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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Tuesday, September 3, 2013.

BB: We're trying to get back on a normal week now with Tuesday being the normal, traditional Tuesday and then Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, finishing up our preparations for Buffalo. As I said the other day, part of this week is just getting into a routine, getting into our regular season meeting, practice, preparation schedules – coaches and players – as well as preparing, doing all the things we need to do to get ready for Buffalo which is considerable as well. Fortunately we've had a couple extra days on that and that's been helpful. That's where we're at for now.

Q: Traditionally when you face a Mike Pettine defense, how much does that mean, 'Be ready for the blitz' this week?

BB: Quite a bit, percentage-wise. There are some tendencies that are stronger than others, but yes, blitz pickup will be definitely something that we need to work on this week, no question about it.

Q: From what you've seen of their defense, obviously there is going to be a change. How would you describe the change from what they were doing last year to this year?

BB: This looks a lot like the Jets defense, just different. Different players and schematically it's similar to what we've seen from the Jets. This year, Buffalo looks like the Jets, schematically.

Q: Does quite a bit of the preparation focus on studying Jets film from last year or is it a focus on the Bills from the preseason?

BB: Yeah, sure. I would imagine that whatever the Jets did, Buffalo is certainly capable of doing from a scheme standpoint, whether they've shown it or not. We have to be aware of some of those things. Again, I think that's part of the whole unknown of opening day. We go back and find a million things to work on, just like I'm sure Buffalo could too if they go back however far back they want to go on the Patriots stuff. I'm sure that there's plenty of stuff in there somewhere; it's just a question of what you think you need to stop and how much time you want to put into the different aspects of the game plan. And then at some point, I'm sure that every team on opening day in the NFL is going to have to make some kind of adjustment to something new that they haven't seen or that's a wrinkle that the opponents have held back for opening day. That's just opening day. I don't see it any different than that. I think probably all teams are looking at pretty much the same scenario there.

Q: What do you see from Matthew Mulligan?

BB: He's an experienced tight end that we've played against before. We'll put him in there in that group and see how it all comes together. He's had a lot of success blocking and he's a tough, physical player. But we'll see how it goes.

Q: Offensively for the Bills, how much are you seeing option or Pistol based concepts?

BB: Yeah, they do some. Again, this is another thing where we know things that they've done in the past. Whether that's part of this offense or they'll do them against us or not, that's part of the unknown. We're ready for a variety of things. They've shown a number of things offensively, a number of different schemes, obviously a lot of no-huddle. It's really all no-huddle but with different personnel groups, different formations, different combinations, things like that. We'll have to prepare for all of that. But the quarterback as being part of the offense, either keeping the ball or running play-action, bootlegs off it, or things like that, pitching the ball, I think those are all elements that we'll have to work on, sure.

Q: Based on what you've been able to see, what are the differences from a skill set standpoint between E.J. Manuel and Jeff Tuel?

BB: When both of them have had a chance to play, they've both been productive. To be honest with you, there isn't a ton of Buffalo film on either one of them. We saw them play in college and scouted them both coming out there, but that doesn't really mean as much as what they do in this offense and how they do it. There's not a whole lot of film on either guy. We'll just have to go on what we've got and again, be ready once we really see, which is true of a lot of rookie players. Even though you watch them on film, once you actually see them in person and get on the field with them, sometimes they look a little different than what they look like on film. There's always that whole element of it. I think in this case, we'll go on what we have but that's not a whole lot.

Q: It looks like they're starting a rookie middle linebacker in Kiko Alonso. What did you see from him leading into the draft and what stands out to you from what you've seen in the preseason?

BB: Good size, athletic guy, runs well, can cover a lot of ground, sideline to sideline. Physical player, they blitz him, he comes hard as a blitzer. He's got good range, good tackler. It looks like he's been a good addition to their defense, gives them some speed, gives them speed and athleticism and some power as well. It looks like he has a good combination of skills.

Q: With so many new players on your roster, is there a little more unknown for you this year than previous years?

BB: I don't know. It's always there. We'll see how it goes.

Q: On Mario Williams, it looked like he was mostly on the defensive left side last year. With the new scheme are you noticing a little more liberal usage of where they're lining him up or anything different they're doing with him?

BB: We have to be ready for all of it. They've already shown some different looks where they have guys moving around and defensive tackles playing linebacker and stuff like that. But yeah, we've seen him plenty on our left. But as you said, he played on the right so I'm sure he can play – it looks like he'd be comfortable playing on either side, whether they move him, try to match him up, same thing with [Leodis] McKelvin. He's played on our right; he's played on our left. I'm sure if they wanted to match him up like they did in New York, when they would match corners against certain receivers – so yeah, something we'll have to be ready for but I don't think there's been enough of a pattern set in preseason to say with 100 percent certainty what it is going to be or what it isn't going to be in lot of those types of situations.

Q: What have you seen from Shane Vereen this summer?

BB: Shane has had a good spring and a good camp. He's been relatively healthy, he's gotten a lot of snaps out there on all three downs, all four downs really – the kicking game and third down and first and second down offensively as well. I think he's continued to grow and develop as a player, both in an understanding and working on it his run reads, his route running technique, blitz pickup, various things in the kicking game. He's continued to improve and I think he's had a good camp here, good preseason. I think he's ready to go in the season. [We'll] see how it all turns out, but I think his preparation has been good.

Q: When a player like him lines up in-line or closer to the line of scrimmage, almost like an H-back, versus in the backfield, what are the challenges for him?

BB: It would depend on what you're asking him to do.

Q: Presumably he's trying to get open.

BB: Are you talking about detaching him out of the backfield or at tight end?

Q: For lack of a better term, if you were to use him at tight end, what would be the challenges for him there?

BB: One challenge would be size. He's a good athlete, he's quick, he's fast but I don't really see him as a tight end. I don't know, I think he's really a running back for us.

Q: You mentioned the no-huddle with the Bills offense. It seems like that ties into their desire to play with a fast pace. Can you draw any parallels to other teams that you've faced that have played at a similar pace? Any past experience you can draw on heading into this game or your own team in practice?

BB: That's a good question. I think we've certainly seen a lot of up-tempo, no-huddle, fast pace offensive, whatever you want to call it, including our own in practice. Exactly how this goes, I don't know if we know exactly until we actually get on the field with them and see it in person. I would say, just generally speaking probably some similarities to Philadelphia and what we practiced against down there. I don't know, it might be a little faster than that, I'm not sure. I don't think Philadelphia necessarily is always trying to go as fast against us at that point as maybe it will happen later in games or maybe it will during the season, I'm not sure. I'm sure they have the ability to go faster than they did in the game against us. Again, I'm not sure if Buffalo is at that – again, I think most teams that go no-huddle have the ability to pick up the pace or slow down the pace, depending on what they're trying to do. We'll probably get a mixture anyway.

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