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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 12/21

Read the full transcript from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's press conference on Wednesday, December 21, 2022.

HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK

Press Conference
Wednesday, December 21, 2022

BB: Alright, good afternoon. Yeah, so spent a lot of time here on Cincinnati the last couple days. It's good. A good football team. A good organization. Always had a lot of respect for Mike [Brown] and his commitment to – well, the whole Brown family going back to Paul Brown. Zac's [Taylor] done a real good job there. Obviously, Lou [Anarumo] on defense. Darrin [Simmons] in the kicking game. This team is well coached. They have a lot of good players. Very explosive offensively, great quarterback, three great receivers, a tight end and two really good running backs. Offensive line has really been improved from where they were last year. Defensively they're big, they can stop the run, they can rush. A really smart team, good situational football team. Field goal kicker's, whatever he is 12 out of 13 from over 50 yards or something like that. He hasn't missed many. So, explosive in the return game. You can see why they're one of the top teams in the league. Playing well here lately, maybe not quite as good at the beginning of the year, but they've certainly come along playing good football now. So, this will be a good opportunity for us Saturday. A challenge here to deal with these guys, they've got a lot of weapons and like I said, they're very well coached. They don't get penalized. They play a good, clean game. They make you earn everything. That's what we're going to have to do.

Q: Any thoughts about the passing of Franco Harris?

BB: Yeah sad, I mean there's a legend. Great college player, maybe a little overshadowed by Lydell [Mitchell], but that's a pretty good backfield. I was at Baltimore with Lydell. George Welsh was their position coach at Penn State, so talked about those guys quite a bit. Mitchell got a lot of the stats and publicity and all that at Penn State, but George always raved about Franco. He didn't carry the ball as much and his hands, which one play kind of says it all on that one. So, he wasn't fun to play against. I can tell you that. I was at Baltimore when we played him in the playoffs there in my first year. Yeah, this guy was a great player, a great person. It's a big loss. Thank you.

Q: What is your message to the guys with three games left, kind of in control of your own destiny here taking care of business?

BB: One day at a time. One game at time. The same as always.

Q: First time you've seen Joe Burrow. What stands out to you about him when you watch him on film?

BB: Yeah, everything. First of all, he's tough. He's a tough kid. He'll stand in there, throw the ball and take a hit to make a play. Accurate, hits all the throws. Tough to tackle. Manages the game well. Sees the game well. Productive in critical situations, third-down, red area, big games. I'd say he makes a lot of his best plays at the right time when you really need him. He's impressive.

Q: What kind of impact has Ted Karras made on their line you think this year?

BB: Yeah, Ted's done a good job.

Q: How have they been at protecting Burrow? Sort of a story line early in his career, he took a lot of sacks. I don't know if that's still true this year, but how's their offensive line from a protection standpoint?

BB: Like I said, they've definitely improved. Saw a couple of games from last year. Yeah, I think they've improved. Made some changes there, they drafted [Cordell] Volson, brought Ted in there, [La'el] Collins so.

Q: The Bengals have had a lot of injuries all over but mainly on defense, losing Chido [Chidobe Awuzie] their main corner, a couple defensive lineman. Did it stick out to you that they've been able to sustain their defensive effort, their physicality, what Lou has done on that side of the ball?

BB: Yeah, again Lou's done a good job. They've got good depth and again I think they're a very – they're aware, they make good instinctive plays. Mike Hilton's a very instinctive player, both safeties really. They make a lot of good plays at the right time. Recognize things, anticipate them. Sometimes it looks like you're going to have more than you have and then things close up quickly. [Logan] Wilson's been really productive, he's got a lot of tackles. He's got some interceptions here the last couple years. He gets his hands on the ball, he's a good pass defender. I mean it's a team defense, just team defense. The two edge players though have been very disruptive. So, got a lot out of [Sam] Hubbard and [Trey] Hendrickson.

Q: The defense, what was 31 unanswered points off four straight turnovers in the second half against Tampa Bay earlier this season. I don't think they've allowed a touchdown defensively in the second half for the first half dozen games or so. Is there something that stands out, is it adjustments, is it doing what they were doing better?

BB: Yeah, I'd say probably the latter. This isn't a team that does a lot of new things from week to week. You don't look at one game and say like 'Wow, that looks a lot different than some other game.' They're pretty steady really in their personnel groups and their calls. I mean they have little variations from time to time or certain situations. But generally speaking, they play to their system, it's balanced. They mix it up, they bring some secondary pressure, not an inordinate amount, but enough to keep you on. They play mostly zone, mix some man in. When they play man, they get into packages that they man-to-man players on the field. So, Lou does a good job with mixing things up and they kind of have their system of doing things and they do it pretty well. They're long, they get their hands on some balls, a couple tip passes for interceptions, things like that. They do a good job of throwing around those guys, especially the ends. But I mean they're big up front, [DJ] Reader, [B.J.] Hill, and those guys. I mean it's not an easy group to throw with. You know power rush and then the edge guys come squeeze the pocket. So, they do a good job.

Q: With one fewer practice this week, is today strictly an early down day, or do you involve more third-down or red area?

BB: Yeah, so we have two days to work three days into. So, push a little bit in today, push a little bit in tomorrow. It's three into two, that's what it is. So yeah, we'll do some of the things we would do, but then on Thursday and Friday we'd move to Wednesday, and some of the things we'd do on Friday we'd move to Thursday. That's about it.

Q: How much of a sense have you been able to get on how the players have come back to work in terms of putting the last game behind them, just given the way that it ended?

BB: Yeah, it's what we try to do every week.

Q: Have you been able to get a sense of how they are or is it too early because you haven't practiced yet?

BB: Yeah, they were here Monday. They're here today.

Q: What has to happen for your passing offense to be more efficient, this weekend and in the final three games?

BB: Yeah, just better execution, better consistency, better all the way around. I don't think it's any one thing.

Q: What's sort of just an outlier day in terms of completion percentage from Mac [Jones]. I was just wondering, was there anything that was easily identifiable in terms of his mechanics that he could work on this week?

BB: There's always things that everybody can improve on every week. So, just point those out in the film and try to correct them and move on. That's players, coaches, every position. That's the way it always is.

Q: How often does the quarterback, you know it's a unique position, how frequently are mechanics a part of the daily work on the field for you guys?

BB: Every day.

Q: Is that what we'll see early on in practice when we're out there, sometimes it's the very start of practice?

BB: It's generally the way all practices are started, sure. Do the individual work at the beginning, then you do your group work and then teamwork or maybe a bigger group work, like 7-on-7 or 9-on-7. You build from the individual to smaller groups, to bigger groups, to a team. That's the way we've always done it, that's a good teaching progression. Whether that's training camp, passing game, running game, whatever it is.

Q: I know you haven't practiced this week, but what have you seen from your team in the two days that they have been in the building this week?

BB: What I've seen from them? We talked about the game on Monday, and we've moved on to Cincinnati. We're working on Cincinnati today. They came in and ate breakfast. I saw them eat breakfast. I saw them in the meeting room. They all went to their individual meetings. Take a break to go to the bathroom and drug testing. Come back in and go to the next meeting. I mean, I don't know what you're talking about.

Q: Was there a good breakfast spread?

BB: Yeah, damn right.

Q: Is the plan to have Mac here at quarterback for the final three weeks?

BB: Yeah, plan is to try to beat Cincinnati. Alright.

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