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Transcript: Coach Bill Belichick Press Conference 12/18

Read the full transcript of Patriots head coach Bill Belichick's press conference with the media on Monday, December 18, 2023.



December 18, 2023

Q: I just want to ask you about [Patrick] Mahomes and [Travis] Kelce's comments after the game. They both talked about how playing against the Patriots has made them better players. They appreciated, obviously, you meeting with them after the game. What do those comments mean to you when you hear from a couple of the best players in the game saying how your defenses have made them better?

BB: Yeah, well, I have a ton of respect for the Chiefs organization, Andy [Reid]. Mahomes, Kelce, they're both great players. They're hard to coach against, hard to defend. So, I have a ton of respect for the way they play the game and how good they are, how consistent they are and the job they've done.

Q: On Bailey [Zappe], you said you needed to look over the film before offering an assessment on Bailey's performance. What did you see, and why do you think there's at times a difference between how he performs in the last couple weeks at the start of games versus in the second half?

BB: Yeah, still working through it, but like any game, there's some good plays; there's some plays that could have been executed better overall as an offense, and that's each guy. But, just offensively, there's some things that we could have done better.

Q: I want to ask about what you've seen from players that have been thrust into more prominent roles throughout the season as a result of injury? There's a next man up mentality, but what have you seen from players throughout the year that have been put into bigger roles in the game, especially those where even minutes before a kickoff, they weren't expected to have as big of a role?

BB: Yeah, that's a lot of players you're asking about there, but just in general, players work hard and look forward to getting an opportunity. Kevin Harris worked hard all year. He's really done a good job for us on the scout teams, and not just offensively, but on special teams, and then got an opportunity to play yesterday, and did a good job of stepping in there and giving us some solid play. So, those players that wait for that opportunity, work for that opportunity, and then they get it. You don't know exactly how it's going to turn out. Some turn out better than others, but that was certainly a really competitive performance by Kevin.

Q: Any update on J.C. Jackson this morning?

BB: No.

Q: Do you envision him being with the team next week and through the rest of the season?

BB: Yeah, I've said all I can say about it. So, I don't have anything to add.

Q: Hi Bill, I was just wondering, what's your message to Chad Ryland among a few of the struggles he's had this season?

BB: Pretty much the same message to everyone. We take a look at what we do, we correct our mistakes, we work to improve them, and then go out there next time. That's me, the coaching staff, the players, everybody.

Q: You touched on the guys who got roles late in the process, sort of speak. What did you see from Alex Austin yesterday? It seemed like Kansas City might have been targeting him a little bit early in the game. How do you think he performed?

BB: Yeah, again, kind of the same thing. We all had some good moments, and there are certainly things that we can learn from and do better. I don't know if they were targeting him as much as that it's just the way it kind of matched up on some of the plays. There were a couple of under-routes there that his guy was on the under-route. Those are always good plays, tough plays to defend in man coverage, or a certain man coverage, as I should say, not all but some. I thought he played competitively.

Q: I know that he's dealt with some injuries throughout the season, back to the summer, but how much progress have you seen from Cole Strange before yesterday's injury?

BB: Yeah, a lot. The more he's been able to stay on the field, the better he's gotten. I think he's played better through the more recent weeks of the season. He missed quite a bit of time there early in the year in training camp, which slowed him down. But, I think he's been playing his best football lately.

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