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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 8/30

Read the full transcript from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's press conference from Monday, August 30, 2021.


August 30, 2021

Q: I wanted to ask you about Rhamondre Stevenson, and sort of how you would characterize his running style?

BB: Every player has their own style, so I don't know. He has size, and he's got some quickness. We saw some speed in the Washington game, so he's done a pretty good job with the ball in his hands. Ball security is something that every player has to always work on and be aware of. I think he's improved a lot in his running and also just in general fundamentals and assignments and those kinds of things. He's had a good camp.

Q: It seemed like Shaun Wade played a good amount last night. I'm just curious, to you, what does it say about him that he just got here three or four days ago and he was all ready to play seemingly a significant number of snaps right away in a preseason game?

BB: Well, it was our only chance to get him any playing time here. Played with the Ravens earlier in preseason. Got him in. Kind of rushed in. Mike [Pellegrino] spent a lot of time with him the last couple days. Just trying to catch him up on some things so he would have an opportunity to play. It was good to get him some game action where he could hear the call and start to play the defense in real games as supposed to practice settings where things are a little more controlled. It was good to get that experience. Obviously, he's got a long way to go to catch up, but he's a smart kid. He works at it, and I think he'll be able to pick things up, but it'll just take a little bit of time. He seems to pick things up pretty quickly.

Q: A bit of a different schedule this year going from the preseason to the regular season. What changes for you preparation-wise when you have that extra week in here before week one?

BB: Well, it's similar to having a bye week. We play on Sunday, and then we play again in two weeks on Sunday, so it would be similar to that. We're certainly at a different point than we would be during the season in terms of the amount of things that we have in and so forth. There's still some things that we need to either install or that just haven't come up in preseason and we need to work on them. So, there's definitely a lot to work on there, but in terms of an overall schedule and so forth, I'd say it'd be similar to that. The players have worked hard. We've had four good practices against the Eagles and the Giants and our games and the daily routine that we go through. So, this is a good week for the players to take care of some of the bumps and bruises and kind of refresh a little bit and then get ready to go. We'll use the time to rest, recover and start to prepare, but the real heavy preparation won't really get going until next week. I mean, obviously, we, like every team in the league, have a lot of roster decisions to make, and we'll see what our opponents do in that time as well so we actually know what we're getting ready for the best that we can knowing that there'll be some unknowns on opening day like there always are, but there's still a lot of things that are unsettled on our team and on every team. They'll start to clear up a little bit as the week goes on, and we'll go from there.

Q: What, if anything, kind of surprised you about your preseason and training camp now that those are both over?

BB: I think each training camp's unique, and every team's unique. Really just getting to know the players on the team, seeing how the new players who came from a variety of different sources, how that all fits together with our veteran players. Some of the players that didn't play last year that are playing now. I wouldn't say it was a big surprise, but it was just a process of seeing it all come together. That was a big part of this training camp. With the new CBA, there are some things that were a little bit different from what they were in '19. Last year, of course, was quite a bit different than what it had been in the past, so this year is maybe a little bit of a combination of both. Some similarities to '19, but some similarities to '20. Just trying to get on a schedule and maximize our time and our opportunities to meet, practice and so forth. Trying to get the most out of those. That was something that we had planned and worked through and modified a little bit, but overall, I thought it went pretty smoothly.

Q: I know you've talked before about around the trade deadline, deals are typically known or the market is kind of set for the most part before you get to that actual 4:00 P.M. or whatever it is around cutdown day. From your experience and at least your knowledge now, do you expect any trades, or is it a different dynamic where things might have been a little bit closer to the deadline?

BB: As I've said many times before Andrew [Callahan], the trading process in the National Football League is each trade's different. Each situation's a little bit different. The team that you're working with and what's involved and so forth. Again, I think that's the whole spectrum. There could be no talk of any type of trade or exchange on anything, and then in a short amount of time, I would say, probably the quickest one I can remember is maybe 15 minutes. All of a sudden, somebody comes up and you move on it and it's done in 15 minutes. I've seen other ones where it's gone on for months for one reason or another that the process goes on for weeks or maybe a couple of months, and then ultimately never happens for one reason or another, and all that in between. You can think you're about to do something, and it's a couple days away, and something could happen on your team. Something could happen on their team. All of the sudden somebody is not available, or somebody uses their draft pick on something else that maybe helps their team more, so that part of the trade is not available. There's a lot of things that can happen, and they happen very quickly, and sometimes they happen slowly, and sometimes as I said, you think it's going to, and then something happens, and it totally comes off the table or comes on the table. It's really a hard thing to predict, and so I don't try to do it. I know that's your job, but honestly, if we don't know, and I think that's true on a lot of the teams that we speak to as well. Hey, we want to see how this goes. I want to see how this guy's injury is coming along, so forth. I don't know how you could know, but maybe you do.

Q: Kind of a lighter summer for Nick Folk from what we've seen. He got the kick in last night. I was wondering how you feel about where he is right now and if you have the kicking situation resolved?

BB: Well, Nick kicked for a week in the spring and minicamp, and then missed a little bit of time here in training camp and came back and kicked last week and last night. Nick's got a pretty good level of consistency since we've had him. He's been pretty steady. His opportunities were a little bit less. We wanted to give some more opportunities to Quinn [Nordin]. We'll see how all that goes, but it was a very competitive spot, and it is a competitive spot, and we'll obviously have to make a decision. It's good to have that kind of competition and have good players competing.

Q: I wanted to ask you about Stephon Gilmore here with cut-down day a day away. Do you anticipate him starting the season on the 53, or is this a situation where it's looking like Steph will start the season on the PUP list?

BB: We have a lot of roster decisions to make, and some of those are intertwined, and some of the rules have changed from what they'd been in the past. So, what we might've done in a different year at a different point in time may or may not be relevant now. We'll just take a look at everything and continue to evaluate stuff day by day as we've done, as he's done, and work to get better. We have several players in a similar situation, and we'll get the most up-to-date information we can and try to make the best decision we can for our football team.

Q: Obviously tomorrow is cutdown day at 4:00 P.M. Will you start the process early today with your roster cuts or will you do that tomorrow?

BB: We just we just got back from New York a few hours ago, so we're kind of regrouping here. Again, there's a lot of information that we still need to process. Watch the game. Talk about some of the situations that are involved there. Look at the overall health of our team, both the players that played and the players that didn't play that stay behind that were continuing their work and effort to get back on the field. We'll see how all that comes together. By four o'clock, we'll be compliant with the league roster rules as we have to be. Exactly how it goes between now and then, we'll just have to figure that out. Like I said, we've only been back here for a couple hours, so we still have some things to organize on this end before we do anything.

Q: I wanted to ask you about Mac Jones. It looked like both in the practice on Thursday and then again last night the Giants did a few things in terms of bringing pressure at Mac. How do you feel like he's handled those situations this week?

BB: Well, those are opportunities and situations that Joe [Judge] and I talked about that are just good for our football team and good for their football team to do things that maybe haven't come up or won't come up in preseason and do them in practice so that the players and the coaches get experience of working with them, adjusting them, correcting them, whatever the case might be. All those situations are good learning situations. We did that to them as well. That was part of seeing some different things and doing some different things than what happened in the game or what happened in other preseason games. That was part of the practice structure agreement, and I think it was beneficial for us, and I'm sure it was for the Giants, too. It was a great working environment. That's part of football, and we got to experience it on both sides as did they. It's beneficial for everyone; the line, quarterbacks, the receivers, the coaches. There's just a lot of things that come up in those situations, and when you keep doing it against your team, that's great. You get familiar with what our defense does against our offense and vice versa, but when you see other teams, Philadelphia and the Giants, you start to get a much wider sample and get new situations and new problems that you have to solve and recognize. So again, I think that was beneficial for everybody.

Q: I wanted to ask you about the decision at quarterback, which you said last night you still have a decision to make. I saw a stat this morning that Mac Jones had 107 snaps in the three preseason games and Cam Newton only got 38. Do you think Cam got enough opportunities in these preseason games to kind of show the full scope of what he can do?

BB: Again, that's true in a lot of situations. Players that have played a long time got fewer snaps, and players that haven't played as much, rookie players, younger players, got more snaps. You balance off the game snaps with the practice snaps. It's a big composite. It's not any one thing, one play, one day. We have a volume of work to look at, and that's what we're going to do, and that's what we want to do.

Do you feel like you need to make a decision soon because the style of the two players is fairly different?

I feel like whatever we do in the next couple of days, like every day, should be what's best for our football team, and that's what we're going to try to do.

Q: We're spending a lot of time on that one position and a decision to be made, but you referenced a little earlier about opponents and trying to figure out what your opponents are doing. As we sitting here trying to figure out who the starting quarterback will be, isn't it better for you to drag out giving that intel to the Miami Dolphins so that they don't know? This isn't like baseball where you have to announce it. Do you have to announce who your starting quarterback is to the world, and is there an advantage in your preparation if your opponent doesn't know?

BB: Again, I would just say Tom [Curran], that what we're going to do is what we feel is best for our football team. That's what it'll be. That's really the bottom line. It's a lot of different things to talk about that, but whatever it is, it will be what we feel is best for the team like we always do.

Q: And would it be best for the team to keep that under wraps?

BB: Would it be best for the team to know what the situation is at certain positions?

Q: Yep. Good deal.

Q: When you're making roster decisions about guys whose health is uncertain, does the extra time make it that much more challenging because a guy could be injured today but healthy 12 days from now? Is that something you have to take some speculation into consideration because of that?

BB: Yeah. Of course. You try to get the projections you can, but I would say your comment there is honestly unrealistic. I don't think you could tell me how you or I, or anybody else is going to feel 12 days from now, especially when you're coming off whatever the situation is. Some things progress maybe on what you hope the timeline will be. Some things take a little longer. Sometimes things happen a little bit quicker. I would say that any of those kind of projections are just estimates. There's no certainty what's going to happen 12 days from now. Not in my experience, anyway. Not that I could count on. Unless if a player was in some other category, that'd be one thing. But if you're talking about a player who's not at a hundred percent, what will he be in some time frame. Again, those are just estimates, and not everybody recovers at the same rate. So we just have to wait and see, but you can make estimates. You certainly could do that. One week, three weeks, five weeks. There's a big difference there. I understand that, but to really think that you're going to know exactly where somebody is at a future point in time, multiple weeks down the road, I think it will be difficult to pinpoint that.

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