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Transcript: Bill Belichick Press Conference 1/11
Thursday, January 11, 2018 7:00 AM EST
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Q: What does it say about Marcus Mariota that he hasn't thrown an interception in the red zone in his career?
BB: Yeah, he does a good job of taking care of the ball, period. They have a good scheme, good attack and that's just good decision making on his part. He makes a lot of good decisions, though - red area, not red are. He does a good job.
Q: What were your thoughts on Mariota throwing a touchdown pass to himself last week?
BB: Yeah, it was a tremendous, athletic play. I mean, it was a great play, but he's a pretty athletic guy. So, it's not shocking that he would make an athletic play. He reacted very quickly - quicker than Kansas City did. It was a big play in the game.
Q: How do the Titans use Adoree' Jackson when he is employed on offense?
BB: Just sporadically, in those specialty plays. They use him some as a decoy, some to try to get the ball to him in some playmaking opportunities. He gets a lot of those in the kicking game, though.
Q: As a coach, in what ways do you flip the playoff switch in your approach or messaging to the players?
BB: Yeah, but right now, it's just about preparing for Tennessee.
Q: How important is the practice squad to your weekly preparation?
BB: They do a great job. Yeah, they help the team prepare for the game. They improve their individual skills, and at some point those players may be needed, but in any case they develop their own skills.
Q: What do you look for when you're signing a practice squad player in regards to physical make up or personality?
BB: Yeah, it's like everything else - try to put people on your team that you want on your team for whatever combination of reasons are.
Q: What is your impression of Rex Burkhead this season and the way he has responded to physical setbacks?
BB: Yeah, Rex is a good player. He's a good player for us on all four downs. So, it's always good to have him out there.
Q: With Derrick Henry's size, what challenges does he present?
BB: He's a hard guy to tackle. He runs strong, he's powerful, breaks tackles. He's very good in the open field, he's elusive, he's good in space, he can run like a small back in space and he's had some long runs - 60-yarders, 65-yarders, whatever they were - where he runs through multiple guys, cuts back against the grain. You see him run in the open field very productively. So, he's more than just a power back. He's a good space back and very athletic guy, can catch the ball.
Q: Does Henry remind you of any other backs?
BB: He's pretty good.
Q: Kevin Byard had zero interceptions last season as a rookie and eight this season. What have you seen that's allowed him to be so productive in that regard?
BB: He does a good job of reading the quarterback, playing the ball. He has good hands. He's made a couple good catches that maybe other guys might not have made, I don't know. But, he has good hands, so he takes advantage of those opportunities. But, he reads the quarterback well, has had some good breaks on the ball and he's around the ball, so if the ball gets tipped or overthrown or deflected or things like that when you're around it, you have a better chance to get it. He's around it a lot.
Q: It seems the team has held more in-stadium practices in recent weeks. How if at all does that change what you need to do at practice?
BB: Yeah, not much.
Q: What does Corey Davis give the Titans on the outside?
BB: Yeah, just another weapon. They have a lot of them - backs, tight ends, receivers, quarterback. He's just another weapon. So, they have a lot of options, a lot of people to choose from. They give you a lot to defend.
Q: Are there any traits about him that allowed him to be selected fifth in the draft?
BB: Well, I mean, he's an explosive player, strong after the catch, makes big plays down the field, takes short plays and turns them into big plays. He's dangerous.
Q: What has impressed you the most about Brandin Cooks and the way he acclimated and adapted to what you guys do?
BB: He's a hardworking kid, very coachable. He's out there every day.
Q: What are some of the biggest challenges of protecting against games or stunts from an opposing defensive line?
BB: Good technique.
Q: How does communication factor into that? Are offensive linemen able to communicate while the play is happening if they have to pass guys off?
BB: Yeah, sometimes. But, in the end, I think you need to be able to see it. So, if we both see the same thing and see it the same way, then we react the same way. If we see it differently, then we react differently. Then there's a problem, and I think that's really what you have to do. You can communicate it, but that actually takes longer and sometimes there's less clarity to that, although it could be, if you have enough time, then it might be helpful. But, in the end, I think you've got to be able to see it and react to it because that's really the speed of the game.
Q: Is this Titans team a team that will do that?
BB: Oh, they stunt a lot. Yeah, absolutely. They stunt a lot. They stunt O-linemen. They blitz. When they blitz, that usually involves movement. Sometimes the blitzers move and they cross or are involved with another defensive linemen, let's just say, so two blitzers and a lineman and some type of movement or it could be two blitzers or it could be a blitzer and a lineman or it could be two or three lineman. So, yep, they do a good job moving. They're strong but [Jurrell] Casey - quick guy. He's particularly hard to handle. But, [Brian] Orakpo, [Derrick] Morgan, their linebackers - they're all pretty athletic players.
Q: A year ago, you did not have Rob Gronkowski entering the playoffs. What's the biggest difference this year having him in the line up?
BB: The biggest difference?
Q: He obviously adds a lot to your team.
BB: Yeah, well, whatever team you have, that's the team you have. So, if we have him, that's great. There are other players that we don't have. There's other players that other teams don't have. So, whoever you have, you have. Whoever you don't have, you don't have. You try to put the most competitive team out on the field with the players that you have. It's great to have him a part of it. He's a great player. But, as I said, there are other players that we don't have, so we don't have them, just like everybody else.
Q: Do you anticipate having Malcolm Mitchell back at any point this season?
BB: I don't know. I'll certainly let you know as soon as - if that happens, we'll let you know as soon as possible. There won't be a second of delay.
Q: Can you talk about Brandin Cooks' durability? I'm not sure if he has missed a single practice.
BB: I don't know if he's even missed a play. I meant at practice. I mean, he runs 60 yards down the field, comes back and gets in the huddle and runs another one. He's got great stamina.
Q: Did you have a feeling that's what you were getting when you signed him, or is that something you realized after having him here?
BB: Yeah, he's probably more impressive once you're actually around him every day and you see those kind of plays strung together. I felt that that's what he was, but it's been impressive. It's definitely been impressive.
Q: How do you prevent your team from overlooking an opponent?
BB: We prepare for everybody. We prepare for everybody's best game.
Q: Is what you have seen from Wesley Woodyard in Tennessee what you would have projected for him in his role there?
BB: Yeah, we've never coached him. I mean, Josh [McDaniels] coached him. We've never really coached him. So, I don't know. He's done a good job for them. He's really a third-down, special team-type player for Denver. His role grew into a little more than that. This year, in particular in Tennessee, it's grown into a lot more than that. He never comes off the field basically on defense, so he plays on all defensive downs and all situations. He's had a very productive year. He's had a great year, done a great job for them.
Q: How valuable is Marquis Flowers' speed and athleticism in going up against a mobile quarterback?
BB: Yeah, Marquis has done a good job for us. He's been a good player to have all year. He's had different roles, been in different situations. He's handled them well, prepared well. He's always been ready to go whatever we've asked him to do. It's been a multiplicity of jobs or assignments, in some cases positions, but he attacks them very professionally, learns what to do, understands how we want to try to do it, tries his best to do it that way. You can't ask for any more than that.
Q: How well do Mariota's ability to move and Henry's style complement each other? Does it require different defensive skill sets to defend each player?
BB: Yeah, I don't think you can defend Mariota with one player. I don't think you can defend Henry with one player. It better be team defense because they'll go wherever there's space to go. They're not just going to run into one guy, so you better have everybody ready to deal with them because they're all going to get a shot at them, both of them.
Q: When the Titans go up tempo, if their offense much different from a play calling or scheme standpoint?
BB: Well, they don't run a lot of no-huddle statistically. They did in the Kansas City game. The tempo in that game I wouldn't say was extraordinarily fast, but I mean, they can go fast. They can go fast in the two-minute situation, so you kind of have to be ready for all of it. You have to be ready for not up-tempo, you have to be ready for no-huddle fast, no-huddle not fast, so you'd have to ask them how they're going to do it. I mean, I don't know. They have done it differently. It's not all the same. So, I don't know how they're going to do it if they do it. I don't know.
Q: Have the Titans used as much read option this year as they have with Mariota in the past?
BB: Yeah, they keep the ball, he keeps the ball. As far as it being a triple option, they don't do a lot of that. Like some teams, we see other teams that do a lot more of it than they do. Nobody does a lot of it. A lot of teams show a few plays of it here and there. We know they have it. They've done it. They don't do it as much. It's basically a two-man option. It's a dive, it's a quarterback keep or there could be a pass - either the play is a pass or some type of a run-pass option, look-pass or that type of thing. But, mostly it's give or keep. But, there are some design plays where he keeps it and he has a blocker in front of him, so those are definitely design plays where he's going to keep it. Then there are some where he reads it, obviously some where they just give it to Henry.
Q: Having barely played in college, is it impressive to you that Matt Cassel remains in the league 13 years after you drafted him?
BB: Sure. He's had a good career. He played behind two great players. It looks like he might outlast [Carson] Palmer, I don't know. He outlasted [Matt] Leinart, but he'd have to go another year, I guess, to outlast Palmer. But, he's had a great career.
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