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Bill Belichick Conference Call Transcript 8/29

[wysifield-embeddedaudio|eid="354131"|type="embeddedaudio"|view_mode="full"]Any update on James Develin?

BB: No, he didn't come back with us on the trip. He's down there in Charlotte, so I don't really have anything at this point.

What kind of opportunity is available for somebody else to step forward and into that role?

BB: We'll have to take a look at that. I'm not sure right now, it just happened last night. We'll look at what our options are, talk about the situation and figure out what we want to try to do.

How do you think the team handled this last week, with two road games in a row and a short week, and how does it prepare you for the regular season?

BB: Well, we had a good week of practice with New Orleans. It was a very competitive week, and then the game, and then the trip back and then this week of preparation, as you said on a short week, and then turned around and traveled down to Carolina and played a physical team. I thought we competed well. There's certainly a lot of room for improvement. There are a lot of things we could've done better, but I thought the players gave a good effort, played with good energy. We'll just try to work to correct some of the things that we need to do better.

Do you have an approach or a policy in terms of how you approach the preseason in terms of working hard and staying healthy?

BB: Not really. We try to do what we feel is best for each player and each team. There are some things during a game that unfortunately happen that you just can't control.

Is there a fine line between preparation and being careful?

BB: Yeah, I don't know what the right or wrong answer is on that. Just do what you think is best.

What stood out to you on the two short-yardage plays on defense on the Panthers' first drive?

BB: It's always good to get off to a good start like that. They had good field position. It looked like on the first one, [Jabaal] Sheard kind of got across the line of scrimmage and forced the ball to cut back. Chandler Jones, [Jerod] Mayo and [Alan] Branch were kind of there on the cutback. It looked like they never really got into the hole that they were trying to run to. Sheard's penetration on the end of the line, Malcom [Brown] kind of at the point of attack, the fullback, [Mike] Tolbert, couldn't really get through and it looked like it kind of got clogged up there, and so the runner kind of had to cut back into probably the weaker part of the blocking on the play. Then it looked like they basically flipped the play over. It looked like they were trying to combo block with the tackle and tight end on [Rob] Ninkovich and Jamie [Collins], and Jamie kind of shot the gap inside of Ninkovich. Nobody blocked him, and so when the runner had to stop and cut back, he kind of lost his momentum. Good play at the point of attack, good backside pursuit when the ball cut back and we tackled and knocked the runner back, so it was two good team defensive plays.

How comfortable do you think Reggie Wayne is considering he's been with the team less than a week?

BB: You'll have to ask him that question. I'm not sure. It's a lot to learn in a few days. We have several players in that situation – Mike Williams, Reggie. Asante Cleveland hasn't been here very long. We brought Chris Martin back. He had been here before, so he's probably a little bit ahead. It's pretty common around the league. You see a lot of teams in that situation – bringing in a player at this point in training camp and having to catch them up.

What difference have you seen in Dominique Easley from last season to this season?

BB: He's just had a real good training camp. He's taken a lot of reps. He's improved his technique, his reactions, recognition. He's an explosive athlete that was very productive in college and just being able to get out on the field and take those reps in practice and improve has helped him get better. It's been key for us and him this year.

We've seen Easley play outside and inside. How do his responsibilities change when he makes that move? What is it about his game that allows him to play both spots?

BB: He played a lot of that in college. It's not something that he hasn't done before. We've done that with all of our defensive linemen really, maybe not all of them, but most of have them have been in there from time to time. We just try to get everybody a little bit of exposure to some different spots. It helps them understand the overall scheme. It also gives us more depth at those spots. Easley can play outside and inside. We've done that with [Geneo] Grissom, with [Trey] Flowers, with Rufus [Johnson], Chandler [Jones], [Jabaal] Sheard, Zach Moore; pretty much most of the defensive line I think. It's something that we've done with a lot of our guys. But he's done a good job with it. He's experienced. Like I said, he had a lot of production doing that in college at Florida.

What is the benefit of getting Reggie Wayne into a game in terms of helping him get used to your system?

BB: Yeah, I think it's always different in a game: game speed and timing and communication, not necessarily verbal, but the timing and communication with the quarterback and the routes and so forth. Practice is good and that certainly helps, but it's never quite the same as the game. That's something that we can learn from and build on. You can go out there and practice that stuff all you want, but it's always a little different in the game so it was good to start that process. We obviously have a long way to go, but [we'll] keep working on it.

On the defense, do you think you might be farther along with the young players than you might have thought at this point? On special teams, Christian Fauria pointed out on the telecast that Ryan Allen made a good hold on the field goal. How did you think special teams played last night?

BB: I thought our special teams were inconsistent. We had a couple good coverage plays and we had a couple that need to be better. I thought we kicked the ball pretty well, not perfect. Our return game had some moments, again, where we had decent blocking, in some cases pretty good blocking. We didn't obviously always get everybody but we got enough to kind of get going. As far as blocking the punt, the gunner and penetrators on the punt [and] kickoff coverage team, we didn't get many chances on kickoff returns. There are some things there to work with, there are some things we definitely need to improve on, but it was competitive. Again, Carolina is good in the kicking game. They don't give you a lot of kickoff return opportunities. They're a big, physical special teams unit so that was good for us. Defensively, we have good depth in some of those positions up front. We've had good competition. Guys are working hard and competing well. We have a number of offensive linemen. We have a couple guys that are banged up. In terms of numbers and I'd say overall quality throughout the offensive line unit, pretty good depth there so it's really competitive when we get any of those 12, 13 offensive linemen or any of the however many, 14, 15 defensive linemen, [Joe] Vellano hasn't been out there lately, but you know all those guys, it's a pretty competitive group. Maybe after one or two guys that may be at the top of those groups, the rest of those guys are pretty competitive with each other and pretty competitive with the other side of the ball. We've got a lot of good work there both ways. Those defensive guys have gotten a lot of reps and they've gotten them against guys that are pretty competitive. We've improved ourselves and I think we've improved each game on the front [in] these three preseason games. I'm not just talking about the first group, but everyone that's played. It's been good.

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