PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK
August 11, 2016
BB: It's always good to get that first win under your belt. This team has gone through a lot of practices going all the way back to the offseason program in April, and then the OTA's and minicamp in the spring, whatever it's been, 12 practices this year plus all of the other stuff. So, it's good to get out on the field and compete in a game. I thought we did some things the way that we kind of try to want to do them. There were some other things that we obviously need work on, but that's part of the process. The Saints are a good team and they're very competitive in all areas. I feel like we got a good look at a high level of competition and got a good evaluation of some of the things that we're kind of doing OK, not great, and some other things that we definitely need to shore up. We played a lot of people. I think there was a good amount of playing time for a lot of guys so we'll see how all that looks in the next day or so when we really get a chance to break down the film, but it's good to get out there, good to get going, and again, really a good week for us in terms of the practices and then the game tonight against the Saints. They're a real good team. [I have] a lot of respect for Sean [Payton] and the organization. [They're] really good to work against. We got a lot better here the last three days. It was very beneficial for us.
Q: What are your initial thoughts on Jimmy Garoppolo's performance?
BB: We'll take a look at everybody. There are a lot of people out there. I don't want to try and make an evaluation without really looking at it.
Q: Did you think there were some good opportunities in the first half to evaluate some situational football aspects?
BB: Yeah, two minute, some long yardage, we had some short yardage, a couple of fourth downs, two-point plays, so yeah, a lot of situations came up for our team, the coaching staff, the players, for all of us to really work off of and coach off of, so that was good. We had a lot of plays in the kicking game. There was a good balance between kickoffs and punts. A lot of situational football and then we saw a lot of the basic matchups that I'd say you kind of want to see, so that part of it worked out well.
Q: Were you pleased that you were able to create some takeaways with making any turnovers yourselves?
BB: Always. Right, anytime we don't turn the ball over that's a good thing. Defensively, we got the turnovers. We got the two touchdowns so that's kind of 14 bonus points. It's hard to count on that in a game. In the end that really ended up being the difference in the final score. It was a great job by the defense to not only turn the ball over but converting it into two touchdowns, so those were obviously huge plays for us. Offensively, they [Saints] had their hands on a couple of balls. They didn't get them but there were a couple of times where we need to keep the ball out of their hands. But the returners, we had two rookie returners back there. I thought they handled the ball well in kicking situations. Again, there was some good things to work with, some good things to coach from.
Q: How beneficial was the humidity tonight in helping to get in some extra conditioning for guys?
BB: Yeah, I thought that was good. We had a good level of heat. There were it seemed like just a good amount of longer drives on both sides. There were times that we were out there for eight, nine, 10 plays defensively and then there were a few times when we were out there for eight, or nine, or 10 plays offensively. Those longer drives are really where players build their conditioning; they build their stamina, so it was good to have a few of those. I think the players themselves could see after three, four, five plays, you know OK, but then at nine, 10, especially when you're running off the field with substitutions like you have to do against the Saints to matchup against their offense or what we do offensively, using different personnel combinations. You combine that running on and off the field with a longer drive [and] I think that was definitely a good evaluation of our conditioning tonight and I wouldn't say it was bad, but it certainly can be better. We need to continue to work on that. Tonight was a good night for us to see where we're at on that front.
Q: How much were you able to learn about Trey Flowers last year as a rookie with how much time he missed and what have you seen in this training camp?
BB: Trey's had a good spring and a good camp so far. We didn't really get to see a whole lot of him last year. He fought through an injury and really couldn't be as effective as what he wanted to be, so we ended up having the surgery done on the early side so he was actually able to get into the spring quicker than guys that would've had it, say, at the end of the season so he was ahead of them by three, three-and-a-half months, whatever it was, so he was able to be a full participant in the offseason program, full participant in the spring workouts, so I think the fact that he went on Injured Reserve so early last year is benefitting him this year because he's had a full year of training and a full year of the installation and all the preparation going into the season. It's good to have him out there. He's done a good job for us when he's had an opportunity to play. He played some in the kicking game. He's got obviously a lot of things he has to work on, too. But he's shown up pretty much daily in one way or another with some positive plays. He's a hard working kid so hopefully it will continue to get better.
Q: Do you have any update on Malcolm Mitchell and the injury that he suffered?
Q: Were you happy for Tyler Gaffney to finally get into the end zone with all of the adversity he has gone through?
BB: Yeah, you bet. Tyler, of course, we knew two years ago in the 2014 season that he wouldn't play that year. Last year, unfortunately, he didn't get very far into training camp again but nobody worked harder than Tyler. He's there early, he stays late, never complains, always does extra, and so it's great to see him have an opportunity this year. He has had a good year all spring and in training camp and has done a good job for us, and then got a chance to play tonight and had some positive plays tonight. Yeah, happy for him, happy that he's out there and got through the game and can just keep building on tonight's performance.