HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
Friday, September 10, 2021
BB: Good morning. Just wrapping up the week here. Still have some things to tie up situationally and just got to pull it all together. We've kind of done some things in segments, and today's a good day to pull it all together as a football team and understand the totality of the situations and how quickly they can come up versus a teaching schedule where you can really take a little more time and plan them out. We'll be in the stadium, and we'll try to have a good review, a good situational practice here and be ready to go on Sunday. A lot of respect for the Dolphins and how they've improved in the last couple of years and the players they've added. On paper, it looks like they're continuing to get better, so this will be a good challenge for us and a good opportunity, so we're all looking forward to it.
Q: Tomorrow is, of course, the 20th anniversary of 9/11. It was monumental for all of us, and I was wondering your remembrances of the period for the Patriots with Joe Andruzzi, his brothers, the NFL postponement and, of course, the restart a week later?
BB: It's a lot of mixed feelings probably, as we all have. We were game planning that day on Tuesday, and then everything just obviously changed quickly. Just a lot of different emotions and thoughts and questions that eventually kind of got answered, but initially there was a lot of speculation and just trying to figure out what happened, why it happened and so forth. But on the football team, certainly Joe's ties to New York, the New York City fire department. Having been with the Giants in New York and spent time in that area, I had some personal connections to the event as well. Just as a country, it was kind of, let's say it brought a certain feeling of nationality and patriotism to us that I think we all felt during that season, and then in a lot of different ways turned into a very magical season for our football team. All of us that were intimately involved in the relationships, and ultimately, the success that that team had and the way it had was certainly an unforgettable year for me, and I'm sure for all of us that were involved. A lot of mixes there. 2001 was, football wise, a pretty happy experience. When you mix it in with 9/11, it definitely puts another perspective on it that is a lot bigger than football, so thanks. Good question.
Q: I wanted to piggyback on 9/11 a little bit as well. There's been so much made at the role that baseball played in bringing America back together after 9/11. What role do you think that football played and that Patriots team as a whole? There was U2 and their performance at halftime during that Super Bowl. What role do you think that football played during that time period, and how big do you think that Patriots team was for the region and the country as the underdogs that you guys were?
BB: I'm not sure I know the answer to it. I don't know if I have a global perspective on that. I was so deep in the middle of it that honestly, we were just trying to prepare and win a game. We won a lot of close games that year. We weren't any type of dominating team. I mean, every game seemed like it came down to the wire, or it was a tough game. They were all tough games, so I'm not sure that I have a global perspective on that for our team and the franchise and certainly the New England area. I mean, the support was fantastic, and again, it was a very magical year for all of us. What it meant outside of the region and to the country and all of that, I don't know that I could give you a good answer on that. Sorry.
Q: How comfortable can you feel in week one when you're facing a team that obviously you are familiar with but has significant changes and different personnel? Can you ever feel as comfortable as you want in week one from a game planning perspective as compared to other weeks throughout the course of a year?
BB: I think that Week One has the most unknowns. Teams have had months to work on whatever it is they're working on. It could be something special for an opening game, or it just could be part of their system that they're planning on using all year, but you haven't seen it until this week. There could obviously be special plays or whatever that they've put in for you or special kicking game plays that they plan on using at some point during the year, but you have to be the first guy up at bat, and who knows whether you'll get it or not. Then you also you know less about your team, so even though we've practiced and all that, we haven't been through 60 minutes of football. Nobody's played a full game. We haven't played a full game together in units, so there's a lot of things that we have to learn about our team and a lot of ways we have to grow as coaches, as players and as units and putting it all together. I'm sure that process will take a while, but there are a lot of unknowns this week, and there'll be a lot fewer next week just because everybody will show their hand this week to a certain degree. Each game plan might be a little bit different, but what you do in the opener and what you do through the preseason, I'd say that's usually where there's the biggest gap is.
Q: This question sort of relates to unknowns and, I guess, knowns with the kicker position, and with Nick Folk, obviously he's got a body of work that you can go back on and Quinn Nordin doesn't given he's an undrafted rookie. I guess with the expanded practice squad and just the ability to elevate players, I'm wondering how much consideration there's been this week to have Nick up for the game, just in a week of more unknowns that he maybe gives you more of a known at that position?
BB: I think there's a lot of merit to it. That's why he's on the practice squad, and, as all the players are, with the two standard activations that teams are allowed to have, that's a lot different than it was going back to '19 where it was a whole different set of rules. There's certainly more flexibility, and I feel like right now we have two good kickers combined in our total roster, and to me, that's a good thing.
Q: I wanted to ask you about setting 'Mike' points in your offense and if you would say that's a quarterback's responsibility or maybe more of a collaborative effort between the QB and the center?
BB: Ultimately you want everybody to be on the same page, so however it gets done, and it could be a combination of both just as you described. However it gets done, as long as everybody sees it the same way, then I don't think it really matters. The problem is when all the players don't see it the same way or there's confusion as to where the count starts. That's never a good thing, especially if it's a running play, then one guy is unblocked, and if it's a passing play, then potentially one guy is unblocked, which is a problem if they blitz. The most important thing is for everybody to know what it is and execute their assignment because it could be multiple people on the same play depending on how the defense presents itself. If there is some kind of miscommunication or misunderstanding about who's who, then that generally leads to bad outcomes.