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Mon., Apr. 20, 2015 12:00 AM to 11:59 PM EDT
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Tue., Apr. 21, 2015 11:55 AM to 2:00 PM EDT
Bill O'Brien Conference Call Transcript
Q: I'm wondering if you can sum up how much you guys have accomplished this preseason and how ready you are for Monday night.
BO: There's been a lot accomplished. I believe we've improved every day [and] every week as a unit. The beginning of the season is very similar every year as far as there's some moving parts, and some things that are unknown, and so, we will have to find some of those out on Monday night. Again, with this week and by the end of this week we feel like we'll be ready to go.
Q: You mentioned the things that are unknown. How does that make this team more unique maybe than some of the other ones you'll have this year?
BO: I would say every team is different. When I talk about the unknown it's how it relates to the first game. It's our first game, it's their first game, [and] there're some unknowns going into the game: how are we going to play, how are they going to play – that's what I'm talking about there. How it compares to other teams, each team's unto itself and every team is different; every year is different.
Q: This preseason has been interesting for your receiving corps. Deion Branch hasn't caught a pass yet in the preseason which is either important or not important – it's tough to figure out. How do you view production, especially Deion's in the preseason? Do you think he is a guy who will go back to the contributions that he had last year?
BO: We view production on a daily basis [in] practice and in games, so as it relates to everybody at that position or at the tight end position or at the running back position I think there has been a… There has been production with each guy, each day with maybe one more than the other on a certain day or [in] a certain game, but as we go forward here Deion will be – as with all the receivers on the roster: Deion, Wes [Welker], [Chad Ochocinco], [Matt] Slater, Julian [Edelman], Taylor [Price], those guys are all going to be looked to, to contribute to the game on a weekly basis.
Q: I'm curious how you think the two rookie running backs are ready to contribute in their very first NFL game?
BO: As with every rookie in the league, it's always a difficult beginning. When you go into your first game there're some things that you're not going to be use to and that you're going to have to get use to early. I believe that both [Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley] along with that whole position has had a very consistent, good camp for us. They'll be ready to go.
Q: When you look at the Dolphins defense what stands out to you as you prepare for this first game?
BO: There're a lot of things that stand out to me from their defense. They're a very multiple defense. They mix it up, [they] mix up calls, mix up looks – tough defense. [They're] one of the top defenses in the league. Their secondary is big, fast – [they] play a lot of different coverages. I think their linebackers obviously are basically the same as they were last year except for [Kevin] Burnett who is a very athletic [and] active guy. Obviously, Cameron Wake is a guy there that is [a] 3-4 outside linebacker and also a sub rusher and an excellent player. Their defensive line is big and stout, and a good defensive line. So, it's definitely a challenge for us. It's something that obviously we've started working on and we'll have to have a really good week of practice, go down there and be focused, and be ready to go.
Q: On [Cameron] Wake in particular, do they line him up in one spot and just let him go or is he a guy who flips? Where do you expect to see him?
BO: They do a great job with him. Coach [Mike] Nolan does a great job with him. As they do with a lot of their players on defense – he'll line up in a lot of spots. He could be outside linebacker on one snap and the next snap he could be inside rusher, he could be a defensive end in their nickel package, so they do a good job of moving him around, so it will be tough to get a beat on where he's lining up.
Q: Looking at the other end of that has Matt Light progressed to what you want, is he ready to go also given his shoulder rehab?
BO: Matt Light as you guys know has played a lot of good football for us and he's had a good camp, and he'll be ready to go.
Q: What are your thoughts on Brian Waters coming in a veteran offensive lineman and what he may be willing to add to that mix upfront?
BO: I've only known if for a couple days here. I was around him at the Pro Bowl... Like you said, a veteran guy, [he has] some familiarity our system as far as being in Kansas City with the terminology. Hopefully he'll be able to come in here and contribute and help us win games.
Q: It looked like against Detroit when Taylor Price was healthy, it looked like he came out with Wes Welker and you guys had two receivers on the field, and then Deion, Ochocinco, and Wes – making it three receivers on the field, do you like the look of that against Detroit? Is that something that we will we see heading into the regular season?
BO: We will do what we've always done as a game plan offense. We'll mix guys in and out in different personnel groupings, so it'll be hard to get a beat on who is in there when, and we'll continue to do that.
Q: I was wondering about BenJarvus Green-Ellis. He seems like the kind of player – a productive guy, a guy that coaches in general all seem to look to. How do you keep that kind of guy going and focused? He knows you drafted two running backs… how do you sort of keep him going or is he a kind of guy you don't have to?
BO: [BenJarvus] is a great story in my mind. I'll speak for myself; I'm not looking to replace him. He's a steady guy [and] he's a smart guy. He came in here as an undrafted guy and made the football team, and every year he has gotten better. As with everybody at that position, I think they've improved the whole training camp, but as it relates to Benny, he has done a better job of coming in here and catching the ball, and doing some of the things we've asked him to get better at and he does that every year. Whatever you ask him to do he tries to improve on it, and he's a good guy to have on the football team as is [Danny Woodhead], as is Kevin [Faulk], obviously, [Stevan] Ridley, and [Shane] Vereen. So that's a good mixture of guys, and we're happy with Benny as we usually are.
Q: Is he a guy whose confidence has sort of grown? He has had some success now, have you seen his confidence grow?
BO: Yeah, I think as with every player and coach – I'd include player and coach in that. As you come into this league and you get better and better, and you get used to the speed of the game, and the different intricacies of the game and you have success that your confidence grows; and Benny would definitely fall into that category.
Q: How does a guy like him end up as an undrafted player? Teams are paying millions and millions of dollars to find players and it wasn't like he was hidden away some place. How does he end up in the situation that he was at the start when he's the kind of player that he has turned out to be?
BO: Yeah, that's probably more of a question for Bill [Belichick] only for the fact that I was the receiver coach when he came in. I'll say this, he was a productive college player and as far as why he wasn't drafted or why he was drafted, that probably would be more of a question for Bill, but since he's been here he's definitely been a guy who has helped us and gotten better every year.
Q: Do you remember when he first came to camp that first summer, was there something that he did that made the coaches notice him? Was there something in particular that made you guys say, ‘who's this guy over here,' type of thing?
BO: You kind of mentioned it in the beginning. Right in the beginning as it related to Benny I was always impressed with his demeanor, his steadiness and his intelligence playing running back in our system. I could really say the same about every guy. Kevin [Faulk] obviously [is] a very, very smart guy, and a very smart football player [and] Benny's in that category, and Woodhead. These guys come in and we ask them to do a whole lot of things, and Benny obviously was working on his consistency when he first came here, but he never changed his demeanor, and the way he picked up our offense was impressive to me.
Q: When you first came to New England and you started working with Wes Welker what were you initial impressions of him and how have those impressions of him changed over time?
BO: Well when I first came to New England in ‘07, I was an offensive assistant. I worked with him in '08, I coached the receivers and I really – again, I know it's hard because I'm telling you similar things, but for that whole position the work ethic, [and] professionalism with all those guys whether it's Deion [Branch], Wes [Welker], [Chad Ochocinco], [Matthew] Slater – that's what always stands out to me. Those guys that come to practice every day, they're out there every day working at it, working hard at it, and Wes is obviously the guy that's been here the longest [he's] been here since '07. I know Deion was here before then came back, but Wes is a guy that definitely falls into that category and [he] works his butt of everyday in practice to get better at the things we ask him to get better at, and keep doing the things that he does well. To me you could say that about all those guys.
Q: Are you surprised when you see a guy who was such a stand out in the punt return and kick return game make the transition to be such a prolific receiver?
BO: Nothing really surprises me with any professional football player. As long as they work hard and they're intelligent and they come to play every day in practice, and they can stay healthy — which I know he had the knee [injury] at the end of the '09 season. He rehabbed that in the offseason and came back and was a productive player last year, so nothing surprises me.