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Bill Belichick Press Conference Transript

Posted Jan 10, 2012

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his press conference at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday, January 10, 2012.

BB: After the weekend we're looking forward to getting back out on the field today and working on Denver. Real impressive win they had against Pittsburgh; did a lot of things well. We can learn a little bit from our last game against them but this is a whole new deal. We have a lot of work to do. They're a tough team to prepare for, they give you a lot of looks, on both sides of the ball. The kicking game, they've got good specialists, they're strong there. We know we have a lot of work to do here in a short week we'll have to cram it all in here and hopefully be ready to go Saturday night.

Q: How are you preparing for their edge rushers?

BB: They're very good. Von Miller is outstanding, [Elvis] Dumervil is outstanding, [Robert] Ayers, they do a good job. When they put Miller and Dumervil outside, those guys are fast and explosive. They can go inside, outside, power rush, occasionally drop into coverage, make a lot of plays from behind, they're strong at the point of attack. They're very good, very good.

Q: Is the main difference between the last time you played them and now the fact that they threw downfield so many times on Sunday?

BB: We've seen them do that before, too. I think they have a good mix offensively. If you play everybody up there, they'll go downfield. If you drop everybody off, they'll take what's underneath and run the ball. They do a good job of attacking where the defense is soft. They can go inside, outside, short, deep - they're well balanced.

Q: What did you take away from watching the Steelers' defensive scheme against the Broncos?

BB: You know, each team plays their own defensive scheme against them, whether it's Buffalo or Kansas City or Pittsburgh or whoever it is. We have our scheme. We'll take some things from each game that we've seen and try to apply it to what we do. We're not them, they're not us, we have different players; same thing with Kansas City, Buffalo and all that. There's certainly a lot to be learned but at the same time, we have our own matchups and we're different from everybody else.

Q: What did you take from your difficulty stopping the run in the first quarter in the first game?

BB: They run the ball pretty well against everybody. There's certainly a lot of things that we can coach better and execute better so we'll try to do those better this week.

Q: How have you seen Rob Gronkowski evolve and improve as a blocker?

BB: Experience. He goes up against a lot of different guys at that position. It's tough. Tight ends have to face anything from 300-pound guys to those 260 to 280-pound defensive end/outside linebacker types to the guys that are a little bit smaller and even faster, like the Von Millers and the [Elvis] Dumervils to occasionally in sub defenses, blocking defensive backs. They have a wide range of guys that they have to block on various plays. A lot of that is really experience. It's a lot different blocking a defensive end that weighs 300 pounds then it is blocking a sub safety that's 210 but is fast and quick and all the guys in between. I think that's one of things that he's learned, it's not just X's and O's, it's who the guy actually is and how he would deal with a blocker like Rob. I think not knowing who to block, I don't want to say that's the easy part but that's kind of the easy part. We can ‘X' and ‘O' it and get the right guys on the right guys but actually getting them blocked based on who they are and the way they play, that's a little different story.

Q: Do you look back at past playoff games?

BB: We're looking toward this week. We have five days until Denver - that's what we're looking toward.

Q: Do you feel that they've improved since you last played them?

BB: Yeah, sure. I think every team has improved, yeah. They were good when we played them before and they're still good. There's a lot of things that they're doing better. Yeah, absolutely.

Q: Do you think it will be easier the second time to deal with Tim Tebow's ability now that the defense has seen it once?

BB: I don't know. Of course experience is always a good thing; having played against a team. But they played against us, I think that evens out. We can do a better job of coaching it. They're a tough team to prepare for because they do a lot of different things. There aren't really any other teams like them in the league so there's no other team you can really draw that experience from. What they do offensively is a little bit unique. You can try to simulate it in practice and play against it but it's a little bit different. They'll have to adjust to us; we'll have to adjust to them. They're a hard team to prepare for because of what they do and the infrequency with which we see it on a week-to-week basis.

Q: How does Josh McDaniels help you prepare for Tim Tebow this week?

BB: I think I already covered that yesterday. He's an experienced coach. He'll help us in a lot of different ways.

Q: Do you think you no longer need a really great defense to win a championship now that offense is trumping defense with all the offensive success this year?

BB: I don't know. We're going to go out there and try to play the best defense we can Saturday night, I can tell you that - that's what we're going to try to do. Whether that will be good enough or not, I don't know. I don't really care about anything else. I'm just trying to prepare a team to beat Denver. That's really all we're talking about right now.

Q: How did they change or alter what they were doing when Eric Decker went out?

BB: They just replaced him and do what they do.

Q: There was no change or alteration?

BB: No, not really. It didn't look like it.

Q: How much do the Broncos move Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller around?

BB: They move them around some, they move them around some. They play some odd looks with Von off the line. He rushes inside and he's explosive and very quick in here. It's a tough matchup for the inside guys because they're not used to seeing that kind of speed and quickness inside the tackles. Most of the time he's outside but sometimes he's in there, sometimes he's off the ball. Dumervil is usually more constant.

Q: So predominantly left and right tackle then?

BB: Predominantly, yeah.

Q: Did the week's rest presumably do a good job of helping some guys heal some injuries?

BB: I'm sure it helped everybody. Whatever we have, we have. We'll go out there and do the best we can. The guys that can practice will practice. The guys that can't, hopefully tomorrow they will be able to or the next day, whenever it is. I know they're all working hard to get back on the field. Everybody wants to play in this game. This is what you play all year for, is to get into the playoffs. I'm sure our guys will do the best they can to be out there. Hopefully they're ready. If they're not, then hopefully they'll be back soon.

Q: Is it nice to see Romeo Crennel get another chance to lead a team?

BB: Yeah, I'm happy for Romeo but really right now my focus is on our team, what we have to do. I'm happy for Romeo, I'm happy for [Alabama Head Coach] Nick [Saban]. There's a lot of things out there going on. I have a commitment to this team and I want to try to do a good job coaching them for Saturday. That's really where I'm at.

Q: Did you have a chance to catch the game last night at all?

BB: I did a little bit, not much.

Q: Any thoughts on that defense?

BB: No, my thoughts are really on Denver's defense. Like I said, I'm happy for Nick [Saban]. It's a great win, he did a tremendous job. You all know what I think about him as a coach. He deserves it and I'm really happy for him but we have a job to do here and that's really the most important thing to me right now.

Q: Your defense forced three key turnovers last time you played Denver. How much are you stressing that this week?

BB: We stress it every week, absolutely. We stress taking care of the ball and trying to take it away from our opponents. That's a target for us every week, it will be this week, it is every week we play.

Q: Willis McGahee wasn't able to make it through the whole game last time. How different are the Broncos when he is in there?

BB: He's a good player, he's a good player. He's a tough guy to tackle, he's got good speed. He hurt us when he was in there but I know we can't control that so whoever they put in there, we got hurt by the other backs too. We have to do a good job with whoever they put in there - receivers, backs, whatever position it is and play well, play competitively against it. But no, he does a good job.

Q: Brodrick Bunkley has had a good season for them. You did a good job against him last time. How much does he key what they do?

BB: He and [Marcus] Thomas both are real athletic guys. They're quick, they're good pass rusher, they're active, they pursue well, they have good playing strength. They have a good front. Good defense, good front. Linebackers are active, corners are good, safeties are strong, good hitters. They have a good defensive football team. They do a good job inside and they're helped by their outside guys. The outside guys help the inside guys and vice versa. It's a good group.

Q: Is there any common thread from the wild card games that you can use as a teaching point?

BB: I don't know. Every game is different. Every team playing at this time of year is good. Teams that play the best win.

Q: Is accuracy an acquired trait or is it something that can be improved?

BB: I think any quarterback or pitcher or anybody could tell you that you can improve your throwing mechanics. It's no different than improving your golf swing or any other physical skill. I think you can, punters, kickers, passers, sure, golfers. Those are specific, unique skills - throwing, kicking, hitting the ball, whatever it is, you can certainly improve those and refine them, no question.

Q: How have you seen Demaryius Thomas evolve over the course of this season?

BB: He's been good all year. He's exactly what he was coming out of college. He's a big, strong, fast guy, physical, good blocker, run after the catch, good vertical receiver. He's dangerous on short plays because he can take them a long distance. Strong runner, big guy, he's 225 pounds, whatever it is. Big and fast and strong, it's the same thing he did at Georgia Tech - a lot of 80-yard touchdowns down there too.

Q: Are these crews the same from the regular season or are they all-star crews?

BB: We haven't gotten the crew yet for this game so I'm waiting to see who that is myself, I don't know.

Q: You track how each crew officiates during the regular season. Do you use that in the playoffs or do you throw that out?

BB: I think every game you have to see how it's going. Maybe there's a tendency of what certain crews are going to call but I think we can all tell when we get into a game whether it's being tightly called or it's not or there are certain calls that look like they're being emphasized a little more than others. We never try to do anything that's not within the rules. We don't want to get penalties out there and neither does anybody else so you try to play within the rules. At some point, you kind of have to understand whether it's a tighter or looser game. I think players get a feel for that and try to play to it.

Q: When you were a coordinator were you always on the field or did you spend any time up top? What are the advantages to each one?

BB: If you're on the field you have a closer communication with the players and the calls and more guys. I don't think you can see the game quite as well. Sometimes there are things that are a little bit distracting on the sideline that are or maybe are not part of the play, it could go either way. Whereas upstairs, you're more secluded, obviously more isolated, you can be a little more analytical. But you don't have the touch and feel that you have on the sideline. You can certainly see a lot more in terms of all 22 players. You can get a better look at just everything from up there.

Q: How often do you communicate with the people in the booth upstairs?

BB: It depends on how you're set up and what you're doing. But yeah, either after every play or after every series depending on how your communication system works, sure.

Q: Brandon Spikes wasn't available the last time you played them. How have you seen him progress and get better the more he's been in the lineup?

BB: Well, he hasn't been in the lineup much. Fortunately he was able to get a few snaps last week against Buffalo and had some snaps in practice the last couple weeks on a limited basis. It's good, it's good to have him back out there, good that he played. But he hasn't played a whole lot the last two months. But he's playing more now than he did so that's good.

Q: Last time against Denver it was really Aaron Hernandez and not Rob Gronkowski who did the most damage. What is the benefit of having two tight ends that can do damage?

BB: It's good to have players, if you're throwing the ball, it's good to have players that contribute in different ways. It's Tom's [Brady] job to try to recognize what the coverage is based on the play we have called and get the ball to the player who has the best opportunity, whoever that happens to be. We don't know who that is, he doesn't know who that is until after the ball is snapped and the play starts to declare itself. Everybody has to be alert and ready whether it was Chad [Ochocinco] on the touchdown pass or Aaron or whoever else it was. That's the way it is on every play. I think everybody has to be alert and ready to go based on the coverage that they play and what the matchups are. Tom will try to make the best decision he can and get the ball to who has the fewest defenders in that space.

Q: You must not see it very often that teams have two tight ends that can catch?

BB: I see it every day in practice. We have to defend it every day in practice.

Q: How much have you talked to your players about the way that you start the game on Saturday?

BB: We talk about it every week. We always want to get off to a good start. We always want to play 60 minutes. We always try to finish strong. That's our goal every week - it never changes.

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