The New England Patriots are clearly on to 2021.
The Pats will open the regular season this Sunday, September 12 at 4:25pm against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. With preparations in full swing, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addressed the media on Wednesday morning, covering a wide range of topics.
Belichick began by praising the Pats opponent in their season-opener. He noted that Miami made some impressive improvements in the offseason, adding to an already talented team. Belichick added that Miami is well-coached by head coach (and former Pats assistant) Brian Flores, indicating that the Dolphins do not make many mistakes. In short, it will take a complete team effort for New England to compete.
Here are some additional highlights from Belichick’s Wednesday morning media meet:
On having fans return to Gillette Stadium for the regular season:
“Well, the fans were here in preseason, so we will be acclimated to the change. That’s really what most of us are used to. We just need to prepare for what we will face on the field…Use the time we are given to do that and we will be ready to go.”
On quarterback traits (specifically accuracy and decision-making) and how Mac Jones will utilize them starting Sunday.
“We try to give our players all we can give them to have the best tools they can. Mac has a lot of strengths, but what we are dealing with now [regular season] is at another level, and NFL-level. He’s a smart guy, and works hard. We’ll have to see how it goes.”
On Brian Flores’ desire for Miami defense pressure the quarterback:
“They have good corners, they don't mind pressuring the line of scrimmage. I’m sure that we will see zero-blitzes on Sunday.”
On Miami’s offense and their versatility:
“The Dolphins did a great job against us last year. They do a good job running the ball. They like to spread the ball around. They have a mobile quarterback; good tight-end play. Strong offensive line. Big receivers. They have Waddle, he’s a big addition. This will be a good test.”
Follow up on the addition of rookie receiver Jaylen Waddle:
“He has a really good skill set. Fast, quick...tough kid and a good player. (His speed) in the slot is always a problem, but we will match him up with speed as well. We’ll see how it goes”
On team captains (expected to be named on Wednesday 9/8) and the qualities of a team captain:
“Those are people that the players respect and the ones they want to represent them. That is really more of a question for the players. But we have been fortunate to have great leaders here in the past. But it goes beyond the captains, leadership is throughout the team.”
On the strategy of playing against a younger quarterback like Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa:
“We will prepare our players as best we can. Tua is a good player, and he isn’t a rookie. We have seen him before, played him before. He will be ready. We have to be ready as well.”
On the passing of former Patriots running back Sam Cunningham:
“Sam had a great college career and a great pro career here in New England. I never coached him, only coached against him a couple of times. He was a big, versatile player for his position at fullback, and running back, and a great one. Great man as well. It’s sad to have lost two great Patriots within the past week.”