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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the Buffalo media during his conference call on Wednesday, September 26, 2012.

Q: When you're under .500 for the first time in nine years, does it almost feel like a crisis?

BB: Well, I think the most important thing for us is just to focus on this week. There isn't really anything we can do about any other game other than the present; nothing in the past, nothing in the future. We're just going to focus on this one.

Q: Are you a little tougher on your team this week?

BB: We just all need to do a better job. I think there are responsibilities for all of us. We just have to perform better.

Q: Can you talk about the domination you've had over the Bills? 21-3 since you've been there. I know there are many factors, but can you pinpoint a couple as to why one team has dominated another team so thoroughly?

BB: I don't think any of that has any bearing on this game. It certainly didn't have any bearing on our first game with them last year, however many [wins] in a row that was. I don't know. I'll leave that to somebody else. I don't really think that's that important right now. The focus is on this week and how the two teams prepare, how we match up and how the two teams compete on Sunday. That's really all it's about.

Q: Would you at least agree that your dominance in the division is one of the keys to why you've been to where you've been as a team?

BB: Of course, it's always important to win in your division. It all starts there, no question about that.

Q: How much difference do you see in the Bills defense and the revamping that they've done? You're obviously familiar with Mark Anderson, but going out and getting Mario Williams, how much different is this team from last year or years past?

BB: I think schematically, style-wise, it's similar to what we saw in the last game of the season last year. But, as you mentioned, some of the additions – Mark Anderson, Mario Williams upfront, [Stephon] Gilmore, so they did certainly add some players. The ones they have, like Kyle [Williams] and [Marcell] Dareus and [Jairus] Byrd and those guys are all playing very well. Aaron Williams has done a good job for them.

Q: When a team commits to the pass rush like Baltimore did the other night, is it difficult to get Rob Gronkowski involved? Do you have to keep him in pass protection? What kind of problems does that present?

BB: The pass game is all about timing, so anything that disrupts the timing of the passing game is challenging, whether that's coverage on the receivers or jamming receivers or pass rush that knocks off the rhythm or penetration that affects throwing lines. All those things cause the passing game to lose their timing. If that happens, it's usually not as good as when the ball can come out on the right time, right out of the break, right where it's supposed to go.

Q: What strengths do rookie defensive players Dont'a Hightower and Chandler Jones bring? What football assets did you see in them coming out of college?

BB: Of course, Dont'a played in a top program, a national championship caliber program. He was a very productive player for Alabama, both inside and outside, playing defensive end in sub situations. So, he was a versatile player, did some different things and played very well at a very high level of competition. Chandler had a very good start to last season and then missed the second half of the year. He's a hardworking, very intelligent young man who just continues to improve. He's a young player, he came out early, missed some time with the injury last year, but is long, has good power, good quickness, has speed, has a good feel for playing the game and just gets there every day he's out there. He's really an improving player who has taken to coaching and gotten better in the couple months we've had him here, since training camp.

Q: Are you at all concerned that Tom Brady hasn't had much success throwing the ball down the field lately? I'm talking throws over 30 yards.

BB: Offensively, our job is to move the ball and score points so however that happens, if it happens, it's good. If it doesn't happen, then that's not so good. Whether we run it, throw it, throw it short, throw it long, however it happens to go, if we can move the ball and score points, then our offense is doing a good job. If we can't, then it's not. You have to sometimes take what the defense gives you or take the plays where the yardage is there rather than trying to force it into tight spots and turn the ball over and all that, which is something we haven't done a lot, unfortunately.

Q: You had a controversial ending to your game and then there was the Green Bay fiasco. Any thoughts moving forward on the officiating and what's happening with the league on that issue?

BB: No.

Q: What do you think about the Bills spread offense in general and how you defended it last year?

BB: They're very explosive offensively. They have good players at every position. Their offensive line is solid. They have a good tight end – [Scott] Chandler is a very productive player. Their receivers are explosive, both down the field and run after catch. Obviously their runbacks are explosive and their running game is the best in the league. The quarterback does a good job, he's mobile, he's active in the pocket, he gets rid of the ball quickly, he's a hard guy to hit because he gets his reads and gets the ball out of there, makes good decisions. They have good players at every position and Chan [Gailey] does an outstanding job game planning and utilizing his personnel and putting pressure on the defense. They're a very good offensive football team. It's a big challenge for us.

Q: Does anything stand out in regard to their offensive line when you watch them?

BB: They do a good job. They're physical. The three guys inside are pretty experienced: [Kraig] Urbik, [Eric] Wood and [Andy] Levitre. They're solid players and they've now started to accumulate some experience together. We saw [Erik] Pears last year and he's improving, he does a good job. Of course, [Cordy] Glenn has stepped in there and done a good job for them at left tackle. He's a big, physical guy that is hard to get by. That group and the tight ends and the running game, pass protection, when [Scott] Chandler has been called on to block or the backs have been called on to block, which they're involved in some protection schemes too as well, they've all done a good job. I think they work together well as unit. That's always the key to the offensive line, is how well the entire unit performs, not five individual guys. That could look good on paper but how they function together when the ball is snapped is really the key to good offensive line play. The Bills have done a good job of that. Those guys work well together on their combination blocks and their pass protection. You don't see a lot of guys come free against them, run or pass, they have a hat on everybody. Guys are tied up and it's hard for the defenders to come off and make plays.

Q: You had to use a lot of different people in the defensive secondary last year with injuries and rotations. How are you feeling about your secondary and how they've played through three weeks?

BB: I think our team is really – I could say the same thing about the entire team, every position, every unit – we've done some good things and we've done some things we need to do better. Some things we need to do better, we need to coach better, we need to play better, we need to be more consistent and that goes for every phase of our game: offense, defense, special teams, players, coaches and it certainly extends to each individual. There are things that individually we can all do better and need to work on and need to do better. That's the focus for our whole team. We all need to improve and hopefully that will make a difference if we can do that.

Q: The Bills have referenced throughout the summer that they were able to beat you last year in Buffalo and then had a 21-point lead in New England before losing, but they view those two games as coming of age moments for them, in terms of gunning for the AFC East title. Buddy Nix even mentioned that he's not afraid of the Patriots. What do you make of teams that use you as the measuring stick and whether or not they show you respect or if that is a sign of respect?

BB: You'd have to ask them about all that. I would say we certainly have a lot of respect for Buffalo; always have. As I said, I think Chan [Gailey] and his staff do a great job of preparing their team and they've continued to accumulate good talent. Their players are, I would say overall, [are] more talented each year progressively. They're tough, they're a physical team, they're well coached. They do a good job. We have a lot of respect for them, as we do for all of our opponents. However they feel about us, they feel about us. Again, I'm not that worried about last year's game. We can all look at it and look at what happened, but that was a different time, there were different players involved, the circumstances were different. This is the following year and it's different. It will play differently than it did last year. We can look at it and learn from it, but I think the key thing is for us to prepare and be able to play our best this week against the current Buffalo team with our players that we have this year, which are different from the ones we had last year. There are new matchups, there are new challenges and I don't really see last year's game as having a bearing on what's going to happen Sunday.

Q: Have you tried the new Rob Gronkowski cereal yet?

BB: No, I haven't had a chance to try that yet.

Q: Do you plan to?

BB: I'll wait. Have you guys had it, how was it?

Q: We're waiting for a review.

BB: I can't give you one. I haven't had it yet. I'm still working on those Flutie Flakes.

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