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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript

BB: Quick turnaround here with trying to watch the Kansas City game, look at some of the things from the game and then move on to Philadelphia. The Eagles are an outstanding team. [They're] well coached, they're obviously mentally tough - they've hung in through a lot of tough situations. They're a talented team in all three phases of the game; they're very explosive. They've done everything well: run the ball, thrown the ball, defend the run, rush the passer, turned it over, kick returns. We have a lot to get ready for here, a team we haven't played in awhile. We've seen them in preseason but it's not quite the same. [We] have to get it turned around in a short week and get ready for a good football team that does a lot of things. This will be a big challenge for us this week.  

Q: Have you ever coached a player who spikes with such power as Rob Gronkowski does?  

BB: I don't think so. It's like he's drilling for oil. Kind of like [Tom] Brady's spike in the snow game - although that was pretty bad spike when he fell down; knocked the air out of the ball.  

Q: When teams double Wes Welker or put more attention on him, how big of a weapon is Rob Gronkowski and do you think that will make teams think twice about focusing so much on Wes?  

BB: Teams, of course any team we play, we have to be ready for whatever they do. Teams take different approaches to defending us, just like everybody else does - we take different approaches than other teams do to defend them. The bottom line is overall productivity and that's really important - not who it comes from but whether or not your team can produce it - moving the ball, scoring points. Hopefully we can use our different ways offensively to be productive and however that is, that's again not really important, which person is producing, it's more important that the offense as a whole is producing. Everybody has to be ready to go. Everybody expects contributions from everybody. Sometimes it will be more from some groups of guys or one guy than another. Some of that is reflective of opportunity and of course some if it is reflective of performance. The great thing about Gronk is he took a couple of plays that had a few yards to them but turned them into big plays with his ability to break tackles there in the secondary and run through people. The run after the catch was huge in his production last night.  

Q: Can you talk about the ripple effect the defensive line can have on the rest of the defense when it plays well?  

BB: It all starts up front - those guys are involved in every play. It's a lot of plays that some of the people in the secondary or in the perimeter of the defense are less involved in. I'm not saying they're not saying important, I'm not saying that. But the corners are not involved in every play, the outside linebackers not directly involved in every play but every play you have to handle people in the interior part of the defense - middle linebackers, guys like that, they're basically are part of every play. The more they can control their area or their responsibility - it's something that offensively you have to deal with those guys on every single play.  

Q: We just talked to Bill O'Brien and we were talking about how Wes Welker had a quiet night on the stat sheet but he was doing an awful lot of things that helped the team win. What are some of things that stood out for you about Welker's performance that didn't necessarily show up in the box score?  

BB: We grade players in the game based on them doing their assignment right and performing their responsibility on the play properly - that's what they're graded on. Whatever a player is supposed to do - run a route, block somebody, whatever it happens to be - if they do what they're doing properly, that's really all they can do. The opportunities that they get, then you can evaluate those. If those opportunities go to somebody else or the running play, the production is going to show up with the running back, not the guys who are blocking. That's the way it is. Wes, he does a good job for us; has done a good job all year in terms of his route running, his assignments, his blocking - pretty much whatever we ask him to do, we can count on him to do it and perform it well. He's done that consistently; he did it last night.  

Q: Speaking of Wes Welker blocking, it looked like him blocking for Julian Edelman on the punt return for a touchdown. It looked like a different look with Welker standing in the middle of the field as a punt protector for the returner. Is that something you've added?  

BB: No, we've used that from time to time. I don't think that block is going to go down as one of the all-time greats or anything. When you have two-deep, when you have two guys back there instead of one, it gives you the ability to cover the field better, handle short kicks, handle kicks to the side, that the short returner's favoring and keep your deeper guy really deep for the long balls which [Dustin] Colquitt's definitely a long ball punter. It does give you a chance to double the gunner a little differently, instead of having two guys on the line of scrimmage, short and deep, that kind of thing where sometimes he doesn't even have to take the gunner, he can take somebody else who is more dangerous, particularly on the directional punts. I think there are some advantages to it, obviously you give up some things, you might be in a nine man front but we've done that through the years - it's part of our package. We've used it at times; we didn't use it at times.  

Q: One thing that Tom Brady mentioned was that he wanted to get the ball to some of the outside receivers more, whether that's Chad Ochocinco or Deion Branch or Wes Welker. Were the opportunities there and what needs to be better as far as spreading it around a little bit?  

BB: Again, I think, not to speak for Tom, but I think probably what he was referring to was when - to add on to that, when the opportunity presents itself. That's a part of it. We can definitely do a better job of taking advantage of our opportunities all the way across the board - running game, passing game, inside, outside. I think we left some yards on the field, plays that if we executed better, I think we could have made more out of but we didn't. That's something that we have to work on, do a better job of -coaching better, executing better. I think in the end, it really comes down to good execution when we had the opportunities - whether it's inside, outside, running game, whatever it is, that we have our very best execution so that we can have good production on those plays. Again, we didn't do a great job of that consistently in any area. We missed some plays in the running game, we missed some in the passing game, we missed some plays outside.   (On preparing for Michael Vick or Vince Young)  

BB: Again, we have to be ready for every player that's on the roster, even whoever is in the game to start the game we all know that could be a different player on the second or some other play of the game. We'll prepare for all three quarterbacks and maybe later in the week we'll be able to zero in more on one than another. We need to be ready for all of them anyway, especially the two that played the most here - Young and Vick. Both can run, have good scrambling ability, both have real big arms, can throw the ball down the field as far as they need to. Both guys have done the things offensively that you need to do to be productive and win - make decisions, key pass plays on third down in the red area, scramble and get out of trouble, play-action and so forth. I think they're both good - whichever one we get, we get. We'll have to defend based on right-handed, left-handed, but I don't think there is a big play preference for one over the other. I'd say it's minimal at best, that they run their offense and both guys do a good job of it. Both guys have been productive and they have a lot of weapons to utilize and they do a good job of getting them the ball. We'll hopefully be ready for all the players.

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