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Bill Belichick Postgame Press Conference Transcript

Posted Jan 11, 2014

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his postgame press conference at Gillette Bank Stadium on Saturday, January 11, 2014.

BB: I thought it was a great job by all our players tonight. I thought they really did a terrific job. We had a good week of preparation. Everybody was ready to go. We got some big plays from all three phases of the game; got off a good start, we were able to play from ahead. We just had a lot of big plays there at the end of the third, fourth quarter. Just have to give credit to everybody: offensive line, offense, backs, receivers, quarterback, tight ends, special teams – they really did a nice job – defensively, turned the ball over, did a decent job in the running game, competed against their receivers. I’m really proud of our football team and looking forward to moving on to a bigger game next week. This is a good win for us. I thought those guys really did a good job.

Q: Was it the plan going into the game to run the ball a bunch?

BB: The plan is to always move the ball and score points. Whatever is the best way to do that, that’s what we’re going to do.

Q: Were you pleased with the group?

BB: We had some success and we stayed with it. We also had some success throwing the ball. I thought we had some balance there; production in both areas, did a good job on third down, at times, not all of them but there were enough of them. We were able to make some big plays. We had a big play on a play-action pass to Danny [Amendola]. That was a big play for us coming off some of the run action.

Q: Can you talk about the job Stephen Gostkowski did? He got off a few punts for good yardage?

BB: Yeah, he sure did. Stephen punts in practice and he’s done that before. Yeah, that was a great job. It was a great job: [Tom] Brady holding, Gostkowski punting. That’s kind of playoff football – things like that happen. Guys get called on to do something maybe they haven’t done all year, haven’t done in several years and come through at a big time. That was a great job by Steve, no question.

Q: Was this just a continuation of the way LeGarrette Blount has run the football the last few weeks of the regular season?

BB: He’s run that way all year. He ran that way in the Atlanta game. The offensive line does a good job of blocking. If they can get him some holes and some space, he can run well. Stevan [Ridley] ran well too. That was a big run Stevan had there too on that third-and-goal on the three. [He] did a good job punching it in the end zone; he got in on the two-point. I thought – Shane [Vereen] – we got good production from all our backs. [James] Develin did an excellent job as the lead blocker.

Q: When the Colts got within seven points, the defense really stepped up from that point in the game.

BB: Yeah, well obviously we had the two bad plays there. They hit the over route to [T.Y.] Hilton and then hit the post on a double seam. Look, they have a good quarterback, they have some good receivers and we’ve seen what they’ve been able to do offensively. We were battling with them every play. They made some plays and we made some too but our linebackers really did a good job getting interceptions from Jamie [Collins] and High [Dont’a Hightower] that was big for us, as well as two by Zo [Alfonzo Dennard]. Turning the ball over, that was huge.

Q: Was this the play from Jamie Collins that you envisioned when you drafted him?

BB: Jamie’s been playing well for us all year. His role in the kicking game has been solid and he’s played more and more for us defensively. He’s played well all year.

Q: Is there anything in particular you liked defensively from him?

BB: I have to go back and watch the film. He showed up on several plays but he showed up for us all year. He’s a good football player.

Q: Have you put more on his plate the last couple weeks? It seemed like he was more active in the pass rush than he has been in recent weeks.

BB: I’d say look more carefully, he’s been rushing.

Q: Anything on Ryan Allen’s injury?

BB: No, we just got in off the field. I’m not sure. He wasn’t able to come back so we’ll take a look at it tomorrow and we’ll see where he’s at.

Q: You mentioned Stephen Gostkowski has punted in practice but I’d imagine Tom Brady hasn’t held in quite some time.

BB: It’s been a little while. Yeah, it’s been a little while. But again, we saw Tom punt two weeks ago and we do those things. Look, it’s that time of year. We all know we only have 46 active guys so everybody has to back up somebody and you just never know how those are going to come out. You have to have everybody ready and they were. They were, they did a good job. They were called on unexpectedly and they did a good job.

Q: This was the second game Alfonzo Dennard has intercepted Andrew Luck. He got you going with that first interception, can you talk about that?

BB: Third down, looked like they were running a double slant there with [T.Y] Hilton in the slot and Zo got a good jam on him and made a good play on the ball and undercut it. He was physical at the line. He’s done a good job for us. He wasn’t able to play here for a couple weeks. He’s kind of been in and out of the lineup a little bit for the last six weeks or so but he’s had a real good two weeks of practice and obviously did a good job today.

Q: Are you surprised more by LeGarrette Blount’s power or his speed?

BB: I think he’s got a good set of skills to run the ball. He’s got that combination of size, power and quickness and speed. He’s not a fullback. He’s not a fullback, he’s more than that. He’s not a scat back either. He’s got power. He can run hard, he can make guys miss and he can go the distance. He’s made some big runs for us – going back to the Atlanta game and we’ve seen the last couple weeks; kickoff returns. He’s an explosive player.

Q: You got some chunk plays in the third quarter in the running game and exploded in the fourth. Is that about sticking with it?

BB: Yeah and making some adjustments. Yeah, that’s exactly what it is. It’s sticking with it. We ran some of the same plays and we executed them better. It looked like we caught them – LeGarrette made a good play, it was like a five, six, eight-yard run and broke a tackle there in the secondary and then turned it into [73 yards]. If you can get the guy through the line of scrimmage and then break a tackle or make a guy miss, that’s where you get the long ones. Good backs do that. They make some of those yards on their own – step to the line and the backs and the tight ends get them started, get them some space and let them do their thing.

Q: It must be hard for an offensive coordinator to stick with it, but Josh McDaniels did.

BB: Josh did a great job. Josh called a great game. I thought he mixed the play-action passes in there with the runs and made them play both. We had a good third down plan and we had some key third down conversions. Certainly the pass to Amendola came off the run action, that was a big play for us. It was certainly set up by some of our runs and run actions.

Q: You had Charles Barkley as a guest at the game. Can you share how that came about?

BB: I just found out he was going to be here this afternoon. I go way back with Charles, back when I was in Cleveland. He’d come in and play the Cavaliers and all that. Love Charles – great guy, great competitor. It’s unbelievable to me that 6-4 he led the NBA in rebounding. It’s just unbelievable. But that’s the kind of competitor and kind of player he is. He’s a great guy. It’s good to have him here. I’m a big fan of his.

Q: When the snap goes over his head, what do you expect your punter to do?

BB: I think Ryan probably wasn’t sure how close they were to him and then when he turned around they were right on top of him. Obviously if he had known they were there then he would have been better off taking a safety which is where it ended up anyway. I think he was probably trying to pick up the ball, see if he had a chance to do something with it. Obviously it was a poorly executed play on our part.

Q: Jamie Collins played at all three levels of the defense in college. How did you decide to integrate him into your system at linebacker? How have you noticed his progression?

BB: First of all, he’s worked very hard. He’s been very dependable and durable. He hasn’t missed anything all year. He started out playing – not started out but he’s playing outside linebacker in regular, he plays off the line in some regular, he plays nickel linebacker. As you saw today, he’s out there on split out tight end covering them on fade patterns and he’s blitzing up the middle and he’s making tackles in line. I think he’s pretty comfortable wherever he is whether he’s out in space and covering a guy 20 yards downfield or one-on-one coverage with no help or whether he’s in line taking on blockers or blitzing or covering tight ends from in close. He’s a very versatile athlete that’s smart, works hard, really has a great team attitude. I love having him on our team. He brings a lot. He doesn’t want to come off the field, even when he’s playing defense he wants to be out there in the kicking game. He’s got good stamina and he’s very athletic and tough.

Q: Do you like playing this physical brand of football at this time of year?

BB: We like to win. So, whatever we need to do to win really is good with me. Win running, win throwing, win shutting them out, win outscoring them, win in the kicking game – whatever it takes. We just have to find a way to do it this time of year. Every team we play is good. Every game is bigger than the next. We just have to try to find some way to come out on top next week. That’s really all it is.

Q: As the season has progressed, have you done more with your preparation to improve the running game?

BB: No, I wouldn’t say so, I really wouldn’t. There’s only so much you can do, there’s only so many plays you can run. We’re not going to go into the game with 35 running plays. We couldn’t get them all called. We have our core plays that we’re going to run in that game and sometimes we see something in a game and we say, ‘We need to have another play in there.’ So we talk about it on the sideline and maybe put it in during the game if they’re playing a formation a certain way to be able to balance it off or hit a weakness or something like that. But for the most part, we go in with the game plan that we go in with and we stick with it. Dante [Scarnecchia], Josh [McDaniels], Ivan [Fears], those guys have done a great job – George Godsey – those guys do a great job with the running game and being able to coach it and organize it and then make some of the adjustments we need to make during the game.

Q: Is one of the reasons you see improvement later in the year because you can’t practice it with the limits on contact during practice during the season so you need game reps?

BB: Sure, that helps. I don’t know. When you have 40 plays of, I don’t want to say nine-on-seven but nine-on-seven, you’re just knocking it out there in the running game in the games, you can’t get any better quality reps than that. We’ve had a lot of consistency with our line. Those guys have – Josh [Kline] was in there one week and Logan [Mankins] bumped out to tackle but those guys have been playing a lot of football together with Hooman [Michael Hoomanawanui], with [Matthew] Mulligan, with [James] Develin. So the consistency and the continuity that they’ve developed from week to week, I think that’s also been part of it too. The more comfortable you get playing with your teammates and seeing things – linebackers scraping and ends stunting and tackles and those kind of things – you just eventually handle them better with more reps. We’ve definitely been fortunate to be able to get that. We’ve been able to call a lot of runs in the past month.