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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 9/4

Read the full transcript from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's press conference at Gillette Stadium on Monday, September 4, 2023.


September 4, 2023

Q: I don't think we've talked to you since roster cuts, so what went into the decision to waive Bailey [Zappe]?

BB: Well, all roster decisions are based on what we feel like is best for our football team, so there's a number of things involved there. We're glad to have Bailey, going to continue to work with him, still think he's a good, young developing player. So, we'll keep working with him.

Q: The Eagles had a change at, actually, both coordinators, but I wanted to ask you about the defense with Coach [Sean] Desai in there. Do you anticipate them running basically what they were running last year under [Jonathan] Gannon? Do you think it's kind of a hybrid or mix from what he did at Chicago a couple of years ago? How do you sort of navigate that out as you prepare for this first game?

BB: Right, well that's always part of the challenge of the opening game. We'll have to see. We're certainly aware of what he's done in the past, also what the Eagles did last year. They obviously had a lot of success with it. Matt [Patricia] is there as a consultant, so there could be some ideas coming in there. Obviously, a lot of this wasn't shown in preseason. They were pretty vanilla in preseason. So, we'll have to be prepared. We'll see how it goes. It's a good question.

Q: On [Mike] Gesicki, what has he brought to the team, from what you've seen from him going back to spring?

BB: Yeah, Mike's a really smart guy, understands the passing game, techniques, routes, spacing, reading coverage on the inside part of the field. So, he's got a good catch radius, good hands, competitive blocker. Again, smart guy, knows what to do and how to do it.

Q: I want to ask you about the running back situation: what you've seen from Zeke [Ezekiel Elliott] so far, how you see him working alongside Rhamondre [Stevenson] and is Rhamondre going to be the No. 1?

BB: Well, I mean, Rhamondre's really, a good player. It's good to have Zeke. Zeke's been great. He's done everything we've asked him to do, and he's got a really good skillset in the running game, passing game, blitz pickup, all of those things. So, I'm sure they'll both get a chance to play, and we'll see how it goes. But, I'm glad we have both of them.

Q: Your thoughts on the rest of Eagles offense, as well – you mentioned it's obviously going to be a little bit difficult to gauge what you're going to see, given the changes, but just the complexity of that offense and what stands out to you?

BB: Well, it starts with a lot of good players. They're very good up front. They have an excellent offensive line. They're big; they're physical. The quarterback is very good. [Jalen] Hurts does a great job of running the show, executing the offense but also making off-schedule plays. He can run and throw. They have two great receivers, a good tight end, some explosive backs – [Kenneth] Gainwell, [D'Andre] Swift. They're a well-balanced offense, and it's well orchestrated by the quarterback. Obviously, they're well coached. They have a good plan of attack, good way to attack different schemes and stress the defense. So, it'll be a big challenge for us.

Q: When it comes to Mac Jones, just coming off a difficult fall, what's most impressed you about his offseason and training camp?

BB: Yeah, Mac's had a good offseason and has had a really good camp. He comes to work every day, comes in early, stays late, works hard, understands the offense: how it works, how to get his teammates involved, how to help them be productive. So, he's had a really good stretch here in training camp and had a good spring to propel himself into this time period, so it's been pretty consistent all the way through.

Q: You guys claimed another quarterback in Matt Corral, the other day, what goes the decision to add another player there at the position and were you looking forward to working with him?

BB: Yeah, Matt was available, we'll add him to the group and see how it goes. Obviously haven't seen him on the field yet, haven't worked with him but based on what we saw in Carolina and going back to the college film at Mississippi. He's a player we want to work with.

Q: Tom Brady returns on Sunday, a ceremony and things like that. What are your thoughts on having him back in the building? Last time he was there for a game he was with Tampa but being back as a Patriots, sort of say, for a day.

BB: It will be great to see Tom. Tom has meant so much to this team, this organization and me personally. It was a tremendous experience to be able to coach him and for us to share the things that we shared together, a lot of player-coach relationship. Certainly recognizing him for all of his great achievements here is more than appropriate. I look forward to seeing him and glad that he's getting a lot of recognition and appreciation for that because he certainly deserves it.

Q: Just curious what you've seen from Calvin Anderson since he's been able to get back on the field and how he might be able to help you this week.

BB: It's been limited obviously, but it's good to have Calvin back out there. It's similar to what we saw from him in the spring and at Denver. He's flexible, position flexibility to play both tackles. He's a young player but he's experienced enough to where he can handle a lot of things and pick things up quicker than a rookie would, even though he played for another team. He's been able to, I would say, transition pretty well from an assignment standpoint, technique standpoint and we'll see how it goes. We're kind of working through multiple moves there at tackle with Calvin, as you mentioned, and then the two players that we acquired with [Vederian] Lowe and [Tyrone] Wheatley [Jr.], so we'll see how things come together. We gained three tackles there in one day it seemed like and it was good to get that.

Q: Just quickly, some of the details that he shared with us about his illness sounded pretty serious. Was there ever a period where you thought you might not have him back at all this season?

BB: Well, I don't know. Again, those are all medical things. He was treated, it seemed like everything went pretty – from what I understand, not that I know very much about this, but from what I understand – sounded like everything went on a pretty straight forward path once his condition was identified and he started doing the things he needed to do. It just took a little while. Seems like it's gone on a pretty consistent pace on the recovery, about what was expected.

Q: On Matt Corral, would it be too early to reasonably expect him to be the backup on Sunday?

BB: Yeah, I don't know what to tell you. He hasn't even been on the field yet, so yeah, we'll see.

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