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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transcript

Posted Oct 10, 2012

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during open locker room access at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, October 10, 2012.

BB: Looks like we have the perfect day to work on Seattle out there. [I’ve] been real impressed looking at Seattle here the last couple days. I think Pete [Carroll] has done a really good job putting together a football team. They’re young and they’re good. Of course they got in the playoffs in [2010], beat New Orleans, that was a big win for them. I think they’ve just continued to get better individually and collectively each year. Watching them this year, they’re very good on defense, they’ve very good in the kicking game, they’re very good in the running game, they have a good balance of run-play-action. With a young quarterback, he’s done a really good job of getting the team to play at a high level and also acquiring some very, very good football players, good depth, good talent, good talent on the front line, good depth and a lot of production. I think this is going to be a big challenge for us. All three phases are going to have to play well. They’re capable of dominating any one phase and it won’t take much really for them to make big plays. They’ve caused a lot of fumbles, they return kicks, they block kicks, they cover them. They have big plays in their passing game, with their play-action, bootleg game, Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, the quarterback, Marshawn Lynch, that guy is really a good football player. Defensively, they’ve caused a lot of havoc in five weeks here and I’d say last year as well. Really big corners, unusual, [Brandon] Browner and [Richard] Sherman, [Kam] Chancellor is another big safety too. They’re a big, physical team; very disruptive up front. This will be a big challenge for us. Good environment out there. It will be an energetic, hostile crowd like it always was, like we saw out there the last time in ’08. We know what kind of atmosphere it will be. We have a big challenge to be ready to go out there. We have a big week ahead.

Q: Russell Wilson, the NFL numbers suggest that he should not be as good as he is. Is he one of the quarterbacks that just overcomes that and has the intangibles that allow him to be successful?

BB: I think he’s got pretty good talent. He’s athletic, he can definitely move around, avoid the rush, he’s got good quickness in the pocket, can run, he’s made a lot of good throws, made some good throws down the field. The play-action touchdown that he hit to Golden Tate in the Green Bay game was a real good throw, big time. It’s West Coast offense so a lot of that is based on three and five step drops, getting the ball out quick, getting it on time. He does that. He’s got a good, quick release. He can definitely do that too. He uses his tight ends and gets the ball to all the receivers. I think he looks pretty good. I can see why he’s their starting quarterback. He played well in preseason and he’s done a solid job for them. Is it perfect? No. But I think he’s got talent.

Q: The last couple weeks, you have flip flopped Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones. Is that a situational thing or just to give the tackles a different look? Why is that?

BB: Each week, we look at our game plan and talk about matchups and that kind of thing. Sometimes it’s to get a matchup, sometimes it’s because of what we’re doing that makes it better for whatever reason, easier maybe, better. Trying to get guys in the right places, put them in position where they can do the things that they do best or know how to do best, whatever it happens to be. It’s no set thing. If we do it, obviously we have some reason for doing it. It could be on their side of the ball, it could be on our side of the ball. There are reasons you would do it either way. It could be both.

Q: It has been awhile since you’ve prepared a team to face a Pete Carroll coached unit. Have you seen any common threads since you did it in the 90’s?

BB: Sure, absolutely. I have a lot of respect for Pete. I think he’s a really good coach. Like I said, he’s put together a real good team. His teams always play hard, they always have a lot of energy. They’re a turnover driven team, they take the ball away, they just don’t wait for you to drop it; they go in there and aggressively take it away. They’ve caused a lot of fumbles this year, 10, 11 whatever it is. They’re very disruptive, they’re long on defense, the corners, the safeties. Earl Thomas, this guy is really a good weak safety. He’s tremendous, he has great range, speed, ball skills, anticipation and these guys get their hands on a lot of balls. They knock them down, they tip them for interceptions, they’re a hard group to throw against. Their front seven is very disruptive. Like I said, they cause a lot of strip sacks. They strip the runners and receivers off of balls. [Brandon] Browner has done it, he’s already done that two or three times this year. Thomas does it, [Richard] Sherman, they all do it. You can see it’s coaching. They emphasize it, they get it and they get a lot of them, they get them in the kicking game. I think Pete does a good job – they’re fast, they’re aggressive, they take the ball away, they’re sound. They don’t run every trick play in the book. Defensively, they do what they do, they do it well. They’ve been very successful at it. That’s a good football team.

Q: Alfonzo Dennard made a couple positive plays when he got in the game last week. What have you seen from him in practice that allowed him to get on the field last week?

BB: Just that he performed well in practice. He’s had some opportunities the last couple weeks. He missed some time there earlier in the season. He’s had some opportunities in practice, on the practice squad and that lead to some opportunities on defense running our stuff. It looked like he showed that he was prepared, that he knew what to do and that he was competitive doing it. We sprinkled him in a little bit there in the game and he was able to be competitive. An accumulation of things, not one specific thing, just day by day he’s gotten better.

Q: You are a game plan team from week-to-week. Are you also a personnel-wise and rotation-wise, week-to-week? Sometimes we see Sterling Moore out wide, sometimes it is Kyle Arrington. Would you consider yourself that way as well? Do you see that with personnel or would you rather go with a set group of guys?

BB: We always try to do what we feel like is best for the team, what gives us the best chance to win. There’s merit to everything. There’s merit to having the same guys out there. Sometimes there’s merit to having matchups that you think are favorable. Sometimes there’s merit to breaking up the jobs for one reason or another. We talk about those things every week. In the end, we say, ‘OK, what do we think is the best thing for us in this game? What gives us the best chance to win? How should we do it this week?’ Then that’s what we try to do.

Q: Do you spend a lot of time researching, for example Golden Tate going against a Devin McCourty and how they dealt with him? Do you go that far in depth in researching matchups?

BB: We could, it’s possible, sure. You try to look at all the information you have, whatever that is; your players, their players and try to figure out how it’s going to go.

Q: It is a ton of information.

BB: Especially against a team like this because they play a lot of guys on offense. They play all their receivers, they play their tight ends, they play multiple backs. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out who is in there. Some guys play more than others, I understand that but I don’t think you can just count on, ‘OK, it’s first-and-10, it’s the second series of the game, who is going to be in there?’ I couldn’t tell you which back is going to be in there, I couldn’t tell you for sure what tight end is going to be in there, I couldn’t tell you for sure what receivers are going to be in there. They do a lot of that. They mix and match their backs, tight ends and receivers, not only in different personnel groupings, but even though it’s the same grouping, like two tight ends, two receivers, one back, it might be different guys. I don’t know how much of that is them rotating them, how much is planned, maybe it’s a guy came out for a certain play, whatever it is, there are a lot of different combinations there that make it, with this particular team, make it hard to say…like Larry Fitzgerald. You know Larry Fitzgerald is going to be in the game, you basically know where he’s going to line up on probably 80, 90 percent of the plays. You wouldn’t be able to say that with this team, that kind of consistency. So, it varies from week to week.

Q: Last week you talked about Champ Bailey and his ability to match up with anybody. Does this secondary present that same physical skill set that they can cover all types of receivers? What does that do for your set of receivers? Does that put more pressure on them to be more precise in their route running to gain separation?

BB: First of all, I think Champ Bailey is in a class by himself. I don’t want to start comparing guys to Champ Bailey, the guy has been to 11 Pro Bowls. I’d say he’s pretty close to the gold standard at corner over the course of his career. There aren’t a lot of guys I would compare to Champ Bailey. These guys are long, they’re big. They’re extremely long, 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 corners. You just don’t see those very often. To see them on one team, they’re just hard to get away from. They’re big, they’re physical, they take up a lot of space. A lot of guys just aren’t used to working against that size player, 220-pound corners. There just aren’t a lot of them out there. I think that’s a challenge because it’s a little bit unique. They’re also good tacklers, good run-force players. For the quarterback, it’s harder because it’s no different than playing against a taller middle linebacker, a guy like [Brian] Urlacher or somebody like that in there that’s 6-4, 6-5 in the middle of the field. Their range and their height just make those throws in the middle a little tougher. Throwing the ball outside on a 6-2, 6-4 corner, it’s a little different deal getting it over them or trying to run some high-low combinations out there. It’s just a much bigger guy. They do a good job. Again, it’s not just them, it’s the entire defense. They have a good pass rush, they have good coverage players. A lot of times the guys aren’t open, the quarterback has to hold the ball a split-second longer, the rush is there. Sometimes the rush is there right away, the quarterback is forcing the ball, defenders don’t really have to cover them very long. They do a good job of putting pressure on the passing game, covering them, they’re a good run defense, they’re strong, they’re very active, the linebackers are fast, [K.J] Wright and Bobby Wagner and [Leroy] Hill all run well, they pursue well. [Kam] Chancellor is like a linebacker, he’s another 230-pound guy so they drop him down so they’re playing a 4-4 sometimes. Those guys are big and they run well and they’re physical. You look at their defense, I don’t think you get real excited about saying, ‘Oh, let’s do this, let’s do that.’ They’ve done a pretty good job of defending everything over these five games.

Q: Would it be tough to speed them up?

BB: I wouldn’t say that we’ve seen a lot of that against them. I would say that they’re not the most complicated defense in the league. I don’t think that their thing, to run 70 different blitzes and 10 different fronts and all that. That’s not really their game. I doubt that playing fast or in a no-huddle, I doubt that would change their scheme too much because they have enough things to keep you honest but it’s not like every defense that’s ever been created. They do what they do, they do it pretty well. I can’t imagine that they would have a hard time getting to those defenses because that’s what they do, that’s the core of their defense. They don’t have a thousand different things over there.

Q: Visiting teams that go into Seattle have a tendency to commit a lot more offensive penalties than usual because of the noise. Is there a way to combat that?

BB: We’ll just practice against it. We know it’s definitely an issue. We know what the numbers are and all that. We’ve talked about it. It just comes down to being mentally focused and concentrating, being mentally tough. We know it’s going to be loud. We can crank up the noise here as loud as you want to crank it up. In the end, Sunday we’re going to have to go out there and we know we’re going to have to deal with it. It’s not just offense, it’s your punt protection, it’s on the field goals, it’s all those plays. Obviously, they do a good job, they’ve gotten a lot of disruption on that. We’ve played in a lot of loud stadiums before but there’s none louder than Seattle. I think they’re as loud as anybody. We’ll just have to do a good job with our communication and just our mental alertness. It’s hard, no question it’s hard, but like I said, we’ve been in a lot of other loud stadiums too. You just have to deal with it.

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