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Transcript: Coach Bill Belichick Press Conference 12/1

Read the full transcript of Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's press conference with the media on Friday, December 1, 2023.

PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK

PRESS CONFERENCE

December 1, 2023

BB: Alright, happy Friday. So, wrapping things up here today on the Chargers, a lot of the same things we talked about on Wednesday, just getting more familiar with them. Be ready to have a good day today here, wrap things up tomorrow and be ready to go on Sunday.

Q: Special teams focus today in the stadium?

BB: Focus on everything, yeah.

Q: In terms of working in the stadium, why go there? Is it a field-related thing?

BB: It's where we're going to play. Take a look at it.

Q: You have a new kicker on the practice squad, does that help to give him time in there or would he get that anyway?

BB: I don't know if you practice somewhere for one person. I think that's honestly a stretch. Haven't been there in a few weeks.

Q: With the understanding that the week isn't over yet, how would you assess the work of the quarterbacks over the course of the week in practice?

BB: I think the preparation's been good. We'll see what happens on Sunday. That's always the test. Put in the time, preparation, I think everybody's trying to do that across the board at every position. We'll see how it looks on Sunday.

Q: What have you seen from Bailey Zappe this week in practice?

BB: He's pretty consistent, about what it's been all year. He's pretty even-keeled, not a lot of roller coaster with him.

Q: On Wednesday, you said you weren't prepared to make an announcement at the quarterback position. Are you prepared now to make that announcement?

BB: Yeah, I'm not going to announce starters. I think we've talked about that plenty of times, at any position.

Q: Has Bailey gotten a full week of first-team reps with the team this week, and if so, how does that help him in his preparation for Sunday?

BB: Again, everybody has to be ready to go. So, everybody's gotten opportunities, and everybody will be ready to go.

Q: We saw Malik take some reps at quarterback. What have you seen from him this week?

BB: Getting ready to do his job.

Q: Was there a reason that this week you gave him more reps at quarterback than previous week?

BB: Again, some of it depends on what the circumstances are. Players on the practice squad can be elevated, or they can not be elevated. So, we'll see how that goes.

Q: It feels like the offensive line kind of started to find its groove once Sidy Sow entered the mix. What have you seen from him in terms of growth since he's been in the system, and what does he bring to the mix?

BB: I think Sidy's worked hard. He's improved. He's got a long way to go. Gets better every week, learns more, gains more experience. But, still a lot of things that he needs to see, needs to experience. But, he works hard. He's out there every day getting better, does a lot of little things that have helped him get better. He's a rookie playing an offensive line position that's not easy to play, but he's gaining on it.

Q: We saw Riley Reiff and Kayshon Boutte were scratches from practice yesterday, non-participants. Do you expect to have them here in 20 minutes?

BB: We'll see. They'll update us before practice starts here. Maybe. I'm not saying they're definitely out. I'm not saying they're definitely in, either. It's not that uncommon. If they can practice, they'll practice. If they can't practice, then we don't put them out there. Sometimes that's not determined until they get warmed up, and they get ready to go out and see what they're able to do at practice.

Q: Practice time decision?

BB: Well, it's a process of when they come in, get treatment in the morning, see how they feel, then warm up, get ready to go to practice. Sometimes it's 'yeah, I'm good to go', and sometimes it's 'just can't quite get there'. So, I don't know how that's going to turn out.

Q: If Bailey does get an opportunity to play, how much would maybe future considerations for a young player like that factor in to a decision to have him play? Just thinking of roles for 2024 and beyond, is that a factor?

BB: Yeah, I really haven't thought about 2024. Just trying to get ready for the Chargers here and get our team ready to go. That's what we're focused on today and this week.

Q: Would you still consider him, being in his second year, sort of a developmental player? Is there still some unknown, as far as you're concerned, as to what he could be?

BB: I think that's probably true about any young player. Yeah, I don't know.

Q: Sounds like Bailey's demeanor, that he's even-keeled, that it's not a roller coaster with him, is a positive to his approach. What are the other positives that he has going for him as a player?

BB: He played some last year. There were some times where he was competitive, a little more experience this year. I mean, we talked about that in training camp. There's growth in players from year one to year two, year two to year three and sometimes year three to year four. So, we have young quarterbacks and I'd say they're both on a growth pattern.

Q: We spoke to Bailey Zappe yesterday and he said that Mac [Jones] has been very supportive of him this week. What have you seen out of Mac this week?

BB: Yeah, what I just said. Everybody's trying to get ready to go, understand the game plan, get ready to play, and play that role when they get called on. That's what everybody on the team does, hopefully.

Q: A lot of kickers in this league who has enjoyed really successful careers struggled early, even Adam [Vinatieri] and Stephen [Gostkowski] had some hiccups early in their careers here, two great kickers. I know each has his own story, but in your experience, what was it that allowed those guys to overcome some of those early problems and establish consistency?

BB: I think you'd have to talk to those guys individually. There's plenty of examples of that throughout the league. I mean, I was here with Adam in 96', but not 97' and 98' and 99', so I can't really speak on those years. Stephen came in and had a long, good career here. But, you're right, there are plenty of specialists that have been released by the first team that they were with and they've have gone on to have very, very good careers. There would be an example of that in Cleveland, Baltimore. That was actually his [Matt Stover] second year in Cleveland. His first year with the Giants, he was on injured reserve, but same idea – first year he kicked. And, some guys don't.

Q: With a guy like Matthew [Wright], bringing him in, did you have any experience looking at him in the past, and also with his track record, kicking for teams like Pittsburgh and Kansas City in particular in December, January, how much does that –

BB: Look, we look at everybody. We look at all the players, whatever they've done. When we bring them in here, we evaluate them based on things we evaluate them on here, whether that's the on-field workout, the off-field kind of evaluation of where they are physically, from a medical standpoint. Then, whatever the interview conversations are with them as well, so it's all part of a process. If you haven't had the player before, obviously there's more unknowns then if you have. In some cases, we've had guys in for second or third workouts, especially at that position. That's always a position – punter, kicker, long snapper – that you bring guys in at some point during the middle of the year, just to see what's available and where guys are at. We brought in [Corliss] Waitman, obviously Waitman we had more background with. Other guys we have less background with, so just a combination of all of those things. Every year that I can remember, we've always had one or two times where we've brought in a big group of specialists just to kind of see where things are at that point in time for the next coming weeks in case we needed somebody.

Q: Understanding that this is outside of your control and happens most weeks, but if Keenan Allen can't play after not practicing the last two days, how significantly could the game plan change for a guy who has 87 more targets than anyone else on the team if he does play versus he doesn't?

BB: Well, I mean look, that's always a possibility. We deal with that. That's a potential every week. A guy could go out there on the first play and not be able to play the rest of the week. You never know when that's going to happen. There are times when guys aren't in there for whatever reason – equipment, or whatever it happens to be. We would make whatever the matchups are, whatever the adjustments are that we would make if he's not in there. Sometimes they change what they do. It might be a different personnel group. You don't have to substitute a receiver with a receiver. You could put another tight end in there. This is a team that has multiple tight ends. Or, they could not. They could put another receiver in there. So, if there's not a lot of history of what they do in those situations, you have to be ready for maybe a couple things it could be. If they want to rest him this week, that would be alright with us.

Q: What has impressed you most about Kellen Moore's scheme? It seems like he does a good job putting his guys in positions to succeed and helping them get open?

BB: Well, I think Coach Moore has kind of a West-Coast background. We saw him in Dallas and the offense they ran down there. How much was him and how much was [Mike] McCarthy, but I think there's a little bit of both anyway. So, primarily it looks like a west-coast based passing game – good quarterback, good receivers, good back. Not similar to what they did in Dallas, but there are similarities to what they did in Dallas. It's a similar scheme.

Q:  We've heard that Lawrence Guy is bringing an elf on the shelf into the locker room. Does he have even you looking for it in the locker room?

BB: Got everybody hunting for the elf.

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