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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript

Posted Dec 19, 2012

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, December 19, 2012.

BB: We’re grinding through here on Jacksonville. I think this is a team that has really played very competitively over the last few weeks. Offensively, they have real good firepower – good backs, [Chad] Henne of course has done a good job for them at quarterback. He certainly has done a good job against us in the past. They have a good group of receivers: [Justin] Blackmon, of course Cecil Shorts has had a tremendous year, he’s really an impressive player, [Jordan] Shipley has come in there and given them some plays as a slot receiver. Of course, Marcedes Lewis the tight end, is one of the better tight ends in the league – big target, runs well, good competitive blocker. They have a good group offensively and defensively they’re very big and physical inside. That frees up [Paul] Posluszny a little bit, who has really had another good year. He’s made a lot of plays for them, a lot of tackles, knocks some balls loose, interceptions, he’s around the ball a lot, been very productive. [Russell] Allen [is] another very active linebacker. They’re getting good production off the edge. It looks like [Jason] Babin coming in there has given them a little bit of additional pass rush. He’s [a] very fast, active player on the edge. [Jeremy] Mincey is a strong, powerful guy. Good, competitive secondary. They’ve had a few guys banged up back there and they’ve been in and out but [Derek] Cox, [Rashean] Mathis, [Mike] Harris, [Aaron] Ross, they have a good group of corners and of course [Dawan] Landry and [Dwight] Lowery are two very experienced safeties. [Chris] Prosinski plays in three some too, so they have good depth in the secondary. That’s a good solid group. They play hard, I think they’re well coached. They’ve done a great job the last few weeks of not turning the ball over, taking care of the football, playing error-free. That’s something that obviously we have to do a better job of based on last week. I know it starts with that. They’re a very good, competitive football team that works hard, makes you earn what you get. We’re going to have to do a good job down there to come up with anything.

Q: It seems like Jacksonville had some trouble in the red zone against the Dolphins. Is there anything you would attribute that to?

BB: I hope we can do a good job but they’ve had good production down there. They’re a very good goal-line passing team and they have a good running game obviously with [Rashad] Jennings and [Maurice Jones-]Drew or [Montell] Owens, whoever it is. They have a whole host of backs who all run the ball well. They throw the ball well down on the goal line too. Of course, Marcedes Lewis [is] a good target for them on their goal line passes and in the red zone. They’re a tough team to defend. Miami is a good defense and they played well down there but they’re a challenge in the red area because of their strong running game and their ability to make plays on the goal line, play-action passes as well, just toss it up there to [Cecil] Shorts or [Justin] Blackmon, let them go up there and fight for the ball. They come down with a bunch of them. They’re a tough team to defend down there, they do a good job. Their goal line passing game is good.

Q: Since they acquired Jason Babin, have they done anything different schematically? Have they brought more pressure? Less pressure?

BB: No, I’d say it’s the same. He’s a very fast edge player. I’d say they’re a bigger, more physical front. I’d say he’s given them good team speed, maybe a little more pure edge rush. He doesn’t play all the time, he’s in there and they rotate those ends through with [Austen] Lane and [Jeremy] Mincey, they rotate their inside guys through. They play six, seven defensive linemen in there. It’s different combinations of guys and that’s part of the challenge for the offensive line – kind of knowing who you’re blocking because each guy is a little different, different techniques, different moves. But Babin is fast and they bring him. He can obviously get around the corner. We’ve seen plenty of that and he kind of adds another level of speed and edge rush to what they already have.

Q: How effective is your team this year in correcting mistakes week to week? Do they correct mistakes or do you see repeat issues?

BB: I’d say overall we’ve made some progress. I think we’ve made some progress. I don’t think too much of it showed up in the San Francisco game but prior to that I felt like we got some things straightened out earlier in the year that were a lot less of a problem through maybe Week 6 through 12 or somewhere in there. Not that it was perfect but we finished some games better, we had a little more balance, defensively we improved in some areas overall. But it’s still a week to week game. You try to get better every week but each week is new matchups and new challenges. They have new players, different players, different schemes than what we saw the week before. It’s never all the same but I think fundamentally you try to improve your individual techniques, you try to improve your timing, your execution and a basic discipline of what you’re trying to do. But you still have to go out there and execute it against a new team with good players and the challenges that they present. It’s not like it’s the same exam every week. It’s a new test, a new set of questions, but hopefully you’ve been able to move to higher ground with your overall performance. I would say that we’ve done that, but you always want to go farther. But it wasn’t very good last week.

Q: How long does it take you to get over a loss? What process do you go through?

BB: I try to take all the games the same. Each game has its good points and bad points. We try to reinforce the good things, correct the things that we didn’t do well, whatever the final score was. Then, once that’s done then we try to take the steps that we feel like we need to take at that point in time to move forward to the next challenge. When that game is over with, there’s nothing we can do about that. We have to move ahead. No different than the week before when we played Houston – we had to move on from the Houston game. It will be the same next week after this week, we’ll move onto the next game. There’s a process and there’s time to evaluate and analyze what happened and try to learn from it – all of us, players, coaches, everybody involved in the game planning and decision making, preparation for the game. There are things we all can learn but it’s time to move onto the next challenge.

Q: How much do playoff scenarios impact planning for you at this stage or is it just about the Jaguars?

BB: There’s so much stuff out there, I have no idea. I’m not smart enough to understand the 80 different things that can happen. I don’t really care. There’s nothing we can do about any of them. I think what we need to worry about is the New England Patriots. You guys can take care of all that stuff. We have plenty of things we need to do besides worry about everybody else.

Q: Do you anticipate staying at 52 players this week?

BB: I don’t know. We might, we might not. We’ll see how it goes here. At this time of year, you’re playing a little different hand than you’re playing with in Week 2. We’ll see how this week plays out and do the best we can.

Q: Overall, has Justin Francis performed consistently? He has made a lot of flash plays but do you think his entire body of work has improved the whole way?

BB: He’s definitely improved, absolutely. I think he’s definitely improved. Last year, he played three-technique at Rutgers so although he’s played some inside, that’s not really his main thing this year. Our defense is a lot different than what they did there schematically. He’s a competitive player, he works hard. He’s got some good ability and he’s, like any young player he’s learning through sometimes trial an error. Sometimes experience, sometimes the hard way. But he works hard to get better and I have a lot of respect for that. There aren’t many people that work harder than he does. He competes every day in practice, both in the classroom and out on the field to learn and improve and he’s definitely improved a lot, no question.

Q: Has Justin Francis done enough to have a role once Jermaine Cunningham comes back?

BB: I don’t know. I can’t really answer that question. I think we’ll just have to wait and see where things are whenever all those things, if they take place, when they take place and make the best decisions we can at that point in time. Right now, that’s not on the table so it doesn’t really make any difference. I don’t get want to get into a bunch of hypotheticals right now. We’ll just try to deal with what we have and do the best we can with it.

Q: If he plays, what does Maurice Jones-Drew bring as a running back?

BB: Everything, he brings everything. He has great balance, vision, power for his size. He’s a thick guy, hard to put on the ground. [He] sees the holes well, runs with good power, has good speed, catches the ball well out of the backfield, he’s dangerous on the check-downs and flare routes, screens, things like that. He’s very good in the line of scrimmage on the inside runs, very good on the outside runs. He’s a tough guy to handle in space. He does everything well. I don’t think there are any weak points to his game. Kind of like Ray Rice, his low center of gravity, his strength, his balance, he’s a tough guy to tackle, even if you have somebody there, you still have to tackle him and that’s not he easiest thing in the world at all. There are a lot of plays where it doesn’t look like he has much and he gets a good 10 or 15 yards out of it. Then there are other times where it looks like he has a five or six yard run and he takes it 50. He’s very dangerous. It’s not over with him until the whistle blows and he’s on the ground because he’s a guy that gets a lot of extra yards on his own.

Q: Like Ray Rice, would you say the toughest part about him is finding him in the backfield?

BB: Absolutely, sure. Again, he runs with a good base, good balance and he uses his blockers well. He has good vision so it makes it hard for the defenders to see him without trying to stand up and look for him and that exposes their body to the blockers and they get blocked more. He certainly knows how to use everything to his advantage. His speed, his power, his quickness, his vision and he can stay behind those guys and it is hard sometimes to see exactly where he is or where he’s going and he can get there in a hurry. But they have a very good group of backs too. [Rashad] Jennings is an explosive guy, [Montell] Owens, [Greg] Jones is a good fullback. They have a lot of good players in their backfield, good skill players – the receivers, [Jordan] Shipley, [Marcedes] Lewis. They have plenty of good skill players.

Q: What are your thoughts on Jeremy Mincey’s career, just having the initial background with him from when he was here?

BB: I think he’s in the right spot. We tried to play him at outside linebacker and that probably wasn’t the best thing for him. He got with a team that is playing him pretty much the same way he played in college. Jeremy is a strong player, he’s physical, he has a lot of passion for the game. He plays hard on every play. He’s a strong player for 265 or whatever he weighs but he plays bigger than that. He has a good motor, he’s tough. He’s had a really good career. He’s a good kid, he works hard, football is really important to him. He’s done well, he really has, he’s done well. He’s played down his whole career and that’s a good move.

Q: How has the Jacksonville offense changed with Chad Henne?

BB: I don’t know. To be honest with you, we’ve really focused more on his games because [Blaine] Gabbert is obviously out. I would just say that Henne does a good job of reading coverages and getting the ball to the weak point of the coverage. He uses [Jordan] Shipley and [Marcedes] Lewis in the inside part of the field. He uses his backs and check downs well. He certainly can get the ball to the perimeter with [Cecil] Shorts and [Justin] Blackmon. He does a good job of spreading the ball around or taking where the defense is light, he does a good job of attacking there. He’s also a pretty decent athlete. He can move around back there. There have been times where he’s under pressure, he’s able to escape and run or use his quickness in the pocket to then set up and throw the ball downfield and make a completion or make a good play. I don’t think he gets locked in on one thing. With Henne, you really have to defend everything. You have to defend all the receivers, you have to defend the short balls, you have to defend the play-action, the deep balls, a little bit of scrambling. I think he does a pretty good job at everything. That’s really the hardest thing for a defense, when you have to defend everything as opposed to just nailing it down to, ‘This is what he likes to do and it’s this small thing that they’re pretty good at, but it’s just that one thing’. You just can’t say that about Henne. He does a nice job of distributing the ball and getting it to places where the defense is light. That’s really what a quarterback should do. He’s certainly done it well against us. He’s had some of his best games against us, so we have a lot of respect for Henne.

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