New England Patriots HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
VIDEO PRESS CONFERENCE
September 15, 2020
Q: Last week, we talked about running back being a position where you can tell a lot more in live competition with tackling, blitz pickup and the like. How did J.J. Taylor look to you in his first time in that setting?
BB: Yeah, I thought J.J. ran competitively. He's a tough kid that's got good run skills, which we saw at Arizona and to some extent in training camp, as well. I thought he ran hard.
Q: Does David Andrews' athleticism at center allow you to do some things differently or more efficiently in the run game?
BB: Yeah, I mean, look, David is a very experienced player. I mean, he's really played center his whole life, all the way back to before high school, so he's almost got 20 years of playing center. That's a lot of football at that position. He's very good at it. He's very experienced, has good quickness, has a lot of savvy and can just read and pick up things that are second-nature to him that a less-experienced guy might have trouble with. But he is athletic, he's smart, he's got good quickness, he's got very good technique, he really understands where the problems are and kind of what he needs to do to help handle those problems, whether that's line calls or technique and so forth. But, he does a great job for us. Good to have him back in there Sunday for sure.
Q: Do you see any similarities between J.J. Taylor and former Patriot Mack Herron?
BB: You know, I never worked with Mack, but I don't know. You know, it will be interesting to see. In all honesty, I don't know that we know enough about J.J. to make that comparison. He's played in one game and he's practiced. Mack was a returner and a runner and caught the ball out of the backfield and was quick and hard to tackle and super productive and all that. We'll see whether J.J. fits into those categories or not. I mean, he certainly might, but until he has some production to go with it, I think that's - Mack Herron's a pretty good football player. I wouldn't want to throw people into that category until they really had an opportunity to prove themselves, and that's certainly nothing against J.J. He's done all he can do to this point. There's really nothing more that he could have done. He's out there every day, he works hard, he's one of the hardest-working rookies, one of the hardest-working kids on the team, and I think that's shown up in the improvement and the performance that he's been able to have through the course of training camp and now into the start of the regular season. But, there's a long way to go. I think we'll just have to see how he develops and whether he can continue to improve and when he gets his opportunities to play, how productive he can be with those. But, he's earned what he's gotten to this point, so we'll see what happens.
Q: It looked like you used Adrian Phillips in a few different ways on Sunday. What about his physical skillset allows you to do that? How impressed have you been by him, given he did miss some time this summer?
BB: Yeah, well, Adrian's a very experienced player and when we signed him, we talked about that and our defense. Because we have to defend so many different things from a week-to-week basis, teams are using more and more formations and personnel groupings and motions and just deceptive things for the defense, even though a lot of their plays are the same, they look a lot different. They might run the same play four or five times in a game, but it looks different every time, or they might switch personnel groups and things like that. I think that's an advantage to have some versatility defensively and also defensive players that are instinctive and can recognize the play and not get distracted by all the other things going around it are guys that can really be productive and have plays that they just anticipate and are there to make a play on. Adrian's showed the ability to do that with the Chargers and he's certainly done some of that for us and had a couple really good plays - obviously, the interception, but he was in on some other plays on Sunday against Miami. He's a smart player, he's tough, he's physical, he runs well and he tackles well and plays really within the defense, plays a smart game. Glad we have him and he's working well with our other linemen, linebackers and specifically defensive backs, which is where he works the most. But, when he's around the line of scrimmage, he has to have a good feel for what those other guys are doing, too. He's shown the ability to play near the line and not near the line, so it just kind of depends on what they're in and what we're trying to do.
Q: How much did Phillips impress you in the playoffs a couple years with his performance against Baltimore, and even here at Gillette Stadium? I think he got hurt in that game but came back and had a productive game for the Chargers.
BB: Yeah, you know, we've seen Adrian all the way through his career. We've kind of either crossed paths with him or defensively looking at the Chargers against whoever they were playing that we were playing - you know, teams like Denver and Oakland and other AFC teams and so forth. You see those guys, and especially a guy like Adrian that's kind of there every week and shows up on a consistent basis and you kind of watch him play. I know our players enjoy watching other players, especially good players, that they can learn from or see how they're doing it. He's one of the guys we've always kind of looked at because usually what he was seeing, if he had a key on something, then we were trying to figure out what he was looking for, how he knew it was coming and see if we could use that same key in anticipation. But, yes, certainly playing against him was helpful, but watching him play, as you said, in other games and even in other years, he had a very consistent level of performance. He's a tough kid, plays in the kicking game. You know, he did a great job for the Chargers in the kicking game in a number of different roles there. We just felt like with his versatility and ability to help us both on defense and on special teams but not do everything all at once, but he could plug into wherever you needed him, that he really had a lot of value and versatility for our team. I'd say then without Pat [Chung], this has really become a bigger role and a bigger opportunity to do those things, and he's taken advantage of that and he's embraced them. So, we'll see where it goes, but I'm glad we have him. He's a guy that really gives us a lot of experience and a lot of versatility on defense from a player who hasn't been with us, but he's been able to provide that in the weeks that he's been here and that's been a big plus.
Q: Ryan Izzo has a more pronounced role between years two and three. What impressions did he make this training camp to signify that he was ready for a significant jump?
BB: Well, I think the big thing for Ryan is just he's been out there, he's been consistent on the field every day. He's dealt with a couple of setbacks, not to the degree that [Derek] Rivers has, but where he's missed some time or kind of fallen behind a little bit. That's tough as a young player when you miss time and the other guys who have more experience already just move a little further ahead. But this year, it's kind of been the opposite of that. With Matt [LaCosse] not being here, that's opened up some opportunities. Ryan's gotten a lot of snaps, he got a lot of snaps in the game Sunday, but he's gotten a lot more snaps and he's gotten more of an opportunity to work on his craft and improve. He's been able to stay out there and get better in practice, and then that's showed up in the game - and the opportunity to work with Cam [Newton] in the passing game and make some route adjustments or make some good decisions to help the rest of the route based on knowing more of what to do and having more experience doing it has led to a higher, more consistent level of performance on his end. Ryan's always worked hard. I mean, he doesn't say much, he's a quiet kid, but he always comes to work ready to work with a good attitude and good level of toughness and competitiveness. Fortunately, he's been able to stay healthy this year and by being on the field, he's gotten better. So, hopefully he'll be able to continue to do that and he certainly helped us out against the Dolphins.