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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 8/23

Read the full transcript from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's press conference from Monday, August 23, 2021.


August 23, 2021

BB: Looking forward to another good week here. I thought we got a lot done last week in Philadelphia, and this week's another opportunity for us to spend a couple of days here working on things that obviously we need to work on both fundamentally and to continue to install and build our scheme. Look forward to working against the Giants on Wednesday and Thursday and then playing on Sunday. We can hopefully build on some of the things we've done, but also we need to cover some new ground and continue to move ahead. Really appreciate the opportunity to work with Joe [Judge] and the Giants. It's been obviously a good line of communication. I'm confident that we have a good format where we can improve our team and we're looking forward to doing that, but in the meantime, we're really focused on taking advantage of these two days and getting some things in place that we'll be able to run against the Giants, but also correcting some things that have come up through training camp and against Philadelphia that we need to we need to correct.

Q: We've had Mike Pellegrino mentioned a couple of times how helpful Stephon Gilmore has been with the entire cornerbacks room, all the defensive backs and things he's done. Do you have any update on a timeline for him to be on the field, and is that important for you to see him on the field before he plays in a game?

BB: I know that Steph's been working extremely hard. See him in here all the time, and he's doing other things while we're practicing, so we don't really see him on the practice field, but you know, he's been doing everything he can do. The things he hasn't been able to do, he hasn't been able to do. I'd say it's day to day. We just keep trying to put days together and stack them together. When he's ready to be out there, then he'll be out there. If he's not ready to be out there, then he'll work on the things that he can work on to try to get ready to be out there. We'll just take it day to day.

Q: How big of a tumbler is that to have fall into place at some point to have an answer on what role he's going to be able to play for you?

BB: Again, I know he's doing what he can. I know that we're doing what we can, and when he's ready, he's ready. If he's not ready, then I don't think him being out there is a smart decision for any of us. We're not going to do that, nor should we do that. So, we'll take it as it comes. I think everybody's doing as much as they can, and that's really all they can do on that end, as well as preparing and doing the things that we can do that aren't on the field. There are still other preparations and other things we can do as far as communication and scheme and studying film and that kind of thing that we're doing as well. That's true for any players not participating, and we have a number of them that fall into that category. It seems like we always have somebody. So does every other team. So, for those players and for the team, the best thing is for that player to focus on what he can do. Improve in the areas that he can improve in and try to get back out as soon as he can and address the areas that he needs to address. I think that's what's being done.

Q: With the Giants coming to town, I did want to ask you about Joe Judge. He got here in 2012 as a special teams assistant coach. What did he do over time to earn your trust and respect?

BB: Joe's a good football coach. Period. All the things that a good coach needs to do, Joe does. And he did a great job here for me in a number of different capacities. Most importantly, special teams, but he had a lot of other responsibilities as well. When I gave him something to do, he did a good job of it, and so that led to other things. I know he's like a very, just accomplished football coach. He has a good understanding of the game and how to coach it.

Q: When it comes to evaluating the quarterbacks here in camp, you mentioned this morning on another interview that for Cam Newton to not be the quarterback, someone would have to play it better than him. Are you just looking at how they perform in a vacuum in practice and during the games, or do you factor in that Cam has some experience in games and can do some things on game days that maybe don't show up in practice?

BB: I think it would be wrong to take any comments like that out of context. Again, it's really the same for every player. The players that have played those positions in the past for us, call them starters if you will, have to re-earn that every year. They know it, and everybody else knows it. The players who are competing for roster spots and ultimately play time, there's nothing that says that they can't do that. So, it's just a question of performance, and again, there's usually only one quarterback on the field or one punter and one long snapper and one kicker. So, there are some unique qualities to those particular positions that differ from some of the other positions. But then when you get on the offensive line and things like that, there is not a lot of rotation in some of those spots, generally speaking. Again, we all have to re-establish every year, our level of performance and our competency, and the guys who have been there, somebody has to show that they're better than them or that player has to be unavailable. That's the way it is at every position. It's not unique to any position. That's the way it is across the board. So that's how you get players you know that have an opportunity to gain playing time, regardless of who else is on the roster or what else is on the roster by their performance. That's the only way I know to do it, so that's the way I'm going to do it.

Q: I wanted to ask you what your impressions are so far of Henry Anderson this summer and just what you've seen out of Henry?

BB: Well, Henry is a smart player. Has a lot of experience. Played really every position across the line from outside to inside and two technique, three technique, four technique. He has a good understanding of not only the position he's playing, but also what's going on around him because he's had experience playing in those spots as well. He adds a good level of play, but also versatility in a number of different spots. From mentally and from a technique standpoint, he's shown that he can do that. Can play multiple positions and can do them effectively. He's really been a good player to work with and getting to know him and his playing style and all has been good out of appreciation for the versatility he has. There's not really many players that do that, or can do that, that can play from a nine-technique outside the tight end to a zero technique on the center. That's not really a really long list of guys, so I'm glad we have them. I'm glad that he gives us some versatility and depth on our defensive front that I'm sure we're going to be able to use over the course of the year.

Q: Is this a good opportunity for you and your team to prepare like a regular season week and then try to handle the game like that almost a little bit just because it's your last opportunity to do that?

BB: There are so many elements to preparation that I think it's hard to just lump them all into one bucket. I think as you go through preseason there are elements that you can build into each week or however you want to do it. Preparing for a regular season game is just different than preparing for a preseason game. We'll call any play we think that'll help us win in the regular season. In preseason we're going to work on our basics and our fundamentals. The play calling and the preparation and all that is different. There are players that we're going to look at in every preseason game, and so that's another thing to take into consideration, and then there's the work that comes in addition to the game. In this case, two practices. Same thing with Philadelphia. Two practices. So it's really a combination. Like in Philadelphia, it's a combination of two practices against the Eagles and the game. Not just the game. So, while there are similarities, and you certainly want to build up to preparing for an opponent, it's not like going to training camp and working against the other side of the ball on your team. I see it as significantly different from a regular season preparation. Are there elements of building towards that? Yes. Is it different? Yes. We have a lot of balls in the air here. It's a combination of things here that we're working through. We'll do the best that we can with all of them, but it's still important to evaluate the players. Try to put together the best team that we can. Our top performance against the Giants, that's not really at all costs. That's not really where we're at, but we do want to go out and every opportunity we get to run a player, make a decision, we want it to be a good one. Again, we're not pulling out all stops in our preparation like we would in a regular season game. I don't know if that answers the question or not. It's a long answer to a short question. There are a lot of things to take into consideration, and how you prioritize one over another and how Joe [Judge] does it with his team and how we do it with our team and how somebody else does it with another team could be very different. They're all valuable. They're all beneficial. You have to decide what's most important and what you want to get done with the group you have, and then there's going to be some things that you're not going to be able to accomplish. I think there's no other way around it.

Q: I wanted to ask you what you've seen from Trent Brown this summer, and is it rare to be that proficient at both sides, a left tackle and right tackle that he seems to be?

BB: It definitely is. Yeah. The concept of a swing tackle that's good at both is pretty unusual. It's probably like the switch hitter that hits .300 from both sides of the plate. It's hard to find those guys. Honestly, you're happy if you can find one that's really good at one or the other. Trent's done a good job of not only reacclimating himself, but say bringing a good level of leadership and toughness and dependability to the team that I think everybody respects, I know everybody respects and appreciates. He's ready to go. He's got a good blue collar working attitude. He competes well. Whatever the situation is; run, pass, two-minute drill, goal line, whatever it happens to be, he competes well. He performs well. He really has done a good job of taking the 2018 year of experience in the system and really building on it and becoming a much more valuable player in terms of leadership, communication and helping other people out. I think in 2018, he was, as he should have been, very focused on just trying to do his job and do it well, which he still does, but I think now he also brings an element of experience and leadership and stability and dependability that is at a very high level, which is which is great. I mean, honestly, it's been awesome to have him.

Q: This summer the team seems to be in a unique position with the running back group. Five players, obviously in the preseason, that have been playing really well, and we all have seen what Brandon Bolden has done throughout his career. He's won. How pleased are you with that group and their progression? Just how unique is it of a situation where you have six players at the running back position that could make an impact for your team?

BB: It's always good to have good players, and we're very fortunate to have the quality of players and people. I would say the dependability of that group has been good as well. That's important as well. It's a very competitive group. They all have been productive in a number of different ways with the ball in their hands, in the passing game, in the return game. Just a daily level of consistency from all those guys have been good. We've had other years where we've had a lot of depth at running back. I mean when you take a player like James White, who wasn't even active for whatever it was, 14 games his rookie year, that's good depth too. We'll see how things turn out, but yeah. It's great to have good depth and good players at any position, but especially that one. That group works well together. They work together and help each other and work with each other. The veteran players have helped some of the guys with a little less experience, but they've all been productive, and I think they all can help our team win.

Q: I just wanted to mention on the passing Floyd Reese over the weekend. I know that you had mentioned it in the statement, but he was just seemingly an incredibly nice guy, and I just wanted to maybe give you an opportunity if you wanted to say anything because I know how big a role he played in the beginning of the last decade?

BB: Floyd's really had an interesting career. He had a great career at UCLA, and then he went and played in Canada. As an undersized defensive lineman, like I don't know, 5'11" or whatever he was, but very strong and athletic. He was a good player but didn't have a lot of length. Played well in Canada. Then when I went to Detroit, Floyd ran the strength program, and obviously he was very experienced and competent in strength training, especially at that time. That was sort of typical of that point in the seventies where one of the position coaches would also double as a strength coach. A lot of times a position coach would double a special teams coach. So, I learned a lot working with Floyd about strength training, managing that room, that group of people, special teams. He was there with Jerry [Glanville], and then when Jerry left, Glanville left. Then Floyd handled the special teams in '77. That was good. Floyd and I lived a couple streets away from each other, so we rode back and forth to games and work at times. I had a lot of conversations there about various things that at that point in my career gave me a lot of insight. I've been in Baltimore, but Floyd had a lot of other experiences that he shared. He's been a great friend. Obviously did a great job with the Titans, the team and the players that he drafted down there they put together. Well going back to Houston, when he was at Houston down there too with you know, Jerry and I think Jeff [Fisher] was on that staff, and then they went to Tennessee. Floyd did a lot in terms of putting that franchise together as he transitioned from being a linebacker coach, defensive coordinator to moving into the front office. He and I had a long friendship on a lot of different levels. Certainly appreciate everything he did during the time that he was here. As a friend, as an advisor, with contracts and some other GM-type responsibilities that he worked with and assisted us with. He was always positive. Every day was a good day with Floyd, but he was a hard worker and a tough competitor. My sympathy goes out to Sally and the boys and his family. He had a long hard fight with cancer, and honestly, hardly any of us knew about it, and that was the kind of kind of person that he was. Great, great impact on me and on the National Football League over the last 40-some years including his roles and media and so forth. I'm sure he added a lot of insight to the fans in Tennessee on his shows and so forth because he had so much experience in so many different roles in the NFL. So, thanks for the question, Tom [Curran].

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