Bill Belichick on his coaching philosophy, Kendrick Bourne’s energy, and the ‘Bills Mafia’

Belichick was also asked about a Mac Jones-Tom Brady comparison.

Bill Belichick
Bill Belichick prior to the Patriots' win over the Titans. AP Photo/Mary Schwalm

A day after the Patriots’ 36-13 win over the Titans on Sunday, Bill Belichick called into WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” for his weekly interview.

Though New England is riding a six-game winning streak, Belichick—who explained in the postgame press conference on Sunday that eight wins isn’t enough to “win anything or clinch anything“—again emphasized the importance of not dwelling even on a successful moment.

“It’s great to win, but you have to turn the page,” said Belichick.

Here are a few takeaways from the interview:

Insight into Belichick’s coaching philosophy.

Given the success so far of Mac Jones, Belichick was asked about how unusual it is for a rookie to have such a strong understanding of the playbook. WEEI co-host Courtney Cox positioned an initial question in the context of comparing Jones to previous Patriots quarterbacks and how they worked with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.


“Does Mac’s ability on the field make it easier for Josh to kind of game-plan better or bigger than maybe quarterbacks that you’ve had in the past?”

Belichick paused before inquiring if she was referring to the most famous Patriots quarterback of the past.

“Make it easier to game-plan over Tom Brady? No.”

Cox clarified in a follow-up that the question was more to do Jones exceeding expectations as a rookie, and the resulting effect it may have had on McDaniels’s game-plan.

“Josh does a great job of game-planning, game-calling, and in-game adjustments,” Belichick explained. He then offered a more in-depth response regarding his basic approach.

“I think when you coach a team or when you coach a player, you just don’t sit there and think about is he a rookie or is he a second-year player? Is he seventh-year player, or is he a ninth-year player?” said Belichick. “You just coach him to try and help him get better, and that’s a sliding scale. I mean I understand that coaching a rookie’s not the same as coaching a 10-year veteran.

“But whatever that player—regardless of how many years he’s been in the league—whatever he can handle, whatever he can process, whenever you feel like you’re getting near the top, then you have to pull back a little bit until you’re comfortable with the level of information or volume that you’re teaching the player and then after he absorbs that, then you can keep stacking it a little bit higher.”


At a higher level, Belichick added that a player’s experience can be irrelevant in comparison to their ability to simply learn a new system.

“I think that’s the way a coach coaches any player, whether it’s Cam [Newton] coming in last year new to the system or Mac coming in this year new to the system,” he noted. “Some players process some things easier and quicker than others do, and then others process things easier and quicker than another player. You just have to find that balance with each player regardless of what year he’s in or what position he plays. That’s just coaching.”

The Kendrick Bourne effect.

One of the Patriots’ more impactful free agent signings in 2021 has been wide receiver Kendrick Bourne.

The 26-year-old, who joined New England from the 49ers, is approaching a career high in receiving yards (with 623) and has already tied his single-season best with five touchdowns.

He notched two of those in Sunday’s win, including one of the game’s highlight moments in the third quarter:

Belichick described how Bourne’s energy shows up on more than just game day.

“Yeah KB’s been really productive for us,” said Belichick. “He does have a high level of energy everyday, whether it’s practice or [when] you guys see it on Sunday, but we see it everyday in practice.


“He’s great guy to have on the team, has a great attitude,” Belichick continued. “Really works hard to do his job and help others by blocking or sometimes just clearing out on a route, something like that. Glad we have him and he’s really stepped up for us.”

Josh Allen and the “Bills Mafia” await.

Looking ahead to Week 13, the Patriots will travel to Buffalo for a crucial AFC East clash against the Bills.

The matchup will take place on Monday night, with Buffalo fans expected to be a vocal presence as always. Belichick was asked about how he thinks he’s viewed by the the Buffalo fanbase, commonly referred to as the “Bills Mafia.”

“Yeah they definitely don’t like me,” he admitted.

On Josh Allen, the Bills’ talented quarterback, Belichick had nothing but praise.

“He can throw it, he can extend plays, his experience level has made him a really smart quarterback,” said Belichick, “doing a lot of the little things, like things with the cadence, audibling, seeing blitzes, anticipating them and sliding the protection over to pick them up, things like that.

“He’s a smart player, he’s tough, he’s physical, he’s got a great arm,” Belichick added, “hard to tackle. [He can] make all the throws. He’s got good leadership, and toughness out there. He’s one of the top quarterbacks in the league.”


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