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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript

Posted Oct 22, 2013

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Tuesday, October 22, 2013.

BB: We’ve had a chance to get onto Miami here. As usual, they do a good job down there. I think Coach [Joe] Philbin has done a good job with the team. They’re certainly an explosive group offensively, they’ve added a lot of firepower to the offense. They have a very athletic quarterback and receivers, tight ends, backs, so it’s really a good group. Defensively, another strong front that we’ll see here, a lot of powerful guys that are also quick, very good pass rusher, linebackers are active and I think they’ve again, added depth to the secondary. It’s a good, solid group.

Q: Does it bother you that there’s a report out that the Jets tipped the officials off about the push play?

BB: Well, I mean, since they were using the play themselves I don’t even know about all that. But basically we’re just moving on here.

Q: There’s a report that Andre Carter is being signed. Why sign him and why now?

BB: We don’t have anything to announce right now. If we do, when we do, then we’ll announce it then.

Q: Does Kevin Coyle still have a heavy blitz percentage this year or has that changed?

BB: I think they mix it up pretty good. Obviously similar to the package that we saw in Cincinnati. So, they bring multiple blitzers, linebackers, safeties, sometimes guys in the secondary, but they give you a lot of different looks. It’s not just one thing. I wouldn’t say it’s all-blitz either. There’s a good mixture of multiple coverages, multiple looks. Again, different but similar to what we saw from the Bengals.

Q: What have you seen from Ryan Tannehill in terms of growth from the first year to the second year?

BB: I think this year he’s number one, spreading the ball around quite a bit, using the receivers. They’ve got three good receivers, tight ends, backs. He’s scrambling when he needs to. He can certainly make plays with his feet. They do quite a bit of checking and adjusting at the line of scrimmage. He’s a smart guy and he’s pretty competent in that. Just more of everything, but he’s done a good job of – you see him do all the things that a quarterback needs to do: throw long, throw short, throw inside, throw outside, tight ends, backs, receivers, scramble, make play adjustments at the line of scrimmage. I don’t think there’s anything he doesn’t do that you’d want a quarterback to do. It’s all part of the arsenal.

Q: Six of your seven games have been decided by seven points or less. What do you attribute the close games to thus far?

BB: That’s a good question. Honestly, we always prepare for those type of games because if it comes down to one or two plays at the end, whether we’re ahead or behind or tied or whatever the situation is, we know how critical those plays are to the outcome of the game. We always prepare for it that way. Of course, you never know how the game is going to turn out but we expect those kinds of games every week and work on what we need to do if we’re ahead by a little, behind by a little, different field position situations, things in the kicking game. If it comes down to that, hopefully we’ll be able to do that. I can’t put a reason why there are close games, but I’d just say that we kind of approach it like every game is going to be like that. We’ll keep doing that.

Q: Do you think there have been times when you painted yourselves into the corner and it’s come down to the end because of what you didn’t do for the first 58 minutes?

BB: Oh yeah, no question. Every game doesn’t have to come down to the last play. It would be a lot easier on some of our hearts and blood pressure if we could play more consistently over the course of 60 minutes. Yeah, sure, some of those close games could have definitely been better handled. Certainly the Atlanta game comes to mind, where if we had done some things better that it wouldn’t have come down to that, no question about it.

Q: Can you talk about your defensive backs and how they’re coming together. Obviously without Aqib Talib last week Logan Ryan had to play last week and Marquice Cole saw a lot of time against the Jets.

BB: First of all, we’ve had pretty good continuity with that group for quite awhile. I know that Logan and Duron [Harmon] are rookies, but they’ve been here all the way through. We haven’t really added people to that group so they’ve had a chance to work together through the spring, training camp and I think overall there’s a good level of communication and confidence between all those guys. We have some versatility there. Cole has played safety and corner, all of them have played inside and outside a little bit, especially Logan and Kyle [Arrington]. Zo [Alfonzo Dennard] has been in there some too, in the inside part of the defense. Devin [McCourty] has played some corner as well. I think their familiarity with each other and understanding, communication, confidence in what they’re doing has given us some of that flexibility. Then when we’ve needed it due to some guys getting banged up, they’ve been able to make those shifts there. It’s a group that works hard. They do a good job of studying and preparing and trying to stay ahead of the game, rather than react to everything that happens. They’ve done a good job this year of trying to anticipate and certainly Steve [Gregory] and Devin at the safety positions have done a good job of making sure that we’re coordinated with what we’re doing in the secondary, and not just the safeties but outside to the corners and the nickel players and all that. They’ve worked well together and Duron has been able to work in there some as well. I think we have a lot of confidence in whichever group is out there, however the players are, whether we have four or five, six defensive backs out there, whatever it is, they all work very well together and there’s some versatility.

Q: Are you happy with the way Logan Ryan made it through without Aqib Talib?

BB: Yeah, I thought Logan gave us some solid plays out there. Obviously the big play on the interception, had some good coverage plays; had some other plays that I’m sure he would love to have back that could have been a little better. I think overall we didn’t’ give up a lot of yardage in the passing game. Most of what we did give up was on third down so it’s kind of a double problem there but giving up the yardage on third down led to the conversions which then led to 50 runs or whatever it was. We just collectively as a defense, if we could just improve our third down play from what it was last week, that would have made things look a lot better in that game.

Q: One positive from Sunday was Julian Edelman returning punts. He always deflects praise to the entire unit. What kind of traits do the good returners have to have that Julian has?

BB: Julian has done a good job for us but I do think it’s a two-part thing. You have to, no matter how the returner is back there, you have to get them started. If they can’t get started, it doesn’t really matter who it is. You could have Gale Sayers back there and if they can’t get going, it’s hard to make anything happen. The big part of it for the punt return team is to get the play started, get the returner started and then the returner has, of course, as you said, an awful lot of responsibility on the play number one, but of course his decision making and ball handing: which balls to catch, which one to let go, which ones to fair catch, which ones to return and especially as it gets inside your 10, 15-yard line, down in that area, that even becomes more critical. That’s number one, a huge part of the returner’s job. Then after that, of course, it’s to be able to create some type of plays on his own. We can’t block everybody and especially if you put two people on each of the gunners, then you have one guy returning and four guys blocking there, you’re down to six guys trying to block the other nine. You just don’t have enough numbers if you double the gunners, which usually there’s some element of that. Then it comes down to the returner making plays on his own, whether it’s with speed, quickness, vision, breaking tackles, whatever it happens to be. Julian does a good job of all those. He has good vision, he has good balance. A lot of times he gets hit but doesn’t go down and is able to find space and create blocking angles for the punt return team. Once he has a little bit of space, he does a good job of breaking those tackles on his own or getting by one or two guys, sometimes more. It’s a combination of all those things. It’s a tough job. It’s a lot different than a kickoff returner who doesn’t really have the ball handing issues. I mean, there are some ball-handling issues but not the same as on the punt when you have guys bearing down. On the kickoff, you have enough time to handle the ball and the blocking patterns are a bit different on the kickoff returns. Punt returner is a hard job. It takes a lot of judgment, decision making. Like I said, you’re always going to have a couple unblocked guys that you’re going to have to deal with somehow as the punt returner. Julian is a tough, very competitive guy and he certainly doesn’t mind the challenge.

Q: Are there a couple guys that are doing a good job in front of the punt returner? If I gave you a chance to single out some guys, who might that be?

BB: It changes a little bit from week to week. Every team has, I would say, every team has two or three guys on their punt coverage team that are kind of the first guys down and the key guys that you have to get blocked. Again, obviously the gunners are a key part of that because they can release early so you have to block them. Some gunners are better than others. Then usually, there are two or three guys inside, a lot of times it’s the personal protector but sometimes it’s one or two or three guys on the line of scrimmage that are very disruptive players in punt coverage and so you could have any number of players assigned to them, depending on where they’re located. Again, whether it’s the personal protector or whether it’s the outside guys or the inside guys and the way that the punt team will try to use the center sometimes and pick or try to free up guys on the line of scrimmage so they can get off the line and get down there, you’re dealing with that. It’s not really any one guy per se, it’s collectively the matchups and getting the key guys on their punt team. Of course, the gunners outside are a big part of that. Logan [Ryan] has done a godo job for us, of course [Aqib] Talib, Duron [Harmon], Devin [McCourty] has been out there, [Marquice] Cole. They’ve all done some of that; Kyle [Arrington], depending on who is up. Sometimes we try to spread that load around depending on what else we’re doing defensively.

Q: You went up against Marty Mornhinweg last week and this week you’ll go against Mike Sherman. They both come from the Green Bay West Coast offense. Are there similar tendencies to the way they call their games?

BB: I think that there’s carryover in the overall West Coast offense. The pattern combinations and the overall coordination of the passing game but I would say that the two offenses are different. But there are some similarities in the concepts that they use, yes. I’d say there are definitely some concept similarities but play calling and how it ties in with the running game, formationing and the utilization of personnel, I’d say are significantly different this week.

Q: What is the difference with Miami’s offense without Reggie Bush with Lamar Miller as the feature back? Is it a different type of running attack?

BB: I’d say it’s still pretty similar. Miami has a lot of outside runs, not that they don’t run the ball inside, I’m not saying that because there’s plenty of those too, but they have a lot of perimeter-type plays or plays that start at the perimeter and then can cut back. That was something that Bush was good at but I would say that Miller is also very good at that. I mean all their backs, really. They have good backs and the quarterback keeping the ball, there’s the same element of that that was in place last year. Yeah, I would say that it’s a little bit different. Bush is a little bit different style but the backs are all good and Miller is a strong back. He’s a tough kid that breaks a lot of tackles. He has a little bit of an element there that maybe is a little bit different than what we saw from Bush.