PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
January 8, 2024
BB: I'll kind of follow up on a couple things from yesterday. As I said, it was obviously a very disappointing season all the way around. Players, coaches, staff, organization, everybody is not anywhere close to what our standard and expectations are. So, obviously, things need to be fixed. Proud of the way the players and the team competed, but not the results, obviously, from any of us – starting with me and all the way down to everybody else that was involved in it. I know we all feel the same way. So, I'm under contract, do what I always do, which is every day I come in and work as hard as I can to help the team in whatever way I can. So, that's what I'm going to continue to do. Today was kind of a wrap-up day for us with the players, have a meeting with them and then go from there. So, as far as any decisions or direction or anything like that for next year, it's way too early for that. End of the year processes, I don't think will be fundamentally any different from the standpoint of how it's done. The decisions, that's a whole other conversation. But how it's done, I'll meet with Robert [Kraft] like I always do, meet with the staff, meet with the personnel department, kind of recap the season, look at the big picture and then look at some of the individual situations that are looming one way or another. But, that's obviously a long way off from where we are right now. So, we'll start at the end of the day, putting the pieces back together in terms of setting things up to go through a good, detailed analysis and to kind of start a reconstruction, if you will.
Q: I'm curious, how do you view the Patriots current culture as established by ownership in terms of setting a coach up to succeed?
BB: As I just said, I think we'll evaluate everything and take a course that we feel like collectively puts us on the best path for success.
Q: You mentioned your meeting with Robert Kraft. When is that scheduled for?
BB: Yeah, I'll leave all that out. It might be a series of meetings. I don't know. We'll deal with that internally.
Q: Obviously, two years ago, this was a playoff team and appeared to be ascending. In your view, how did the franchise get to this point? And, what are the deficiencies that you're looking at initially to clean up heading into next season?
BB: Well, that's what I just talked about. We'll take a look at everything, both the current situation, the current year, and if there's a trend or whatever we feel like we can do collectively as an organization. Again, it's the same thing we've always done, just organizationally figure out where we're going, what's our best path to get there and look at the previous results – which obviously this year weren't very good – and chart a course into the future.
Q: Just a thought on what you were saying is how much – it's one day after the season – but how much do you want to be here to fix this? And, you often talk about your passion for coaching still being there. How much does that all factor into, you just want to get this right here in New England after the year that you guys just had?
BB: I just opened with that. I'm going to do everything I can every day to do the best I can to help our football team. That's what I've always done. It's never been any different for me in my career. I learned that lesson from my dad growing up. You work for the team that you're working for and do the best you can for it, until somebody tells you different. So, that's not going to change.
Q: Good morning. I'm wondering if you've given any serious thought to relinquishing the personnel, maybe some of the draft responsibilities and coaching the team, which you were saying yesterday is something you still really want to do.
BB: Yeah, look, I'm for whatever, collectively, we decide as an organization is the best thing to help our football team. And, I have multiple roles in that, and I rely on a lot of people to help me in those responsibilities. If somebody's got to have the final say, I rely on a lot of other people to help. And, however that process is, I'm only part of it.
Q: Have you received any indication from ownership that your future as head coach is up in the air?
BB: Yeah, I told you, I'm here to work as hard as I can to help our team every day. That's what I'm going to do.
Q: With the season now over, I'm just wondering if you could offer an updated assessment of Mac Jones and whether you think he can be a starting quarterback in this league?
BB: As I said, we'll go through our offseason evaluations and all that. Right now, it's less than 24 hours after the Jets game, and that's where all my focus was up until four o'clock yesterday.
Q: Now that the season is over, do you have any regrets about the way you assembled this team, or do you think the struggles were more due to injuries and bad breaks and things like that?
BB: I think we have some things that we can build on. I think there are some things that we need to fix and change.
Q: When players reflect on playing for you this season after a tough year all-around, what do you hope they say about you?
BB: Yeah, look, we're all disappointed in the season. I already talked about that. As I said, every day I've come to work here and everywhere else I've worked, done the best that I could each and every day to help our football team. So, that's what I've done.
Q: In the event you are no longer the coach of the Patriots, would you be interested in coaching for another team in the NFL?
BB: Yeah, I'm not going to get into a lot of hypothetical situations.
Q: Would it surprise you in any way if Robert Kraft decided that moving on from you would be best for the football team?
BB: Yeah, I'm going to focus on what I can control and focus on, and that's my work ethic and my effort to do what I can to help the Patriots organization, which I'm heavily invested in.
Q: Your handling of Mac Jones this year was pretty unusual. He got benched four times and still started the next week, three of them, and then yesterday he was made the third-string quarterback. I was wondering if you could explain the handling of Mac Jones this year. Why was he getting his job back, the starting job back, so many times? Then, why was he made third string yesterday?
BB: Yeah, look, we've talked about it. I wouldn't characterize it anywhere close to the way you have. We've covered that before, so we'll deal with everything else going forward.
Q: Just to follow up on that personnel question, if Robert came to you and said, I just want you to coach the football team, would you be okay with that?
BB: Yeah, I just answered that question.
Q: I know you were asked something similar, but when you go back to April, May, June, heading toward training camp, did you think this team, as constructed with the roster and the coaching staff, was built to contend for a playoff spot and maybe a championship?
BB: Yeah, the moves that we made, given the options that we had, felt like we did what was best for the football team each time. Obviously, the results aren't good. Some of those things were, I think, positive. Some of them didn't work out as well as we hoped they would, and there were other circumstances in some of the other decisions as well. So, we'll go back and look at all of them and, again, look forward to working towards solutions and things that will improve our team.
Q: I just wanted to clarify something with you. There's been a lot of reporting that you and Robert have not met during the course of the season. Is that true? Is it just that you haven't met to talk about your future? How frequently have you guys been in communication over the course of the season?
BB: We've met during the season.