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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 8/26

Read the full transcript from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's press conference from Thursday, August 26, 2021.


August 26, 2021

BB: Good to have the exposure we had yesterday to the Giants. It was certainly a great learning experience for all of us. We did a lot of things that can really benefit our team going forward, both fundamentally and some schematic things. We'll get into a little more situational football today, which we haven't obviously had very much of in the preseason games and probably won't in this last game, but it will be very important during the season. It will give us a good chance to work on that, but I thought our players came out and competed well yesterday. The Giants gave us some problems. There are some things we definitely need to correct and learn from all the way across the board. We had a couple of good coaching situations come up as well that we need to do a better job on, and I need to do a better job on, so it was really another good day for us in terms of moving our team forward and getting some valuable experience against a quality team. They're very well-coached. Obviously Joe [Judge] on special teams and Jason [Garrett], Pat [Shurmur]. They all do a great job and their assistants. They're a team that has some tough schemes and do some things that create some problems for us that we haven't seen, need to see, and we'll definitely learn from. Looking forward to today as well in terms of pushing our team forward, and we'll have a lot of good film to look at this afternoon and tonight.

Q: Mac's [Jones] heavy workload stood out yesterday. It seemed like he had a lot of snaps. A lot of learning experience. With Cam [Newton] expected back today, how does that affect what Mac will do today?

BB: All the quarterbacks look good. They'll all get work today. I think everybody got work yesterday. I think all the players that were out there. I don't think Quinn [Nordin] kicked. Nick [Folk] kicked yesterday. I think Quinn will kick today, but all the players that are out there, they'll all get work.

Q: Will Cam be back out there today?
BB: Yes.

Q: With his absence, so to speak, you said it was a good opportunity for Mac Jones. You said it certainly was in the in-person press conference. How'd you see him take advantage of the extra role in the extra snaps that he got?

BB: As I just got through saying, I think that all the players and the coaches for that matter that participated yesterday had good learning experiences. We did some things well. There's certainly some things that we need to correct. A couple of cases just make adjustments to. That's part of football, too. Like that comes up a lot. There are a number of things we need to do better, but hopefully we can learn from some of the mistakes that we made yesterday collectively as a team. We all had some, so that includes everybody that we can correct those and not repeat them again today and go out and execute things a little bit better.

Q: I just had a question about something that James White told us [the media] yesterday. He said something along the lines of, "Mac's done a good job of controlling the huddle". I just wanted to ask you, what does that mean? And as a coach, how do you gauge that? How important is that to see from players playing that position?

BB: I think that's really something that James could expand on a little bit. I'm not sure exactly what part of that he was referring to, so I don't want to put any words in his mouth or speak for him. I certainly wouldn't do that, but all the signal callers, whether the quarterbacks or defensive signal callers or the personal protector on the punt team or whoever that is and whatever the play is or situation, there's a responsibility that comes with that in terms of getting things organized, being aware of a situation, making sure that on certain plays there might be one or two guys in particular that have a key role in that play just by the way that it's called, by the play that's called. As a signal-caller, you want to make sure that that person for sure knows what the call is, or maybe it's an added tag or an edited word that changes things a little bit and makes sure that the people that are involved in that get it. Maybe there's something that we're looking for and that's why we've tagged it as a reminder and things like that. All those things come with that position. Awareness, communication and clarification sometimes of things that are happening that everybody should be familiar with or in some cases, most of them might be aware of, but sometimes it's good to remind everybody, or like I said, specifically make sure that the key people involved in something have it right because that's really where the focus of the call is.

Q: I think you might agree that over the years you've had your players mostly play in the preseason with the idea that playing is what gets you prepared for playing games. Like the best way to prepare to play football is to play. I'm curious where that came from? Was there a coach in your past that imparted that on you, or where did that approach come from?

BB: Pretty much all the coaches I worked for I would say I saw that. Go back to [Ted] Marchibroda, [Rick] Forzano, [Ray] Perkins, Coach [Bill] Parcells and many other coaches I've talked to. I've talked to other coaches about that and just kind of get what their thinking is on things like that and preseason and so forth. Every situation is a little bit different. When you practice against a team for a couple of days, that's a little different than not practicing against them or going back to a scrimmage and scrimmages that we had back in, that was a long time ago. There's no point in even talking about that. It basically is doing what's best for the team and doing what's best for each individual player. Sometimes that's a conflict. What's best for the player might not be best for the team or vice versa, and so then you have to make a decision as to how to manage that. That's really what it comes down to. But as you said, you prepare to play by playing if you can and if it's the right thing to do. Sometimes there may be other considerations that would override that, and maybe you don't feel that's the best decision, but generally speaking, I agree with that. I think that's what you should do.

Q: I know this isn't directly tied to today with the Giants. Colleague writing a story on Dean Pees. I said if the time is right, I'll try to jump in and ask about your background with Dean and what drew you to him when you hired him and just sort of what makes him a good coach if that was something you'd entertain this morning?

BB: How about we deal with that separately, Mike [Reiss], so we don't tie everybody else on that, and if there's any other questions about our current team. I'll handle that separately with you on the side.

Q: In your mind, at what point do you have to sort of transition here from the spirited quarterback competition to having a starter, giving them the majority of the reps and getting them prepared for Miami and to be the starter throughout the rest of the year?

BB: Yeah. I don't have a timetable on that, Chris [Gasper], so can't tell you.

Q: I know you said you don't have a timetable, but do you feel like that's something that's coming up soon here as we get to the end of training camp? You'll approach that or make that decision at the end of training camp here?

BB: I'm not sure. Not sure exactly how that will go.

Q: A little misunderstanding on the [Cam] Newton thing. I don't quite get Newton was gone for you for five days and it was characterized as a misunderstanding. Was he told he could go, or did he not know the rule, or did you not know the rule?

BB: I don't really have anything to add, Dan [Shaughnessy]. We released a statement. I think that covered it as thoroughly as we can without getting into lengthy things, so let's leave it at that.

Q: Just for us, it allows the possibility that he either went without permission or someone didn't know the rule, which is very unlike you guys, and I know it's important to be at practice and he's a pivotal guy on your team. It just leaves us a little bit out there as to the motivation for why he did this and if he knew and if you knew, or if he went against team rules?

BB: No. He didn't go against team rules, but there was a misunderstanding, and it's exactly what I said it was in the statement.

Q: So he was unaware he would lose the five days?

BB: It's exactly what I said it was in the statement.

Q: When did you first install the hills at practice, either here or elsewhere, and what do you think the benefit of it is? We saw Joe Judge take his players over there and make use of it yesterday.

BB: That's a training technique that's been used for quite a while. I had a hill in Cleveland. Ran hills as a player. Ran hills where there were hills, and it has certain training benefits. There are multiple ways to train, but that gives you certain benefits, and when that's combined with other things, other methods of training, I think it just helps build the overall conditioning of the athletes. There are multiple ways of training on a hill, but ultimately there are a lot of different conditioning factors that a team needs, and I think that that helps us prepare in some areas, not all.

Q: Does that help with like soft tissue, hamstrings, stuff like that? Like in your legs?

BB: Well it's hard. Nobody's going to be at top speed running up the hill, so there's not as much of a speed element to it as there is working against the incline. Running in different directions and so forth. The number, the incline, the type of running that you do on the hill and so forth. There's a lot of different ways to train. I think there's value in all of those as long as they're combined with other methods of training. Strength, power, endurance explosion, speed. It's a combination of things. That's just one way.

Q: I wanted to ask you about your linebacking play so far in training camp and what you've seen specifically from [Ja'Whaun] Bentley and [Matt] Judon and how you feel their explosiveness, their reads can benefit you schematically?

BB: They're both smart football players, and they both have a good level of experience and can do multiple things. Can think quickly, communicate well and have good instincts and a good feel for the game. Along with many other members of that group as well. Certainly [Dont'a] Hightower is in there. Kyle [Van Noy]. All those guys have played a lot of football and are very instinctive and have worked well together. There's a lot of playing off each other at those positions as there is at safety where there are a lot of things going on in a pretty small area and who fits where, who's got who, what happens when they come at us from different positions, different leverage, different angles. Does that change the way we, well it does change it, but how it changes the way that we fit in the running game or cover the receivers and things like that. But yeah, those two guys are good. It's really a good group. They work well together. They can handle a lot. They can handle a lot pretty quickly, and a lot of times they can make an adjustment before a coach can. There's a lot of this is what we're doing, and hey, we got this. Let's do it this way, and before you could even tell them that. Hey, let's do it this way. They already have solved the problem and figured out a better way because they can all kind of see the same thing. As long as they all see the same thing, then that really makes it much easier to make adjustments and make subtle changes that help us perform better.

Q: In enhancing the roster, there was so much focus on tight ends, wide receiver, obviously Mac [Jones] and the draft. Do you feel that the acquisition of [Matt] Judon and bringing [Kyle] Van Noy back have as significant a positional impact and upgrading the roster as just about anything you did in the offseason?
BB: I don't know about ranking everything, but those players are good players. They definitely are helping us. I'm glad we have them. They help our football team in a number of ways. I'm glad we have them. Judon's been a pleasure to coach. Hardworking guy. Really instinctive as is Kyle. I have more background with Kyle, but Kyle's a very instinctive player that can play multiple positions, and he can handle a lot of volume or responsibilities without an inordinate amount of repetitions or teaching or that kind of thing. Like every player, he needs to rep the things that he does, but his experience and just overall understanding of what the purpose of a technique is or a call and how to get it done is very good, and [Dont'a] Hightower and [Ja'Whaun] Bentley, I mean, those guys are really smart football players that understand a lot more than what their position is. Sometimes it might be a little harder for them, but they can all understand how it makes it a little bit easier for somebody else, and that's a really good working relationship in that group.

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