HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
Friday, December 30, 2022
BB: A little early, but Happy New Year everybody.
Q: Shaun Wade, what have you seen from him behind the scenes? We haven't seen that much of him in games this year. What have you noticed in his growth and improvement this year?
BB: Yeah, Shaun's a smart kid. He's worked at all the spots so far. Further ahead than he was last year, that's for sure.
Q: Did you start him more on the inside this year?
BB: He's played both and played some safety. But obviously our depth at safety has been pretty good. So, he's been limited.
Q: How about [Quandre] Mosley on the practice squad? I know it's been a couple weeks but is it possible that he could help you? Have you seen anything that could?
BB: We'll see. We'll see how it goes.
Q: I know we've asked you about Ja'Whaun Bentley a lot in the past. But I'm just wondering, what it's like for you to watch him continue to grow not only as a player but as a leader? He's started out with a leadership kind of role.
BB: Yeah, absolutely. It's been great. So glad that we were able to re-sign him in the offseason when he was a free agent. He's been great on and off the field. Leadership on the field. Communication, very good communicator which is important in the role that he plays. Middle linebacker and free safety, and quarterback, center, like those are all – personal protector on the punt team, they're all high-level communication positions and he does a great job of that. Very unselfish player. Does what's best for the defense, what's best for the team, not what's best for him. So, that makes it a lot easier to somebody who always thinks what's the best thing for the defense to be in, not what's easiest for me. Devin's [McCourty] the same way. Like sometimes those guys take on the hardest jobs. But that's what's best in that situation, then that's what they do. So yeah, appreciate that. Works hard in the offseason. He was one of the first guys in every morning back in February, March, coming in to work out on his own. It's been impressive. He's really developing into a great career.
Q: Matt Judon mentioned a play being against Cincinnati where Ja'Whaun gave him a free call or something, like he had a two-way go with his rush. What kind of trust needs to be earned from the coaching staff in order for Bentley to kind of make those calls? Or is that something that's always baked into that job of calling the defense and setting?
BB: Yeah, well there's a difference between calling the defense and making calls on the field within the defense, right? So, it's two different things. Just involvement, it could be involvement, and both of them they could be separate. A lot of times the DBs make calls relative to formations and adjustments, that kind of thing. It doesn't have anything to do with the defensive call. It has to do with the way that they're going to play a certain 3-on-2 or 4-on-3, 2-on-2, 3-on-3, whatever it is. Or how they are going to rotate the zones, we go to this zone, or we switch it around and go to a different configuration within the same call. So, a lot of players have the ability to do that. Depends on what the call is and what the situation is, and what we're talking about. Then there are the signal callers who would call the defense based on the huddle call or if it's a multiple call in the huddle, be based on the formation or look the offense presents once they come out of the huddle, then what do we do. So, they're just different. So, yeah as far as players having communication between one or two players, two or three players, that's pretty common on a lot of plays. I wouldn't say every play, but I mean a lot of plays.
Q: Is there any trust that needs to be earned specific to that call? As Matt described it like a free call, Bentley says 'Ok, I've got your back' or perhaps gap on that play.
BB: Again, in pass rush we have multiple pass rush schemes and games. Again, the person that's responsible for calling those, whether it's – it could be a number of different people, then yeah, they can make that call.
Q: How's Conor McDermott been hanging in there? I mean he's had quite a bit of playing time since he came back.
BB: Thank God we have him. He's done a good job. He's been dependable and tough. He's been out there, been durable.
Q: Similar to what you remember? I mean it's way back, right when you first had him, I know it's so unusual. When he was a rookie you probably didn't even see him play that much back then, right?
BB: Yeah, he played quite a bit in training camp. Then ended up losing him on a waiver claim. So, it's good to have him back. He's done a good job for us, and I'm glad we have him. Glad we have him.
Q: We haven't seen DeVante Parker in a while since he's been out with his concussion. I know he's not been out at practice this week, but do you have any sort of update on him? Is he feeling better?
BB: We'll put on the injury report whatever his status is. Those guys are doing things to try to get ready every day. Let's follow the process through the week and list what they do after practice on the injury report, whatever it is. I mean I can't sit here and tell you what he's going to be able to do in practice. That's why we go out and practice to see what they can do, and then we list them accordingly. Rather than try to crystal ball it and predict it. Then you guys come in here and tell me that I lied to you because I told you he was going to do this, but he doesn't do that, right? I don't know exactly what he's going to be able to do. We'll see what it is and then we'll list it at the end of practice like we always do.
Q: Do you know if he's going to put a helmet on for practice today?
BB: So, there are different things that go into that. So, again that's handled on the medical side based on what his status is and so forth, and where he is on his return to play.
Q: Like when you have a morning staff meeting with the coaches and kind of lay out what you're doing today, is there an expectation of we know these guys can't practice, and if so, is he among that group?
BB: Alright, so the concussion protocol is not like anything else. The players that aren't in the concussion protocol, they're availability is based on their availability, and what they feel they can do, and what we feel they can do. It's progressive, right? So, you go out there and you do this, like okay alright, then you do a little bit more, ok good, then ok you're good to go, right? It's progressive and the concussion protocol, that's totally under a different set of – its managed and monitored differently. So, that's what it is.
Q: What are some of the challenges that Miami's motion presents defensively? I mean I know we talked about Tyreek Hill and [Jaylen] Waddle, and their vertical speed, and how they run them off motion. In terms of the run game, what are some challenges that their motion present?
BB: Well, I think you bring up a great point. It's not the vertical speed only, it's also the horizontal speed. Those motions, the guy gets on one side of the field or formation to the other side very fast and can either outflank the defense or draw the defense out to create more space inside. So, the horizontal spacing and speed is, I want to say, just as big of an issue. But in a way, it's just as big of an issue as the vertical speed that those players have that they use horizontally. So yeah, it's definitely a problem. Like they do a good job of that. That's how they try to use it. Yeah, they stretch you vertically, they stretch you horizontally. Then if you don't go fast enough and they happen to be going out there, you're outflanked, and if you go too fast then they're coming back across the grain or trying to create space to get you to overextend to get you to open up inside, then they're vulnerable there. So, those are the concepts and ways that they use it. So, it's definitely a problem that you have to be ready to, dependent on what we're in and what we've called, how we would handle it. But that's honestly fairly common from a lot of teams, but certainly the San Francisco style of offense from Kyle [Shanahan], to the Jets which is prevalent there, to Miami assuming that we've seen a lot of it. The Rams, teams that use the Rams' concepts like Green Bay, things like that. They kind of follow that pattern. There's definitely a lot of that, so probably Minnesota. Half the teams we've played this year have built that in. Again, dependent on who the players are. Sometimes it's speed, sometimes it's with bigger players, like a guy like Cooper Kupp or somebody like that, like that gets into blocking, too. So, you have a blocker that isn't present than all of a sudden, he is present in the formation, now you've got a guy who's 215-220 pounds blocking at the point of attack, that happened pretty suddenly. So, that's something we see a lot of. They do a good job of it in their horizontal speed and separations. Honestly, it probably is more of a problem than the vertical speed. More frequent, I'm not saying it's more of a problem. But not every play is a post pattern. Not every play is a go route. There's a lot of plays that go horizontally.
Q: When it comes to the offense's perspective, teams like Miami for example motion a lot more than some other teams do. What goes into implementing motion like that into your offense that might make it prevalent for one offense, but not so prevalent for another one?
BB: Generally, offenses do whatever they do. They try to gain an advantage. So, whether they motion, don't motion, line up in 2-by-2, 3-by-1, 2-back, whatever it is, whatever they do, they try to do it to gain some kind of advantage. They're not trying to help the defense. So, whatever that advantage that they proceed that they're gaining is, that's why they're doing it. Could be a number of reasons for doing any or none. There are good reasons for not putting anybody in motion and there's good reasons for putting people in motion, or some kind of jet-motion. Then there's also drawbacks to doing those. So, just dependent on what you're trying to accomplish. I'm sure any offensive coach when he calls the play, or designs the play, or calls the formation, he does it to gain some type of advantage somewhere or information. That's why they do it.
Q: We approached this topic on Wednesday, some other players opinions in reference as far as Mac [Jones] being potentially a dirty player. I know you said, 'You'll have to talk to them about that, I don't know.' But speaking for yourself, do you think Mac in your experience is a dirty player?
BB: Yeah, I'm not going to sit up here and comment about that. I mean we could go through the rest of our roster and ask the same questions, right? About different things, about players and all that. So, like I'm not going to get into any of that.
Q: Yeah, it seems unusual that for one player who's had some controversy as of late, which whether it's a big deal or not, your opinion isn't clear.
BB: Right now, my focus is on the Miami Dolphins. It's not on some other game, some other play, some other year, what somebody else said or didn't say. Like we're trying to get ready for the Dolphins and so that's where it's at. So, honestly, I don't even think about those things.
Q: Do you think at all when I ask you if your quarterback's a dirty player, I know the things you say to us you would say to any of the players?
BB: Again, I'm thinking about the Dolphins. That's really what I'm thinking about. So, I'm not going to go into last year, somebody else's comment, some other game, some other situation. Like whatever it is, is. Whatever was called, was called. That's what it is and I'm on to the Dolphins. So, do as good of a job as I can to prepare our team for that and that's what it's going to be.
Q: Do you think you run the risk at all of alienating your quarterback when I ask if he's a dirty player and you don't say yes or no?
BB: Yeah, I have a good relationship with all the players. I talk to all the players. I talk to the team every day, talk to the players individually on an as-needed basis or anything that's relevant. So, I feel comfortable in my relationships with every player, every coach, every staff member. That's what you're asking. I feel very comfortable with every one of them. So, that's what I base it on. Not what somebody thinks or what somebody else says. I base my relationships on my direct relationship with that person. That's what I feel like is important. You want to construct it differently, then that's up to you. But that's not the way I'd do it.