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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript - 12/28/2015

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Monday, December 28, 2015.


Q: How much of the decision of what to do if you win the toss in overtime is predetermined and how much of it is based on the way the game is going?

BB: I'd say the decision is both. You go into the game, you talk about those situations and have a thought on how you want to play it and then as the game unfolds and as you see how it plays out then you might adjust that or you might not, so I'd say it's all part of it. I clearly thought that was our best opportunity, so that's why we did it. I didn't like the way it worked out, but to me that was the right decision for our team at that time. 

Q: Did the way the fourth quarter unfolded weigh more on your decision with the way your defense was playing?

BB: I can't put it in percentages. It's all part of it. But I mean look, the bottom line is field position. With good field position, you don't have to take it as far. If you get a stop, you need a field goal. It was really more of a field position consideration, similar to other overtime games that we've been in, regardless of which way the wind was going. Look at the Denver game from a couple years ago or the Denver game from this year, where we had the ball, got stopped, gave it to them with good field position and they ended up scoring a touchdown, but they didn't have very far to go to get into field goal range. 

Q: The Jets made a number of big pass plays yesterday getting behind your defense. Was that an aberration or do you think that's been a problem all season?

BB: What plays are you talking about that they got behind the defense on? I mean they missed a couple. 

Q: There were three where they got behind the defense but couldn't complete the ball. They also had a number of big plays they made, like the pick play on the final drive of overtime.

BB: That's a two-yard pass. I mean the ball couldn't have been more than two yards past the line of scrimmage. I mean [Brandon] Marshall made a play where he had two guys back there and he pulled through and came underneath and made the play. He wasn't behind us on that play but he made a play down the field. I mean look, you never want to give up big plays. There were a couple situations where the ball was thrown down the field, like there usually are probably – you can probably find one or two of those in every game where the receiver might have a step on a defender and it's a tough throw. Yesterday they didn't hit those, but you never want that to happen. They tried to throw the ball to [Bilal] Powell on the first play of the game on that type of play but I would say the bigger issue is just I'd say the overall consistency with which they moved the ball, whether that was the running game, screen passes and plays like that, and then they did, they hit a couple of chunk plays where they gained a chunk of yardage on one play and defensively you never want that to happen. 

Q: Was there any discussion with your captains on the sideline on which end you preferred to defend?

BB: Yeah, sure. The discussion was that we wanted to kick off number one, but number two, if we didn't win the toss, then we had the preferred direction. Honestly it didn't make any difference. There was almost no wind in the game so that wasn't a big consideration. What I didn't want to do was defend a goal and then have them choose to kick off so we chose to kick off and again I don't know exactly what happened out there at midfield but we obviously didn't have the choice of goals – they did – but we talked about that on the sideline because that could have been our choice had the coin toss gone differently. So yeah, we did talk about that but in the end the direction of the goal – I don't think there was really any wind advantage. If there was it was very minimal and not really worth taking a goal over.

Q: It sounded like you informed the officials before the coin toss that you wanted to kick if you won. Is that correct?

BB: Yeah, absolutely so that there wouldn't be for that exact reason, so there wouldn't be any confusion about what was going on. That's why when I was asked after the game if there was any confusion on the play, I don't think there was any confusion. Then Clete [Blakeman] came over to me after the toss and said 'You got what you wanted here right?' and I said, 'Yeah, exactly'. It seems like much ado about nothing for me. I don't really understand what the issue is. Like what are we talking about here? What should have happened that didn't happen or whatever? I don't know. 

Q: What went into the decision making on the move to shuffle the interior offensive line during the last drive of regulation?

BB: Unfortunately, we had to make a couple of moves there on the offensive line. That's just the way it is sometimes. You just have to do what you have to do.

Q: Do you have any concern of the opponent's ability to convert plays for big yardage over the past few games?

BB: You never want that to happen. That's the first thing defensively that you want to do is prevent big plays, not give it to them all in one chunk. We've just got to do a better job on that. There have been some running plays, there have been some passing plays, there have been some tackling issues. Sometimes we've gotten beat, sometimes we haven't properly played the defensive call or alignment, so it's been a combination of things, none of which we want to happen so we've just got to do a better job of that.

Q: Why did you choose the approach you did on your final possession of the first half?

BB: Well, we hadn't moved the ball a whole lot at that point. I don't even know if we had 100 yards of total offense but it couldn't have been much more than that. Had we broken a play and gotten into decent field position then we would've tried to get close into field goal range, but as it was I think we got the ball on like the 20-yard line or somewhere in that area. We had the ball on our 16-yard line. Throw an incomplete pass, don't get a first down, which again it wasn't like we had had a lot of great success up to that point, giving the ball back – I don't know how smart that would've been. Maybe there's a party out there, a contingent out there that wants to be aggressive like that. Ball on the 16-yard line before the half, give it back to them again – I don't really think that was the right thing to do yesterday.

Q: How would you assess Steven Jackson's comfort level with the offensive scheme and overall performance yesterday?

BB: I thought he ran hard. It wasn't a whole lot of opportunities but the ones he got I thought he ran hard. There weren't really any issues. We'll try to build on that this week. I'm glad he at least got a few carries, got some contact, got back on the football field, so we'll just build on that and see where that takes us this week. It's a start. We're underway so we'll take it from here.

Q: What do you believe was behind the team's offensive struggles on third down yesterday?

BB: Pretty much everything.

Q: What did you see from LaAdrian Waddle in his debut yesterday?

BB: I thought he hung in there pretty well. Unfortunately he wasn't able to finish but that's a tough spot, to go in at left tackle with not a whole lot of preparation and opportunity to really work with the offense, but I thought he hung in there and did a good job – a decent job – and then Cameron Fleming too, when he was in there. We were using Cameron in another role for this game as kind of an extra tight end on some formations even though we didn't get to a lot of those yesterday. Both guys got an opportunity to play. I'm not saying it was perfect by any means, but I thought they both did a credible job of hanging in there against a couple of pretty good players.

Q: What have you seen from recently signed defensive back Troy Hill that made you want to take a closer look at him?

BB: Troy was a good player at Oregon. We watched him in preseason. He played against Cleveland a couple of weeks ago. We just felt like he was a guy we would want to take a look at at that position. One as you know, that we haven't had a tremendous amount of depth at all year so we claimed him. We'll see how it goes but we're looking forward to working with him.

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