Bill Belichick put a bow on the Patriots impressive blasting of the Lions with a conference call Friday morning.
It was heavy on generalities as his post-exhibition game conference calls have been for the better part of 20 seasons.
Something that piqued my interest before and during the game was focusing on how the coaching staff operated. We’ve detailed the number of new coaches in new spots or old coaches who’ve assumed extra spots.
Joe Judge, longtime special teams coordinator, has added wide receivers coach to his job description. If any group deserved an “attaboy” after last night it was the wideouts. But the special teams were pretty good too, especially punt return where the Patriots were working in a pair of guys — Braxton Berrios and Gunnar Olszewski.
They took back seven punts for 69 yards. Meanwhile, eight different wide receivers had catches, led by undrafted rookie Jakobi Myers’ six catches on eight targets. Berrios caught all three sent his way.
“Joe does a good job,” stated Belichick when asked about the results Judge’s units provided. “He has a lot of responsibility. He does it very well."
I also took a run at trying to pin down the in-game responsibilities of Jerod Mayo, who’s in his first year as inside linebackers coach but is clearly a big part of the defensive play-calling operation already.
Asked if he could reveal what Mayo is doing with the defense, Belichick answered, “We’ll always do what’s best for the football team. That’s what we’ll always do so I don’t see that changing. We’re doing what’s best for the football team.”
Of that, we had no doubt.
As for his impressions of impressive rookie quarterback Jarrett Stidham making smooth reads, Belichick said, “There were several plays that fell into all the categories. There were quick throws where the read was clear and the receiver was open. Then there was maybe a play where there was a secondary read and he’d scramble and extended the play. He ran a couple of times and completed a pass, there was a little bit of everything there.
“The most important thing for a quarterback is not to turn the ball over, make good decisions and throw accurately. He did all of those at times,” Belichick concluded.
The only wideout whose overall night could be quibbled with was Maurice Harris. He followed up a first-quarter touchdown by failing to come up with a pair of well-thrown passes by Stidham down at the goal line. There was plenty of subtle contact on both incompletions, perhaps enough to take a run at reviewing for DPI. The Patriots passed on both.
Was a challenge considered and what were his thoughts on Harris’ not coming down with those throws?
“Again, challenges definitely fall under the category of doing what’s best for the football team,” said Belichick. “So that’s what we try to do. Whether we challenge or don’t challenge. And there’s a lot of tight plays. The Lions are a good coverage team. They’re well-coached, they have a good secondary, their corners cover well. There are gonna be some tight throws, we hope to get as many of them as we can. Realistically we aren’t going to get all of them. We had some. And there were some we didn’t get. Tight ends and receivers so …”
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