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Tue., Apr. 21, 2015 12:00 AM to 11:55 AM EDT
Tue., Apr. 21, 2015 11:55 AM to 2:00 PM EDT
Tue., Apr. 21, 2015 2:00 PM to 11:59 PM EDT
Bill Belichick Postgame Press Conference Transcript
Q: How much did the weather conditions dictate going to the running game?
BB: Yeah, well it was tough out there. It was tough to throw the ball, tough to catch it. We saw a bunch of balls on the ground, more so than usual. That was definitely a factor; it got worse as the game went along. Yeah, it was definitely a running game.
Q: LeGarrette Blount made an impact on special teams today too. Can you talk about that?
BB: Yeah, he did a good job running the ball, we did a good job blocking – the guys in front of him did a good job blocking, gave him an opportunity to get started. He’s a guy that if you can get him started he can really make some yards. No back can run when there’s no blocking. He did a great job so did the guys on the kickoff return team. We haven’t had a lot of big plays in that area during the year but over the past few weeks, we got a little spark there from Josh [Boyce] and certainly LeGarrette today. Those were huge for us.
Q: The team displayed a lot of mental toughness today, like they have all season. Do you just expect it from this group at this point – that they’re going to fight through injuries or whatever happens?
BB: Well, that’s what we have to do. Yeah, go out there every week – everybody has to deal with something. [We’ll] have everybody ready to go and whoever is called on, if we put them out there, we have confidence in them. We wouldn’t put them out on the field if we weren’t confident in them.
Q: A lot of times momentum is meaningful going into the playoffs. Do you feel like your team has momentum right now?
BB: I don’t think that has anything to do with it. I think whoever plays good in the playoffs wins. I don’t think momentum has anything to do with it.
Q: Julian Edelman played all 16 games this year. How has that helped with his development?
BB: I don’t think there’s ever any question about Julian’s skills or his toughness or his competitiveness. Yeah, you’re right. This is the year he’s been able to stay on the field and certainly his production has paralleled his time on the field. He’s done a good job with his opportunities. He always practices hard, plays hard, prepares well. He’s always a tough guy you can count on from that standpoint and this year he’s been healthy.
Q: Did you like Tom Brady’s form on his punt?
BB: It was third-and-half-a-mile. [Jim] Leonhard made a good play to get back there and get it but it was the play that we felt like we had good protection on and rather than going through the whole third-and-long and deal with the punt rush, we were able to get a little cleaner play off there. But he’s done that for us a couple times in the past. He’s always ready.
Q: On the field goal when the Bills went offside, were you committed to the field goal there?
BB: Well, they jumped offside so it was a first down. We never even got a chance to kick it. There wasn’t much of a decision.
Q: You had Shane Vereen back for the first one or two kickoffs and then you went to Blount. Is that because of the way he was running?
BB: They’ve all returned them. I think Shane has a little more experience back there, just overall in ball handling with the conditions and all. But LeGarrette was ready to go. We’ve used guys before; we’ve used more than one guy before.
Q: Were you aware before the game that the Bengals and Colts had won?
BB: Yeah, we saw it up on the scoreboard there when we came out, [at] 4:30 or whatever time it was.
Q: LeGarrette Blount’s kickoff returns were huge in this game.
BB: Absolutely, no question. Look, he had a tremendous day. It was the best day of all-time for Patriots total yardage. It was a tremendous day.
Q: Were those returns an emotional lift for the team?
BB: He carried the team on his back most of the day. He had  yards, I don’t know how much more we had besides that. But I’d say he did the bulk of it, no question. He had some help, but he did a great job; tremendous.
Q: On a personal level when you bring a player in, LeGarrette Blount came here with a little adversity to overcome and then made the team, is it at all rewarding as a coach to see a guy come into your program and make that kind of progress?
BB: He’s made contributions for us all year. You were at the Atlanta game. You’ve been at all the games. He’s contributed for us all year. I think definitely an assist on this one has to go to our assistant pro personnel director – [Aqib] Talib – who I talked to before we traded for LeGarrette and everything he said about him was absolutely right. He’s a good football player who loves to play, works hard and is a team player; great guy for the team in the locker room. He’s been all those things.
Q: How happy do you feel for the team the way they earned the bye?
BB: I’m happy for them. They definitely earned it. You’re right. Nobody gave them anything, they had to go out and earn it. Won 12 games and a lot of them were very tough and competitive and came down to the wire. This team earned it, I’m happy for them. But at the same time, this isn’t our only goal for the season. We need to play our best football going forward. We know we have a big challenge ahead of us in a couple weeks.
Q: Are you of the belief that the bye increases the chances of advancing in the playoffs?
BB: We’re in the second round of the playoffs now, so yeah. We’re in the second round.
Q: Are you surprised that a man as big as LeGarrette Blount can return kickoffs that well?
BB: I think he’s got good running skills. We’ve seen him. He’s not a fullback out there. He’s got some quickness, got good vision, got excellent elusiveness in the secondary which is kind of what kickoff returns are. I think that the big thing for him is judging the ball and handling the ball on those kicks because he’s hasn’t had a lot of experience doing it but he’s worked hard at it. I’d say he’s definitely improved. Everybody is confident in him.
BB: I think Slater was back there with Vereen if I’m not mistaken. It was just the opening kickoff, the ball handling, the rain, the conditions and all that. Shane has a little more experience doing that but we have confidence in both guys.
Q: Stephen Gostkowski scored a lot of points today. Can you talk about his contributions all season?
BB: Oh man. All three of those guys. This is about as tough of conditions as you can kick in – snap, hold and kick in. I thought Ryan [Allen] did a great job of getting the ball down and Danny [Aiken] of course snapping it and Steve kicking it. These are not easy kicks. The whole operation, the timing and just the execution of them, but the balls were up, they were high, they were straight and Steve did a great job but so did – the whole operation was good. It was a tough day to kick. I thought Ryan punted well too. We obviously could have had one downed there inside the five but we missed an opportunity. Those guys did a terrific job given the conditions. It wasn’t an easy day.