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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript

Posted Jan 2, 2013

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, January 2, 2013.

BB: First of all, I’d just say that as a football team, organization, we’re saddened by the loss of [Equipment Manager] Donny [Brocher] this weekend. In a game where – we all saw what changes were made on Monday throughout the league – for somebody to be here for 40 years, doing the job that he did for so many owners, coaches, general managers, you name it, players, is really a tribute to his dedication, consistency, dependability and the quality of the work that he did. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Laurie and his family. He’s a guy that six months ago when [former Assistant Equipment Manager] John Hillebrand went to Jacksonville, [Brocher] sat in my office and he talked about how good he was feeling, how much he was looking forward to a few more years on the job and doing some other things that he was looking forward to. Six months later we are where we are today. Don was here for the San Francisco game. I don’t think anybody really had a sense of the physical and mental toughness that he displayed that night just by being here and doing his job and being here for us in that type of situation. But that was kind of Donny. He was never one to complain, never one to talk about how he was doing, he was just there to help the rest of us. We’ll miss him. Otherwise, we’ll turn our attention this week to a couple days of hopefully improving in some areas that we feel like can help us as a football team if we get better at them so that’s what we’ll try to do. We’ll try to focus on our improvement and better execution and communication, different areas of the game, things that we need to work on.

Q: Is there one area to you that stands out that needs to be worked on?

BB: No, we’ve identified a lot of things in every area – offense, defense, special teams, running game, passing game, individuals. There are things for all of us that we can do better. Whatever level they’re at, we’re trying to make them better.

Q: You talked last week that when there is a higher probability of something, you will put more preparation into it. You don’t know who you’ll play yet but is there any pecking order because for example, Houston, all they have to do is win and they are playing you guys?

BB: Right and that’s the first game so we’ll know Saturday night. We’ll know whether it’s Houston or whether it’s the winner of the next game.

Q: Is Houston a starting point?

BB: No, we’ll work on everybody. After the Houston game, we’ll either be full speed ahead on Houston or we’ll put that in the drawer and wait and see what happens in the next game. We have to be prepared for all three of them so that’s what we’ll do.

Q: Will that change your work schedule? If Houston wins, will it be all hands on deck and if they lose will you send everyone home and come back the next day?

BB: No. We’re on the same schedule regardless. We’ll either work on Houston or we’ll work on Indianapolis and Baltimore. It’s as simple as that.

Q: You gave up a lot of big passing plays early in the year and didn’t give up as many late in the season. What changed?

BB: I’d like to think we improved. We certainly worked on it. We made a couple changes after the Seattle game but not that we didn’t work on it before but we kept working on it more. I think overall the results were better.

Q: How much of that improvement was young players and rookies getting more comfortable and getting used to what was expected of them?

BB: I don’t know. I think it’s a combination of a lot of things. I don’t think it’s any one thing, one player, one call, one thing. Defense is team defense. Part of it is coaching and scheme and putting the players in the best chance they have to be successful. It’s pass defense, it’s pass rush, it’s run defense to create longer yardage situations, it’s pressure coverage, it’s a little bit of everything. I think when you look at all the plays in whatever situation you want to look at it, whether it’s defending long passes, red area, third down, fringe plays, whatever they happen to be, that you’ll find that there are a lot of different… it’s not one thing, it’s not all one guy or one play or one call or one anything. It’s a combination of a lot of things. I would say quite a few of them are better than what they were so that’s good.

Q: Are you guys in Friday, Saturday and Sunday?

BB: Players? No.

Q: Is it important to emphasize to the players that this is a work week and not a week off?

BB: Nobody ever said it was a week off except for you. That’s the first time I’ve heard it. We’re here, there are things we can accomplish, things that we can do, things that we’re doing so that’s what we’re here for.

Q: Three out of six days off relative to what you usually have is a lot.

BB: Right, even those days, there are things that, they’re not team things we can work on but there are things individually that we can work on. We’ll certainly talk to the players about those too.

Q: Can you quantify the fact that five out of the last six games you have held opponents under 20 points and I think you finished ninth in points allowed? Do you look at that as a measuring stick or is it other things that transcend that number?

BB: No, I think there’s some relevance to some statistics. I don’t think they’re irrelevant but you have to be careful about putting too much on them but there’s some relevance to them. I’d rather be obviously high in wins, low in points, low third-down conversion percentage, low red-area percentage, low goal-line percentage, low yards-per-rush, low yards-per-attempt, low penalties. You want to be low in every category. The most important one is wins, the next most important one is points and there are a lot of other things that go along with that. Sure, you want to be better in everything that you’re doing. There is some relevance to that, some of it is circumstantial, some of it isn’t after 16 games and over 1,000 snaps – they mean something but I think you still have to go beyond the actual numbers to try to see what you’re really dealing with, especially if you want to try to change it or improve it, try to figure out exactly what it is that’s right or wrong.

Q: Aside from not knowing who you are going to be playing, logistically what is the biggest difference between this bye week and the regular season bye week?

BB: That you don’t know who you’re going to be playing.

Q: Otherwise it’s pretty similar?

BB: It’s a different point in time, it’s two months later in the season so that changes some things. Yeah, when we had the bye week after the St. Louis game, we knew we were playing Buffalo so there was a certain element of preparation that we could start on with them, even the next couple games after that. It’s like in the preseason, you know who you’re opening with, you know your second game, you know who your third game is. Sometimes there’s a sequential element to your preparation to some degree, not totally but maybe some things are important sequentially but not now. Now it’s just a one game season. We don’t know who our opponent is. We’re doing things that we think will help our football team. Once we know who our opponent is, then we’ll zero in on that opponent and try to do everything we can to get our highest level of performance against them next Sunday.

Q: Ray Lewis announced his retirement this morning. What are your thoughts on not having to game plan for him anymore?

BB: Tremendous player, tremendous career. I’ve known Ray since I went down and visited with him in 1996 prior to the draft in Miami. He’s had a great career, he’s a great player.

Q: You talk about having the same approach to every game. How difficult is it to get the players to believe that because it’s natural for the players to be more excited and amped up?

BB: Of course, it’s a playoff game. That’s what we’re here for. You play all regular season to get into the playoffs. Yeah, I would hope we’re more excited and more amped up to play. It’s a higher level of competition. Not that the regular season isn’t but the playoffs are higher, there’s no question about that.