Patriots HC Bill Belichick


December 17, 2023


Q: Was J.C. Jackson available today?

BB: No.


Q: What happened that he was active for the game but wasn’t available?

BB: He wasn’t available.


Q: Why was he active for the game?

BB: He wasn’t available. Just leave it at that.


Q: Just thoughts on what you saw from your team? Obviously continued to fight once you got down. How important was that turnover with Bailey Zappe there in the third quarter?

BB: Yeah, well, there were a lot of big plays in the game. Yeah, we got a couple turnovers, had one called back, another touchdown called back. There’s a number of key plays in the game that could have helped us a little more than the way they turned out. But it’s competitive. They’re a good football team. They’re well-coached. Obviously got a lot of good players. Can’t give them any extra opportunities.


Q: Fourth and two, you elect to go for it. Bailey Zappe throws the touchdown pass to Hunter Henry. What went into the decision to go for it on fourth down? What was the feeling on the sidelines after the payoff of the touchdown?

BB: We felt that was the right thing to do at that point in time. Felt like we had a good play. Bailey made a good throw. Hunter made a good catch. Just felt like we had a good play.


Q: You went for it early in the game, fourth and two, got the touchdown. Later in the game, early fourth quarter, fourth and three, near midfield, you decided to punt. What went into that decision? Any thought to go for it there?

BB: Yeah, before we got the interception.


Q: I think you’re down by 17, it was fourth and three.

BB: Then we got the interception, right. At that point we had lost three starters. Worried about the pass protection. Worried about being able to execute in that situation. Felt like we were playing good defense. Get the ball back on a turnover, three-and-out, get the ball in better field position.


Q: Last three minutes you had called a timeout to get the ball back. You’re working from your own end zone. Seemed to huddle, substitute a lot. One of the offensive players in the locker room lamented about the tempo that ran the clock down to two minutes. Were you okay with the tempo there down 10?

BB: We ended up in a check play there. I mean, we could have gone quicker.


Q: We saw you come out and check on Cole Strange when he went down. How tough was it to lose him? Do you have an update on him?

BB: Yeah, it was tough to lose him. It’s tough to lose Conor [McDermott]. Tough to lose Hunter [Henry]. Kind of at the end there we were not – I would say we didn’t feel like we were able to do probably what we should have done in that situation. At the end of the game I’m talking about.


Q: How would you assess Bailey Zappe’s performance today?

BB: Yeah, I’ll take a look at it on film. Can’t watch everybody out there.


Q: Do you have any update on Hunter Henry and are you expecting to possibly lose him for a long time?

BB: Don’t have any update. Game was just over.


Q: The fourth down decision, you thought it was fourth down from your own 33. There was another series previous to that. It was the first set of plays you had in the fourth quarter. Same decision making for you in terms of the injuries and not wanting to go for it there on fourth-and-three on your own 42?

BB: It’s not a question of not wanting to go for it, it’s a question of doing what you feel like is best at that point in time.


Q: Was that related to the injuries like you mentioned for the previous situation?

BB: There’s a lot of things that go into a decision. It’s not one thing.


Q: In response to a previous question, the first couple things you mentioned were related to the officiating and calls that obviously didn’t go your way. Did you feel that the officiating in this game was perhaps worse than in previous games? You appeared to be more frustrated throughout the course of the game than usual.

BB: Yeah, I didn’t say that. We talked about some big – Dan asked the key plays in the game, I rattled off a few of them. I’d say those were big plays in the game. Touchdown called back. Turnover called back. Interception. I mean, there was a number of things. Both teams missed field goals. Big plays in the game. Scoring plays.


Q: Alex Austin said in the locker room that he wasn’t expecting to start until pregame. How did he handle that situation? How tough is that on a player to be thrust into a starting role like that?

BB: Well, I mean, we all know that when a game starts, anything can happen. Happened a little bit before that. He was ready to play, expected to play. Played a lot, so. Talked about that before, it’s everybody’s job to be ready to go. That’s what we do.


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