Patriots

Bill Belichick on Cam Newton’s NFL return, Josh McDaniels’s ‘great day,’ and Boyd the dog

Belichick paid tribute to the Patriots' early game turnaround as a "springboard."

Bill Belichick
Bill Belichick prior to the Patriots' win over the Browns. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

After the Patriots’ 45-7 demolition of the Browns on Sunday, Bill Belichick joined WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” on Monday morning for his weekly interview.

Belichick was asked about how the Patriots answered Cleveland’s opening drive touchdown, which proved to be the visitors’ only score of the day. New England’s response, led by rookie Mac Jones, was to march 83 yards over 15 plays for a tying touchdown.

“That was a great drive,” said Belichick. “A lot of well-executed plays. Third down screens, runs, just good overall execution. We just need to keep doing that. Long drives [are] great, but we’re not going to be able to run those same plays for the rest of the game. We’re going to have to do some other things.”

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On the Browns’ ensuing possession, Patriots defensive back Kyle Dugger intercepted Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield. New England took immediate advantage, with running back Rhamondre Stevenson running for a five-yard touchdown to take the lead on the next play.

“Defensively we got our feet back on the ground with good field position, playing the kicking game, and then Kyle’s interception, and then put the ball in the end zone,” Belichick said, recapping the situation. “So it was a good sequence there that went from 7-0 [Browns] to 14-7 [Patriots]. Sometimes you need a couple of those plays to really kind get that springboard, but we did and that was great.”

From that point on, it was all Patriots in what proved to be a one-sided victory.

Here are a few other takeaways from Belichick’s interview:

Josh McDaniels continues to have a major impact.

The Patriots churned out 452 yards of total offense on Sunday, going seven for nine on third downs, and avoided turning the ball over amid a dominant win. Belichick again praised his offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels for his versatility.

“Josh does a tremendous job,” Belichick noted. “He does a great job of game-planning, play-calling, and coaching all the little things that make a difference in the success of a play; Coaching points, technique, things like that.

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“He did his usual outstanding job yesterday,” said Belichick, who also underscored McDaniels’s consistency. “I talked about it last week, it’s every week, it’s a different defense, different players, different points of attack, but he does an excellent job of identifying them, putting the players in place where they can be productive. He had a great day yesterday.”

The return of Cam Newton.

Among Sunday’s NFL subplots was the return to Carolina for former No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton. After being cut by the Patriots at the end of preseason, Newton—the Panthers’ starter for the first nine years of his career until being released in 2020—was re-signed by his original team on Nov. 11.

And though he wasn’t the starter, the 32-year-old Newton was inserted into the game in several situations, scoring the Panthers’ first touchdown on a two-yard run (and later adding a passing touchdown as well).

Belichick said he was “happy” for Newton’s success.

“It was great when they signed him and sounds like he had a great day yesterday,” Belichick said of Newton being back with the Panthers. “Always happy for Cam, appreciate everything he did and he’s a wonderful guy to coach and be around.”

His thoughts on a very good Gillette Stadium attendant.

During a humorous moment in Sunday’s television broadcast, CBS cameras spied a sleepy member of the Gillette Stadium grounds crew.

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Boyd, a seven-year old border collie-husky mix, has become a fixture at the stadium since 2019, helping to chase geese off of the field at the start of each day. On Sunday, he was resting on the sidelines during the game.

Asked about Boyd, Belichick didn’t miss a beat.

“Oh yeah he’s been with us for a long time,” Belichick explained. “Yeah he does a great job.”

Would Belichick consider using his own dog, Nike, for such a role?

“He’d scare them,” the Patriots coach joked.

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