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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 12/20

Read the full transcript from Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick's press conference on Monday, December 20, 2021.


Monday, December 20, 2021

BB: I'll just start off here. Look, fellas, I apologize. If I seemed like I was a little short with you after the game. Obviously, a frustrating game. Down 20-0, we didn't do anything well enough. There isn't really much to say at that point without watching the film. Clearly, we had problems in every area. There was no simple answer. Every play could have been better. Every area of coaching could have been better. Every area of playing could have been better. Any of that would have helped. Not really trying to be short, but honestly, there wasn't too much to say. I don't know there's a whole lot more to say now, but it's not your fault. It was a frustrating game.

On the kickoff following the Patriots' touchdown late in the 4th quarter:

BB: It was poorly executed on our part. That wasn't what we were looking for at all. Either you pin them back and play extra yards of field position, tackle them on the 20 and gain five yards of field position, we need a field goal, or you touchback it and keep the extra seconds on the clock. We did neither. We didn't get the field position and we wasted five seconds which, at the end of the game, is another play. Like a lot of things in the game, it was bad coaching, bad playing, bad execution. Just not good enough

On if he is concerned about player safety after injuries to Nelson Agholor and N'Keal Harry:

BB: Talk to the officials.

On how the weather during their game in Buffalo helps in preparing for the Bills this week:

BB: Certainly, it affected the game. It's still valuable. It's the team we're playing two weeks ago. It affected the strategy in the kicking game. It affected some strategy in the passing game. I don't know if it affected the running game matchups a lot. Probably not. Like every game, it'll be a totally different game. We'll prepare and see how it plays out. I'm sure they'll do some things differently. Regardless of what the weather conditions are, they would make some changes. I'm sure we would make some changes. Both teams have a game plan element to their style of play anyways. We'll see how it goes.

On if the loss to the Colts will help moving forward:

BB: I don't know. We'll see. We'll see what happens this week. We usually don't focus too much on what happened the week before, good or bad. After we get through it and correct it, talk about it, focus on the game that's coming up and try to prepare the best we can for it. I don't think living in the past and worrying about last week's game all week and all the psychological effects and bunch of other garbage, I don't think that has anything to do with the Buffalo game. Either we're going to prepare well, perform well, execute well in the game, and make good decisions, coaches, players, and all that, or we're not. I don't really know what last week, two weeks ago, or some game in 2006 had to do with it. I don't think any of that has a whole lot of bearing on it. It shouldn't. Maybe the team's not prepared to handle it. I don't think it should. I don't know why it should.

On if he feels the Patriots have lost the same hungry mindset that they had at 2-4:

BB: I don't know. Hopefully, we'll have a good week of concentration, practice, and execution and carry that through to Sunday. We'll see. I don't know.

On Kyle Dugger's ejection:

BB: We've talked about those situations. We talk about them every year. We talk about them multiple times throughout the course of the year. When I see what happened, not sure how anybody will see it. It doesn't really matter what I think anyways. We'll go through it. Based on the rule, I don't see why T.Y. Hilton wasn't ejected. He pushed an official. That was pretty clear, but that wasn't called at all. That's a clear-cut ejection to me. The Dugger play, [Michael] Pittman comes from behind, Kyle turns around, there's an exchange, and his helmet was off. He was trying to put his helmet on as he approached Kyle at the end of the play, so he came up pretty quickly. I don't know whether Kyle knocked it off or if it would've come off anyway. Bottom line is both players got ejected. I would say I understand that. Whether I agree with that or not, that's a whole other discussion. I don't understand why T.Y. Hilton wasn't ejected for contacting an official. Intentionally or unintentionally, that has no bearing on the play. Those plays are reviewable and are reviewed, so I don't understand that one. You'd have to talk to the officials about that. They were the ones that made the call.

On if how the Patriots will handle Covid protocols this week:

BB: I'd say every day is a new day. I don't think any of us know what to expect. We're following the league rules and protocols, which have been significantly enhanced, or been more restrictive, which I think we all understand, but I think we have to make adjustments and be in compliance with them. We put up a wall in our weight room over the weekend and things like that to be in compliance like we did last year. What this week will bring, I don't know. Again, I don't really have any say in this, but we'll continue to do the best that we can to keep everybody as safe, distanced, masked, and protected as we can. It's, certainly, an imperfect situation on multiple levels. Whatever we're doing, I think we're doing the best that we can. We're doing all that we can. It's not perfect. Will it be good enough? Will it be good? We'll see. Every day, you kind of walk in here and if our medical people came in one day and said we have 20 people positive, I don't think any of us would be surprised. It's nice to hear that we have no positives or that we have no symptoms. Those are great words to hear, but I don't think it would surprise any of us. We've already seen five, six, seven teams, whatever it is, have a wide-ranging problem on their team, between staff and players or both. Who's next? I don't know. Maybe nobody. It wouldn't surprise me if it was anybody.

On if the Patriots will be mostly virtual this week:

BB: The league rules came out, so we'll go through it today. I would expect some type of direction, either today or tomorrow as to what it'll be this week. You'll have to check with the league.

On his decision to kick a field goal down two possessions with nine minutes left in the Colts game:

BB: I thought that was the best thing for the team at that point.

On what made the decision to kick the field goal in the 4th quarter the "best thing for the team at that point":

BB: It's still a two-possession game and now it's a field goal. I thought there was enough time left that we would have enough possessions to be able to score 10 points, which we conceivably could have. It would have been, was it 4th-and-goal on the 7? Is that what it would've been? I didn't feel great about converting 4th-and-goal from the 7. Had there been less time and there's a situation where you would go for it or I would go for it on 4th-and-goal at the 7, absolutely. I didn't think, in that game situation, that would've been the best decision. I thought that would've passed up three points and that would've taken two touchdowns. At the end of the game, especially in the dome, having a chance at a 50-plus yard field goal, I think it's a lot better chance than scoring a touchdown and having a six-point differential as opposed to a three-point differential, relative to the chances of converting a 4th-and-7. At some point, I definitely would have kept the offense on the field on 4th-and-7 with less time or no timeouts. You can, certainly, take that scenario further, so then you get into the grey area of which one would you do if there's less time, fewer timeouts, whatever.

On how Mac Jones handled being down by 20 points:

BB: To me, until you get to the very end of the game, it's really not about the score. It's about the execution of the play that's called and trying to run good plays. You're not going to score 17 points in one drive. You're not going to score 17 points on one play. I don't personally see what that has to do with it. Now, if there's a point where the score, the amount of time left, the number of possessions left, and all that, then that dictates the strategy. We've been in games where we've been behind. They scored 17 points in the first half. I didn't feel like we were incapable of scoring 17 points in the second half. Whether they were up by 10 or down by 17, it's about going out there and having good plays, making good decisions as a coach, calling good plays, executing good plays one play at a time, and try to get the game back to a competitive game. Until the game gets to the point where the strategy now becomes overriding, which I didn't think it was like that at halftime at all, then what difference does it make?

On what he considers his greatest game plan ever:

BB: I appreciate the question, but as I've said many, many times, going all the way back to when I was a coordinator, so that would start back in '79, special teams with the Giants, any success that we've had in the kicking game as a coordinator, in the defense as a coordinator, as a head coach, is because the players went out there and made the plays to help us win the game. You can X-and-O it all you want, but in the end, players win games. Players make plays to win games. Without good players and without good players making good plays, there are not a lot of games to be won. Whatever strategy, game plans, or plays that we use, whatever they were in any game, ultimately, comes down to the players, their execution, decision making, and fundamentals on those plays. That's really where the credit in those games goes and should go because they're the ones that are doing it. I've been very, very fortunate through my career to coach a lot of good players, some great players, some of the greatest players in the history of the game, a lot of very, very good players, good role players, and players that complemented each other. Whatever games we won, whatever success we had was a result of those players and their fundamentals, their decision making, and their overall level of execution, awareness, and, in some cases, communication. In a lot of cases, communication because of the teamwork and the involvement of multiple players on successful plays. It's not one guy doing it. It has to be a whole offensive line blocking, defensive front seven stopping the run, a coverage and pass rush working together, or blocking on a punt return, whatever it happens to be. That's my view of the world on that. Thank you for asking.

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