PATRIOTS HEAD COACH BILL BELICHICK CONFERENCE CALL
Q: What are your thoughts on the compete level of the team as a whole and the offensive line yesterday? Why did you struggle to run the ball?
BB: Well I'd say overall in all three phases of the game it was not a marvelous, consistent performance. We had our moments where we did things fairly well and there were other times where we didn't. Miami has a very good defensive front, kind of like last week with the Jets. That's not an easy thing against a good defensive front like that. There were times where I felt we punched out some solid plays and there were other times where we didn't, but we weren't very consistent in any phase of the game. I mean we were pretty consistent in the kicking game other than the last punt, but otherwise we just were not as consistent as we need to be. It wasn't any one particular thing, just a combination of things like it usually is. That's probably the best way I can describe it.
Q: How concerned are you about the lack of consistency at this stage of the season?
BB: Yeah, we'll find out where we are in a couple weeks. We'll see how much we're able to improve going forward.
Q: The date has been set for the playoff game and you know your potential three opponents. What are you going to do this week in terms of preparation for that game?
BB: That's something we'll be talking about over the next day or so. We're going to try to take advantage of the time we have and use it as productively as possible as it relates to us and as it relates to who the potential opponents are. We played Houston recently. We haven't played Kansas City and Cincinnati this year, so certainly there will be members of our staff working on those teams just to have information so if we get to them it will all be done. We'll have to decide how much time we want to allocate to any particular opponent, but also just things we need to do regardless of who we play. There is certainly plenty of that.
Q: Can you characterize the team's play since Thanksgiving?
BB: It doesn't really matter. Right now we have one game that we have to win – the next game – we don't even know who it's against yet, and all of our attention, focus and energy will be on that. You can analyze any of the other games any way you want or any part of them or however you want to slice up the season, but none of it really matters. The only thing that's going to matter is what happens a week from Saturday.
Q: What is this week going to be like for the players in terms of film review and practice?
BB: Same thing. Same thing we just talked about – things that we need to work on regardless of who we play and things that we need to [work on] that may be specific to a particular opponent. And we may want to get into that a little bit or we may not. That's just something we'll have to think about.
Q: Do you expect there to be the usual three practices this week or will there be an extra off day?
BB: That's something that we'll have to talk about. We're just kind of getting through finishing up the Miami game from today – today we're finishing up the Miami game from yesterday – and then we'll talk about what we feel is the best way to use our time, most productive way to use it as a staff and as our team, whether it be individual players or different units, but how to get the most out of the time that we have available. So that will be a discussion going forward.
Q: Could you talk about your offensive approach to the Miami game? You threw it a lot more in the second half compared to the first half. Was that based on what they were showing you defensively?
BB: From the first quarter to the fourth quarter we were trying to do what we felt like was best for that game at that time. It'd be the same answer for every play.
Q: How did you think Patrick Chung performed yesterday?
BB: Again, I'd probably put everybody in pretty much the same category. We did some good things. We did some things that we all need to improve on. Collectively, obviously it wasn't good enough, but there were definitely positive things in the game that we want to build on, but we need more of them.
Q: Is there any sense of relief internally that the team projects to be much healthier in two weeks for the Divisional Round?
BB: We don't really spend a lot of time worrying about things we can't control.
Q: Is there any concern over Tom Brady since he was obviously limping and sore after yesterday's game?
BB: Whatever the status of any of our players are, we'll list that as we're required to do on an injury report or practice report and give out that information at that time. I mean we're certainly not practicing today.
Q: Is there a season in recent memory that you can relate this one to in terms of your team's overall health?
BB: We really try to look ahead rather than … I know you and others like to make a lot of comparisons about one thing to another thing. Honestly I don't really care about that. We try to look ahead, see what we have in the future and do the best we can with that rather than sit back and try to make comparisons between other years, other teams, other games, some other situation – none of which really matter. It isn't really important how one year relates to another year or some other game or some other season from way back when. What difference does it make?
Q: Do you see any common links between the six AFC playoff teams?
BB: Yeah, I really haven't thought about it. Up until yesterday there was obviously a lot of possibilities on even which teams would be in and where they would end up and so forth. That wasn't decided until I guess pretty late yesterday in the AFC and even later in the NFC. But really we're trying to focus today on the Miami game and like I said, collecting our thoughts on how we can use our time most productively going forward. We're not really focused on analyzing trends in the league and stuff like that.
Q: How did they counter your 12 personnel yesterday? Did they match with a nickel?
Q: Is that consistent to what you've seen over the year?
BB: It's pretty consistent to what we've seen the last two weeks. We saw a lot of it from the Jets and then we saw a lot of it from Miami on that matchup, yes.
Q: Would it be wrong for someone to look at that and say that it's not a bad decision to try to run the ball when that matchup presents itself?
BB: Well I mean I'd say on paper you probably should have a better chance to run against that defense than a base defense. On paper that probably is true, yeah.
Q: What is your approach year-to-year in terms of getting your team ready when you have a bye week for the playoffs?
BB: I think every year is different, just like every game is different. What we did or didn't do in the past, I don't know if that has very much relevance. I think this year is this year, this week is this week, our team is our team, and we've got to try to do things that are best for this team. Granted, we have some experience in this situation. I wouldn't say that that has no value. It has some value in terms of kind of having an idea of what you can get done in this situation or what your opportunities are. It's no different than this year's training camp and last year's training camp. Yeah, we've been through training camp before, but each one is different, each one has different needs, and your team is different, your potential opponents are different and there are always different circumstances, so we try to take all those into consideration and like I said, make decisions that we feel like are best for the team and that will give us the best opportunity to play our best football a week from Saturday night.