Conference Call: Sept. 10, 2019
PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK CONFERENCE CALL WITH MIAMI MEDIA
September 10, 2019
Q: How would you describe the role Brian Flores played in your team's success while he was in New England?
BB: Yeah, Brian was with us a long time and played a lot of different roles, did many different things here and did a great job for us. I think whatever we've accomplished has been a team effort and we've gotten contributions from everybody.
Q: At what point did your realize his coaching potential?
BB: When I moved him from scouting to coaching a long time ago. I forget what year that was.
Q: At the end of the 1993 season you coached against Bill Parcells for the first time. Did that mean anything to you at that time?
BB: Yeah, I mean, those are a lot of great questions and they're interesting questions and all that, but in all honesty I'm really just focused on trying to get our team ready to go for the Dolphins this week. I have a lot of respect for Bill – I don't really think that has much to do with this week. I'm just trying to get our team ready to go and come down to Miami. We obviously haven't done very well down there, gotten beat a lot in Miami. We need to coach better and play better than we have in the past. I'm really focused on this week's game and this matchup and how we can do better than we've done, which hasn't been very good.
Q: Is there anything from watching Miami's performance last week that concerns you about the Dolphins?
BB: I think the Dolphins have a lot of good players. I know they have a lot of good coaches. I know many of the people on that staff – the head coach, the coordinators, many of the position coaches. I have a ton of respect for what they do. I know the team will be well prepared. These guys beat us last year, a lot of the same players we're looking at. Last week was last week. I'm sure they'll make a lot of corrections. The first game, with a new program, is always a big learning experience for everybody and you just keep getting better every week. I'm sure we'll get a strong effort from Miami this week and we've got to be ready to go. Again, they have a lot of good players, a lot of good skill players, a lot of good players on defense. They're young, they're aggressive, they're talented and we're going to have to contend with all of them and the scheme that they come up with. I'm sure they'll have things that we're not working on and we'll have to be ready to handle those.
Q: Do you see many elements of your scheme, offensively or defensively, that Brian Flores is trying to implement here in Miami?
BB: Again, every team's different. Miami has an outstanding group of players and I can see that their coaching staff is trying to utilize the skills of those players on both sides of the ball and that's what we do. That's what most teams do, is try to take advantage of the skills that your players have. Certainly the Dolphins have a lot of great players to work with there. Honestly, they have too many that they can't get them all in the game at the same time. They've got a lot of receivers, they've got tight ends, they certainly have backs. They play multiple groups, they use a lot of different personnel combinations, they used the three-back look last week which was something you rarely see in this league, so they have many different multiple combinations of personnel because they have great depth at the skill player positions.
Q: Do you have to prepare differently when you face teams that have coaches that have been with you in New England because of the familiarity?
BB: Every week we play and coach against players and coaches that have been on our team before. That's basically the way it is in the National Football League. There's a lot of player and coach movement in this league. There's very few weeks where that's not the case, so we deal with that every week. I don't think it's a big deal.
Q: Can you discuss the advantage of stacking your roster with mid-level veteran players as opposed to what seems to be a league trend of opting to sign a bunch of high-priced guys that may compromise your depth on the back end?
BB: Right. I don't really have a lot of comment on what everybody else is doing in the league. I can't speak for the other 31 teams other than I would say I'm sure each one of them is doing what they think is best for their football team and that's what we try to do. We try to put our best and most competitive team out on the field every week and every year. Whatever that is, in my mind, it doesn't really matter how much experience he has or doesn't have, and whether we drafted him or didn't draft him, or what team he came from or didn't come from. We're just trying to put the best team out there that we can every season, but every week within that season based on the resources that we have to work with at that particular time, and so that's what we'll continue to do. Whoever that is, it is.
Q: Eric Rowe was highly targeted last week against Baltimore. In general, is it possible for a team to target one cornerback while avoiding the other cornerbacks?
BB: Yeah, I don't know. You'd have to ask a particular team how they do things. In our case, we don't usually throw the ball to one particular guy, unless it's a screen pass or a play like that. Our quarterback does a great job of reading coverages, finding matchups and taking advantage of what he feels like we can take advantage of against the opponents defense, so that's how we run our offense. I can't tell you what everybody else does.
Q: Do you feel that there is some room for creative liberty or freelancing from a player on the offensive or defensive side of the ball on any particular play?
BB: Well, every play is different. The way you draw it up is always a guideline but each player is a little bit different, each play is a little bit different and players have instinctiveness is what makes good players, good players. They are able to recognize something before or during the play that instinctively tells them to do a certain thing or react a certain way and that comes from experience and training and coaching and understanding their system and so forth. That's what all sports are. Yeah, you have a certain assignment, a certain way you're doing something but once the ball is snapped and everything breaks loose and there's an element of chaos out there, you have to figure it out during the play and react to it and make the best decision you can based on the rules of that particular assignment.
Q: Do you think your team's struggles down in Miami are always based on talent and game planning or is it possible for a team to just have your number for a certain stretch of years?
BB: I think in the end, as I said before, I think certainly give the Dolphins credit for the success that they've had, but also when we look at it from our end, those were competitive games and we have to find a way to coach and play better than we did. Obviously, it's a new game and the score is nothing-nothing, and so nothing will be established until Sunday afternoon, but the fact of the matter is that the matchups that we've had against the Dolphins haven't gone in our favor. There's been different coaches and different coordinators and there have been differences down there, but we just haven't been able to win down there very often. Like I said, it starts with me. I've got to do a better job of preparing our team. Our team has to go down there and perform better than we've performed in the past against this particular team. We'll see what happens on Sunday.
Q: Do you remember what advice you gave Brian Flores as he took on the new responsibility of coaching?
BB: Yeah, again, all of those things are a long time ago. I'm really focused on trying to get our team ready for Sunday's game, not a lot of stuff that's happened in the past.
Q: Will Antonio Brown play this week? If so, how much can a guy really pick up in one week to be able to contribute immediately?
BB: You know, I don't know. We just acquired him yesterday. We haven't practiced so I can't answer that question now. We'll take it day-by-day and see how it goes.
Q: In what ways can media and outside noise affect a team's chances to win a game?
BB: Yeah, I don't know. There's no way for me to know what's inside every person’s mind. That's up to each of us individually. But collectively, we try to get ourselves in the best physical, mental and emotional state to go out there and play as well as we can once a week when we have that opportunity to play. That's what we're all trying to do and there are other things in life besides football, we all know that. In the end, if you're about high performance, which we are, then that's ultimately what we're trying to achieve is high performance once a week when we play, so we try to do everything we can to get to that. Whatever stands in the way of that we've got to deal with, work around at whatever level it's at and try to get past those things to perform well, in this case, on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
Q: We hear a lot about the Patriot Way. How do you define your culture and what you've tried to establish up there in New England?
BB: Yeah, I don't know that I've ever used that term. I'm not really sure what that is either. I appreciate you asking about it though, but I don't know. It's a good question.
Transcript courtesy of the Miami Dolphins Media Relations Department