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Bill Belichick Transcript: "I'm looking forward to this week"

Posted Aug 8, 2014

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during a conference call at Gillette Stadium on Friday, August 8, 2014.

BB: Well, as you know we got back late last night, early this morning. I had a chance to go through the film. I’ll finish going through it with the players this afternoon, go through some of our corrections and coaching points and go over some of the situations that came up last night in the game. We’ll be trying to continue to work on some things we have to go in for installation this week and try to improve some of the basic things that we already have in that we obviously need to do better, and then be ready to work with the Eagles on Tuesday and Wednesday. We have a little bit of time between now and Tuesday to catch up on some things and as I said, continue to work on things that we already have in our schemes, we just need to do them better, and then start getting ready for the Eagles practices. So I’m looking forward to this week. It’s a big week, big opportunity for our team, for each of us individually to improve on where we were last night and last week with Washington, so I know we’re all looking forward to that.

Q: When you went through the tape, what stood out to you as one of the positives?

BB: I think there were plenty of times when we did things right and we had decent results, we just didn’t do it often enough. Sometimes we did it on certain portions of the play but not on other portions, which may or may not have produced a good result. But I would say on some of the plays where the results weren’t what we wanted to be, there were other aspects of the play that might have had positive things with them, so there was definitely some of that. I thought the team competed until the end. We had a fourth down stop and then scored in the two-minute drive. I think we played competitively, but we just didn’t overall play very well or play with the kind of awareness and concentration and execution that we need to. That’s all of us. We’ve got to do a better job of coaching, we’ve got to do a better job of playing, we’ve got to do a better job of just getting things right out on the football field and taking some of the drill work and applying it real game conditions and situations. We didn’t always transfer that.

Q: On that play where it looked like Brian Tyms maybe caught the ball off his helmet in the end zone but there was a penalty and I think they spotted the ball at the five-yard line. Am I correct that only the officials can review that because the coaches can’t throw a challenge flag on a scoring play? I didn’t know if preseason rules are different and they aren’t reviewing or if it’s regular season rules?

BB: It wasn’t a scoring play.

Q: The one he caught in the end zone?

BB: You’re talking about the one that they spotted on the five-yard line?

Q: Yeah, but that was the play he caught in the end zone, right?

BB: Well they ruled it incomplete. They ruled defensive pass interference and then they put the ball on the five-yard line and they ruled it as an incomplete pass. So that could have been challenged, yes.

Q: Could you have or would it have had to be the officials?

BB: No, they wouldn’t do it because it wasn’t a scoring play. It’s that same thing where the ball’s on the one-yard line and the guy rams it into the middle of the line and if the officials call it a touchdown, they review the play; if that exact same play, they spot the ball on the one-inch line, then it doesn’t get reviewed and the team has to use a challenge to take a look at the same play – I mean, it’s basically the same play, but you know what I mean? But that’s the rule there. Yeah, I mean, we possibly would have thought about challenging it. I personally didn’t get a good look at it at the game. It was just too far down the field and I couldn’t tell. Looking at the play today on the coaches tape, there’s a couple pretty good shots of it and it’s a close play. I'm not sure – it looked like the ball might have hit the ground, but I didn’t look at the TV copy, so you probably saw better than I did. We really didn’t get a good look at it. We thought about challenging it but we just didn’t have a good enough look at it to challenge it and without that – because both officials, both the back judge and the side judge both came over and they looked at each other and they both ruled it incomplete.

Q: I guess there’s also situational benefit to first down on the five. It’s preseason and you get situational work that might not come up again in the preseason. I thought maybe you figured you’d benefit either way with the situational work.

BB: Right, well – I think just what we’ve talked about as a staff is that it’s preseason for us too, so we kind of want to get into the process of getting ourselves ready for these type of game situations where ‘Do you challenge? Don’t you challenge?’ And we haven’t done that in six-plus months or however long it’s been, so now that’s something that we have to get back and sharpen up on – all the things that have always been in place, you know, getting a good look at it, which plays to challenge, which ones not, how important is the play? Does that override how good of a look you have on it? We’ve talked a little bit about those things, again just for our – to be familiar with it as a coaching staff. We’ve looked at some plays just kind of ‘Would we challenge this?’ or ‘Would we challenge that one?’ Just kind of ‘Would we, wouldn’t we’ kind of thing to just kind of get our mind thinking about it because we haven’t done it in a while. But that was actually a good situation that came up on our end as well, just from a staff standpoint. But without a good look at that play, I think it would be a hard one to challenge and we just didn’t see the TV shot, which I still haven’t seen, so I don’t know if that would have shown enough or not, but certainly what we saw live wasn’t enough. But I’d say again, even after looking at it this morning on the coaches tape, it’s pretty close and both officials come in there pretty quickly and ruled it incomplete. There wasn’t a lot of hesitation from either guy, so I don’t know. But maybe the TV shows it differently, I’m not sure.

Q: When you look at practices versus actual preseason games, how does the evaluation of position combinations like in the secondary or offensive line change from practice to one of those preseason games? Are there advantages or differences to the looks you might get in a practice and what you might get in one of those preseason games?

BB: I’d say they’re significantly different. I mean, you were at the practices, right?

Q: Yeah, the ones in Foxborough.

BB: Well, alright, so for those of us that were at the ones in Washington, we saw many of the players who didn’t play or didn’t play much last night take a very high percentage of the plays in practice relative to the reps and the number of plays that other guys got in the game last night. And we also were able to create a lot of situations for those guys, the guys that didn’t play last night. They had a lot of snaps at different situations in practice: third-down, red area, two-minute, blitzes, so on and so forth. So that gave those guys an opportunity to work on those situations and those things, which they obviously didn’t get last night. So I think the combination of the whole body of work for the week was valuable and productive for our team, not just the game. And I certainly wouldn’t say that the practices led up the game; they really didn’t. In total, they might have partially have led up to it, but the total value of the week was being able to see three days’ worth of different competitions and different situations which matched with different schemes, as opposed to just one day in the game which we didn’t have any control over, so like as we’ve already talked about, whatever came up, came up. If it was third-and-one, it was third and one. If it was third-and-10, it was third-and-10. We have no control over what those situations were, or red area, or backed up situations or kicking situations, that whatever you get in the game, you get in the game. But we were able to simulate and control those situations in practice, which was a great learning experience for all of us as a team, but also individually for certain guys that hadn’t had positions in those situations. I think it’s the total thing of the practice and then obviously the evaluation is a little bit of all of it. It’s a little bit of practice because of what we’re doing and then the matchups and the combinations we get in practice. But, those are, I would say, quite different than the ones we got in the game. They’re all relevant, but they’re just different. But in the end you try to look at the whole composite of it and try to make some sense of it.

Q: Two questions: How did the tablet experiment go on the sideline last night and what have you seen from Michael Buchanan growing into his second season and did that carry into last night’s game?

BB: Well the tablets, let’s start with that first. The tablets were a new experience for all of us. We’ve never used those during the game, it’s always been pictures basically on a printed piece of paper off a printer so you could write on them. They’re paper copies. The tablets have the ability to hold all the pictures in the one tablet so you can scroll through them, certainly much more concise. I’d say the quality of the tablets is good and the clarity of the pictures and all that is good, better than what we had. The issues are that those are wireless tablets down on the field and if the WiFi isn’t connected or isn’t working or something happens, then you have nothing, you have zero. That happened in our game and it’s happened in other games, from my understanding of talking to other people that had been involved there too. So, we wanted to get a little feedback on that, on the subject. We have the same tablets in the press box and in the press box it’s not wireless, so those are pretty much on and always available unless there was some big power outage or something happened. It would take a lot more, it would take something pretty significant to knock those out. So in the press box they’re good. On the field, they haven’t to my knowledge, I don’t have a big sample here but again with the people I’ve talked to there haven’t been a lot of instances where they functioned for the entirety of the game. At some point, they were down and then they came back. So, I think there are some pluses to them. I think there are definitely some things that we need to get used to in terms of using, I wouldn’t say new technology but a new product really, the way it’s organized. But, the consistency or lack of, and dependability of it based on the connections or whatever the technical aspects of it are, which isn’t really my thing, makes it a little bit of an issue as to, not the dependability of the product, but the useful dependability of it, whether it’s connected or up or whatever it needs to be. It’s really no new information. It’s not like we’re getting a new picture or a new view or a new anything we haven’t seen before. I’d say that the way it comes on a tablet so that it’s all together and easier to access is probably the plus side of it. I’d say so far, overall that to count on it being all connected and working right is I guess what we’re working through.

On Mike Buchanan, Mike I think is certainly way ahead of where he was last year as a rookie. He got a lot of experience last year on defense and in the kicking game. He’s been a pretty durable player for us, he’s out on the field a lot, hasn’t missed much time and therefore he works hard and continues to get better. I think he’s improved in his overall understanding of the game and understanding of the defense and the kicking game. Had a good offseason in the weight room and has gained some strength and a little bit of bulk and still runs well and is athletic. Unfortunately the three penalties last night were more than you want any player to have. That’s definitely an area he’ll have to concentrate more on. But overall, he’s built on his first year experiences and knowledge and is in the process of taking a jump his second year.

Q: Sometimes we talk about how practice performance is not always a good indicator of what will happen on the game field. It seemed like Jimmy Garoppolo has struggled at times in practice but he performed well last night. I’m curious if you see it the same way as it relates to his practice performance relative to what we saw last night.

BB: I think when you look at the overall opportunities that Jimmy has had, from the beginning of OTAs through training camp – it’s probably in the high 20’s somewhere, number of practice days – he’s done a lot of good things and he’s done some things that need to be corrected and done some things that I’m sure he’d like to have back and be able to do them again. Part of practice, as we all know, is learning and improving and doing it better the next time. Particularly with young players, just because they make a mistake, doesn’t necessarily mean that those mistakes will continue and are always going to be there. You’d like to think that some of them will be corrected and the second or next or future times those situations occur, the reactions or execution will be better. I think we’ve seen that with pretty much every young player, including him. I think there were some things he did well last night. I think there were some other things that he learned from. There were some situations that were similar to ones he has had previously that he did well and maybe learned from mistakes and earlier plays that weren’t as good. There were other things that came up that he made some of the same mistakes on that he’s made in the past and that still need to be corrected. They’re still on that list of things that when the next time they happen, hopefully they’ll be better. But, I don’t think that’s unusual. I think that’s pretty typical for most young players or most anybody who’s starting to do something either different or at a higher level for the first time. That’s where he is. Some positives, certainly a lot of things to correct, some improvement and certainly some other things that need to be improved. That’s the way I saw it.