Belichick Talks Vaccination, Making Mistakes, Preparing for Miami and More on Monday Morning

The Patriots head coach also pays tribute to David Patten, discusses the return of Kyle Van Noy, the addition of Malcolm Perry
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The New England Patriots have less then one week to the start of the 2021 NFL Season. The Pats will open the regular season this Sunday, September 12 at 4:25pm against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. 

Following a brief respite for the holiday weekend, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addressed the media on Monday morning. The Pats head coach covered a wide range of topics as the team prepares to host the Dolphins on Sunday.

Here are some highlights from Belichick’s Monday morning media meet:

On the tragic death of former Patriots wide receiver David Patten:

I wanted to begin by expressing my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of David Patten. David was a great contributor, both on and off the field. He was an inspiration to his teammates and a great example for his coaches. One of the most respected players that I have ever been around. It was with a great deal of sadness that we heard that news on Friday. Our thoughts are with his family during this difficult time.”

On clarifying his comments on COVID-19 vaccination:

“I just wanted to clarify something I recently said regarding vaccinations..No player has been released or kept based on their vaccination status. That is not part of the equation. My comment as it relates to vaccination is that it is a personal decision. As a team, we are better off if everyone is vaccinated. But, even if everyone is vaccinated, it doesn’t not solve all of our problems. Players and coaches who have been vaccinated are still contracting COVID. It is incumbent on us to remain diligent in maintaining the health and safety of our players. We will continue to follow league protocols as we always do. But to clarify, it has not been a reason for a player’s release or non-release.”

On Miami QB Tua Tagovailoa playing with more confidence in 2021:

“Tua played with a lot of confidence when we played him last year in December. He looks good to me.”

On how Miami may incorporate rookie WR Jalen Waddle into their offensive game-planning:

“I don't think any teams in the preseason are game-planning. All of the games that I have seen, played-against, and those we vet closely…they have run things on the basis and foundation of what they do. We expect to see many different things this week. They (Miami) are well-coached down there…Waddle is a great player. He’s explosive, great with the ball in his hands, and a tough kid. I have a lot of respect for what he did at Alabama. He’s someone we will be watching this week.”

On Dolphins’ offensive lineman Greg Little (who may see extra playing time this week with Miami LT Austin Jackson on the COVID list):

“Miami has a good group of offensive lineman. They have improved individually and in combination with the guys they are playing with. That is a solid group with good depth. They’ve added a lot of good players in the last 2-3 years. Little is a part of that group. A lot of the guys that have been added to that unit since Flo (Brian Flores) got there are new.”

On the continuity of Miami’s play-calling, primarily on offense:

“There is a lot of continuity on the defensive side of the ball in Miami. On offense, [former offensive coordinator] Chan (Gailey) has done a good job with the offensive play calling. But in his absence, we will see how that differs. We need to be ready for them to do some things differently from what they did in the past. How much of that is still a question. That’s just part of opening day.”

On the return of linebacker Kyle Van Noy:

“It’s great having Kyle back. He is versatile. He can play multiple positions for us. That gives us the chance to do different things on defense. He has a great amount of experience. He’s a smart, instinctive player. He sees things quickly and is able to anticipate what is going to happen. That gives us the potential to have an advantage each week.”

On the expectations for cornerback J.C. Jackson:

“Each year, players' experiences add value to their game. He’s [Jackson] has had a good preseason, but we will see what happens in the regular season. A key part of being a cornerback in this league, for the regular reason, is seeing how offensive coordinators will plan to attack a player, based on concepts, assignments etc. I’m sure he’ll continue to grow and understand that better each week.”

On the potential for making Mac Jones making rookie mistakes:

‘Well, we all make mistakes. I make plenty of them. We just keep trying to learn from them and move forward. We need to get to a point where we can execute better each day. We’ll use practice as a chance to get better and make our execution on Sunday as best as it can be. But mistakes will happen. We just have to try not to make the same ones again.”

On his expectations for Malcolm Perry:

“We will see what it looks like. He’s played both on offense and in the kicking game. He’s played those roles before, and we'll see how he plays them for us. We have only had him (Perry) on the field for us for only one day, so there is still a lot to see. At Navy, he didn't play receiver very much, nor did he play running back. He played more quarterback. So he is still developing his pro level skills. Well continue to work with him.”