HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
December 17, 2019
BB: We're back in the division here, and Buffalo's certainly had a good year. They've got a good football team, do a lot of things well. That's reflected by their record and the way they've played. Impressive win against Pittsburgh, certainly against Dallas on a short week down there on Thanksgiving. It came down to the last play against the Ravens. So, they have a good offense, good defense, good in the kicking game. We have a lot to get ready for. Some carry-over from the first game, but that was a long time ago and there's quite a few differences between now and then. Some players we hadn't seen, or didn't see then that we'll probably see now – [Devin] Singletary, or [Dawson] Knox, [Tyler] Kroft, so forth. So, that'll be a big challenge for us here and hopefully we'll have a good week and be ready to go.
Q: How does practicing in the field house today help you accomplish what you want to accomplish?
BB: Yeah, we're on a little different schedule this week because normally we wouldn't practice on Tuesday, so, two days after the game. But, I feel like that was the best thing to do this week, so that's what we're doing.
Q: It's so unusual that you're in there. Could you envision yourself without it?
BB: Yeah, for what we're doing today, that's what we planned on doing anyway.
Q: You've had a number of big special teams plays this year, punt blocks, etc. Does making one of those plays feed into itself and help the guys get more fired up about being a part of that?
BB: Yeah. I think we have a lot of confidence in that unit. You know, we've missed a few – missed one, missed probably three-or-four – missed one last week. So, we'll just keep working on it. It's a tough play offensively, or for the punt team, however you want to look at it, to execute, protect, and get it off cleanly and still have a really good punt. So, there's something to be said for putting pressure on the specialists there. But also returning them too, so there's definitely a place for both. We'll just keep working on all of it, it's all tied in together.
Q: What strides have you seen Josh Allen take since your matchup with him earlier this season?
BB: Yeah. He's good then, he's good now.
Q: Has his decision-making improved?
BB: Yeah, he's made good decisions. They've won.
Q: With how you rotate your defensive backs, is there any similarity to what you've done at running back, where you play certain players situationally to highlight their skillsets?
BB: Yeah, we haven't used them too much situationally. It's just been more – we have good players and we're letting them all play. It's kind of like that at outside linebacker, running back. So, there's positions where we have good depth and sometimes it's a certain situation and the one player over another, but I think in a lot of these cases they're just – they can play in all situations, so we just rotate them a little bit and put them in there.
Q: What has Devin Singletary given the Bills offense?
BB: He's had good quickness. He's in there on all downs. He's got some speed to the outside, good quickness to make guys miss, he's involved in the passing game – he's got 20-something catches, whatever it is. So, he's a three-down player. So, when they've been going no-huddle, which they've done that in some games, then certainly it benefits you to have the same back on the field and not have to sub backs situationally. So, he's given them that. I don't know if that's the reason or not, but that's just the way it's worked out.
Q: Is there room to develop ball skills for a defensive back once they enter the program, or is that something that's more innate than something you can develop?
BB: I think you can definitely improve it, yeah. We always work on that. I mean, look, it's a hard position for the defensive back to be in. You know, they don't get many chances at the ball. They're never the intended receiver, so a lot of the catches they have to make are balls that are really not thrown to them – they have to go and get, make a tough catch on and all that. That's part of being a defensive player, you're not the receiver, you're the defender. So, you have to work on that. Certainly, I think you can work on it and improve it. Some guys have more natural instincts, ball skills, than others. It's like trying to make a slow player fast. You're never going to make a slow player the fastest guy on the team, but you can improve his speed. So, some guys have good ball skills and they can become elite, some guys have not-good ball skills, and hopefully they can become better.
Q: As you're working on that, is it more giving guys more opportunities to make a play, or can you be in that position and adjust your technique or approach once you're in a position to make a play?
BB: Yeah. Well, I think all of the above. Some of it's putting yourself in a position to make a play, and then there's the element of actually finishing the play, making a catch, looking the ball into your hands and so forth. But, depending on what the coverage is and what your relationship is with the receiver, and how fast the two players are moving, or if there's a change in speed, then that indicates something as well. So, based on all those things, the defender reacts a little bit differently, or should react a little bit differently. So, you kind of just keep repping those things over-and-over again until they become instinctive and reactive where you don't even think about it. Something happens and you do it and do the right thing, and hopefully that puts you in position to play the ball.
Q: Matt LaCosse seems to be increasing his workload. Beyond health, what allows him to take on a bigger workload?
BB: It's worked out that way. The last few weeks we've had Ben [Watson] and Matt kind of splitting the role a little bit. Ben's been involved a little more in passing situations and Matt in the running situations, but they can do both, and they have done both and that could change a little bit from week-to-week by gameplan. So, we'll see how it goes, but it's more early-down situations than there are third-down situations, so if you do it that way, the playing time is almost always going to break that way.
Q: What has allowed Tre'Davious White to generate so many takeaways this season?
BB: He's had them in the past. He's a good player. He's quick, he's fast, he's got good instincts, good ball-skills. So, you know, he's around the ball, and he's got good hands to finish and make the play. He has good awareness.
Q: We've seen Tom Brady on-and-off the injury report this season. How does that change practice for the other quarterbacks on the roster?
BB: Yeah. I mean, those guys are always ready to go and it's an opportunity for them. You know, it's hard to practice three quarterbacks, and there have been a couple examples where Tom hasn't been able to do a lot this year. So, that's given Stid [Jarrett Stidham] an opportunity to go with the first group, and run our plays and run our offense, and that's been good for him. That's given Cody [Kessler] an opportunity to run more of the scout-team plays because Jarrett's not taking those. So, again, quarterbacks are always looking for more work. So, they've taken advantage of it and I think it's helped. I mean, you don't always want to do it that way. Sometimes it's best to do things that way, and then that's good for everybody. But, you know, we want everybody out there as healthy as they can be. So, that's ultimately the goal, but it's not always that way. Certainly that's a better scenario than having just two quarterbacks, so that then one guy has to take everything. Not that he can't take it, it's the National Football League, but mentally going from a defensive period to an offensive period, to a defensive period to an offensive period – not really the best – it's not as conducive to high-level execution in either one. But, sometimes that's what it is and so you have to adjust.
Q: Can you get a good sense of where Jarrett's at by how the team responds to him in those practice situations?
BB: Sure. We can evaluate everything he does, that's what we do. Yeah, we evaluate it. Exactly.
Q: Sometimes prior to the road games we see Mick [Lombardi] working with Cody. What has Nick done to help Cody in terms of that extra work we usually see out on the game field?
BB: Right. Well, Mick's – I mean, when you have two quarterbacks at two different levels, from where Tom and Jarrett, or Tom and Cody are relative to overall experience, or certainly experience within our system – neither Cody or Jarrett have very much, so there's a lot of things that you need to go over with them that honestly, you've probably been over with Tom 400 times. So, you try to be a little more efficient with it to work with those guys. And Jarrett's been here a little longer than Cody has, but at the same time he could use the review. Or maybe it's some finer points that didn't get covered the first two-or-three times. Maybe something comes up the next time based on an experience, or a situation, or something that's happened on that play or in that scenario that wasn't talked about earlier that brings up a question or another coaching point. So, you just try to work with all the players, young players. It's like that at every position, honestly. There's guys at every position that have a lot of experience and then there's guys at that position that don't have very much. You don't want to talk down to the guys that have a lot of experience, and then you don't want to talk above the guys that really don't know what you're talking about. So, there's times you have to try to, as a teacher, bridge that.