PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
November 24, 2023
Q: How was your Thanksgiving?
BB: It was good. It's a long week, we gave the players the day off. It gave everyone a chance to spend a little time at home with their families. We're ready to roll here. Back on the Giants.
Q: Bill, on Tuesday or Wednesday, Mac Jones said that he was hopeful that he will be the starter against the Giants and he felt like that was the plan. Is that the plan?
BB: I've told everybody to be ready to go. Hopefully that's what they're all doing. I'm not going to announce starters at every position or whatever. Everybody will be ready to go.
Q: Is it mostly Mac and Bailey [Zappe] taking the first teams reps in practice?
BB: I've told everybody to be ready to go.
Q: Even though you've told them to be ready to go, have you, in your own mind, settled on a guy yet?
BB: I've told everybody to be ready to go.
Q: Bill, why aren't you going to announce it?
BB: Then we'll be announcing who's starting this, who's playing that, who's doing this, who's doing that. I mean, once we get going on that then – I'm not going down that road. So, sorry.
Q: We promise to keep it to just one position.
BB: Yeah, right.
Q: Is that because it's a competitive advantage in your opinion?
BB: I'm not getting into that. Whoever we put in, I hope they're ready to go and play well. Whenever that is. It could be the first play of the game, or it could be the last play of the game. I don't know.
Q: Could practice today dictate that one way or another?
BB: Practice is important for every player.
Q: Would the matchup impact this decision for you much? I'm just thinking that the Giants, seems like they are pretty blitz heavy team, would that factor in?
BB: You're going to have to ask the Giants what they do, I don't know. Don't blitz on every play, maybe they will, I don't know. You'd have to ask [Don] Wink [Martindale] that, I don't know. I can't tell you what they're going to do.
Q: But would that factor into your call?
BB: I don't know what they're going to do. Can you tell me what their game plan is? I don't know.
Q: Bill, do you believe there would be any benefit to announcing to the team who it is, so they can know and rally around them?
BB: I've told everybody to prepare and get ready to play. That's what they're all are doing. I think everyone's got their own things to work on. Just concentrate on what you have to do, be ready to go and don't worry about what everybody else is doing. I think that's good advice for all of us.
Q: How has the team responded to that message and how have practices gone this week?
BB: Last week, you know, we had one practice and then we went Tuesday, Wednesday and today. I think it's good effort. We're working some competitive drills out there. The guys are trying to get ready to go. You know, get a little bit healthier, take care of some of the bumps and bruises from last week. So, hopefully the injury list will be shorter and be ready to play.
Q: Bill, do you tell all the players to be ready to go every game?
BB: Yeah, that's right. What? You think I tell them not to be ready? 'Don't worry about this one, just take the week off'. Every day, every game, that's what we come in here for. Every day. There are goals that we try to accomplish every day and we try to accomplish them. Every day.
Q: Do you anticipate having Trent Brown on Sunday?
BB: Check the injury report. Everybody's practiced this week.
Q: Conor McDermott is out of practice squad elevations. Is the plan to sign him before Sunday's game?
BB: That's a possibility.
Q: Bigger picture question, just about coaching – in the last few weeks, we've seen teams make changes, firing coordinators. Within 10 minutes of you walking in here, Washington relieved Jack Del Rio of his duties. Buffalo, we saw their offensive coordinator get fired, Pittsburgh, we saw their offensive coordinator, in-season. Just as someone who has been in the coaching profession, how much does that pain you for the coaching profession when you see the volatility of in-season changes like that?
BB: I'm not that familiar with those situations. You'd have to ask those coaches of those teams about it. I saw Mike [Tomlin] made a comment after he released Coach [Matt] Canada but ask Mike about it. I don't know. I'd say I have enough to worry about right here with what we do, so kind of trying to focus on get our team ready to go, do the best job I can with our team. I'm sure everybody else has things they need to deal with, but that's really outside of my framework.
Q: Regarding a guy that you signed to the active roster several weeks ago, who had been elevated several times this year, Jeremiah Pharms, who was on the practice squad last year. He came a long way in the last few years as a football player. I'm just curious what your impressions are of him and kind of his journey to where he is today?
BB: Yeah, earned everything he's gotten. He's earned it. Shows up every day ready to go, gives us a great look on the practice/scout squads. Does a good job when he gets an opportunity to play, whether that's in practice, in preseason games, the regular season games that he's played. So, he's earned more opportunities, more playing time, so it's a good thing. Shows up every day.
Q: Do you remember the player his father was when he was in college?
Q: Players have spoken highly of Coach O'Brien's work, dating back to the summer. Just curious, as you've navigated a challenging season here, is it helpful to have someone with his experience, both as an offensive coordinator and a head coach, to kind of keep everyone moving in the same direction?
BB: Sure, yeah. Bill works hard. He puts in a lot of time, very detailed. He studies what we do, studies what our opponents do, puts together a good plan, outlines it, goes over it in detail with the players. So, yeah, he's had a lot of experience, so that's good.
Q: How big is a player like Dexter Lawence in today's game, who is that big, plays on all three downs?
BB: He's a really good player. He's a major force, hard guy to block, big, athletic, blocks kicks. It's hard to move him off the line of scrimmage, and when he penetrates, he can penetrate as well as any player in the league. He's big and powerful and long. It's pretty unique. I mean, we've faced a lot of good inside players, going back even to preseason – [Quay] Walker in Green Bay, you can go right down the line. Guys that we've seen or worked against, or whatever. This guy's a major force.
Q: I know this is going back a ways, but was there any hope he might fall to you guys in that draft, I think it was 19'?
BB: Yeah, I'd have to go back and take a closer look at that. I mean, look, there's always a couple guys that you think might have a chance, but good players usually get picked.
Q: What have you seen from Kayvon Thibodeaux and his presence in the pass rush?
BB: It's a good complement, because he's a speed guy on the edge and Lawrence is a vertical penetration guy inside, so those two guys complement each other. It's hard to step up in the pocket because of Lawrence, and you can't get back there too far, or you'll have to deal with the edge from Thibodeaux. They both help each other, but he's very athletic. He makes good plays in pursuit, chase, athletic guy on the edge. Two good players that really complement each other.
Q: Back outside today?
Q: Everything go okay indoor? Did you have to change anything?
BB: Yeah, fields are a little – I think that we would have had a hard time on that upper field.
Q: How has J.C. Jackson responded this week after not being with the team in Germany?
BB: J.C.'s been good. He's been good, practiced well, gotten ready to go, competed well.
Q: Just going back to the offense, having watched a lot of Mac, obviously, and Bailey [Zappe], too, in practice, do you notice any discernable difference in terms or just the timing of how certain plays are run depending on who is in there?
BB: No, I think everybody is capable. Sometimes the execution varies, but I think all of the players that we have are able to execute what we need them to do. Yeah, we just need to do it, obviously, with more consistency and continue to work guys together for timing and so forth, like on the offensive line, things like that. We can do what we need to do. We just haven't done it as consistently as we need to.
Q: In practice, with the receivers working with different quarterbacks –
BB: Different quarterbacks, different receivers. It's been the same thing with the receivers. Tyquan [Thornton] missed the beginning of the year. DP [Devante Parker] was out. KB [Kendrick Bourne] is out. Pop [Demario Douglas] missed a game. So, it's been a little bit – the timing there hasn't been as consistent as what you would like it to be. It's not the quarterbacks. The same guys throw every day. They haven't missed anything. But, I would say the receivers – not the tight ends, but the receivers, there's been more variables there – not at tight end, not at running back, but receiver.