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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Monday, September 16, 2013.


BB: We've turned the page here onto Tampa. Really, talk about a team that's two plays away from being 2-0, that's Tampa. They've been really close the last two weeks and have come up short but a couple plays that just turn out a little differently, wouldn't have taken much, we'd be looking at a 2-0 team. I have a lot of respect for the way that they play. They're a tough, physical team. They play hard on every play in all three phases of the game. I think that the work we did against them in training camp was good for our development as a team but I'm not really sure how much carryover that will have into the game other than just the familiarity with some of the players that we went up against. Scheme-wise, it's all game planning now, it's not just going out there and working on the things that both teams are working on. I'm sure it will be geared very specifically both ways toward the opponent. Definitely we'll have to learn a lot from their game against the Jets and New Orleans yesterday, have a good week of practice here and be ready to play our best. I really feel like we're playing a 2-0 team. That's the way we have to prepare.

Q: How would you characterize Tampa defensively? It looks like a 4-3 I think, but how would you characterize their style?

BB: Very aggressive. They have a good mixture of pressure, coverage, movement up front, they're very fast and athletic, whichever 11 players they have on the field, they play based on your personnel – 4-3, nickel, dime. They're very fast and explosive, no matter who they have on the field. I think they make you think every time the ball is snapped, whether or not you've got them blocked and what kind of stunts and different pressures they're capable of running. I think it's a team that's really hard to just walk up to the line and snap the ball and feel comfortable. You really have to be aware of their personnel. Their safeties are excellent players and capable blitzers or guys that can fill in the box and hit like linebackers. They're physical and they're a force. You can't lose sight of their corners or their nickel back, [Leonard] Johnson, when they go to the nickel and dime situations because those guys will blitz too. You really have to be aware of the safeties and the different combinations that can occur but don't always occur because there's also plenty of coverage situations. You have to be careful about trying to just keep everybody in and block everybody. If they drop off a bunch of guys in coverage, then there's nobody to throw to. Obviously, tough to run against. They led the league in run defense last year, not only in yards but negative plays and creating long yardage situations and all that. It looks like they're right on track for that this year, so some of things we'll have to deal with. They play a lot of people up front. They like to play a lot of defensive linemen. They get a good rotation in at linebacker. There are a number of different players you have to prepare for as well.

Q: Is there enough of a sample size to see how they're lining up with Darrelle Revis? Is he on the same side, is he matching up?

BB: He didn't play all the plays against the Jets. It looked like they had a little bit of a rotation going there, maybe trying to not overdo him in the first game. But then yesterday, it seemed like he was out there all the time. He's played on both sides. It looks like, I'm sure they can do all of what you said: put him on one side, flip him – which they have done – or match up him, which sometimes when they flip him, I'm not sure if they're matching up or whether they're just flipping. We'll have to take a little closer look at that. He's, I'm sure, capable of all three and has played on both sides.

Q: We've seen Chandler Jones move inside to the defensive tackle spot in the first two games. Beyond his physical attributes, what makes him a good fit there and how has he done there?

BB: I think anytime you move those defensive ends inside, they obviously are a little bit smaller physically but the quickness and the length they have over most traditional defensive tackles can cause those inside guys – guards and centers – some problems in protection just because they're not used to seeing that type of player inside. I think it's a tradeoff. Chandler has all those attributes: he's long, he's very athletic and he's not nearly as big as our defensive tackles so that's kind of the tradeoff.

Q: It looks like left to right across the offensive line, especially if Carl Nicks returns, this is one of the bigger offensive lines in the NFL. Is that something you agree with and what kind of challenges does that present?

BB: I definitely agree with that. It's a very good offensive line. With their size and their back with [Doug] Martin in particular, they were able to wear some people down last year in the running game I thought. Even going against them in training camp, that's definitely a concern. They're big, they're very physical. Whether it's Nicks in there or [Gabe] Carimi – Carimi is another big guy – they're very physical and the back is physical. You can see how even a little bit in the game yesterday against New Orleans on that last drive, they were able on that, at the end of the fourth quarter, just kind of hand it off to Martin and he was able to grind out some key first downs on their final drive. It definitely presents a problem, a four quarter problem. In terms of pass protection and protecting the pocket in there, they're obviously a hard group to power rush and the quarterback is athletic so you have to find some other ways to try to pressure the quarterback. I don't think power rushing those guys is really the way to go very often.

Q: Is it optimistic that Rob Gronkowski will play on Sunday?

BB: We'll take everybody day-to-day here.

Q: Is Danny Amendola more week-to-week than day-to-day at this point?

BB: I'd say really all of our players are day-to-day other than obviously [Shane] Vereen. I know the rest of them we'll just take it day-to-day.

Q: Doug Martin had a real spike in productivity from Week 1 and Week 2. What did you see between the two games and how it related to him?

BB: I think he maybe had a few more opportunities this week. He's a good back, quality back. He catches the ball well, runs inside well, has good speed to get to the edge. He's hard to tackle one-on-one, can push the pile, he's a good goal-line, short-yardage runner. Really, I think he's a complete back that can play all three downs effectively. Tough kid, he'll stick it up in there and block in blitz pickup. Good ball security back; I think really he can do it all on all three downs.

Q: With a team like Tampa who has lost in difficult fashion, do you ask your players to bear in mind that they will probably see a desperate and intense team that is already at an early season crossroads?

BB: We would have expected Tampa's best no matter what happened in the first two games and that's what we'll expect this week. From working against them, we played against them twice in preseason and worked on the field with them, we have a lot of respect for their players, their coaching staff, their toughness, their effort, their competiveness. I think that that's a team that I would expect to get their absolute best performance every week. That's what we'll be preparing for this week in all three phases of the game.

Q: Vincent Jackson has had some games against you guys as a downfield guy. He's a different matchup than Stevie Johnson and Santonio Holmes who you've seen in the first two weeks. How do you deploy guys differently against him than you did the first two weeks?

BB: Real tough guy to matchup with. Vincent has great size, strength – playing strength in terms of getting off jams, competing for the ball downfield, he's a strong runner with the ball in his hands, he's got strong hands, he can go up and take it away from defenders that have good position on him – he's got good speed and he's an explosive guy coming out of cuts. Real hard guy to match up against; that will be a big challenge for us. He can hurt you in a lot of different ways obviously. He can go down the field and get the ball and make big plays down the field, which we've seen him do. He can also take short routes and break tackles and turn them into long plays. He's an aggressive blocker. They move him around, they play him outside, they play him in the slot. He's good on intermediate routes, those 15 to 25-yard in-cuts, over-routes, sideline routes. He's a very difficult player to match up with and has an excellent set of receiving skills. Definitely a go-to guy for them, a guy we're going to have to really be aware of every time they break the huddle and know where he is because he can pretty much score from anywhere on the field.

Q: How much does the mini-break help the team in terms of opening the season with the stretch of two games in five days and hit the reset button and look at this as a refresh for the players?

BB: We've had two tough games and the two games have come down to the last possession. As a team, we have a lot of guys that have some bumps and bruises and some soreness and all that so it gives us a couple extra days to get through that. Last week was really a week that we weren't able to practice, it was really more walkthroughs and film and preparation and that kind of thing. I think that it kind of as a staff gives us a little bit of extra time to figure out where we are, what things we need to work on, need a little bit more work on, some situations that maybe haven't come up in the first couple games that we need to refresh and the ones that have, we've talked about and hopefully learned from and been able to make progress on those going forward. But there are some other ones that haven't come up that we need to stay on top of because when they do they'll be important as well. As we know, we've made quite a few roster moves in the first couple weeks of the season, between the practice squad and some 53-man roster moves so we'll see if we can settle in on a few of those. We've had an opportunity to evaluate some of those players that we didn't know as well that have recently come here and try to figure out what the best combination and how to have the strongest roster that we can going forward. I think all of those things, we're able to touch on and for the players it's a good opportunity for them to, as I said, get some treatment on some bumps and bruises but also come in here fresh later on today to get started on Tampa instead of coming in the day after a game where you kind of have that process of working that game out and moving forward. I think we're definitely ready to move forward today. Hopefully we can get a little bit of a jump on our preparation schedule this week. So, a little bit of all those things.

Q: When you planned out the schedule, is tomorrow of a lighter situational type day and it almost sets up a situation where you can get five days really without pads?

BB: I think Wednesday is going to be a regular Wednesday for us but we can definitely get ahead on Wednesday today and tomorrow, compared to where we would normally be. So that will be good. I think the things that we've targeted to work on today are things that we feel we need to work on and that will have application in the Tampa game of course. It's a little bit of a combination of those things, some things in the kicking game, offensively, defensively. We just haven't played here in a couple days and now we're playing a team with a different style from what we played the first two weeks, which we see that pretty much every week but you know, to start to get our timing and our execution and our communication and our adjustments and just techniques and all those, just start tuning back up those things so when we hit the field on Wednesday, we'll be able to get as much out of that, really first big day of preparation for Tampa as we can. But I think there are a lot of things that we can work on today that will hopefully make us a better team by the end of the day than we are at 9:15 in the morning.

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