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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 12/11

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media on Friday, December 11, 2020.

Q: On the fourth down decision midway through the second quarter, what were the factors based on the way the game had unfolded to that point that you were balancing in making that decision?

BB: We needed a couple yards; felt like we could make it.

Q: Is there any thought at that point in the game about making it two possession game? Or is it just so early in the game that that's not really part of the thought process there?

BB: The thought was to try to score a touchdown. So, that's what we were trying to do.

Q: Mark Daniels asked you last night about Jarrett Stidham's two relief appearances and if you were happy with his development and what you've seen from him this season. At the end of the answer, I think you had mentioned that that's not really the point. I was just wondering, what was the point in the context of that back and forth there?

BB: Sometimes there's situations in a game where you can put somebody in, but we're trying to win the game. So, that's what we're here for is to win the game. So, it was the obvious situation last week with the Chargers, but the point is to try to win. I mean, that's what's important to us.

Q: The first three or four possessions of that game were obviously big for the Rams. How was it that they came out the way they did with their chunk plays to get ahead so quickly?

BB: Well, they had a long run that we obviously didn't play very well. We were in a zone defense and it went for a lot of yards. And, we were in the scoring zone and they ran an interception back for a touchdown.

Q: What is your evaluation of the overall consistency of the group this year and where do you think the issues lie with that potentially?

BB: I think we've pretty consistently gotten better over the course of the season, from about Week 5 or 6, somewhere in there. I mean the first six weeks, five weeks – that was a different situation. But, yeah, we've gotten better. The score last night was what it was, but look, they're a good team and we fell behind. That's a hard team to play from behind against. I mean, they're a good football team. They've got a good pass rush and do a good job on early downs of controlling the ball. They were better than we were last night. That was obvious.

Q: You don't feel that last night was a step backwards, per say? It was more about the Rams than it was about you building the way you want to build?

BB: Yeah, I never said it was a step backwards. They were better than us last night.

Q: After watching the film, are your thoughts still the same that Cam Newton is your quarterback, or is there any chance you might open it up to Jarrett Stidham?

BB: Yeah, I've answered that question for the last time.

Q: I wanted to ask you about Ray Perkins, who passed away the other day. He was the offensive coordinator here in New England in the mid-90s, and some say that the Patriots have run the [Ron] Erhardt/Perkins offense over the years. Could you talk about Ray Perkins and the impact he's had on the offense here with the Patriots?

BB: Well, I'll start with myself. Ray gave me an opportunity in '79 to go with the Giants and that was a life-changing moment for me. So, I've always been deeply appreciative of that opportunity and have a ton of respect for Ray. I learned a lot from him in those four years with the Giants. We developed a very close relationship and I appreciate all that he did for that program, which was terrible when he took over in '79, to make it a highly competitive team in '81 and '82 was a strike year. And then Coach [Bill] Parcells took over, he built that into a championship organization. So, certainly Bill did a tremendous job there and deserves all the credit that he's gotten for the two championships and for the growth of that franchise. But, I think he would tell you, and I would certainly say, that Ray had a lot to do with setting the tone and the first four years of that development from '79 to '82 when that team and that franchise was obviously at the very bottom of the league. Ray was, as a former player and coach, he had a good perspective on the game. He played for two of the greatest coaches of all time. And his level of competitiveness and toughness was about as good as anybody I've ever been around. With the Patriots, I mean, the terminology and so forth that Ray and Ron used under Coach [Chuck] Fairbanks here in the late 70s, early 80s that then came to New England with Ray and with Bill – because Bill came from New England, too, after the '80 season. Yeah, certainly the terminology and a lot of the fundamentals of our offensive system are still – the foundation is still in that offense from Ray and Ron back in, like I said, the late 70s under Coach Fairbanks. So, he had a big impact on my life and my career and I have a ton of respect for Ray and his family. My personal sympathies go out to them as part of the Patriots family. Of course, we organizationally feel the same way. He's a good man and a good coach and a man who really loved football. He was very successful at a lot of different levels – college player, pro player, college coach, pro coach, even building the program at Jones Community College there. So, a very loyal person that, as I said, I have a ton of respect for. So, very sad news that we got two days ago.

Q: A year-and-a-half into Jarrett Stidham being with the team, do know exactly what you have in him and could you share what you think that is?

BB: I think I've talked about that multiple times. Young players continue to…

Q: Is he still an ascending player in your mind?

BB: Yes.

Q: What are some of the things that he's shown you in year two, with obviously an odd offseason, that leads you to believe there's still plenty of growth that's happened and more to come?

BB: Yeah, all the things that we've talked about. It's true of most every second-year player – knowledge of our system, knowledge of the league, building good habits, building good fundamentals, gaining experience. Those things are true for all players at that stage of their development.

Q: How do you think that Jarrett has handled being Cam's backup? It's obviously not the way the spring looked. It looked like maybe he was going to be the guy and then Cam get signed in July. How has he handled that process?

BB: Jarrett's done everything we've asked him to do and he's done everything that he can do, and I don't think you can ask any more than that.

Q: Cam mentioned last night on the interception returned for a touchdown play that if he could have had that one back, he would have just spiked it essentially and lived to see another down. How would you assess what you've see from him as far as decision making?

BB: That was a tough play. [Aaron] Donald made a good play, knocked Damien [Harris] off. He could have thrown it into the ground, but I don't know why he would have thrown it into the ground. It really wasn't that kind of play. It was just one of those things that, like I said, Donald made a good play, knocked the timing off a little bit. It's a tough situation. But, yeah, sure, if we had known that would have happened, we could have called a different play, too. That's one of those things that – we had a few of them last night, plays that just didn't work out for us, didn't execute well, or had a bad call at a bad time, or whatever it was. The results were what they were.

Q: Did you get clarity on the Myles Bryant interception as to why he was ruled down? Is it a continuation play that would possibly allow him to get up and go in that situation?

BB: Yeah, well the officials made the call and they went and reviewed it and came back with a call after the review. So, I think they explained it when they gave the call and we can't really hear that down  on the field. I mean, whatever [Craig] Wrolstad said happened, then that's what he saw happen, right? Didn't he give an explanation of the play? I mean, they overruled the play. Didn't he give an explanation?

Q: Right, but it wasn't really clear as to whether or not – as you know, with the rulebook, it can be one of those grey areas. Just from your perspective, what did you think in regards to a guy who never hit the ground, and he took the ball from him, but was in the process of getting up…

BB: What do you mean he never hit the ground?

Q: Myles hit the ground, but as he was taking the ball, it was close as to whether the player that he took the ball from was touching him – once he clearly got possession of the ball and took it.

BB: Right. Yeah, I think we all understand it's a close play. The officials reviewed the play and gave an explanation for what they saw. So, I mean, what do you want me to say?

Q: We also didn't hear the explanation, because when they came back on TV, they just came back with you guys at the line at wherever he intercepted the ball. So, that's why there was some confusion on our end.

BB: Well, Mike [Reiss], it was no better where I was because when they announce that over the loudspeaker, whether it's in our stadium or any other stadium, you really can't hear what the official's saying. And so I can't tell you what he said because honestly I couldn't hear it. They told us they were going to spot the ball on the, whatever it was, the 33-yard line and that was it. I mean, the play had been reviewed. I mean, what do you want me to do? I couldn't challenge it. So, whatever the call was, the call was. If you have a question about it, you should ask them.

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