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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript 11/6

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Sunday, November 6, 2016.

[wysifield-embeddedaudio|eid="492411"|type="embeddedaudio"|view_mode="full"]Q: What has impressed you about Barkevious Mingo since you acquired him in the beginning of the season?

BB: [Barkevious] Mingo has worked hard since he's been here. I've been impressed with his work ethic, his desire to learn. Our system is a little bit different than what he's been used to, but that hasn't really stopped him from really trying to embrace what we've asked him to do and work hard at it. He has experience on defense and in the kicking game. He's been a good contributor for us on special teams, and to some degree on defense. Hopefully, he'll continue to contribute in both areas for us.

Q: Do you measure your steps with a player who is learning a new system in terms of not putting him in positions to not succeed whereas maybe earlier in the year you would be able to do that?

BB: I think each guy is different. It's really hard to predict how it's going to go with any player. I think you just take it as it comes. You give them the information and then you move them along and see how quickly he adapts to the new assignments, the new techniques, and just the way he's able to handle the assignments that he's given. Again, each player is different so with a player like Barkevious [Mingo], you have a situation where he has a lot of special teams responsibilities, so if we brought in, let's say an offensive lineman, or a defensive lineman, that may not – it depends on the positon and the guy. He may not have that big a responsibility in the kicking game, so it's just really depends on the individual player and how quickly he's able to acclimate himself to the new situation. I don't think there's any set mind frame or you try to go fast, you try to hold back. I think you just kind of take it as it comes.

Q: What is your assessment of the run game at this point in the season and how might you look to diversify it going forward in the second half of the season?

BB: Well, as you know, the running game, like a lot of the things in our system, is a little bit week-to-week. We try to put together a game plan every week to do the best we can to move the ball and score points offensively. Sometimes that's more of some things than another, then it could change the following week based on the team that we play, where we're at, the type of game plan we have, and so forth. What I hope for is that everything that we do offensively is productive, that it complements what else we do, so that if when go out there and they're stopping one thing, hopefully that opens something up or somebody else, or another play, so we can stay balanced and be able to take advantage of those things and be productive. However that comes, then great. When we have our opportunities to run the ball, then hopefully, we'll be productive with those. Whether that's – sometimes, getting a yard is being productive if that's what you need. Sometimes, it's getting a lot more than that on early downs and those types of situations, so it just really depends on the individual play in terms of whatever goal and what the success rate is. In the end, we need all areas of our offense to be productive.

Q: Have you seen any advancement or development in LeGarrette Blount's career from when he was a younger runner?

BB: I think since we've had him, his running style has been pretty consistent. What we see now is I think what we saw when we got him from Tampa.

Q: What type of growth have you noticed from Malcolm Butler both on and off the field since he first signed with the team?

BB: Well, Malcolm [Butler] has grown quite a bit. Certainly, the move from West Alabama or Mississippi where he grew up to this area, that's a pretty big jump right there just in terms of making adjustments, living style, transition and all of that. I think that's part of it, just going from a college situation and that level of competition to a professional level; the daily demands of the National Football League. Any player has to make that transition. Malcolm has definitely made that, and then having a life outside of football off the field, managing time, managing your personal living situations and so forth, that's something all players go through. I think he's followed that on kind of a natural progression, about what you would expect. It's something that we all continually work with and I think Malcolm has certainly made that adjustment, and continues to make it, really. 

Q: What have you observed from Malcolm Butler as far as how he has stayed true to himself or changed since he went from being not as widely recognized in 2014 to being very recognizable after his Super Bowl play?

BB: I think Malcolm [Butler] is pretty humble overall. I think that's one of the things that [is endearing] to his teammates and all the people around him. He's confident, he works hard, he loves to compete, but at the same time he is humble about his success and the notoriety that he's received, not for one play, but also as he's established himself as a solid NFL corner. He still, I think, does a good job of staying humble and keeping things in perspective the right way.

Q: Will you watch the Seahawks on television tomorrow night, or is it more beneficial to just wait for the All-22 to come out?

BB: It will definitely be more beneficial to see the coaches' copy on it, but this is kind of a unique situation. We're pretty far ahead on Seattle. We've had a chance to work on them all week. We've done all their games up through the Saints game, so there's no more to do, and there won't be any more to do until Monday night. I think Monday night will be a good opportunity to kind of take a look at the game against Buffalo with a little bit of a blank slate. Buffalo is a team that we know well from just having played against them and being a division team, so I think when we see what Seattle is doing, we'll be able to figure out why they're doing what they're doing against Buffalo, what they perceive as an area to attack or what type of game plan to utilize. I think it will be interesting to watch it in reverse – to watch Buffalo, a team that we know well, attack Seattle. We're a different team than Buffalo, but still, there are certain things that carry over so we'll be able to watch how they attack Seattle and kind of do it on a timely basis as opposed to going back and looking at it after the fact. We'll sort of watch it unfold and picture plays or situations, plays and calls that we've talked about making in certain situations, and then when those situations come up, see how it would hypothetically match up against Seattle, as a I said, on kind of a timely basis, rather than when the game's over and you already know what happened. This is a little bit of a different chance to do it. As I said, I think that makes it a little bit interesting, so yes, we'll watch the game.

Q: Are there any changes from last year you can attribute to the improvements in players' health this season and having more guys available?

BB: Well, we're halfway through the season and at this point, you can look at the numbers, I'm sure you have, relative to where we were a year ago, and see there is a significant improvement. Hopefully we will be able to maintain that through the second half of the season when we ran into some trouble last year. I think we've always worked hard. We've tried every year to work a little bit harder, try to do things a little bit better, and hopefully some of those little things are paying off. I know the players work extremely hard on their training as well as their nutrition, hydration, rest, recovery, all the things that go into performance. We're always looking to fine tune those for each individual because they're all different. We all have different makeups and different little things that can help different players in unique ways, so always trying to stay on top of that. I think our staff has done a good job and the players have done a good job, so hopefully we'll be able to continue that over the next eight regular season games. I'd say it's really been a lot different this year in terms of – looking back over last year, many of the inactives that we had, there was really no decision to make. They just weren't available, so they were inactive. This year, we've had very few of those situations. The majority of our inactives every week are based on having to select the players that we think will be able to contribute the most to the upcoming game. There are usually, three, four or five guys on the inactive list that, if they were at the game, they would play and they would help us, but we can't have them. In previous years, a lot of those players were just out of the game, couldn't play, so there was really no consideration. There wasn't really a lot to dispute on. The decision was minimal, whereas this year, that really hasn't been the case. The seven inactives, maybe five, six of them, whatever the number is, whatever it averages out to be, are guys that could play, would help us, and then it's just this player versus another player, which player has the most value for that game. It's actually a good problem, a good conversation to have, a good situation to be in, but it's a lot different than – going back through my notes, especially in games we played last year. You kind of look at where you were last year in that game and we've fortunately been in a different place in many of these games this year. We'll see if that continues, hopefully it will.

Q: Some of that has to be attributed to good fortunate, but is there anything you've done differently you can also point to?

BB: I'm sure you're right about the breaks of the game, if you will, the good fortune, but I think when you look at it over a longer view – five years, 10 years, 15 years, probably somewhere along the line there, there was a little more to it than that. Not saying that isn't part of it, it always probably is, but I'd say the thing we try to concentrate the most on are the injuries that we feel are most preventable and those being predominantly soft tissue injuries that are a function of training and hydration and nutrition, rest, and things like that. A broken bone or an impact hit that causes a problem, it's hard to prevent those. Some of those are going to happen, although I do think there is an element of training that comes into play there, too. But non-contact injuries, injuries that occur from, again, pulled muscle, from dehydration or fatigue or whatever happens, those are the ones that I think as a coach and as a staff you look back on and say, 'Could we have done things differently there?' So yes, some of that involves the individual player, his specific body composition and skill set and demands, and some of it is probably the training that we put him through and so forth, and how we best prepare the players for the workloads that they're going to have on game day. It's a long conversation and one that we've spent a lot of time on.

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