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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript

Posted Dec 19, 2011

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Monday, December 19, 2011.

BB: Like I said yesterday after the game, it feels good to go out there and win in Denver. Real good football team; Denver has obviously done a lot of things well the last few weeks, playing well in all three phases of the game. I thought our players really did a good job. It wasn't perfect, but they showed a lot of mental toughness on the road against a good football team - fell behind early, hung in there, finished the game [with] pretty good style. I think a lot of credit, really all the credit, needs to go to those guys for stepping in there and doing a good job in a tough environment against a good football team. We made enough plays to win. It was a good trip home.

Q: You guys rotated a lot of defensive linemen early. Was that a response to the thin air and wanting to get guys in and out quickly?

BB: No.

Q: Ron Brace played more than we've seen; made a nice play on the forced fumble. What did you see from his play?

BB: I thought he gave us a solid level of play. He's a strong guy, we knew that they had a good running game and we'd be challenged by that. We played Brandon [Deaderick] and Shaun [Ellis] outside so that gave us four guys to play inside with Gerard Warren, Ron, Vince [Wilfork] and Kyle [Love]. We had four guys outside; we had four guys inside. Just want to keep everybody into the game, contributing to the game and I think all eight of those guys did a good job when they had an opportunity to play.

Q: You referenced spacing last night. You went to more three-man fronts after Andre Carter went down. Can you talk about what specifically changed?

BB: I think you can get into a lot of technical aspects of defense and strategy and all that, but we played plenty of four-man line; we played plenty of three-man line. We used them both at different times for different reasons. In the end, it comes back to the players - beating blocks, making tackles, hitting the quarterback, covering the receivers. I think there's a lot more to that than there is to odd or even.

Q: It looked like you guys had more success when you covered up their tackles and Jerod Mayo was able to roam more freely. Would you say that's a fair assessment?

BB: I think we had some success in both fronts and different defensive calls. They had some success against us too. It was a little bit of a back and forth kind of game. They came out with - obviously they had an excellent game plan and they're well coached and put things together in the early part of the game that gave us problems. As the game went on, we were able to eventually get those calmed down a little bit and get things more in our favor. It was a very competitive game. I don't think there's any one -like we just played this one thing and that stopped everything; that's not really what happened. We mixed what we did. Sometimes it worked; sometimes it didn't. They mixed things up a little bit. Some of their plays worked; some of them didn't work so well. In the end, our players made enough plays to keep them off the board and get us the ball back. Offensively we were able to score enough to get on top.

Q: What is your expectation level on Andre Carter's availability for the rest of the season?

BB: We'll meet with our medical people this afternoon and see what they say based on the information they had last night and this morning. We'll see how that goes.

Q: Would you say there is any reason to be optimistic? Obviously it looks bad any time a player gets carted off.

BB: It just depends on what we're told. I don't know what the - I'm not sure what their recommendation is or what their information will be. Whatever it is, we'll base our decision for the large part on that.

Q: Short week for you guys - does it make it any easier that you've played the Dolphins already? Are you already ahead of the game or are they drastically different and you have to start from scratch?

BB: It certainly helps to have played them earlier. As you know, we not only played them in the opening game, but we spent a lot of time prior to that in training camp and so forth studying their personnel and as the preseason games unfolded we got a close look at their new offensive coordinator and just followed up on what Mike [Nolan] did last year as defensive coordinator. I think any time you open with a team, you spend a lot more hours preparing for the team. Openers are so hard to prepare for. You look at all the stuff they did in preseason, all the stuff they did last year, the stuff that Brian [Daboll] ran last year in Cleveland and so forth and so on. I think we had a lot of information on them prior to the opener. Now that we play them again, we can go back and look back at the information we had which was pretty broad, see how it's really narrowed down. Look at how they've evolved, where they were and where they are now. There are definitely a lot of common threads throughout that. Also, they've expanded some of the things with their offense, as well as made adjustments with some of the personnel moves that they've either made or been forced to make. Compared to playing Denver, a team you're really starting from scratch on last week, you have more in the bank on Miami, of course they have more on us too. I don't think there's any advantage there; it's just different.

Q: Bill O'Brien talked a little bit about how the Broncos tried to defend Rob Gronkowski. After looking at the film, did anything in particular stand out about the way they went about trying to defend him?

BB: No, I don't think so. I think they mixed it up and there were times where they had to change their coverage package a little bit, times they used pressure, times they went to man coverage, zone cover, so forth. Again, I think it really comes back to the execution of our offense. Tom [Brady] had an excellent day as far as reading the defense, getting the ball to the right people. Rob didn't have a lot of production until the fourth quarter. Denver obviously made a mistake in their coverage scheme and Tom spotted him and got him the ball for one of the biggest plays in the game. As much as you like to think that when a play is called, only one guy is going to get the ball, that's just not the way it works. If they don't cover him, then throw it to him. If BenJarvus [Green-Ellis] is open, hopefully we'll throw it to BenJarvus. If Aaron [Hernandez] is open, hopefully we'll throw it to Aaron. If Chad [Ochocinco] is open, hopefully we'll throw it to Chad. A lot of that depends on what the matchups are, what coverage they play, what route we happen to have on against that particular coverage. Then the quarterback has to look at that very quickly and make a preliminary decision as to what part of the field he's throwing to and then see how the receivers, what their relevant leverage is with the defenders - you have man, zone, whatever it happens to be - and make a good, accurate throw to that guy. That's the way it is on every play other than a screen pass or something designed to go to one player, like a screen pass to [Wes] Welker outside. He's not reading a lot of coverage on that. It's just getting the ball and getting it out there to him. Other than those few plays, that's what a quarterback does - looks at the defense, knows what the route is, goes to a particular area of the route based on the coverage read and then picks his one, two or three options, whatever it is, as he surveys that part of the field. If they don't cover a guy, you're going to throw it to him. If a guy is in tight coverage then unless that's the best option, it should go somewhere else.

Q: With all the hype that went into the game and the atmosphere in Denver, how closely did this resemble a playoff environment, if at all?

BB: There was definitely a lot of energy in the stadium and all that. I think the hype is on your end, not ours. We prepare for every game and we play once a week. Every game is important to us; we only have 16 regular season games. Each week we put all of our time and energy and effort and preparation into trying to be ready to go out there and play the best we can every single Sunday. I think you're the ones that control the hype. We try to control our preparation and performance. I'd say that's the way our team looks at every game. Last week was Denver, week before was Washington, and this week it's Miami. We try to come in here and prepare for the game. You can hype it as much as you do or don't want to do. That's in your control; it's not in ours. That's not really what our focus is. Our focus is to prepare and play the game or coach it.

Q: How much of the hats and t-shirts and other things that you've collected over the course of your career do you keep?

BB: I'd say unfortunately after 36 years of coaching, I've accumulated a lot of stuff. Way too much - game plans, t-shirts, programs, you name it. I have too much stuff, more than I need, more than I should have, and more than I know what to do with. I keep all those things. I keep my game plans. I keep my draft books. I keep my notebooks I had when I was with the Colts. It's hard for me to take something that you've worked that hard on for a long period of time and is that important to you - even though it was only one week of your life, but each game is important, you put a lot into it - to just put that in the trash can and say ‘I don't care about that anymore.'

Q: Do you have a room you keep it all in?

BB: No, like I said, I have quite a bit of stuff from everywhere. I wish I could put all of it in one organized place but right now that's not really the case.

Q: What do you think your team identity is?

BB: I don't know. I'd say right now our identity is 11-3. Hopefully it will be 12-3. We just try to take each game as it comes, do the best we can with it, prepare and be focused on the task at hand and the challenges that every opponent gives us. Miami will certainly bring plenty, as we saw last week from the Buffalo game. Hopefully we'll be able to meet those challenges and they'll be different from the ones we had last week against Denver. Hopefully we can step up to that - new players, new scheme, new coaches, different environment and be able to make the most of it. I'm sure they'll be ready to go. We had a very competitive game with them at the beginning of the season. Three months later we meet again. I'm sure it will all be different this time.