PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
September 11, 2023
Q: I heard you talking on the radio just within the hour. Just on the fourth-and-17 decision, I'm curious how much of that was the five yards after the delay that made it fourth-and-17 instead of fourth-and-12, or more the overall situation that if you punt it, you might not get it back?
BB: So, what's the question?
Q: I'm wondering, how much did the penalty lead to maybe the thought of 'I might punt' – fourth-and-17 is tough, obviously it's tougher than fourth and 12 – how much did the five yards impact your thought process this morning of, 'I might have punted it?'
BB: Yeah, well, I mean look, there wasn't a lot of field position to be gained. We could have punted it – probably should have punted on fourth-and-17, but we're on their side of the 50. It's too long for a field goal. Fourth-and-17 is a lot tougher than fourth-and-12.
Q: Mac Jones was very tough on himself after the loss last night, kind of blamed himself for it. I was wondering what you thought of his performance last night?
BB: Well, look, I think everybody did a lot of good things in the game, and I'm sure everybody feels the same way that Mac does, that if we had all done one or two things a little bit better, it could've made a difference. So, I'm sure everybody feels the same way that Mac does, every player and coach that participated in the game. That said, there were a lot of – there were positives in the game that we have to build on, but in the end, any of us could have helped a little bit more, and it might have made a difference. I think we all know how Mac feels. We all feel the same way.
Q: I have one other question, unrelated to the game – has the team been in contact with Matt Corral since practice last week?
Q: I heard on the radio, you said that you and Tom Brady had a conversation yesterday. Was that before the game or after the game?
BB: Yeah, I'll just leave all of the personal conversations between myself and Tom.
Q: In terms of, you know, just having him in the building, did you sense that the crowd was obviously more engaged? What was it like just having him around yesterday?
BB: I wasn't out there at halftime, so I don't know about all that. But, it was an active crowd. It was opening day. There's a lot of energy in the stadium. It was a tight game. So, it's the National Football League. That's about what it is.
Q: Going back to Matt Corral, how would you describe his current status on the Patriots roster?
BB: Yeah, he's on exempt status. I don't have any comment on it. That's a personal matter.
Q: I just want to ask you a little bit about the rookie production in this game. Is it rare to have this type of impact from the group that we saw in the contest yesterday?
BB: Yeah, I don't know. I don't want to rate it. Look, the guys that played, as I said, I think you put everybody in the same group, same category. The guys that played, the guys that coached, it was competitive. There were good things. In the end, we all have to do a better job. That goes for rookies, veterans, players, coaches, offense, defense, special teams. It's just across the board, there are things that we could've done, any of us could've done, better that would have helped. In a close game like that, it wouldn't take too much. I appreciate everybody's effort and competitiveness, and we've all just got to do a better job.
Q: When it comes to your philosophy with an offense, having eight individuals catch passes, multiple looks from [running] back, obviously tight end, is that the type of offense that you want, generally? You've mentioned Corey Dillon in the past, how much he, obviously, dominated in terms of how many attempts he had as a rusher, but do you want to have as diverse an offense as possible with eight guys receiving passes, things of that nature?
BB: Yeah, we want to do what it takes to win. So, whatever that is, that's what we're going for.
Q: This question is kind of sparked by the kickoff yesterday, after you pulled within 25-20, but I guess just in a general sense – when a team does not deploy a deep return man, the decision maybe to pop it up, pooch it, or to squib it, how much influence now does the new fair catch rule, if any, have in situations like that?
BB: I don't think it has – well, it has a little bit of an effect on it, yeah. The idea of lobbing one up there down inside the 10-yard line isn't a good option anymore when they can fair catch it. Putting the ball on the ground is always a good option in that situation, when they don't have many blockers back there. But, we've just got to do a better job of coaching and executing the play. That isn't what we wanted to do. So, we just didn't do a good job on that play.
Q: On JuJu Smith-Schuster, how would you describe how he is conditioning standpoint-wise?
BB: I think he and the team are in good condition.