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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript 11/1

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Sunday, November 1, 2015.

[wysifield-embeddedaudio|eid="377156"|type="embeddedaudio"|view_mode="full"]Q: What traits does Dewey McDonald have that make you want to work with him? What discussions have you had with the trade deadline approaching?

BB: First of all on the trade thing, that's a tough one. Teams are involved with games here, yesterday, today, so even though we had a little time, I'd say teams have their rosters set for this game and probably wouldn't want to do something, maybe a disruptive move at the end of the week. I don't really think there's not too much talk going on in the league. We'll see what happens next week. McDonald is a guy we played against last year, young player who has some ability and has a little bit of experience in the league, so we'll see what happens. We've never worked with him before, so we'll have to see how it all fits in, but we'll put him out there and see how it goes.

Q: How does the defensive line play into the rushing of your inside linebackers? Is there coordination between those two units?

BB: Yeah, there definitely is, and that takes a lot of communication. When you bring players inside or especially when you walk them up into the line, you never really know how the offense is going to block it. Sometimes they take it from the second level with the back picking up one of those guys and then sometimes they push all the linemen down and put the back on the end of the line, so you can just kind of get a wall of bodies in there or possibly be able to penetrate it. And then we get up there, sometimes we come, sometimes we don't. We fake that one way or another, but there is definitely a lot of communication there and being able to not only get it right, but then get it right depending on a couple of different looks from the offense including running plays, we have to be able to fit our gap responsibilities based on different blocking schemes and so forth. When we're coming up inside, that changes things a little bit. There is definitely a lot of communication, and one of those things that probably the more you do it the better feel the players get for it because it's a little bit different. You can talk about it and you can walk through it and all that, but it's a little bit different when it happens on the field. It's definitely important for us to get everybody on the same page on that against a variety of different things the offense can do. It's not like it's just going to be one or two plays. We have to get it worked out against everything.

Q: What are your thoughts on Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower in that regard?
BB: They do a good job. No, I'm not talking about them. It's pretty easy, whoever the guy is blitzing, he just hits the gap and goes. That's really the easy part of it. It's getting everything else coordinated with everybody else. If you're a defensive tackle, you're used to seeing certain blocking schemes, but now if you blitz a guy up the middle, that blocking scheme might vary a little bit because of the linebacker that's trying to penetrate the middle of offense. But that's being caused by something. It's not something maybe the defensive lineman would normally see or would expect to see because that doesn't usually happen. But when it does, now that changes his read a little bit. Again, it changes the blocking or the offensive assignments on the play. The more experienced the players get with seeing how those changes occur and then what they should do against them, it's just part of the whole learning progression.

Q: With the Redskins on a bye this week, how beneficial is that for your preparation that you have all the tape already? It seems like a stark contrast to last week, when you had minimal time to prepare for the Dolphins.

BB: I think that's a good way to characterize it. Normally if a team was playing today, you'd have to break down the film on Monday and put it into the scouting report and get whatever injuries or anything like that that occurred in the game and start to try to factor that in. We're not really expecting any new information on the Redskins. We have everything that we had for them based on the last game last week against Tampa. We were finished with them really early last week with the people on our staff that kind of do the prep work on that. After the game, by Friday, certainly by yesterday, I think all of us were fully caught up on Washington as far as looking at what we already have and normally that wouldn't happen until Monday night. It's an unusual situation from a preparation standpoint, but it gives us a little more time to take the information we have and try to put together the best plan we can for the players, knowing that they have some extra time. We'll have some changes that we'll have to adjust in the game and all that. That's the way it always is, but from our planning standpoint, it gives us a little more time to get organized on that and figure out what we're going to do. It's unusual. Usually you don't get this.

Q: It's a nice spot to be in, I would think.

BB: It's the same for them. It's the same thing. They could have a bye, we could be playing on Sunday, and they could still be having some new information to deal with on Monday. We played on Thursday so they saw what it was, they saw whatever things we did in that game, they've seen them, they can start preparing for them. I think it washes out, pretty close to washes out anyway.

Q: Is this linebacker group as good as you've had?

BB: We have a good group. I'm not taking anything away from these guys. When you look back at that Giants group, first of all, two of those guys were in the Hall of Fame – [Harry] Carson and [Lawrence] Taylor. [Carl] Banks probably would be knocking on the door there, too, if he wasn't playing with those other guys. Pepper [Johnson] was one of the best linebackers in the league during his career. That's a pretty high bar right there. I'm not sure any linebacker group would really … It'd be hard for many to match that. I doubt there'd be many above it. That's a pretty special group there. Honestly we had some good backup players, too – Robbie Jones, Andy Headen, Byron Hunt – guys like that – Gary Reasons. Be that as it may, this is a good group. We have good depth, we have good talent. These guys can do a lot of different things. They can play the run, they can rush the passer, they can play in coverage. Jamie and High in particular have a lot of range back there in pass coverage. Those guys that are 6-3, 6-4 in the passing lanes, are a lot more disruptive, and it's just harder for the quarterback to throw around or throw over or wherever. They give us a lot of versatility there. They can play at the end of the line, they can play inside, they can play off the ball, on the ball, good tackler, good coverage players. We're very fortunate. We've invested a lot in that group with Jerod [Mayo] and Hightower being first-round picks and Collins being a second-round pick. [Jonathan] Freeny is another guy who has a lot of length in there, too, is a big, physical player. [Jonathan] Bostic adds to that group as well. They can do a lot of different things. It gives us our defense some versatility, we try to take advantage of it.

Q: With reports coming out that the Jets asked three of your employees to be interviewed and searched and also asked their locker room to be swept for bugs, does it bother you that these issues still haven't gone away?

BB: Those are really league matters. I think you should talk to the league about that. We don't have anything to do with any of those things. I'm going to try to focus on what my job is and coach the team and get them ready to play. All the rest of that comes under a whole different, something I'm not really a part of.

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