PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
September 18, 2023
Q: After the game, some of the Dolphins players said that they had never seen the look that you put out there with three deep safeties. Just curious how you went about devising that?
BB: There are a number of things that we felt like we had to take care of with the Dolphins, with their offense. We had a few looks to try to address it. That was one of them.
Q: Yesterday, you said the team has to work harder trying to get over the last two losses. Mac Jones said something similar. He said he needs everybody to come early and stay late, not just a few guys. Where do you see this roster in terms of the coming early, staying late, doing the extra things this season?
BB: Yeah. Overall, I'd say this is a pretty hardworking group. But, ultimately, in the end, we've all got to produce more. So, that's really the focus. We'll keep grinding away on that and be ready to correct some mistakes from yesterday and get ready for the Jets and go down there and be ready to play our best football.
Q: I wanted to ask about Chad Ryland and how he's performed so far since getting the kicker job. First field goal last night, what did you see from him in the actual game setting for a field goal, hitting that kick last night?
BB: I think Chad's hit the ball well in practice. The games are always different. The games are the games. It's the first field goal opportunity that he's had. There's been some extra points, so, similar type of kicks. He's kicked off well, has hit the ball well in the kickoffs, for the most part. Every game, every play, every snap is a good learning experience for him and the operation with Bryce [Baringer] and Joe [Cardona]. So, we'll continue to work and perfect that as we play in different stadiums, different environments, different conditions and so forth. It's all part of the process of growing individually, but also, as I said, the whole operation of field goals with the snap, the hold, the kick, and obviously the protection. But, for those three specialists in particular, it's an entire operation that's involved. It's not a golf swing where you put the ball on the tee and hit it. You've got to snap it and get it down and so forth. It definitely takes some timing and teamwork.
Q: What sort of challenges come up with having two parts of the three on the field goal snap operation being rookies?
BB: That's part of it. Neither Bryce or Chad have a lot of NFL game experience. They've both punted, and held and kicked, but doing it together and doing it at this level is different and it's a little more challenging. They work hard on it. Joe [Judge], Cam [Achord] and Joe Houston, they all spend a lot of time together. They work to perfect their individual craft and the overall unit operation, and it's going to be a work in progress. I'd say the upside of it is that they're young. They should be together for a while or have the chance to be together for a while, and then that continuity and consistency can develop. So, again, they're working on it every day. We've got a long way to go, but not bad so far.
Q: I want to ask you about the start of the games. You mentioned last night turnovers, and, obviously, the [Demario] Douglas turnover was problematic. But, outside of that and on both sides of the ball, what needs to improve in the start of these games?
BB: Our production. The big thing is, offensively, we turned the ball over three times here in two games early in the game and that's really the worst thing that can happen. Defensively, we've had a couple of drives that didn't result in a lot of points, but then those turnovers put us on a short field, so we had to battle through those. Again, it's just complementary team football, taking care of the ball and defensively being able to convert on third down to get off the field.
Q: It looked like Atonio Mafi was mixed into the right guard position with Mike Onwenu. How did Onwenu come out of that game?
BB: Well, we'll see how everyone is today. It was a late game and we'll see how everyone is this morning. But, we anticipated playing all three players – Atonio, Cole [Strange] and Mike. We'll see how that goes. Obviously, Cole and Mike, it's good to have them back and they're working back into the rotation. Atonio has played a lot in their absence, and it's good to get all three of them in the game.
Q: Bill, was curious to get your take a day later on the Brenden Schooler block kick, if you have a little bit of background on the kick? it looked like a unique set up and some pretty good execution on the part of Brenden.
BB: Yeah, it was. It was timed up well. He did a good job of timing the play, turning the corner there on [Christian] Wilkins and laying out for it. It was, as you said, a well-executed and well-timed out play. It was a big play for us, changed the field position, turned the momentum around. Unfortunately, we weren't able to capitalize on it, but it was still a really good play on Schooler's part and well designed by the special teams coaches.
Q: Obviously, you guys were missing a couple bodies at the cornerback position last night. Just curious how you felt that Christian [Gonzalez], and also Myles [Bryant] and Shaun [Wade] and the rest of that group handled the increased workload?
BB: Yeah, as you mentioned, the cornerback position has unfortunately been thinned out here over the last couple of weeks. But, I thought those guys competed well. Obviously, this was a pretty good group of receivers and quarterback. We had our good moments. I thought those guys competed well and gave us a great effort, and collectively, defensively, we had two bad series that kind of tilted the game there. So, have to do a better job in those two situations.