Patriots HC Bill Belichick



DECEMBER 3, 2023   


BB: Some missed opportunities here today. I thought all the guys played really hard. We moved the ball, but we’re on a long field. Just really didn’t do a good job of field position. Couldn’t play the complementary game that we needed to play. Chargers did a couple times, got their six points, and obviously that was enough. Just got to do a better job – we’ve talked about it all year, making plays in critical situations that we need to make. That’s really about it. Multiple plays you can point to on that. In the end, just obviously wasn’t enough. We’ve got to find a way to make those.


Q: Bill, with your offense being inconsistent, was there any talk between you and your coaching staff about possibly going to Malik Cunningham as a change of pace, as a spark?

BB: We did what we thought was best.


Q: With the offense, just how do you explain what’s continuously gone wrong here for this group?

BB: Just tried to do that. Sorry that wasn’t good enough.


Q: What went into the decision to start Bailey Zappe over Mac Jones?

BB: I thought he deserved it.


Q: Was it something that he did, or do you feel as though Mac hasn’t delivered on what you were hoping to get?

BB: I think he deserved it.


Q: Do you feel as though organizationally you’ve left Mac down a little bit? Third year, first round quarterback, now he’s on the bench?

BB: Just try to put the best team we can out there every week.


Q: Hi, Bill. We saw Tyquan Thornton get a little more into the offense today. He had one play that worked out, one that didn’t. What did you see from him today, and what more do you want to see from him?

BB: I’d like to see all our skill players be more productive when they get the opportunity to do that. It’s obvious.


Q: How surprised are you at the lack of production from the offense?

BB: I don’t know.


Q: What do you identify as maybe some of the missteps that have contributed to the offense not producing this season?

BB: I just answered that question.


Q: I guess I’m trying to figure –

BB: That’s end of the season review. We’re talking about the game. Game is just over. Happy to talk about the game. I made my comments on it. I’m not going to get into a full season review. If that’s what you’re asking, then no.


Q: I think the reason I was asking is because it’s just hard to fathom how the offense has dipped from where we saw it at the end of last year. This is the way we communicate with you to fans who are curious with the same question?

BB: I just told you what I thought about the game. We moved the ball, didn’t make enough plays to score. We got into scoring range and weren’t able to convert those into points.


Q: With the offense struggling, was there ever any consideration to putting Mac in the game?

BB: We did what we thought was best in the game.


Q: Players have mentioned it’s a team game. They’re professionals. They signed up for this. But on a human level, what do you say to these guys when they have three pretty incredible performances and the team isn’t able to pull out a win? How do you keep those guys motivated and engaged?

BB: I think I just answered that question. Come to work every day, do the best that we can, try to get better. That’s what we’re going to do.


Q: Bill, what led you to believe that keeping Malik Cunningham on the sideline for the entire game was in the best interests of the team?

BB: We had times where we got things going. We wanted to try to stay with what we were doing.


Q: You mentioned Bailey Zappe deserved to play, in your opinion. What did he show you to earn that responsibility?

BB: He’s worked hard all year.


Q: So was it just until recently that he had shown you that he deserved the job, or was that something that he may have deserved earlier than today?

BB: I said that he’s worked hard all year, and I thought he deserved a chance to play. We made that decision last week.


Q: Why not make that move sooner in the season?

BB: Because we gave Mac [Jones] the opportunity to work through his progression with the offense. Obviously we hadn’t had a lot of production. I thought Bailey deserved a chance to play, so he played today.


Q: Bill, do you want to stay here and keep coaching the Patriots?

BB: I’m looking forward to this week, getting ready for the Steelers.


Q: Down 6-0 with seven minutes to go, you’re on the 30-yard line. Did you consider going for the field goal there to try to cut it to 6-3 instead of going for it on fourth down?  

BB: Kicking conditions weren’t great out there today, especially on those long field goals. They were tough in pregame. So, no, we thought we had a better chance – I think it would have been a tough kick.


Q: Is Bailey Zappe going to start on Thursday?

BB: We just finished the game.


Q: You said before –

BB: Yeah, well, we just finished the game. I didn’t even start on Pittsburgh yet.


Q: Was there a specific plan for Malik Cunningham coming into this game when you did elevate him?

BB: Plan for Malik if we put him in there, do the things that he does and be ready to go.


Q: If you guys had gotten into the red zone, would he have entered the game?

BB: There’s a million hypothetical questions that we could talk about. What happened, happened.


Q: What do you think of the job Bill O’Brien has done with the offense and specifically today?

BB: I think we all need to find a way to be more productive, and that’s what we’re trying to do.


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