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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Tuesday, November 15, 2011.

BB: We dove into the pool here on Kansas City all day yesterday and a little bit here this morning. I think they're an impressive team; they do a lot of things well, as I would expect from many of the people that I know there - starting with Scott [Pioli], Todd [Haley], Romeo [Crennel], Bill Muir and so forth, many other people that I've worked with or coached. They're well coached, they're tough, they're a disciplined football team. They really do a good job of doing what they do, not making a lot of big mistakes, not making a lot of plays that just give the other team opportunities. You have to really go out there and execute well and earn it. They're a team that won their division last year; they've played some real good football. Kind of got off to a little bit of a slow start, then they played some real good football, then it hasn't quite gone for them the last couple weeks like they've wanted to. We know what they're capable of and they have a lot of good football players in all three phases of the game. They're an explosive team with an outstanding pass rusher in [Tamba] Hali and an outstanding coverage player in [Brandon] Flowers, good speed at linebacker, big play receiver in [Dwayne] Bowe, strong running game with [Jackie] Battle, [Thomas] Jones, [Dexter] McCluster, whoever they try to use, McCluster in the return game. They do a lot of things. They have a lot of good players, they do a lot of things well. It's a team we don't know very well so we're really going to have to do a good job with our preparation in making sure that we find out a lot about these guys in a hurry which is what we're trying to do now.  

Q: How have you seen Matt Cassel grow and evolve as a quarterback since he left you guys after 2008?  

BB: Matt's a real good - he's doing a lot of the same things he did for us in 2008. I watched him last year, getting ready for the offseason as we looked at our new opponents - we hadn't played Kansas City. Matt's doing what he did for us in 2008 and that's win games. He made plays with his feet, he could run, scramble, real good arm, threw the deep ball well, made a lot of big plays with [Dwayne] Bowe, managed the team well, made good decisions.  Smart player. They check some plays at the line of scrimmage based on different looks and so forth. Obviously he can handle that well. I think he played about the way he played in here in 2008 and has built on it, improved on it in all the areas.  

Q: What do you know about Tyler Palko?  

BB: He's a player we have to do some work on and spend more time watching him. We of course haven't seen a lot of him in regular season game film. We can go back to preseason. I'd say an athletic player, quick release, can move around back there in the pocket, left-handed, and sees the field pretty well. I think they have a lot of confidence in him. He played ahead of [Ricky] Stanzi this year in preseason and I know Stanzi is a guy they drafted. There's a lot to like about him too, so we'll have to be ready for both those guys. Obviously he played well enough to move into that second spot. Again, we all know from the 2008 season here and many other examples of teams we played against. Everybody wrote us off in 2008 when we lost Tom [Brady] and Matt [Cassel] led us to 11 wins. We're playing against a football team, not just one player. We know that whoever they have in there, whether it's Palko, Stanzi or whoever it is, that we're going to have to play a good football team. Again, this is a team that won their division last year. They have good coaches, they're well coached, they're disciplined [and] they have good depth.  

Q: When you have limited film on a quarterback, what other avenues can you utilize to get a gauge on his tendencies?  

BB: That's really all we can do and that's what we have to do - we have to look at the film that we have available. Fortunately we have plenty of film available with him in their offense. It's hard sometimes when you see a player and the only film you have on him is when he's with another team, running another offense and now you're trying to project that skill set into an offense that doesn't match up with the player, but in this case it does. I think any coach that loses a starting quarterback, when you bring in whoever the other quarterback is, you certainly want to play to that player's strengths to a degree but at the same time you can't have two different offenses - one for this guy and one for that guy. It's impossible, you can't do that. Obviously to keep the consistency there for the other ten players who are all good players and are playing well, there has to be some carryover for them. Then the quarterback does what the offense requires him to do and you make some modifications for him because of his skill set, but you just can't change everything that you do because one guy steps onto the field or it kills the other 10 guys.  

Q: Do you see signs or earmarks of this being a Scott Pioli-made team?  

BB: I don't really know. What does that mean?  

Q: How it's constructed, how they play, what their image is like. He helped you build a number of Patriots teams. Do you see signs or similarities with this Chiefs team?  

BB: That's a tough question. I'm not really sure how to answer that. They've obviously added players in the last three drafts so they have some younger players on the team along with some of the guys who are already there. Todd Haley, I coached with him at the Jets and many of the other people that are on that staff, I've worked with before, whether it be Romeo [Crennel], Anthony Pleasant on the defensive side of the ball and Otis [Smith] obviously or Maurice [Carthon], Richie Anderson, Bill Muir on the offensive side of the ball along with Todd Haley, Scott. I mean, I think it's a mixture of all those things. There are certainly some similarities to some of the things that were at the Jets in the '97, '98, '99 years [when] many of us were together. I think there are some things that maybe you could relate to the Patriots. Romeo and I go way back to the Giants. There's probably some things you could… even the 3-4 defense and some of the things they do defensively and some of the players that they have, again going back to, whether it's Maurice Carthon or Otis Smith or Anthony Pleasant, we were all together with the Jets at one time. There's a lot of intertwining there and certainly Scott as the top guy in the organization and has implemented his philosophy, but again, that's sort of, I think all those people probably have a high degree of that philosophy together and sure you see all that in the team.  

Q: By our calculations, you've reached a deadline with Marcus Cannon. Have you reached a decision on activating or not with him?  

BB: Yeah, I would expect that by 4:00 we will make that decision and bring Marcus onto the roster. We don't have anything to announce right now.  

Q: You're going to announce he's on the roster?  

BB: We don't have anything to announce right now but by 4:00 we will have to make that decision and I would expect him to be on the roster, yeah.  

Q: We know Sebastian Vollmer has been battling his back injury throughout the season. In his time he's been able to play these past few games, how have you seen him get acclimated within the game and is he progressing like you would like?  

BB: Yeah, I think Sebastian has done a good job for us. He's gotten a lot of reps since the bye week. It seems like he kind of turned the corner. I mean he was improving steadily, but it looked like he was finally able to turn the corner there around the bye week and after the bye week. It's good to have him out there. He's certainly a good player, one of our best players. He's a physical player, he's long, he really does most everything well on the field. It's good to have him back out there. It certainly makes us a better football team now that he's back on the field. Not that Nate [Solder], I'm not saying that as any commentary about Nate because Nate's done a good job for us too, I'm saying having another good football player and at times all three of them are out there with Nate, Matt [Light] and Sebastian, that's good too.  

Q: How close is Dane Fletcher to getting back?  

BB: He's coming along. He's definitely getting there. Each day, he seems more upbeat and more positive on the results and how he's coming and what he's able to do. We'll just keep taking it day-by-day but he's making good progress.  

Q: Any updates on Devin McCourty?  

BB: No.  

Q: One player that was a long-time Chief that you've added to your team, Brian Waters, what has he meant to your team and to your offensive line thus far?  

BB: Brian has come in and really done an outstanding job for us. We got him, it was right at the beginning of the season, he certainly had to make a big adjustment from not being here in training camp. Fortunately, I think a lot of the terminology and things like that, there was some carryover. I'm not saying it was the same but there was definitely some carryover for him in helping him to learn the system. He's really worked hard, just doing everything that you would want a player to do. He's worked hard in studying his plays and being in his notebook and watching film and asking questions. He's very well prepared. He's a true professional and he really works hard at his job. He takes a lot of pride in it. Studies all the details and he's been very good with helping, like when Donald Thomas came onto the roster after him, working together with him and teaching him things, studying together, things like that. From that standpoint, he's been great. He's worked hard to get into football condition. He's played a lot of football for us. I think he showed a lot of toughness there in the Jets game where he got rolled up on the second play of the game, came out and kind of taped back up and went back in and played well.  He's added a lot to our line and our entire football team and he's earned everyone's respect here. He's tough, he's a good football player. He's really made some outstanding plays, just individual plays that you don't see many other players at that position make. He's a high-quality player, he's a high-quality individual. Very unselfish, team-oriented, really tries to do things the way that the group's [doing]. He's an unselfish player and a very good player. He's been a great addition to the team. We're really lucky to be able to add, especially at the time, the fact that he was available at the time that we did it at the end of training camp. Made the switch from left guard to right guard, hadn't really played right guard. He was a defensive lineman coming out of college and moved to left guard and played left guard his whole career over there. I don't think he's taken one snap at [left] guard the whole time he's been here. I know a guard is a guard but left guard, right guard, switching footwork and everything else. Everything we've asked him to do, he's done everything that he possibly could do to try to do it and I can't say enough about that.  

Q: He's a Pro Bowl player, but is it possible he's even exceeded your expectations?  

BB: We expected he would play well and he has. It's just a question of - I would say the biggest thing with Brian, not how well he's playing and how good he because he's a good player, it's just how quickly he was able to get acclimated to everything, to our system, the way we call plays and do things and make adjustments in the offensive line. Every offensive line is kind of in their own little world, just the way that those five people interact in their calls and communications and knowing where the guy beside you is, passing games and blitzes and things like that. No matter how long you've played, working with those guys as closely as they work together on a play-by-play basis, I'd say it's come together more quickly than I really think we as a staff realistically expected that it would. He's had really no problems at all adjusting and making the transition. That's not only changing positions but coming onto a pretty veteran line. 

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