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Belichick, Develin and Ninkovich Transcripts - 12/5/2014

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick, FB James Develin, and DE Rob Ninkovich addressed the media from San Diego on Friday, December 5, 2014.


BB:So, we'll wrap it up here today and do some kind of walkthrough tomorrow and be ready to go on Sunday. It's been a good week out here. [We have] a lot to get ready for with the Chargers. They have a lot of weapons; they do a lot of things well. [They're] playing really good football, been in a lot of close games and won them. We're going to have to be ready to play 60 minutes on Sunday.

Q:Has the week gone as you'd expected to so far?

BB:I think we've had a good week of preparation, [yes].

Q:How has Jonathan Casillas done?

BB:Yeah, he's an experienced player. He's been in a couple different systems. He's a smart guy. He's done fine.

Q:Do Casillas and Darius Fleming play the same role?

BB:No, I wouldn't say they're in the same role.

Q:If Dont'a Hightower is limited on Sunday, what becomes the backup plan?

BB:Well, with all of our players it could really depend on a lot of things. A team like San Diego uses a lot of different personnel groups. We have different matchups. It would all depend on which one it applies to.

Q:What have you seen from Eric Weddle? What's made him so productive?

BB:He's a good football player. He does everything well. He's fast; he's very quick and very instinctive. He has a great nose for the ball and good timing, good anticipation. [He] disguises well, is always around the ball. [He's] a productive player in the kicking game on their punt and kickoff teams; defensively, run [and] pass, so he's got a great nose for the ball. Very instinctive player, smart.

Q:Whether the number of running backs they can rotate in there, how important is it to identify who is in there and what their strengths are? It seems like a revolving door there.

BB:Yeah, I don't know how much they rotate them in each game. Sometimes it's dependent on who is healthy. But yeah, it's always important to know who is in there, there's no question.

Q:When Ryan Mathews is healthy, what makes him such a challenge?

BB:He's a hard guy to tackle. He's fast; he's got the ability to get outside. He's got good power inside, good balance; does a good job breaking tackles. [He] handles the ball well in the passing game, so [inaudible]. He's a tough guy to get down.

Q:As you're trying to manage players' injuries, how important are the mental reps that you get in practices and walkthroughs at this time of year?

BB:It's important all year: the spring, training camp. Yeah, that's how you get part of your reps, is just on film or in walkthrough situations. They're really important.

Q:Have the first 13 weeks with Darrelle Revis been what you imagined they'd be when you signed him?

BB:He's done a good job for us. He's a good player and I've enjoyed working with him, absolutely. He's very professional, works hard, does his job, understands team concepts and team defense and plays within them. He does a good job.

Q:We talked about Randy Moss many years back and you talked about his unrivaled football intelligence. Is Darrelle similar on the other side of the ball?

BB:Well, offensive and defensive football are quite a bit different. Offensive football, you have an assignment. Defensive football, you have to react to something that's happening in front of you. There's some of that in reverse, but offensive football is assignment football; defensive football is reaction football. They're just different.

Q:When you work with a guy like Darrelle day-in and day-out, do you appreciate his instinctiveness to react in certain situations?

BB:Yeah, no question. He's outstanding; very much.

Q:Is that what you expected? Often times you bring a player in and you don't know until you get them. Is he what you expected?

BB:He's had a great career. He's a very good player. He's played well for us.

Q:You guys brought your field crew here, right?


Q:I'm just curious what went into that decision and how has that helped you guys this week?

BB:Really, this trip is very similar to other ones that we've had out here. So, the things that we've done before that have gone well, we've done. Some things, there are always things you can improve on. You're handling a lot of people in a big operation like this, but those guys have a lot of familiarity with what we do and they were out here when we were in San Jose three previous times. They have a lot of experience; they've done a good job. And the people around here have been very cooperative, both schools and the hotel. We've had great cooperation from all people that we've worked with. It's been really good.

Q:How would you describe defensive coordinator John Pagano's approach defensively and how aggressive are they?

BB:They give you a lot of different looks. They run a decent amount of pressure; they bring different combinations of guys. It's not always the same guys, so bringing linebackers, bringing safeties, bring a nickel back. They've got two good edge players in their base defense, they like to bring them. They occasionally bring their inside guys. So, they definitely keep you honest with all the pressures. They mix man and zone coverage, some combination coverages. They're not just going to sit there and play the same thing all day, that's for sure.

Q:Have you seen Hightower take his leadership to another level since Jerod Mayo went out?

BB:Well that happened last year and then it happened, unfortunately, for Jerod this year. Hightower and [Jamie] Collins, [Devin] McCourty, other guys and all that have had to step in there and fill some of the things that Jerod did. High is a big part of that, of course.

Q:Have you gotten any down time this week? Going surfing or paddle boarding?

BB:That would be a sight for bad eyes right there.

Q:Are you sitting here saying, 'Why didn't I go to school out here?'

BB:I'm an East Coast guy, so I'm good on the East Coast.


Q:Another week, another elite quarterback. What are some of the challenges Philip Rivers creates for your defense?

RN:He's a great quarterback. He can make every throw, so we just have to do a good job of being on top of all the targets and making sure that we make him uncomfortable.

Q:Chris Jones said earlier this week that he sees a lot of Peyton Manning in Philip Rivers in the way he

checks plays at the line of scrimmage. Do you see that as well?

RN:No, I would just say that most of the elite quarterbacks in the league, they're always trying to check plays and change routes and get their offense in the best position to beat the defense. Obviously, Rivers is a good quarterback. We've faced a bunch of good quarterbacks and that's what they do – they change the plays, they change routes, they change protections because they just know what's going on. We just have to do a good job of not showing our hand early and playing good, tough defense.

Q:It seems like he's tough to bring down in the pocket. Would you credit that to his elusiveness, or how do you see that?

RN:He's not a little guy. He's got some size to him. It always makes it a little more difficult to bring a guy down. He's definitely an athletic guy, so he's got good feet in the pocket, he knows how to move in the pocket and avoid those pressures.

Q:Last week, Aaron Rodgers had a lot of time in the pocket. Is there a heightened sense of urgency to get to the quarterback when you're only sending three guys?

RN:Anytime you're just bringing three, it's always tough … [Tom] Brady is giving me some pointers right now as I'm speaking, Brady's giving me pointers on how to get to the quarterback. No, I mean, last week is a completely different story. That guy can get out of the pocket and he's more of a scrambling quarterback, and he makes a lot more plays with his feet. [We're] moving on from last week. Last week was a different game plan, and this week is something different, so we just have to go out there and execute.

Q:Can you share those Tom Brady pointers or are you going to wait until Sunday?

RN:He was telling me to rip and dip and speed rush. He was basically just trying to mess up my interview right now. That's what he was trying to do.


Q:Earlier this week Nate Solder said the offensive line is not a pass/fail grade, it's a work in progress. Do you see a continued improvement from them as the season has worn on especially once they've got the starting five down?

JD:Absolutely. I think [the] offensive line is always striving to be a cohesive unit. I think as we've kind of progressed through the season they've gotten more and more experience together. They've been through 12 games now and I think they're just progressively getting better each and every day and each and every week.

Q:In the passing game, you're usually not Tom Brady's first read when you are going out on patterns, but you've still caught six passes this year. Do you feel like he could throw the ball your way any time because of his caliber and the time he's been getting in the pocket?

JD:Yeah, I mean Tom is a great quarterback. He's going to make his reads and whoever is open on any given play is where he is going to put the ball. It's an incredible thing to watch him go to work on any given day, let alone Sunday. I think I've just got to continue to do my job and try to get open whenever I can and if he makes the read and throws me the ball I'll do my best to catch it.

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