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Transcript: Bill Belichick Conference Call 1/7

Read the full transcript from Bill Belichick’s conference call on Monday, January 7, 2019.

**During the opening question below, there were certain points where the response became inaudible due to technical difficulties. What was able to be transcribed is shown below before interruption. All other questions and answers are transcribed in completion.

Q: What are some of the similarities you've seen from Gus Bradley's secondary in Los Angeles to the one he coached in Seattle as the defensive coordinator in previous years?

BB: Coach Bradley's defense is very disciplined. They do a great job of creating negative plays in the running game. They usually overload the box so they put one more guy in there than you can block. They're fast. They're very aggressive...[inaudible].

Q: The Chargers activated Hunter Henry to the 53-man roster today. What kind of differences do you see between him and Virgil Green at the tight end position? Do you feel that if he's active this Sunday that they'll be able to mix up some of their personnel groupings with him in the lineup for the first time in 2018?

BB: Well, if he's on the 53-man roster then we'll prepare for him like we always do. How they utilize him - that'll be up to them, but he's a very talented player. He's got great receiving skills. He's a threat in the passing game to go along with their other threats in the passing game at receiver, tight end and running back. It gives them another weapon with a great quarterback who can use all of his weapons at all of the positions. Yeah, it's another brick on the pile that we'll have to deal with.

Q: What are your thoughts on Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler's roles in the passing game and the performances they've had in that area?

BB: Well, both guys have been very productive and they get targeted a decent amount of times. Again, [Philip] Rivers is very good at utilizing all of his receivers and they usually, other than some play-action passes on early downs, they usually get everybody out. If you take away the deeper guys then he uses his outlet receivers very well, and both Gordon and Ekeler are very good with the ball in their hands. They've both had several long runs where they've caught the ball at or behind the line of scrimmage and gone for 60, 70-yard touchdowns where they've run through the whole team. Those plays can't be taken lightly because they can be very explosive. You saw that in the Oakland game. As I said, all of his weapons are a problem - the tight ends, the backs, the receivers and there's no - obviously, [Keenan] Allen is a tremendous player and he's had great production again this year, as he always does, but we'll have to handle everybody. Whatever the matchup is, each guy will have to hold up on that part of the matchup. It'll be very challenging. Again, those two guys are very different but they're both very productive and they're both utilized effectively in the passing game no matter which one is in there.

Q: How much of a challenge does the height of the receivers on the Chargers present as far as matching up goes?

BB: Yeah, and again, when you put the tight ends in there - Henry, a player like that - he's another big receiver. Again, the receivers are very good. They're big, they're fast and they're strong after the catch, as are the backs. They get a lot of yards after the ball has been completed. They're not only hard to get the ball away from but they're hard to bring down. Allen, in particular, has great balance and running skills and quickness and playing strength. He's a hard guy to tackle. This is a very good football team. They have great depth at the skill positions, extremely talented. They can run it. They can throw it. They can throw it deep. They can throw it short. They can make explosive runs for 50 yards and they can grind it out with good, tough, hard-nosed runs for tough yardage that they need. It's a very well-coached, well-balanced, disciplined football team.

Q: How have the Chargers been using Derwin James?

BB: Yeah, he's very good. He's as good as anybody we've seen all year. Big, fast, athletic, very instinctive. He primarily plays around the line of scrimmage. Usually in a safety position but they play a lot of six and seven defensive backs, so sometimes he's in a linebacker-type position, but whether you want to call him a linebacker or a safety, he's down near the line of scrimmage. It's pretty much the same. He's a very good tackler. He's a very good blitzer when they blitz him. He can play very strong against the running game and when they put him in the deep part of the field, which happens some - he's down a lot more than he's back - but he plays effectively from back there too. He gets a good break on the ball. He reads the quarterback well and he's had some big plays in the deep part of the field knocking the ball off of receivers and getting a good break on the ball and getting to the reception area. His length, his strength, his speed and his instinctiveness - he has a good nose for the ball. He's around the ball a lot and physically he's really hard to deal with. He's fast and with great size and explosive power. The guy's a really good football player.

Q: Was what you saw from the Chargers defense yesterday against the Ravens a real deviation from what they normally do with a game-plan defense or would you describe them as a week-to-week game-plan defense?

BB: Well, Coach [Gus] Bradley runs the Seattle system and that's again, a very sound and proven system of defense. That's the core of it. Yeah, there's game-to-game adjustments. I'm sure they'll play Tom Brady differently than they played Lamar Jackson, like anybody would. But their scheme is still pretty fundamentally their scheme and they've had so much success with it. They've been one of the top defensive teams for the last couple years. I can't imagine them straying too far from the principles of what's made them so successful. Whatever we get, we get and it'll come down to good execution. I don't think at this point in the season, you're going to reinvent the game of football after - again, they've had a great - 13-4, they've had a great season. They've won so many games against good teams that I can't imagine that they'd do things too much differently from what's given them so much success to get to this point, but we'll see. 

Q: What sort of challenges does Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa present, especially since it seems like they get a lot of pressure with those guys?

BB: Well, they do. Both guys are very disruptive, not only in pressuring or sacking the quarterback but also strip-sacking and knocking the ball off the quarterback. They have great awareness to get the ball off. Ingram lines up inside on passing situations a pretty decent amount of the time so he's not always on the edge, so really anybody could get him. Bosa's in there some too, but Bosa's more outside than inside. In third-down situations, Ingram shows up inside quite a bit. He's had very good production in there against a number of teams. Obviously, Baltimore yesterday but Oakland and throughout the year. It's not blocking those guys - it's finding them and trying to get things set as much as you can to deal with those two players. But they have a lot of other good pass-rushers too. They have strong, physical players and they have other edge players. Obviously, [Uchenna] Nwosu made a big play there at the end of the Ravens so they've been able to mix in other guys on the edge to move Ingram or move him around, play some odd fronts, play some even fronts. They're very well-coached out there. Coach [Giff] Smith does a great job with that group. They have good fundamentals, good techniques, they're explosive and it's a very talented defensive front.  

Q: At the end of the first half in the Chicago vs. Philadelphia game, there was a situation where there was a loose ball on the ground and no one picked it up. At halftime, Rodney Harrison said you guys would always stress jumping on a loose ball on the field and not assuming anything. How much more do you stress game awareness at this time of year with plays like that?

BB: Yeah, great question Mike [Petraglia]. We hit it again today. As Rodney said, we've been through it a thousand times but we went through some of those things again today just to make sure everybody understands what we want to do and how important it is to do the right thing in situations like that or other game-type situations. Again, there are so many close plays in all these games - fumble, no fumble, score, no score, catch, no catch, did it cross the goal line, did it not cross the goal line. It seemed like there were a dozen of those kind of plays just in this weekend so every inch, every little thing is so important. We've emphasized it before and we'll continue to do that.

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