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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript - 8/16/2015

[wysifield-embeddedaudio|eid="349031"|type="embeddedaudio"|view_mode="full"]Q: Do you think it's possible that James Develin could have an expanded role this year?

BB: Sure, I think every player has an opportunity to find his role on the team. That's based on that player's performance and production. That's up to each individual to do that and create that for himself. I don't really have any control over it. The players that play the best and are the most productive will get the most opportunity, and the ones that don't have to try to somehow show and create that for themselves. Everybody on the team is pretty much in that same boat.

Q: Is his blocking ability what sets him apart and got him in so many game last year?
BB: James is a tough kid. He's very smart, tough. Assignments are really never a problem with him. He's been very dependable and durable. He's physically strong and that helps him as a blocker or occasionally as an inside ball carrier, and he's got good hands and he catches the ball well. So, he's got a lot of things going for him. He works extremely hard and on a day-to-day basis, he's one of the most dependable players we have.

Q: Looking back to Thursday's game, even though there were seven sacks, I thought the offensive line played OK. Do you feel like the line has a good sense of coordination at this stage? Do you view it as a position of strength?

BB: First of all, going back to the game, I think some of the times the quarterback was hit or pressured, there were a number of issues in the passing game and all of the above came in at some point - whether it was protection, decision making by the quarterback, inability of the receivers to get open, the design of the play relative to the defense that the Packers were in. There are various things all around that could have been better, from the coaching to the protection to the execution of the passing game by the skill players, so I wouldn't put it all in one area, but I wouldn't exclude any of those areas either, and that was true from the first series till basically the end of the game. So, it was a combination of all those things. The offensive line, we've got some young players that got a lot of reps and we'll see how they're coming along. We have several veteran players that over the course of training camp haven't taken a lot of reps for one reason or another, or maybe they've taken a decent number of reps, but not so much in the Green Bay game. So, I think sooner or later those players will factor into the equation as well. In the meantime, it's giving a lot of younger players an opportunity to come together and show us what they can do and learn from their mistakes and maybe improve on them. I think at this point in camp for all players, not any particular player and not any particular group, we're going to see mistakes. We're going to see things that aren't the way we want them to be. The players will have that pointed out to them by the coaching staff on their technique or what was done improperly or how we need to do it better. We'll see where that goes from here and whether that improves or not. I think that's really the key thing we'll be looking for in the next couple weeks and New Orleans will be a good opportunity for us to see that both in the game and in our practices of how much we're able to improve from where we are at every position and with every unit. This will be a great opportunity for us this week.

Q: To me, it seems that head coach Sean Payton has a very good offense. With the coaching fraternity, how much do you share with him? The coaching tree has some connections there.

BB: I don't really think that's that significant right now. What Coach Payton and I have talked about is what we want to try to get done and I think that really centers around taking the things that we've installed and they've installed and work them against a different scheme and different group of players and try to evaluate those. This really isn't a game plan, what plays we run against the Saints or what they run against us and that kind of thing, trying to create advantages or use schematics to give your team an advantage. It's more evaluating individual players against different matchups and letting your players learn the execution of the plays against a different type of defense or against a different type of offense than what we're seeing over the last two weeks from ourselves. I think all those learning experiences are valuable, individually and for different units on the team, how to handle different problems and obviously things that we'll be facing over the course of the year, and that's really what it's about. We're not trying to do anything that they haven't prepared for or vice versa. That doesn't do us any good to go out and see something that we haven't worked on and know that we're not prepared for it. We already know that. What's more important would be to go out there and do the things that we've worked on, that we should know how to do, that we have a good foundation on and see how we're doing. And I think that's what they're looking for, too. So, that's kind of the way we've structured the practices. We've had a good working relationship with the Saints and with Sean, his staff and the entire organization, and we just want to get better, they want to get better, and we want to work with each other so that we can both do that. We've been able to do that with them several times before, so hopefully we'll be able to get that again this week.

Q: In the past, you've hosted these things mid-week before games. Why did you decide to go on the road this year?

BB: We've gone on the road every year. We were in Philadelphia two years ago, we were in Washington last year, we were in Tampa three years ago or whenever it was. We've been on the road and we've been at home. I don't think that's as important. You can't control that because it's based on the preseason schedule, so wherever that schedule puts those teams, that's the easiest place to logistically have the practice. But I think more important than that is the work and the quality of work that you get and that's what really important to me - having another team that you can work with that shares similar goals where you can structure the practices and the days so that they can be productive for you and the other team feels that they can be productive for them, so it's a win-win both ways. We're not really trying to gain an advantage here on anybody, and I don't think anybody's trying to gain an advantage on us. We're just trying to get better, the Saints are trying to get better and how can we help each other do that.

Q: Where would you rate your special teams progression after one preseason game?

BB: First of all, I don't think you can really rate anything in preseason. You spend a lot of time in practice and in meetings trying to prepare your team to particularly do the fundamental things in the preseason games that will serve as a base for you throughout the game, no matter what the actual scheme is. Whatever running play you run, it's about the fundamentals of blocking, and whatever defense you play is about the fundamentals of taking on blocks and tackling. Whatever pass play you run is going to center around getting open and catching the ball. It doesn't really matter what the ratings are. It's more of what are we doing, how can we improve it, are we doing something that doesn't look like it's going to be productive for us, are we not doing enough of something where we think we can find more production? It's really just trying to get better on a daily basis, and if you're better day to day today and then in your games during the week, and again I don't think that's necessarily reflected in the final score. You could score well, but that doesn't necessarily mean you're doing things well. Or you could not score well and you could be doing things OK. I just think that's really more what it's about. In the kicking game, yeah, we had three penalties - 12 men on the field, we hit their gunner out of bounds and our gunner didn't get back in bounds fast enough when he went out of bounds. So, those are all penalties that we can't afford, that cost us field position, that we can learn from, and hopefully if they don't happen again then these were lessons well learned. They shouldn't have happened in the first place, but they did and we've corrected them. We've made sure everybody understands exactly what we need to do so that we're not in violation of those rules and I think all three calls were good calls - I have no issue with the calls - but what we did allowed them to make the call against us, so we have to not do that or do a better job of it. Maybe we didn't coach it well enough. So, in any case, we've got to get that corrected along with a lot of other things. We definitely have some things to work with in the kicking game. We looked at a lot of young players. Very many of the players that have played a lot in the kicking game for us or even with some other teams that are on our roster didn't play very much - some didn't play at all in the kicking game against Green Bay. So this week against New Orleans and going forward, those guys will get more opportunities and we'll start to evaluate them. We wanted to look at a lot of the younger players against Green Bay [and] we did. Some of those guys really helped themselves and showed that they could possibly compete for a role in those units. Some of them didn't show up quite as well and they're going to have to turn that around pretty quickly or we'll run out of time. So, that's where we're at in the kicking game.

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