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Transcripts: Bill Belichick and Tom Brady Press Conferences 11/1

HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK

Press Conference
Friday, November 1, 2019

Q: How has N’Keal Harry responded to the work in practice?

BB: Good. I think he works hard. He’s worked hard at everything, special teams role, offense, so we’ll see how it goes here for the weekend.

Q: Do you envision activating him for the game?

BB: We’ll see.

Q: With all of the turnover at receiver, how do you think Tom Brady is playing and handling the additions there and at tight end?

BB: Look, I mean I think Tom’s done a lot of good things. There’s always room for improvement for all of us, so I know he’s working hard to do the best he can to prepare and have a good week like everybody else is.

Q: Is he doing a good job working with those newer guys?

BB: Yeah, he always does that.

Q: Do you have to adjust defensively when you’re going up against a kicker like Justin Tucker?

BB: Well, you take it into consideration. Yeah, definitely. Yeah, you have to take it into consideration. You’re playing on a little shorter field than you are normally.

Q: Do you consider him the best kicker in the NFL right now?

BB: He’s the best kicker in the history of the league, right? I mean, yeah. We were fortunate enough to block one against him the last time we played him, but it’s not easy. He’s tough. He’s a good player – good athlete, good placekicker and a good kickoff man.

Q: How rare is Marquise Brown’s acceleration and burst?

BB: He’s fast. Yeah, and he can really track the ball, too. Speed’s good. You know, we’ve seen fast guys before, and he’s one of them, but I’d say his ability to track the ball is very good. So, I’d say that’s the difference between the good and the great deep receivers is not just speed, but the ability to track, and catch and play the ball at some unusual angles and so forth. So, he’s done a good job of that. Lamar’s [Jackson] a good deep ball thrower. He really has a nice touch on those throws. He’s made a lot of good throws 40, 50 yards down the field, just drop the ball right on a dime, and Brown tracks it really well. So, yeah, that’s a big – they do that very well.

Q: You officially released Josh Gordon yesterday. What went into the decision to part ways with him?

BB: We released him because he was healthy. He passed his physical.

Q: What was it like having him here last year and this year? What was your overall experience like with him?

BB: Yeah, I mean, that’s all in the past. I’m looking to Baltimore at this point. There have been a lot of guys that have been here in the last year-and-a-half.

Q: How valuable is it to have guys like Matthew Slater, Justin Bethel and Nate Ebner on the team to contribute mostly on special teams?

BB: Yeah, well it’s always good to have a good, core group of specialists, of core special teams players. And then that’s not enough, so you need to usually supplement that with some other – either a handful of guys, or maybe it’s a number of players that are maybe playing one or possibly two teams to fill it out. But, yeah, you always want to have a few core guys to do that. We’ve been very fortunate to have a very good group through the years and this year. Brandon Bolden does a great job; he’s certainly one of our leaders in that category as well. 

Q: Are there similarities between Brown and Tyreek Hill because of their speed? Or is that the only thing they have in common?

BB: Yeah, I don’t know. I mean, they’re both fast.

Q: Do they do more than just deep routes with Brown?

BB: Yep. Yeah, they run their passing game, their RPO’s, but certainly when they get a chance to hit him in the deep part of the field in post routes, go routes, inside fades, yeah. Obviously, people play off of him, so the underneath routes and hitches, and slants and things like that are hard to cover because people give him space. 

Q: How has Isaiah Wynn looked in his first week back at practice?

BB: It’s good to have him back out there. Yeah, it’s good.

Q: I know you’re focused more on Ravens than horses, but did you know that there was a horse named in your honor running in the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile today?

BB: Yep. 7:03 [pm], right? 

Q: You’re a horse guy?

BB: I have a little interest in that one, yeah.

Q: What do you think of the horse?

BB: I hope it runs fast. 

Q: Do you like the name?

BB: Yeah, yeah. I’m good with it.

Q: You mentioned in a radio interview that you brought out Carl Banks tape to teach playing the run. Is bringing out old film something that you do often?

BB: I’ll do anything I can to help our football team, whatever that is. So, if there’s something that I think can help us, then I think it’s my job, my responsibility to coach our players the best I can.

Q: Is that something that happens often?

BB: I don’t know. Probably, if you talk to [Mike] Vrabel and [Tedy] Bruschi, they would tell you that it happened too often.

Q: What are the advantages for the Ravens when they run their offense out of the pistol?

BB: Well, I think that the advantage of the pistol is that you can go either way. Once the back offsets, you’re limited in the number of plays that you can run to both sides. You have certain plays to the side he’s on, and then you have certain plays away from him. You can kind of make some of those work by running him back to the middle, and then back to the same side, but I don’t know if it’s quite the same. People don’t do a lot of it. When he’s in the pistol, both sides are the point of attack. So, I think that’s the advantage to it. Obviously, from that position, the back has further to go to get involved in the passing game than he does when he’s offset. Baltimore does both. They put him behind the quarterback most of the time, in the pistol formation, but he’s offset a decent amount of the time, too. It’s not like he’s never offset. So, it’s kind of the same deal with the run and shoot. I mean, the run and shoot quarterback was under center, but it was the same idea. So, the back could get to either side and attack either side. Wasn’t a big part of the passing game in that offense, for the reasons I just articulated. So, I’d say that’s one of the things they get out of it a lot is that they can attack both sides. They can attack one side just as easily as the other side.

Q: How do you think Sony Michel’s vision is progressing?

BB: I think it’s improved a lot. Yeah, I think it’s improved a lot. 

Q: Can you share how that shows up game-to-game?

BB: I think it’s more play-to-play. Look at the play, and we’ve gone over the reads, we’ve gone over how he read it. Again, you want to try to understand what a player sees, and there’s a lot to see. Some guys focus more on one thing than another, but we’ve talked to him a lot about what his keys are, what his reads are, what the progression of the reads are. You don’t just read one guy. After you get past that guy, or after you deal with that particular blocker, that particular defender, then there’s somebody else to deal with. So, we’ve talked a lot about that, and I think he’s improved a lot. But, each play is a little bit different and each key is a little bit different, so it’s a little different than a pass play. Each pass play – guys don’t run the same route on every play, so the progression’s different and the spacing is different and so forth. But, yeah, no I think he’s done a good job of improving on that. He’s worked really hard at it, and I think the results have been very positive.

Q: I know you’re focused on the Ravens, but is it always special for you to return to the Baltimore area?

BB: Yeah, sure. It is. I mean, I coached there for a year, grew up in that area. So, yeah. There’ll be a few Patriot fans there – now, probably not many, but there’ll be a couple.

Q: Still have family back there?

BB: A little bit, yeah. You know, there’s still people that I knew from growing up there – high school, college, working there, like I said, a year with the Colts. But, they’ll be outnumbered. They’ll be outnumbered.

QUARTERBACK TOM BRADY

Press Conference
Friday, November 1, 2019

Q: Lewis Hamilton is going for his sixth championship. As someone who has experienced being on the cusp of a sixth, what are your thoughts on what he’s going through? 

TB: Yeah, I’ve followed him for a little bit. I’ve kind of gone to a few of those races and those guys are super talented. I think it’s tough to stay at the top, and talking to guys that know him and that race against him, he just sees things differently than everyone else. So, I think that’s what makes him so exceptional. I think it’s a lot like that for football players too is, you know, you take people that kind of all do the same thing, but then someone always sees it a different way. The uniqueness, and then the competitiveness, and then the competitive stamina help you stay on top. He’s my neighbor. He lives a floor above me in New York. 

Q: What does Ravens week mean to you?

TB: They’re a great team. Great team; very successful organization. I’ve had some really tough games against those guys. They’ve always presented a big challenge for us. So, it’s a unique environment – pretty tough, very loud. They’re very good this year; pretty much good every year. Good defense. They were really great last year. I actually watched a lot of them last year because we almost played them in the playoffs, so I went back to a lot of those notes. They’re playing good this year – good offense, good defense, very good special teams, good coaching. Very tough, physically and mentally, so we know we’re in for a very tough game. 

Q: Is there any part of you that misses having Terrell Suggs and some of those other guys from the rivalry over the years?

TB: Those guys were great players, and I think probably a lot like us, they really set the standard for great defensive play. We’ve had that on both sides of the ball; they have, too. They’ve won a couple Super Bowl titles in the last 20 years. I heard Ed’s [Reed] getting his Hall of Fame ring, or something like that, so I’m sure they’ll be excited. It’ll be a loud night. I think communication will be a big factor for us, and good football, good execution against a very talented team.

Q: What are your thoughts on Lamar Jackson?

TB: Yeah, I’ve seen him play a few times this year, too. Just exceptionally talented – speed, quickness, he’s throwing the ball well. He just has great awareness in the pocket, when to run, and I think his productivity has really been unmatched. So, he’s got a very unique skillset. It’s very difficult to simulate a level of that type of player, with that level of talent. You know, our defense – it’s going to be a big challenge for all of us. So, I think what they do a good job of offensively is they keep the other offense from possessing the football too. We’ll probably only have 60, 65 plays or something like that, so you’ve got to make them count.

Q: What’s it like for you to get N’Keal Harry back into the offense?

TB: Yeah, he’s missed a lot of football – missed a lot of training camp, missed eight regular season games. So, you know, he’s just got to try to work at it every day, and it’s going to be up to him to put the effort in and to – you know, everyone’s there to help him, but you’ve got to go out there and you’ve got to do it and earn it, and earn the trust of your teammates and coaches and stuff. So, it’s good to have him out there. 

Q: How important is it in the locker room for guys like Phillip Dorsett to take ahold of someone like that?

TB: Yeah, it’s good leadership, because if you look at the three veterans that we have with Mohamed [Sanu] and Julian [Edelman] and Phillip, those guys are just very consistent, dependable players who have a lot of productivity. And then we have three really young players with Gunner [Olszewski] and Jakobi [Meyers] and now N’Keal. So, it’s kind of a different mix – three veterans, three rookies – and I think those rookies need to rely on the veterans to really show them the way. So, I’m glad that room has provided the leadership that they have. So, we’re going to need everybody. I think that’s what we realize. We’re only at the halfway point of the year, there’s a lot of football left and everybody in each room is really counted on. There’s no wasted space, so everybody has to bring something along with them, and those rookies have to look up to the older guys to show them the way.

Q: We saw you go onto the injury report on Wednesday with a shoulder injury. Was that more of a maintenance day, or were you hurt?

TB: I’m not hurt. I feel good. I’m off the injury report yesterday. I’m a quick healer. Yeah, I feel pretty good. Thank you.

Q: Given the time N’Keal’s missed, would it be too much to expect a lot from him if he is activated and in uniform this weekend?

TB: I mean, whoever’s out there, that’s who I play with. So, I don’t make the decisions, who’s up and who’s down and so forth.

Q: But because of the time missed, would it be tough for him to contribute much in his first game?

TB: I don’t know. You know, it’s tough to project that. You guys can project that. I’m not supposed to be projecting. 

Q: You’re the expert, though. 

TB: You’re right, but I’m not going to tell anybody what I think, certainly, because I think it’s really up to each individual player, and if he’s active and he gets an opportunity, you’ve got to make the plays. But, I don’t know.

Q: It’s been about half the season now, so how’s the helmet working out for you?

TB: It’s been OK. Yeah, it’s been OK.

Q: Have you gotten used to it?

TB: Yeah. Yeah, I’ve gotten used to it.

Q: How’s the second week working with Mohamed been?

TB: Good, good. We’re on a roll. Let’s keep it going, baby.

Q: Visiting the Ravens on the road, what do you think you may be able to learn about your offense, and maybe even your team, at this point?

TB: It’s a tough game. This is one of the best teams in the AFC, and they have been for a long time and they present different challenges. They have a very good offense, a very good defense, special teams, coaching. There’s really no plays off playing on the road. So, it’s tough. Add some cold weather in there, I think it’s going to be what football season is all about. So, two good, hard-nosed football teams that probably have pretty similar styles, that are coached very well and that are playing on a big stage. It’s a very important game for both of us.

Q: Has there been a commonality or identity to the Ravens teams through the years?

TB: Again, they do everything well. So I think it’s not one thing, it’s kind of everything, and the coaches put them in a good position. They’ve had great players – I mean, Hall of Fame players – good schemes, and then good units. They have good players that play well and play within the style of play that their coach asks them to play, and they do a great job.

Q: There was a report that you pushed for Mohamed Sanu behind the scenes. Was this trade deadline an opportunity to voice your preference, or just some of the things you liked about Mohamed before the deal?

TB: I think everybody liked Mohamed. So, yeah. Everybody liked him. Everybody likes him, that’s why he’s here. So, it’s great to have him. I’m excited for him, and again, the more we work together, the better it’s going to be. It’s hard to be on the same page within a week, so we’re just going to try to communicate through things and talk through them. There’s a lot of things that come up in that game, practice, past games, things that he’s done, things that we’ve done that – football’s a game about anticipation. So, the good part is that a veteran player, you know how to play football. It’s not like a rookie that they don’t know what the real expectation is. I mean, he’s been a part of some great offenses, so it’s really incorporating him into what we do and him learning the terminology, so that he can play fast and we can play with anticipation together. And then he’s running the routes where I expect them to be, so I can play with anticipation. And then you gain trust, then you gain confidence. And then once you gain confidence, you can go out and execute really well. So, it’s hard to skip anything in that process. It’s just a reality of football. If you try to think that it’s going to come together in a day or two, those are probably unrealistic expectations. But, every time we go out there, we’re trying to be a little bit better and lead to better execution.

Q: Jimmy Garoppolo got another win last night and Jacoby Brissett’s putting together a nice season. Has the “wolf pack” stayed in touch this year?

TB: Yeah, definitely. Definitely kept in touch. Those guys are doing a great job, so it’s been fun to watch them. I always keep in touch with all the guys that I’ve played with. So, Matt Cassel’s doing media around here now. That’s pretty interesting, yeah. But obviously, Brian Hoyer and Jacoby are together, and Jimmy. So, we’ve had some great groups and those guys are doing a great job. So, happy for them.

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