HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
September 6, 2022
Q: Jonathan Jones, Bill I wanted to start with him. How would you describe what he brings to the defense and why he's a valuable piece for you?
BB: Yeah, Jon's [Jonathan Jones] a very versatile and important guy to our team since he came here, in the kicking game and defensively. He's smart, he's fast, he's tough. All good things in the kicking game and all good things defensively, tackling, covering fast receivers, and making smart decisions inside and the nickel position which is where things can get kind of complicated with bunch formations and run force and things like that. So very professional, works hard, pairs well and brings a high level of toughness, competitiveness and speed to our team.
Q: I wanted to ask you about the Dolphins, Mike McDaniel specifically and core concepts you've seen studying his offenses, San Francisco, what you've seen this preseason with the Dolphins. How do you describe him and what's the impression that you get watching what they've done thus far?
BB: Well the last two years, the 49ers have led the league in yards after catch. So they get a lot of yards after the ball is in the receivers hands. A lot of emphasis on the zone running game. So again, things that we've seen from Kyle [Shanahan] and even before that from Mike Shanahan. But game plan team, creates different things each week for the new opponent, multiple types of runs. It's not all zone runs by any stretch, and they use all their players, receivers, tight ends whether it's [George] Kittle or whoever as part of the running game, or RPO, which is kind of an extended - it's pass play - but it's kind of an extend part of the running game. Outside screens and bubble passes, and things like that. So they do a good job of attacking the entire field and play actions come off the running game and of course they've added a lot of speed to their team with the two backs, [Cedrick] Wilson, [Tyreek] Hill, of course they already had [Jaylen] Waddle. So I don't know. It's an explosive offense that has a balance of running game, play action, mobile quarterback and deep ball, explosive play threats.
Q: I wanted to ask you when you're looking at a team or film or just watching a game generally how often do you see something that is new and it jumps out at you and say 'oh this is the way the game is evolving.' Or do you feel that it's more folks going into the past and using things they've seen before? In other words is the game planning growing? Is it evolving? Or is it kind of a repetition of what you've seen before?
BB: Well if you're talking about the offensive side of the ball, sometimes what's new is just something that team hasn't done before. It's not new new. It's just something that you wouldn't expect or that team hasn't shown. But again, offensively, ultimately, you want to get the ball to your best and most explosive players. So how do you do that? Sometimes that comes from either a new idea, or again, something that team hasn't done before but now they have a new player they're trying to involve, or they have a player they want to try to expand the ways that he can touch the ball, conventionally or unconventionally. So I think it's really about each team trying to maximize the production from their best and most explosive players, and at the same time have balance. I think the kind of new plays, sometimes gadget type plays, a lot of times comes from mistakes or things that happen in a practice setting that you look at it and say, 'well we've never really done this before but look at what the reaction was. Maybe we could put in a play off this.' Kind of like Paul Brown's version of the draw. When the ball was handed off and the lineman thought it was a pass play and everybody ran right past the runner and there was the draw. So that's really, I think that's kind of how it evolves. It's each team trying to find ways to be productive. Occasionally you'll run into a defense that you're trying to find ways to attack and maybe you come up with a new way to attack a certain thing that they're doing. But the more the defense is traditional, probably the less there is to create, and the more it's nontraditional then they've done things in maybe some kind of an aggressive way trying to create negative plays for the offense that might leave them vulnerable to some other type of play. So that's an interesting question.
Q: You said on WEEI this morning that everyone should have a shot to play Sunday, does that mean that Isaiah Wynn and Ty Montgomery will travel today?
BB: It does.
Q: You mentioned some of the run pass option stuff with Coach McDaniel, how much of that is built off of their outside zone stuff?
BB: Well, honestly, that's a hard question to answer. We haven't really seen them play yet. It's preseason. They're running their core stuff like everybody else is and what they actually will come up with for us, I don't know. But I imagine it'll have its own flavor, it'll be something that tries to attack what they expect us to do or what they perceive our weaknesses to be, and we'll just have to see what those are. I think, again, this is a team looking at San Francisco that they have some core concepts. They build them in a lot of different ways, and they change them week to week depending on who they play and what the opponent shows defensively, in terms of coverage, run force, and front alignment. How they set the front and where they put their defensive players, then that affects the formation building and the creativity that Coach McDaniel and his staff will use to try to put pressure on the defense. We'll have to really see what those are. Pretty hard for me to sit here and tell you what the game plan is now because I really don't.
Q: What are the things that stand out to you about the Dolphins defense and how they've defended your offense in the past?
BB: Their structure is very similar to ours. I think we can look at most of their defenses and put it exactly into our terminology, 'here's what that call is'. Which is not normally the case, but again, because of the familiarity, I'm sure Josh can do the same thing with our defense. There's just more familiarity there, but I think the Dolphins have built the team to be a strong front. They have a lot of big, physical guys up front that are hard to block, especially in the running game. They're one of the teams that plays one of the highest percentages in man-to-man coverage in the league. Certainly not all man, but they play a high percentage of it, higher than most, and they blitz particularly their secondary players, but in general, blitz more than most teams do, so they pressure the quarterback. I think their DB's blitz probably more than any team in the league and they pressure the quarterback a lot. That doesn't mean every pressure is an incompletion or interception, there are completions there, but in general they get free guys or get players attacking the quarterback and that's the start of disruptive plays. I'd say those are characteristics of what Josh is trying to do.
Q: What do you know about Coach McDaniel besides who he's worked for and coached with?
BB: I haven't had a lot of cross over with Coach McDaniel. Talked to him at the owners' meetings and saw him down there, but that's really about the extent of it. Obviously have a lot of respect for Kyle and his staff and what they've done with the 49ers, and I know Mike's a big part of that. That's what I know.