Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick Transcript


August 20, 2022


Q: I wanted to ask you a little bit about the running back room and the type of depth that you’re seeing there this year and also what are you looking for in regard to continue development from Damien [Harris} and Rhamondre [Stevenson]?

BB: Well, the first thing about that group’s – I think you’re right. I think it is a competitive group. They’ve all been out there which has been a good thing. They’ve gotten reps on a daily basis and as usual I think the backs have different skill sets. Some guys do some things better than others and vice versa. Combining all the skills the backs need to play for us or to play in the league inside of tackle running, space running, protections, route running, situational plays, there really is quite a variety of things. They’re involved in every play. There are a lot of different skills they need and a lot of different responsibilities. I think Vinnie’s [Sunseri] done a real good job with the group. They’ve come along well. We’re working to see what the best combinations are and also evaluate the players as they compete against each other for play time and roles on the team. But it’s a very competitive spot.


Q: When you get to this time of the year and obviously cuts are looming, can you just expand a little bit upon what your process is and how you go about determining different factors that lead to how a player can help you or if you need to move in a different direction?


BB: The process is really simple, put together the best team that you can and that’s a lot of things can go into consideration there, but in the end, you just try to balance your team out and put the best group you can out there. You have to consider all the if it’s an offensive player all the offensive situations, his role in the kicking game, your depth at that position. A lot of times it comes down to you want to carry a player at a certain position for depth, to have a certain number of players at a particular position, but you have a player who’s just maybe has out performed as just a total football player which is an extra guy at another position that you — it’s an extra guy. But he’s played better than the player you’re considering at a position of numbers need and depth. So that’s always a tough decision. Do you let the better player go, or do you let the player go and lack depth at a position. So I’d say those are the tougher ones. But we’re not there yet. We’re a ways off from that. We’ll just be going down to 80 this week, so we still have more time to work through that.


Q: Just wondering if when last night you said that you expect everybody to be available this week except for Kristian Wilkerson were you including Tyquan Thornton in that? I know he got injured last night. I wasn’t sure if there was an update on that?

BB: Yeah I didn’t have any updates on any of the players last night. So as I said last night, I think I clarified that, I said at this point in time and from what we knew going into the game that’s what it was. But, as always, we’ll see what happens after the game. I don’t know.


Q: Wanted to ask you about Brendan Schooler and his development in the kicking game you’ve seen since he’s come in.

BB: Sure. He did a good job at Texas. That’s where we noticed him and signed him as a free agent after the draft. I think some of the things we’ve seen this year in the kicking game are the same things he showed at Texas, versatility, speed, play speed, aggressiveness, instincts in coverage. So that’s shown up. There’s still a lot of things he needs to improve on and understand that this game is a little bit different than the college kicking game. But he’s done a good job at adapting to those and has shown up and made a couple of plays for us in the kicking game. But, it’s a good opportunity for him to work with some very, very good players at his position, [Matthew] Slater in particular, Cody Davis and Justin [Bethel] and other players like that that are very good special teams players. But he’s had an opportunity to play and has been competitive and so we will continue to evaluate him in those roles and see what we have.


Q: I want to ask you just about next week and looking ahead to the Raiders and what it’s going to be like once again having Josh [McDaniels] on the other side as opposed to right next to you as it has been for a number of years here? 

BB: Well it’s a great opportunity for our football team. Josh and I have spoken multiple times through the spring and training camp and most recently about setting things up here. So, I think we have a good practice plan and opportunity for both teams to work together to improve our team and to evaluate our team and evaluate the players. So that’s what we’re both planning on doing and I look forward to it.


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