PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
December 15, 2023
Q: How is Pop [Demario Douglas] progressing in his return to practice this week?
BB: Yeah, I think he's cleared the protocol. We'll see how it goes today, but assuming no setbacks, he should be available.
Q: How much have you just seen him continue to progress as a player since the start of the season?
BB: Yeah, I mean he's made good progress, just hasn't been consistently out there. He's come back, played, then missed time and came back, then missed time, unlike some other players who have been out there pretty much every day – Sidy [Sow] and Keion [White], guys like that. They just have been able to string more together. But, he's making progress.
Q: Coach, you played Patrick Mahomes a lot early on in his career. It's been a while since you guys faced off. What has changed in his game and how has he elevated himself since last time you played?
BB: He's been pretty good. He's pretty good, does everything well. We've had trouble with him before, so has everybody else. He does everything well.
Q: I think offensively this year, the Chiefs have exceeded 21 points just five times. Is there anything that defenses have done to the Chiefs or is it a product of what's around him that have maybe kept some of the point totals low for them this year?
BB: I think each game is kind of its own game. You probably have to talk to them about that. But, the only thing that really matters is this week. We'll see how many points they score this week. They've played some good teams, but they move the ball.
Q: Is there anything in your opinion, big picture, I know you're focused on this week's game for you guys, but I'll try to ask you anyway and see if you have any thoughts on it. It does feel like, or it looks like, according to the numbers, the points and offense, generally speaking, are down this year. Maybe it's been a trend the last couple of years that it's been down. Any reasons for that in your opinion?
BB: I don't really see the big picture. I see week to week. That's what I see. I don't watch all 16 games, or however many games there are. I just see the games that we play, and I see other things that are maybe relevant. I see some crossover games, but I don't sit there and study Seattle and San Francisco and Detroit. I just don't see those teams. We don't play them, so I try to spend my time on what I think will help our team and what I can do. I'm not saying you can't get any good ideas and stuff from that. That's not the point. The point is just that they're not the most relevant games for us. I just kind of see, basically, what's in our window. A little bit outside of that, but basically what's in our window.
Q: We've asked you about Andy Reid the last couple of years. How would you describe the most recent evolution of his offense?
BB: Good. Same. It's broad. They do a lot of things, game-plan coach, game-plan formations, game-plan. – I wouldn't say it's like a million new plays. They might throw in a wrinkle every now and then, but it's formations, it's matchups. It's putting the defense in conflict based on what the defense does. It's not like he's out there putting in a new offense every week. That's not what they do, but they have a lot to choose from, and they do the things that I'm sure he feels like will give his opponent the most problems, and they usually do.
Q: Matthew Judon's been around the team a lot this year. Is there still a chance that he can play for you, or is that more of a 2024 thing for him?
BB: Again, that's a medical question. So, if he's cleared, then we'll go through the process of practicing and preparing him. If he's not medically cleared, then there's nothing really to talk about. I know he's working hard and definitely making progress, good to see that, just what he does. As far as the medical clearance, that's not in my control.
Q: Has he been around similar to maybe when [Jerod] Mayo got hurt? Didn't Jerod do some stuff with the coaches? Maybe that was obviously different circumstances, but talk about Matthew this year. It seems like we've seen him maybe more around on some trips.
BB: He's definitely been around. I wouldn't say he's done a lot with the coaches. That would be more [Raekwon] McMillan. But, he's been around. He's given a lot of emotional support. He's a good teammate. He's with us. He's doing what he needs to do. So, it's really been good. I appreciate that, and I think we all do. We love having Ju around. He's a good energy guy, anyway.
Q: What has Raekwon done with the coaches?
BB: Some of the stuff they've asked him to do.
Q: How has JaMycal Hasty acclimated over the last month?
BB: He's gotten better, especially the last couple of weeks. He's gotten more reps. I know last week was a walk-through week, but even those walk-through reps help. So, I would say he's gaining on it. The biggest thing for any running back is pass protection. He's done that. It's not that he hasn't done it. It's just terminology and rules and adjustments. It's not as simple as just blocking one guy. Especially against these guys, there's some moving parts where there could be multiple factors involved, depending on what we're in and what they give us. That's where it's hard to catch up on all of that in a short amount of time. There's the multiples. So, you just can't sit in one protection against these guys. I don't think that would be a good idea, unless you had some way to handle the multiples that they give you. But, it's even on third down, their 4-1 dime, 3-2 dime, 4-2 nickel, 3-3 nickel, with not all of the same players always in the same spot. So, you just start doing the multiplication tables. You need to get a lot in. Five or six protections against multiple fronts, multiple personnel groups, multiple fronts, odd, even, overload, start walking safeties and linebackers up in the line of scrimmage, you're into some pretty high numbers in a hurry.
Q: With Rhamondre out, do you feel like he could take on a bigger role in the offense in the coming weeks, and have an opportunity?
BB: We'll see. That's the kind of thing you work through during the week. Obviously, there's mistakes during the week. That always happens, and you correct those. You come back to things later in the week and see how that's coming together. Is it still an issue? Do we feel like we have it? So, today's kind of a good day for that. We'll kind of see where players that haven't played as much, how ready they are, and maybe what they're ready for – maybe it's not everything. Maybe it's certain situations that you feel comfortable or not comfortable in, or they feel comfortable or not comfortable in, however that goes. So, I'd say the next 48 hours, today or tomorrow, when some of that comes together.
Q: I've heard some guys in the scout team defense say they still carry on the name 'The Dirty Show' in practice. Remember just the origins of that when it kind of became a point of pride in the name The Dirty Show for those guys?
BB: Yeah, I'll have to go back and think about that one. It's been that way for a while. If I go back to the start, I'd say probably Pepper [Johnson] had something to do with it, to take a wild guess.
Q: Is he sort of a leader of that group?
BB: Yeah, we've had a lot at different points in time. I mean, they've all done it. Stephen [Belichick], DeMarcus [Covington], Pepper, Keith [Jones], V'Angelo [Russel], Ross [Douglas], B-Flow [Brain Flores]. I mean, just keep going back. It's kind of moves from, as the coaches change, then it kind of moves to different coaches. So, it's not the same guy that's been doing it for 10 years. Even though the coach might be here for 10 years. That role changes. Same thing on offense. Quarterback coach or one of the offensive quality control coaches, offensive line coach, usually we have a couple of guys doing it. So rather than one person holding up the cards or telling 11 guys what to do, you have two or three guys telling them. It just goes faster that way. There's probably a better chance you'd get it right if you have two or three people giving instructions instead of just one to everybody.
Q: Was Ernie [Adams] in that mix for a while?
BB: Ernie was more of the deciding what plays to run. I mean, if you have, call it 100 plays a week, 35 a day, round numbers. I mean, a team like Kansas City, you could run 400 plays easily – some of the same plays out of different formations, different personnel groups, different motion. It's a different adjustment, too. So, which ones do you run? Which ones do you want to run? What does the other side need to see based on maybe what we've been hurt with, what they like to do. Maybe they've done something else the last couple weeks, and now this would be a good time to run a reverse off a sweep that they've been successful with, that everybody's gearing up to stop that, or a boot or something like that. So, it's kind of that decision making of what plays to run against the other side of the ball, what blitzes to run. You prepare for everything, but you only get so many plays to practice, and which ones do you want to test your unit with at a practice tempo? Those are key decisions to make. So, Ernie would be more on that side of it. How they would block it, how they would run the play, maybe how they would formation it would be the hardest thing on us. We usually try to make it a little harder in practice, so if it comes up in the game, we're not too surprised by, well, that's a hard adjustment. Well, they're probably going to try to make it hard. They're not going to make it easy for us.