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Bill Belichick Postgame Press Conference Transcript

Posted Oct 21, 2012

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media at Gillette Stadium following a regular season game versus the New York Jets on Sunday, October 21, 2012.

BB: We talked about playing 60 minutes and it took a little bit more than that today but the players did a good job. They really fought hard, we had our ups and downs and in the end, we just made enough plays to win and that’s what it’s all about. We got good contributions from all three units. We just have to keep working harder to get better, to do things better and eliminate a few of the mistakes we had. I’m proud of the team, I thought they played mentally and physically tough and like I said, in the end made enough plays to win. So, it’s on to St. Louis.

Q: Once again, you had a lead slip away from you in the fourth quarter. How much does that concern you?

BB: Well, there are a lot of things we need to work on.

Q: It was an eventful day for Devin McCourty, playing at safety and returning a kickoff for a touchdown but also fumbling. How would you assess his day?

BB: With [Patrick] Chung and [Steve] Gregory both out, we felt like we had to do something back there at safety. Devin has some experience back there. I thought he did a pretty solid job from what I could see. We’ll take a little closer look at it. I thought the deep part of the field was more secure than it’s been. The kickoff return was a big play; it got us going. He’s a solid guy, he does a good job for us. Whatever he’s asked to do, he does a good job for us.

Q: How clutch was your field goal kicker?

BB: Yeah, Steve [Gostkowski] came through big. He hit some big kicks and he kicked off well. Yup, did a good job. We got plays from every unit. We had so many people step up and play well. And the Jets played well too. They did a good job. Tough, hard fought game, came down to a few plays, luckily we made a few more than they did. I thought it was as competitive as it could get. That’s usually the way it is with the Jets, they’re always hard fought games.

Q: Can you talk about Rob Ninkovich’s versatility, playing linebacker and end?

BB: He’s at the end of the line, however you want to slice it up, whether he’s up or down or end or linebacker, whatever you want to call it, he’s an end of the line type player. Rob does a good job for us. He made a big play on the running play there, came inside and made the hit in the overtime series and obviously the strip. He’s around the ball and always seems to play well against the Jets. He’s got a lot of big plays against those guys.

Q: It looked like Dont’a Hightower played more in the second half. Did he just have to get loose?

BB: We just tried to use everybody the best that we could.

Q: Your offense has had some chances to put things away late or come back and make plays late and they haven’t done it. How discouraged are you?

BB: That was a big two-minute drive. It was a big stop for us defensively to hold them to a field goal and be able to stay in the game. Yeah, that was a big drive. Again, there were things that certainly could have been better but in the end we did enough good things to win. Certainly that was a big drive, taking it down the length of the field, big kick to get it into overtime. That was good. Some of the things that we did to put ourselves in that position obviously need and hopefully can be better.

Q: It looked like Alfonzo Dennard was physical at the line quite a bit. Is that part of his game?

BB: I think it is. He’s a strong kid. He’s 200 pounds, he has good playing strength. That’s a physical group of receivers, [Chaz] Schilens and Stephen [Hill] and [Dustin] Keller, receiver, tight end whatever you want to call him. That’s a big, physical group they have too, other than [Jeremy] Kerley. He’s good but that’s not really his game. But they have some big, physical guys there; you have to battle with them.

Q: It looks like you guys did a lot of that in the second half, especially with Dustin Keller specifically. You bracketed him at the line of scrimmage and got physical.

BB: Yeah, he still hurt us though. He still got open on plenty of plays. He’s a tough guy to defend. We knew that he only played a little bit last week. We expected him to play more this week. We gave him some attention but obviously we could have given him more but he’s a tough player. He’s a tough guy to handle; big, athletic, catches the ball well. There were some good tight ends out on the field today.

Q: Are you guys still trying to figure out what to hang your hat on offensively late in games or do you think you have an idea but the execution isn’t there?

BB: We try to do what we think is best so that could change from game to game. Playing the Jets is different than playing anybody else or who we played last week or the week before. I don’t think you can just run one or two plays, you have to defeat what they’re doing, whatever that happens to be. We work on it every week, we’ll keep working on it and when those situations come up hopefully we’ll be able to come through and deliver.

Q: Can you talk about the offensive line? You had a couple guys out and guys stepped in and did a good job.

BB: Yeah, they did. Dan Connolly got sick this morning and we were hoping to have him back for the game but his stomach or whatever, indigestion, whatever just didn’t clear up. We lost him right at game time so we didn’t expect that. Nick [McDonald] stepped in there and did a good job. We practiced that way all week and then came into the game and had to switch it there in pregame but that’s just the next guy stepping up and doing his job. Nick did that for us last year and did that for us again today. I thought the tackles did a good job, Nate [Solder] and Sebastian [Vollmer] out there on the edge. They blocked those guys all day. We threw the ball a lot. They did a good job on those edge rushers. Overall, they handled the blitzes. Not perfect but competitively.

Q: Running backs as well – you shuffled the three of them in there.

BB: They all played, they were all productive. As I said, they all were involved in blitz pickup. The Jets several times sent linebackers right up the middle on us. So we had to stand in there and pick those guys up. I thought our backs competed well too today.

Q: It’s obviously big to win against a division opponent. Can you talk about what the win means?

BB: It’s good to be 2-0 in the division. Those are huge games for us. We know the Jets are going to be there all the way through, they’ll be there at the end. There’s a lot of football left to be played. I don’t think anybody clinched anything today, I don’t think anybody got eliminated today. There’s a long way to go and we just have to keep improving and getting better. We need to build on the things we’re doing well and do them more consistently. The things we aren’t doing as well, we have to keep working hard at them to get them up to a high level. It was a good football game today. The Jets are a good team; they played well, as they have the last couple weeks. I think they’ve continued to get better. We’ll have to keep our game going at that rate as we got through each of the succeeding weeks here.

Q: You had a couple instances in the first half with personnel issues. You had to take a timeout on the punt and then you only had 10 men on the field for the touchdown. You can’t be happy about that.

BB: No, we missed obviously a substitution on the punt and then we had a couple guys go down there defensively and weren’t sure if they were in the game, not in the game and then we wind up not getting that sub right on the goal line. We have to do a better job of coaching and even better awareness overall on our team in terms of substitutions with injuries and that type of thing. There are certainly a lot of things that weren’t perfect in the game that we can improve on. Collectively, that’s all of us: it’s coaches, players, all the people that are involved there.

Q: Are you confident that these plays can improve and get to the level you want by the end of the season?

BB: I think we’ve improved every week. I think other teams are improving too, they should be. We’re practicing, we’re playing. Everybody is getting better. We just have to get better faster than our opponents are getting better.

Q: Can you comment on Jermaine Cunningham, who has obviously progressed a lot since last season?

BB: Jermaine worked hard, he had a good offseason, he was one of our offseason award winners. I think that’s indicative of his work ethic. We’ve played him at several different positions this year, both outside and inside, both ends, both tackles. He’s been a versatile guy for us, as well as some plays in the kicking game. He’s been productive for us. We’ve asked him to do a lot of different things and he’s done a good job.

Q: When you have players go down and he comes in, does that show that he’s at the point where he’s one of those capable guys for you?

BB: As I said, I think Jermaine started last year at the end of the season after he was injured and was on Injured Reserve. Even though he was hurt and out, he still worked on things that he could work on. Once he got healthy, he really had a good offseason. That’s something he hasn’t had the last two years. He came out of Florida with surgery at the end of the season. So his rookie year he was out and his second year was the strike year so everybody showed up for training camp on that. I think this was the year, his first time in three years, since he was junior in college or sophomore, whatever it was, that he’s really had a chance to train and really work on things in the offseason. That got him off to a good start in the spring, got him off to a good start in training camp and he’s really improved as a player. He deserves a lot of credit because of how hard he’s worked.

Q: You said that you feel that everyone has improved and the team has improved from week to week. Do you feel the same about the secondary, that their performance was better this week than last week against Seattle?

BB: We’ll go back and look at the film. I can’t tell you exactly how everything went. Certainly some things were better. Was everything better? Probably not. We’ll have to keep working on those things but I thought we did improve in some areas.

Q: It looked like you guys were playing a lot of Cover 2. It seemed like the spot between the safety and behind the corner seemed like it just got pounded all day. Was that accurate?

BB: I didn’t really see it that way. We played quite a bit of man coverage. We were in Cover 2, I’m not saying that, but we played quite a bit of man coverage.

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