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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript

Posted Aug 10, 2013

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Saturday, August 10, 2013.

BB: We got back late last night, went through some of the film this morning, going over some corrections for the players. I thought there were a lot of situations that came up in the game, more so than normal –not that there’s a normal amount – but we had a lot of things come up: we were backed up, we had four fourth-down situations on defense, we had two-minute drives, the two-minute at the end of the half where we stopped the field goal and then possibly had a chance to get into field goal range, things like that, that were really good teaching situations for our team, things that we’d gone over in practice and either they came up or they came up close to that. It was a real good teaching experience. I think the overall week against Philadelphia was a good work week. We had good, competitive practices without any real problems so that was very productive for us. We had a chance to go out there and play football with all the situations – substitutions, the whole game operations – for the first time in quite awhile and that was good for us as a football team; also had to go on the road, deal with all the logistics that go along with that. I feel like we made a lot of progress. Of course there are a lot of things we need to work on, we need to continue to stress and get better at. We need to see and be exposed to different things and we’ll certainly get that this week. We’re looking forward to another similar, hopefully, type of week where we can improve and grow as a football team and continue to compete individually against the top players that they have and continue our preparations for the opening game and a 16-game regular season. That’s kind of where we’re at; we’re still grinding through it. It’s way too early to make any definitive decisions, terminations. We’re making progress. We have more to work with than we had five days ago.

Q: Having the chance to see Jake Ballard in the game, he looked like more of a blocking presence. What did you see from him as he got back on the field for the first time in a year and half?

BB: Well, of course it was good to see him out there. Jake has been a regular participant through training camp. I think he played 10, 12 plays, whatever it was last night. It seemed to go well, so we’ll just continue to go along with both his input as to how he's progressing and our medical staff, in consultation with them, to continue to try to let him work his way back to maybe a more extended role than where he’s at now hopefully. But that will just have to take some time. We’ll continue to go through the process, but I thought he did well. He showed up positively on a number of plays.

Q: Did LeGarrette Blount’s performance bode well for his spot on the team?

BB: LeGarrette ran for however many, [1,007] yards whatever it was, his rookie season. It’s not like he hasn’t performed well in this league before. We traded for a player that we thought was a good player. It’s no shock he can run the ball. We all know that He did a nice job last night.

Q: On the long touchdown pass from Michael Vick to DeSean Jackson, what was the coverage call on that?

BB: The coverage call?

Q: What coverage was the defense in?

BB: I’ll just say on that play that it was, first of all, as a defensive coach, there are times where you just have to give credit to the offense. That was a great throw – perfectly thrown, great route by DeSean and the ball was as on the money as it could possibly be. Overall our defense wasn't good enough any time you give up a play like that but it was an exceptional play that we were close on, but obviously not close enough. There are things we need to do better – coach better, play better – but that was an excellent, outstanding play. It probably would have been a big play on a lot of different players or calls or anything else. It was just very well executed.

Q: What have you seen from Tommy Kelly to this point in training camp and what he was able to accomplish last night? He seemed pretty comfortable playing alongside Vince Wilfork.

BB: Tommy had a real good spring for us and he’s had a good training camp. Very experienced player, he has good instincts for the game. He's tall, has long levers inside, but a different build from Vince. Both very good, very effective players, they just have different playing styles, they look a little different but they present different matchup problems for the offensive line. Tommy’s been a really, really solid guy for us all the way through. Works hard, in early, stays late, does a lot of extra things, extra conditioning, things like that to really take care of himself and prepare for the game. I have a lot of respect for Tommy. He's had a good, solid camp. Our style defense is a little bit different than what he was used to playing in Oakland. He’s had to make some adjustments but he’s made them, he’s working on them and I think developing a good rapport and communication with some of the other guys in the front seven. He’s involved with different calls and stunts and things like that. It's been good. He's been a great guy to work with. He's a very talented player. He's been an excellent teammate and team member since he's been here.

Q: How difficult is it to find a complementary player at that position with Vince Wilfork?

BB: Good defensive linemen are always hard to find. That’s why so many of them get drafted high, the good ones, and they’re well paid based on the franchise tag numbers and things like that. There’s a lot of value to that position so they’re tough to find and they’re at a premium.

Q: You mentioned that when you're in preseason you only have a certain amount of snaps you can give to the starters, so you probably want to try to accomplish a certain amount of thing in a small amount of time. Did that long Stevan Ridley drive change your plan for that first series on the fly?

BB: No, I don't think it really changed it. Kind of my attitude or approach on these preseason games is that every experience is a learning experience. Any situation that we get, hopefully we've prepared for and we at least know, maybe not the exact play, but at least we know how we want to play that situation. So any time you have an opportunity to get down in the red are, which that run did for us, then we get to work on our red area offense. They punt the ball down inside our one-yard line, then we work on our backed up offense. If we have four fourth-down situations like we had last night defensively, then you get to practice those and talk about how we fundamentally want to approach those, regardless of what the call is. That could change from game plan to game plan or from team to team, but playing through situations… So I think really every play, every series, every situation is an opportunity and hopefully we can take advantage of those opportunities and learn from them. So I don't really see anything as a negative. I just see it as an opportunity to learn and get our team a game situation that we’ve practiced and now have to go out here and execute under pressure against a good football team. We’re backed up punting from the shadow of our goal post and we’re in a tight punt formation - how many times does that happen during the year? But it came up and we had talked about it and covered it, so we had a chance to do it and we went out there so we go out there and do it. So that’s an evaluation to see how well our players on that unit took the information we gave them, even though it wasn’t a normal situation, but whether they could go out there and execute it and adjust to it for something that only comes up every once in a while. I don't really see anything that happens that’s a negative. It's just an opportunity for us to work on things that we’ve already practiced, should know what to do and see how we execute. There’s no way to script those; how many are going to come up or when they're going to come up. That's part of the evaluation, too, is to see how players react on the run, adjust to unplanned situations. They thing they're not going to play right away, but somebody gets injured and they have to go in and play, that’s football too. Just kind of like what happened to [Ryan] Mallett. If you're the backup quarterback, you never know when you're going in the game. Could be the first quarter, could be the fourth quarter, could be with 10 seconds to go in the second quarter, whenever it is, you’ve just got to be ready. All those things are opportunities.

Q: I’m curious on your thoughts on the run game last night as well as the offensive line play in regards to the run game?

BB: I thought we had our moments. We had a lot of yardage running the ball. Some of that was, I'd say, real good blocking. Some of it was real good running. Some of it was that we were fortunate that we caught a good play against a bad defense. There were times when we weren’t as consistent blocking, running so forth. I thought the receivers did a good job of handling the secondary. That opened up a couple opportunities for us to get longer runs when the secondary players, the safeties could come up, beat the tackle for short gains at the line of scrimmage and when we had to block them. I think we had our moments and like I said, even though the yardage was high, I think that's a little bit deceptive. There were some encouraging things. We had a chance to run quite a few of them. We had a lot of snaps, so that gave us an opportunity to repeat some plays and see some things run two, three, four times, either against a little bit different look on defense or maybe see how a player did after he did it once. The second time, was it better? Did he see it better? Did he read it better? Whatever it was, 30 runs or whatever we had last night, that was a good number to get snapped. I think that was an area that we showed some level of execution and at and there are still some things we can do better.

Q: Will Svitek has been forced in at guard due to injuries. How has he been during that switch from tackle and in his arrival here in general?

BB: He’s been a great teammate. I think everybody likes having Will on the team; I certainly do. He’s a smart guy that works hard, has done whatever we ask him to do. He’s played at both sides at tackle and has also played some guard, which is not uncommon for our linemen. You know as well as anybody that we move them around and they work at more than one position. Sometimes that ends up being useful. Sometimes it just kind of helps them understand how the whole thing works together. But he made the switch into guard and did some good things in there. It wasn't perfect, but he handled himself well, played competitively. Maybe somewhere along the line he’ll give us some depth at that position if we need it. We have a lot of other guys that play those spots inside, but we’ll see how it goes. But I think it was a good experience for him and I think he handled that challenge well. I think, again, that’s part of that whole training camp, preseason game evaluation of players and evaluation of your team. When things like that happen, you get an opportunity to see how somebody does in a situation they're not maybe fully prepared for: how quickly they can adjust, how adaptable they are, what kind of instincts and savvy they have to make it work. It also forces your other players, guys playing beside them like [Ryan] Wendell and [Sebastian] Vollmer to put them in a situation where they’ve go to work with a new guy and make sure that their communication and their execution, how they see games and stunts and things like that, to work a little harder with somebody that they're not quite as familiar with. It's all part of it.