On WEEI’s Dale & Holley with Thornton on Monday afternoon, Patriots coach Bill Belichick reiterated his support for kicker Stephen Gostkowski. Belichick said that the struggles that have plagued Gostkowski are pretty much par for the course for anyone who has spent time in the NFL.
“I think all players go through periods of time every year when they maybe aren’t as good as they are at other times. Coaches go through that too,” he said. “We all have to work though it — I don’t think there’s any shortcut. Just do what we believe, and keep working hard and try to improve it. Nobody else is going to change it. We all have to do it ourselves. I think every player feels like that. There are certain parts of the year where things are going better than they did in another part. If they’re not going good, then you do something to try and change that course.”
Belichick was asked about the challenge of kicking at Heinz Field, a notoriously difficult place for kicking.
“Part of the issue there is just the swirling wind,” he said. “Sometimes the wind moves the ball and sometimes it doesn’t. In all honesty, you can stand in different parts of the field and the wind is blowing in a different direction. You feel like it’s at your back, and then you walk a little ways, and then, all of a sudden, you feel the wind change. It didn’t feel like it felt 30 yards in a different spot. Both kickers kicked on the same field and both had trouble.”
Belichick also weighed in on a number of other topics:
On the fact that Patriots quarterbacks haven’t thrown an interception through seven games: “I don’t think any quarterback wants to throw an interception. I don’t think any coach wants that either. Look, there will be some tight throws, and I think that a quarterback has to have confidence to make those throws. That’s definitely going to happen. I think they gain that confidence on the practice field where they throw that ball in practice and realize it’s little too tight. Or against this coverage, there’s not enough room to get it in. I’d much rather have that happen in practice than happen [in a game]. And so would they. Sometimes, those things happen in practice or in training camp, preseason games. That kind of thing. I think that’s the time as coach, when you kind of want it to happen; you want the quarterback to feel confident on which ones he can get and which ones he can’t. That’s the time to do it, rather than these games.”
On Patrick Chung reaching 100 career games: “I think Pat, first of all, he’s a very good football player. But he’s also very well-conditioned. He’s one of our best conditioned athletes. He plays a lot on defense. He plays in the kicking game. And he can do, really pretty much whatever we ask him to do. He’s got really good endurance. He’s tough. He’s mentally tough. He’s physically tough. He’s a good tackler. He’s good in run for us. He’s good in coverage. He’s got a lot of good skills. He’s very good in the kicking game. We can use him on every single special team, if wanted to, but we can’t, because we choose not to because of his role on defense. But there was a time where he was on every special teams. … A very dependable tackler. Very good in run for us. For the last three years, he’s been a very solid coverage player for us. He does a lot of things well. I don’t think it’s any accident. he trains ell. He’s in good condition. And he’s a good football player.”
on the Bills: “They’re an explosive team, kind of like Pittsburgh. They’re very fast. The receivers are fast. They have a great running back, like Pittsburgh does. And the quarterback is very athletic. They do a great job on the running game. i don’t know if they lead the league in rushing, but they’ve got to be up there. They gain a lot of yards running the ball; they have several different runners and they have a lot of different ways of doing it. They have the wildcat, they do it with an unbalanced line. They run option plays. Read zone. All those things. It just gives you a lot to defend. Again, they’ve hit some explosive plays with their big-play receivers, including [Charles] Clay. They have a lot of weapons. Really, that’s the same team we saw last year. I’d say that’s pretty much the team this year. They just weren’t able to get that kind of production against Baltimore. But in the other game, I mean, we held them to 16 points, but they moved the ball on us, they converted third down. They ended up kicking some field goals, but they moved the ball. It’ll be a challenge for us.
“Defensively, their defense is very similar to what it was last year. They get [Marcell] Dareus back and they have Kyle [Williams] inside and they have good edge players like [Jerry] Hughes. Zach Brown is having a good year for them. He’s leading the league in tackles. He, along with Preston Brown, give them two good inside linebackers. They’e been strong in the secondary — those guys have been healthy all year. [Ronald] Darby missed one game but he’s been out there with [Stephon] Gilmore and [Nickell] Roby in there at the nickel positions. [Corey] Graham does a good job at safety. There’s a lot of carryover, a lot of experience on the defensive side of the ball, and they’re very explosive on offense.”
To listen to the complete interview, check out the Dale & Holley page.