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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript 1/15

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Sunday, January 15, 2017.


Q: Is there any update to the severity of Chris Hogan's injury?

BB: Yeah, no, I don't have any update. We'll update you on Wednesday when we do the practice reports. All of that stuff now, it's a bunch of hot air Mike [Reiss].

Q: What led to Whitney Mercilus and Bernardrick McKinney being able to win some of the matchups they did last night? Was it scheme-based or just a matter of those two players making plays?

BB: I mean we talked about them all week. They're well-coached. They have a very good coaching staff and a very good coordinator, and they're two outstanding players. I mean those guys, everybody has trouble blocking them. They're very disruptive players, both of them. They're big, they can run, they're very instinctive, they play smart, they have great balance. I mean, they're good.

Q: With the Pittsburgh at Kansas City matchup being pushed back in the day to Sunday night, how does that affect your schedule and preparation since you won't know your opponent until late tonight?

BB: Well, I mean, it was a long night, or a short night, however you want to look at it. Getting a little rest, that'll help all of us. Going back through our game and doing a good job of looking at the Houston game and the things that they did and things that we need to do. It doesn't matter who we play. There are some things that we need to do regardless that'll be important, and whatever time we have to work on the two teams that play tonight – I mean its 50-50 on which one – if you're working on the right team or not, we understand that. Each coach has his own part of the game plan or scouting report and preparation for his players to do. If he chooses to do something on one team, or guy, or whatever, it's 50-50 whether that could be right or not. You do what you think is the most important thing or what's best for your group or that area that you're responsible for. We've done all of the work on both teams that we can do from a staff standpoint. We have all of the games broken down except for tonight's game. We have people on our staff that work on our next opponent, just like we always do. This one's a little tougher because we're working on two teams instead of one, but they've just worked harder and gotten it done. We all have the information that's available. We won't know until later tonight who it's going to be, but that's where we're at.

Q: How impressive was the anticipation and instincts shown by Devin McCourty on his interception last night?

BB: Yeah, he made a real good play on it, Jim [McBride]. As you said, the anticipation, reading the quarterback, got a real good break on the ball, caught the ball at its high point with his hands, so it was really a very well-executed play by Devin [McCourty] from a fundamental standpoint, which is the key to every play, really. I mean assignments and all of that is certainly part of it. I mean you can't do the wrong thing, but most of the time those are right, and so it comes down to fundamentals and techniques and a high level of execution. Devin did a great job on that play of being aware of the situation, having anticipation, and as the route unfolded he got a good read and good break on the ball and made a good play. That was a very good play. A big play in the game, but it was very well-executed on his part.

Q: It appeared Geneo Grissom and James Develin had some nice blocks on Dion Lewis' kickoff return. What did you see on film on that play and how difficult is it to execute those blocks on a kickoff return?

BB: Well, I mean the wedge rule, the only change in the wedge rule is just you can't have three players together. You can have kind of the two man wedge, which is basically what that was. So they stopped the outside penetrators, what we call the one and the two come from the outside-in. They ended up blocking the one and the two. A big block on the play was with [Brandon] Bolden on the double-team with, I think it was Brandon King, and that created some initial space. Nate [Ebner] had a key block for us there and Shea [McClellin] did a good job on [Brian] Peters, who's one of their top tacklers. The two guys you've got to get are Don Jones and Peters, and so Shea did a great job on Peters over the top, and Chris Hogan, who obviously has a lot of responsibilities offensively, was also on the team and on that unit. He and [Patrick] Chung made a couple of big blocks on the backside and then once Dion [Lewis] got up to the line of scrimmage, then he was able to make a good cut there and break a tackle and outrun the rest of the team. That's kind of the way it looked. [Robert] Nelson, the backup corner, was the safety I think that Dion made the final move on, if I'm not mistaken on that. It was a good job all the way around. [Matt] Lengel had a key block on the backside. I mean look, when you have a play like this you've got 10 guys all making key blocks. They're all important. It only takes one guy to make the tackle and if you miss that one then you're in trouble. Lengel did a good job of cleaning up on the backside, Ebner at the point of attack, King and Bolden on the double-team block. The key thing on the double-team block is not just to block the guy, that's part of it, but the other part of it is to move him out of his lane and get him out of the way so there's some space to run, which when you have that and then you have the kick-out block by [James] Develin and Geneo [Grissom] and [Matthew] Slater moving up to the safety on [Corey] Moore. Slater got the safety on the play side, and then Dion, he made the backside safety, Nelson, miss on the backside, so that was the guy we weren't blocking.

Q: How clear cut is your understanding of the rule that was enforced when Eric Rowe got the penalty for trying to pull a guy off of the pile where a scrum had ensued? Is it a matter of a guy trying to do the right thing –

BB: What's the right thing? What are you talking about? What's the right thing?

Q: By trying to separate players from the pile…

BB: You can't do that. No, you can't do that. You can't pull players off the pile. That's not the right thing. That rule is clear cut. There's no question about it. You can't do that.

Q: Is it a clear cut teaching point for your team that when emotions get high like that they can't have mental mistakes like that?

BB: You can't do things that are defined by the rules as illegal. You can't do them, period. There's no right thing to do. The rule is the rule. You have to play the game by the rules. Obviously, we've got to do a better job of coaching it. We've got to do a better job of coaching all of the rules. We can't hold, we can't get personal fouls, we can't do things that are against the rules or we get penalized for them. There's no doing the right thing. The right thing is playing within the rules. Now football is football. Sometimes you're trying to do the right thing and you get called for something. Sometimes stuff happens. [Vincent] Valentine got his hand up a little high and pushed the facemask back of the lineman. It was a good call. I don't think it was intentional, but he did it, and didn't get it down quick enough and they called him for it. I mean that's football. As a team we've got to make good decisions and play penalty-free. That's our goal every week. The right thing is to play within the rules, period, black and white.

Q: Has anything changed for Logan Ryan, perhaps from the San Francisco game on, that's allowed him to string together this streak of solid performances?

BB: Logan [Ryan]'s done a good job for us all year. He did a great job for us last night. It was a big matchup on [DeAndre] Hopkins and then inside in the nickel position, where Hopkins aligned a lot; not always. He ended up on him in there, too. But really, that's what football is about, is to continue to work hard and get better. That's why we meet every day. That's why we practice every day. That's why we train and work on the things that we do, is to try and improve, and every player has an opportunity to do that every day unless they're injured. But all of the things that we put into our daily activities, that's what that's designed for, is to help the induvial player and their unit and the team improve and get better on a week to week basis. It's a long season. Teams, where they were in December, no team is where they were in September. They've all worked, they've all improved, and the teams that improve the most, the players that improve the most that can show that. Logan has done a great job. He's worked had. He's very conscientious, He takes coaching well, try's to do what he's instructed to do and when you identify something that he's doing wrong he tries to correct it and improve on it. I think that player is improving over the course of the year. That's the way it should be, and every player has an opportunity to do that. He's done a great job of taking advantage of those opportunities.

Q: How key is his playing strength in allowing him to play as well as he has?

BB: Well, playing strength is an important component of really almost any position, as it comes to defensively, as it relates to tackling, defeating blockers, defending yourself, playing through contact and so forth. It's an important component of really every positon, but it's definitely an important component for Logan [Ryan]. But a big part of that position is just the difference in playing on the outside, because you're so much closer to the ball and there are a lot of different players that can get to you and your area, and the number of routes that an inside receiver can run compared to an outside receiver is different because he's closer to the middle of the field and there's more space available to him. It's a different game in there. It's a game within a game. People that are good in that area like Logan or Danny [Amendola] or Julian [Edelman] that play that spot, a lot of it is physical characteristics. A lot of it is the feel and instinct and quick reaction, recognition to all of the things that are happening in there and there are a lot and they happen a lot faster than they do out on the perimeter. I'm not saying it's easier or harder or better or worse. It's just different. Logan, he's very good at those things, the instinctiveness, the recognition, the playing with the proper leverage, the communication and the relationship that he has to the people that are around him, the defensive ends, the linebackers, the safeties, even the corners. That all plays a part of it, too, as it does for the complementary positon on offense.

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