Head Coach Bill Belichick – Press Conference
August 12, 2022
Q: Morning Coach. I wanted to ask you about the joint practices next week with the Panthers. I know in the past you’ve worked with coaches that you’ve had a relationship with and when you’re working with someone new, is it important to find someone who runs kind of a similar schedule as you, or is it more beneficial to maybe work with someone who has a different schedule, so you can kind of bounce ideas off each other and just how that comes together?
BB: Yeah, certainly it’s a little bit easier working with somebody that we’ve worked with. You know, Matt [Patricia] in Detroit, Joe [Judge] in New York, Josh [McDaniels] now in Vegas. So those are pretty clean, cause we’re pretty much doing the same thing. So it’s easy to mesh together. When you work with a team that you’re not as familiar with, like Philadelphia last year or Carolina this year, then, yeah, definitely, it’s important to be on the same page with the other head coach and their organization on what they’re looking for and what they’re trying to do. So, I feel real comfortable working with Matt [Rhule] like we did last year with the Philadelphia Eagles, and we’ve talked about it several times. We talked about it last year, then we talked about it at other points along the way, at owner’s meetings, Indy, things like that, so it actually worked out this year and I’m looking forward to it. I think it’ll be a great work week for us and it’s a team that’s – the good side of working with coaches that you know or you’ve worked with, is the scheduling and things like that. But a lot of times their style of play has some similarities to ours. In this case, that in Philadelphia was another example where that really wasn’t the case. Those teams will do things quite a bit differently than we do and so we’ll see different matchups, different schemes and things like that. So, I think there’s benefit to both, but yeah, you certainly want a good working relationship with the other organization and coach and so with last year, with Coach [Nick] Sirianni, this year with Coach Rhule we feel great about working with those guys. They’ve been great in the process so far. I’m sure it’ll be good this week.
Q: I wanted to ask you how much you feel Tyquan Thornton has improved as a route runner since he’s come to the team. I’m sure there’s some carry over what he did in college to what he’s doing now. But I’m just curious how you’ve seen him grow in that regard?
BB: I think all of our rookie players have improved since they’ve been here and they all have a long way to go and we’re just kind of scratching the surface here. So, we’ve just got a lot of work to do with everybody but they’re better than they were certainly back in May and it’s just a day-by-day process.
Q: With that route that he ran last night, it does look like from what we see at training camp, it looks like that’s something pretty similar to what we see receivers run quite a bit, just kind of in some drills before team periods start, is that encouraging to see, a young player like that, maybe take something that, that he’s done in practice several times and take it into a game situation?
BB: Yeah, of course. Yeah. That’s why we practice, is to try to get good at things that’ll help us in the game.
Q: Is he somebody that you could envision using inside or I guess what kinds of skills has he shown that maybe would allow him to work inside as well?
BB: Yeah, I mean, we’ll see. I wouldn’t rule anything in or out for anybody. We’ll do whatever we think is best for the team, but it’s hard to take rookie players and work at them in a whole bunch of different positions. It’s hard enough to get good at one position then you start playing, [Cole] Strange at center, both guards and tackle and Thornton at two or three receiver spots and DBs, play them all over the place. I don’t personally think that’s a great way to develop fundamentals until the player shows the competence at one spot to be able to do something else, not saying he would never do it, but I just don’t think starting with guys playing two, three different positions, plus the kicking game, plus all of situational football that comes in, trying to get him to do a thousand different things. He hasn’t even played an NFL game yet. That’s not really the process that I would want to put the player into, unless there was some special circumstance for it.
Q: You mentioned previously that you and Cam [Achord] would be tracking how the construction around the stadium would be changing environmental factors, especially with the kicking game. Having had some practices in the stadium and a full game last night. What have you seen has changed playing inside the stadium with the construction, changing some elements of it?
BB: Yeah, I think the wind patterns will be different and definitely are different. Certainly didn’t see them last night. There was no wind. That’s about as still as it’s going be in that stadium and probably the calmest day that we’ve had in any practice so far in training camp. So we didn’t really learn much last night, but yeah, we go into kick in the stadium on a regular basis when it’s available and we learn more about it every day. So, maybe we’ll get more wind in the Carolina game. If we do, we do. If we don’t, we don’t. We can’t control that, but we didn’t really have any last night.
Q: Talking to Myles Bryant after the game last night, he noted that that was the first time he’d returned a punt in a game since 2015 since he was back in high school. Just curious what led you to give him a shot in that role. I know it’s something he’s been doing now for a couple months going back to OTAs.
BB: Yeah, well, I mean Gunner [Olszewski] returned punts for the last three years. So, he took a lot of reps and a lot of snaps back there, but Myles is, as you said, been doing it during the spring, the summer. He’s shown a good ability to track and catch the ball. We know Myles has good quickness and he is a good decision maker, which is a lot in that position and made a couple of nice plays last night, so he’s worked hard for that opportunity, earned it and then did something with it. So, all really encouraging things, but I mean, that’s kind of typical of Myles. That’s kind of the way he is and the kid he is. He’s a very diligent, hard-working kid that always gives you his best efforts, a smart instinctive football player and he’s had a lot of different roles for us defensively and again, grown into those. Just falling back on the Thornton question, it wasn’t like he did all that two weeks into training camp, but he’s evolved into a very versatile player for us on defense and in the kicking game and he took advantage of an opportunity last night and that’s something that all young players and we’ll point it out, but I mean, it’s obvious, you get an opportunity to do something and you take advantage of it.
Q: We talked with Cole Strange last night and he had said an emphasis for him has been not hesitating as he gets into his block sometimes, something he did in college. Did you see any of that from Cole last night on the two drives that he played?
BB: Yeah, I mean look, Cole does some, like a lot of our young players last night, Cole did a lot of good things. You could say that about several of our rookies. There’s certainly things he can improve on, things he can recognize and the next time he sees them, I’m sure he’ll do them better. So there’s good things and then there’s certainly coaching points and kind of little things and technique things that the Giants did that our defense doesn’t do, or we haven’t seen from our defense that we can all learn from. So that’s the good thing about these games, is getting those player’s experience, to see things that we don’t do, we haven’t seen before and seeing them at game speed and hopefully the next time we’ll be able to execute some of those things better. But yeah, I mean, overall, he’s coming along and making good progress and I’m sure that was a good experience for him last night, like it was for all our rookies, hopefully they can build on it going forward.
Q: And then correct me if I’m wrong. I couldn’t remember a game at preseason or regular season, which you guys never ran a snap of play action. Was that just a choice just to play vanilla in the preseason, kind of keep it simple with what you’re doing here and you’re obviously preseason debut?
BB: Yeah. Well, with what the Giants were doing, there’s a lot of reasons for some of the things that we did just to try to manage the game. So, just leave it at that.
Q: Just sort of on the topic of guys showing a little bit of versatility in the kicking game. I don’t think Tre Nixon did a lot of that in college, but it looked like he was in on a few different units last night. So I just wanted to hear from you as to how you feel he’s coming along in that phase of the game?
BB: Yeah. Same thing. Same thing we talked about with Myles, hardworking kid, tough kid, looking for an opportunity, has worked hard, got an opportunity. This is the time to take advantage of those opportunities, whether it’s in the return game, as it was for Tre and Myles or whether it’s in other phases of the kicking game as a coverage player or blocker on the return team. You can have one returner, so sometimes those players work in both spots. They return, they also play up in the return part of the formation, the vice or whatever it is. So, guys that show the aptitude in practice to be competitive in those situations, earn the opportunity to play in the game and show what they can do. So Tre would certainly fall into that category. Nobody works harder than he does. He’s one of hardest working players on the team.
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