PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
September 25, 2023
Q: Vederian Lowe steps in at right tackle. After you had the chance to watch the film, what did you see from what he was able to give you and what does he have going for him that has put him in position to fill that role?
BB: Yeah, he's picked up things pretty quickly here. He has a lot of experience at tackle, both in college at Illinois and in Minnesota with the Vikings. So, I think he's coming along. Tough matchup with the Jets and last week against Miami, but he's hung in there pretty well, playing on the left side, this week on the right side. So, we'll see how it goes moving forward here, but glad that we have him, good guy to work with. He works hard, and he's getting better. He'll get better each week as we get more familiarity and more fundamental work with the techniques.
Q: It seemed like pass-protection wise, you mention that's a very good front that they have. It seemed like you guys checked out pretty well in the pass protection area yesterday. What do you think contributed to that?
BB: Well, one thing is not playing from behind and not having to throw the ball 50 times. It starts there.
Q: Just wondering about the running game, what you saw yesterday from Zeke [Ezekiel Elliott] and Rhamondre [Stevenson] on tape, and kind of generally, when you're assessing how successful and productive a back is, how do you evaluate that? Is it yards after the initial hit, what they're doing in terms of finding space? What's your metric of evaluation when it comes to that?
BB: Well, I think the big thing for running backs is the amount of yards they can gain, let's call it, on their own. That includes setting the blocks and using the blockers. So, any of us can run in there and get what the play is blocked for. The good backs get more than that, whether that's, again, setting up blocks to create more space for themselves to run or breaking tackles and getting extra yards when the defense has a chance to get them down. Look, there can be great two and three-yard runs. Sometimes, there's nothing there. There's not even a yard there, and a back can get two or three yards out of it, and those are good runs. So, I think you just have to evaluate the plays and evaluate the way that the player is carrying the ball. You know, is he getting the most out of the way it's blocked? He can't do anything about the blocking other than use what's there and make the most of it, and, of course, obviously, ball security is a big part of this.
Q: Is Rhamondre right now identifying the holes the way that you would like him to identify them, or is he just not rolling off as many maybe 5 or 10-yard runs as he has in the past in terms of his yards-per-carry?
BB: Yeah, I think Rhamondre reads blocks really well, probably as good as anybody we've had here. He's got really good vision. He can find space in the defense, and he's very good at lateral cuts and getting downhill and running with power. So yeah, I think his vision's really good.
Q: Just curious, after a win, after yesterday's win, what is the relief level for you? And, how long does it take for you to turn the relief or whatever celebration you do off and turn over into the next game?
BB: Well, we're done with the game that we played by late Monday afternoon, I'd say, if it's a Sunday game, late Monday afternoon. We've already done some preliminary work on our future opponent, but not in the kind of detail that we'll dive into, but enough just to kind of get organized and know what we're dealing with. For the people that are working– for the guys on our staff that are working – on those teams over the weekend to try to get ahead. By the end of this afternoon, we'll be all in on Dallas, and the previous game will be on the books, and we'll have done all the corrections, analysis and so forth. There will be a later point in time in the week where we'll kind of put it together with multiple games and look at it, self-scout and see how the most recent game adds in with the last two, three, four that we've played, games we've played against common components, things like that. But, that's kind of a different component of that, the self-scouting. But, this game itself, whatever the results are, they are, and we'll turn the page by the end of the day, Monday afternoon, and move on.
Q: Is there any difference in how you go about it after a win? You know, either take a minute to celebrate, anything like that?
BB: Yeah, of course. I think when you put in a hard week of work and you get the results that you were looking for, there's a lot of positive feelings there. But, at the same time there are plays we need to correct in wins and there are plays that we can build on in games that we don't win. So, I would say the level of analysis and the corrections are really not relevant to the score. They are relevant to improving and becoming individually a better player and collectively as a team and as a unit. Whether that's the offensive line, the punt coverage team, whatever it happens to be, like how all that fits together and how that unit can perform better. We try to keep that on a pretty even keel from week-to-week, but of course it's a lot better feeling Monday when you win the game than when you don't. There is no question about that. I'm not going to say that it's the same. It's definitely not the same and it shouldn't be the same. But, I think the analysis and the corrections and all that, you really want to – just because the score was in your favor doesn't mean that there aren't things in the game that aren't going to come back and hurt you the next time if you don't get them fixed. So, that's kind of the way we approach it.
Q: I heard you talk about Christian Gonzalez on the radio, but what did you see from Myles Bryant and Shaun Wade in yesterday's game?
BB: Yeah, I thought our secondary really competed well. Yeah, Shaun, Myles, they had several good plays. Myles had a couple really good reads, and took away a couple routes that [Zach] Wilson didn't end up throwing that if he had thrown them, they might've been picked off. The safeties, Pep [Jabrill Peppers], Kyle [Dugger], AP [Adrian Phillips], [Jalen] Mills, they all helped. Kyle and Pep had a lot of production, a lot of tackles and they were around the ball a lot. The secondary did a good job.
Q: Seems like the deep passing game has struggled to get going the past coupled weeks. How much of that is being in some bad weather games, you've had some tough calls it seems like, missed calls and how much of that is just execution needs to be better?
BB: Those are statistically the hardest passes to hit. Completion percentage and all that, is true of every team. But, we've got to hit them, we've got to throw them and we need more production out of the deep balls. I mean, not every play is going to be a 40-yard pass, but the ones that we throw during the game 30-yards, 40-yards, 25-yards, whatever it is, we want to be productive on those plays. So, we just need to keep working on them.
Q: Anfernee Jennings, back in the lineup yesterday, seems like he was able to make some impact plays. How was he able to help what you guys were kind of doing defensively?
BB: Yeah, I thought Anfernee gave us a lot of good plays on the edge of the defense. We played more base defense in this game then we have in the first two, so that put him on the field more in those situations. Well, he was in there in some other situations as well. You know, the Jets obviously have a good running game, have two really good backs – well, three plus [Michael] Carter [II], but he's really a third down back – I was talking really about [Breece] Hall and [Dalvin] Cook. So, a big emphasis for us was handling the outside runs better than we did against Miami, and I thought Anfernee did a really, really good job of that. He plays with good awareness and he's a strong, physical player.