PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
November 8, 2023
BB: Alright, so the Colts. This is a team we've played the last couple of years, so there's definitely a familiarity with them. New head coach, new offensive system, but special teams and defense, there's a lot of carryover from the last couple years. Obviously, there's a lot of carryover with the players. They have some very talented guys – [Matt] Gay, [Jonathan] Taylor, guys on the offensive line. A couple of good receivers, obviously the big three on defense. Good group of guys, done a good job, won some close games. Good field goal kicker, big win against Baltimore. Kenny [Moore II] had a good game last week against Carolina, obviously. We'll have to do a good job taking care of the ball, do a good job in the running game, play good situational football.
Q: Are you ready to go to Germany?
BB: Not yet, but we will be at the end of the week. Couple of good days of preparation here, then compete on Sunday.
Q: Kenny's career is interesting since it started here. You reference his play from last game. What have you seen from his career, just really blossoming from when he started here?
BB: He's in a system that fits him very well. He's very productive in it. It's a little different than what we do.
Q: What is it about that system that suits him more?
BB: It's just Seattle's system. I think we all know what that is.
Q: That was a situation where you guys wanted to keep him around on the practice squad and the Colts claimed him?
BB: Yeah, there's a lot of things I like about Kenny. We had some other players at that point. Again, I think he's a great fit for what the Colts do and that type of system. Very smart, instinctive player, and he's had a great career.
Q: How long ago did the organization start to lay the groundwork for this trip? Obviously, there's a lot involved logistically.
BB: Whenever it was scheduled. When was that announced, sometime in the spring? So, made a couple trips over there, different people in the organization to plan for it. All the logistics, practice facility, stadium, hotel, meals, airlines, stuff like that. So, a lot of work has gone into this.
Q: Is this something that you look forward to as a coach? Just with your players, seeing the world and doing that kind of thing, different than just playing games here in the states?
BB: Yeah, well it's a unique opportunity. When it gets here, we'll look forward to it. Again, the next couple of days, today is a big day for us in terms of preparation, then tomorrow. Then the travel and the weekend's the weekend and compete on Sunday.
Q: What stands out about Gardner Minshew and the job he's done since [Anthony] Richardson went out?
BB: He's done a good job really of handling the offense. Familiarity with Shane [Steichen], protecting the ball. Just executing the offense, obviously that's a big part of it. They have good skill players, and a couple of good running backs now – [Zack] Moss and [Jonathan] Taylor are both very productive. He does a nice job of making good decisions and getting the ball to skill players.
Q: Does anything change about your practice the next two days before you hop on a plane and change a couple time zones?
BB: Just a little bit, not too much. Just minimize the Friday installation, try to get things in today and tomorrow. Friday's more of a review day. Friday and Saturday are more review days, get adjusted days, and then compete. Most everything will be in by Thursday afternoon.
Q: Do you know any German?
BB: I don't.
Q: What's a phrase you want to learn while you're over there?
BB: Yeah, I'll have to do my homework on that one. Let me get back to you on that.
Q: 'Win', maybe?
BB: Yeah, Patriots win? What's the word for that? I've been spoken to in German, just don't know what was said.
Q: Cam McGrone, is he basically special teams only for them, or is he in some packages defensively?
BB: Haven't seen much, defensively. [Shaquille] Leonard and [Zaire] Franklin, I mean, they're on the field a lot.
Q: You guys have won the turnover battle the past couple weeks. It hasn't resulted in wins, but have you been encouraged by the progress you've made in that regard?
BB: Sure, it's always good to protect the ball and get it away from your opponents. Obviously, the turnovers we've had, you know, you want to have less.
Q: I don't know if it's just sort of a statistical oddity, but just looking at turnover margin in general, I don't know if this is something you've noticed, but this year the teams with the best records aren't necessarily at the top. There's some good teams near the top. Is that too small a sample size for just half a season here, or is there anything you make of that?
BB: No, I mean, they're still important. I mean, not as important as points, but after that. It's probably the next statistic that correlated to wins. Points is the only one that's a 100% correlation, but I'd say it's more relevant than a lot of other ones we could bring up, yards, time of possessions, you could go right down the line. Those don't correlate to winning as closely as turnovers do. That's all I can tell you.
Q: We've seen Mike Onwenu at right tackle for a couple of weeks now. Are you comfortable with him playing there moving forward?
Q: What made you comfortable at that point in the season moving him to right tackle?
BB: We, he really didn't play, what was it, in the Raiders game? So, it was after the Raiders game. Just trying to find the best spot for him, best spot for the team, just trying to put it together at that point. He really had played off and on, hadn't played against the Raiders, and we just felt going into the Buffalo week that would be it. So, we did that, and that's kind of the way it's going.
Q: You've had a number of international players on your roster. Just wondering, as the game continues to expand internationally, have you noticed a change in the quality of prospects of just the amount of players that are coming into the league from other countries?
BB: Yeah, it is what it is. I don't know. Evaluate the players that come out of the draft, some of them are, most of them aren't. Some guys might start over there, like Sebastian [Vollmer] did, and then more over. Whatever it is, it is. I don't know. I don't think we're going to start scouting Europe yet. I don't think we're at that point. In a lot of other professional sports and college sports, you've got to go to other continents to recruit. I don't think we're there yet.
Q: Have you done any coaching clinics overseas?
BB: I have not.
Q: What have you observed from Shaun Wade the last week or so?
BB: Shaun's been consistent, practiced well. He's been consistent, taking advantages of his opportunities.
Q: Do you see him getting better?
BB: He's strung together a couple good weeks. So, we'll see. Every week's its own week. Every week's a new week, so I don't know. But, yeah, it's trending the right way.
Q: In the opportunities he's gotten in games, as a result of stringing those together in practice, how has that looked to you in games?
BB: Worthy of more opportunities.
Q: Is Adrian Klemm working today?
BB: No, he's going to be out for a little while.
Q: To make up for his absence, is Billy [Yates] taking the lead there?
BB: Yeah, we'll work through that with the offensive staff. Billy will of course be a part of that.
Q: Is there anything you can tell us about his absence?
BB: Do you want me to put him on the injury report?
Q: Is it injury related, personal?
BB: Are you trying to get me to violate HIPPA laws and that kind of thing? I'm not going to comment on somebody's personal medical status. I appreciate the question, but I'm just not going to do that. I don't think it's the right thing to do. I don't even know if I'm allowed to do it. So, I'll just skip over that one.
Q: I guess we just didn't know if it was health or not. So, no specifics on that, just confirming?
BB: It's health. I'll confirm that.
Q: Are you ever just struck by the amount of international fans there are for the NFL, and how long they've been waiting for a game, for the Patriots specifically?
BB: Yeah, we've had several international games. Those are the only ones I've been a part of, just the ones here.
Q: Has it impressed you how the game has grown?
BB: Yeah, those games are obviously well attended. There's a lot of energy and enthusiasm in the games. It didn't seem like there really was into Europe, although I guess there was some. This isn't really my field. I'm not a marketer. I'm just trying to coach football, so I think you should go to the experts on that.