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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript

Posted Nov 14, 2011

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Monday, November 14, 2011.

BB: I don't have too much to add from last night. Anything going on out here?

Q: In looking at the film, why was Andre Carter able to repeatedly apply pressure?

BB: He did a good job. There were some other elements of the pass rush that were good too that were able to force some things to him or it kind of kept it honest. He did a good job.

Q: Any word on Devin McCourty?

BB: No, not yet.

Q: When you put Julian Edelman in, do you keep it real simple on defense?

BB: No, he has to be able to play what we're running. We're not probably looking to run every single call in the book at that point; we're going with two or three calls there at the end of the game because of the situation. He'll know enough; he does know enough. He's a smart kid. He's worked in there before. He would know enough to do be able to do whatever it is we have.

Q: He's had work on defense?

BB: Yeah.

Q: Just in practice settings?

BB: Yeah. Since he's been here, yeah.

Q: Do you have other guys who do that?

BB: Yeah, sure.

Q: Tell me all of them.

BB: Look, you only have so much depth on your roster. You have to be able to use people where you use them. We use guys on offense playing defense, guys on defense playing offense and so forth.

Q: Is that something that you've been working with Julian Edelman for awhile on or just when people started going down in the secondary?

BB: We've done it over the course of the year.

Q: You guys used a personnel combination last night that I don't think we've seen with Brandon Deaderick inside and Mark Anderson and Andrew Carter on the end. What did you like about that?

BB: I think we used it last week too. Deaderick has only been back here for a couple of weeks, but he played inside and outside for us last year. He's played inside and outside for us this year.

Q: Is there something about the combination of people that you like? You guys were able to have success with it.

BB: We play those guys in rotation, so sometimes they're in there, sometimes they're not. It's not a thing. It's nothing special. You can't play them all outside, so somebody has to move inside. Deaderick is more of an inside player than Andre [Carter] and Mark [Anderson] or Rob [Ninkovich] for that matter are.

Q: Two of Andre Carter's sacks, I think he beat D'Brickashaw Ferguson one-on-one, which is pretty impressive considering how good he is. Have you had a chance to look at those plays and how he was able to get it done? Is there anything that jumped out at you technically?

BB: I think Andre has a good combination of speed and power and technique that he uses; he uses all those. He can bring power, he can bring speed and he can use technique in terms of getting the blocker's hands off him and working his shoulder and things like that. He does all those things well.

Q: Rob Ninkovich's interception for a touchdown - was that a planned part of the defense because I know he started outside, or did he just make a move and saw Mark Sanchez's eyes zeroing in on LaDainian Tomlinson?

BB: He was going to that area of the field and then read the play. He jammed [Dustin] Keller inside and then Tracy [White] jammed him from the inside-out and Rob ended up in there over the middle. It's kind of where he was going, but he definitely did a nice job of reading Sanchez, seeing the throw. He made a good play on the ball, a good catch with his hands, and he made a nice play.

Q: Tracy White is a guy that we hadn't seen on defense a ton until last week. He seemed to do a particularly good job on jamming Dustin Keller, and I think on that play knocking him to the ground. What did you like about what Tracy did yesterday?

BB: He and Jeff [Tarpinian] both stepped in there and kind of split that role at that position for pretty much the whole game. Jerod [Mayo] moved inside where Brandon [Spikes] was and Jeff and Tracy kind of played that other outside spot opposite of Rob [Ninkovich]. I think they all did a good job - not that we didn't have some breakdowns. It wasn't perfect, I'm not saying that, but overall Tracy and Jeff both did a good job with taking advantage of their playing time opportunities and making some plays and doing the right thing.

Q: When you put two guys in that hadn't played at all like Sterling Moore and Jeff Tarpinian, how do you get them ready and how do you know that they'll be in there not flinching?

BB: What happens when the lights go on, you never really know for sure. You have to wait and see that. Jeff has been playing all year in the kicking game, so we've seen that. Sterling really hasn't really had a lot of opportunity to play. Those guys have practiced a lot and they've certainly gotten a lot of reps in practice, so you can start to evaluate how they perform in practice, but that's not the same as games. When you put a player in the game who hasn't played in a game before, you're a little bit looking to see how he's going to react in game conditions. Some guys do better; some guys not as good. [For] some guys, it takes them a little while to get going. That's certainly a little bit of an ongoing evaluation, but from a practice standpoint, those guys - especially Jeff - have had reps all year defensively. When he's been out there - he missed some time at training camp - but when he's been out there, he's had plenty of reps on defense. And Sterling, as the weeks have gone along, he's gotten progressively more. And more this week, obviously, with [Patrick] Chung being very limited in practice all week; Sterling got more reps on defense.

Q: Has there ever been an instance where a practice player didn't look how he was supposed to look in practice, but when you put him into the game he's a much better player?

BB: No doubt about it, absolutely. There are players that are better practice players than they are game players and there're other players that are better - they don't look so good in practice and then in the game it's a different story, or it's better, let's put it that way. I learned that lesson early. I can't remember how old I was, must have been six or seven, whatever it was, and I remember my dad saying that about Joe Bellino. He'd have a great game and be talking about it after the game and he'd say, 'Well, I never would have thought that because he had a bad week of practice.' But he was a much better game player than he was practice player. That immediately then just registered with me that 'Okay, that exists.' Joe Bellino was a tremendous player but evidently not as good on the practice field as on the game field. There are certainly examples that I could cite of the other way around: guys who are good in practice, you feel confident putting them in the game, but then in the game the performance isn't quite the same. I'd say for the most part, it's pretty consistent, but some players are a little more of one and a little less of the other.

Q: Where do you have a chance to replicate game situations most? The scout team? Because a guy who is fringe guy already who is not a great practice player is going to have a hard time sticking around.

BB: We do things in practice to try to - we do competitive drills in practice and we do other drills that are not completely competitive because there's a portrait that you're trying to paint. You're trying to simulate what the other team is doing. It's still competitive, but it's not as competitive as when you're doing your assignment and the other person is doing his and you're working against each other where you're both trying to do what you do without giving the other person a look - you're just trying to do what you do and that's true competition. There's a combination of those in practice, both examples.

Q: What constitutes a bad practice? A guy not knowing his assignments? Physical? Mental?

BB: Yeah, sure all of the above. Not doing the right thing, not communicating, knowing the right thing, but not being able to run the right route or dropping the ball - everything that goes into the performance.

Q: We saw more production from Chad Ochocinco in the first half than we've seen all year. He played a lot of plays in the first half and not many in the second half. Was that situational based on you guys going hurry up or was that an injury?

BB: Injury? What kind of injury are you talking about?

Q: An injury that we didn't ask about during the game.

BB: No. I mean, I think he was open a couple of times. Tom [Brady] hit him, the way the coverage went, the way the plays went, there were other plays where other guys were open - he threw it to them.

Q: Is there a reason that Gary Guyton didn't get on the field at all? Was that injury related? I don't know if he was on the injury list.

BB: You don't know if he was on the injury list?

Q: Not off the top of my head. Was he on the injury list?

BB: Yeah.

Q: So was it injury related?

BB: Players that were active for the game were active for the game. The players that weren't active, either weren't active because of injuries or because of coaching decisions. Anybody that was active for the game was able to play. He missed some time this week in practice and that was a concern going into the game, but he was active for the game.

Q: You were asked on WFAN about the conversation on the field that may or may not have happened postgame. What are your thoughts on that? Whatever it was sounds like something that was not intended for public consumption.

BB: I don't remember it that way. I don't think we're here to talk about that. If You want to talk about the game, great.

Q: What has Tracy White brought to the team since he's been here?

BB: I think Tracy brings a lot to the football team. He's very professional, works as hard as anybody, comes in early, stays late, good physical condition, runs well, he's tough. We've all seen him make a lot of plays in the kicking game. He's made plays defensively - you saw a lot of them on defense in the preseason in those games. When he's had an opportunity, he's done a good job. I think he's great for our football team. He's a great professional, works hard, studies, knows his job, spends a lot of time at it. It's important to him. [He's] totally respected by everybody in the program. [He] does everything right.

Q: Technically he's a linebacker. Does he always sit in on the linebacker meetings throughout the course of the season or has there been more of an emphasis for him the last few weeks when he's been pressed into service more defensively?

BB: He's in on all the linebacker meetings. There are certain times when we have special teams meetings in addition to our offensive and defensive meetings. Sometimes the players who have more emphasis on special teams would meet with Coach [Scott] O'Brien on special teams as opposed to offense and defense to go over a particular segment. We also have our special teams meetings where the entire group meets on special teams and the offensive or defensive meetings don't have anything to do with those. But yeah, he's in all the defensive meetings, sure.

Q: How can you explain the red zone success you've had defensively? When you watch it, are there plays there to be made that offenses aren't making against your defense? Or are you guys sealing things up that much better inside the 10-yard line?

BB: I think it's been competitive. We gave up a touchdown yesterday on third down that scored by a yard or so. It was close. They scored, but it was close, third down - that was close to being a stop, but it wasn't. We've had some other stops that we've made throughout the year. We've had a couple stops on the one-yard line, going back to the early part of the season, San Diego, Miami, somewhere in there. [We're] always working to get better, but that's something that the coaches and players put a lot of time, a lot of work into. We've had some success and that's certainly helpful.

Q: Once you have success in that tight area where you have to trust everyone around you, does the confidence build?

BB: Sure, absolutely. There's no better - well, there's a lot of good feelings on defense, but certainly a good one is when they get down there and they don't score and you come off the field and you were able to keep them out of the end zone. The goal line stands or the stops on fourth down in the red area or even holding them to a field goal once they're down there - that's a win for the defense.

Q: Deion Branch was asked yesterday because this is such a young team if yesterday's win could be a real confidence builder going forward. But Deion said that because these guys are so young, the real test will be this week in keeping their focus and bringing it into a tough game on Monday night. Do you agree with that?

BB: Yeah, I think every week is a test, absolutely. Last week was a test. This week is a test.

Q: But the younger guys might not get the compartmentalization, how you segment everything into one week. You had such a big win on the road. Do you have to work harder with the team to let them know that that's behind you and we have another challenge ahead?

BB: We try to do that every week, we really do. We try to do that every week. No matter what happened last week, whether we won, lost, at home or on the road or in London, it doesn't matter. Once that game is over we have to put it behind us and turn the page and move on. We really don't talk about it. We don't dwell on it, good or bad. Whatever happened, happened. Whatever we can learn from what happened, we try to learn from. We might work on some things based on what happened the previous week schematically. We had trouble with a certain blitz or we had trouble defending a certain play or a certain punt rush or whatever, so we certainly would work on those things, but we don't dwell on them. Each week is its own week and we try to compartmentalize each game and whatever carryover there is, I don't really think personally there's too much. I think whichever team Monday night that plays the best will win Monday night. I don't think our performance Monday night has, really, a lot to do with what happened yesterday. I think it has to do with our preparation and our readiness and our overall execution performance come Monday night. I think that's what it's really about, starting with myself and everybody else. Look, I have a job to do. I'm not a player. Players aren't coaching, but as a coach, you have a job to do. Whatever happened last week is done. Now it's about preparing for Kansas City, what they do, what their schemes are, what their players are, what their tendencies are in certain coaching decision situations that we'll have to make, that I'll have to make, what we want to do in those situations. So you're starting all over again; it's a whole new deal. I don't really think there's any carryover from what happened last week with the Jets or the week before against the Giants or the week before against Pittsburgh or Dallas. I really don't. It's all about what we do this week and how we perform on Monday night. That challenge is the same for all of us - young players, old players, coaches, real old coaches, young coaches, old coaches.

Q: When players get called for unsportsmanlike conduct penalties like Rob Gronkowski and Vince Wilfork, do you ask what happened or what they were thinking?

BB: Yeah, sometimes. It depends on whether you see it or not. To be honest with you, I didn't really see either play during the game. I didn't see Rob's play at all and Vince's, whatever happened on that, there were so many people around, it was hard for me to figure it all out. Now, a day later, you can go back. I haven't seen the TV copy yet, but I have talked to the players. I have seen what there is to see on the coaches' film, which isn't sometimes as close-up or as definitive as sometimes the TV copy is. But I know what happened in both situations and those were penalties that we as a team and individually, we have to avoid those. What happened, happened. I understand what happened. Some I think bother you more than others. All penalties bother me. They bother us, whether it's 12 guys in the huddle or unsportsmanlike conduct or blocking in the back or whatever other ones we had. We correct those, we point them out, we work on them, we want to prevent them from reoccurring. Believe me, every penalty gets addressed. But those were, I'd say both were - there were some circumstances involved in both plays. Was it good? No. Were some circumstances involved? Yes. Can we do a better job? Yes. Hopefully we will.

Q: In Logan Mankins' case, he is widely considered one of the best players at his position. This year at least, he's the most highly penalized individual on your team and I think a lot of those are false starts. Is there a correlation between the way he plays so aggressively and the committing of those penalties?

BB: No, I don't really see it that way. I think Logan is obviously one of our best players. When I think of a player who gets a lot of penalties, I don't think of him. I understand what the numbers are, but there are some players that you kind of feel like, 'This guy is going to get a lot of penalties.' I don't feel that way about Logan. I don't think that will continue. I know that he works hard on it. I know that they bother him. A couple of the calls he's had have been tough calls. Some of them haven't been, so that's an area that collectively as an offensive team, we have too many offensive penalties, collectively. Some of those false start penalties, although they're certainly the responsibility of the player that false starts, they also to a certain degree, are also related to coaching, the overall cadence system, the quarterback-center rhythm, timing, calling, if you will. There are a few things involved there and when one guy moves and nobody else does, is he wrong? Yeah, but the harder we make it, the more likely that is to occur. We have to be careful about the advantages to doing things a certain way, but maybe there're some disadvantages doing them that way, too. Those are some of the things that we talk about and we work on. I think collectively, coaches, players, assistant coaches, offensively we have to try to have fewer penalties going forward. We want to eliminate all penalties. Our goal every week is - our special teams goal, our offensive and defensive goal every week is no penalties - play penalty free. Certainly, reducing them is a step in the right direction there and offensively, we have to do a better job of that.

Q: You alluded to the difficulty of staying in your stance while the personnel call is coming into Tom Brady and he's differentiating who the Mike linebacker is -

BB: There are a lot of things involved, but [it's] a combination of all of them. The more things that are involved, the more communication there is, the more multiples there are, the more chance there is that something will go wrong. If we just go up and run this play and snap the ball on one, look to me. If we had a mistake on that, then that's total lack of concentration. I'm just saying, if you're up there and you're having a lot of communication and calls and this and that and we do that and it helps us in a lot of ways and it certainly enables us to handle some pressure and make some play calls that we've had tremendous production on. I don't really want to change that, but at the same time, one of the consequences of that is that we've had more false start penalties, things like that, 12 men in the huddle - we've had a couple of those. We have to eliminate those. That's our responsibility. It's not great defense. It's us not being able to operate cleanly. We have to operate cleanly. That starts with the coaches and our system that we run and that extends down to the players. I'd just say all the way through we have to do a little better job of it.

Q: Sterling Moore mentioned that when he got here, he was told to learn all three positions - I guess boundary, nickel and safety. Is that something you tell all young defensive backs when they get here or was it something specific to him?

BB: No. When you bring a player onto your team, especially during the season, you just don't want to leave it up to him as to what he should learn and what he shouldn't learn. You sit down and you specifically tell him, 'Look, this is what I want you to do. This is what you're responsible for. This is what I expect you to get in a certain period of time,' whatever that framework is. 'Here's what you're going to do. By the end of the week, I expect you'll be able to do this.' Or 'After the bye, we expect you to be able to do this,' whatever it is. It depends on the player, yeah absolutely. One player might come in - Brian Waters. 'I want you to learn right guard and I want you to be ready to go for the Miami game. Don't worry about center. Don't worry about left guard. Don't worry about tight end. Don't worry about field goal rush.' We didn't talk about any of that. We just talked about get ready for one position for the Miami game. Bring in another player and say, 'This is what we want you to do.' It would depend on that player, it would depend on the situation that your team is in at that point, and then you would probably modify it as you go along. You'd say, 'Okay, we told you to concentrate, work on these areas, but now this week we want you to concentrate on this.' That's actually pretty common from week-to-week too. A lot of weeks we talk to certain players about, 'This week, we really need you to work on this. This week, we really need you to concentrate in this area. This is going to be a big role for you in the game.' Or 'You're backing up so-and-so in this and this is a key thing for us. Here's something you really have to work on.' We try to do that on a regular basis, too. It's not just a onetime thing. That's with all the players, not just the new players. It could be with Kevin Faulk or Patrick Chung or whoever it is.

Q: Is there something physically in Sterling Moore that made you think he could go back and forth between corner and safety? You don't see too many guys do that.

BB: I think he has good size for a corner, probably a little undersized for a safety, so he's a little bit of a tweener there in terms of size. He played corner in college [and] he had a lot of production as a corner in college. He's also played the inside position, what we call the star position or the nickel back as you call it. We felt like, just from his overall experience, ball skills, [and] kind of the way he played, we thought that he might have some ability to play safety along the lines of, as an example, like Eugene Wilson, who we moved from corner to safety who ended up playing the majority of his career at safety in the National Football League. There are certain players that, based on their physical skills [and] their mentality, are potential corner to safety moves. Then there are plenty of players that aren't. It would depend on the particular player. I think in Sterling's case, he's got a number of different skills that he's got some things going for him at safety, he has some things going for him at star, he's got some things going for him at corner on the perimeter. How does all that play out when you get a new player? You try him at all three spots a little bit and see how it goes.