Postgame Transcript – WK6 CLE – Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick (10.16.22)


Opening statement:

“Good team win for us here on the road. We got a lot of contributions from everybody – offense, defense, special teams. We played some complimentary football. We were able to make plays on defense or in the kicking game and then convert those on offense. It was good. The players really competed hard. Obviously, they had a hard time with (Browns DE Myles) Garrett. He’s tough. Then the penalties in the first half offensively put us in some long yardage situations. Even in the third quarter, some of those long yardage situations that we’ve got to try to avoid. In the end, good complimentary football. Got some turnovers. We were able to make some plays in the kicking game. Another five or six fourth down plays to the 2-point conversion. It seems like that’s becoming a theme here defensively. You’ve got to be ready to tackle those. Got some contributions from some of our younger players here today. (RB Pierre) Strong (Jr.), (RB Damien) Harris, got a chance to play; (WR Tyquan) Thornton. They had good plays for us. (OL Cole) Strange – he’s been doing that for us all year. (QB Bailey) Zappe hung in there. Good team win. Big week coming up here. Good to come into Cleveland and win.”


On tying George Halas for second on the all-time win list in the NFL:

“You can’t win games in this league without good players. I’m very fortunate to have coached a lot of great players and have had a lot of great coaches on my staff through the years. A lot of those guys have gone on to have tremendous careers and players obviously – many of them are Patriots Hall of Fame or NFL Hall of Fame, or are going to be. Winning games in this league is about having good players and I’m very fortunate to have a lot of them. I had them in New York. I had them in Cleveland. I have them here.”


On telling the players to go back onto the field before boarding the busses, to look at some of the names in the Cleveland Browns Ring of Honor, and what they meant to the NFL:

“Yeah. Thanks. I told them after the game. As many know, our players are very active in social justice and inequality and things like that. I told them how important five of those names are. All of them are great players up there and great people up there, so I’m not saying that. But there’s five that to me really absolutely stand out on the Mount Rushmore of this conversation. Paul Brown for reintegrating the NFL. He came into the NFL through the All-American Conference with Bill Willis and Marion Motley. So those three. Then of course Ozzie Newsome being one of the first black players in Alabama and one of the great ones. Great player. Great general manager. Great person. Then of course, the great Jim Brown. He kind of stands above everybody with what he’s done for equality, what he stands for, what he was as a football player, what he is as a man. Paul Brown took a lot of courage to do what he did. Took a lot of courage to do what Willis and Motley did. Lot of courage to do what Ozzie did. It took a lot of courage for Jim Brown to do what he did. I told them I thought they should go out there and just think for a minute about some of the sacrifices that those guys made. Not just on the field. Not just as players, but as people and for what they stood for. Thanks for the question.”


On it sounding like winning here is special:

“It’s good to win every week. Good to win every week. It’s great to win every week. Today is a win, so I’m happy. I was happy last week when we beat Detroit. It’s hard to win in this league.”


On the defense standing up against the Browns running game:

“The Browns have a great running game. That’s what we talked about all week. They’re very well coached. They are extremely well coached, as good as anybody we see. Outstanding offensive line. Obviously (Browns G Joel) Bitonio is the go-to guy there but all five guys are good. The tight ends are good. (Browns RB Nick) Chubb is just a heck of a back. So are the other two guys. But Chubb is as good as we see. Again, give the players credit. There’s no one guy that can stop them. That’s everybody doing their job. Defeating blocks, tackling, pursuing the ball, just being disciplined and being sound because Chubb has very good vision. He finds openings. He hit us on a couple in the second half where he got through for a couple decent runs, but overall, to kind of halfway keep him in check was a great job by our defensive coaches. Not only the front seven, but we had a couple players in the secondary with tackle to keep those seven or eight yard runs from going to 50, which he has plenty of those. So it’s a good job by them.”


On the defense not being surprised when Browns TE Pharaoh Brown become a factor in the first half and whether he knew he would play a role in this game:

“Yeah. I mean, they used three tight ends against us last year. Last year if you remember on the opening drive, they kind of took it right down the field. They went no-huddle, got into some empty formations out of their big personnel, so that’s something they hurt us with before. I’m not surprised that they came back with it. We were in a zone, so they could throw it if they wanted to.”


On being impressed with QB Bailey Zappe’s intellect and if that is contributing to his success:

“Yeah, I mean again, he learns everyday, whether it’s practice, or meetings, or game experiences. He has pretty good instincts, but there is a lot for him to learn. There are things today that he learned from and he was able to take advantage of and make a couple plays. He had the opportunity. Again, it’s all performance. It’s not turning the ball over or a strip sack.  It’s a good thing. We just had trouble obviously with (Browns DE) Myles Garrett. We tried to double him as much as we could and he still got us.”


On what comes to mind when he hears George Halas:

“George Halas, Paul Brown, I probably shouldn’t make that list. They were my idols. Coach Halas was again a friend of my dad’s. My dad knew people on the staff that coached for Coach Halas. He coached Bill Wade at Vanderbilt, so they had a lot of Chicago-Halas connections. When they came to Baltimore, we would go to the locker room after the game, stuff like that. They were always very gracious and generous. They let me hang around and stuff like that. A ton of respect for Coach Halas and the McCaskey family, and what he did for professional football and the way that he – and since we’re here, Paul Brown – and others like that paved the way for us as coaches and paved the way for the National Football League to grow into what it is today. They laid a lot of the building blocks.”


On the penalties in the first half:

“We could do a better job of coaching it. Let’s start there.”


On the 3rd and 10 call and RB Rhamondre Stevenson capitalizing on the Browns aggressiveness:

“They were in a defense that they’ve used before where they had everybody up on the line of scrimmage to make it look like it was going to be a pressure call. Then, when we snapped the ball, they had two or three guys kind of bail out and looked like they lost a little bit of their gap integrity on the 3rd and 11 or 3rd and 12, whatever it was. When Rhamondre split it, then he just had that great run in the secondary and turned a six or seven yard run into a 30-yard touchdown. I don’t know what it was. We kind of got through the line there and then once he broke the line of scrimmage, it was a great run by Stevenson.”


On capitalizing off turnovers:

“Yeah, that complimentary football is what we need to play. We need to do that. We need to play good defense, play good in the kicking game, good field position, then the offense to capitalize on it. Offensively, keep the defense from being on a short field. Stop turning the ball over. You can’t make them punt it and put them on a long field. Give the defense a chance to play defense. Some of the things we didn’t do well earlier in the year, we do a better job of now. Hopefully we can do them.”


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