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Transcript: Bill Belichick Video Press Conference 12/7

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media on Monday, December 7, 2020.

Q: What did you see from Myles Bryant yesterday and what have you seen in terms of his growth throughout the season?

BB: Yeah, Myles has done a nice job for us. He's come in and learned a bunch of different positions. He gives us good depth in the secondary and plays in the kicking game. He's a smart kid, works hard, instinctive, seems to have a good feel for the game and prepares well. He's a smart player.

Q: A few players talked after the game about the identity of the football team being a physical, punch-first type of group. Is that how you see the identity of this group and is that a big deal to you to have an 'identity?'

BB: I just try to talk to the team each week about what we need to do to win and what gives us the best chance to win. So, we've been able to do that better in the last few weeks than earlier in the season. Each game takes on its own personality because of the new opponent, new matchups. So, we try to do the things that we can do well and try to focus on those, and some other things that we're not doing well, we either need to improve them or try to avoid them. We look at it every week.

Q: Do you have a significant amount of pride in special teams and do you greatly enjoy the type of performance you had on Sunday?

BB: Yeah, of course. Those guys have worked extremely hard. We have a very good core group there of specialists, of course, and some of the other core players – you know, Matt [Slater], [Justin] Bethel, Cody [Davis] – as well as Joe [Cardona], Jake [Bailey] and Nick [Folk] and some other guys that are on multiple teams, as well. It's good to see their efforts and extra preparation pay off, and things we've worked hard on all year and a couple of them showed up in the game yesterday. There's other things that haven't shown up, but maybe they'll show up soon. 

Q: It seemed there were more opportunities for Josh Uche to be on the field. What did you see when you watched the film in terms of what he was able to contribute yesterday?

BB: Yeah, it's good to have Josh out there. I thought he provides situationally an element of pass rush and some passing game value for us. So, we'll continue to build on that, but he's improved and he's worked hard to understand what we're doing and also how that changes from game to game. He's taken some communication roles over defensively and that's been good. So, he's definitely improving, he's working hard, he's got some skills that I think can help us.

Q: Can you close the book on why you released Isaiah Ford after trading for him and describe what happened there?

BB: Yeah, well, we'll see how it goes going forward. Hopefully we can continue to work with him.

Q: By letting him go, do you still have to send a draft pick to Miami for that trade?

BB: Yeah.

Q: Cam Newton showed an ability yesterday to freeze defenders by selling one thing and maybe going a different way. How key was that?

BB: Yeah, he's very good at that. We've used him for our defense to work on with teams that ran those type of plays and he gave us a great look on that. He is, he's very patient with those plays and makes it really hard for the defenders to do anything – if they commit, then they commit wrong, and if they don't commit, then it kind of keeps them out of position for the play that's being run. Sometimes he just waits them out and sees who's more patient – will they wait longer than he will? And so sometimes he'll ride those guys, just waiting for the defender to finally make his move, and then when he does, then he makes a decision based off that. But, yeah, Cam has a lot of experience with those plays and he does a good job with them. 

Q: We've seen Adam Butler have two really productive games the last two weeks. What have you seen from him on tape and what allows him to be such a productive player in your scheme?

BB: Yeah, the last two weeks have been really good. He's done a good job and been very disruptive out there and that's helped the guys around him – Chase [Winovich], Josh [Uche], D. Wise [Deatrich Wise]. So, he's got the ability to be disruptive in the pocket and certainly showed up the last couple weeks. So, hopefully he can continue to get those plays and a lot of times, sometimes he makes the play, and then sometimes it's not him making the play, but he causes problems in the protection and that helps other guys out. So, he's done a nice job for us the last couple weeks.

Q: What is it about him that makes him so good on stunts as the penetrator and on occupying blockers?

BB: Yeah, he's a player who really understands protections and how teams are trying to block and sometimes the type of play they're running based on the situation. He's got good length and sometimes that can be a big advantage for an inside player. Sometimes the inside blockers, the guards and center, don't have the kind of length that he has in there. So, he just has a good skillset, just in terms of his quickness, his instinctiveness, his length that he can get into gaps or get into position where either, like I said, he can make the play and be disruptive, or he can take two blocker with him, which will free somebody else up or give somebody else a better pass rush opportunity.

Q: What can extended trips like this do from the aspect of team bonding? How is this trip different, if at all, due to the current state of the world with COVID-19?

BB: Well, the restrictions that we're under, we're under. So, we've been pretty much dealing with that all year, so it's not new for this year. But, relative to the other trips you mentioned, of course it's different – less opportunity to interact and do things. We've done things as a team at times. It's really not an option this week, and I'd say the same thing for the players. But, it was a big advantage last night to be able to play the game and come back to the hotel and watch the film, players are resting, no travel involved and all that. So, it's almost like having a home game. Those are good things. It's a short week here. It's a real scramble for the Rams, but to not have to have any extra travel and all of that is a big advantage for us in terms of trying to get ready for the week. So, that's part of why we stayed out here. You've got to make the trip one way or the other, but Saturday is a day to relax and not travel before the game and the night of the game and the day after the game are again much better opportunities to recover and get ready and eliminate the travel. I'm glad we're doing it; hopefully it will help us this week.

Q: Can a trip like this bring the team closer together?

BB: I mean, we spend a lot of time with each other anyway. But, yeah, there's nothing else to do out here except be in a hotel and get ready to play the Rams. I think it probably enhances our opportunities to interact, although the environment puts some limitations on those. But, yeah, I think this is a team that has a lot of good leadership and guys work together well. Hopefully that will be the case. 

Q: It seemed like Chase Winovich showed some good instincts on his interception in undercutting the route and knowing where Justin Herbert wanted to go with the ball. What did you see from him on that play? How have you seen him progress as a coverage player over the last couple weeks, as a player who didn't do much of that until recently?

BB: Right, well, that's been a big adjustment for Chase since he got here. He didn't have much coverage at Michigan and learning coverage responsibilities here, primarily on the line of scrimmage but he's been off the line of scrimmage sometimes as well. So, that's been something that he's had to learn, but he's worked on it. Chase is a pretty instinctive player. He has a pretty good sense of where to go and what to do. On that particular play, they were trying to throw the ball out in the flat to our left and they had a pick route called and we covered that. So, Herbert stopped and you're right, Chase had a good break on the ball. He saw the throw, made a good break on the ball, made a good interception in traffic. I think he got hit and had some contact as he was picking off the ball, but it looked like Herbert was trying to come off the initial read and Chase read it well, made a good catch – which for a defensive lineman, that's not something they do a lot of it. But, that was a good catch in traffic and a big play for us. But, yeah, Chase has improved his coverage and he works hard on that. He really does. John Simon and those guys have helped him a lot, but he's embraced it and is willing to do whatever he can to help the team. Sometimes that's covering a man or filling up a zone.

Q: You just said it's somewhat of a scramble preparing for these Thursday games. Is it more difficult when it's a team like the Rams that you don't get to see that often? How much are you able to go back to the game from two years ago while preparing for the Rams?

BB: It's always a little bit more challenging with a team you don't know as well, but I mean, it's the same for them, so I don't think there's any advantage there. But, it's different than playing a division team that you know better. Yeah, there's some carryover offensively from the Rams. Defensively, they've changed coordinators from Wade [Phillips] to [Brandon] Staley and changed special teams coordinators from [John] Fassel to [John] Bonamego. So, I'd say there's some pretty significant changes there in two of the phases. Offensively, it's a lot of the core things that we saw a couple years ago, but Sean's [McVay] broadened the offense. He's brought in some different things and of course seeing [Cooper] Kupp in this game. We didn't see him two years ago. He certainly makes a big difference. So, there's some similarities, but plenty of differences, as well. 

Q: When you get big special teams plays like you did yesterday, does the offense and defense feed off that? Is there a certain energy that it brings?

BB: Yeah, hopefully. Hopefully when you can create field position plays for the offense with a turnover or a play in the kicking game – a blocked kick or a kick return or something like that – that should give the offense some energy and an opportunity. Certainly when the offense or the special teams scores, that gives the defense a similar type of boost and energy to go out there and either we've close the margin or we've gotten further ahead. So, whichever way it is, it's a big positive for that unit and hopefully if those units can play well consecutively, then that's where you really have a lot of team success. So, score, good kickoff coverage, get the ball back on defense, set the offense up in good field position, score – those are good opportunities there that if everything works together that that could really give you a big advantage.

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