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Transcript: Bill Belichick Video Press Conference 12/8

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media on Tuesday, December 8, 2020.

Q: It can be hard to have sustained success on offense in the NFL once other teams get a lot of film on you, but this is the fourth straight season that Sean McVay's offense is ranked top 10 in yards and they seem to be moving the ball well. What is it about his offense that's allowed him to be successful every year so far?

BB: Yeah, I would say there are in the top two or three. Yeah, no, Sean does a great job. They mix in a lot of the concepts that are difficult on the defense – their plays, their tempo, they obviously have a lot of good players. So, yeah, it's a combination of all those. They put a lot of pressure on the defense.

Q: Just with the way they vary their snap counts and things like that?

BB: Yeah, that's all part of it. The plays look the same. They use a lot of condensed splits, more than most teams do. They use their receivers kind of as blocking some as tight ends, but they're not really tight ends. So, you know, they have some different concepts but they also marry things together well, and like I said, put a lot of pressure on the defense in terms of communication and adjustments and plays for the first step or two in the play look the same, but it could be three different plays.

Q: McVay's record is something like 33-0 when he has a lead at halftime. What does that stat tell you about the job that he's doing there?

BB: Well, they have a good pass rush, they have good concepts defensively, and offensively, they're very good on all downs, but they're good on first down and early downs to be able to run and play action and keep the defense off-balance with their entire offense. So, that's always beneficial. So, they're really built to play that way to play for 60 minutes, and when they can, that's a big advantage for them.

Q: Given the changes that both teams have had since the Super Bowl, I'm curious how relevant you see going back to that game and studying it is leading into this one?

BB: Yeah, I mean, we looked at it, but like you said, there's a lot of football that's been played since then. I think the more recent games have more relevance, certainly the players do. There's a lot of players that played in that game that aren't going to play in this one.

Q: One of those players is Van Jefferson. Because you had the background with Shawn Jefferson here in New England in '96, do you see much of Shawn in him, given that you had the history with Shawn?

BB: Yeah, they are both good players. I would say, Shawn's one of the fastest, most explosive receivers that I've ever been on a team with. So, there's not too many guys that had his style of play.

Q: Why do you think there's been such significant improvement with your pass rush over the last few weeks?

BB: Well, I mean, relative to the early part of the season, we have created more passing situations. But, I'd say overall, our execution, fundamentals have been better.

Q: Obviously, Aaron Donald is a dominant player, but relatively speaking, is undersized for that position. Why do you think he's been able to have the type of success that he's had as a defensive tackle listed at 6-1 and 285 pounds?

BB: He's very quick, he's very explosive and he's instinctive. He's just a good football player. He recognizes things quickly and is able to quickly take advantage of leverage opportunities that are created in line and can quickly get to them.

Q: Yesterday you mentioned Sean McVay kind of broadening the offense since the last time you guys had played them. Could you expound upon that and what ways you've seen the offense broadened?

BB: It's a lot of little things that they've incorporated. I mean, like we all do from year to year based on what you're seeing and as your team shifts and how you get played and attacked, you find ways to counteract that. So, he's done a good job of that. A lot of little things, a lot of technical things, but they're important and they all add up.

Q: Defensively, how much overlap do you see from the system Brandon Staley came from with Coach Vic Fangio and what might be different that he's applied in LA?

BB: Yeah, I think there's certainly some carryover from Coach Fangio's system, especially from a coverage standpoint. It looks like maybe a little bit of a merger between some front concepts and mix coverage packages. Regardless, they give you some different looks. They're obviously a very good defense. They're at the top of league in almost every category. They're hard to move the ball against. They make you earn everything. They don't make many mistakes. There's no easy plays. They don't give up many big plays. So, it's a team that has good talent and a lot of good matchups and a good scheme to go with it. They do a really good job.

Q: How rare of a player is Aaron Donald, when you factor in his size, his production and just sort of who he is?

BB: Yeah, I mean, I think we've seen players like that throughout the league from time to time, but he's an outstanding player. He'll wreck a game and there's no play that he's not a factor on. He's right in the middle of the defense. You can't really get away from him on any run or pass play. You've got to deal with him blocking on every play. He's definitely a major factor in the game. We'll have to do a good job on him, but that's the way it's done.

Q: What do you remember about your time with Kevin O'Connell for the year that he was in the system and did you think that coaching might be in his future?

BB: Yeah, well again, at that point, it was really about Kevin becoming a player and focusing on playing and learning our offense and learning things in the NFL defenses and so forth. So, I wasn't thinking too much about that. But, smart kid, had a good career, good arm. It's not really surprising that it's gone this way, but I wouldn't say at that point, that was something that any of us were thinking too much about. He was 20-whatever, 22 years old trying to be an NFL quarterback.

Q: Do you see any of his influence or any specific influence from him in the Rams offense this year?

BB: Yeah, again, that'd be a hard question for me to answer, not being involved with it. It's probably something you can ask them. Again, they're progressive. They've added some things. Whose idea they are and who did what, I mean I wouldn't know that.

Q: We've seen Sony Michel show up on special teams. How new is that for him? On the punt return that Gunner Olszewski returned for a touchdown, did you see much similarity between how he handled that to the play from the week before that was called back with the penalty on Anfernee Jennings?

BB: Yeah, we had a couple of examples of that on those, on a couple returns – just being a little more cautious there. But, yeah, Sony's always had a role in the kicking game since his rookie year, since we got him, at least as a backup. So, he's practiced there, he's worked there and did a good job for us there. We've kind of been heavy on the roster in terms of defensive backs and wide receivers in the kicking game, and so some of those roles have rolled more to running backs, tight ends, linebackers and defensive linemen. So, it's been a combination of different guys and he's one of them. He's smart, he's athletic, he's tough, so he can handle some responsibilities in that area.

Q: Obviously, there's a lot of attention paid to Aaron Donald, but I've also noticed that they get a lot of sacks from their linebackers, especially in the game against Russell Wilson several weeks ago. Is that something that you have to be wary of – putting too much attention on Donald which opens it up for the linebackers to come in with the pass rush?

BB: Yeah, again, they give you a lot of problems. They have a lot of good players – [Michael] Brockers and [Leonard] Floyd. And then they blitz some – not an inordinate amount, but they just mix it all in there. You've got to be careful about letting Donald ruin the game, but at the same time, if you put so many guys on Donald, then that creates problems other places. So, it's a good defense. It's well designed. As I said, they create problems for the offense and there's no real simple answer. That's why they're first or whatever it is, second or third, in the league in just about every defensive category. So, it's challenging.

Q: Jared Goff has had some issues with turnovers over the last couple weeks and he bounced back with a solid performance. What have you seen from him and what are your thoughts on his improvement?

BB: Yeah, a good player. He certainly can make all the throws. They have a variety of offensive plays and concepts – play-action game, the drop-back game, empty game, some moving-pocket plays – as well as handling the line of scrimmage responsibilities, making their checks. This is a team that will check it a decent number of plays at the line. So, all the things that he's involved in, he carries a lot of responsibility with the team and they're still one of the top offensive teams in the league. They've got to be in the top, whatever it is, four or five in rushing, passing, everything else. He runs the show and he, like I said, has a lot of responsibilities and does a good job with it.

Q: Last Sunday, J.C. Jackson had another interception, but he could have just batted it away. Obviously, in that situation it didn't really matter too much, but from a coaching perspective, where do you find that fine line between letting you players have their moment on the field and asking them to put the team's interests first?

BB: Well, I mean, sometimes when you're going for the ball like that, it's an instinctive thing. I think he had a chance to run with it and he kind of lost his balance there and wasn't able to stay on his feet. But, sometimes there's more than just taking the ball right away. But, right, at that spot, if you know that you're not going to gain any more yardage and that's what it is, then you might be better off knocking it down. But, when you intercept a pass, it's not like there's a lot of great tacklers on the field on the other side of the ball. So, if he can get by one or two guys, you might have a chance for a big play. I think the defensive backs and linebackers are always thinking when they get the ball, try to take advantage of those opportunities and turn it into a big play. Players just have to make a quick judgment on that.

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