PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
December 4, 2023
Q: I know you said a few times after the game that you guys moved the ball well at times, but couldn't get inside the red area, the scoring position. What, in your perspective, prevented the offense from being able to move the ball to the red zone or down to the goal line?
BB: I think there was a number of factors. First of all, when we get it there, we've got to do more with it. We had a couple of negative plays in those situations that we weren't able to convert on. We were on a long field, so that's always hard to move the ball an extra 30 or 40 yards. But, look, that is what it is. If we get the ball there, we've still got to do more with it. We had one drive, I think, that was like 14 plays – something like that – and went from down somewhere around the 10 to the 30. So, that's a good drive, but really not even in scoring range. I'd say that's a combination of not having enough explosive plays, not being able to do well enough with the ball when we got it around plus territory, and playing on a long field always makes it statistically harder to make long drives compared to short ones. So, those are some of the things. But, in the end, when we get there, we just have got to do more with the opportunities that we have when we get the ball into scoring area.
Q: One quick follow up, were you pleased enough with the offensive performance to start Bailey [Zappe] again on Thursday?
BB: We'll talk more about the game plan here today.
Q: In reference to yesterday and also kind of more generally this season, what do you view as being the main problems in terms of the offensive production? Is it a talent issue? Is it a execution issue? Obviously, the defense has you in games but the offense seemingly has not been able to live up to their end of the bargain.
BB: Yeah, well, there's no question we need to be more productive offensively. So, we'll keep working on it.
Q: Is it a talent issue, execution? What do you feel?
BB: I think it's a combination of things. But, if we can make them better, then collectively, I think we'll have better results.
Q: Keion White, team-high in snaps on defense yesterday, what have you seen from him and his development and how has he grown into more playing time?
BB: Yeah, Keion's a hard-working kid. He's out there every day, and that's how you get better. You get better with being on the practice field, working on your techniques, your reads, your fundamentals, your keys, and then improving your techniques. He's done all of those, and gets better every day, and has improved over the course of the season. It's a credit to his hard work and coachability that he's done that.
Q: Quick question on Bailey, I know it's limited sample size and a couple passes yesterday probably could have been caught, but 50 percent completion rate through this point. Are you seeing a different quarterback than you saw last year in Bailey, or I don't know if the 50 percent sticks out to you or not?
BB: Again, we're always looking to increase our production on everything. So, passing game's in part a function of the quarterbacks, a function of the receivers, pass protection and the plays and the way they match up against the coverages. Just try to keep moving forward and maximize every one of those areas the best we can.
Q: I want to ask about, as well, Pittsburgh on a short week. What are the challenges of taking them on, or anybody on, in a short week when you're looking to find some consistency on one side of the ball?
BB: Yeah, well again, every team has one of these games and we've all had them in the past. It's about rest, recovery, being physically ready to go and mentally. It's a quick turnaround from yesterday's game to Pittsburgh's scouting report today. You know, a couple days of trying to get things covered. We're pretty far into the season, I don't think there is a lot of new things. It's more about adapting to what we do against what they do, which is different to what we've seen. Especially defensively, it's a lot of odd spacing base defense, not that we haven't seen that, but these guys obviously do a lot of that. They kind of have their style of doing it, so we'll have to adapt to some of the things that we want to do in this game. It's a quick turnaround but, again, physically, mentally and then from a game planning standpoint, we just all have to not try to do too much game planning. But, physically be ready to go and be ready to compete for 60 minutes.
Q: Bill, similar question but specifically on offense, how tough is it to develop a game plan for them this week given the coordinator change, the injury to the quarterback that just happened and the short week?
BB: When you're this far into the season I don't think you see too many teams on a Thursday game revamp and run a whole new offense. At this point, you've committed a lot of time and reps to what you do, and you modify it a little bit for the specific opponent. But, you're pretty much are what you are at this point in the season. In terms of schematically. I don't think you're going to put in 20 or 30 new plays this week, even if it was a full week. I think you prepare for what you've seen. We played this team last year, so we have a little bit of a background, at least with some of the personnel and certainly the defensive scheme. But, there's always the unknown, something different could happen, and if it does we'll have to be ready to adapt to it.
Q: One more, do you anticipate Matthew Judon being able to return to practice at all down the stretch this season?
BB: We'll see. That's a good question. We'll see. That's a medical question. I know he's working hard. You know, Matt has been in here. He works hard on a daily basis. But, again that's a medical question that I wouldn't be able to answer.
Q: What does [Marte] Mapu need to show you in order to earn a more significant role defensively? I know he had some opportunities early in yesterday's game, but only seven defensive snaps, I believe, over the last couple of weeks.
BB: Well, we have pretty good depth at that position. Obviously, [Jabrill] Peppers and [Kyle] Dugger are two of our best players and two of the better players in the league at that position. So, not really looking to get them off the field and just get playing time for somebody. We use players around guys like Dugger and Peppers situationally, because you think they can help you in that situation in a certain package. So, that's really what players need to do in situations like that, is develop an opportunity and then be ready to perform well when those opportunities come to create more opportunities. And, Te's [Marte Mapu] done that. He's a hard-working kid. He really pays attention, very studious and attentive. He's improved a lot through the course of the year. I think he's a good player, will be a good player. But, he's still young and inexperienced, and right now, I'd say the guys ahead of him are just ahead of him.