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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript 8/27

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick addresses the media during his conference call on Saturday, August 27, 2016.

[wysifield-embeddedaudio|eid="464066"|type="embeddedaudio"|view_mode="full"]Q: After Cyrus Jones' performance as the punt returner last night, would you consider putting him in that role to start the regular season?

BB: Yeah, I think that's a consideration. Obviously, Danny [Amendola] and Julian [Edelman] have a lot of experience returning punts for us as well as kickoffs in the past. We'll see how it goes, but we have good depth at that position and that's always a good thing to have. We have confidence in all of those guys back there. Last night we even had D.J. [Foster] who got a chance to handle the ball. We'll see how it goes going forward, but I think we have good competition and good depth at that position. 

Q: What have you learned about Jonathan Freeny in the one year that you've had him that makes you want to continue working with him in years going forward?

BB: Jonathan [Freeny] is a very dependable player; he is able to do a lot of different roles for us. He can play inside and outside on the line of scrimmage and off the ball defensively. He's been very valuable for us in the kicking game, obviously with some size. A four-phase special teams player and one of our overall top workers in terms of the offseason program, preparation, training; he always does things right. He works hard, doesn't say a lot, but is very dependable and consistent. I think all of the other players - everybody in the organization looks up to him. 

Q: Is it a big deal at all to you to be 3-0 in the preseason and winning these games?

BB: I think what we tell our players and coaches is that we're going to coach and play to win. We're obviously not going to pull out all the stops in terms of every trick play we've ever used or things like that, but whatever the situation calls for, we're going to play it as competitively as we can play it given the limitations that we have and based on the amount of experience our players have in the game at that certain point and what we've been able to cover. We haven't covered every single thing that we would want to cover or hope to cover to start the season, especially situational football, but as far as competing and playing, we're doing everything we can to win, but within the context of doing what we're capable of doing right now. We're trying to win, we're trying to do everything as well as we can do it, but not pulling out all the stops in terms of playing time, strategizing and so forth that we would do in the regular season.  

Q: With many of the younger players still on the cusp of making the team, how much does the idea that other teams could claim those players and prevent you from keeping them on the practice squad factor into some of the roster decisions you're going to be making over the next week or so?

BB: It's something you take into consideration. It's a hard thing to predict. There's going to be, I don't know, certainly going to be a lot of players, probably over 1,000 players that will be exposed to waivers in the next eight calendar days or whatever it'll be. I think the average claim is somewhere in the high 20s there…so that's what the odds are. We've had years where we haven't had any of our players claimed and we've had years where we've had multiple players claimed. I think at the end you just have to do what you think is best for your team. It's pretty hard to predict what's going to happen when you put players on the wire because in all honesty, you don't know what the other [31] teams are going to do and who they're going to put on the wire. Even though you put a player out there that you don't want to lose, if another team happens to put a player out there that may be a team that needs that position and would be better with your player, your player gets claimed. Sometimes we waive players that we didn't think would get claimed and they were, so that's really hard to predict. In the end, you've got to make the decision that you feel like is best for your football team, and if you really want that player and you just can't bear to live without them, then you shouldn't be exposing them to the wire. That's the reality of it. We keep an eye on them, but I don't think it's an overriding factor. If you're prepared to waive them, then you've got to be prepared to lose them. That's just the way it is. 

Q: What kind of effort level did you see from Jacoby Brissett based on his performance last night and how do you weigh that given the competition he was going up against at that point in the game?

BB: I think particularly in this game, the competition was pretty level throughout the game in terms of when both teams substituted and who was out there, so it was a relatively level competitive playing field. I think Jacoby [Brissett] continued to do some really good things. His passing stats last night we're good which is always a good thing; 9-9, no turnovers, that's a good place to start. There are a number of things he could have done better, like every player that played. He's certainly learning and getting better at things every week, but there are new things that happen every week; different situations, different matchups against different defenses, so it's a process. I think that's the most important thing for any young player, to continue to improve, continue to make progress, to correct some of the things from the week before, or maybe from things that come up in practice. They're going to experience new things; they're not all going to go right. They're going to have to correct those and build on those while progressing in other areas that have previously been addressed and just continue to keep improving on a daily basis and then when they get a chance to play, show progress. That's the most important thing, really for all players, but especially for young players, that we see that improvement. That's a good thing if players are working hard and paying attention to the instruction that they're being given and they improve. Then we're on the right track and hopefully we can continue to build on that. When it stops improving and starts regressing and going the other way, then that's a big concern. 

Q: What did you see out of Logan Ryan last night?

BB: Like I said for all the players, it's probably pretty similar, confidence. I thought we did a lot of good things as a team, made a lot of good individual plays. There were some plays where we didn't do as well. Again, they're a very good team so any time you play a team like that it's never going to go perfect. You're going to have to work for everything you get. They're going to make some [plays] and you're going to make some [plays], but I thought our guys really tried to compete last night and we had a lot to show for it. Not perfect, there are a lot of things we still need to work on and that goes for every individual player. Whichever one you ask about, there are things that every player needs to work on and every coach needs to work on at this point. Our objective is to identify those, understand what needs to be done differently by the individual, or by a group of individuals, and how they're handling a particular situation or a particular look, build on it, and just keep getting better. Really, we're all in that same boat.

Q: Where would you rate the punt and kick coverage at this point of the preseason?

BB: That's not really the way we do it. We have a lot of players in there, we've played a number of players in those positions whether it be the 10 kickoff coverage positions or on the punt team, the various spots there from gunners to personal protectors to slots to the guys on the line of scrimmage. We've had a lot of different combinations in there and we're just working to make sure that we are sound in what we're doing. Players are playing more than one position to increase their value and improve our overall team depth if and when we move people around or want to move people around. Again, it's improving in every area collectively as a team and each individual, whatever their particular role is, they have to get better at that. But we've had good plays, there are some things that we've been doing right across the board, and then we have some plays that aren't so good. A lot of times there are guys doing things right or well, but we have a couple breakdowns or one breakdown and it results in a positive play for our opponent. It doesn't mean everything is wrong because something bad happened and it doesn't mean everything was right because something good happened. It means that we try to build on the things that were done right and we try to improve on the things that need to be done better. That's really for every offensive, defensive and special teams play throughout the preseason.

Q: Is the last preseason game a time you might consider giving Jacoby Brissett the start or more playing time early in the game?

BB: I think that's a good question, it's a fair question, it's one that we really have to give some good consideration to. As I said before, I think whatever we do will benefit whoever does it. We want to get Jimmy [Garoppolo] ready for the Arizona game. Tom [Brady] isn't going to be playing for a while so it's kind of his last chance to play until he comes back after a few weeks. Jacoby [Brissett] certainly could use all the playing time that he can get. I think that whichever players we play will benefit from it and it will be valuable to them. We could play all three quarterbacks a lot next week and they'd all benefit from that and it would all be good, but we can't. We only have one game and so many snaps, so we'll have to, between practice and the game, put them in some situations that are somewhat controllable like a two-minute situation or things like that that you know are going to kind of come up one way or another. You can sort of control those in how you want those broken down, what's best, what does each guy need and how can we get the best we need for each guy. I need to let them get the reps that they need, but it's how do we get the team ready for what they need to be ready for. They all need to get ready for different things. What Jimmy's role is in a couple weeks is going to be a lot different than what Tom's is, and it's going to be a lot different than what Jacoby's is. At some point later on, those roles are going to change again. So again, there's no perfect solution to it. We'll just do the best we can to try to have our induvial players and our team as well prepared as possible at whatever point that is that we have to deal with, and whenever those situations come up.

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