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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript

Posted Sep 24, 2012

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media duing his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Monday, September 24, 2012.

BB: Well, as I said last night, it was obviously a disappointing outcome for us against the Ravens. Baltimore is a good football team; I don’t want to take anything away from them. They did a good job, they’re well coached, they have a lot of good players and they played well. We had some opportunities, collectively as a team – players, coaches, offense, defense, special teams – all of us just have to do a better job and take advantage of the opportunities that we have and make a little more out of them than we have the last two weeks. We did enough good things to put ourselves in a good position – ahead in the fourth quarter and all that, but we just couldn’t do all the things we need to do at the end of the game to win it and that’s disappointing. We work awfully hard on those things and we just came up short. I have to do a better job; we all have to do a better job. I’ve been asked about the situation at the end of the game, so I’m just going to take a couple minutes to explain that and then that will be the end of it. On the final kick, after we took the timeout and rushed the kick, from the sideline I saw the ball go pretty close to the upright. I couldn’t obviously tell from where I was at where exactly it went, but I saw our players waving that it was no good and I saw the officials giving the signal that it was good. I just wasn’t sure from where I was standing whether the ball – when it went over the crossbar, was above the upright or in-between or not in-between the uprights. By rule, if the ball isn’t over the crossbar and it’s either inside or outside of the upright, that’s reviewable. If it’s over the top of the upright, then it’s not reviewable, but I couldn’t tell from my angle when the ball crossed the crossbar where it was, so I didn’t know whether or not that play was going to be under review or whether it wasn’t. So, when the game was over, I went out and I was really looking for an explanation from the officials as to whether the play was under review and I did try to get the official’s attention as he was coming off the field to ask that, but I really wasn’t able to do that. I’ve coached in this league a long time and never been penalized, never had any incidents with officials or anything like that. I have never meant any disrespect or in any way tried to abuse or be disrespectful to the officials and the job that they do. I was just trying to get an explanation for obviously an important call, play, in that game. That’s the number one thing between coaches and officials; it’s always at the forefront. It’s just communication of what’s going on, what’s happening. As many of you know, I’ve been involved in a game like this before. In 2000, here in Foxborough, Johnny Grier was the referee when Drew [Bledsoe] was trying to throw a pass at the end of the game against Miami and the ball was ruled a fumble. The clock ran out, the game was over and then as I was walking off the field with Johnny, at that time I talked to him about, ‘This seems like an incomplete pass, there should be more time on the clock, we should have another play here. [He responded] ‘No, that’s the ruling. The game is over.’ We go back into the locker room, 10 minutes or so later, Johnny comes back and says they’re reviewing the play, we may have to go back out and finish the game. About five minutes after that, when the players got dressed, we came back out for a final play in that game. I’ve been through a situation in the final play of the game where it’s over, but it’s not over, that type of thing. That was really the situation last night. So, I was trying to get the official’s attention to get an explanation on it and in no way was I trying to do anything other than that. I have nothing further to add about that situation, but that’s what happened. Anything on the Ravens here?

Q: You mentioned some of those plays that you didn’t execute. Were there any of those that stuck out more than the others?

BB: No, there were a lot of them. Obviously, in the red zone we missed some opportunities to score touchdowns in the red area. Baltimore hit theirs in the red area and also slightly outside of it, 20, 25-yard line, that area. Those were big plays. We had some turnover opportunities. We had some sacks and negative plays that got called back. Offensively, we had some negative plays that slowed down our drives or took us out of field position, or negated positive plays that we had, however you want to look at it. You could go right through the game, from the first quarter to the fourth quarter and find those plays. You get in a tight game like that, one play, three points, field position, any of that can make a big difference. There were numerous plays. Again, I don’t want to take anything away from Baltimore. They made a lot of good plays too. They have good players and good coaches and I’m not saying it was our undoing, but we have to do a better job. When we have opportunities, we have to do a better job of that. We have to coach better, we have to play better. but there’s no single play that I could point to.

Q: Could you describe your level of frustration with the replacement officials? It seems like it was written on your face.

BB: I’m trying to focus on coaching our football team and doing the best that I can with them. That’s my job and that will continue to be my job. We can control what we can control and that’s what we need to do. We need to do a better job of controlling the things that we need to control, starting with the coaching, playing, practicing, preparation, decision making, all those things. That’s what I need to do a better job of, that’s what our team needs to do a better job of.

Q: You talked about the end of the game. Was there frustration with communication in general, regardless of the officiating? It seemed like you had issues.

BB: Again, what we need to focus on is what we do. As it relates to the officiating, that’s always the number one thing. From the time when we meet with the officials in the spring, to when the officials come to training camp, to before every game when we meet with officials, both in pregame and on the field when we meet with the referee, the thing that we always communicate about is communication. We talk about communication – ‘Are there any special plays that we should be aware of? Is there anything you want us to be aware of? If there are any challenges or anything that happens on the field, we’ll let you know. If you don’t get the information, you go to the side judge or the line judge and he’ll come to me and we’ll communicate and all that.’ We always go through those things, from the beginning of the season, every game and then within every game. There sometimes are gaps in it that we need to close, but when you talk to them and say, ‘Who is the foul on?’ ‘We’re not sure, but I’ll find out for you and get back to you on it.’ ‘OK, great.’ Sometimes they have the information; sometimes they don’t. But when they don’t, then they usually get back to you as soon as they can get it, after a TV timeout or after they’ve had a chance to talk to whoever it was that made the call. That’s normal. That’s just the way it is.

Q: Do you feel like you needed some type of communication on that last play on the field goal?

BB: I just explained the whole situation. I just went through the whole thing.

Q: As coaches, are you saying anything to the players as the game goes on to make sure they don’t get frustrated, because it seemed like there were plays that they didn’t know what the correct call was? Are you telling them to shut it all out and move forward?

BB: We’re all out there trying to do our job.

Q: For the most part, has the communication with the officials been good over the course of the season, regardless of whether people think make they make good or bad calls?

BB: I just tried to explain that. We go through it every game. Those are the procedures.

Q: Do you blame your players for getting frustrated, even if it’s on Twitter or to the media, for how the game was officiated yesterday?

BB: I’ve said all I’m going to say about this. I just explained it. Do you have any questions about the game?

Q: Down the stretch, execution-wise, was it mental mistakes, physical mistakes, or what was the issue?

BB: Things we can all do better. We can coach better, we can communicate better, we can execute better, we can do our techniques better, fundamentals, recognition. We just have to continue to improve. It’s a fine line between a good play and a bad play in this league. It’s a lot of little things. Some of those things can be improved with better coaching, better playing, better fundamentals. We just have to keep working on all of them. That’s no one thing, no one play, no one person. Collectively, we’re a couple plays short of having a couple more wins, but we don’t and we have to do a better job.

Q: We saw Danny Woodhead quite a bit in the up-tempo offense. Can you just talk about what you saw from him and the skills that tailor him to that role?

BB: Danny is our most experienced back. He has a good set of skills running the ball, pass catching, blitz pickup and assignments, different formations, being split out of the backfield, empty, things like that. He gives us good versatility on that. When we go fast and a lot of that is one word [communication], hustle to the line, do your job. You have to make some adjustments and his experience level is a positive in those situations.

Q: Where is Stevan Ridley in terms of those same skills?

BB: Good, they’ve all done it. Stevan’s done it, [Brandon] Bolden’s done it, [Shane] Vereen has done it; they’ve all done it. I would just say Danny has obviously done more of it.

Q: You’re working two new tight ends into the mix – Kellen Winslow who was just signed and Daniel Fells who had been inactive. How did you feel the tight end usage went last night with those two in particular?

BB: Overall, I think we got production from all of our groups and all of our players. Again, there were times where sometimes it was better than others. Overall, I thought we had a productive day offensively. We were able to move the ball; we were able to score points. It certainly could have been better, but we did have some production. We had a lot of guys contribute: the receivers contributed, the tight ends contributed, the backs, the offensive line, they did a good job. But it all needs to be better. For their first game out there, given that, I thought it was competitive.

Q: Did you see a good week of practice leading up to last night?

BB: Again, I don’t really rate weeks of practice and that kind of thing. I just think every day we have an opportunity to go out there and learn and practice what we’re doing and prepare for the game. We try to take advantage of that the very best we can – get the most out of the plays, get the most out of our walkthroughs and our preparation. Sometimes that has more or less application in the game. A lot of times you practice things that don’t come up in the game the way they did in practice. You don’t know that until the game starts. We just try to get the most that we can out of each of those opportunities.

Q: Can you talk about the production of Brandon Lloyd and Wes Welker? In the previous week, there was some miscommunication with Tom Brady. It looked like they fine-tuned some of that on Sunday.

BB: That’s always part of it. Seeing things on the run, adjusting to coverages or players’ techniques as the play unfolds and when to break the route out, when the quarterback thinks the route is going to break, when to throw the ball, timing and all those kind of things. The more we do it, the better we should be at it. Definitely, another week of practice helps, another week of game tempo helps. We practice it in practice, but game tempo is always a little bit different. I thought we made some improvement there but again, we still have more work to do.

Q: How much did losing Julian Edelman affect the offense after he went out? How could that affect the offense going forward?

BB: Well, as far as last night goes, Deion [Branch] took Julian’s spot in some of those situations. Of course, Deion is one of our most experienced players. He’s been in this offense a long time, knows it well, so I don’t really think there was a problem there in terms of communication or assignments or anything like that. Deion is always very professional, well prepared and ready to handle a lot of different roles and that’s the one that came up last night. He did a good job of it.