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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, December 6, 2011.

BB: [We're] getting familiar with a team here, the Redskins, that we don't know very well but we have some background with some of their coaches. Of course Coach [Mike] Shanahan does an excellent job offensively. He creates a lot of problems for the defense in terms of formationing and utilization of personnel. He forces the defense to make a lot of adjustments that you don't normally make. It changes a lot from week to week. Defensively, same thing. They have a lot of different schemes that are a problem and they give you a bunch of different looks. It starts with them and of course there are a lot of good players there in all three phases of the game. They have a good secondary, some guys that can really rush the passer, an outstanding returner in [Brandon] Banks, coverage player in [DeAngelo] Hall. Offensively, a solid offensive line and a good group of skill players, [Roy] Helu is really doing a good job of running the ball. Their running game is a great team running game. Their play action running game all ties in with it. He's averaging almost five yard a carry. They're really solid across the board. They've lost a couple of tough games, like last week against the Jets, Dallas in overtime, twice on a last minute field goal, [they] lost to them. It's a good football team that's had a couple of tough breaks but overall, they're impressive to watch.  

Q: They were able to run the ball pretty effectively early against the Jets. What are you seeing from their running back and the scheme in general?  

BB: It's Mike's usual running game. They love the stretch play and they run some other plays to complement that and they run all the play actions that go with it. Not really conventional but conventional play action passes with over routes and crossing routes and some outside routes and the bootlegs.  It all ties in together and when you're worried about one thing and they do something else. Then you're worried about that thing and they come back. [Roy] Helu is a good downhill runner. He's strong, he's got good quickness. He gets into the runs quickly, makes his cut, he's decisive and he hits it. [Ryan] Torain and [Evan] Royster, same thing, they're all kind of cut from the same cloth - tough, hard-nosed runners that see a crease, hit it and can get through it. They're tough guys to tackle. They have a nice complement of plays in their running game so you're not just worried about one thing. They hit you in a lot of different fronts and all the play actions go with it. They can definitely, like they did against the Jets, get the ball and just drive it down the field with the complementary plays. We're not used to playing a team like this. It's hard to prepare and simulate their quickness and their decisiveness in their plays. It definitely has a West Coast element to it in terms of the speed, not only of the game, but the speed of the actual play itself when the ball is snapped.  

Q: Where does your friendship with Mike Shanahan extend back to?  

BB: I think Mike liked me because he used to like to beat up on us all the time. He was - Denver, they got us a few times. Mike was out in San Francisco when I was with the Giants, so we've always competed against each other; we've never been on the same staff. I've gotten to know Mike a little bit off the field, league meetings and stuff like that. He's a great competitor, I have great respect for what he's done, all the championships and all the outstanding teams he has had and coached. I'd say most of our stuff has been off the field.  

Q: You had him as a guest at camp a couple of years ago. Were you able to take anything from that, being in that environment with him as opposed to a more competitive setting?  

BB: Absolutely, absolutely. We talked about some things - some of the drills that we were doing and he kind of asked about: 'Why are you doing this' or 'What was your thinking here?' And also gave me some input as to how he'd done it and things he'd done a little bit differently. Actually, I thought he had some real good suggestions. We talked a little football and so it was good. It's great to be able to talk to somebody that has that perspective. The Jimmy Johnsons or the Mike Shanahans or people like that that have been through NFL seasons and have a lot of experiences and can relate to all the different points in time, whether it be the draft, training camp, regular season, Xs and Os, personnel and so forth. It's great to be able to exchange ideas with somebody like that. Mike is a really smart guy and he's had a tremendous career. I think he has a lot to offer in a conversation.  

Q: Is there ever any hesitation to do that because you know that the next year or the year after you could be competing against him? It's almost like when you told the story about interviewing with Al Davis and you didn't want to say everything because you didn't want it to be used against you in the future if you had a feeling that one was going to go in a  different direction.  

BB: I think there's always the point when you're competing with somebody or going to compete with somebody, how far you can really go there. In Mike's case, this is a very smart and experienced coach and I don't think there's probably too much that we do that he hasn't seen [or that] he's pretty familiar with. I don't think there are any state secrets there. Likewise, we've see what he's done. There's just so much there that it's a lot to get ready for.  

Q: How much do they move Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo around and what kind of challenge does that present when trying to protect the quarterback?  

BB: They don't move them around a whole lot. They have a couple looks, but for the most part, it's not hard to find them. The problem is blocking them. It's kind of like [Robert] Mathis and [Dwight] Freeney. They move those two guys around a little bit, a couple of snaps here and there, but the problem isn't finding them; the problem is blocking them. They're very good. They each other well. They're both strong guys, really powerful and can collapse the pocket and also are fast enough to run around, work the edges. They both do a pretty good job in coverage, better than a lot of linebackers that I've seen that are outstanding pass rushers. They use them in some coverage responsibilities and they're pretty competitive there. They do a good job in the running game. They're both strong tacklers - they wrap up well, they finish well. It will be a big challenge for us. These guys are two good bookends.  

Q: When you move Nate Solder from offensive tackle to eligible receiver and you have to run an offensive lineman on to the field, do the mechanics of that ever make you not want to go to that package as much as you would if it were just a pure blocking tight end?  

BB: I don't think it's so much that the play that the tackle comes in. Like in the Indianapolis game, when we sent [Marcus] Cannon on the field and Solder moved to tight end, I don't think that's the issue. I think the issue is then the next play where Solder has to come out of the game and now you don't have your regular tackle there, you have another tackle there. How many reps of what plays has he gotten and so forth? You know the plays that he's going to be a tackle and Solder is going to be at tight end, like in last week's game plan as an example. You know what those plays are and what you're going to do with that personnel group in that situation. Now, when you have to make the exchange on the next play, if you don't stay in that same personnel group - not that everybody doesn't know what to do, but just from a practice standpoint, you don't want to run plays in the game that you haven't had a lot of reps on in practice. It's hard to rep everything for both guys. I think you just have to think about what those next calls are and try to practice them so that you give the players the best chance to succeed, especially a younger player like Marcus. He just hasn't had an opportunity to run all the plays in our offense multiple, multiple times, just from the volume standpoint. As opposed to if that was another tight end; if you run another tight end on the field to do that and then you take the tight end off, you still have the five guys there that you always have.

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