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Transcript: Coach Bill Belichick Conference Call 1/1

Read the full transcript of Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's conference call with the media on Monday, January 1, 2024.

PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK

PRESS CONFERENCE

January 1, 2024

Q: In reviewing the game, just start with that opening kickoff return. On the blocking, what did you see as a key block that maybe sprung that for Jalen [Reagor] to be able to do that?

BB: Yeah, pretty much all of them. I think we had everybody. [Matthew] Slater and Pharaoh [Brown] got the kickout blocks. A good double-team block by [Josh] Uche and [Marte] Mapu, [Jahlani] Tavai, Mack Wilson [Sr.] did a great job on the backside. It was obviously a good run by Jalen, getting past the safety and then running through fast. We pretty much had hats on everybody through the alley there.

Q: Christian Barmore had the big game last week. When you reviewed the film, did you notice by any chance the Bills do anything in terms of paying extra attention to him, maybe based on that game last week?

BB: Yeah, I'd probably have to take a little closer look at that. I haven't gone through it as thoroughly as I would hope. But, we talked about that all week with him.

Q: It was the first we saw of Jake Andrews late in the game over there at left guard. I don't know if you had a chance to watch it close enough, but I was just curious how you thought that looked and if that was a result of maybe Atonio [Mafi] not being available at that time, or if it was more something else?

BB: Yeah, I would say something else. We planned on playing him.

Q: Did it look like he hung in there okay?

BB: Yeah.

Q: What did you see on Alex Austin's interception from him, personally, on that play?

BB: It was similar to the play that [Jalen] Ramsey made. They were running the tight end from the defensive left all the way across down the right sideline and trying to clear out the corner. And, Alex read it, fell off his guy, came over and made the play. Not the same play, but a similar type of play – good play, good catch. He went up high, pointed the ball, made a nice play on it.

Q: What does Bailey Zappe offer with his mobility and his occasional ability to make plays with his legs? What does he offer?

BB: I'm not really following. He's able to run for a first down. There's nobody there. I don't think – not that that's a quarterback there's going to be a lot of designed runs for – but any quarterback that's under pressure, steps up in the pocket and there's space, that's what he should do, is run.

Q: Obviously, there's been a lot of focus this week on your future. I was just wondering what your level of desire to return to the Patriots is and if there's been any discussions regarding that?

BB: Yeah, I'm focused on getting ready for the Jets. We haven't played them in a long time, been all season, so I'm going to work on the Jets here and get ready to go.

Q: In terms of your time in New England, you spent over a third of your life as the head coach of this team. What have the fans, what has everything meant to you? Has there been any time for reflection?

BB: I'll deal with that some other time. Right now, it's trying to get the team ready for the Jets, finish up the Buffalo game, continue to coach the team and try to help the players and the team play better.

Q: In terms of the Bills game, you mentioned the start was problematic and led to the conclusion. But, when you look at the competitiveness the team has shown down the stretch, what has that meant to you?

BB: I've talked about that quite a bit, Chris. I don't really have anything to add. We hung in there, fought all the way.

Q: Last night after the game, you were asked why Trent Brown was a healthy scratch. It was tough to make out your answer, whether you said you guys activated the players you wanted to play as a staff or if you said you activated the players who wanted to play themselves. I didn't know if you were insinuating that Trent didn't want to go or if that was a decision by the coaching staff.

BB: No, it was a decision by the coaching staff.

Q: So, he did want to go?

BB: Our decision was the coaching staff's decision.

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