HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
October 8, 2019
BB: We're rolling on a short week here. I think the players have tried to do a good job of trying to get rested, get treatment, get rehab and then be ready to go Thursday night. We certainly have a lot to get ready for with the Giants. It's a good football team, well coached. Really an attacking type of team in all three phases of the game. Special teams, good coverage team, good return game. They've had explosive plays in both. Pressured the kickers, specialists with their punt and field goal rushes. Defensively, a lot of pressures. A good mixture of man-to-man, zone coverage, but with some kind of pressure factored in there a lot. So, that's certainly a problem. Big, strong, physical guys up front and great skill players offensively. [Saquon] Barkley, [Evan] Engram, [Darius] Slayton's made some big plays for them, [Cody] Latimer. So, they do a good job. Coach [Pat] Shurmur does a good job of using all his personnel. Different personnel groupings, fullback, tight ends, receivers and play fast. Play at a good – not no-huddle fast, but play fast in terms of after the ball is snapped, they separate and get into the defense quickly and force you to cover a lot of ground and deal with a lot of different problems in the running game. We've got a lot of work to do. Get started here today, get as much that we can get done today and finish up tomorrow and then it'll be time to get ready to go. So, we're off and running.
Q: How do you deal with the uncertainty surrounding who will play for the Giants, given all of their injuries?
BB: We'll be ready for everybody until they're out. But, yeah. We'll expect them all to play, we'll prepare for all of them to play. They have a lot of good players. They have good depth and they've gotten good play from a lot of different players. Just start with [Daniel] Jones stepping in for [Eli] Manning, there's two good quarterbacks. So, they've moved the ball effectively against everybody.
Q: Is Daniel Jones running the entire offense or are they shrinking the playbook for him?
BB: Yeah, no I'd say he runs the offense. I mean, you'd have to ask them that on the specifics. Again, it's a west coast based offense with certainly an emphasis on the running game and play-action passes as well, also some RPO's and things like that. So, those are all part of what he does. Would it be the same game plan if Eli was in there? I don't know. You'd have to ask them that, but I don't see them holding back anything. He's very athletic, he's mobile. I wouldn't say he's just go back and start running, but if he needs to run, if the protection breaks down or if there's an opening there. If he gets outside of the pocket, he can cause a lot of damage with his speed and his ability to extend plays. But, he's a very accurate quarterback and has good poise. He's shown good toughness in the pocket. He's been hit a few times, but he just stands in there and can keeps ripping it. So, he's been impressive.
Q: How tough of a decision was it to release Ben Watson?
BB: [We] like Ben, just, we don't have a roster spot for him right now. So, maybe that'll change, but for the moment, that's where it is.
Q: Is there any carryover from Washington's west coast scheme to the Giants'?
BB: Yeah, definitely. There's some similar concepts, but there are a lot of differences. Certainly, the players are a lot different. Just starting with Engram, he's different than most any tight end we've faced and is really like having a receiver at tight end. But he's also involved in other parts of the game, so it's not four receivers, but he's certainly not a tight end either. So, even though it's some of the same plays, you start putting a guy like that in there, that changes things. Barkley, we haven't seen anybody like Barkley all year. So, that changes things, too.
Q: In what way haven't you seen anyone like Barkley?
BB: Every way. I mean, he's had more production than any player in the history of the game in the time that he's played. So, 91 catches or whatever it was last year. Receiver, runner, power, speed, athleticism. He's hard to tackle. He can do it all.
Q: Since you didn't have a spot for Ben, what have you seen from the tight ends that are on the roster?
BB: Well, they're both younger players that are developing and we feel like have some upside, done a decent job for us. Certainly have a ways to go, but have had enough production that we want to keep working with them.
Q: It looked like there was a play against the Redskins where Terrence Brooks was lined up at a similar depth to the punter. What made you try that out with a player like Terrence?
BB: We've run that before. We can't leave before the ball is kicked, but it puts another player in space to be able to cover the punt. So, that's the idea of it.
Q: What are the advantages of having a guy that deep?
BB: Well, if you put him on the line of scrimmage he can't release until the ball is punted. If you put him behind the line of scrimmage, he could get a running start. Not cross the line, but when he hits the line of scrimmage, be going full speed, which would put him down into the coverage quicker.
Q: What has it been like to coach Michael Bennett so far this season?
BB: Good. Michael's a smart player, he's got a lot of experience. He's been in different systems, so he's trying to adapt into our system, but we've also talked to him about some of the things that he's done and he obviously has a lot of experience and a lot of input. Not just as an individual player, but also schematically. So, he's been good. He's really tried hard and worked hard to embrace what we've asked him to do, which again, is quite different than what he's done in Seattle and Philly, even in Tampa. So, yeah, he's been fun.
Q: His snap count is a little bit lower than it has been in recent years. Is that because he's more of a veteran, or is that just trying to find a role for him?
BB: Yeah, well he's on our team. I don't really care what happened on some other team. I don't really know what that was or wasn't. We'll try to do what's best for our team, and that's everybody. It's him, that's everybody else. I mean, Devin McCourty's snap count is down, too.
Q: What areas of the field does Golden Tate hurt defenses the most?
BB: Whenever he gets the ball in his hands. He's very dangerous in the return game. Primarily plays in the slot, but not exclusively. He's good with any play where he runs with the ball. So, that could be screens, speed-sweeps, but he's also obviously a very dangerous receiver. So, put him in the middle of the formation, that gives him the most options to go across, to go vertical, to go back outside. So, he's good at all of those.
Q: You mentioned Devin McCourty's snap count is down. Does the depth of your defense allow you to rotate other players in more?
BB: Yeah. I mean, we've played a lot of players. So, I'm not sure whose snap count's up. I don't know. Maybe you guys can tell me that. We rotate a lot. I mean, we've played 20 players on defense the last four or five weeks. So, naturally, you start splitting it up between 20 guys, that's what you're going to get. Show me how many teams play 20 players on defense. I don't know. There's not too many.
Q: Is that rotation a product of the talent you have, or is it more work management to keep players fresh?
BB: Yeah, I don't know Phil [Perry]. We have a lot of good players. Each week is its own week. It depends on the situation, it depends on the game plan, sometimes it depends on how they play the game. So, I didn't know that Washington was going to be in 10 personnel for 30-some plays, or whatever it was. So, that changed some of our play time. It's not like we go into the game and say, "This is how many plays each guy is going to play." I mean, we just don't do it that way. So, there's a lot of factors. I don't know what they all are, but ultimately they all come into play and try to do what we think is best.
Q: What have you seen from Nate Solder this season?
BB: Nate's a solid player. Veteran player, obviously very experienced and he's played all the snaps I've seen at left tackle. He has for quite a while now, so he and [Will] Hernandez give them a good, solid side over there.
Q: How much does the versatility of your linebacking corps help the defense on all three downs?
BB: Yeah, it's huge. Look, we face a different offense every week. Even if they're the same, they're different because of the different personnel. So, to be able to have players that can do multiple things and do them well, it gives you a tremendous advantage. You can substitute or you can not substitute. We have a lot of players that fall into that category. So, we have the ability to sub if we want to, or if we don't want to, we can let the players play where they normally play and they can certainly handle that adequately.
Q: How much can you take from the preseason game and apply to this one?
BB: I mean, I don't think too many people that played in that game on either side of the ball for either team – I don't know how much they're going to play in this game. So, I don't think there's a lot of matchups in that game, and schematically I'd say it was pretty watered down, from what they ran, what we ran, based on just looking back at the game. We'll see what happens on Thursday, but I think both teams will do more than they did in that game, would be my guess.
Q: What have you seen from Danny Shelton?
BB: Danny's done a good job for us. His second year, I think he came in, he was in good shape, he came in with a great attitude. He's really worked hard to do the things that we've asked him to do, which is a little different than what he'd done in the systems that he'd been in in Cleveland. He tried to do that last year, I'd say this year he's just further ahead on it. Build on the experiences that he had last year, and has given us a really good level of play inside. His role has actually expanded from what it was last year because he's been able to do more things, and he's doing the things that we've asked him to do at a good level. So, he's been productive and versatile. He's done a good job for us.
QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY
October 8, 2019
Q: It was just announced that Rob Gronkowski is going to be an analyst for one of the networks. What type of analyst do you think Gronk will be?
TB: He'll be good, he'll be good. He's been pretty good at everything he's done. Yeah, I didn't know that. That's good for him. It's a great opportunity.
Q: He'll be on the FOX pregame show this Thursday night, actually.
TB: Oh, good. Hard-hitting analysis.
Q: How long will it last?
TB: I don't know, but that's great. It's great to see a lot of our guys get a lot of great opportunities like that.
Q: You guys have been very good on Thursday Night Football, I think 12-2 in your last 14. Why?
TB: I'm not sure. That's a good question. I think it's really about what it always is – whenever you play Thursday night, Sunday night, Monday night, you have that amount of time, same amount as the other team typically, unless they're in a bye or something like that. So, just try to utilize the time as best as you can. I know for me, the game ended; I started thinking about the Giants. You know, just use as much time as you can between now and kickoff to get to know them, especially against a team that we're probably not that familiar with. We don't play them that often. We play them in the preseason, but once every four years [in the regular season], so you've just got to get to know them as best you can, kind of know their strengths, try to come up with things you think you can attack. And then, we're not getting a lot of time on the practice field, but you can talk through a lot of things, and then you've got to go out there and execute in a three-hour window on Thursday night. So, it will be fun. It will be a great atmosphere.
Q: Do you feel like you have an advantage because you've been doing this for so long and have been through so many different scenarios?
TB: Well, I'm pretty efficient with my time. Any time you have experience doing things like I do – like you guys do when you've been in your job for a long time, like a lot of people do when they've been in their job for a long time – you know what works, you know what doesn't work. You just try to get to the things that work and that you know are going to be successful. So, whether that's your preparation, how you study, how you utilize your time – I think there's always a balance for a player between your mental preparation, your physical preparation, your emotional preparation and how you try to be at the peak for all three of those phases for the particular game that you're playing. So, you don't have the physical time to practice, so mentally, you've got to take advantage of that, get your body right, be prepared and then go out and execute at a high level.
Q: At this point, is the time you spend at practice not as valuable to you as it was earlier in your career? You said a couple weeks ago you're not a spring chicken.
TB: That was kind of a joke! You guys take everything so literally. [laughter] That was a joke. I was kidding around.
Q: OK, so how important is practice at this point in your career to you?
TB: Practice? I've had a lot of practices. I mean, if I think probably 100 practices a year on average over the course – maybe more than that, 120 – times 20 years just professional, and all through high school, college. So, football, I would say, is very much like riding a bike for me now. I mean, I know what to do, I know where to look. I wish I didn't make mistakes when I was out there. But, yeah, the practice is very important for me because it gives me confidence in what we're doing. It helps me anticipate things with the players that I'm playing with. So, even though I maybe have done things, I still recognize that a lot of other players haven't done those things. So, my connection with them is very important. Even though I've been doing it, the two of us need to do it together. You know, football is a very coordinated game. Everybody needs to be thinking the same thing, reacting the same way, anticipating in the same way, in order for it to be successful. That's why us being out there as a unit is very important – practicing, executing in practice so you can build confidence, confidence builds trust and the trust leads to good execution when you're out on the field.
Q: A few years ago, you had Martellus Bennett here and you seemed to have a very good relationship with him. What's it like having Michael Bennett here this year?
TB: Yeah, I've really enjoyed my time with Michael. It's a little different because he's on the defensive side of the ball. Martellus and I had a chance to – we were in every meeting together – communicate a lot about football, and then just had a great relationship, even for the year that he was here and then he came back for a little bit of time. So, Michael and I, we haven't had as much time together. But, they're similar, they're the same size, they have the same voice. There's a lot of similarities, and [I] just really enjoy him. Love the football player that he is, the level of talent he brings. He's been on some great defenses. He's a big, powerful guy. I've played against him. I mean, he knocked the crap out of me in the 2014 Super Bowl, so I know what kind of player he is, and I'm glad he's on our team.
Q: Was it disappointing for you to hear the news about Benjamin Watson's release yesterday?
TB: You know, pretty tough. Pretty tough. I mean, it's tough for a lot of guys. I've played with a lot of guys over the years. You know, Ben's a great player. He's been a great player for this team, for other teams, he's had an incredible career and hopefully he can keep playing. I know he was looking forward to playing. I miss him. He was right next to me, and for as great as a player he was, he was 10 times a better person, just the highest integrity. I can't say enough good things about Ben, what he's meant to me, my family, our team. So, we're going to miss him.
Q: With Watson gone, are you more comfortable now with Ryan Izzo and Matt LaCosse being able to fill that position?
TB: I'm the quarterback, so I don't make those decisions. Whoever's out there, that's who I've got to play with.
Q: From the beginning of the season to now, have those guys improved? Have you seen things in LaCosse and Izzo that make you more comfortable with them?
TB: Yeah, those guys, they're competing hard. I think they're trying, and Matt hasn't been out there as much as we all would have wanted, certainly what he would have wanted. Ryan's done quite a few things for us. Again, I think part of the reference to practice earlier is we're trying to get out there and utilize the reps we can in practice, talk about things, communicate through the things that come up in practice, so that, again, we can execute when we need to in the game.
Q: When you see Eli Manning's starting streak come to an end, does it make you think about however many years down the road it is for you and how you want it to end?
TB: How I want it to end? Oh man. I think I've had a great career. I mean, it's an Eli question, so Eli's been a great player and great for that organization. We've had great battles against their team, certainly in big moments. They've got us in the big moments, unfortunately, but they deserved it. Eli's played great. He's been a great player for that organization, for the team. I think his teammates – he's got the respect of all those guys, and that's what you play for. You play for the respect of your teammates and your coaches. They know what you put into it. They know what it means to you. They can feel it. I mean, he's had an incredible career.
Q: Following that up, what have you seen from Daniel Jones? I know you don't study him, but as a young quarterback from the viewpoint of an older quarterback, what it's like seeing that new generation?
TB: Yeah, I mean, I love football. I love football, I love watching quarterbacks play. I've seen a lot over 20 years. I've seen the position – I wouldn't say it's changed much. I think what you try to do as quarterback is get the team down the field, and everyone's got different skillsets in order to be able to accomplish that. Some teams build their offense around the skillsets of the quarterbacks; some don't. Some guys have systems that are conducive to their style; some don't. But, yeah, I appreciate good quarterback play. So, yeah, I pay attention to all the young guys, I pay attention to the old guys, I pay attention to every quarterback in the league and watch them, watch how they lead, watch how they play, throw, their fundamentals, their decisions. I've got to know what my competition's like, so I'm trying to study those guys, too.