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Bill O'Brien Conference Call Transcript

Posted Dec 19, 2011

Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien addresses the media during his conference call on Monday, December 19, 2011.

Q: Can you go through that fourth-and-one call? You guys called timeout before the play. What was the discussion and what went into the decision to throw a pass instead of running?

BO: I'd say the timeout was called because we struggled to get the formation lined up. After that, I'll just keep that conversation between Bill [Belichick] and I but that's the play we decided to go with. Tom [Brady] made a heck of a play on that, along with obviously Aaron [Hernandez] after the catch. It was a good play and it was a good play for us in that situation.

Q: Do you consider it riskier to throw on fourth and one because you've struggled a little on short yardage or was it riskier to run the ball there?

BO: I think it's more what we expect the opponent to do in that situation. It's much more of a game plan type deal - where it is on the field, where it is in the game, how the drive is going, what the score is. There's like a thousand things that we prepare for in every game. That's why we land at 3 a.m. and we're back at work at 6 a.m. because we have to prepare for another thousand things for the Miami Dolphins. There are lot of things that go into that - that would be about a day long discussion.

Q: How different, if at all, is the Miami Dolphins defense from the group you saw back in September?

BO: I think they're playing well. I don't know how much different they are, I just know that they have a lot of good players on that side of the ball, starting with Cameron Wake. He's a disruptive player, has been since he's been in the league. Obviously the secondary, they have two good sized corners and then Yeremiah Bell and they're stout up front. Just like it is every week, it's going to be a challenge this week. We're a little bit behind the eight ball because it's a short week. We just have to do a good job of playing catch up here.

Q: Stevan Ridley got more carries against Denver than he has since the Oakland game. How do you think he responded with those opportunities?

BO: He ran hard. He did a good job reading his blocks and breaking some tackles. He got the ball downhill. I think all those guys did - Danny [Woodhead] had some good carries, Benny [BenJarvus Green-Ellis] had some big carries for us there. We spread it out pretty well as far as the running back position went. We checked it down to Benny on a couple of play-action passes which were big, especially as they related to the drive starters and things like that. I think they all contributed in a good way.

Q: You talk about versatility all the time. When you get a guy injured like Deion Branch and you have a Julian Edelman who can play offense and defense, does that really emphasize how critical depth is for a team that might be struggling in terms of injuries?

BO: It definitely does. I spent a lot of years in college and one of the things in college is you have 100 players or 90 players. In the NFL on game day, you only have a certain amount of players available to you. The more that guys can do, the more valuable they are. We have a bunch of guys, if you just take the offensive line for example, you have a lot of guys that are three position guys there - tackle-guard or guard-center-guard. As it relates to every position, the more multiple you can be it really helps us in a lot of ways. And then if you can play on the other side of the ball, that's really good too. Julian is an example of that.

Q: How did they approach Rob Gronkowski yesterday?

BO: They did a lot of different things to him. They hit him at the line of scrimmage or they put two guys on him or whatever it was. Whenever that happens, that means -there's only 11 players on the field so you can't double everybody. That's something where Aaron [Hernandez] benefitted from that and the backs benefitted from it. That's a good thing. We'll just have to keep seeing how teams are playing us and get ready game to game, week to week.

Q: Rob Gronkowski said that he thought that the best thing about the offense was that you guys can do that - he's doubled and no one forces the ball, Tom Brady just goes on to the next guy. Is that something you guys realized early on - that they were doing that to Gronkowski? Are you adjusting mid-game or is that something Brady does with his reads?

BO: It's what we call our multi-purpose routes. If they take this part of the route away, then this other part should be pretty good. That's how we've coached basically the passing game since I've been here. Tom does a good job of recognizing coverage both pre-snap and post-snap and trying to throw it to the open guy which is always the goal here - just get it to the open guy, the guy that's got the best chance to make yards with the ball.

Q: What was your take on Chad Ochocinco's contributions?

BO: I thought he played a decent game. I thought he played hard. He made a good play for us on the touchdown catch; did some other things, there were some routes where he was coming open and either Tom [Brady] was pressured or the ball went somewhere else. I think a lot of that whole position. I really think Tiquan [Underwood] had a big catch for us on the drive. Obviously, [Wes] Welker had another solid game like he's had all year. Aaron [Hernandez] and Rob [Gronkowski] played a good game along with the backs. We had a bunch of different guys contribute and it's never really about one guy. When he caught that touchdown pass, we were happy for him.

Q: With you guys getting Ryan Wendell back and having Dan Connolly mixed in a little bit, what did you like from your offensive line and the center position specifically?

BO: I think those guys have done a hell of a job all year. You have a bunch of tough guys up front, smart guys. You look at - I thought both guards played a really good game - [Logan] Mankins and [Brian] Waters. I've said all year long that the tackles, last night being [Nate] Solder and Matt [Light], both those guys, they're blocking two really good players there and did a good job. Wendy [Ryan Wendell] coming in there and playing some was his usual tough, smart self. I think they all played well and played well together.

Q: As a coach, do you believe that a unit takes on a certain identity? If so, what is the identity of the Patriots offense?

BO: Every offense has its own identity. I really believe that we're definitely as cliché as it sounds, we're a game plan offense. We look at the defense that we're playing that week and we say, ‘Okay, how can we put our players into the position to do what they do best?' It's a very challenging deal, not only for the coaches but for the players. We're a game plan offense and as long as Bill [Belichick] is here, that's what we'll be. We'll always try to take advantage of some things that the defense does and then have to obviously adjust during the game if they do anything different. That's what our identity is.

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