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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 9/8

HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK

Press Conference
Wednesday, September 8, 2021

BB: Well we've had quite a good opportunity to take a look at Miami here and over the last few days as we've dealt with some roster moves and things like that. Just looking back over the last season, they obviously made a lot of progress. Improved their team and took some more steps this year to do that. Some of the players they've acquired. They're young. It's a talented team. Obviously well-coached. Disciplined. They don't make a lot of mistakes. Take advantage of opportunities. We're going to have to do a really good job of playing a good, sound football game and obviously coach and play a lot better than we did down there in the second game. Got a little head start on Monday, but really this is the week that we're in now. Early game preparation week, so trying to get the most we can out of it and be ready to go on Sunday.

On his excitement for Sunday's game and having fans back in the stands for a regular season game:

BB: Well they [the fans] were here in preseason, so I think we're acclimated to the change. That's what we've all been used to most of our careers. Always good to get the season started. This team has put in a lot of good work in the offseason, training camp, and now it's time to go. We could always use more time, but it's time to go, so hopefully we'll be ready.

On how much he can coach and develop a quarterback's accuracy and decision-making:

BB: You always try to teach the players everything you can to help him in whatever position they play. That's our job. That's what we'll continue to do.

On Mac Jones' accuracy and decision-making:

BB: Mac has a lot of strengths, but we're looking at a whole different level than what he was at, and so we'll see how it goes in the NFL.

On how he prepares for a high-pressure defense like Miami and if he expects a similar defensive strategy from the Dolphins on Sunday:

BB: I think since Coach [Brian] Flores has been down there [Miami], they [the Dolphins] have pressured quite a bit on defense. We've played them four times, and we've seen quite a bit of what they do. I wouldn't say that they have shown a lot of drastic changes in preseason. A few things that I'd say are a little bit different for them, but overall, it's still pretty much what it is. They have good corners, and they don't mind pressuring the line of scrimmage and letting those guys do their thing. They've been pretty productive doing it, so I'm sure we'll see both.

On what makes Brian Flores' cover 0 package so difficult to go up against:

BB: Yeah. That's what we were just talking about, so I'm sure we'll see it. We'll see how it goes.

On what challenges Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins' offense present for the Patriots' defense:

BB: Well they did a good job against us last year. They're a well-balanced offense. They like to run the ball. They have few different ways of doing it and do a good job of spreading the ball around to their receivers, tight ends, running backs. Quarterback is mobile, so they're pretty well-balanced. Coach [George] Godsey is a new play caller down there taking over for Coach [Chan] Gailey, so we'll see what all that brings. They're a well-balanced offense and can attack you in a lot of different fronts. They have big receivers. They have [Jaylen] Waddle. Big addition for them. They have some other explosive players in the receiver unit. [Mike] Gesicki is a problem. Backs have a good skillset. Young offensive line. I think they'll just continue to get better because they have a lot of youth on their offense, and I'm sure as they grow they'll continue to improve as a unit.

On what Jaylen Waddle brings to Miami's offense:

Yeah. He has a really good skillset. He's fast. Quick. Punt returner. Good with the ball in his hands. Tough kid. He's a good player.

On how he views the position of Mike Gesicki:

BB: Yeah. I'd call him a big tight end.

On what he looks for in a team captain:

BB: Whoever the players select.

On the similarities between captains over the years:

BB: The people that the players respect and want to be their representatives in various situations. I guess you'd have to ask the players who voted for them exactly what their criteria was, but we've been very fortunate. We've had a lot of good leaders on the team. Captains are certainly a part of that, but there's a lot of leadership that comes on the team in addition to whoever the captains are, so see how that goes.

On how he thinks Miami will defend the Patriots' two tight end formations:

BB: They have kind of really corners that are playing safety, and there's pretty good size like Eric [Rowe] is a bigger kid. He's also played safety as well as corner. I think if they play man-to-man, they'll either match up to them or if they want to add coverage to them, then that's probably something I'm sure they have in their defensive system to do it.

On the challenge of going up against a quick slot receiver like Jaylen Waddle:

BB: I mean it's a problem. We have a fast player in there. Could be a tougher matchup if you didn't have a fast player as your inside player, but see how it goes.

On how his success playing against rookie quarterbacks can be used to help Mac Jones avoid rookie mistakes:

BB: We'll prepare our players the best we can, but Tua [Tagovailoa] is no rookie. He's got a year of experience. We've seen him. We played against him, so we'll deal with him. You'd have ask Coach Flores about Mac. I don't know.

On what he thinks will be Mac Jones' greatest challenge on Sunday:

BB: I don't know. We'll see. There's a lot of things that happen in a football game, so let's see how it all plays out.

On the passing of Sam Cunningham and what he meant to the Patriots organization:

BB: Sam had a great college career and pro career here in New England. I never coached Sam, and I only played against him a couple of times. He was in, of course, the AFC when we were in the NFC with the Giants, so we didn't really, fortunately, cross paths too much with him. Big fullback in a two-back era where fullbacks now are, the few of them that there are, are primarily blockers whereas in that day, going back to Jim Brown and Jim Taylor and a bunch of other fullbacks, those guys were ball carriers. Franco Harris and Sam was that, so he could block. He could run. He had great size. It's sad. We've lost two great Patriots here in the last week. Appreciate you asking.

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