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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 12/22

Read the full transcript from Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick's press conference on Wednesday, December 22, 2021.


Wednesday, December 22, 2021

On how the Patriots are dealing with the Covid situation:

BB: Good. We're hanging in there. We're good.

On if Kendrick Bourne can be available for the Buffalo game:

BB: If he meets the criteria that the league set up, sure.

On Tre Nixon's development:

BB: Tre works extremely hard. I've been really impressed with his work ethic. He does everything that we ask him to do and more. He's improved quite a bit. A young player. Still has a way to go, of course, but he's working hard and has improved considerably.

On Josh Allen's development as a decision-maker:

BB: I think we talked about this the last time about how much he's improved. That's borne out in the numbers and watching him play as well. Percentage of completions, production, and so forth. He's really hard to stop. He does a good job at everything. He's continued to grow as a player and I think you see his leadership, his toughness, his physical ability, all that, on a very consistent basis. He's the guy that makes them go and he's become one of the top quarterbacks in the league.

On Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry:

BB: Well, the expectations were for them for them to come in, work hard, do the best they could every day, improve, and work into our offense and they've done that. Glad we have them. I think they're both good players. They'll continue to improve and, based on game plan and weekly situations, they'll be a big part of what we do.

On Matt Judon:

BB: Matt's a good player. He does a lot of things well. He's added a lot to our team and our defense. I think he's shown a good ability to play the run, hold up on the line of scrimmage, rush the passer, pursue, effort, does a good job for us on punt return. All the situations he's on the field for, it's good to have him out there. He's a good player.

On Dawson Knox:

BB: Well, Knox has been targeted quite a bit more in the last three or four weeks and on all downs, not just any particular situation. He's shown up and been productive on early downs, third down, red area.   He's a guy we're definitely going to have to keep an eye on. We've had tough matchups against him before, going back to '19. He's a good athlete. He catches the ball well. He's got good length and quickness. He's a hard guy to cover. He's really the point-of-attack guy for them in the running game. He's been a solid player for them.

On Gabriel Davis:

BB: His skills are quite a bit different than [Cole] Beasley's, but he does play in there [in the slot], as you mentioned, as Cole did. He's been really a versatile player for them. He's been kind of their fourth receiver with [Emmanuel] Sanders, [Stefon] Diggs, and Beasley this year, but he's played in every game. He played quite a bit in some games more than others and then, last week with Sanders out, he played a lot for Sanders. We'll see how it goes this week, but he's capable of playing all three positions. They like to move Diggs around, so his flexibility helps. I'm sure it helps Coach [Brian] Daboll with the offense in getting people where he wants to get them. He's been a productive player at all three levels: down the field, intermediate routes, and catch-and-run routes. He's also a very good blocker and he's been a key guy for them in the run game as well. Certainly, much bigger, more physical presence than Beasley is on some of those plays where they involve him in the running game. He's a really good player for them that they have a role for. His role may expand this week. It wouldn't surprise me if it did, but we'll see. He's done a good job for them.

On A.J. Klein, Efe Obada, and Vernon Butler:

BB: Butler's a big guy. Big, strong player. Big, physical presence in the running game. He's hard to block, hard to move. Obada had some good pass rushes last week against Carolina. Quick off the ball, plays with good pad level, and is an active, athletic player that can definitely cause some disruptive plays. As you said, we didn't have Klein. Klein, really, has been their linebacker. Now, they play a lot of nickel defense, of course, so usually there's two linebackers on the field and that's [Tremaine] Edmunds and [Matt] Milano, but when they play their 4-3 defense, which they played against us a decent amount because of the way we played the game, then I think that probably would've been Klein as the third linebacker. He wasn't there. I think getting him back, he adds a lot of experience. I'm sure it helps the communication and depth of the whole linebacker unit. Of course, it goes back to Carolina, when he was there with Sean [McDermott] and so forth, so I'm sure there's a lot of confidence in him. Plays in the kicking game, so he's a good player. I'm sure it helps them to have him back.

On how much Kristian Wilkerson has developed:

BB: Quite a bit. Wilk's really improved in every area of the game. First of all, overall, just the maturity and professionalism. Just the way he prepares, trains, takes care of himself, is ready to go every day. He's very dependable when he walks in the building. You know what you're going to get from him. As a receiver and a blocker, he's improved in his route running, his blocking, all things that go into being a receiver, catching the ball. He consistently shows up in practice. A guy we have trouble covering. Generally, depending on who we play, but generally speaking, he would play the other team's best receiver, gets a lot of opportunities, gives us a good look on that, and it gives him an opportunity to show up on plays that the other team's player is heavily targeted on. He has been a productive player in the kicking game for us as well in practice. It's obviously different in the games, but a bigger receiver that can run that has some playing strength. He continues to improve and grow. As long as he keeps working hard and, earlier we talked about Tre Nixon, but both those guys come in, they're ready to go. They work hard every day. They've gotten better. That's always an encouraging sign. We'll see where that goes, but they're trending in the right direction.

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