PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
November 1, 2023
BB: Alright, we're on to Washington here. Team we don't know very well, the last time we played them was 19', but they have a lot of familiar faces, certainly, on the coaching staff. Ron [Rivera] has done a great job throughout his career, player, coach, coordinator – Carolina, Washington, taking over that transition period in the franchise. Three really good coordinators, Jack [Del Rio] is obviously very experienced, lot of success as a head coach, coordinator, player for that matter. Same with [Eric] Bieniemy, bringing a pretty explosive offense to Washington. Nate [Kaczor] has done a good job in the kicking game, solid, consistent. Those two guys have really big legs, can change field position, a lot of range – [Tress] Way and [Joey] Slye. Aggressive returners, so a well-balanced team. Defensively, they cause a lot of problems – negative plays, tackles for loss, really good in the low red area, goal line. Offensively, [Sam] Howell's been impressive, spreads the ball around, gets it to everybody, quick release. Obviously, they throw a lot of passes, but they don't have many negative runs. They do a good job there, and, again, he's used all his receivers. Obviously, [Terry] McLaurin is a great player, but the tight ends, the running backs, [Jahan] Dotson, [Curtis] Samuel, the receivers – he uses all of them. Again, a very experienced coaching staff, well-balanced team, and a team that we don't know well. So, we need a lot of good preparation time here this week and be ready to go on Sunday.
Q: How drastically does their defense change with the two trades they made yesterday?
BB: Well, they play [Casey] Toohill and [James] Smith-Williams, they rotate them in there anyway. I'm sure they wanted to play the rookies. I don't think they would have traded them if they didn't feel good about the guys they had behind them, and I can see why. So, we'll be ready for them. There's plenty of film on Toohill and Smith-Williams.
Q: The trade deadline yesterday, was that a busy day for you guys?
BB: We're getting ready for Washington.
Q: Do you think you'll fill the open roster spot today or later in the week?
BB: Yeah, I don't know. We'll see how things go here, not sure.
Q: When you say you spent time getting ready for Washington yesterday, is that just there wasn't much that sort of percolated on the trade front for you guys?
BB: Yeah, again, we talked about this the other day – the personnel department, coaching department. We talked about that last week, just another day of that.
Q: So there really weren't any decisions to make on your end?
BB: If there was anything to talk about, we talked about it. If there wasn't anything to talk about, then I worked on Washington. Personnel people worked on personnel things.
Q: You know how difficult this business is. How much do you feel for Josh [McDaniels] and David [Ziegler] this morning?
BB: Yeah, I just heard about it this morning. Again, just trying to get ready for Washington.
Q: I know the news is just eight hours old, but would you be open to him possibly coming back if he had interest?
BB: Just getting ready for Washington.
Q: Matthew Slater mentioned after the game that you can do everything as a coach until you're blue in the face, but it's really up to the players to go out and execute. How do you make sure your message is still motivating your team?
BB: Yeah, coach the team the best I can.
Q: Really not trying to beat a dead horse here, but just wanted to clarify, you mentioned the personnel department handles the trade discussions with other teams. But, you are part of the personnel department, it's your final decision.
BB: This is the same thing we talked about. We've talked about this 50 times. If they have something they think I need to know about, then we talk about it. If I have a personnel situation that I think they need to know about, I tell them about it and then they look into it. It's the same thing I've said the last 50 times we've talked about this. We work together when there's something to work together on. When there isn't something to work together on, then I coach, they do personnel.
Q: Just trying to clarify, just because you make it sound like two different things. Our understanding is that you're part of the personnel department.
BB: Yes, if there's something we need to talk about, then we talk about it. If there isn't something to talk about, we won't just sit there and stare at each other all day. We both have other stuff to do, not both, but their department, the coaching department – there's other things going on. We're not just going to sit there and stare at each other and see if the phone's going to ring or there's going to be something bold on the news, or whatever. We have stuff to do.
Q: How much work did you do on Terry McLaurin prior to that '19 draft?
BB: We do all the players in the draft. He's had a great career. He's a very explosive player, threatens all three levels of the defense, very good after the catch. Really, all those guys are. He can make plays down the field, intermediate, catch-and-run plays. He's quick, plays a lot of different positions. They move him around. But, they get the ball to everybody. It's not like all the targets go to him, but he's clearly one of the top players in the league. There's no doubt about that
Q: He was a core special teamer at Ohio State, if I remember correctly?
BB: A lot of these guys when they're younger, they're used. But, he's a tough kid. Again, he's good with the ball in his hands. He's a problem. There's no doubt about that. I'm just saying, Howell does a great job of using his backs, his tight ends, all of his receivers. [Jamison] Crowder, whose numbers aren't that high, he's a key guy for them too. Howell does a great job of getting the ball out, seeing the picture, throwing it to the open guy. He uses everybody, and McLaurin's the best one.
Q: As far as historic franchises go with Washington, where do they stack up as far as their history and place in the league, in your opinion?
BB: It is what it is. George Preston Marshall bought the team, moved it to Washington, had it a long time. Sold it to [Jack Kent] Cooke. Cooke won three Super Bowls with [Joe] Gibbs. [Daniel] Snyder bought it, and they've rebranded in the last couple years. It's one of the older franchises in the league, I don't know.
Q: What have you seen from Howell as he's developed over the course of the year?
BB: Yeah, he didn't play much last year, but he's having a really productive year this year. He's athletic. He can run. He's tough. He's not a big guy, but he's a tough guy. He can scramble, make yards on his own. I wouldn't say he's just 'take off and run'. He's got the second or third most pass attempts in the league – whatever it is, it's a lot. He's been hit, gets up, shows good toughness, really competitive guy. They've been in a lot of close games. He's made some big plays for them. For a young guy, we didn't see him play last year, but this year, he's done a good job for them.
Q: What does the offense lose with Kendrick [Bourne] gone for the year now and how do you replace that?
BB: Like some other guys that aren't able to play, it gives other players opportunities, and we'll see what they do with them. Some guys have stepped in and really done a really good job for us – [Anfernee] Jennings, Mike [Onwenu] playing right tackle, you just go right down the line. Pop [Demario Douglas], those guys that have had opportunities that have stepped in, played well and helped themselves, [Christian] Barmore. Yeah, we'll see how it goes at that spot.