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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript

Posted Dec 21, 2012

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Friday, December 21, 2012.

BB: Glad to see everyone’s still here. [We’re] winding it down here on Jacksonville. Hopefully we have a good day here to wrap everything up. Again, this is a team that’s different from the last time we saw them. We saw them in preseason a year ago but some different guys, certainly a lot different context than when we saw them in that game. We’ll need the full week of preparation here and hopefully be ready to go on Sunday.

Q: Now that this week is almost complete in terms of preparation, how do you feel like the team has bounced back from the loss?

BB: I don’t know about that, I would say that our effort level in the classroom and on the field has been good the last couple days but we’ll see how all that…now is really the most important time, the last 48 hours as we head into game time. There is still a lot of work left to do. I don’t think we’re there by any stretch but we’re gaining on it, so we’ll see.

Q: Have you ever put stock in the thinking that a loss could be good for a team in a bigger picture sense?

BB: We never really look at it that way. We just try to take each day as it comes. Whatever happened last week happened, it’s over with. We’ve won some, we’ve lost some. We just try to move onto the next game and the next opportunity and get the most we can out of that one. I’d say that’s the way we handled this week. That’s the way we’ll handle next week. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the game on Sunday, but whatever happens, we’ll try to make the most we can out of next week and use that game however we can best use it. I don’t know what else to tell you.

Q: With the postseason looming, is there more of an emphasis at this point than earlier in the season to get guys healthy?

BB: The emphasis is to get everybody healthy as soon as possible every week. I don’t know what we do differently now. Our treatment schedule is the same, guys getting rest, guys getting treatment, guys doing what they can do on a progressive basis – a little bit more, a little bit more until they get all the way back up there with whatever injury they’re dealing with. Trying to stay healthy, away from the colds and the flus and those kinds of setbacks which come sometimes at this time of year too and they can run through your team. It could be a dozen guys getting that or it could be one. If it’s one, you just hope that you can keep it at one and not end up losing a third of roster to a bug or something like that. All those things are important. We try to stay on top of them in terms of disinfecting everything and just constantly staying on top of it. I know players now really think about getting more rest and sometimes our schedule shortens a little bit in order to try to lengthen the rest time. All those things are part of it, but I wouldn’t say that, it’s not like we sit there in October and don’t care about [it]. We try to get them back then too but I think as the season goes on, there is a little bit of a different dynamic that comes into play, if you will, just because of the length of the season. I think the urgency to get people healthy, get them back and play is there like it is all year long.

Q: Other sports taper their athletes, they do not work as hard or the stretches of hard work are shorter. Is that essentially what it comes down to?

BB: That’s part of it. Of course, the rules with the number of padded practices you can have, those have been trimmed back in the last six weeks. They probably would be trimmed back anyway because we’ve had so many practices, 88 practices. We haven’t had 88 practices for Jacksonville but we’ve been on the field 88 times. Do you need to do everything as much now as we did in practices six, seven and eight? Probably not. But I think you still need to stay sharp on it. I think there are still things that you want to stay on but the intensity of training camp or those type of practices, no I don’t think, it’s just not that level. That level is on Sunday and above, but it’s a little less than that during the week, sure.

Q: If you are up by a decent amount against Jacksonville or Miami, would you selectively start resting some of your starters?

BB: I would do the same thing that I always do in every game and that’s to try to do what’s best for the football team. There are a lot of things that go into that. Whatever I feel like is best for the football team, that’s what I’m going to try to do. Every game, every week, every situation I’m going to try to do what I think is best for the team. There are a lot of things to take into consideration on that. Whatever it is, I’m not saying it’s all right, I’ve probably made more mistakes than anybody around here, but the intent is to do what’s best for the team.

Q: It seems like Jaguars center Brad Meester has been in Jacksonville since that franchise started. What does he bring and what has he brought?

BB: It does. I think the communication starts from the inside and works its way out so a center and a quarterback, they really handle, especially as much as teams run the shotgun these days, where the quarterback can’t communicate with the line, especially on the road without walking up there and actually talking to them so the center handles a lot of that communication. There’s a line of communication between the quarterback and the center, the center to the offensive line and then the quarterback and the skill players. That’s again, integral to every offensive system. Yeah, he’s been there a long time. He’s been a solid player for them and it’s a critical position, not because I played it but because of the structure of the game. It’s the same thing on defense. It starts with the middle linebacker and it extends out along the front and it goes from the safety out to the corner or your nickel back or whoever it is. That line of communication always starts on the inside out. The people that are involved in that – the quarterback, the center, the middle linebacker, possibly a defensive tackle, your safeties – those are the key guys in that link.

Q: Ryan Wendell has been very consistent, not just in playing every snap but it seems like he picked up where Dan Koppen left off with consistent snaps.

BB: That’s really been a strength of Wendy’s since he’s been here. You’ve seen in training camp, we work multiple people at center. Like this year, we had four or five different guys working at that position plus you have a couple different quarterbacks in there. If it’s just the same two guys every time, there still could be some issues but when you’re mixing in multiple players, just the center to quarterback exchange, is just the most critical part to any play, you can’t have a good play without that. But that’s been a great strength of Wendy’s throughout his career here. Shotgun snaps, under center snaps, wet games, snow, whatever it is, he’s been very dependable there. It all starts with that. There are a lot of times when those guys are trying to reach block [Marcel] Dareus at Buffalo of [J.J.] Watt or they’re trying to shotgun snap and pass protect against good pass rushers or linebackers up in the line of scrimmage. It really takes a lot of discipline and concentration to execute the snap perfectly and then be able to slide and get into position to block the man they have to block, whether it’s on the goal line or it’s a pass protection snap or whatever it happens to be and still have that ball right so the quarterback can handle it, make a clean play. He does a good job of that. You can’t underestimate that part of the center’s job. You take it for granted until you have a bad one and it’s all bad after that.

Q: Last year’s Super Bowl champions, the Giants, won their last game and had momentum going into the playoffs. Do you look at the Jacksonville game with a bit of a playoff mentality in that you want to win and build momentum going into the playoffs?

BB: I don’t know. I wasn’t with the Giants so I don’t really know what those games were or weren’t. If you have to win a game to get into the playoffs, then you’re really playing a playoff game. I think it would be a stretch to call this a playoff game. It’s a big game for us but it’s not a playoff game. I think the most important thing for a team is to be playing well for the most important games of the season. They’re ahead for all of us so hopefully we’ll be able to do that when that time comes. I think each game from the first game of the year to the 16th game of the year, those are opportunities as a team and individually to get better, to improve, to build our chemistry, our timing, our situational awareness, our execution, all those things. There is going to be a point where the season is going to come down to a game, a quarter, a series, a play and when the team is able to execute at a high level at that particular point in time, that’s going to decide which teams move on, which teams are the champions, which teams aren’t. I think it’s all part of the process and we’re still in that process.

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