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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 9/21

HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK

VIDEO PRESS CONFERENCE
September 21, 2020

BB: Not much to add after we talked about it last night. It's about what we thought it was then.

Q: On the final drive, how do you feel the scenario played out, holding that timeout after Julian Edelman made the catch with 28 seconds left? You had three plays after that.

BB: Yeah, feel good about it.

Q: Kyle Dugger had a much larger workload last night. How do you feel he handled that increase in snaps and responsibilities?

BB: Yeah, I think Kyle did a good job. He learns a lot every day, both in practice and in the games. He had a larger number of snaps last night in the kicking game and on defense and did a lot of good things. There's still obviously things that he's learning about and will learn from and will improve the next time, but I think he's tracking well.

Q: Jakob Johnson caught his first touchdown pass last night. Were you happy with the way that he continued to develop, even after he went on injured reserve last year, and continued to progress to be in a situation where you could count on him early in the season?

BB: Right, well, he wasn't able to do much last year after he was injured and went on injured reserve, but he had a good spring this year and had a good training camp and he was able to build off last year's experience, which was very new for him. He came a long way last year, probably amongst the furthest that I've ever coached – probably in the top five anyway. This year, he was light years ahead of where he was last year in the spring, and that gave him a lot of confidence and gave us a lot of confidence in terms of what he could do, what his skills were and the adjustments he was able to make and so forth. Yeah, he's continued to progress, although the jumps are smaller now because he's already made some enormous jumps, but he continues to improve and get better and refine his techniques and his skillset. He's a young player that works very hard and has continued to improve. 

Q: Could you see him being a regular part of the passing game? Has he shown you enough to continue to expand that role?

BB: Yeah, I think he has an opportunity to expand all the roles that he has. Again, he's a young guy that hasn't played a lot of football – just played a few games last year before he was injured and this year we've only played two games. We haven't had preseason games and all that. So, as he continues to get snaps under his belt and shows his in-game skills and ability to perform and make adjustments and all those kind of things, both on offense and in the kicking game, if he can continue to do things well and add value to his role and to the team, then he'll definitely get more opportunities.

Q: How did you think the team executed the hurry-up offense in the second half?

BB: Well, when we were behind by two scores there, we needed to press it and thought that overall, we executed it fairly well. There's certainly always room for improvement, but we were able to do that in the situation that we needed to do it in. How much we do that going forward and all – you know, we've done it in the past. It's always an option for us, but we'll see how it goes. 

Q: N'Keal Harry was targeted seven times in the fourth quarter. What does it say about his development that Cam Newton was trusting him in some downfield situations on those throws?

BB: Yeah, well, N'Keal has continued to work hard. His role has expanded from what it was his rookie season, similar to what we talked about with Jak, but obviously he was in a totally different situation coming in here as a draft choice as opposed to an internal player. But nevertheless, he's made steady strides and improvement in his game. He's now lined up in different positions and is able to add some variety to his route tree and the roles on the team that he can perform. Again, when you throw a pass, it's not designed to go to one guy, unless it's a screen pass. That's just not really the way it works. But, based on the coverages and the way things turned out, he got more opportunities. I'm sure if he continues to be productive, that those opportunities will increase.  

Q: Having reviewed the film, how many of Russell Wilson's touchdown passes looked like good defense to you but better offense?

BB: Yeah, well, definitely the two the [DK] Metcalf and [David] Moore were great throws. Wilson's a tremendous quarterback. I've said that multiple times. He's very, very difficult to play against for a multitude of reasons, but the deep ball accuracy is probably at the top of the list for me. He does an incredible job on that. We defended a number of deep balls, some were thrown and some weren't thrown, but they tried to attack us down the field with those two in particular. And then they hit the one, the last touchdown – you know, he had another guy right in his face and he made a great throw under pressure there on their final touchdown. He hurt us on those plays, as well as some others. Yeah, you hope you don't face that type of execution every week, but it's the National Football League and there's going to be times – and we know as a defensive back in the passing game, there's going to be times when we're going to have great coverage, and if it's a great throw and a great catch by the quarterback and receiver, the opponents are going to hit some of those. Hopefully not too many, but we want to make it as hard on them as we can, and sometimes even when you do that, it's not enough at this level. So, yeah, like that throw and catch that Julio Jones made in the Super Bowl – I mean, it was just a tremendous football play from [Matt] Ryan to Jones and I don't think we could have possibly covered it any better than we did. So, you have to give them credit on those plays. But, there are plenty of other plays that we could have helped ourselves on and we could have coached better and we could have played better. Those are the ones that we'll focus on and continue to do the right things on every play, but I'm sure that there will be a couple along the line that when you face great players and great coaching and great competition at this level, sometimes they're just going to get you on them.

Q: Jedd Fisch made a comment last week about Cam Newton's mechanics, saying that you wanted to marry the head with the lower body because you don't want to change his throwing motion. How do you feel that Cam has done in that regard in the two months you've had him?

BB: Yeah, Cam's worked really hard on his throwing mechanics and we've seen significant improvement during that time. Cam's the type of guy, when you point out something to him and ask him to work on it, he works very hard and he really tries to do it the way that you ask him to do it. So, I can't ask him to do any more than what he's doing, but he's definitely made some modifications in his mechanics and his delivery. I think that's helped his accuracy and the timing a little bit. Coach Fisch and Coach [Josh] McDaniels, as well as Cam, have worked very hard on certain things that we're doing that maybe he hasn't done as much of in the past or we're doing them a little differently, whatever the case might be. But, he works very hard at his fundamentals and techniques and the execution of the passing game. The results have been positive and I'd say significantly better on those certain types of plays that those adjustments need to be made on.

*Q: Are there times on his inaccurate passes to the outside that you feel the throw would be made if the mechanics were fixed? *

BB: Yeah, I mean, I'd say generally speaking, his accuracy outside is pretty good. I'd say he's right there at the top in throwing the ball, really anywhere on the field, but particularly outside. Those are some hard throws, and he does a pretty good job on that. I wouldn't say that's really been where the focus is. But, look, every pass is an important pass and there's none that you take for granted. Certainly for the quarterback, you want to put every ball right there in the strike zone. That's your job. But, I wouldn't say that's really been the main focus of it, no.

Q: On the final play, what stood out to you when you reviewed the film as the key factor or factors that contributed to that being stopped short?

BB: Seattle played it well. They made a good play. They had a couple guys that really made a good play on it. We didn't have a great shot at it as it turned out.

Q: I'm trying to go through that situation toward the end of the game with not calling a timeout and explaining how there's not one right answer. You could spike it. You could call the timeout. You could do what you did. The ability to have control over the situation and continue with the run-pass option, I figured that might have been one thing that entered into it. Certainly, with the completion to N'Keal, you still had the opportunity to take the timeout and it didn't have to be a fire drill. I know you've talked about it, but is that a good analysis of why the different options there can work?

BB: Yeah, well I think you pretty much summed it up right there. We were able to stop the clock and get the play run that we wanted to run that was the critical play in the game. Unfortunately, it didn't work out, but I think that's the position you want to be in, not having to race up to the ball and try to come up with something, especially on the 1-yard line, especially at the last second. I mean, it's doable, but it's hard to do. When you have the team on the run in a two-minute drill and you can go to the line and run the play that you're familiar with running and try to score while they're scrambling a little bit, there's certainly some merit to that. But, I'm fine with the way that we ended up. We ended up with a chance to run the play that we wanted to run at the end of the game. That just didn't work out. So, I would take that over a lot of other situations that could come up. 

Q: Last week, Nick Folk was promoted to the 53-man roster. How would you assess the team's current situation at kicker?

BB: Nick's our kicker.

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