had a great year, won the Super Bowl. He had a tremendous career and is a tremendous person, great leader, brings great energy to the football field. Played literally every play in the kicking game, on the punt team, but played a lot in the kicking game. It wasn't just defense. He brought a high level of play to everything he did. Made our offensive players better. We talk a lot about the program here. Of course, he's very proud of what he accomplished here. Even going back to some of the other guys up there like [John] Fina, Coach [Dick] Tomey on the practice field out there that I guess is dedicated to him. Going all the way to most recently, [Rob] Gronkowsi, [J.J.] Taylor, Nick Folk and those guys. Chuck Cecil at Cleveland, [Michael] Bates. I mean I've coached a lot of the guys that are up there. Not all of them for sure but quite a few of them. There's a lot of tradition here. Pat Hill, of course Pat was here with Fina in desert storm. Coach Tomey, Dwayne Akina, it's a really good staff. There is great tradition here. Certainly Jed's got the program headed back in that direction. I'm excited to see how Wildcats do.
Q: Do you remember what made that change, you saw him as a three-technique to move him to linebacker?
BB: Yeah, he's 6-1, 240 pounds. I mean you can't play three-technique in the NFL like that. So it was a projection, which isn't unusual. We see a college guy in one position, find some other position for him in the NFL. But yeah, for a three-technique to move to an off-the-ball linebacker, that's - there was talk about playing him on the end of the line. Make him an outside linebacker. But ultimately he found the right spot and like I said, had a Patriots Hall of Fame career.