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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript

Posted Dec 19, 2012

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the Jacksonville media during his conference call on Wednesday, December 19, 2012.

(On Cecil Shorts) “He’s done a great job. He’s really impressive. He’s one of the best guys we’ve played against all year. I think he does everything well. He competes well in the running game, he’s a good blocker, excellent downfield receiver, he’s got really good quickness off the line of scrimmage against the press coverage, catch and run plays, he takes the short paths, breaks tackles and can take it all the way. He’s a real sharp route runner with excellent hands, good in traffic, gets good separation and I really think he does everything well. He competes hard. He’s really an impressive player that way. He doesn’t take any plays off. He works hard on every route. Like I said, even in the running game he is very competitive. I am really impressed with him. I know (Justin) Blackmon has done a good job for him. Of course Marcedes (Lewis). They’ve got a good group of receivers. (Jordan) Shipley’s come in there and made some plays. That group is, I know they lost (Laurent) Robinson, but that still is a pretty good group.”

(On Cecil Shorts being a Division III guy. Do you have to do extra homework or are you doing more projection in terms of a small college guy?) “Well, I mean there’s a number of guys that have played in this league that have come from smaller schools. Personally a couple of coaches on our staff from John Carroll, so we’re pretty familiar with that conference there. We thought a lot of him coming out. Obviously Jacksonville got him first before anybody else did, but it’s a great addition to their football team. He’s really done a good job. Whenever you take those guys from a little lower level competition, it’s a big jump. He’s made it and more.”

(How do you keep your players in the game after playing two contenders and now a 2-12 team?) “I don’t think records really mean anything. We lost to a team that lost nine straight games this year, so that’s not something we need to worry about anybody else’s record. Just go out there and try to play competitively on Sunday no matter who the team is. Every team in this league is good.”

(On Jaguars not looking good on tape) “I don’t agree with that. I don’t agree. The Miami game was a lot more competitive than the score obviously. I thought they played well. They played very competitively against the Dolphins. Obviously the Houston game. We played them a couple weeks ago and we saw all of that game. Houston is supposedly one of the best teams in the League, and that was very competitive. Tennessee was a strong game for them. The Jets game, they were in that one all the way and it came down to the last possession. I don’t see it that way at all. I think Jacksonville is a good football team. (Chad) Henne has come in and done a good job. They’ve got a lot of weapons offensively. They have a real good defensive front. (Paul) Posluszny has had an outstanding year, they’ve got a lot of speed at linebacker. There are good guys in the secondary. I’ve always had a lot of respect for (Dwight) Lowery and (Dawan) Landry. Those guys played against them before, and they continue to play well. So there’s a lot of good football players on that team.”

(On Chad Henne threw for 400 yards against you guys last year and you still won the game. Was he just on top of his game that day or you guys had an off day? How do you account for that?) “Well I think Chad’s (Henne) a good quarterback. I think he’s a real good quarterback. He’s got good accuracy. He can make all his throws down the field, outside, inside, he has done a nice job for Jacksonville. Down inside to (Justin) Blackmon and Marcedes Lewis over the middle. He does a good job with play action. He’s athletic enough to run and move out of the pocket and buy a little extra time and run their bootlegs and counter-type plays. I think he does a good job.”

(Is Tom Brady still at the top of his game with his age compared to ten years ago?) “He’s a lot better than he was ten years ago.”

(Five years ago?) “That was the ’07 season.”

(Is he still at the top of his game?) “Tom works hard. He works hard every single week. He’s always looking to improve and there’s always things that he can improve on, and he’s very diligent about that. Each week brings its own challenges. The challenges that Jacksonville brings are different than ones we’ve seen from anybody else, their scheme and their players and their matchups. That’s one thing Tom (Brady) does a good job of is every week he starts all over again and really tries to work hard to understand what the other team is doing, how we can attack them, what things we have to defend against, or be able to handle. I think from a physical standpoint he throws the ball and physically is as good as he’s been for the last however many years. He’s a lot better quarterback than he was back in ’01, ’02, ’03, ’04 back in there.”

(Another hundred catch year for Wes Welker. What’s most impressive about his production and his durability since you got him a couple of years ago?) “I’d say just that. His consistency and his durability. The guy catches a lot of balls. A lot of them are inside and he takes big hits from linebackers and safeties. He’s not just out there one-on-one on the corners allowing space all day. He catches a lot of passes inside. He does a good job running the ball after the catch and underneath routes and slip screens or plays like that. He’s always returning punts, but his durability and his toughness is exceptional. He blocks. Like we were talking about (Cecil) Shorts, Wes is a good blocker, he goes in there aggressively and gets those guys so he trains hard and is in good condition. He’s been able to dish out a little bit and take the punishment that he does catching the ball for quite a few years now. His durability and toughness are very impressive.”

(You went for it on fourth down with two time outs in the two minute warning. Some people say the numbers the odds are easier to make the first down on fourth and one rather than punt and get the ball back. Is that your thoughts on that?) “Last week’s game? Well we converted the previous five fourth down conversions. It wasn’t like we hadn’t done a good job on fourth-and-two late in the game.”

(It’s like putting the whole game on one play. If you don’t make that play you lose the game) “I don’t agree with that either. It was a chance to get the onside kick back, and if we had gotten that possession the game was a long way from being over. We almost blocked a field goal as it was, but regardless we punted back to them and they punt it back to you. You’re looking at another tough situation. I always do what I think is best for the team. Whether you or anybody else agrees with it or not, I’ve got to do what I feel is best for the team.”

(Was Woodhead the main receiver on that play?) “We don’t have a main receiver. Throw to the guy that is open. The quarterback reads the coverage and throws to the player that’s open. We don’t just throw to one guy.”

(On Antwaun Molden with you last year. He’s been with the Jaguars a couple weeks. What did you like about the kind of year he had for you last year?) “Good. Antwaun (Molden) is a big player. He’s got good size, good speed for the position, works hard, he made some big plays for us last year and competes well. He works hard. He was a good kid to have on our team. I like Antwaun.”

(You left Jacksonville eight years ago, you won three out of four, Tom Brady was mid-twenties, it looked like you were going to win two or three or four more and it hasn’t happened. Has there been a common theme why it hasn’t happened or that’s just the NFL?) “I don’t know. We just play each game one game at a time, and try to go out and do the best we can this week against Jacksonville.”

(Do you envision yourself coaching ten years from now?) “Right now I am just thinking about coming down and trying to play well against Jacksonville. That’s really what my focus is. Not ten years from now.”

(On success of the team in December. Is there any common thread amongst that?) “No, not really. I think that the games we win are because our players play well. They go out there and make the blocks and tackles, the throws and catches and kicks, whatever they have to do. We are fortunate we have a lot of good players. They work hard. The games that we’ve won are because they’ve gone out there and played better than their opponents. If that’s the way it will always be, if we can go out there and players perform well.”

(Is your team as good as it was when it won Super Bowls?) “I don’t know.”