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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 9/9

Read the full transcript from Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's press conference on Wednesday, September 9, 2020.


September 9, 2020

Q: Does this September feels like more of an extension of the preseason? How important is it for you to get everyone involved this weekend and continue the evaluation process?

BB: I think it feels like it normally does this time of year. It's certainly September, it's time to start playing real games so feels about the same. It's always important to improving all the way through the start of training camp at the end of the season to our final practice, so definitely want to try to keep improving in every area on a daily basis.

Q: With lack of preseason and full contact snaps does that change the approach with snap counts and how willing you are to have guys play full 60 to 70-snap games or do you expect to have a heavier rotation than you normally would for a season opener?

BB: Um, yeah, I think we just have to do what we feel is best for the football team in this game and every week. Whatever that is, it'll be based on a number of factors. The game. The game plan. How it's going. What other players are involved in certain personnel groups and rotations and so forth. So, we've talked about that and it might be different for different players at different positions. And, we'll have to see how the game goes too. So, it could unfold during the game, to a certain degree. So, all the players that are active for the game need to be ready to play, they all know that. We'll substitute and do the best we can, based on what we feel gives us the best competitive chance to win.

Q: Lynn Bowden Jr. is a guy that Miami just signed this week and he has a lot of versatility, playing quarterback in college, special teams, running back, and also there's thought that he could contribute as a wide receiver. What types of problems does a player with that kind of versatility present to your team?

BB: Well, we know him from college, so we saw plenty of him in Kentucky, both as a receiver his junior year and then he was a quarterback this year and doing some of the specialty things that you talked about, so you know we'll just have to see how Miami elects to use him. We'll deal with it accordingly, but we know he's a versatile player. There's a number of guys like that. They have another one in [Malcolm] Perry, we see guys like that from time to time over the course of the season. So, how, a team likes to use that particular individual and try to, you know, get him the ball or give them an opportunity to make plays or sometimes use them as a decoy for the defense, those are all things that we've dealt with and we'll just have to be sound in in defending players like that. I think you have to be careful about over playing those guys and because teams will use them and as decoys and just put them in there as a distraction so they can do something else. So there's the balance on that. We'll try to do it like we do, other players that have a similar, versatile skill set. But you're right, we don't really know what he's going to do so, we'll have to wait and see on that.

Q: You don't know what he's going do but you don't know a lot of things about Miami just being the first game of the regular season. How important is adjusting? I know it's important in every game, but specifically in the first game because once the team kind of declares what they're going to do, I'm sure there's adjustments to be made.

BB: Absolutely. And I'm sure that'll be a component of this game. It is, every week because teams always try to make adjustments, sometimes subtle adjustments, sometimes not so subtle, to try to change their attack and be less predictable and make the other team figure out what they're doing. But, in the end it usually comes back to fundamentals and things that, you know, you've been doing and you think you can do well or that's the best things that you do. So, you end up running those. In the end I think that's what we'll see most of but, I'm sure it'll be some variety in there and some, you know, gadget plays or deceptive-type plays that, you know, if you're not alert, that they could catch you by surprise. So, we'll definitely have to be ready for those. But, adjustments are a big part of the game, there's no question about that, and the players, and the coaches will have to… there'll be things that we'll not do once we get into the game that we're planning on doing now and vice versa there'll be things that we're not planning on doing now that we'll want or need to do during the game. I don't have any doubt about that. I'm sure that'll be true on both sides of the field.

Q: You are a football fan course and you've already talked about that and just playing off Megan's question a little bit, there's never been a starting date in NFL like this time. Is the football fan in you at all intrigued just to see what goes on league wide because there's just so much unknown about everything?

BB: Well, for the NFL without the preseason games, yeah, that's true, but again in preseason, there's not much scheming going on. Most teams are just trying to run their basic plays and evaluate the players and evaluate the players against the opponent that's also basically doing the same thing. It's not a lot of game plan and strategy. That really hits on the first regular-season game. So I think the preseason allows the players to give them an opportunity to go out there and play and work on their fundamentals and that includes contact and some of the things that go with that. But, from a strategic standpoint, I don't think you really see a lot in preseason. Some of what you see is intentionally deceptive and misleading anyway, so doesn't really matter. But, again this is this is what every college and high school team does. This is football. You practice and then you have an opening game. There are no preseason games in college or, high school or anything like that either, so I don't think this is anything that's unusual in our sport. It's a little different in the NFL, granted, and the preseason games give young players an opportunity to show what they can do in game conditions, and sometimes that's harder to see in practice or you only get to see it against certain matchups in practice and then when those matchups change in preseason games, you just get a little better evaluation of the player. But, strategically I don't think it makes much difference and, as I said, all the other teams that play football, outside of the NFL are doing it the way we're doing it so I don't think it's, that unusual other than if you're just looking at the NFL schedule.

Q: Ball security has always been extremely important to you, obviously. Has there been extra emphasis at all this week just reminding the players they're going to get hit hard for really for the first time, and it's going to be different and just to take care of that ball because the speed and the hitting will be different?

BB: Yeah, absolutely. Not this week, just every day the entire preseason that's been a major point of emphasis for us, to take care of the ball. To take the ball away, and to take advantage of our opportunities to get the ball. So, that's going to be very, very critical aspect of this game, of every game, but as you said, we haven't experienced the contact and the ball security that comes with contact like we're going to on Sunday, like every team is going to on Sunday. We've tried to simulate that as much as possible but, that's a new thing that we've experienced it but not in the way we're going to see it on Sunday, for sure.

Q: Wanted to ask you about J.J. Taylor and what you've seen from his progress this summer.

BB. Well, J.J. was a good college player. We signed him after the draft and he's been competitive. He had some opportunities early in camp when Sony [Michel] was out and then, you know, had some opportunities later in camp here when Damien [Harris] missed a few days. So, I think he's done a good job of taking advantage of those opportunities. The running back position is one that you can see a lot more of in live competition where tackling and live blitz pickup and that type of thing are really become more of a focal point than what you see here in practice. You can evaluate the running back's vision in practice, but getting through the line, running those arm tackles, not getting tripped up or getting tripped up, whatever the case might be. But, those evaluations of in-line running and in-line vision and open-field tackling and running and so forth, those are skills that you can see a lot more of when the actual games occur. So, in his opportunities he's done a good job. It'll be interesting to see how he plays and get a better evaluation of that.

Q: Players in the past have shared that they appreciate in team meetings on Wednesdays how they're provided a kind of a deeper understanding of their opponent beyond, you know, kind of your matchups and some X's and O's from you in terms of, you know, a history of the franchise or just what's important to the coaches and how they run their program. So, obviously without sharing anything that's been said in meetings, seeing how coach Brian Flores has worked with the Dolphins a full year, knowing him as well as you do, how would you describe the program he's bringing along in Miami and what's important to him?

BB: Well, I'm sure he's talked about what's important to him. So, I think I need to comment on that, but he very much has his stamp on it. It's his program and he's done things the way that he wants to do them and what he believes in. They certainly took their lumps on that on the first quarter of the season last year. But, as the season went on, they developed more consistency and got things in a much better place, you know, and end up winning five games. Beat several good teams, beat us at the end of the year. Played in more competitive games. And then this year, turned over some coaches but also brought in a number of significant players, both in the draft and free agency that, in my opinion, would reflect the type of team that he's trying to build. I think I can see what he's trying to do and the players that he brought in. I can see how he would think that they would fit into the culture and the type of program that he's trying to establish. So, you know, it looks like that they're a lot better than they were last year based on the acquisitions that they've made. As I said they changed some members of the coaching staff and so, exactly how that gets reflected in philosophy and game planning and play calling and so forth, I guess that remains to be seen. We haven't seen that yet, but just looking at what they've done in terms of roster building, it's, it's pretty clear that Brian has a plan. He knows where he's going. And he's taking steps to get there. That's pretty obvious.

Q: Knowing Josh Boyer as you do, I don't know if you believe it's at all reasonable without a preseason to kind of project any changes, he might introduce to the defense now as a coordinator, or is that something you just you just have to wait and see?

BB: We definitely have our thoughts on that. We have to go with something and we are going to go with the things that we think are most likely to occur and prepare for those knowing that we're not going to be 100% right and knowing that they're going to do some things that we wouldn't expect them to do or that maybe they haven't shown before under any of their current coaches that we're aware of. So, as I think Megan [O'Brien] asked earlier, there'll be adjustments and, you know, things that we'll have to do during the game that will be game-time adjustments or game-time calls that we'll have to make. But, I think, fundamentally, we have a pretty good idea of what we think we're going to get from the certain coaches on their staff that are going to be involved in play calling or the way they have things broken up and what that'll bring us, and we'll see how that plays out. I don't know.

Q: I wanted to ask you because you mentioned that answer to Andrew and you can kind of tell what Brian's trying to do in terms of building the team with the guys they've brought in. What are some of those characteristics, and how do maybe Kyle Van Noy, Elandon Roberts and Ted Karras fit into that?

BB: Again, I think Brian's talked about what he's trying to do. I think that's really the place to start there. We have to just prepare for it, so that's what we're trying to do. All players you mentioned there are good football players. They're solid people. They bring a lot to the organization as well as to the football field and add a lot of experience, a lot of good experience. They have a positive attitude and they have won a lot of games and they've helped us win a lot of games. So, I'm sure that they'll be good addition to their program.

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