Patriots

5 takeaways from Bill Belichick’s latest press conference, including his thoughts on New England snow

"It's always interesting traveling in the snow, but that’s part of New England, so you might as well just embrace it.”

Bill Belichick doesn't mind a little snow. Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Bill Belichick covered a wide variety of topics in his press conference Friday morning, ranging from his thoughts on New England snowstorms to his pregame messaging habits, and much more.

Here are some takeaways from the Zoom call ahead of Sunday’s clash with the Miami Dolphins.

He embraces traveling in the snow in New England.

When it comes to local snowstorms, the Patriots head coach has a classic New England mindset.

He said that, like everybody else, he has to make sure he leaves enough time in the morning and take the right steps so he gets to work on time. It isn’t always enjoyable, but it’s necessary.

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“I tried to come in early this morning and it took a half hour to go like four miles on Route 3,” Belichick said. “You never know. It’s always interesting traveling in the snow, but that’s part of New England, so you might as well just embrace it.”

He believes the Patriots have “answered the bell” this season.

It’s been clear all season that Belichick has enjoyed coaching this team. When asked about the defining traits of the group, he said the product hasn’t always been good, but it’s always been competitive.

He said he believes the Patriots have improved a lot over the course of the year and that they’re a much better team now than they were at other points in the season.

Though they’ve started some games slowly, he’s been pleased with how they’ve responded many times. Three of their losses have been by six points or fewer, and none have been by more than two scores.

“For the most part, we’ve put ourselves in a position to be competitive and had a chance to win at the end of the game,” Belichick said. “That’s a good thing, but it’s a bad thing to start as slowly as we have at times. From a competitive standpoint, we’ve answered the bell in every round.”

He detailed how he conveys messages to his team.

Belichick went into great detail when asked about his approach when it comes to pregame messaging, noting that he tries to keep the wording concise to convey his point.

“I think if you don’t get the big picture, then a lot of times the details don’t really matter,” Belichick said. “They get washed away. I thought my dad did a good job at that.”

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He said Bill Parcells also excelled in the area, noting that if teams followed Parcells’ main message properly, they would typically be all right in a given game.

“Coach Parcells was outstanding at that,” Belichick said. “He has a lot of great qualities, but I would put that near the top of the list. Bill could really identify in very simple terms what needed to be done.”

He respected Brandon Bolden’s choice to keep his cancer diagnosis private.

Brandon Bolden revealed in late December that he battled and beat cancer three years ago.

The Patriots running back was diagnosed with epidermoid carcinoma, a form of skin cancer, shortly after New England’s loss to the Eagles in the Super Bowl in 2018. Following surgery, he temporarily lost function on the right side of his face. He’s been free of the disease since 2018.

Belichick said he was aware of the situation but that it wasn’t something Bolden publicized or talked about frequently.

“We all tried to be supportive,” Belichick said. “You don’t want to bug him about it, because he didn’t really want to talk about it. Personal choice, and you respect that.”

He called Bolden a “super dependable” player and said he’s excelled in a variety of roles over the years. Belichick said the Patriots fully respected Bolden’s decision to opt out in 2020 and that he does a great job balancing his health needs and the team’s needs.

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“He’s one of the most respected players on the team for not only what he does on the field, but how he carries himself off the field,” Belichick said.

He’s noticed former Boston College tight end Hunter Long’s potential.

Former Boston College standout tight end Hunter Long, who hails from Exeter, New Hampshire, is starting to carve out more of a role for himself in his rookie season with the Miami Dolphins.

The 6-foot-5 pass-catcher, a third-round pick in 2021, has seen action in several of Miami’s recent games. He registered his first NFL catch in a win over the New York Giants in early December.

Belichick said the Patriots have noticed Long and that it’s clear he’s starting to factor into their offense more and more. He said they’ve given Long some more variety in what he does and that he can tell he’s earning the trust of tight ends coach George Godsey.

“I’m sure that they like the future of him,” Belichick said.

He said it’s not easy to get playing time with players such as Mike Gesicki and Durham Smythe involved, but he credited Long for impressively working his way into the mix.

“I think this is a guy where, down the road, we’re going to see a lot more playing time from him,” Belichick said.

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