Patriots coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call, on Tuesday, December 7, 2010.
BB: Well, after last night, it was certainly good for the final result to be what it was. I think we can all see from the film that there are still a lot of things that we can work on and do better. Some things turned out well that maybe weren't as great as they looked. We'll try to take care of that and then move onto Chicago. Chicago's been really impressive. They really do everything pretty well: offensively, defensively, special teams. They have a great returner, [Devin Hester]; Robbie Gould, a great kicker. Defensively, they really do well on third down. They haven't allowed many points, have a lot of negative plays in the running game [and] cause a lot of fumbles. They definitely thrive on turnovers. I think, offensively, [Jay] Cutler is playing as well as I've seen him play. He's done a great job with Coach [Mike] Martz's offense. He's really carrying a lot of the offense on his shoulders, along with their receivers. Certainly [Matt] Forte and [Chester] Taylor do a good job in the back field. [Greg] Olsen and all the receivers - [Earl] Bennett, [Johnny] Knox, Hester - are a good group with a really good quarterback. Cutler's made a lot of plays running as well as throwing, so he's very dangerous in and out of the pocket, throwing or running. So, I think the Bears' record really speaks for itself: 9-3. So, we've got to go out there. We know it's going to be a big challenge for us on a short week for a team that we really don't know very well that has a lot of good players and is well-coached, very fundamentally sound and does a good job in every phase of the game. So, today is going to be a big day for us, try and get things organized for the players coming in here tomorrow and then turn the corner very quickly and get on to Chicago.
Q: How much have you guys, if any, looked at Chicago before today?
BB: Well we always do that. We have certain coaches on our staff that are responsible to break down the film. On Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, we'll have a normal week but by Friday and Saturday, most all the coaches get those breakdowns and start to do some preliminary work on the scouting report and things like that. But, in this particular case, similar to the Indianapolis/Detroit situation, we really had to get a bit of a jump on it and start doing some little more game planning and start finishing up the scouting report prior to the game we're actually playing - the Monday night game or the Sunday game in the case of Indianapolis a couple of weeks ago. We try to get a jump start on them, but we're still playing catch up because so much of our focus was on the Jets game. But, we got a little bit of a jump start and [now] we're just scrambling, doing the best we can.
Q: How do you think you guys did as far as disguising for Mark Sanchez?
BB: I don't know. I think that's a question you'd have to ask him. I'm not sure how he felt about that. We always try to not make it obvious to the offense what we're doing but I don't know if you ever really know how successful you are on that. You try to do a good job, but there may be a key or there may be something that they're picking up that we don't totally have... totally matchup things and try to make them look alike and try to have different options off it. We're trying to do it. I'm not really sure exactly how successful that is or isn't. I think you'd have to ask the guy on the other side of the ball. They're the one that's seeing it.
Q: Can you share what the gist of the message was that you tried to share with the team during the game when you already had the game in hand?
BB: I just talked about playing a full 60 minutes.
Q: Do you feel like they succeeded in doing that?
BB: Well, the final score was good. There were some things that we could have done better at the end of the game. We had the chance to run the clock out and we really weren't able to do it. They drove down and fortunately we were able to stop them in the red area, but there were some good things. There were some other things that we could have improved on.
Q: Apart from the final score, what do you find to be the most satisfying about that win?
BB: Well, the final score is the only thing that matters. I think the final score reflected that it was our most complete game of the year, closest to playing 60 minutes, so that was good. [We] took good care of the ball, won the turnover differential, weren't penalized, didn't have an inordinate amount of bad plays - we had a few that definitely could have been better - but, when you have the advantage on turnovers and field position [and] penalties, that's a good start.
Q: Is Quarterbacks Coach Bill O'Brien having a lot of success right now with this group of players and this system?
BB: I really don't think our system has changed very much. So, I think it really comes down to the execution of the plays, players doing a great job of blocking, throwing, catching, running, route running, getting open, breaking tackles, finishing blocks, avoiding penalties and negative plays, staying out of long-yardage situations. In the end, all those things are important and it takes the 11 guys that are out on the field executing the play to do it. I don't think there's any big magic with every play. You still have to be blocked and thrown and caught and routes have to be run to get away from defenders. Run-after-catch: we added a lot of yards last night to plays where we gained yards after we had the ball in our hands. That's a great credit to the players that are making those yards. I don't think that's play calling, necessarily, as much as it is good running and some good downfield blocking and second effort. There were a number of plays where we had the ball in the secondary and then we got blocks from other players hustling over to help spring the receiver for more yards after the catch. That's great effort by the guys blocking down the field and good running by the guys with the ball in their hands.
Q: What was your reaction to Josh McDaniels being fired? When did you find out and have you reached out to him?
BB: We keep any conversations between Josh and myself between us. But, yeah, of course I was disappointed to see that for Josh. Unfortunately, I know what that feels like. I was disappointed for him and his family, but at the same time, that's the third one of those we've seen this year, so it's certainly not uncommon. It's kind of the way it is in the NFL these days. Things can turn around in a hurry. Minnesota, one year they're playing in the NFC Championship and halfway through the next year, they've got a new coach. You see a lot of that in the National Football League these days. I'm not sure that I fully support all that, but those aren't my decisions. So, I don't know.
Q: Do you think there are a lot of unreasonable expectations on new coaches coming into a system and dealing with what they have to deal with?
BB: You'd have to ask them about that. I don't know. Right now, I'm just trying to get our team ready to play the Bears. That's a pretty big job. They're 9-3. We've got to go into Chicago. They're a real good football team. That's plenty for me and our team to think about this week.
Q: When you have a score like you did last night, do you ever think during the game that it's a blowout and maybe taking out the starters?
BB: No, I think about trying to win the game. I think about a team like the Jets that's come back several times this year when it looks like they were out of the game and [they] came back to tie it or win it or win it in overtime. I don't think that any game is really won until you're absolutely certain that the number of possessions the team has is fewer than the amount of scores that they need. When you see those leads diminish in the fourth quarter - which, unfortunately, we've seen a few times; so has everybody else - then you look at it a little bit differently. When they don't diminish, then you want to go on and talk about what the final score was, but that's not the score while the game is still going on. They still have a number of possessions left in the game. Turnovers, a lot of things like that, can happen. You play to win.