FOXBORO, Mass. — Over the last two weeks — really, since the Friday before the Patriots’ game against the New York Jets — Bill Belichick had been in a refreshingly good mood.
That is, until Sunday happened.
Belichick was noticeably (and understandably) grumpy following New England’s 28-13 loss to the New Orleans Saints. The long, 1,500-word answers about long snappers finally gave way to short non-answers, some of which featured brutally awkward silences.
You can watch his full postgame news conference in the video below:
And here’s the full question-answer transcript:
Q: We saw after the first punt, after Deonte Harris, after he had the 25-yard return, that Jake Bailey put an emphasis on keeping the ball away from him, whether through the end zone or at the sideline. Was that something you had as an emphasis coming into the game, or did that change after that first punt return?
Belichick: “Of course we weren’t trying to give him return opportunities, no.”
Q: What happened with the special teams today? Allowing a blocked punt, kickoff out of bounds. How disappointing is the special teams performance today?
Belichick: “We’ve got to be better in every area, including special teams.”
Q: What have you assessed about the offensive line the first three weeks of the season?
Belichick: “Again, just today we were inconsistent in every area. We’ve just got to do a better job. Go back and look at the film, make some corrections. Obviously, New Orleans has a good defense, but we’ve got to move the ball better than we did today. Play better in the defense. Play better in the kicking game.”
Q: Have you had a chance to see James White at all either at halftime or after the game? Just how is he hanging in there?
Belichick: “Yeah, I saw him at halftime. We’ll see.”
Q: The wind — how much was the wind a factor? We saw a kickoff go out of bounds. We saw the timeout at the end of, I think, the first quarter maybe to make them kick to the open end there. How is that a factor in the decision-making or the game today?
Belichick: “It’s about what it was in Miami and Washington.”
Q: What did you see on Mac Jones’s interceptions?
Belichick: “Well, probably the same thing you saw.”
Q: Losing James White, did that have a domino effect in terms of what you wanted to do with the game plan going on after you lost him?
Belichick: “We have contingency plans for everybody. Unfortunately, that’s part of the game. Everybody has to have a backup. Brandon (Bolden) stepped in there and Damien (Harris) and J.J. (Taylor), and those guys are all good players. They’ll get in there and compete.”
Q: What did you think of just kind of the beating that Mac took in terms of maybe how he bounced up all the time or also just concern going forward that those hits take a toll and maybe he gets a little bit more — I don’t know if gun shy is the right word, but it’s a lot to take.
Belichick: “When you’re having to throw every down, it’s never a good position to be in. We don’t ever want to be in that situation.
Q: The Bucs are next on the schedule. What kind of challenge do they pose next week and the return of Tom Brady?
Belichick: “Obviously, they’re a good team. Right now we’re just focused on New Orleans. Look at the film, make the corrections on that, then we’ll move on.”
Belichick and the Patriots should be unhappy about what happened Sunday at Gillette Stadium. Their effort and performance weren’t good enough against a Saints team they are capable of beating.
New England will look for better results next weekend when it hosts Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.