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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript

Posted Nov 12, 2012

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Monday, November 12, 2012.

BB: It's good to be sitting here with a division win. There were some good things in the game and some other things that certainly could be better. Definitely the big swing in the game was the turnovers and it's always good to be on the plus side of that stat. Fortunately we were able to make some plays we needed to make there. We'll keep working on getting better in all the areas. I didn't think that was the level of play in any of the three phases that we are looking for that we really need. Hopefully we'll be able to ramp that up and we'll need to against the Colts, they're one of the hottest teams in the league.

Q: Is the Jeff Tarpinian release a corresponding move to be able to activate Aqib Talib?

BB: We don't have anything to announce on that right now. We'll give you something as soon as we have a definite roster move to make.

Q: With respect to Talib's addition, are you now at liberty to say what he could contribute to the defense, specifically this week as you prepare for the Colts?

BB: We'll just have to see. We're not going to be on the practice field until Wednesday, so we'll go out there Wednesday and see what it looks like. We'll spend time with him, trying to get him caught up in terms of terminology and scheme and that type of thing. We'll see how all that comes together as we move through our preparations this week. I don't really know how it will turn out.

Q: Have you had a chance to meet with Aqib Talib personally?

BB: Yes.

Q: Without getting into details, how would you sum up what you were able to do with him right now and getting him indoctrinated to what you do?

BB: Just exactly that – just try to work with him on an individual basis and work with him in terms of terminology, film study of what we're doing and also to get ahead on our opponent this week, start working on some of that too and see how it all comes together.

Q: Can you describe what Danny Woodhead has done here that has raised your expectation level of him?

BB: Danny has been consistent for us, has been productive for us for three years now. He's done a good job of taking advantage of his opportunities. He only had one carry yesterday, but it was a big one. Buffalo was in some man-to-man coverage and he was able to uncover on the linebackers, get free there for a touchdown catch. He also made a couple other plays in the passing game. He's a guy that knows his role and is prepared and when you need him. I think we've been able to count on him to step up and make the plays that he has given the opportunity that is presented. He's gained all of our confidence in doing that a number of times; he did it again yesterday. It's always great to see that.

Q: After speaking with Talib, do you have more comfort in making this trade in terms of not having contact with him before making the deal?

BB: I don't know. The deal has already been made. Right now, we're working forward, working ahead and trying to get him ready to play.

Q: What's been your experience trying to get players acclimated midseason? Is that something the player can absorb in a short period of time or do you have to ease him into it?

BB: I think you take each player individually and each situation individually. We had guys like [Danny] Woodhead a couple years ago, James Ihedigbo last year, come in and be solid contributors. We could go right down the line. I don't really know. It's not about expectations or goals or landmarks. We're in uncharted territory here. We have a new player coming on to a new team. We're glad to have him, we're working with him. I'm sure that he'll work hard to try to get caught up. We'll see where it all goes.

Q: In looking at the things that gave you the most concern in the game, was it the rushing yards or was it something else that stood out?

BB: I think we missed a number of opportunities in every area of the game. We couldn't get the ball in on the goal line, gave up yardage in the running game and the passing game, had a couple tipped balls that we got away with that were pretty dangerous plays, didn't do well on third down defensively. You can go through the game and pick them out. There were a number of things that we can certainly work harder at to get better.

Q: Suffice it to say, plenty to work on before the Colts come?

BB: Yeah, absolutely. Again, on some of those plays that didn't go so well, there were good things on the play that we did do well but the end result wasn't good. There are things that didn't go right. It will be a new matchup against the Colts, but our overall consistency in all three phases of the game – kickoff returns, we couldn't get the ball up to the 20-yard line a couple times. There were just a number of things that we didn't do to the level that we want to or need to do them at consistently. We have to find a way to bring that up or eventually it's going to cost us. It already has cost us at times this year, but it will cost us again. We're lucky that yesterday we were not really at our best but still able to win and make enough plays to win. We've also been in a couple games kind of like that that we didn't win. You hate to leave it to come down to one play like that, have a little more control of the game than that. That's the National Football League too. There are an awful lot of games that come down to that one possession, one play, whatever it is. The fact that we made it against the Jets or made it against Buffalo or didn't make it against Arizona, that's kind of the nature of the NFL a little bit too.

Q: Do you guys get a roster exemption for Aqib Talib at this point? You've met with him, but he's not on the roster. I'm assuming they're giving you an exemption?

BB: Yes. That's right.

Q: Are you at liberty to say how long it is?

BB: To be honest with you, I'd have to check on the exact time of it. I want to say it's a week.

Q: What happened in the opening toss in the game? When you guys won the toss did you think the Bills had chosen to defend a side instead of taking the ball?

BB: No, that's what it looked like to me too. We won the toss, we elected to defer and then I thought they elected to defend the end away from the lighthouse. That's what [Referee Bill] Leavy signaled and then we had our kickoff return team out there. We were down at the other end, at the lighthouse end and at first I thought that they had won the toss and elected to defer. But I thought that I heard him say – but it's hard to hear in the stadium, when the loudspeaker announces it, it's hard to hear what they're saying with the crowd noise and everything. I thought it was exactly what you're saying it was and then we had our kickoff return team getting ready to go out there and I just wanted to make sure of that. I couldn't get to Leavy, but I talked to one of the other officials on our sideline and said, ‘Then it would still be our choice in the second half right, because we deferred?' So then he went over to check with it and Leavy came running over to me. I saw him talking to Chan [Gailey] over there and then he came over and said to myself and the other official that I was questioning, he said that he had given the wrong signal and that Buffalo had chosen to take the ball after we deferred. Then he wanted to confirm that we were going to defend that same goal and kick toward the lighthouse. That's when I had the conversation with him, like ‘What happened here?' and he said that Buffalo had made the choice to take the ball, but he had mis-communicated it or mis-signaled it or whatever but here's what it is and it's not as you described it or as I thought it was, but this is what it's going to be: you guys won the toss, you deferred, they chose to take the ball and you're choosing to take this end and that's the way it is. So, we took our kickoff team and dropped them and moved over to the other end and started to go over our kickoff coverage. So it was kind of confusing.

Q: The quick snap has been fairly successful for you guys. On Stevan Ridley's touchdown run it looked like Tom Brady snapped the ball quickly. But at the end of the game how do you balance it? You want to catch the defense off guard with the quick snap, but you're also managing clock.

BB: Right, yeah. If it doesn't work, if you don't get it in, then you certainly would be better not doing it and taking more time off the clock. If we had gotten it in and made it a two-score game, I don't want to say that would have sealed it, but it certainly would have made it a two-possession game for Buffalo instead of the one-possession game that it ended up being. That's the dilemma there: if you try to manage the clock and you don't complete the execution of the situation, then that's not really successful and if you don't complete the situation, then it's not successful and if you don't manage the clock, then that's not successful. When you try to sometimes do too much managing of the clock, then the criticism is you should just do what you're doing to be successful and why change at that point? Right, that's the balance you're trying to strike. Bottom line is you have to execute the situation. If you do that, then that's good and if you don't, then there will be plenty of ‘what if?'

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