5 takeaways from Bill Belichick’s last press conference

Patriots

“It’s always interesting to travel in the snow, but it’s part of New England, so you might as well embrace it.”

Bill Belichick doesn’t mind a little snow. Jim Davis / Globe staff

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

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

He enjoys 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 like everyone else, he needs to make sure he leaves plenty of time in the morning and takes the right steps to get to work on time. It is not always pleasant, but it is necessary.

“I tried to get there early this morning and it took me half an hour to go about four miles on Route 3,” Belichick said. “You never know. It’s always interesting to travel in the snow, but it’s part of New England, so you might as well embrace it.

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

It has been clear all season that Belichick enjoys coaching this team. Asked about the characteristic traits of the group, he said the product hasn’t always been good, but has always been competitive.

He said he believes the Patriots have improved a lot over the year and are a much better team now than they were at other times in the season.

Although they started some games slowly, he was happy with the way they responded on several occasions. Three of their losses were six points or less, and none were more than two scores.

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

He explained how he conveys messages to his team.

Belichick went into great detail when asked about his approach to pre-game messaging, noting that he tries to keep the wording concise to convey his point of view.

“I think if you don’t get the big picture then often the details don’t really matter,” Belichick said. “They are carried away. I thought my dad was doing a good job at this.

He said Bill Parcells also excelled in the field, noting that if teams followed Parcells’ main message correctly, they would generally be fine in any given game.

“Coach Parcells was exceptional at this,” Belichick said. “He has a lot of great qualities, but I would put that at 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 confidential.

Brandon Bolden revealed at the end of December that he had battled and conquered cancer three years ago.

The Patriots running back was diagnosed with squamous cell 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 has been disease free since 2018.

Belichick said he was aware of the situation, but it wasn’t something Bolden had made public or talked about frequently.

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

He called Bolden a “super reliable” player and said he has excelled in a variety of roles over the years. Belichick said the Patriots fully respect Bolden’s decision to step down in 2020 and that he is doing a great job balancing his health needs and those of the team.

“He’s one of the team’s most respected players not only for what he does on the pitch, but also for the way he behaves off the pitch,” Belichick said.

He noticed the potential of Hunter Long, a former Boston College tight end.

Former Boston College tight end Hunter Long, from Exeter, New Hampshire, is starting to carve out a bigger role in his rookie season with the Miami Dolphins.

The 6-foot-5 wide receiver, a 2021 third-round pick, has appeared in several recent Miami games. He recorded his first NFL catch in a win over the New York Giants in early December.

Belichick said the Patriots noticed Long and it was clear he was starting to consider their offense more and more. He said they’ve given Long more variety in what he does and that he can say he’s gaining the confidence of tight ends coach George Godsey.

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

He said it wasn’t easy to have playing time with players like Mike Gesicki and Durham Smythe, but thanked Long for working impressively in the mix.

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

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