Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick
November 27, 2022
BB: Alright, we’ve been looking here at the Bills. Obviously, it’s a really good football team. They do pretty much everything well. Good on offense, good on defense, good on special teams. Lead, or close to leading the league in a lot of categories, in all areas. It’s obvious you can see why they’re a good football team. Brandon [Beane] and Sean [McDermott] have put together a really good roster. Most of it’s what it was last year, but they’ve added a few key guys, draft choices and a handful of veteran players. Really, really solid team, but they’re explosive offensively. [Josh] Allen’s the leading rusher, so that tells you all you need to know about what you have to defend every time he touches the ball, it could be any number of things and does them all well. Great player, certainly an MVP candidate. He does a lot for their team in a lot of ways. Good skill players, solid on the offensive line, good defense, takeaways, rush the passer, good team speed, play smart, good in the kicking game. Added [Nyheim] Hines, some good coverage players. Had to change the punter from last year, but other than that it’s a lot of some of the core guys, plus the return situation. Good team, know we’re going to need to play our best game and that’s what we’re going to prepare to do this week.
Q: Today is Wednesday, is it a traditional one or do you sort of divvy up today and tomorrow?
BB: Yeah, today is Wednesday.
Q: Seems like [Matt] Milano’s role keeps expanding every year for them, what makes him such a tough defender?
BB: Yeah, he’s a smart player. I mean I think he does about what he’s been doing. They haven’t changed a lot in terms of what they do. They have a good scheme, they now have a number of things they can do, and they just keep doing those and do them well. Yeah, he’s a versatile player for them with [Tremaine] Edmonds, blitzes, covers, he’s athletic and smart.
Q: Coach, I know it’s a completely new team, but is there anything you can take from the playoff game a year ago?
BB: There’s plenty we can take from it.
Q: Hey Bill, you talked about playing your best game on Thursday and that means avoiding penalties and avoiding mistakes. I did a dive on your penalties and found something unusual for your tenure here. Right now, at this time of year, you’re tenth in the league in terms of most penalty yards. I’m wondering if this is just a year that for some reason the message is not getting through to some of the players in terms of mistakes and penalties at this time of the year?
BB: Yeah, well we didn’t have any penalties last week offensively in Minnesota. We’re one of the least penalized teams in the league defensively. We’ve had a couple penalties in the last couple of weeks, but we’ve been low penalties in the kicking game this year. And I think we’re one of the least penalized teams defensively this year and then last week we didn’t have any offensive penalties in Minnesota. You tell me.
Q: Like you said, I saw you’re in tenth and that’s just unusual during your tenure here to be that up high at this time of the year.
BB: We’ve never coached penalties. Not high on defensive penalties.
Q: Coach, when you look at their offense now with Coach [Ken] Dorsey running things instead of Coach [Brian] Daboll, is there any major differences to you or is it just kind of the same?
BB: There’s a few subtle things, but I’d say basically the same offense. It’s a lot of the same things. Which I don’t know why you’d change much. They’ve had a lot of success.
Q: Bill, going back to the spring and the offseason, the decision to streamline the offense I know was dependent on a number of different factors. Was one of them just the success Buffalo has had defensively against you guys since McDermott taking over, I think you’re averaging under 20 points per game against them?
BB: Yeah, I mean I don’t know about the whole spring conversation. Just try to do what’s best for our team.
Q: I know we’ve spoken a lot about Rhamondre’s [Stevenson] improvement in the passing game this season, but over the last five, six weeks, he’s first in the NFL among running backs in receptions. How much has he been able to help you guys out in that area, especially over this last month or so?
BB: Yeah, he’s done a good job, continues to do a good job. Pass protection, he’s had a couple of really good plays in pass protection, James White level plays. Seeing things, making adjustments, that kind of thing. He’s been a big help for us in that area of the game and whether it’s been blitz pickup, flare control, catching the ball, all of the above.
Q: Staying with Rhamondre, Jason Garrett mentioned on the NBC broadcast in your production meeting you compared, in his words, Rhamondre’s growth and development in such a short span to Tom Brady’s and Lawrence Taylor’s. If that’s true, can you expand upon that?
BB: I’m not sure. You’d have to talk to Jason [Garrett] about that.
Q: Well, that was his claim that what you said.
BB: Yeah, I don’t really remember it quite that way.
Q: Was that inaccurate?
BB: Yeah, I don’t – I mean not the way you phrased that. I don’t remember it quite that way. No.
Q: How do you remember it?
BB: I mean you’re talking about players who play completely different positions.
Q: Stefon Diggs looks like he does everything at an elite level. What do you see from him?
BB: He’s good at everything. Good with the ball in his hands, attacks the defense at all three levels, playing with a great quarterback. It’s a good combination.
Q: What about [Gabe] Davis?
BB: Big, strong guy. Hard to tackle. Big target, fast. 98-yard touchdown, I mean you’ve got to respect his big play ability. Those two guys complement each other well, [Dawson] Knox, [Isaiah] McKenzie. I mean Allen makes it all go. Those guys are open, they make big plays. Sometimes they’re not open, or something happens, and he makes big plays on his own. So, they’re hard to defend.
Q: With Von Miller out, would you expect them to change anything? He’s a great player obviously. Would you expect to face the same defense and maybe just not have to account for him the way you would normally do?
BB: Yeah, they’ve had a lot of players play on their defense in the last five years. Schematically it’s pretty similar from week-to-week, from year-to-year. I mean they obviously tweak it by game plan.
Do a little more of this against one team or a little more of that against somebody else. But they don’t change really what they do. Whether it was Jerry Hughes or – they play a lot of people anyway. So, their line, they play, I don’t know, depending on the health of the team they probably roll eight guys through there. Left formation, right formation, slot formation, they line up where they line up and they play hard.
Q: Josh Allen leads the league in interceptions, is there anything to read into that number?
BB: No. We haven’t had one in a while. Hope we get one. But he makes a lot of great plays. Like every player, every play’s not perfect. But he’s got a lot of really good plays. So, try to stop those.
Q: How do you feel your guys are doing physically with the third game in 17 days coming up?
BB: They’re working through it, yeah. I think we have that many players that, a couple of guys we’ll see where they’re at. Most everybody else will be ready to go. It’s the end of November, it’s the start of December so everybody’s been banged up at this point in the year in the National Football League. That’s what this league is.
Q: When it comes to their pass defense, they’ve been top of the league for years now it seems like in pass defense. What stands out to you about their system and just schematically how they play it on the back end?
BB: Again, I don’t see a lot of changes in terms of schematics. There’s a couple of different players in there for different reasons but they have a good pass rush. When they get the lead, which they have had the lead a lot, play from ahead, crank the pass rush up. It’s not an ideal passing situation. So try to stay out of long yardage. Try to stay from having to throw the ball on every down in the second half type of thing. Which they’ve gotten some teams into that situation. It’s hard. But their players are good. They’re instinctive. They don’t give up a lot of big plays. They make you earn it, and they have a good pass rush.
Q: Jerod [Mayo] mentioned yesterday that Josh [Allen] can sometimes turn plays into his term “street ball” which seemed to reference that when you say he kind of creates plays on his own. Are there any defensive rules for when the play breaks down and kind of extends into what Jerod called “street ball?”
BB: There are always rules. Absolutely. Yep.
Q: Is it just kind of plaster or is there any more you can offer on that?
BB: It would depend on what the coverage is that we’re in is. Depend on what the rush is. It would depend on what type of loose play you’re talking about here. So it would fall into different categories depending on what the situation was. Scrambled up the middle, if he scrambled outside, if it was man coverage, zone coverage, pressure defense. Where a player was playing, interior, on the edge, in the deep part of the filed, in the underneath coverage. Yeah, there’s something for different guys that fall into those categories. We don’t know who that’s going to be. Could be a linebacker, could be a safety, it could be an end, it could an interior player, it could be I don’t know. So depending on where you are and what happens on the play, then yes. There’s absolutely rules to try to maintain the soundness of the defense. But it wouldn’t be the same in man coverages and zone coverage. Wouldn’t be the same if you’re an inside player or an outside player. It wouldn’t be the same if you were in the deep part of the field or you had a short zone. It would be different for every player just depending on where you are and what happened. So yeah absolutely.
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