New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Tuesday, December 22, 2009.
BB:OK, well we're pretty well into Jacksonville here. I think the thing that stands out about this team is how big and physical they are really in every area. They are physical on offense, physical on defense, physical in the kicking game. [They're] strong, they're tough. They can run the ball. They can stand up to the running game. They cover well. Of course, they can throw it and defend it, too. They're a physical team. They are big. They are tough and they bring that style of play pretty much every week in every phase of the game. When you look at the players they have, right down the roster, for the most part, they're bigger and probably faster than most of the other players in the league at their respected positions. They do a good job of mixing up their attack, both offensively and defensively. They do a good job of keeping you off balance, but at the same time do the things they do well and make you stop their best players, which they have quite a few of. It's a team that we played a couple years ago, but there're an awful lot of new faces on that team now from last time we saw them at the end of the '07 season.
Q: Obviously, Fred Taylor was there for a long time. What kind of scouting report can you get from him?
BB:Well, I think their scheme - what they do offensively - it isn't overly complex. They kind of do what they do, they do it pretty well and they make you stop it. You watch them play last week against Indianapolis and a lot of times I don't think there's a big mystery as to what they're trying to do, it's just a question of if you can do anything about it. You've got to be able to cover big receivers and a couple big, fast tight ends. You've got to be able to play against a physical offensive line, a physical back and a big quarterback who's mobile, athletic and has a great arm. I don't think it's a big scheme game, a real big chess match - they're trying to do this while you're trying to do that and all that. I think it's more can you stop the things they do? And they do them pretty well.
Q: How would you characterize Maurice Jones-Drew's style? Is it safe to say he ranks among the top backs you'll face this year?
BB:Yeah, no doubt about it. He's definitely one of the top backs we've seen and we've seen a lot of good ones. I think he can do it all. He's returned kicks. He's good in pass protection. [He] catches the ball very well and has a good feel in the passing game, like the scramble pass he caught against Indianapolis last week on a broken play. And, of course, in the running game, he can run inside, he can run outside, he can run with power, he can run with speed, he can jump cut and has good vision. He can see those lanes inside. He's got good balance. He's hard to knock off his feet, breaks a lot of tackles and pushes the pile forward for extra yards when he's carrying the ball. He's a powerful guy as well as an elusive player, so he's tough.
Q: His style you mentioned, how much of a challenge is it to tackle a guy with his build?
BB:He's a hard player to tackle [with] his strength, his balance, his quickness [and] his speed. You've got to wrap him up. You've got to have a lot of guys around him. If you give him a lot of space, it would be hard for any defender to tackle him.
Q: [On Maurice Jones-Drew's 65-yard play in 2007]
BB:That's something that we emphasize from day one in training camp, to always tag the runners down, whether we think we've touched them or not. That's just a fundamental thing. We've seen plenty of backs get tackled and land on a guy or butt roll onto another player, where they don't actually hit the ground or they stumble in the backfield. Did we knock him down? Did somebody else knock him down? Again, it's a fundamental play, an alert thing. If the ball carrier's down, you just go over and tag him. We should do that on every play, whether we touch him down or we don't touch him down. That's a point that we teach the first or second day in training camp and it happens out there in practice, too, where one of our guys is on the ground, and we just go over there and tag them. Hopefully, we learned from that play a couple years ago and it won't happen again.
Q: Was last game Derrick Burgess' best game since he's been here?
BB:I don't know. I thought Sunday's game was pretty consistent with a lot of the other games he's played, similar to the first game maybe. He did a good job, but he's done a good job for us. He's done a good job in a lot of areas, not just rushing the passer, but pursuit plays, screen passes, playing the sub runs. He's a disciplined player on the edge. And a lot of times those guys are kind of one-dimensional, they run up the field and chase the quarterback on draw plays, and inside runs, and screen passes and things like that they are not as much a factor on. Derrick's the kind of player that - really - he's effective on all those plays and probably to the extent where it takes away from attacking one of those plays and now they're just trying to guess at which one it is. He has the ability and has been pretty consistent in the fact that he's played good technique, no matter what the play has been - a pass, a draw, a screen, whatever it happens to be - he's pretty disciplined and he reads those plays very well. I think he's done that all year, really.
Q: Have you ever seen a player like Maurice Jones-Drew, who is that short and that powerful? Does he remind you of anybody or is he totally unique?
BB:Joe Morris, [he was] 5-7, 5-8, whatever it was, thick, strong guy, powerful. Joe wasn't small, he was just short. I don't think Jones-Drew is small, he's just a shorter player. As far as lower body strength, Joe Morris was one of the strongest players we had on the team in the lower body squats. He had great lower body strength, and good upper body strength for that matter, which I would say Jones-Drew has as well. I think we've seen players like that come through the league, just a little different build, but vision, speed, quickness. I think Jones-Drew has better hands than Joe, that's for sure.
Q: There's a report out there today discussing a personnel position with the Seahawks and Floyd Reese and Jason Licht are on the list. Do you know if those guys have been contacted and are you surprised those guys have end up on personnel lists of other teams this time of year?
BB:As we all know, there is a process in place for those types of things. Right now, we're focused on the Jaguars. Any questions about those types of situations really should go to the league office or the teams that are involved. But right now we're focused on Jacksonville and that's all we're doing. Whatever the process is, if we're involved in it we'll follow it of course.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about what Jason Licht and Floyd Reese have brought to the organization?
BB:I think I've talked plenty about them in the past and the respect and the contributions for both of those men, but I'd say right now what they're focused on is trying to beat Jacksonville. Collectively, as an organization, that's what we're trying to do and that involves everybody. Right now, that's all anybody's doing is working on Jacksonville.