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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript - 10/15/2012
Q: How do you manage the line between looking back on yesterday and finding what you need to get better on but not getting too caught up in one game because there is another one coming around the corner just six days away?
BB: That's the way it is every week. We take the same approach every week. We look at the good things, try to build on those, correct mistakes, see our errors – coaching errors, playing errors, communication errors, whatever it happens to be – and try to address those and correct them and move forward. Then start to prepare for the new team that we face on the schedule, take into account what things would carry over and apply them to the next game, which there are always some that will and some things are probably more unique or specific to the team that we played and may not have as much application to the new team for whatever reason and then the new challenges that come with a new team and try to bridge those together. It's really a continuous cycle there. Some of the situations that we talk about every week will eventually resurface at some point, it may not be the following week, [but] at some point along the line, those certain situations will show themselves again somehow. So hopefully we can learn from them, put them in the bank and when it comes up again, be able to refer back to it. On a weekly basis, it's a combination of rolling the old into the new and continuing to build our overall awareness. Of course, our execution of whatever it is that we're doing in that situation, to build the higher level of execution, whatever the play happens to be because in the end that's what it always comes down to, is how well you can do whatever it is you happen to have called. It's really the same every week. It's that balance. Whenever you lose though, those plays and those situations probably hang with you just a little bit longer than when you win but it's still the same process.
Q: You mention coming up short in a few games. Is that a mental toughness thing and can you teach players collectively and individually about how to close out games and how to develop that consistency?
BB: Sure, I think that's part of it. There are a lot of different adjectives you can use to describe it. But whatever it is, in the end it comes down to situation awareness, reaching down at the end of the game in terms of performance, overall execution. When you get down to the end of the fourth quarter, then the whole game really now hinges on just a handful of plays or sometimes just one play. Not that all the rest of them don't matter, they do, but the importance of the game, because of the shortness of it has now been reduced to a series, or five plays or it could be one play. Then it really becomes an awareness thing and certainly an execution thing. How well can you execute that, one, two or however many plays it is that are now going to determine the outcome of the game. Mental toughness, I think is part of it, awareness is part of it, basic execution is part of it, conditioning is part of it, scheming and actual technique of the play, the way the play is set up, all those things are part of it. It's an area, like I said, that I think we need to do a better job of all the way around – it's not any one person or any one thing or even any one play, but collectively all the units I previously mentioned were all involved and we just have to work harder to get it to a higher level.
Q: Any impressions of the crowd and the noise and if it had an impact at all?
BB: I don't think any more so than any other games that we've played on the road. It was loud but it's like that in every away stadium.
Q: On the go-ahead touchdown, when you had the situation in the secondary, was that in concert with the pass rush and their inability to get pressure on Russell Wilson at that time or were you just trying to avoid a break in containment?
BB: On that particular play, they, I don't want to say max protected but they kept everybody in except for two receivers and then they leaked an outlet guy out late. So, they kept extra protection in to try to throw the ball deep. Could the pass rush have been better? It always can. Could the coverage have been better? Definitely. Could we have been in something other than that when that play was called? Of course that's part of it too. The bottom line is we don't have any defenses designed to give up 50-yard touchdowns or any offenses that are plays that are designed to cause penalties or turn the ball over or do those things. We have to always look at the design and always work to try to improve it. We have to be able to execute what it was have called, we don't know what they're going to run so we have to be handle what it is they throw at us, whatever defense they call or whatever play they happen to run. We have to do a better job of that. Could we have called something else or designed something else? We could have but we'd have to execute that too. They kept in a little extra protection on the pass, which is normal when you're throwing the ball that deep, that's common.
Q: In that situation, would an extra defender in the backfield have helped?
BB: I don't know. I think we had enough people back there on paper. We just didn't have the play covered so we didn't play it very well. Look, I'm not trying to put the blame on the players or anything like that, that's not what it's about. Was there a different call we could have made? There always is. I don't think there was anything wrong with the call. I think we could have played it better, which includes coaching it to be played better. I think the responsibility on the coaching end is the execution of it, not we could have been in something else because we would have had to cover it if we were in something else as well. It comes down to the execution and that's part of the coaching that's involved as well.
Q: What were your impressions of Aaron Hernandez's first game back?
BB: I think Aaron, like all the other players that played in the game, did some good things, there were some other things that I'm sure he'd like to have back or like to do a little bit differently. I think we're all in the same category on that one. We did enough things to do enough things to have a 13-point lead halfway through the fourth quarter, we did enough things to have the game come down to the last possession of the game. We didn't do enough good things to win it. There were plenty of positive things there that got us to a point but in the end there weren't enough positive things to get us the result we wanted. We're all pretty much in the same boat on that one, no matter what player it is you want to attach to that. We all feel the same way.
Q: With this being Jets week and coming off a tough loss, is there little need to stress the importance of this week against a division rival?
BB: Of course, the division games are, we all know, those are ultimately the most important games, although every game is important but those games count a little bit more. I'm sure everybody understands that and we'll talk about it a little bit but we all know the importance of division games, no question about it. But again, it's a long season. We go through the same thing 15 [other] weeks. We've had big wins, we've had tough losses unfortunately but that's all part of turning the page and moving onto the next opponent and dealing with a new challenge. Certainly the Jets are a big one this week but we face big ones every week and we'll just to go through that process and try to get our team and our performance level to the highest point we can on Sunday.