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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript - 9/4/2012
Q: You were on the same staff with Chris Palmer. What imprint do you see him putting on the Titans offense?
BB: Right, Chris and I were together in '96 and I actually worked quite a bit with Chris that year because I was coaching the secondary and he was coaching the quarterbacks. In a lot of the passing drills and so forth we worked with each other, setting things up and just on opposite sides of the ball, especially through training camp and some of the individual drills there during the season. Chris has a real good grasp of the passing game as well as overall offensively. They definitely have elements of the four wide receiver run and shoot type of offense in their system. With [Jared] Cook as the tight end, he's really flexed out a lot, playing like a wide receiver in that type of offense, although they have versatility with him because he doesn't have to be flexed out. He can be in the backfield protection or on the line in his normal tight end position. They have a good scheme, they definitely try to take advantage of where the defense is weak and they do that by trying to read the coverage pre-snap but also having the receivers adjust their routes after the snap based on what defense you're in. They're always attacking your weakness defensively so that will be a big challenge for us to be able to make sure that whatever coverage we're in, we know they're going to the softer spots in the coverage that we're able to keep those things tightened up. Chris is a smart guy and he does a real good job offensively and with the passing game and developing young quarterbacks, I might add.
Q: How long before Visanthe Shiancoe will be able to be an active participant?
BB: We're just taking it day to day.
Q: Do you have any plans of making a move with the IR exemption rule kicking in today?
BB: Whenever we make any roster moves, we'll make sure that you get that release as quickly as we make them, like we always do.
Q: What kind of challenges does Chris Johnson present for your defense and what skills does he bring to the table?
BB: It's a huge challenge. His production speaks for itself. He's really an outstanding player with the ball in his hands – in the passing game, in the running game, inside runs, outside runs, draws, screens. Everybody is at the point of attack because he has the speed to start one way and go the other to get back to the cutback backside of the defense or bounce out in either direction. Really everybody is at the point of attack when he has the ball. It's a big challenge for our defense. He's very dangerous. He's had like four touchdowns over 75 yards, something like that. Whenever he gets the ball anywhere on the field, he's just one play away from the end zone. Everybody has to be ready and do their job and make sure that no matter where he hits it, we have to defend it because he can attack anywhere on the field.
Q: With such unique speed and cutback ability, is this a week that you're reminding your guys to stay home even if they're away from the play?
BB: Yeah, absolutely. Just what we just said, everybody is at the point of attack and all 11 guys have to be ready to defend him when he's got the ball because he's capable of getting anywhere. Even if we're there, we still have to tackle him. Not only is he a fast back, but he's elusive and shifty with good vision; big-time home run threat every time he touches the ball.
Q: Does Greg Salas have any experience on special teams outside of returning punts?
BB: It's been limited but he's got good size. Physically he's got a good makeup to be able to compete in the kicking game from a size, speed, athletic standpoint. As you mentioned, he's had some experience in the return game. We'll see how it goes there.
Q: Is that something you look for when you're getting into third, fourth or fifth receivers – someone who gives you value on special teams units as well?
BB: Of course it's always a plus. The more versatility the player has, the more things he can do, the more value he has to our football team and to himself in terms of roster spot, playing time and so forth. That's always good to have it. Some players don't have it and they're good at the position that they play or the things that they do and that's great because we need that too. Players that have versatility and can do multiple things and particularly do them at a good level add a lot of value to our team and to themselves.
Q: What challenges does Michael Griffin present back there at safety?
BB: I think Griffin is one of the better safeties in the league; has been very consistent back there and dependable. He's very athletic for a safety, runs well, has good quickness, can match up in man-coverage, has range and can cover a lot of ground in the deep part of the field in zone coverage. He's smart, he anticipates things well: route combinations and things like that. He's been used both in the deep part of the field as a free safety and then this year they've played him more in the strong safety type position, but again, sometimes he's back, sometimes he's close to the line – he'll do both and has done both from either spot. You never know exactly where he's going to be but he's one of those versatile guys that can play well away from the line of scrimmage and play well close to the line in terms of run support, matching tight ends in coverage and then reading the quarterback on the underneath combination routes and zone coverage and so forth. He's a very good player, versatile player and he's done it now for awhile. He's experienced but is still a fairly young guy. He's kind of right there at the prime of his career. He's a good player; one of the better safeties in the league.
Q: What are your thoughts on Kendall Wright and what he adds to the Titans?
BB: He was a very productive player in college. He was used in different ways, they moved him around some. He played a lot outside but they also used him in the slot as well. He's good got speed; he can get down the field vertically on seam routes, go routes, things like that. They also threw him a lot of slip screens in college, catch and run type plays; he's had some of those with the Titans as well. He has good ball skills, good ability to run after the catch. He's a 200-pound guy, he's a pretty solid guy that's big, that can run, not big, big but he's got good size, he can run, he can make plays with the ball in his hands after the catch and he's been a very productive player. He's already had good production in preseason and he had good production in college so he finds a way to get open. Obviously quarterbacks have confidence in him in terms of getting him the ball and the coaches do in some of the plays they've designed for him. I'm sure they're happy with him; he's been a good addition to their team. He looks like a good football player.
Q: What do you see from Colin McCarthy? It seems like he's quickly emerged into a leadership role and full-time role there?
BB: I'd say he's definitely a full-time guy for them. Again, he does a lot of things for them. He plays a decent amount in the deep part of the field in their 2-Tampa scheme as the middle linebacker where he's running deep with those vertical routes down the middle and things like that. Of course, he's involved in the running game at the line of scrimmage, mixing it up inside, taking on centers and guards and fullbacks and all that. He's got a good set of skills. I think he's very instinctive and adept at pass coverage. He seems to have a real good feel for route combinations, recognizing where the quarterback is trying to go with the ball. He anticipates well, he gets a good break on the ball, he's had his hands on a number of balls, interceptions – ran one back for a touchdown against Arizona. He definitely on film looks like he's the leader of the defense in terms of signal callers and making adjustments and checks and that kind of thing. You can kind of see the other guys looking to him. You also see him taking control of the situation. He's a guy that's really come on quickly and has done a good job in all phases of the game: the running game, zone defense, man-to-man defense, he makes plays inside against big people in the middle of the line and he can get to the sideline and get outside on the perimeter plays and be a factor on those and the screen passes and wide routes outside, he can run well and gets outside into the play. He's a real good football player. He's coming on quickly and looks like he's a real good middle linebacker.