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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript 10/18

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Tuesday, October 18, 2016.


BB: Well, we have a roster addition to announce this morning. It's a little different than the usual one and the emphasis would be on little. We can add newborn Blakely Rose to the depth chart. She was born this morning to my son Steve [Belichick] and the real 'MVP', Jen, so this is a happy and exciting day for all of us. And with that we'll move on to the Steelers.

Q: What makes Le'Veon Bell such a unique runner out of the backfield for Pittsburgh?

BB: Well, he's not only a good runner but a good receiver. He does a great job with the ball in his hands however they get it to him. Tackling will definitely be an issue for us. [He has] good balance, good vision and I'd say he's a very determined runner. He does a good job of fighting for extra yards, keeping his balance, but just making it difficult, too, to get him down. But, you know, the Steelers have a lot of good skill players. He's certainly one of them but the receivers do an excellent job of attacking all areas of the field. They've got great vertical receivers with [Sammie] Coates and [Darrius] Heyward-Bey, [Markus] Wheaton as well as [Antonio] Brown, of course. They're great catch-and-run players as well, like how Heyward-Bey scored on the reverse last week. There are a lot of threats there. Certainly [Le'Veon] Bell is a big one. [DeAngelo] Williams; we've got to be ready for all of these guys. They can all do a lot of damage.

Q: Hi Bill, congratulations on becoming a grandfather. I just want to confirm that Blakely is spelt B-l-a-k-e-l-y?

BB: It is.

Q: Do we have any height, weight or speed measurable to pass along?

BB: 20 inches, seven pounds.

Q: Are there any plans to practice either of your PUP players this week in Dion Lewis and Tre' Jackson?

BB: Probably not this week. Probably not this week.

Q: What have you seen from Barkevious Mingo in his limited playing time defensively that might allow him to expand his role more going forward?

BB: Well, I think that Bark's [Barkevious Mingo] done a good job for us. We've used him more in passing situations. We've faced, as you know Mike [Reiss], with the last three weeks with Buffalo, Cleveland and Cincinnati three very good running teams, three teams that also used, particularly the last two, more big people; multiple tight ends and a fullback and a lot less of the sub-game. Elandon [Roberts] has done a real good job for us there and I think Mingo as we've seen him as kind of more of a fourth-down player going back, if you will, and Elandon a little more of a first-down player going forward. So, they're a lot different players. Their roles are different. Their skills are different but over the course of all four downs they have value from first to fourth, but I think it's in a little bit of the opposite direction if you know what I'm saying.

Q: How do you assess the strength of Pittsburgh's quarterback depth chart?

BB: Well, I mean, you know Landry [Jones] is young but has some experience. Again, any quarterbacks job really is to get the ball to their skill players. I mean that's what all quarterbacks do. They control the game relative to play-calling and possible audibiling and things like that obviously. But their real job is to get the ball to their playmakers and the Steelers have a lot of them. Whether that's Ben Roethlisberger or Landry Jones or whoever it is, that's what those guys do, and so that's the biggest thing we have to do, is defend the Pittsburgh Steelers offense. The quarterback is part of it but the skill players are a big part of it. Again, this is a very experienced group. They really don't have a lot of new players on their roster from the last time we played them. They don't have a lot of rookies. They have guys that are experienced. They have a couple of younger players, but again, those are guys that have been in their system. There must be some, I'm sure based on the number of things that they do, that there is some intricacies and volume to their system. You see a number of players, really on both sides of the ball, but offensively that maybe don't play for a little while and then they become more a part of the offense and they gain experience and so forth. Again, this is a very experienced group, a group that has spent a lot of time together. It's unusual to see this many players carry over from one year to the next on the same side of the ball but really in most cases multiple years. Granted there are a couple of guys that aren't there that have been there, but the guys that are there for the most part have all been there or they're pretty experienced players with other teams in the league. That's what we're going to have to stop, is the entire offense and the very good skill that they have and the very good depth that they have on the offensive line.

Q: The Steelers have been outspoken about being advocates of going for the two-point conversion after touchdowns and have done it a few times this season. Do teams typically have specific play packages set up for those two-point conversions and as a defense does it require you to do more prep work this week against an opponent like that?

BB: It'll definitely require some extra preparation. And again, they've had a lot of success with doing that. I think they did more of it last year but we know they kind of like to do it. They've done it so we've got to be ready for it I'd say more so than an average game. This game there's more of an element of that. I think you've seen a little bit of a shift in the two-point play, so it's a really good question Bob [Socci]. Overall I think there are generally two philosophies on the two-point play. One philosophy would be to run a red area play that you would run with that field position anyways just as if it was fourth-and-goal on the two [yard line], if you will. The other philosophy was to run a play that the defense had never seen before; unusual formations, some type of play, you know, the play that they couldn't possibly be working on because only – and I'd say the Steelers are a team that used to like to do that especially under Coach [Bill] Cowher. They were very successful in doing that in some of their critical situations; put Hines Ward somewhere or run a reverse and throw off of it or things like that. And there wasn't any downside to doing that. I think the issue now is, you know, with that play being a defensive play as well, so an interception or a fumble or something, if the defense got the ball they'd be able to score on that play, so  I think we've seen a little bit less league-wide of kind of the once-a-season type of play in that situation. You see it occasionally but for the most part it looks like the philosophy has gone more towards a red area play. Something that we're good at, something that we've repped a lot that we've seen with multiple looks and we have a lot of confidence in, and the teams are taking more of that type of philosophy towards it. In the past on a two-point play we're always kind of having in mind, and especially to alert the defensive players, there's a good chance you're going to see something you've never seen here before, whatever it is, and either personnel group or formation or a type of play that this team has never run that we can't work on. We have no idea if they're drawing it up themselves. But I'd say that that's become less prevalent in the last couple of years. At least it seems like it has to me. Definitely extra preparation for that situation this week.

Q: Congratulations on becoming a grandfather, Bill. It was reported that there were some issues Sunday with the sideline technology like the headsets and tablets you use. Does that affect the number of plays you guys may be able to call and how does it affect any potential adjustments that you would make over the course of a game?

BB: Yeah, well, first of all thank you for your comment there. As you know Phil [Perry], there are multiple communication systems on the sideline. As you probably noticed, I'm done with the tablets. I've given them as much time as I can give them. They're just too undependable for me. I'm going to stick with pictures as several of our other coaches do as well because there just isn't enough consistency in the performance of the tablets, so I just can't take it anymore. The other communication systems involve the press box to the coaches on the field, and then the coach on the field, the signal caller, or the coach-to-quarterback, coach-to-signal caller system. Those fail on a regular basis. There are very few games that we play, home or away, day, night, cold, hot, preseason, regular season, postseason, it doesn't make any difference; there are very few games where there aren't issues in some form or fashion with that equipment. And again, there's a lot of equipment involved, too. There are headsets in the helmets, there's the belt pack, that communication, there's a hookup or connection to internet service or that process and so forth with the coaches and the press box. So, there are a number of pieces of equipment, there is a number of connections that are on different frequencies. Again, not that I know anything about this but as it has been explained to me there are a lot of things involved and inevitably something goes wrong somewhere at some point in time. I would say weekly we have to deal with something. Dan Famosi is our IT person and he does a great job of handling those things. This is all league equipment so we don't have it. I mean we use it but it isn't like we have the equipment during the week and we can work with it and 'OK, this is a problem. Let's fix this.' That's not how it works. We get the equipment the day of the game, or I'd say not the day of the game but a few hours before the game and we test it and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Usually by game time it is working but I would say not always. And then during the game sometimes something happens and it has to be fixed, and first of all, you have to figure out what the problem is. Is it a battery? Is it the helmet? Is it the coaches' pack? Is it the battery on the coaches' pack? I mean you know, again, it could be one of 15 different things. So, I would just say there are problems in every game. There were problems last week but there were problems the week before that, too. Some are worse than others. Sometimes both teams have them, sometimes one team has them and the other doesn't have them. There's an equity rule that's involved there on certain aspects of the communication system but not on all aspects meaning what happens on one side then the other team has to have the same. If ours are down then theirs has to be down and vice versa, but it's only true in certain aspects of the communication system; not everything. Overall there is a lot of complexity to the technology. There is complexity to multiple systems and there are a lot of failures, and so I know on our end Dan does a great job to fix those as quickly as possible. He has very limited access. I don't know how much urgency there is on the other part from the league standpoint. However much urgency there is for them to have everything right, I don't know, I'm not involved with that. But yeah, it was a problem last week. It's basically a problem every week. The degrees aren't always the same but we're usually dealing with something. But as far as the tablet goes, I mean there was an experiment in a couple of the preseason games. It was one preseason game. We actually had two because it was our home game and Carolina's home game where we had video on the tablets. But for me personally, it's a personal decision, I'm done with the tablets. I'll use the paper pictures from here on because I've given it my best shot. I've tried to work through the process but it just doesn't work for me and that's because there's no consistency to it. Long answer to a short question; sorry.

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