Bill Belichick Video Conference Transcript
September 13, 2020
BB: OK, well, I’ll start with just how honored I am to have worn the patch today for Fritz Pollard. The criteria that they talked about was somebody who had overcome discrimination and racism and certainly, Fritz Pollard fits into that category. What he did, the courage that he showed as a player in the NFL and then later as a player/coach, and then later as – when he left the NFL and then after the NFL banned all Black players in I think it was 1934, he continued to work with professional football teams, all-Black teams and have them compete and they did very well. They just weren’t in the National Football League. So, really honored to have worn this today and I appreciate the opportunity to recognize Fritz Pollard for all he’s done and what now continues as an award that’s given out and recognition that’s given out for people that have done things along the lines of what he represented and what he worked so hard for.
But as far as the game, it’s always good to get the first one, get the first win under your belt. I thought we got good contributions from all three units and we competed well. I thought the players were in good condition. I thought the conditioning was a big factor for us. That’s a credit to their hard work, and we stepped up and made some big plays when we needed to throughout the game. Had a couple of tough calls there that didn’t go our way that we had to overcome, but we did that. And the three turnovers and running the ball as effectively as we did and then coming back and passing the ball after we had run it, that was good, a good balance that we struck there. So, it’s good to get off to a good start, but tough week this week with Seattle, so we’re going to have to turn the page pretty quickly here and move on. But, a lot of credit – really all the credit – goes to the players, and the coaches did a good job. It’s a game that had some adjustments in it. Obviously, neither team had seen each other this year and so working out things during the game that come up or came up either on the sideline and players making adjustments to different looks that came up on the field and so forth. I thought that the players really handled that well, as did the staff.
So, after all of what we have been through for the last whatever it’s been, however many months, it’s good to actually get out on the field and coach and play. And the environment was different than what it has ever been before, but the opportunity to get out there and play and compete was good. Proud of the way these guys have handled everything. It’s a great organization and a great group of players and coaches that I’m proud to be part of. They have really done a good job.
Q: Would you mind speaking just specifically to your impressions of Cam Newton and his debut with your team? Obviously he ran and passed well and I wanted to ask you specifically about that moment where on the second touchdown, rather than celebrated himself, he handed the ball to David Andrews for a spike and said to David, ‘You spike it.’ What did that say about him, if anything, to you and what is your overall review of his play today?
BB: Yeah, well Cam’s been great for us. I didn’t see the play you’re referring to, but he’s a very, very unselfish player. He’s a great teammate. He’s earned everybody’s respect, really, daily. He just continues to do everything that he can to help our team and that’s really all you can ask from anyone and he continually does that, puts himself last, and puts the team first. So, I think he’s done a tremendous job there and I thought he played well today. He hit a lot of passes. He ran the ball well. He led the team. He made some good checks and adjustments, so I thought that he did a good job. There’s room for improvement from all of us, so I’m not saying it was the best-executed game in the history of football, but we did some good things today in all three phases of the game. We’re proud of that and we’ll go back and work on the things that we need to do to get better, but I thought he did a good job for us.
Q: You always talk about not beating yourselves. This afternoon you only had three penalties – all pass interference penalties. Did you really harp on and focus on things coming down the stretch here these last couple of weeks before Game 1 of control the things that you can control? It seemed lack of penalties really helped you today.
BB: Yeah, it does. It always does. That’s one of the things that when you make mistakes that are unforced mistakes, it obviously just gives your opponents extra opportunities and free yards and that kind of thing. It’s really not – I mean, we never want to do that. There were a couple of close calls on the penalties. Not sure what it looked like, they were very close. And that’s football. You’re going to get some of those and you’re not going to get some of them. But I think it’s the ones you’re referring to – the false starts, the too many men on the field, the lining up offsides, illegal motion, all of those kind of unforced errors – you just can’t afford. It just gives your opponents too many opportunities. So, we’ve obviously always harped on those, but the players did a great job of staying focused and concentrating. Nobody’s been able to play 60 minutes of football this year, but they went out and did it and executed well at the end on both sides of the ball and in the kicking game. So that’s, again, a real credit to the players. But, yeah, certainly playing penalty-free or minimal penalties – that is always one of our goals. Glad we were able to do that today. The game got a little chippy at times and we didn’t have any retaliation or personal foul penalties. The guys kept their poise there in a couple of those situations near the end of the game.
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Q: We saw quite a few defensive backs play a big role in today’s game. How do you feel they performed and executed their various assignments throughout the course of the game?
BB: Yeah, well, we played a lot of people on defense, period. You’re right, we did have a lot of defensive backs. I think we had 11 active for the game. And so we know that Miami was capable of basically putting four receivers out on the field on a lot of their snaps, which they did with [Mike] Gesicki and then the other three receivers. So, we were able to match up and also rotate through there so that we could keep everybody fresh. And so I thought defensively it’s a lot better than the, whatever, 27 points we gave up last year to them. We played more competitively there, and had we not given up a couple of tough plays there at the end of the half and then at fourth-and-1, you know, we’d make the play on that and get called for interference. So, we could have had a little better day than we did, but overall holding an explosive team like that to 10 points is – that’s a pretty good day’s work. Plus to get three turnovers out of it from the defensive backs, that’s good. I would just say that I really take my hat off to J.C. [Jackson]. I thought J.C. really competed well today. He showed a lot of mental toughness and a real competitiveness of the game, and then for him to make that play at the end just sealed the win, along with the run that we had there to get the first down to run out the clock. But the interception that J.C. had in the end zone, I thought he showed a lot of mental toughness and a high level of competitiveness in today’s game. So, I just wanted to personally congratulate him for that because that was good.
Q: It looked like you guys took the field and wanted to be physical in the running game. More than any other thing, was that hard to gauge on how exactly that was going to go in this game? And how impressed were you with the ability of the guys to be physical up front?
BB: We had a lot of production in the running game in a number of different ways, but it was pretty balanced. We got the ball outside. We got it inside. We had multiple ball carriers: Julian [Edelman], Cam, the backs, and so forth. So, it was a good balance and the execution was good. Our offensive line I thought played well against a physical front. Miami’s got some big, strong players in there and they had a couple of guys from the Patriots last year and signed some defensive ends as free agents, so they have upgraded their roster there. But I thought we played very competitively against them.
- You are obviously someone who has seen a lot of football in your day, been involved in a lot of games. What was the atmosphere like in the stadium without fans there? Can you compare it to anything else that you’ve experienced in your football life?
- But nothing in terms of a game? What were your thoughts on the atmosphere overall? Was it strange, obviously?
BB: It’s like scrimmaging the Titans or scrimmaging Detroit or scrimmaging the teams that we scrimmage. There are a few fans there, but basically there are no fans there. It’s just the competition. And there’s some energy from your teammates and your own energy, so it is what it is. But I mean, that’s what it’s like out there in practice. There are no fans in practice either.
Q: You were 6-of-11 today on third and fourth downs and 3-of-4 in the red zone. How pleased are you with the kind of production you got in those two areas? How much of it, too, is related to that balance you just spoke about? I think you had eight players overall with 25-plus yards of total offense today.
BB: No, that balance is good and those are the downs you’ve got to produce on, and, honestly, we should have been better than that. But, yeah, those are key downs to be able to stay on the field and be able to get the ball in the end zone, so we’ll just keep working on those things and we’ll be challenging them on it every week. But we were successful doing it today and ultimately that really helped us win the game.
- I wanted to ask you about the drive following the fumble. How much did it help to answer the way you did on the next drive?
BB: Yeah, that was, I thought, as usual, Josh called a great game. He brought our players, offensive players in great positions to make plays and we had a high level of execution from all the units offensively. So, but that was a big drive. It got started with Julian’s run and the fourth-down run, and so we had a number of key plays in that drive. But that was a big answer right there to take it from 14-11 to 21-11. So, ultimately, that was a key sequence in the game off the interception and running out the clock there with less than two minutes to go in the game. I mean, those are some of the real critical situations in the game.
- It looked like Chase Winovich played a bigger role in this game than we saw him for most of last season. What did he do over training camp to show that he could play a little bit more on early downs?
BB: I think Chase has been a good player for us and that he played well last year. We had some other experienced players last year, Kyle [Van Noy] and Jamie [Collins], and so there were just some other players playing ahead of him and now he’s the most experienced player along with John Simon, so that shifted quickly in a year, but Chase has done a good job for us on all downs. When he played last year he was productive on a per-play basis and I thought he showed that today. But Chase has got good energy, he’s in good condition, he’s got good stamina, he’s got speed, he’s got power and he’s a very instinctive player. So, I would expect him to be out on the field a good part of the time in all games.