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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 9/23

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media on Wednesday, September 23, 2020.

BB: I'll just start off here. The Raiders obviously, this is a very impressive start that they've had. I think that coach [Jon] Gruden has done an outstanding job, really of putting this team together in a pretty short amount of time, both from a personnel standpoint, coaching staff and just the way that he's been able to get the players to do the things that I know he believes in and what he wants them to do. He's rebuilt the offensive line, the skill players on offense and the running back position. So, they have a very good running game, they complete a high percentage of passes, score a lot of points, control the ball, drive the ball down the field, execute very well. I think Jon has the offensive group playing a very high level. They're good in the kicking game. Young specialists, but guys that are obviously good and have a great future in front of them. Good return game, good coverage units. I think [Jeff] Heath's really helped them, [Keisean] Nixon. So, they've got a good group of guys there and then defensively, the players that they've added, the pass rushers last couple years there with [Maxx] Crosby, [Clellin] Ferrell and then the guys in a secondary there with [Johnathan] Abram, [Trayvon] Mullen and [Damon] Arnette to go with [Lamarcus] Joyner and [Erik] Harris, very experienced players back there. They've got a lot of experience at linebacker with [Corey] Littleton and [Nicholas] Morrow and those guys, [Nick] Kwiatkoski, if he plays. [Johnathan] Hankins inside is tough guy to block. So, they have a good mixture of youth and experience there. Coach [Paul] Guenther is one of the top coordinators in the league. He took his package that he had in Cincinnati and installed out there at Oakland and modified some based on whatever reasons he did that, but they obviously are playing well and do a good job in their coverage packages. [Rod] Marinelli has done a good job out there obviously with the defensive line and getting those young guys to play and improve. I think you can really see this team being molded in the way that coach Gruden wants to, both with the personnel, schematics and just the overall playing style that he's been able to implement in a pretty short amount of time. So, [Mike] Mayock and Gruden have done a really good job of collecting the talent they want to run the things that they're running. That's that showed up last year but you can see there's been a big jump this year as well. So, good opportunity for us here, good test. It'll be big challenge for us to compete with these guys but, we're getting ready for it and looking forward to it.

Q: I wanted to ask you about the development of Isaiah Wynn. I know we had a couple of injuries early on in his career, but it seems like he's settled in since you got him back at midseason last year.

BB: Yeah, Isaiah is a good player, does a lot of things well. He's a very athletic player with very good playing strength and leverage. He's got good feet and he's a smart kid and he really takes well to coaching and making adjustments and those kind of things. So, it's good to have him out there and hopefully he can continue in his development. He and Joe [Thuney] have play together now. They have a good feel for each other there and work together well on a lot of different combinations and adjustments and things like that they have to make. Those two guys really help each other. They're both good players and they help each other as well.

Q: A couple of weeks ago, Aqib Talib went public with an alleged conversation you had with him about perhaps coming to play for you this season. I just wanted to check to see if that was true?

BB: I have a lot of conversations with a lot of people. I'll keep my comments to any players that are currently on the roster.

Q: Joejuan Williams, beyond his length and height, he seems to be a positive matchup for tight ends. What other qualities does he have that might allow him to match up with tight ends well?

BB Well, with just the coverage skills that you mentioned. He moves well, he's got good quickness for his size and his length. He's a good tackler. He can play strong with the line of scrimmage and he does a good job matching routes down the field.

Q: Josh Uche - prior to whatever physically was holding him back and limiting him in practice - what were you seeing from him and what are some of the challenges that he has to tackle in order to get himself on the game-day roster?

BB: Well, we'll see what he's able to do when he's able to participate fully on the field over a consistent period of time. Josh is a versatile player. He can do a number of things for our defense, as I'm sure you reported on in training camp. So, we'll just see how all that comes together when he's able to string some days together in game-plan situations. It's a little different than training camp because it's so game-plan specific but, we'll work with him when that happens and he's willing to work hard. He's a hard working kid. He's smart and he's very competitive guy. He's willing to work with whatever we want to do.

Q: Is this a significant scheme change from him from what he was doing in Michigan? I know it's a big jump for every player but I was thinking more of what he's doing in this defense relative to what he did in Michigan.

BB: Certainly the offenses he's facing here are a lot different, so let's start with that. I'm not really worried about Michigan. He's been here for a while. He understands our defense. He knows what different assignments and different positions require. Again, some of that will be game-plan specific from week-to-week and I know he'll work hard at whatever we ask him to do. We'll see how that comes along.

Q: I was just wondering when you're preparing for a player like Darren Waller, how do you weigh the best coverage option against him, versus also being able to hold up against the running game?

BB: Tthat's the challenge of players like that, that are versatile players that can create problems in different ways and then the utilization of the player like that by coach Gruden. The way he does different things with them and Jon's very creative and does an excellent job of utilizing all of his personnel. So, those are the challenges that we face. It's definitely not just one thing, there are a number of things you have to deal with and be ready for. So we'll just try to look at all of them and put ourselves in the best position we can, but he's a very productive player he has a good set of skills and he's a hard guy to handle.

Q: Hey Bill I want to ask you about, Kyle Dugger. I'm just kind of curious as to your evaluation of him starting when he was just coming out of college. I think he played a little bit more sort of as a deep safety in college. And it looks like he looks pretty comfortable near the line of scrimmage for you guys, so I'm just curious what is it about his game or where did you notice that that might work for him, especially given, not only the jump in competition for him but the know the unique offseason that you guys just had as well?

BB: Well I think when we look at a player, we project where he's going to play for us. Where he did or didn't play for somebody else might have a little bit of relevance, but ultimately the evaluation's based on what we think he can do for us. So between his college film and the Senior Bowl, which is more of a pro style of defense, that's what we based it off of.

Q: Not to put a jinx on you guys but through two games no offensive penalties – not a single false start, illegal formation – not a single offensive penalty. How impressed are you with the coaching staff and the players for their ability to do that, especially with having no real offseason and no preseason games?

BB: Well, our goal every week is to play penalty free. Unless there's an intentional penalty, a delay of game or something like that, for a specific reason, we always try to play penalty free. It's always good when we hit that goal. Realistically, that's not something that we can accomplish for an entire season. But, on a weekly basis that's always something that we try to achieve. So, you're right, it takes discipline, good technique, good fundamentals, good judgment and decision-making on the field. So, we've had a good amount of that.

Q: You mentioned Paul Guenther as one of the best defensive coordinators in the league. Could expand upon his style more? It looks like they're one of the lower blitz teams in the league. Is that a game-plan choice by them or does he stick to what he does?

BB: Well, coach Guenther and coach [Mike] Zimmer developed that style of defense in Minnesota. Then he carried that with them out to Oakland last year. It looks like they've maybe made some modifications in it, but I would just say through the years, in competing against him and watching him and his teams play, that they do a very good job fundamentally. They create a lot of problems in their schematics. They're a hard team to deal with. They're very good on third down, in the red area, and in two-minute situations. I think those are the most critical situations in the game. Now, again, he's taken new players out there and I don't think they're where they're going to be. But you can see what they're doing. You can see them making progress and you can see that the players are well-coached and they are put in good positions. Statistically and all that - it's a long season, we'll see how things go but I can see what he's doing and I can see the players doing it, improving it, and I can see him pulling it all together and making some adjustments that I'm sure that he feels like he needs to make. And he gives the offense problems with the way they play, and what they do and the way he utilizes the players to create favorable matchups. So, I think he does a good job.

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