PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
October 10, 2019
BB: Once again, I’m really proud of our football team. These guys came in after the Washington game, put a lot into it this week in terms of preparation and film study and went out and played hard tonight. We dealt with a few things offensively. We were just kind of down to one grouping there the whole second half. I thought Josh [McDaniels] and the offensive staff did a great job of managing the game. It was kind of an odd game. Anytime you get three scores in a game that are non-offensive touchdowns, that’s kind of a season’s worth and it all happened in one game. A couple of big plays for us on the blocked punt, on the fumble, scoop-and-score by Kyle [Van Noy]. Those are great plays and we took advantage of those opportunities, had some turnovers. I thought we played the ball well and got our hands on some balls. That was good, too. Offensively, those guys showed a lot of toughness out there today and just battled through the situation that we ended up being in. It was a really good job by those guys and by the offensive coaches.
Q: What have you seen from Brandon Bolden that’s allowed him to play a bigger role in the offense than we’re used to seeing from him?
BB: Yeah, Brandon is a talented guy. He can play on all four downs and play well. We’re very fortunate to have him. He gives us great depth and is just another good football player to put on the field.
Q: Was your defensive depth put to the test tonight after all of the injury announcements and how hard is it to coordinate the defense with so many players coming in and out of the game?
BB: Yeah, we dealt with some things offensively that limited our personnel groups. Defensively, yeah, there were some guys in and out as well. Yeah, again, our depth helped us in that situation and the coaches did a good job, players did an excellent job of managing those groups with different people subbing in for them. That’s football. Things like that happen. You just have to be able to adjust to it. But our players do a great job of just working with whoever’s in there and making sure we get the communication and the assignments right. Sometimes it’s a little tricky, like, “Who are you? Are you this guy, that guy or that guy?” But they do a good job of sorting it out so that there’s no confusion. I don’t really think we had any assignment problems out there today. I’m sure we’ll look at the film technique-wise and there are some things we can do better, but I don’t think we had any assignment problems so that’s a good thing, especially against an offense like the Giants that gives you a lot of different looks.
Q: Can you talk about Stephon Gilmore’s play tonight?
BB: Yeah, Steph, he does it every day in practice and does it on Sundays. He does such a great job playing the ball and had some good breaks. That last play down the sideline was a really good finish where the receiver had the ball and he got it on the way down, but he had some great pass breakups. I mean, look, he’s a very talented player and works extremely hard to prepare for the game, study his opponents and study the passing game that our opponents are going to run. This is a good example here on a short week of how diligent he works and it paid off. He’s done a great job for us.
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Q: How would you describe the wind and the factor that it played in the game tonight? Also, on the opening drive on fourth-and-1, was there any thought to challenging the spot of the ball on that play?
BB: No, it looked like it was alright. Yeah, the wind, it was a factor. I’d say we’ve played in worse, but it was definitely a factor in the game. It really, I don’t know how much it favored either direction. Maybe a little bit towards the closed-end, but mostly it was towards our bench so kind of the opposite of the Jets game, so it was really more of a side wind than it was a wind that really helped, because we touched back both ways and they hit the balls well both ways, too, so I don’t think that was – it was really just pushing the ball over towards our sideline in the kicking game. In the passing game, I don’t think it had a big effect on the passing game. Maybe on a couple of long balls but I don’t think anything intermediate or short. Not that big of a factor. It certainly could’ve been a lot worse.
Q: Does the continued effort to run the ball, even if you’re not particularly having success with it, come from the standpoint of trying to establish the run in order to be able to set up bigger plays such as play-action throughout the game?
BB: Yeah, well, look, not every play’s going to be a 20-yard gain. Sometimes you run runs and you don’t gain anything, but when you look at the play you feel like you’re close. If we could’ve just done this a little better or done that a little better, we would’ve had a solid play. I think as long as you feel like that you’re willing to stick with it. As I said, every play doesn’t have to go for 10 or 15 yards. You can feel good about the running game sometimes even if you don’t have a lot of production on it. If you feel like you’ve just got to do a couple of things, do one thing maybe a little bit better on that play or you may have ran it and gotten a bad look and the next time if you get the right look or a better look than what you’re anticipating, then it might be better. Each one of those is a little bit different but that’s part of it as well. Look, in the end, though, you have to produce, so if you’re not getting production out of it, I mean, you can’t keep doing something forever that’s not working. Again, sometimes it doesn’t work but you’re still encouraged or there’s enough reason to continue to do it. I think that was the case tonight. There were times where we felt like we should’ve gained more than what we did. We talked about it, got it worked out and later on we had some better plays with some of the same plays we ran earlier.
Q: How much can a play like the blocked punt on special teams spark your team?
BB: Yeah, a lot. Again, any of those defensive or special teams touchdowns are really kind of bonus points. You don’t really think about getting those when you go into the game so to be able to get 14 of them was huge. That was a big spark. Again, give the Giants credit. They battled back and they hit us on a big play and then they got a scoop-and-score and got back into the game as well. We’ve got to avoid giving those kinds of big plays up to offset the ones that we make. In the end, we made enough plays in the second half to come out on top.