PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
September 8, 2019
BB: Well, it’s always good to start off the season like that. I thought our guys really did a great job in preparing for a really good Pittsburgh team. We just played well across the board – offense, defense, special teams. We made plays in all three phases of the game, got good field position out of the kicking game and moved the ball and scored points on offense and held them to three points on defense. Just give the players the credit. They were ready to go. They played well. We’ll turn the page here and move on to Miami, where obviously we haven’t done very well down there. We’ve got a big week in front of us. It’s good to get off to a good start, a long way to go, a lot of things we can still keep working on and get better at, but the players were ready to go tonight. They did a good job.
Q: Can you talk about the sequence there in the second quarter where the defense was able to get some stops and then open it up a bit offensively?
BB: Yeah, I thought our defensive players played well across the board. It’s hard to get to [Ben] Roethlisberger. He does a good job back there, but I thought we were around him and covered well, tackled well. Again, this is a very good group of skill players. Our players really competed hard against them today. We had a couple of big third-down stops, fourth-down stops, a stop down around the goal line. We made some big plays when we had to.
Q: When things unfold the way they did with Kyle Van Noy and he becomes unavailable to you, what is the trickle-down effect of that personnel wise?
BB: Yeah, well we had planned on having five outside linebackers active, so fortunately that was a position we have pretty good depth at, so the four guys there – [Shilique] Calhoun, [Chase], Winovich, [John] Simon and Jamie [Collins] – they did a good job. I mean, they all played and I think they all played fairly well on defense as a group. But it was fortunate that we had some depth there. But look, that could happen on the first play of a game anyway, so you always have to be ready for that, but our guys responded to it well. They did a great job.
Q: What might Antonio Brown add to this offense? Is there anything you can tell us about the decision to reportedly sign him?
BB: Yeah, no, I’ll talk about the game and the players that are on our team. I thought they did a great job tonight. Offensively we had some balance and made some big plays, had a couple of big throws down the field for touchdowns and big gains. Anytime you can get those explosive plays that helps open things up.
Q: Can you talk about the evolution of Phillip Dorsett in this offense?
BB: Yeah, well, Phil has got a lot of speed. He can definitely stretch the field and we’ve seen him make those big plays before. We’ve seen it in practice. He had some big catches for us and, again, that opened up some other things offensively as well. Tom [Brady] did a great job, solid coverage, hit him. I mean, sometimes those are the toughest throws for a quarterback when a guy is wide open running down the middle of the field, but he put it right on him. Phil’s done a good job for us, been out there every day. He’s a tough kid that’s been very dependable. Smart, plays all the positions and has come through for us in a lot of big games.
Q: How big of an impact in it on the offensive line when Marcus Cannon goes down to injury and it causes now two guys to move positions in order to fill that spot?
BB: Yeah, well, most teams take seven offensive linemen to the game. That’s what we had. Obviously, if something happens you’ve got to make a move somewhere. You can’t back up every position. Somebody’s got to move.
Q: The last couple of seasons the defense has started a bit slow. Do you feel that this group is ahead this year in terms of their understanding and level of execution?
BB: Yeah, I don’t know. We’ve got 15 games to go. We’ll see what we do this week in Miami. We’ll just take it one game at a time.
Q: What did you see from Tom Brady in terms of his chemistry with Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon, two receivers he didn’t get to work much with during the preseason?
BB: Well, as I said, we made a lot of plays offensively. There’s still, I think, a lot of room for improvement across the board. Those guys will work hard at it, as they always do. Hopefully, we’ll continue to be productive.
Q: Do you have any comment on the reports of Antonio Brown signing?
BB: No. Next.
Q: The offensive game plan seemed very intricate tonight. Can you talk a little bit about the game plan that Josh McDaniels installed and the way it was executed?
BB: Yeah, Josh always does a great job of utilizing the players that are available, putting them in great positions and attacking the defense. Every week is a little bit of a different challenge based on the scheme and the players that we’re up against, but Josh does a great job of organizing the game plan, play-calling, making adjustments in the game. I thought he did a great job tonight. The players did a great job executing. We took care of the ball. We had a lot of positive plays. It was a good outing.
Q: How nice was it to finally see Isaiah Wynn out there in his first regular-season game?
BB: Yeah, well, it’s been great to see him out there all training camp. Each week it’s been a little bit more. He’s a good football player. I’m glad we have him. I’m glad he got to play all night tonight.
Q: Could you feel the energy of the crowd at all tonight at the start of the game?
BB: I thought the crowd was definitely in the game tonight. Look, all we can do is go out there and play hard and try to make plays. But yeah, I thought they were into it, for sure.