HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
Friday, December 6, 2019
Q: How much did you have to weigh not having a kicker the last two days to work on the home field when navigating the process this week with that position?
BB: We'll see how it goes. We'll just have to see how it goes. Go with who we got or – I don't know – see how it goes.
Q: There's a report out there that you guys are expected to re-sign Nick Folk. Is there any sort of an announcement on that?
Q: How do you think Isaiah Wynn has played since coming back from his injury?
BB: Yeah, it's good to have him back. He's definitely improving every week. Practicing and playing the games are two different things, but yeah, glad we have him. It definitely helps us.
Q: The Chiefs are running a decent amount of run-pass options. Would you say that the RPO is something that is relatively new to the NFL or has it been around?
BB: Kind of depends on how you define those plays. Plays that have a pass element to them, they've, I'd say, been there for as long as I've been in the league. The vertical passing with the running plays is something that's a little bit different. We've certainly seen plenty of them from a lot of different teams over the last several years.
Q: Does it change your preparation at all that teams are running more of them at a higher rate?
BB: Well, the more you see them, the more you can get used to playing them. One of the problems with the RPO play, just in general, is just the offensive pass interference and blocking down field conflicting with the pass. So, if it's a run, it's no problem. If the ball actually gets thrown, like what happened last week in the Houston game – it was called once. I would say any time you run that play there's some degree of, "Is there blocking down field or not?" Sometimes there is, sometimes there isn't. It's a tough call for the officials, but that's sort of what that play – the complications of that play defensively.
Q: How important has Julian Edelman's health and dependability been to the offense this season?
BB: It's always good to have as many healthy players as possible. Julian is a tough kid; he can work through quite a bit. He's done a good job this year.
Q: Do you continue to see him improve year after year?
BB: Yeah, we've been able to do different things with him over the course of his career and certainly over the last few years. I think there are things that come up from game to game that if you want to do something with an experienced player that can handle a particular situation that you're trying to attack in that game, he's a good guy to do it with.
Q: I've heard you previously talk about Jakob Johnson and how he made his way onto the team, but could you explain it again?
BB: He's on injured reserve right now, so he's not eligible to play, hasn't been for a while. He was on our team as an international player, earned his way onto the team through his performance in training camp and onto the practice squad and then when James Develin was injured, he was promoted up to the roster. And then, unfortunately, he was injured, so he's not eligible to play now.
Q: Were you surprised that he did that well?
BB: Yeah, he made a tremendous amount of improvement. Nobody – I don't think anybody in our organization expected him to even be on the practice squad, and I don't think he would have been on the practice squad had we established one in the spring. But, over the course of the spring and training camp, he improved tremendously and was a competitive player and earned his way on it.
Q: How much have you learned about Mohamed Sanu as a player, how he fits in and how you can work with him going forward?
BB: It's more every week. Each week there's building blocks and you can add some things or repeat things that have come up in previous weeks to improve the execution on him and communication. We've made a lot of progress – definitely headed in the right direction. We're definitely not there yet either, but we're gaining ground.
Q: A lot of players talk about his incredible athleticism and his intelligence. Have you seen that as you build up with him?
BB: Yes, he's been in a couple different systems than what we run, so there's some carryover but there's a lot of new things, too. He's a smart kid, he's experienced, he's played a lot of football, so a lot of the concepts he's dealt with before – terminology and the nomenclature. The way it's presented might be a little bit different, but he can get it. That's not really a problem.
Q: When it comes to defending Patrick Mahomes, who can throw at so many different arm angles, is one of the teaching points to the front seven to keep their arms active knowing that they won't always be looking for traditional over-the-top passes?
BB: Yeah, if you're in front of the player, you try to do that. There aren't that many times when it really comes up. There's some, but for one guy to be in front of him when he's throwing is – that's really the only guy that would have a shot at it. Everybody else would kind of be out of that – wouldn't have that opportunity. We've always coached that if you're in the throwing lane, you see the quarterback looking through you to obviously somebody behind you, to try to be that ball disruption on the throw. That's just a fundamental principle. We can't really worry too much about how he's throwing it. You're trying to defeat a blocker and get to the quarterback and rush and all that. I just think instinctively you try to put your hand where his hand is – he's a left-handed quarterback you'd go with your right hand, just like you were trying to block a pass instinctively. He doesn't get very many batted down, though. He's pretty good at getting the ball through the line of scrimmage.
Q: When preparing for an opponent, how do you weigh the balance of using something that you know has worked against that team in the past versus trying something new to throw them off?
BB: Those are the kind of questions you go through every week – what to repeat, what not to repeat or maybe what to make it look like you're going to repeat it but do something that complements it. That's all part of the game-planning process. I think there's a place for all those scenarios, the ones that you mentioned – complementary plays and so forth, run the same play out of a different look or using a different personnel group or a different guy to do it or something like that. It's all part of it.
Q: What impact have Juan Thornhill and Tyrann Mathieu made in the secondary for the Chiefs?
BB: They've done a good job. This is a team that's had a lot of turnovers. They take advantage of offensive mistakes and a good pass rush that forces the ball out early or doesn't let the quarterback really have a chance to look off the safeties or the secondary at times. They're very instinctive – good breaks on the ball. They've done a good job for them.
Q: Tom Brady shared a quote that he liked: "A man is not finished when defeated, he is finished when he quits," and he added, "This team does not quit." What have you observed of the resolve of the team and how do you see that serving the team going forward?
BB: I think we have a very competitive team. These guys come to work every day, they work hard. We make mistakes, we try to address them, correct them and get them fixed. I have a lot of respect for the team and individual players that do that. That's how you get better.
Q: The NFL is in its 100th season. Looking back, what was your most emotional moment?
BB: That's a tough question, there's been a lot of them. I'd say just getting into the NFL, the day I knew that I had a job with the Colts was a pretty – that was a pretty exciting day. I never really expected that. To be named a coordinator to coach special teams, to be a head coach, to win championships, those are all pretty special. It would be hard to – I don't want to say they all run together, but it would be hard to rank them. They're all milestones, I guess.
Q: We got a chance to see the HBO special they did on you and Nick Saban with NFL Films...
BB: How'd that go?
Q: What was so special about doing that? It was great.
BB: Was it? I haven't seen it yet. Nick has been a friend of mine for a long time. We worked together for four years in Cleveland, but we've maintained a close relationship before and well after that and a number of different scenarios. I personally like Nick and Terry [Saban], his family, and there's no coach I have more respect for than Nick Saban. I learned a lot working with him in Cleveland and before and after. He continues to impress me. He's a great football coach, great person. He has great love for his players, the game, his assistant coaches. I just think he does a tremendous job at every aspect of his job, including recruiting which isn't really – it's a lot different in the NFL. It's not really the recruiting they have in college, it's a different type of player acquisition. He does a great job at everything, so like I said, I've learned a lot from him, appreciate our friendship. There's nobody I have more respect for than Nick Saban as a football coach.
Q: I don't think Mohamed Sanu has had a punt return at the NFL level before this season. What did you see that you liked from him to put him back there? How uncommon is it for someone to add a role like that at age 30?
BB: I'm not sure about the last question – it would be one to look up and I'm sure there's some statistics that would give you that answer better than I could. I don't think that's ever been a question, I'm not really – he's been on a couple teams that have had other players that I guess those teams wanted to have return. Honestly, this is a similar situation with Ray Rice when he was at Rutgers, as well. Ray didn't catch any passes at Rutgers and he was an outstanding receiver in this league. Sometimes the player's role or his offensive system or the other players that a team has, he's the second best guy to do it or the team doesn't want him to have that role for whatever reason. But in another scenario, another team, it's different. I think he certainly has the skill to do it. He's shown that. He's done a good job for us.
Q: I know several years ago you used Wes Welker in emergency kicking situations...
BB: Yeah, we were just talking about him the other day. Maybe we can see if we can round him up.
Q: Do you have any position players that you could use in case an emergency comes up on Sunday?
BB: I mean [Jake] Bailey has kicked off all year since [Stephen] Gostkowski got hurt.
Q: But if something were to happen to him, there's no kicker signed right now...
BB: If we lost three guys in any position it would be a problem.
Q: What's your reaction to Greg Schiano becoming the head coach again at Rutgers?
BB: Yeah, I'm happy for him, absolutely. He's a great coach. I'm sure he'll do a great job with that program like he did before. I can't imagine there being anybody better for the job than him.
QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY
Friday, December 6, 2019
Q: Patrick Mahomes has talked about how much it meant to him that you sought him out to talk with him following last year's AFC Championship Game. Why was that moment important for you?
TB: I mean, he's a great player and he had a great season. So, I think with the celebration and so forth and everything that went on the field after the game, I didn't get a chance to tell him that. So, just to go in there after the game was – you know, it was kind of a long celebration we had there in the visitor's locker room – so, I just wanted to go tell him what I thought of him.
Q: What did that one mean in terms of where he is in his career?
TB: Yeah, I think sometimes they take place on the field after a game, before the game sometimes, and the offseason. But yeah, I think we're all in this sport, we watch each other play a lot of football. You know, you study everyone and you gain admiration for what they do and how they do it, and it's not a big group of guys that I would say are doing it at one particular time. And for five months of my life, it's pretty much totally dedicated to football and watching tape and watching quarterbacks and watching quarterbacks do things. So, you may not know them, you feel like you know them because of how they play and you hear a lot about them. That's kind of it. I have a lot of things in common.
Q: How much has this defense changed with Steve Spagnuolo since the AFC Championship Game?
TB: Yeah, they've definitely changed some things, added some players. Yeah, they've changed.
Q: What do they do well compared to last year?
TB: Yeah, they have a lot of playmakers. They've added a lot of guys that are making a lot of plays for them: Frank Clark, Tyrann Mathieu. They've had guys that are there: [Daniel] Sorenson, [Bashaud] Breeland's a good player, [Charvarius] Ward's a good player – he was there last year. So, I've got a lot of respect for this defense. They make you earn it and they're very talented. They've got a great football team.
Q: What are some of the traits you see that give your team the ability to bounce back quickly after a loss?
TB: There's been a lot of urgency. I think when we win and when we lose, Coach [Bill Belichick] puts us right back into the mode of preparation and getting us ready back to play a game. So, this is a big one – it's on our schedule next and it's a big challenge for us. So, hopefully we can go out and meet a great challenge. It's going to be a great football game.
Q: Josh McDaniels talked earlier this week about preaching patience to the younger players on the offense. How difficult is it to be into December and talk about patience and keeping your patience as you move forward?
TB: Well, it's kind of just where we're at. So, we've added some players late, and guys are coming back from injury and so forth. I've said this before. Like every team in the league, there's no excuses. It's did you win or did you not? I mean, at the end of the day, that's what it comes down to. So, we're trying to score more points than them, and teams that are good in all three phases are tough to beat. And we want to be one of those teams.
Q: What do you see from Patrick Mahomes when you study him?
TB: There's a lot of great traits about him as a player and him as a leader. But, he has some unique things that he does that are just hard to teach. Just his playmaking ability and how he sees the field. I think he sees plays to make that a lot of other quarterbacks wouldn't see just because of his ability to do it. He's just a phenomenal player, and he picked up this year where he left of last year. He's doing a great job.
Q: You've seen a lot of man-to-man coverage this year. Against that look, are you just hoping guys can win one-on-one matchups or are you looking to manufacture some separation through scheme?
TB: I think it's a little of both. I think when it's man-to-man, you've got to get away from the guy, or you've got to use plays to try to help you do that. So, they could be more player-oriented, they could be more scheme-oriented, it just depends on how we're playing and so forth. But, it just, yeah, comes up.
Q: Is it something that you've noticed?
TB: More man-to-man?
TB: At different times. I've played a lot of football, so in 20 years I've seen a lot. So, yeah. I mean, every team kind of takes on a little different style about how they choose to defend, and teams that like to play a lot of man coverage, they play a lot of man coverage against us. So, a team that plays a lot of zone – it's like anything. If you hurt it, they play less of it. If you don't hurt it, they play more of it. That's like what any smart team does.
Q: It is a holiday in Germany and every kid is celebrating before Christmas. As the NFL celebrates its 100th season, what special moment are you most thankful for?
TB: Yeah, there's been a lot of great moments and I'm very fortunate to be a part of a great – it's really a business. So yeah, I watched it as a kid growing up and football in America is – it's been on TV for a long time, so a lot of kids want to be football players, or baseball players or basketball players. But, I was very fortunate to become a football player and it's been a great 20 years of my life.
Q: Did you hurt your toe because you're the new kicker?
TB: No, nope. That's not how I hurt it, and I'm not the new kicker. We'd be screwed if I was the kicker.
Q: Have you ever kicked? You've punted.
TB: I've only punted like two or three times. But yes, I have been. I'm in the record book, statistic book as punting, yes. I wouldn't call myself a punter. Is that a two-way player? Then I have to consider myself a two-way player. I like that.
Q: Any way you want to interpret history, right?
TB: That's right.
Q: Does pliability help in the kicking game?
TB: In my kicking? Yeah, yeah. I can still get it out there pretty good.