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Belichick Conference Call Transcript: 'It was a good experience for a lot of young players'

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Friday, August 29, 2014.

BB: You know, I thought overall last night's game was a real good experience for us on a lot of levels. We had a lot of good situational plays come up in the game that we all can learn from, any player, every coach, things that happened that we've worked on, some of which haven't occurred or haven't occurred maybe as vividly as they did in last night's preseason game. It was a good experience for a lot of young players who always can use the playing time to get it. Some guys played pretty much a full game so they had that whole experience of playing the game, going in at halftime, going back in on every series as opposed to being in a certain role like third down or kicking game or whatever it happened to be. The Giants are a good football team. It was a tight game. There were a lot of really good things we can learn from and improve on in the game. We certainly made our fair share of errors and things we need to correct, so that's all part of it too. We'll do all those things today and then make some decisions in the next couple of days and then move along with our preparations for Miami. I thought it was a real productive night for us last night and we're getting ready to turn that page here and move ahead.


Q: ** Obviously a quick turnaround with Tim Wright coming in and he saw something like 43 snaps. What did you see out of him in the 'X' amount of hours and then getting him out there on the field for the game?

BB: I think the big thing for Tim last night was just the opportunity to be in our system and play in our system. So there are things that happened during the game on the field, on the sidelines, substitutions, on the bench in between series, the communication, all those things. He heard the snap count. He heard the quarterback audible. He heard adjustments being made on the sideline, all those things, which are part of the game. He only knew a handful of plays, but overall I thought he handled the situation pretty well. But I think the big thing for him and for the rest of the team, for us, is just that chance we had to get him to actually play in our system. Even though it was an abbreviated way of doing it, it's a lot better than next week being the first time that all those things happen. So that was good. I think he learned a lot. We saw some things that for him – in other words, what are going to be the biggest differences? What are things that are going to be things that are pretty similar, pretty familiar, not really a problem? What are going to be some things that are going to be a little bit more of a learning curve for him? And a lot of that really crystalized last night that he can feedback for us and we can see in working with him that he's pretty far along on these things and maybe not as far along on maybe something else, so I think that was the benefit last night for that particular player.


Q: ** After the game Jimmy Garoppolo called Wright very intelligent in that short time period and turning everything around. How have you seen his football intelligence manifest on the field and off the field?

BB: I think probably what Jimmy was referring to, and I think we saw it as a coaching staff, he was able to absorb a lot of information in a short amount of time and then go out there and function in the game. I mean, it certainly wasn't perfect, but the formations and the routes and so forth, there's certainly a lot of fine tuning that needs to be done, but he picked all that up pretty quickly and when he got into the game didn't forget it. Sometimes it's one thing to sit in the meeting and go over it and feel like yeah, you've got it, and OK, you hear this you're going to do that. It's another thing to actually go out there and do it at full speed in a game situation. He handled quite a bit of information in a short amount of time pretty well, so that was good. Now this week, obviously, he'll be starting at the beginning like everybody else will in terms of our game plan and preparations for Miami, so we'll just take it day by day and see how it goes. But I thought he handled a lot of information pretty well

Q: We saw a lot of Nate Ebner last night. We've talked about special teams and how much that can help a guy make the team, but on the flip side how important is it for a guy like Matthew Slater or Nate Ebner to be able to contribute outside of that big role on special teams?

BB: Well, whatever those guys can do – if a guy's major role on the team is the kicking game, then any role that he can handle on offense or defense just helps your team, gives that player more value and gives your team more depth. It's the reverse of the offensive and defensive players who have significant roles, but can give you a role in the kicking game, that can do something in the kicking game that can help the team. Those are valuable on special teams as well, to have somebody step in and do something for you there when they also have a big role on offense and defense. That just gives your team more depth and particularly for special teams players, and we've seen so many examples of it through the years: guys that start off on the kicking team end up developing into good offensive or defensive players, and the offensive and defensive coaches are able to start using those players in roles and expanding their roles because they know that those guys are going to be there every week. Really the guy that kind of is a tough fit on the roster on game day is the player who has a role on offense or defense – not a major role but a role – but has a small role in the kicking game or maybe in some cases doesn't have a role in the kicking game. If it's not a big enough role offensively or defensively, whatever the case might be, then it's hard to get that player to the game if he doesn't have a role in the kicking game. You end up usually, often times going with a player who has a big role in the kicking game and maybe not so much of a role on offense and defense, just because that role in the kicking game is bigger. It's interesting how it works out. In my experience, I'd say that guys who are good in the kicking game actually have the chance to get a bigger role on offense and defense than some players who might be ahead of them on offense and defense but don't play in the kicking game, because the coaches just can't count on them being there on game day.

Q: How have you seen Nate Ebner develop on defense?

BB: Nate has done a great job and of course, you know, he came to us with very little background. He really didn't have a lot of defensive playing time in college. He's actually has more defensive playing time here than he did at Ohio State. He's obviously one of our best special teams players and plays on all the units and does a real good job for us. He's a very smart player and he works very hard. As he's gotten more opportunity on defense, he's refined his techniques and his reads and his understanding of the defensive process and he's become a progressively much better defensive player every year he's been here. You're right, he got a lot of chances to play last night and he did a real solid job. We have a lot of confidence in Nate. And again, he's a good example of the player that I was talking about whose role expands on defense because of his role in the kicking game.

Q: We didn't get to see Marcus Cannon play last night. Where has he fit in along the offensive line? Has he played every position except for center?

BB: That would be accurate, [yes].

Q: What is it about his skill set that allows him to bounce around all over the line like that?

BB: He's obviously got great size and strength and he's very athletic for his size. He moves well. He has excellent feet, balance. He's a powerful player in the running game and [inaudible] and his length and size. He, I think, physically can play any position on the line. He probably could play center too but definitely could play guard or tackle. It's just a question of refining his skills at one position. Of course, the majority of his plays have come at tackle. He did play guard last year and he played guard this year.

Q: How do you think Josh Kline did last night at the left guard spot?

BB: I'd probably say it's about the same thing with all the players that played. There were a lot of good things out there and there were some things that at times weren't so good; need to be corrected, need to be improved. Overall offensively we had not very many problems in pass protection, a couple, but overall not very many. We didn't run the ball as well as we would like, or need to. That was a combination of things. Sometimes it was multiple people or a combination block or the back and the offensive linemen with the read or whatever it happened to be. We just didn't have as much consistency there as what we need. But overall the pass blocking for the most part wasn't really a big issue other than a handful of plays. When you talk about the whole line, you're probably going to have similar comments on all of them: a lack of consistency in the running game, pass blocking [was] not perfect but certainly manageable.

Q: On Aaron Dobson with his first game snaps of the preseason, he said that he's been taking mental reps in the meeting rooms and keeping up. Do you see that he's taken a step forward in his understanding of the offense and now it's just him getting back together physically and getting up to speed that way?

BB: Yes, absolutely, yeah. I do think Aaron has done a good job keeping up with everything mentally. And he's a smart kid, that's not really been a big problem with him anyway. I think the main thing now, well, twofold: one, last night was for him to actually play and get hit and catch the ball and get some confidence that he's going to catch the ball and get hit and get up and everything is going to be alright. He certainly had a number of those last night. Now it's a continuation of refining his technique and timing with the quarterbacks. That process already started. I mean, we're well underway in the last couple weeks, but it's always a little different in the games and it was good that he was able to get that process started this week and for him to know where he is and for us to know where he is and the to build on it. I'm sure it will be better in succeeding weeks here as we do it more. It's good to see him out there, good to see him be productive and make some plays. We'll just continue to rep it in practice and the opportunities he gets during the games, hopefully we can build on some of the things that happened last night.

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