Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick
Friday, June 4, 2021
BB: First of all, a big congratulations to the Bruins and Coach [Bruce] Cassidy's great win last night. A heck of a game, like it seems like they've all been, so we're behind them and go B's. We've got a lot of big games coming up, so wish them well and Coach Cassidy's done a great job there and a lot of great players. I love their style of play, so I just want to show our support.
On our end of it here, we're kind of wrapping up our second week and I feel like we continue to make progress in the things that we're doing. Clearly, we have a long, long way to go, so we're not anywhere close to being where we want or need to be, but continuing to push ahead and this is an important time to be able to devote some extra time to fundamentals and understanding the big picture of the teaching, not just one individual assignment, but kind of how the play fits together and what adjustments do we need to make on certain plays based on what's happening to us and exposing everyone to things in the kicking game to give us a quality of play, but also depth there, but ultimately we know we'll need. So, that's kind of where we're at here. Just keep trying to stack days on top of each other here going forward and we'll be ready to go in training camp.
Q: Any Lacrosse for you this weekend with the Premier League being played there?
BB: Yeah, it's been interesting to see some of the guys and they've all been around all week. All the teams are practicing and so forth, so yeah, getting a lot of lacrosse here. They're getting a good fix on it for several days, so I'm excited for Paul [Rabil] and the start of the PLL and I'm sure they'll have another great season. It looks like he's really got that rolling, which is just great. Great for the sport and great for all the people involved in it and I'm sure fans will love it. I'm sure it will be a good crowd this weekend. Also, a big shout out to BC [Boston College] and Acacia [Walker-Weinstein]. They had another great year and certainly finished it in an impressive style. They went against Syracuse in the championship game down there in Baltimore and it's a great venue down there in Towson at Johnny Unitas Stadium, but yeah, great win for Acacia and the BC women and I'm proud of what they've done, not just this year, but the program she's built there and how consistent they've been.
Q: The Men's Lacrosse final was great too, what did you think?
BB: Yeah, it was. It really takes me back to my younger days when it was a lot of the Maryland, Virginia rivalry. It goes a long way back, but I certainly saw a lot of it in the '70s and those great ACC rivals and then with Maryland going to the Big Ten. But it finished with those two great teams, two great programs, it came down to the final shot and it doesn't get much more exciting than that. So, really good weekend for lacrosse and another good week for lacrosse here. So, the PLL I'm sure will get off to a big start and we'll have it rolling all summer.
Q: What have you learned about Nelson Agholor in these last few weeks?
BB: Well, we've known Nelson for a while but having him here, yeah, you certainly have a little different perspective, but he's a smart kid. He's got a lot of position flexibility and good skill and talent. He's like everybody else, learning from scratch, learning a little bit of a new offense and some things; the way we call things and do things and all that, but nothing that he or any other new players can't handle. It's just part of the process, but he's doing well, good to work with him.
Q: Do you have any idea of the percentage of players on your team that have either gotten the vaccine or in the process of getting the vaccine and is this something that you are really encouraging with the players?
BB: It's really being handled by medical, but I know we've got quite a few guys. I couldn't really give you a percentage or whatever, but the number's increasing, so we'll just continue to work through the process.
Q: The rules are very different for vaccinated players than for unvaccinated players, do you stress that with players and do you envision that having an impact come roster time?
BB: I don't know. We're just working through the spring. We get new notifications and memos and there have been probably at least half a dozen modifications of something or other, some aspect of testing or meetings or practice or whatever. So, it's been a consistent level or a consistent change from day to day, week to week, phase to phase, so whatever it is, it is, and we'll be compliant with it and work through it and try to get the most out of it that we can.
Q: I want to ask about Brad Stevens with his transition from a coach into a front office position, what advice you would give him as he makes this transition with the Celtics?
BB: I have a ton of respect for Brad. He's a good friend and a great person. I think he's certainly added a lot to the Celtics and sports in Boston and personally as a friend, he's helped me as well in our conversations and the time we've spent together. So, I'm sure whatever the setup is over there, I'm sure he'll enhance it and the Celtics will continue to be a strong, competitive team that honestly, they pretty much have always been. I'm sure Brad will do a great job in whatever capacity or role he's asked to perform, or he chooses to perform in.
Q: Do you remember how challenging that was when you had to focus more on the front office side and how long did it take you to become comfortable in that role?
BB: I don't know. When you're part of a sport like Brad is, or like I've been and many others are, there's a lot of lines that run together there. So, I mean, you can't be the head coach and not be aware of contracts and acquisitions and things like that. So, I don't know. Again, I don't know exactly how they're set up and each situation's a little bit different, but Brad has enough experience in basketball and with the Celtics and the International Basketball Association to I'm sure, handle all the things that he'll need to handle.
Q: How much do you gain in your interactions with coaches in other sports and what are you looking for and what have you taken from those conversations?
BB: Well, I think it's a great perspective, even though the sport's different, dealing with athletes, dealing with teams, dealing with similar situations, even though the sports different, there's a lot of common ground there. So, I think a lot of times those conversations are great and they're very insightful and honestly, in a lot of ways, they're easier to have. For me to call up another coach in the National Football League and talk about my problems, I mean, that's not really something that I would do or that anybody else would do. Another coach in the NFL will do that, I mean, I just have a hard time seeing that happening. But, when you're talking about different sports and you're not trying to gain an edge on anybody – Major League Baseball or the NBA or the NHL or Coach [Dave] Pietramala at Hopkins, or Coach Ken [Niumatalolo] at Navy, or somebody like that, that's just completely out of your circle of competition, – it's a lot easier to have sometimes those kind of frank conversations about your team or about whatever the situation is, whatever you're talking about, than with somebody who's in your sport, that's competing in your league in a similar situation. So yeah, I think those have been very insightful to me and some of the friendships that I've made with those people in other sports have been very helpful and they've given me a lot of insight and I've taken a lot from their knowledge, experience, leadership. There's quite a few people, I wouldn't be able to name all here, but there have been quite a few of them.
Q: On your receiving corps, do you feel like this is a group that has good depth and is ready to move forward?
BB: We'll see. We don't have any games scheduled here anytime soon, so we're going to continue to practice, install our system, learn what to do, learn how to adjust, get to know the players better, give them a chance to learn our system and modify it as we go.
Q: You often refer to this time of the year as a teaching period instead of an evaluation period and I'm curious if there's somewhat of an exception when it comes to place kickers, in that you have multiple place kickers, even multiple long snappers right now, and how you handle that in this case with more than two?
BB: There's a degree of evaluation there. Yeah, it's not a lot of playbook teaching at those positions. That's fairly straightforward. But yeah, there is a degree of evaluation at a skilled position like that. I agree with that but at the same time, there are minimal team situations there. A lot of it still is, those guys working on their technique and finding ways to improve what they're doing, their foot work, their body position, working with holder and snapper and so forth, or snappers working with holders and punts and field goals and things like that. So, I think that there's been a lot of improvement, especially as you would expect at this time of year, May to June. I don't know that too many players at any position are in mid-season form at this time. So, where a guy is this week and where he was two weeks ago is not necessarily the same. So, ultimately the competition will start, when it starts. I wouldn't say that we're there yet, but you can start to get a little bit of a feel for just the overall mechanics and in kickers case, their leg strength and their consistency and so forth. But again, a lot of that's a function of the hole and the timing and sometimes a little tweak in what they're doing can make a big difference between being a 70% kicker and being a 95% kicker and that could happen in a short period of time. So, we'll see how it goes but as long as they're here and they're improving, then we'll keep working with them and keep evaluating.
Q: Quinn Nordin didn't have many attempts in his final year with a shortened season in the Big Ten, how much progress has he made this year?
BB: I think Quinn's made a lot. Again, Joe [Houston] and Cam [Achord] have spent a lot of time with him going all the way back to rookie minicamp and in terms of working with his technique and his kicking mechanics, and he's definitely made some changes, I'd say, for the better. And so, we'll see where all that goes but he's doing well and as I said, he's continuing to improve, so we'll see where that takes us here.
Q: In the process of replacing Nick Caserio, have you spread out those responsibilities through different individuals in the organization, or is it one person, Dave Siegel, Elliot Wolf, Matt Groh or Matt Patricia, who take on the bulk of what Nick did?
BB: I'd say we're set up a little bit differently than we were when Nick was here. We could talk about that for hours, but we're not going to. There are a number of different elements and things that are intertwined here and so forth. We have an opportunity to kind of reorganize some things and so that's what we're going to do. Matt wasn't here last year, he is now. He's an important part of that. The people that you mentioned, Dave, Elliott, Matt Groh, Steve, so forth, I mean, there'd be a number of things that we'll modify for one reason or another and if we have to adjust them at a later point in time or further, we'll do that, but we'll start with, which we have already, start doing things a certain way and see how it goes.
Q: In the short time that you've had Mac Jones, have you seen his command and presence translate to meeting rooms and on the field?
BB: I think Mac has a pretty good understanding of the things that we do. He has to go out there and do them and get comfortable with them, so it's a process and we've had a number of other players at that quarterback position come in and go through that. Sometimes it starts a little slower and then picks up, sometimes it starts a little higher and slows down. We'll just have to see how it goes but he's working hard. He puts in a lot of time and certainly, giving his very best effort to do everything we've asked him to do and do it the way that we've asked him to do it, which is a great place to start. He's earned a lot of respect for that but he's got a long way to go and we'll see how it goes.