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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 9/6

Read the full transcript from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's press conference at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, September 6, 2023.



September 6, 2023

BB: Alright, good morning. Well, look at the Eagles here. This is obviously a really impressive team and organization. Look at what they've done through the years, multiple Super Bowls, Andy [Reid] as a coach, and then Doug [Pederson], and then last year with Nick [Sirianni], multiple quarterbacks from [Donovan] McNabb to [Carson] Wentz for most of the year, and then obviously [Jalen] Hurts now. So, there's been a lot of success in Philadelphia. They've had a lot of different coordinators, head coaches, quarterbacks, and the one guy that's been there through it all, really, is Howie [Roseman]. I think you look at the way that they've built this team, and he's done a tremendous job with that organization, and certainly in putting this team together. This is a really well-balanced team. They're good in all three phases of the game. They've got a really good offensive line, excellent skill players, starting with the quarterback, but certainly the receivers – [A.J.] Brown, [DeVonta] Smith, [Dallas] Goedert, I mean they're all good. They've got good backs, good quarterback, good skill players. Defensively, their front is a very dominant front, best pass rushing front in the league by, I'd say, quite a bit with good depth. So, they can roll those guys out of there pretty comfortably and bring in other guys that are just as explosive, dangerous. They've got a great combination of power and speed in the pass rush front, and then some good coverage players. Obviously, [Darius] Slay is one of the top coverage corners in the league, [James] Bradberry. They've made some changes at safety – brought in an experienced guy with [Terrell] Edmunds, drafted [Sydney] Brown, [Reed] Blankenship's there. They're pretty good in the kicking game too, [Britain] Covey's explosive, [Boston] Scott's explosive. They've got an excellent field goal kicker in [Jake] Elliott. Lot of, experienced long snapper. So, they've got a good group there that has been productive for them. They've made some big plays, you know, the big return in the Super Bowl; they've blocked kicks. They're a good punt rush team. They're a good field goal rush team. So, they really challenge you on every play. They're a really good football team. They're impressive to watch and, as I said, they're well put together by Howie and his staff and well coached by Nick and the coordinators. Again, it seems like there's a lot of carry over with the new coordinators from what they've done in the past. Matt [Patricia], another good coach up there. Just, overall, a really solid team from top to bottom, and you can see why they were so successful last year in the regular season, and then to play to win the championship. Good opportunity for us, big challenge, so we've got three days here to get ready to go and then wrap it up on Saturday, and then play Sunday afternoon. Looking forward to it, but this is a really good football team we're seeing.

Q: This is usually the time of year where you guys finalize your captains. Just curious as to who are the captains for this year's team?

BB: Yeah, we haven't done that yet.

Q: With Jack Jones legal situation behind him, do you expect him to be available for your team this weekend?

BB: Yes, he should be available.

Q: In your opinion, how has Jack done this season, with –I understand off the field distractions happen for everyone- with him, how has he done with focusing on football despite some of the stuff that's happened off the field?

BB: He's done a good job. He's been on the field, played in all the games, practiced, so he's been out there.

Q: You're expecting Jack to be available. Have you heard from the league that there won't be discipline for Jack?

BB: Yeah, I'm not going to get into that. Talk to the league. See what they have to say.

Q: They haven't been in touch with you?

BB: Well, anything from them would come from them, not from me.

Q: After your thorough breakdown of the Eagles, clearly Tom Brady's return is not your primary focus for Sunday, but what are your thoughts on Tom coming back and fans having …

BB: Yeah, great to have Tom back. Always.

Q: Mistakes are going to happen, obviously, and eliminating mistakes is extremely important. As we sit here before the game now, week number one, how adept has this group been at making a mistake, but not seeing that same mistake twice after the coaching staff has tried to correct it. Have they been adept at picking it up and not making the same mistake again?

BB: Right, well this will really be a whole different challenge now. Training camp is training camp, we're working against ourselves every day. We see each other, there's things that come up, obviously, and you correct them, but you see the same thing. A lot of those players that you're referring to didn't play all that much in preseason, nor did the other teams. So, we're in a whole new cycle now of game planning, adjustments, in-game adjustments, in-game awareness to what our opponents are doing, how they're doing it, what changes we have to make. If we have to make a change, they'll probably make a change, so we're in a whole different cycle here. I think that's a great question, that I don't know the answer to until we've really been challenged the way that we're going to get challenged against good teams, good coaches, good signal callers, instinctive players on both sides of the ball. It just really – I won't say it hasn't come up, it's just been different. We'll see. It'll be interesting to see how that goes.

Q: Regarding the in-game adjustments, how important is the perspective from the coaches' box and what those guys see up there? Is that something that you can adequately work on during the preseason? You talk often about preseason also being preseason for the coaches, with new people in new places.

BB: Right, it's definitely a good opportunity for coaches both on the field and in the box to see things in real time and the quick time you have to look at it, analyze it, figure it out and then talk to your players about what happened. If you're not really alert and don't really see it, then you can't make a good correction or a good analysis. Then again, preseason is preseason. It will happen a lot quicker here in the regular season. Philadelphia is one of the highest frequency of no huddle teams in the league. They go quick. I mean, you saw what happened in the Kansas City game, they quick snapped them and hit [DeVonta] Smith for a 45-yard pass down to the two yard-line, or whatever it was. So, things like that. They'll happen quicker against, obviously, good competition, teams that are well schooled and things like that. They'll add little wrinkles that are kind of subtle and you might not catch them. You don't want to find that out Monday morning. You want to try to be able to identify it, if not on the play, at least when the play is over, and you get a chance to look at it and talk to the players about it and straighten it out so it doesn't happen again. All those things are coaches' things that we've worked on. I think certainly we are all a lot sharper than we were six weeks ago, call it. But we are going to a different level here and that's something we'll have to do as well.

Q: I don't recall if Joe [Judge] was on sideline or upstairs in the preseason, but for someone that has coached against the Eagles and prepared for them within the division, does that help?

BB: Oh yeah, sure. Yeah, absolutely. He was on the sideline. Obviously, he knows those guys well and we practiced against them. It's a lot of the same cast of characters. There's a few new guys, obviously, like there always are. I don't think it's a big mystery about what they do. They just do it very well. They're well-balanced, so you can't over play one thing without giving up something else. They do a good job of finding the weaknesses, and taking advantage of mistakes that their opponents make and they cause opponents to make mistakes because of the pressure they put on you every play. Yeah, it's a good football team.

Q: Bill, what have you seen from Mac Jones just from when you guys turned the page to 2023 that indicates to you that he is ready to go, you know, for a productive season?

BB: Well, this is a big week, you know, getting into a game plan week and all that. I think we are off to a good start here. We have a good foundation to build on. We'll take it day-by-day, week-by-week. We're off to a good start here. Look, we've got a long way to go, still got three days of practice and getting through some situational football and all that. He puts in a lot of time. He knows the things a lot more that he did two years ago, one year ago, so I think he'll be ready.

Q: Bill, has much changed for you over the course of your career when it comes to opening day? Is it still same mystery, is it still the same preparations and everything that you've learned over the course of time?

BB: Well, it's the same in that it's so different, right? I mean it's the same, but you look at a team like Philadelphia, you get 20 games from last year, got a handful of games from this year where not a lot of players are playing that we're going to see on Sunday. So, there's certainly a lot of unknowns. I'm sure they'll make a few adjustments and subtle changes like every team will do. I'm sure they'll have a couple things cooked up for us that they think we're vulnerable on. So, there is some of those that won't show up until gameday. There probably will be a change or two in the lineup from what we think it's going to be for whatever reason. So, we'll be ready for those types of things, but that's all a part of opening day, so in that sense it's the same but very different getting ready for these guys compared to getting ready for Miami last year or whoever it was in years before that. Each team has its own unique situations and set of circumstances. Especially with two new coordinators here at Philadelphia, understanding that coach Sirianni's talked a lot about how much they're going to keep it the same and how familiar they are with what they're doing, so forth and so on. Still, it's two new coordinators, I'm sure that will still bring some element of change. What exactly that is? Well, we'll have to see. In that sense it's the same but it's so different getting ready for the Eagles then it was getting ready for any other teams because it's different players, different coaches and different schemes.

Q: Bill, what do you love about this that keeps you going to just try and get this team to ultimately, I guess, win a championship right? That's why you're in here. What keeps you going? I think about it, you came in with a break down of the Eagles, you've done that for 49 years…

BB: It's what I do.

Q: Why?

BB: I enjoy it. It beats working. It beats working for a living.

Q: In preparing for Jalen Hurts, is it valuable to have someone like Malik Cunningham who might be able to give you some similar looks on the scout team?

BB: Yeah, I mean Malik's got some good skills. I think it would be a stretch to compare Malik Cunningham to Jalen Hurts now. I mean, we're talking about a guy who was second in MVP voting last year, or whatever he was. Athletically, there's some similarities, but you're talking about arguably the best player in the league, or one of the top two or three best players in the league. Nobody has anybody that can be him, and if they do, that guy's probably not playing on the scout team for that team anyway. I mean, it is what it is. We go through that every week. Every team's got a few good players, and some great players, and it's hard to replicate those players. If you have one, your guy's probably not on the scout team doing that for that guy anyway. You do the best you can. We'll have somebody to try to simulate the best we can what Hurts does, but we don't have anybody like Hurts, and probably, neither does anybody else.

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