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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript 11/28

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Monday, November 28, 2016.


Q: On Malcolm Butler's forced fumble how much of that was a result of coaching versus just pure instinct and reacting to the play?

BB: Well, we work on turnovers every day. We work on getting the ball off of runners or receivers and different angles and so forth, so they have basic fundamentals that we coach. Each play is different. Each situation is different; which hand the runner has the ball in and where we're positioned and so forth. We talk about it. We emphasize it. We have drills to work on but each situation is different and it was a great awareness play by Malcolm [Butler] to be able to quickly get his hand in there and literally punch the ball out while it was just a little bit away from [Robby] Anderson's body. It was a very instinctive play with a very quick reaction by Malcolm to take advantage of a brief opportunity. It is something that we coach but I can't say that we've been in that situation or every situation like that. The situation Chris [Long] was in was another situation we practice every week and I'd say that was a little more of a text book case. It's awareness and it's the player's judgment and ability to create pressure on the ball.

Q: Is there a benefit to the team or the coaching staff from being in close games down the stretch and proving that you can finish games strong?

BB: Well, it's hard to win in this league. I don't agree with the way you look at it. It's hard to answer. Whatever situation we have we compete in. We compete the best we can for 60 minutes every game. Some situations, I mean, we obviously have some control over all of it but whatever it is, it is. We try to do the best that we can with it.

Q: Have you learned anything new about your team from these last two games that you didn't know before?

BB: Every week is a learning experience for our team and every week is different. Whatever happened against the Jets, it isn't really going to have a lot of application against the Rams because they have different schemes, they have different players, and even though the situation may be similar or may be something we've worked on there might be certain coaching points within that situation that are relevant. The actual execution of the plays will have a different - it'll just matchup differently because it's a different team. I don't think anything happened yesterday that we haven't worked on before. We've run two-point plays before. We've blocked field goals, kicked field goals. We've done all of those things before. It's not like it's never happened before. When we get a chance to do it we try to execute what we've practiced. When it will come up again, or if it will come up again, I don't know, but when it does it will be important. It probably won't be the same. I mean, it definitely won't be the same cause it'll be a different team, might be a different play. But again, some of the fundamentals of the situation will be relevant, but the play itself will be different.

Q: What goes into the decision to use the double-pass at this point of the season as opposed to perhaps saving it like you did back in the 2014 Divisional playoff game?

BB: Well, I think you're always looking for plays that complement other plays. So if you do something in this league you can't just keep doing it all the time. I mean, other teams are too good and they're too well-coached. You've got to have something that comes off of it. I think there's an element to that in most of the plays that we run. Whatever we run there is a complimentary play somewhere that's either a different run from the same formation or a different pass from the same formation or plays that kind of look alike but they're really trying to attack different parts of the defense. I think that's a very important part of an offensive or a defensive system, or special teams system for that matter to have those complementary plays. As far as saving it, I'm not really sure what that means. We're trying to go out there and win a game. If you don't win any games then what are you saving it for? You better find a way to win some games or you'd just be saving it for some other organization that you're coaching for.

Q: What did Chris Long do well on that strip-sack that he had?

BB: Well, we were in a three-man rush. He kind of went right into [Ben] Ijalana and made him sit down on I guess I would say a power rush type of move. He was able to knock his hands off of him and make a tight edge past the tackle and the quarterback so he didn't get pushed wide or up the field. He went right into him and then cleared him pretty quickly as opposed to just running up the field and running around and taking a longer route. His route was pretty direct. He never really, if I remember the play right, I don't think he ever really hit [Ryan] Fitzpatrick. He just kind of reached for the ball and as Fitzpatrick was throwing it he knocked it out. It wasn't one of those plays where the quarterback gets tackled and hit at the same time. I don't even think Fitzpatrick went down on the play. But as he was going to throw the ball Chris [Long] just extended with his right arm and got him. It was a good, tight path to the quarterback. As I said, we were in a three-man rush. They doubled the other two rushers so they had two on [Trey] Flowers and they had two on [Jabaal] Sheard and Chris got the corner on them, got position on them.

Q: What did you think of Malcolm Butler's performance yesterday?

BB: Well, I think Malcolm [Butler] competed hard, as he always does. Look, we're going to play against good receivers and good quarterbacks every week. That's what the National Football League is. The quarterbacks in this league make good throws. The receivers make good catches. We don't play any teams that can't throw the ball and can't catch it and can't execute at a high level. They're just not on our schedule but we've got to be ready to defend. Technique-wise there are always things that you can do a little bit better. Certainly the Jets made some good plays offensively but that's what it'll be this week, too. [Kenny] Britt will make them. [Tavon] Austin will make them. The Rams have a lot of guys that will make them too, and so does everybody else. There's things we're just going to have to work on but I thought Malcolm competed hard, which he always does, and tackled and was competitive on a lot of those plays and close. They made some and he made some.

Q: What did you think of the performance of both Malcom Brown and Alan Branch on the defensive line? Also, what did you see on the blocked field goal from Alan Branch?

BB: Well, the blocked field goal - I think it was a combination of good surge inside from not just Alan [Branch] but the whole interior part of the rush, and then it was a long kick. I think it was about 53, 54 yards. So he and Malcom Brown were both lined up on the guard. I think that was [Brian] Winters. So they kind of both moved him back a little bit with some penetration and [Vincent] Valentine coming from the other side. Alan got his hand up. Again, it was a long kick. The ball was driven a little bit to get that distance on it. Alan's tall, has long arms, and got up there. I'd say that's not an uncommon play on a kick like that. If you can get a little penetration and get your hands up and if the kicker drives the ball you've got a shot at it. Defensively I thought we played the run [well] kind of I'd say after the first quarter. We got split a couple of times in the first quarter but not a lot. There were a couple. But overall I thought we played the run with a little less space, a little more tightly kind of in the last three quarters. Malcom and Alan did a good job in there against good backs and a team that really tries to stretch the inside part of the defense with that. We call it a flash play, where the line all blocks in one direction and then the tight end or [Quincy] Enunwa, whoever it was, comes back the other way or they run some kind of boot-action to hold the backside. They really try to stretch the middle of the defense and put a lot of pressure on those defensive tackles and inside linebackers. I thought Alan and Malcom did a good job of defeating some blockers and being able to get off of them and making tackles on good backs - [Matt] Forte's a good back - and without a whole lot of help. It wasn't like we were stunting them a lot or that kind of thing. They just did a good job of, again, defeating blocks and getting off the block and be able to make the tackle. I'd say that improved definitely as the game went on. It was important for us yesterday.

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