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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript 10/17: 'Need to defend the run better'

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during a conference call on Friday, October 17, 2014.


Q: What are your thoughts on Josh Kline and Jordan Devey? How has their development come along since the start of the season? It seems like they've held their own the last two weeks against good defensive lines. **

BB: I would say based on last night I don't think anybody walked out of the game feeling like, coaching or playing, that it was great. There are a lot of things we have to work on; a lot of things we all need to do better. There were some good things and there were certainly plenty of things that could be improved. You could put basically everybody on the team in that category – every player and coach. There were some things that were OK, some things that were good. Those are both younger guys, probably their best football is probably in front of them. They've gotten better, both worked hard. Smart, tough kids. I thought they did a good job filling in for a couple guys who were out in [Bryan] Stork and [Dan] Connolly. Those guys have made it work and we've won and there are still a lot of things we need to do better – there and everywhere else.

Q: When you looked at the defensive performance, what stood at to you as some of the main culprits in the Jets' high rushing total?

BB: Same things that I talked about last night – need to defend the run better, need to play better on third down. We gave up a lot of third downs. That kept them on the field and let them keep handing the ball off. We just continued to make it worse on ourselves when we had a chance to get off the field, which is obviously a combination of things: scrambles, penalties, just not a good enough execution on third down. We didn't do a good enough job in the running game either. That's why we were on the field for 40 minutes or whatever it was.

Q: Specifically did you feel like it was about getting off blocks, was it about that aspect more than anything else? Was it more tackling? I would imagine you would say it's a little bit of everything but was there one thing?

BB: I would say all the things that you hit on were part of it. We have to coach better, we have to play better – all the things that you said, yeah. I don't think it was any one thing, any one player, any one play, any one scheme. It was just a combination of things. We just didn't do things well. Sometimes it was technique stuff. We have to coach better; all of it. Put it on me.

Q: Was the loss of Jerod Mayo and the difficulty of that compounded by the short week? Will it be any more beneficial with the extra time before the Bears game to put together and implement a more effective way to overcome that injury?

BB: Well, there's nothing we can do about any of the things that you just talked about. They're all out of our control. What's in our control is what we can do and that's what we'll work on.

Q: You used a lot of Jonas Gray last night. What went into that decision and how did you feel he performed?

BB: I think Jonas has been solid for us all the way through preseason. He's done a good job in practice. He got an opportunity last night – not a lot of opportunities, but he had some blitz pickup opportunities, had a few carries. He works hard, he's a tough kid. [He's a] bigger back obviously, more in the [Stevan] Ridley size range. He played for us in the kicking game as well. [We'll] keep going with that. This is an opportunity for him. Unfortunate the way it came out, but he's worked hard. He deserves it. We'll see what he can do with it.

Q: What will the schedule be like for you guys over the next couple days? Once you get to Monday, will it return to a normal week for you?

BB: Yeah, I'm sure it will. I'm sure that, you know, we have a game on Sunday so Saturday will be Saturday, Friday will be Friday, Thursday will be Thursday, Wednesday will be Wednesday. We'll just have to figure out how to best utilize the upcoming days that we have prior to getting into the real meat of the preparation. Certainly we'll look at Chicago's game this weekend and put that in with the other games that we've seen on them and get our scouting report and game plan and do the best job we can do on that as a coaching staff. Some element of that is going to have to come after the weekend. I don't think we can just do everything we wanted to do today and leave it in place. Once we get into the game week, I think it will be pretty close to what we've done throughout the season and the previous seasons. Over the next few days, like I said, we'll try to figure out what's best of the team – coaches, players, all of us together and so forth.

Q: If the players have a couple days off this weekend after playing four games in 18 days, do you encourage the players to in a way take their mind off football for a couple days so they come back refreshed or do you encourage them continue to study and do what they can on their time so they can hit the ground running when they come back?

BB: Well, I'd say it's a combination of both. I think definitely there's something to be said for a cleansing of the mind. We've been at it here pretty hard since the end of July. It's been virtually every day. So, that's all of August, all of September and we're halfway through October. I'd say there probably wasn't much more than any 24-hour period there where there hasn't been, I'd say, quite a bit of substantial, hopefully anyway, substantial thought, preparation, treatment, whatever you want to call it, different aspects of preparation, physical conditioning, mental film study and preparation that hasn't gone into each and every guy over that period of time. I think there's definitely something to be said for taking a couple days and trying to let the system decompress if you will. Certainly we'll be back at it hard here with the Bears. It's another good football team coming in here that we don't know very well. So, we'll have a lot of preparation to do for them. That will all come. Hopefully somewhere along the line we'll be able to take advantage of a little time to rest and not have to think about a game plan, not have to think about a scouting report, not have to think about adjustments, not have to think about all the things that we've been thinking about for the last two-and-a-half months. Each player has had to constantly try to stay on top of all that. But, there's certainly a lot of things we can work on, I'm not saying that. There's plenty to do. But somewhere along the line I think we need to back off and try to find some space to get it out of our system for a couple days and then come back and hit it hard again.

Q: On the offensive line, how would you characterize the leadership of guys like Dan Connolly while they're out to have the new guys step in and perform at a good level?

BB: I think we've gotten real good leadership from those guys, Dan in particular. Dan came out of last week's game and he did everything he could to be ready to play last night. Unfortunately he wasn't able to quite turn the corner and make it. That being said, he was very good in terms of working with the other guys, trying to be helpful with a team that he has a lot of familiarity with in the Jets defense to try to help them. I think he's given us great leadership all year long. Wendy [Ryan Wendell] too, stepped in there, playing between two guys that didn't have a lot of experience. I think his line calls and ability to communicate, especially again with a team like the Jets that give you different looks and some different calls and things you have to do during the game, some of which, especially on a short week like this, you don't really get a lot of time to practice. So him being able to handle that and the three tackles – Nate [Solder], Sebastian [Vollmer] and Marcus [Cannon] – all have done a good job in terms of their preparation and working with the guards, working with the tackles, the whole line communicating. That whole group has, in terms of preparation of and being together and doing things together as a group on the football field, I think that's gotten better every week. Could it still improve? I mean, of course. I'm not saying we've arrived or anything, but we've definitely done things better, which we should. We've been working at it for a long time so we should see improvement. We've seen a lot of good fronts; we've been challenged every week. We'll see another one this week. We're just going to have to keep grinding it out, keep getting better, keep working together and we're going to have to build some timing and execution without Stevan back there. Whether that's Jonas or more of Shane [Vereen] or Brandon [Bolden], James White, whoever is carrying the ball. Obviously there are a lot of reps that we had with Stevan as the back that now we won't have. Other guys will have to help the line set up their blocks and read the blocking patterns with more frequency than what they've done in the past relative to the number of carries and reps in practice that Stevan's gotten. That will all be part of it for us going forward as well.

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