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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript

Posted Nov 19, 2012

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Monday, November 19, 2012.

BB: As I said last night, I’m proud of what the players did yesterday. I thought they performed well in all three areas of the game; not perfect but solid performance. We were able to make some big plays and play with a good amount of consistency throughout the game. Now it’s time to have a quick turnaround and move on to the Jets. We’re dealing with a short week here that will necessitate us really getting into our scouting report and game plan against the Jets today and really move past the Colts game. We’ve already moved past it and moved into our preparations for Thursday’s game. Both teams are on the same schedule, it’s a challenge for both teams but it’s certainly a big challenge for us to get ready for a team like the Jets on a short week and travel down there and all that. We’ll really need a good week of extra effort, extra work and really be focused on the new challenge ahead here. As I said, we’ll be starting on that today.

Q: Is there any sort of update or new information on Rob Gronkowksi?

BB: No, I don’t really have anything. I know that our medical people are looking at all the players today when they come in, trying to assess their situation like they always do on Monday. I’ll catch up with them if they’ve had a chance to see them all at the end of the day.

Q: How important is Rob Gronkowski to your success as an offense?

BB: I think every time we put a group of players out on the field – whatever it is, offense, defense, special teams – each person has an important job and role to fill on that. They’re all important. I hate to see anything happen to any of them because they’re all important. Everybody has to do their job or we won’t be successful as a team.

Q: What are your thoughts on Visanthe Shiancoe in the two games that he’s played and what he has been able to bring to the team?

BB: I thought it was better, improved last night. The more he’s had an opportunity to do in practice and in games, the more improvement he’s been able to make. Hopefully it will continue and the direction arrow is pointed there. I think he gets better every time he goes on the field. He has a chance to run the plays in our system, which he missed the majority of training camp being able to do that. It’s important for him, any player for that matter. To be able to be productive, they have to practice, get reps with the team.

Q: Where is Aaron Hernandez right now in his recovery? Do you envision him playing on Thursday?

BB: I don’t know. We’ll have to see how close he is or isn’t to playing. Probably make a decision later on in the week, maybe even a game-time decision, I don’t know. Again, all of our players come in after the game – the ones that played, the ones that didn’t – we start the new week, take a look at their status and see what we’ll be able to project them to do in practice. When we get out to the practice field, we’ll see whether they’re able to do that or more or less or whatever it is. We’ll take it day by day. I’d definitely but Aaron in the day-by-day category.

Q: Will the fact that you have 10 days before your next game after the Jets game be a factor in deciding whether Aaron Hernandez will play?

BB: I think that a player’s availability for the game would be judged on its merits, period, for this game. Possibly if there were some overriding circumstances, which I can’t really think of, but I’m not saying it’s not a possibility, I’d say that what we try to do is project where that player will be for our next game, whether he can be ready to play in that game or not be ready to play which includes being able to practice and prepare for it. Then we go through the same process the following week.

Q: Given that Rob Gronkowski has been listed as questionable for seven straight games, what was the wisdom in having him out there on the field goal team since he plays such a high volume of snaps?

BB: Just one of his roles and jobs in the game.

Q: Was there any thought given to taking him off some of the special teams units since he’s been banged up?

BB: I don’t think there are any quicker ways to lose a game than getting a kick blocked and run back for a touchdown. That’s probably one of the quickest ways to put it up in the loss column. It’s an important job. Whoever does it, it’s a very important job in the game.

Q: Has Rob Gronkowski had surgery today?

BB: As I said, I really haven’t met with our doctors and trainers yet today. I do that at the end of the day. I don’t have any updates. Whatever the injury information is, we’ll release it in a timely fashion, when we’re required by the league, just like we always do.

Q: At the end of the second quarter when you had the ball deep in the Colts territory, obviously the execution could have been better, but were you happy with the way it was handled situationally?

BB: I would say that in every game, there are always things we can do better as a coaching staff, as players, as a total team. Some things were successful and they can be improved on and some things weren’t as successful and certainly they can be improved on. I think all the areas throughout the game, even on touchdowns that we scored or turnovers that we had, they’re always elements of those plays that weren’t perfect that could be done better and so forth. I think you could probably point to that on every single play in the game, regardless of what the results were on the play. You can find things to improve to improve or correct or do better.

Q: Have you noticed Devin McCourty gaining more comfort as he continues to play at the safety position?

BB: I think that’s probably a better question to ask him, as far as comfort goes. But I think that Devin has been a solid, dependable player for us for three years now in different roles. I think that he’s performed and has and continues to perform at a good, high, solid level. Is he more comfortable now than he was a couple weeks ago because he’s played more? He probably is, but I thought that he did a good job when he stepped into that role. Like every player, the more you do it, there has to be a higher level of repetition and confidence and reaction time and all of those type of things. I’m sure that it helps to some degree.

Q: What has Michael Hoomanawanui contributed since he has been here and how has his role expanded recently?

BB: I think we’ve modified some of the things that he’s done over the last few weeks. Hooman has a little versatility for us – he’s lined up on the line, he’s lined up off the line, he’s lined up in the backfield, he’s played for us in the kicking game. I think he’s somewhere between a player that can do a number of different things or he could possibly be funneled into one of those roles that he would do more of then maybe some of the other ones would drop in terms of number of opportunities or number of plays. So, that could be a product of, or function of, a lot of different things: game plan, matchups, other personnel situations within the team and so forth. I think he’s shown good versatility and been able to do a number of different things as he gets more experience, he’s still a young player. I think he’s shown improvement every week and works hard. He’s very diligent and has a good work ethic and he really tries to apply himself to do what the coaches ask him to do. I think he’s gotten better and should continue to improve if he works with that attitude and that type of diligence.

Q: Can you recall a time when you carried five tight ends? Aaron Hernandez and Michael Hoomanawanui are listed as tight ends but they do more than that. It seems like that’s a high number from what we’ve seen in the past.

BB: I would agree that it is and I think that all five of those players are legitimate tight ends. If they were on another team, they would play some version of that, what we all think of as the tight end position. But again, as you know, your roster is made up of a number of different components and they’re interrelated so I think when you take a look at any roster, you’ll find some number of tight ends, running backs, fullbacks, somewhere in the eight range, give or take, seven to nine, somewhere in there. So, if you look at our roster, that’s probably, I know that we’ve had some movement at those positions, but I think that’s somewhere around where that number has been. That’s probably fairly consistent with what it’s been historically for us and other teams. I don’t think you see too many teams carrying two tight ends, one fullback and a couple running backs. You see teams that carry five backs and three tight ends or four backs and a fullback and three tight ends or three backs and a fullback and three tight ends or two tight ends or two tight ends or whatever it is. But those numbers all play off each other and obviously where numbers become a problem is when you start adding them all up. The running backs, fullbacks and tight ends all get to a very large or a very small number on your roster then you have to either make adjustments somewhere else or their roles are pretty unique on that particular team. Call them whatever you want to call them, it’s kind of like the whole defensive end, outside linebacker discussion in certain schemes that a lot of times those players have similar skills. You want to call them linebackers, there are a lot of linebackers; if you want to call them ends, there are a lot of ends. You call them ends, there aren’t a lot of linebackers, however you want to look at it. But I think those numbers play off each other, both in the offensive and defensive phases and also in the kicking game. Again, they’re the same, a lot of times they fill the same role.

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