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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 9/8

Read the full transcript from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's press conference at Gillette Stadium on Friday, September 8, 2023.



September 8, 2023

BB: Good morning. Just a couple of items that you already have here – Captains, I think it's a really good group, proud of the guys that the team selected. They're all offseason program winners, so guys that have really been strong performers all the way through, going back to April. So, finishing up our kind of preparations here today, do a little bit more tomorrow and be ready to go on Sunday. Looking forward to getting started.

Q: What have you observed from Hunter [Henry] as a leader? I know you mentioned the offseason, obviously.

BB: Yeah, he does a great job – works hard, out there every day, smart guy, productive player, good player. Good to have him.

Q: Third year with you here, what has he brought to the program, I guess in addition to the characteristics you just mentioned, in terms of approach and performance?

BB: He's one of our best players, and he's a very dependable player, smart, makes a lot of good decisions, experienced. Everything's pretty good, on and off the field. Well respected.

Q: I think you said that your captains were all offseason award winners. What does that mean, exactly? How do they earn those accolades?

BB: By doing a good job in the offseason. I'm just saying, it's pretty consistent, all six of those guys – there were other guys that won it too – but I'm saying all six of those guys just had strong performances all year, and I think the players, obviously, observed that and respected it. It might have been part of the reason why they voted for them. I'm sure there were other reasons, but these guys are pretty strong performers.

Q: I know you said the other day that you expected Jack Jones to be out there in week one, but that was before he was on the injury report. Has that expectation changed now?

BB: It might, yeah. We'll see. He was having some follow-up tests, and we'll see how it goes.

Q: DeVante Parker, he's been limited the first couple of practices. Is the expectation that he will be able to play week one?

BB: Yeah, we'll see. He's definitely getting better. He's been there every day. So, we'll see how that goes.

Q: Myles Bryant's been a pretty dependable player for you the last couple of years. Could you speak to what makes him so dependable?

BB: Yeah, Myles, of course, came in here undrafted and has just competed very well. He's improved a lot in all areas – physically stronger, faster, quicker. He's gained experience. He's a very confident player, smart, anticipates well, good communicator in the secondary. Really a pretty versatile guy – he's played corner, safety. He's played inside, played outside; he's played all of the positions in the secondary. So, he really adds a lot of versatility and value to our secondary and to our team, shows up every day, works hard, always ready to go. He's a very dependable player.

Q: How much are you looking forward to starting off the season against some really tough competition in the reigning NFC champions?

BB: Yeah, well, I've talked about Philly. They're a really good team, well built with Howie [Roseman] and the coaching staff. Obviously, had a great year last year, so we have a ton of respect for them and what they do. So, good team.

Q: We've seen things like RPOs and designed quarterback runs more and more it seems like nowadays. How has that changed practice time and things like that to prepare the defense to face those schemes almost on a weekly basis?

BB: Well, I mean, some teams do it more than others, but certainly Philly – they have a well-balanced attack. They can run the ball. They can throw it. They have some quarterback run, read-zone type plays, but a lot of teams have those. So, we've seen quite a few of them, different styles. Baltimore is kind of at one extreme, and then other teams that just kind of mix them in there. [Jalen] Hurts has had tremendous production not just on that, but throwing the ball and throwing the ball deep. They have a good third down package, with part of it being the quarterback. It just presents a big challenge for the defense, especially when the quarterback is as good as Hurts is. So, that's really, you can X and O all you want, but you put a good player in there, and it changes things in a hurry. You know, Hurts is really good.

Q: What makes Baltimore's different than Philly's in your mind?

BB: Well, I don't know. We don't play Baltimore this year, but different coordinator, different style, different style running game, more pistol, but different type of quarterback. 

Q: What have you seen from the rookie class as they prepare for their first NFL game?

BB: They've got a lot on their plate. They've got a lot to handle. They are grinding through it. There is no way to get experience besides getting experience. So, they've played some preseason games, had a lot of practices. I'm sure they can feel the difference in intensity, in terms of preparation and the ramp up that's happened here the last few days, but that's good. They should feel that way. Go in there and get their feet wet. Just have to jump in and start swimming. There is no baby pool. Just dive right in and try not to drown.  

Q: Christian Gonzalez in particular, how is he handling it?

BB: Yeah, Gonzo [Christian Gonzalez] is a pretty even keel guy. Doesn't get too high or too low, he's pretty consistent.  That's a little bit of his personality anyways, which is probably a good thing for a corner.

Q: What does Evan Rothstein bring to your staff? Especially, in a situation like now where you are integrating a new quarterback into that room.

BB: Yeah, Evan is a really smart guy. He's versatile, does a lot things for our staff, works on offense, defense, does some other things with preparation of situations and things like that. So, our staff is a collaborative effort in a number of areas. He's a pretty versatile guy, so helps in a lot of different areas.

Q: We've asked you a lot about Tom [Brady] this week. Rhamondre [Stevenson] noted that he might have passed pictures of Tom five times when he came to this room on Wednesday. I'm just curious, aside from those pictures, how, if at all, does what Tom achieved as a player, and who he was as a player, kind of stay with your program today all these years later?

BB: Yeah, sure. Tom and many, many other great players that have played here. So, yeah, we recognize those players. We talk about them. That's part of becoming a Patriot, coming to the team. So, I can go all the way back to [Ron] Burton, Gino Cappelletti, Babe Parelli, back there to the more recent guys in the 80s – [Russ] Francis, [John] Hannah, Mike Haynes and [Raymond] Clayborn, guys like that, and then obviously all of the great players that we've had here. [Tedy] Bruschi, [Rodney] Harrison, [Willie] McGinest, Troy Brown, [Jerod] Mayo, just keep right on going. So yeah, we recognize all of them. Tom is at the top of the list.

Q: Backup quarterback, with Matt [Corral] just coming in, really getting a full week of practice for the first time, is that gap close enough that you'd be comfortable having him be the two on game day?

BB: That's a decision we're going to have to finalize here today. I think it's a consideration. Bailey [Zappe] certainly has the advantage on experience and time in the system and all that, so we'll see how that all plays out. We have a couple of different options there, so we'll kind of see how that goes, try to make the best one.

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