PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
January 5, 2024
Q: Good morning, Bill. I'm just curious, what led to the switch-up that we're doing the Webex here instead of in-person?
BB: Yeah, not feeling too good. I wanted to spare everybody in the first couple rows, coughing and sneezing.
Q: Just had a question on Trent. We haven't seen him, obviously, since that Denver game. Just curious on Trent Brown, just the effort level, Bill, that you saw from him from that game, did that meet the team's standard?
BB: Yeah, well, Trent's been out this week. He's been dealing with some sickness and some flu-type symptoms. He wasn't out there this week, and I don't think he'll be out there today either.
Q: We got snow in the forecast for Sunday, and you've been consistently skeptical about meteorologists over the years. How much stock are you putting in this one in terms of whether we're going to get snow on kickoff on Sunday?
BB: We'll see what happens. Things can change quickly at this time of year, so we'll see how it goes. As the conditions get closer to game time, we'll deal with them appropriately.
Q: Around this time a year ago, you gave a review of Mac Jones saying you thought he had the ability to play quarterback in this league. I'm just wondering, a year later, what's your evaluation of him and whether he still can be a starter in the NFL?
BB: Yeah, I'll hold off on any evaluations on anybody. I don't really think that's appropriate right now. We're just, as a team, trying to focus on the Jets in our last game here and try to play our best game of the year. So, I'll just leave it at that.
Q: This is year 24 for you here, and I was just wondering, what has it meant for you to be the head coach of the New England Patriots?
BB: Well, I've always appreciated the opportunity, and I'm just looking forward to Sunday's game against the Jets. Like I said, trying to put our best game out there this year. That's what we're working towards. I'm sure there will be another time to talk about other things, but right now we're just trying to focus on the Jets.
Q: I want to ask you just kind of generally about extreme weather games. Obviously, from a fan perspective, historical perspective, those types of games carry a lot of weight. For you, do you like those types of games, or do you prefer conditions that there's not as many variables?
BB: All that's out of my control. I don't have any control over any of those. Whatever it is, it is. Same thing with practice, for the most part. Whatever it is, we practice in it. Can't control that. Maybe at some point we'll play in it or not play in it, but we can't do anything about that. We'll deal with whatever comes, as will our opponent.
Q: With this being the final week of the regular season, there will be coach openings down the road. I was wondering if you thought Jerod Mayo would make a good head coach one day.
BB: Yeah, I think we have a lot of coaches on our staff who are good coaches. I'm not really in a position to comment on what other teams would be looking for or aren't looking for. But yeah, I think we have a lot of good coaches on our staff. Jerod would be one of them.
Q: Hey, Bill. I guess just checking in on your health right now. Are you going to be good to go for Sunday and are you going to be good to go working through the rest of the week here?
BB: Yeah, I expect to.
Q: Sticking with the snow theme here, understanding that it's out of your control, is there anything you could do in the interim to kind of prepare for that outcome, or is it even worth it in your time to simulate extra layers at practice or anything of that nature before Sunday?
BB: Yeah, I mean, no, we're not going to create snow and get a snow machine in here. But,
depending on what the conditions are, we can certainly talk about it and show examples of what playing in different type of conditions is like as a mental reminder for everybody. Definitely. That'll be part of it, part of the preparation.
Q: I was just curious on that snow theme. We saw a bunch of the rookies the other day walking around with the snow scrapers in the locker room, and Demario Douglas, specifically, didn't know how to use his. So, you've had some experience playing in these snow games. Are you going to be able to help him out a little bit there on how to use the snow scraper?
BB: Well, that's something we usually go through every year with the rookies. There's not a lot of pro football players from this area. Most all of the ones we get are from other areas – California, Texas, the south, and so forth. So, you know, there is an element to acclimating to these conditions just on a day-to-day basis as well as on the football field. So, that's definitely part of the education to play in New England.
Q: I was just wondering, you know, obviously this is a little bit of a big picture question, but there's a lot of uncertainty this time of year with a lot of teams in the league, and you've been in one place for a very long time. I'm wondering if you ever give yourself a chance to appreciate being in the job that you're in, being able to work with the people you've been able to work with over the last 24 years and, maybe, being able to appreciate what's been built there?
BB: I think I've covered that multiple times over the years. But, again, for right now, we'll just keep it on the Jets and go forward with that.
Q: With this being the last week of the season, I'm curious, your outlook on when it's the final week of the season, whether it be in the regular season or in a Super Bowl, just what are those weeks like for you?
BB: Yeah, as I said, this week is about preparing for the Jets. And then, you know, there are a few things that happen after this game that we have to take care of. So that's – it's really the foreseeable future.
Q: Before week 18, as we're getting ready to play the regular season finale, thinking back to before week one, before the season opener, Bailey Zappe was on the practice squad. And to think of where he is today, about to start, we presume a sixth straight game, what does that say about his competitive level, his resilience? What kind of an example is that for other guys in that locker room?
BB: Really good. In August or September, whenever it was during the final cuts and that kind of thing, I talked to Bailey and I thought he had a great attitude and outlook on the situation. What do I need to do better? How can I do it? How can I improve? And, he's worked very hard to address those, and I think that's shown up in his play and his performance, not just recently, but going all the way back to, you know, day-by-day through September, October, you know, all those days. You just take it one day at a time, and I think he really tried to embrace that. It's a big credit to him, his mental toughness, his resiliency and his attitude toward competing.
Q: An opportunity for the fans here to deal with some conditions on Sunday, one more opportunity to play in front of these fans for this season. How would you, in your own words, describe the fans that that you've coached in front of, not just this season, but over the course of your tenure here?
BB: Passionate, very passionate.
Q: Matt Slater has obviously not tipped his hand as to his future plans. But I know in years past, you've worked to get guys who might be retiring one last moment, you had the dropkick with Doug [Flutie] and the TD pass with Vinny [Testaverde] in 2006. I think Troy [Brown] played at the end of the 2007 season. I'm obviously not asking you to tip your hand when it comes to game planning, but could there be something similar in the works for a guy like that?
BB: Yeah, I don't know. Every situation is different, but our focus, really as a team, is to go out there and play our best game, play as well as we can and beat the Jets. That's what we're here for. So, anything else that happens, I'm not really sure how it's going to come down.