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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript 12/7

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addressed the media during his conference call on Monday, December 7, 2015.


Q: On the blocked punt, was there a call or adjustment on the line that allowed them to shoot the gap in the line?

BB: No, we just missed it. They had shown the rush before. We just didn't obviously execute the protection well enough. They took advantage of it. Give them credit, they did a good job, but we had seen it multiple times this year the same type of rush and those two in particular, [Chris] Maragos and [Bryan] Braman. We just didn't handle it well.

Q: What were your thoughts on your overall defensive effort? Do you think it kind of got overshadowed by the third-down, red-zone touchdowns?

BB: Yeah, those two, any time you get a third-down play in the red area, you have a chance to save points there, and we weren't able to do that either time defensively. The throw to [Zach] Ertz was a good – the first touchdown was a good throw. We were pretty close to it with Chandler [Jones], Jonathan [Freeny] and then Devin [McCourty], and the ball just got through there. It was tight, but they made the throw and the catch. The second one was on the under route and the coverage was tight off the boot, but we just again couldn't quite make the play. That was a good catch by [Jordan] Matthews. Tight throws and good catches down there, there wasn't a lot of space and it wasn't like they were wide open, but we couldn't make those plays and that was disappointing. I would say we were close, we just couldn't make them.

Q: Did those overshadow the overall defensive effort of the team?

BB: No, I thought we played competitively on defense. We all would have liked to have been able to make those third-down stops in the red area or there were a handful of other plays that we could have played better, too, that all would have helped us, but we didn't, so it is what it is.

Q: What did you see out of Jamie Collins yesterday? Was it a play-it-as-it-goes thing in terms of how much he would play?

BB: No, Jamie had a pretty good week of practice, so he didn't play all the plays, but he played a good chunk of them. So that was a little bit of a feedback from him as to how he was doing, but he was doing fine. When you play a team like Philadelphia that runs the up-tempo and that type of thing, you've got to be, I think you have to have a little bit of awareness for that. But I thought he competed well, obviously the big play he made at the end of the game to get us the ball back. I'm sure that with another week of practice and another week of being out there that it will continue to improve, but he worked hard to get back and I'm glad we had him yesterday.

Q: On the third-and-three play where pass interference was called, it looked like Jamie Collins tipped the ball and he was signaling he did but he was on the other side of the field. In hindsight, is there anything you could or would have done differently on that play?

BB: Yeah, you know it's a close play. I'm not sure when the interference was called. It might have been called before – I mean I know it's when the ball is in the air but it's kind of a close play there on when Malcolm [Butler] contacts the receiver and when the ball is thrown, so it's a close play.

Q: With that kind of a play, would you have given a player like Jamie the leeway to call a timeout or do something to stop play?

BB: We always like to have input from the players. That was a tough one just logistically. He was all the way on the other side of the field, and you're right, I didn't get a real good look at it. I didn't really notice that the ball was tipped until really the penalty had already been thrown and it was pretty late ... With it not being front of me, I'm not sure that I really saw the play. I definitely didn't see the play as well yesterday as when I saw it today, but the ball was definitely tipped. But with the ruling in terms of when the call, when those two, whether it was simultaneous or not, I'm not sure.

Q: I think the only guy who knew was probably Jamie.

BB: Yeah, but he couldn't see what was going on behind him. I'd say Malcolm contacts the receiver right as the ball is about to leave the quarterback's hands and then it leaves it and then Jamie tips it and the flag comes out pretty early, so whether that was before Jamie touched it, I'm not sure.

Q: On Tom Brady's second interception, he said today he wanted to get the ball out of bounds. What is he instructed to do when he is trying to throw the ball away? Is he supposed to throw it to the sidelines or out the back of the end zone? What is the thought process there?

BB: I mean obviously Tom had the ball in his hand, so I don't think anybody can explain it better than he can. What he said, I'm sure that's what he was trying to do. He just didn't quite get it far enough.

Q: On the pick-six it looked like Danny Amendola might have got hit before the ball arrived. What did you see on that play?

BB: Yeah, that's another close one. I mean it's a close one. The ball is low. It's a bang-bang play. I don't know. Probably however it gets called, that's probably what it is. It's pretty close. The coverage is tight, there is definitely contact there. It's tight.

Q: You mentioned last night that the drop kick is similar to a mortar kick that a team might use. What is the philosophy of doing a kick like that? How much of it is trying to prevent a return versus trying to cause a loose ball or fumble and recover it?

BB: Kickoff return, it's a play that takes an element of timing because you never know exactly where the ball is going to go, how much hang time it's going to have and then judging the speed of the guys who are covering and so forth, so you try to set up a return so it has that element of timing in it based on the normal kick that the kicker makes – the average length and height and so forth based on the conditions. A lot of times when teams have six guys up on the line of scrimmage like Philadelphia did, like we usually do, a lot of teams do that, then that leaves five players to cover the field and there is quite a bit of space back there so if the ball gets into that space it's hard to set up a return and it's possible that it could roll around or not be handled and you can make a play on it. But it definitely puts pressure on the return team to handle that ball and get a good organized return. Like I said, the one they hit to us, I think it was the same kind of a play. They hit it a little bit deeper so Keshawn [Martin] got to it but we weren't able to make the blocking adjustment quick enough so it really wasn't a very good return on our part. But I think that's kind of the idea of that type of play is to disrupt the timing, put the ball in a location that's not easy to handle and put the pressure on your opponents to be able to make the right decision adjust the blocking, handle the ball and so forth. I think the concept of that play is a lot different than the true onside kick where you kick the ball 10 yards. To me, it's a totally different play.

Q: At that point, they hadn't crossed the 50-yard line. Did you give any thought that if it wasn't successful, that would give them good field position?

BB: Well I mean sure, if you knew for sure that at the end of the play that's where the ball was going to end up and that's what it would be, then yeah, of course it's 100 percent obvious to say, 'Yeah let's do something else.' If the ball hits the ground and rolls around back there and you recover it then that's something else. Or if it rolls back there and they get it on the 20-yard line it's one less play that [Josh] Huff has to return. So yeah, I mean look it's easy to sit here when you know the outcome of the play and say, 'Well yeah, we could have done something else.' Sure, yeah, no question.

Q: Towards the end of the second quarter right before halftime, what was your thinking as to how you handled that drive? Initially, were you trying to be aggressive and score points or were you thinking about possibly running out the clock and going into halftime up seven points?

BB: Yeah, we could have definitely ... There was a point there where we could have kneeled on the ball. The ball was right around the 40-yard line I think, we have a good field goal kicker, there was 20-some seconds to go, whatever it was, after we ran the ball to James White, then it was a third-and-short play, so there was still time enough at that point to ... We've moved the ball into field goal range in a lot less time than that in the past, so that was obviously what we were trying do. If we didn't want to attempt that then we could have just kneeled on the ball and ended the half, but we were trying to move the ball and get into range where we had a chance to throw a pass, if we picked up the first down that it would give us an opportunity to throw a pass to get into field goal range. We still had a timeout left at that point.


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